House Resolution 1599 passed the House on July 23.
Now it’s headed to the Senate.
It proposes many terrible things. Here are three. The bill:
Its critics aptly named it the DARK Act.
For “Deny Americans the Right to Know.”
They also call it “the Mother of all Monsanto Protection Acts.”
I’ll spare you the nonsense spewed about how this bill alleviates “consumer confusion.”
If you can stomach it, the blather from the Grocery Manufacturers Association lobbying group is here.
Instead, I’ll share two summaries of what this bill really aims to do.
First is the “micro” perspective.
This is from Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan):
H.R. 1599 is an unprecedented corporate power grab, which would not only stop the Food and Drug Administration and states from labeling GMOs but also block many state and local efforts to protect farmers and the public from threats including pesticide drift. People deserve to know what's in their food. More than 90 percent of Americans want GMO labeling, according to recent polling. Sadly -- due to a lack of news coverage about H.R. 1599 -- most Americans have been denied basic information about the debate in Congress. It's time for our nation's major news organizations to shine light on sweeping changes to our food system.
And now the “macro” view.
This is from a New York Times Op-Ed co-authored by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
He wrote The Black Swan and is a professor of risk engineering at New York University’s Polytechnic School of Engineering:
The GMO experiment, carried out in real-time and with our entire food and ecological system as its laboratory, is perhaps the greatest case of human hubris ever. It creates yet another systemic, ‘too big to fail’ enterprise -- but one for which no bailouts will be possible when it fails.
The most common reason companies rejigger genomes is to help crops resist potent herbicides.
Especially one called glyphosate. It’s the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.
Glyphosate disrupts a metabolic process called the shikimate pathway.
This pathway is absent in all animals -- that’s why its makers claim the poison can’t hurt people.
But bacteria use it -- including the trillions of beneficial microbes in your gut.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Dr. Stephanie Seneff says suppressing those good bugs lets pathogens proliferate.
That ramps up inflammation and a host of chronic diseases.
Sure enough, inflammation-based diseases have ramped up steadily since the introduction of GMO crops in the mid-’90s.
Overuse of glyphosate has also spawned virtually unkillable “superweeds.”
In short, GMOs are disrupting both personal and planetary ecologies.
And the public knows this, or at least suspects it.
It’s a rare issue that garners north of 90 percent public support -- but that’s how we feel about GMO labeling.
So this move to ban states from passing GMO labeling laws is a prime example of the fact that money, rather than what the American people actually want, holds sway in Congress.
Two actions are required:
ONE: Urge your senator to vote no on H.R. 1599. Everything you need to do so is here.
TWO: Remember the name of every congressman who voted for this abomination. You’ll find them here. Work hard to turn them out at the earliest opportunity.
And in the meantime, here are my four rules for avoiding GMO foods:
ONE: Buy organic foods or grow your own. The USDA and other organic-certification organizations will not approve products as “organic” if they contain GMO ingredients. In your own garden, use only certified organic and/or heirloom-variety seeds.
TWO: When in doubt, check with the “Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide”. They even have a helpful app, so you can check items while at the grocery store. Click here to learn more.
THREE: Don’t buy corn, soy, canola, or cottonseed, or the oils and other products derived from them, as these are the foods most likely to be GM. The only possible exception is corn on the cob from a farmer’s market or your own garden. Be aware that deep-fried foods offer a double whammy to your health -- highly oxidized seed oil from the fryer is a cardiovascular risk on its own; the fact that the oil is almost certainly from GM soy just compounds the risk.
FOUR: Avoid fast food and low-end restaurants in general. Make eating out a treat reserved for special occasions, and gravitate toward quality establishments that take ingredient quality seriously.
FIVE: Steer clear of packaged and processed foods. By one estimate, GM ingredients are in about 80 percent of all packaged foods in the U.S. and Canada
And for your next vacation, head to one of the 64 civilized countries around the world -- list here -- that require GMO labeling.
Remember -- it’s appropriate to be very angry about this.
This “greatest case of human hubris ever” must end.
Join me in doing all you can to restore sanity to our food system.
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