On C&L last night, the poster NonnyMouse put up a long diary which revealed that a core part of the Obama "food safety" plan includes huge protective loopholes (put in the bill by a Rep--DeLauro, D-NY--whose husband is a Monsanto Exec--wonder how that happened?) for the continued penetration of the genetic pool of the world's food stuffs by genetically modified seeds.
There’s been quite a bit of contention erupt over a bill being proposed in the House, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, HR 875:Why is one ‘good science’ and the other ‘bad science’? Apart from the overwhelmingly obvious falseness of the equivalence, you mean?
This bill is purportedly to establish a ‘Food Safety Administration’ within the DHHS to regulate food safety, labelling, and regulating the processing, storing, and transport of food from ‘food establishments’, promote food safety research by academic and State institutions. On the face of it, after the recent poison peanut fiasco, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, does it…?
… Except there’s a few problems, as it is a very rare bill that can ever be accepted ‘on the face of it’. The first problem with this bill was that is was introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D – CT), whose husband, Stanley Greenburg, works for Monsanto. This may not violate any specific legalities (or maybe it does) but this is the kind of ethical conflict of interest that stinks like a three day old dead genetically modified mackerel. That alone has been enough to raise hackles and suspicions, generating accusations that this bill would in effect criminalize seed banking, impose prison sentences and fines on farmers, require GPS tracking of animals, warrantless government entry onto farm easements, and even allegations of a massive police state plot to incorporate farmland into the hands of industrial giants like Monsanto in a planned elimination of independent farmers altogether. (Of course, nobody would ever anticipate that, would they? Monsanto's middle name is "altruism." Ed.)
This bill, its detractors assert, would give the government the authority to monitor every family farm, ranch, vineyard, fishing hole, farmer’s market veggie patch, kiddie lemonade stand on the sidewalk, and demand paperwork and records relating to food production under penalty of fine or imprisonment, even seizure of goods and property without warrants in violation of the Fourth Amendment. That the term ‘food establishment’ could even conceivably mean your own kitchen or back yard garden, thus if you don’t adhere to strict government standards (strict only in enforcement, not in the vagueness of the language defining said standards), you risk being fined or imprisoned for that really dreadful home grown carrot and coriander soup you served up to the Church fundraising potluck last weekend.
Not everyone, however, is in lockstep with this ‘first they came for the Jews’ line of emotive reasoning, including a few organic farmers themselves. But there are definitely a whole lot of things wrong with this bill, and it quite rightly should be kicked back to its designers immediately for a thorough rewrite, free of any involvement or influence by Monsanto or those married to its employees.
But beyond the accusations that Monsanto is manoeuvring to impose ‘standardized’ agricultural practices that would allow Monsanto and other GM agribusinesses to control and regulate seeds, pesticides and fertilizer that would, in effect, prohibit organic farming and open the way for unregulated GM food production, there is an underlying question:
Why are we so afraid of genetic modification? We on the left all cheered wildly when Obama lifted the Bush ban on embryonic stem cell research, and genetic modification in medicine has already offered thousands of patients genuine hope for treatment and cures for a variety of deadly illnesses. So just what is it about the science of genetically modified food that makes us so wary? Why is one ‘good science’ and the other ‘bad science’?
It isn’t as if humans haven’t been practicing genetic modification for centuries – farm animals themselves are largely the most obvious result of ‘natural’ selection for certain traits. A domestic pig bears as much resemblance to the wild boar it descended from as a Chihuahua resembles a wolf.
This kind of crap annoys me beyond WORDS! Especially repeating the vile canard, repeated as if it were true, that humans have been conducting genetic modification' ever since we started to domesticate stuff? You can breed dogs with other dogs from now until the end of civilization, and you won't produce one with a tomato-gene in it for ALL your efforts. And you cannot breed dogs with sheep, or sheep with mice, or mice with elephants. Nature erected those barriers because they were needed. Dogs and wolves do interbreed (there is still about 99.995% dan match.), as do domestic pigs and wild boars when they had the opportunity. Horses and donkeys inter-breed, but nature made the off-spring sterile.
I replied, tersely, because it is such an overwhelmingly BAD idea:
Pollens from different corn stocks can intermingle, and produce mutant varieties, which is the way evolution works: But you can plant fish in the roots of corn-stalks for 100 generations and you will NEVER find a corn kernel that possesses a fish-gene, never ever everever....
Frankenfood is a bad idea.
Mon, 03/23/2009 - 05:39 — woody
How anxious are you to see the financial stock market melt-down move into the planet's food supply? What makes anyone confident that the people who are shilling for this aren't just the agricultural equivalent of Bernie Madoff?
I am morally certain that there is not a single altruistic blood-cell anywhere in the consolidated hearts of the food industry execs. They claim it, when they extol the 'world-wide benefits' of frankenseed to combat 'hunger.' But it's just a sham and a ploy to control, and profit enormously, monoipolistically on the food supply of the world...
Diversity is a biological and evolutionary necessity.
Unless people believe that evolution has stopped and, having achieved the peak of perfection, humans now have the knowledge, wisdom, foresight, restraint, and sense to MANAGE it?
Leaving me with at least one BIG question: Who does "nonnyMouse" work for?
Leave the fucking food chain alone, Monsanto, ADM, ConAgra...