'An example of Monsanto's lack of interest in the environment and our health is the herbicide "Butachlor," it poses acute and chronic health risks and can contaminate water supplies.
'Monsanto manufactures Butachlor in Iowa, however the herbicide is not registered in the United States, and the EPA rejected it due to environmental toxicological concerns. However Monsanto sells it to dozens of countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, where it is used primarily on the paddy rice which constitutes almost all of the U.S. rice imports. This shows the real concern that the biotech industry has for your health and the environment.' (item 2)
1.Vermont: House Passes Labeling Bill for GM Seeds
2.GMOs have contaminated Vermont
1.Vermont: House Passes Labeling Bill for GM Seeds
To: [email protected]
Subject: VT: House Passes Labeling Bill for GE Seeds--Measure is 1st in USA to define and label 'genetically engineered' seeds
From: doyle canning [email protected]
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2004 16:20:29 -0400
GE Free VT Media Release: Thursday April 8, 2004 4:00 PM EST
Contact: Amy Shollenberger, Rural Vermont 802.793.1114
Doyle Canning, GE Free VT 802.999.7502
Vermont House of Representatives Votes Yes 125-10 on Labeling of Genetically Engineered Seeds.
Farmers Right-to-Know Act is first of its kind in US:
Makes manufacturers label GE seeds; Bucks industry claim that GE is 'same as conventional.'
Montpelier, VTThe Vermont House of Representatives voice-voted on final passage to endorse the Farmers Right-to-Know Seed Labeling Bill (H-777) today, an act defining genetically engineered seeds as different from conventional seeds in the state of Vermont seed statute, and mandating the labeling of all genetically engineered seeds sold in the state. The bill goes back to the Senate next week for confirmation of final changes, before going to Governor Douglas for final approval and enactment. Todays overwhelming yes vote comes as the Vermont Senate has unanimously approved the Farmer Protection Act in March, and 79 Vermont towns have passed Town Meeting measures calling on lawmakers in Montpelier and Washington enact a moratorium on genetically engineered crops.
Representative Floyd Nease (D-Johnson) reported out the bill, explaining that this act is intended to "avoid potential adverse affects on biological diversity from use of GE seeds." Nease noted that the bill prescribes labeling of GE seeds by the manufacturer, which can either print or attatch a tag reading "GE" on the seed packets.
Responsibility for this labeling rests with seed manufacturers, not Vermont retailers, unless retailers package and market their own GE seeds. Section four of the bill also requires seed manufacturers to report on GE seed sales to the Agency of Agriculture in addition to general seed sales reporting.
"This bill is a step in the right direction. It gives consumers, both farmers and gardeners, the option of choices. I hope we will also, some day, get to vote to protect all of our farms from the economic consequences that may result from the contamination of seeds," said Representative David Zuckerman (P-Burlington), referring to the Farmer Protection Act, a bill awaiting action in the House Natural Resources Committee, on which he sits.
"The key piece of the Farmers Right to Know Act defines genetically engineered seeds and plants as different from conventional varieties. This bucks the industry's claim that GE is the same as conventional, and therefore doesnt require any additional regulation. This bill is the first of its kind in the US, and destabilizes the whole premise of 'substantial equivalence,' which informs GMO policy at every level," said Amy Shollenberger, Policy Director at Rural Vermont.
"Lets not forget that, while this seed labeling bill is important, we're talking about seeds that are still patented GMOs with a life of their ownand that's a whole can of worms of liability, contamination, and living pollution. That's why we've got to support our family producers with the Farmer Protection Act, and call a Time Out on GMOs," said Dexter Randall, a 7th generation dairy farmer from Troy.
Randall will be speaking on April 17th at the International Day of Farmers Struggles rally at Derby Line, Vermont on the US/Canada border to represent the global movement of farmers saying no to GMOs and the corporate takeover of agriculture.
The GE Free Vermont Campaign on Genetic Engineering is a statewide coalition of public interest groups, businesses, concerned citizens and farmers, who are organizing to oppose genetic engineering at the local, state and national level, and calling for a "Time Out" on GMOs.
For more information: www.gefreevt.org
Time Out on GMOs!
2.GMOs have contaminated Vermont
By RICK LEVEY
The Rutland Herald, Apr. 10, 2004
It is a complete failure of our regulatory agencies (the EPA, FDA and USDA) that genetically modified foods and seeds have already been released into the environment and that there are over 30,000 items on the shelves at grocery stores that contain genetically modified organisms and none of them have been labeled, and none of them have been adequately tested for our health and safety.
In 1992 the Food and Drug Administration made a horrible mistake, when without any research they made the policy statement that would forever change the food supply. The FDA determined that genetically engineered foods were "substantially similar" to conventional crops, and thus were not required to be labeled or undergo special testing before they entered the marketplace.
A genetically engineered potato is not the same as a conventional potato.
Genetically engineered canola, soy, corn or any other food that has its DNA altered is not the same. Genetically engineered potatoes caused rats to suffer substantial health effects, including weakened immune systems and changes in their hearts, livers and brains.
Contamination from genetically engineered crops is very real and inevitable, contamination has already occurred in Vermont. Co-existence is not an option, not without rigorous field testing. Over 1,000 canola farmers in Western Canada have lost their right to grow organic canola. Contamination from Biotech's (Monsanto's) Roundup Ready canola has put them out of business.
The genetically engineered corn with Bacillus thuringiensis pesticide in every cell of the plant is also causing significant environmental damage. The Bt toxins exude from the corns' roots contaminating the soils, killing sensitive soil-inhabiting insects, and placing the soil ecosystem at risk. Bt toxins in pollen also cause significant impacts to non-target insect larvae like the monarch butterfly. The biotech industry plans on increasing the Bt pesticide concentration 100 to 1000 fold, as pests become resistant to the toxin.
Studies have shown that genetically engineered crops can cross pollinate with related weeds, which will result in "super weeds" that become very difficult to control. The Bt gene will also be consumed by animals and humans; this will be the first time our bodies and animals have been exposed to this bacterium toxin. It is in every cell of the genetically engineered plant. No health tests have been performed.
Genetically engineered foods can also make disease bacteria more resistant to antibiotics, and may disrupt our digestion, immune response and other important functions. Almost all genetically modified organisms contain antibiotic genes that are used for markers.
The Food and Drug Administration have provided a free ride to the biotech industry, with their novel policy that genetically modified organisms were essentially the same. They are not the same. The biotech industry claims that genetically engineered crops will lead to a reduction in pesticide use are false.
Recent USDA data shows genetically engineered crops yield 50-million pound increase in pesticide use over conventional crops. One study of more than 8,200 university-based field trials showed farmers who planted genetically engineered Roundup Ready soy, which is herbicide resistant, used two to five times more herbicide than non-GMO farmers. Furthermore, the farmer can now spray the genetically engineered cash crop directly without harming it, increasing the exposure of pesticides to the applicators, consumers, livestock, our water supply.
The only one benefiting from genetically engineered crops is the biotech industry; there is no gain in nutrition, flavor or any other consumer benefit, only health risk and environmental damage. Nearly all genetically modified crops have been engineered to withstand more pesticides or produce its own. The biotech industry reaps additional financial gain from the farmer that uses genetically engineered seeds by "legally" forcing the farmer to purchase only their brand of pesticides.
The biotech industry is not out to improve our health or the environment's health.
Monsanto is one of the largest biotech corporations; they are responsible for more than 93 superfund sites in the United States. An example of Monsanto's lack of interest in the environment and our health is the herbicide "Butachlor," it poses acute and chronic health risks and can contaminate water supplies.
Monsanto manufactures Butachlor in Iowa, however the herbicide is not registered in the United States, and the EPA rejected it due to environmental toxicological concerns. However Monsanto sells it to dozens of countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, where it is used primarily on the paddy rice which constitutes almost all of the U.S. rice imports. This shows the real concern that the biotech industry has for your health and the environments.
Help take Vermont back from the biotech corporations. Strongly urge your representatives to support legislation requiring genetically engineered foods and seeds to be labeled, demand a moratorium on genetically modified organisms in Vermont. Let's try to regain our rights as consumers and citizens of Vermont.
Rick Levey is an environmental scientist who lives in North Fayston.
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