Open Letter to All Senators on US Senate Agricultural, Nutrition and Forestry Committee
OUR POSITION IN MORE DETAIL: In a public statement last year, Senator Stabenow committed herself to “a national system of required disclosure that would ensure consumers get the information they want about their food, while also solving the problem of a 50-state patchwork of regulations.” However, this is what has occurred:
- Voluntary Labeling Law Proposed – In the absence of bipartisan compromise, Senator Roberts has put forth a proposed voluntary labeling law to override Vermont’s law – and despite most polled consumers (88-90%) wanting required labeling disclosures.
- Solving 50-State Patchwork – We’ve offered the Committee a legal opinion by a reputable DC law firm that states these multi-state laws are not a patchwork. See link to that legal opinion in the infographic posted below. There is a link to why labeling will not be expensive. Even if it were a real patchwork, the solution is elementary – one national law, of as much force as that of Vermont, to require labeling.
- GMOs Are Not Provenly Safe/No Consensus - The recent testimony of William Jordan, Michael Gregoire and Susan Mayne about the safety of GMO crops is not the full comprehensive story. We have been following that biotech industry for over 15 years (myself putting out a book in the year 2000 50 Harmful Effects of GMOs), with Jeffrey Smith’s books also listing 60 plus hazards in Genetic Roulette and Seeds of Deception….plus with Steven Drucker unveiling yet more in Altered Genes, Twisted Truth. Farmers are offered short-term productivity benefits without acknowledging long-term risks. If I were a Senate legislator, I would be upset by the industry’s attempt to craft these misrepresentations. For example, there is not even a single extant human GMO safety study anywhere though some human studies point in the direction of harms. The FDA, EPA and Legislators do not conduct independent studies to protect the public. They accept what is given by the industry, crafting pro-industry supportive positions, though the studies offered generally are done in secrecy, not disclosing unsafe results. In principle, we are take in by an outdated (not advanced) 17th century mechanistic worldview, in marriage with commercial interests, that drive that mechanical view into the heart chambers of life. I would not give a such altered foods to my children. See Longest-Running GMO Safety Study Finds Tumors in Rats
- Unspoken Economic/Political Dangers - Monsanto continues to work towards a merger with Syngenta, which would give it control of 45% or more of the world’s entire seed stock. The Dow-DuPont merger gave it control of 25% of the commercial seed market. Back in the 1980’s, over 7000 companies dominated the seed industry, and no one company owned more than 1%. The biotech industry now owns 63% of the total global seed market and about 75% of the commercial seed market. If more pending Codex Alimentarius provisions are passed in different countries, the industry will collectively own closer to a 100% in the foreseeable future – representing a VERY serious political and economic threat to all of agriculture and all of humanity. The Senate must oppose such unprecedented aggrandizing of power.
- Monopoly Prices and Food Diversity Control in the Offing – If biotech firms continue on their present path, they will eventually have the power to charge whatever prices they want to gouge the farmers. Biotech giants will continue to also destroy seed biodiversity as they have done significantly for the past two decades (a rough estimate is 25% of biodiversity has already been destroyed). We will then have less, not more protection against droughts, pestilences, etc. to help farmers in the long run. Genetic pollution will additional grow to threaten much of organic farming.
- Wave of Political Revolt – There is a refreshing revolt underway by the electorate, voting for presidential candidates who represent not the corporate establishment but the great American public. The same tidal wave is inevitably hit Congress in upcoming elections. While in the past nearly half the committee members have accepted contributions from Monsanto, and more from the biotech industry in general, they should rethink how the public will view this. It is important for representatives to maintain a sacred mandate to be for the will of the people, and not for the will of corporate power structures. Voting for the biotech industry will antagonize tens of millions of voters.
- Conclusion – We ask the Committee not to overturn or undermine Vermont’s labeling law (and that of Maine and Connecticut also passed) and the other laws which have been proposed in over 30 US states – being a reflection of the crystal clear mandate of the American people. Consumers are prepared to start powerful national boycotts if the Senate tries to counter our democratic will. More than labeling, these boycotts will hurt those using and making GMOs. In our free nation, farmers’ and consumers’ rights will prevail. Senators voting against such democratic rights will stand on the wrong side of history.
Nathan Batalion PhD
Founder Food and Water, Inc.
See Infographic’s Web-links below:
- No Effect on Consumer Prices: http://www.justlabelit.org/about-ge-foods-center/ge-labeling-and-food-prices/
- 93% of Consumers Want Mandatory Labels: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=97567
- Emford and Associates Legal Analysis & Opinion: https://www.organicconsumers.org/sites/default/files/downloads/2015-8-7_-_legal_analysis_of_h_r_1599.pdf
- Longest Running GMO Feeding Study: http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/nutrition/gmo-safety-zmgz13amzsto.asp