The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a biotechnology hearing for the first time in 10 years last week to discuss the future of food technology as the industry responds to increased demand, production challenges, and consumers’ calls for a safe and transparent food supply. But the meeting came up short on transparency and carried on more like a Monsanto share-holders meeting than an unbiased inquiry into the pros and cons of biotechnology where it concerns the food supply.
Senator after senator praised biotechnology and genetically modified foods, claiming they had ‘come a long way’ in ten years. Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association said:
“The Senate Agriculture hearing reaffirmed the broad consensus among scientists and regulators that GMOs are safe and highlighted the real world negative impacts a patchwork of state labeling mandates will have on farmers, businesses and consumers. Action by Congress is urgently needed this year to pass a national, uniform labeling standard.”
The senate hearing was scheduled shortly after the US House of Representatives passed the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,” otherwise known as the DARK Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know) by a vote of 275-150.
Bailey’s comments seem to be made about inhabitants from another planet since there certainly is no ‘consensus’ about the safety of GMOs. In fact, the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSERR), a group of scientists, physicians, and experts from a variety of different fields, including biotechnology, completely reject the claim that there is any consensus on GM food safety.
“Regarding the safety of GM crops and foods for human and animal health, a comprehensive review of animal feeding studies of GM crops found “An equilibrium in the number [of] research groups suggesting, on the basis of their studies, that a number of varieties of GM products (mainly maize and soybeans) are as safe and nutritious as the respective conventional non-GM plant, and those raising still serious concerns”. The review also found that most studies concluding that GM foods were as safe and nutritious as those obtained by conventional breeding were “performed by biotechnology companies or associates, which are also responsible [for] commercializing these GM plants.”
There is also a huge lack of credible scientific studies in which GM feed is given to one group of animals and non-GM feed is given to another, comparing results. If the industry really wanted to prove GM safety, it could perform these tests (for more than a shortened period) and report the real results. This almost never happens. In fact, there are at least 40 rodent-feeding studies showing the hazards of GMOs.
Moreover, many credible scientists like United Nations doctor, Judy Carman, has outlined 5 key dangers of eating GM foods, but of course these were completely ignored at the recent Senate Ag Committee meeting. These are:
- 1. GMOs are not ‘substantially equivalent to’ non-GM foods.
- 2. GMO safety testing is rarely done in a way that is conclusive within the industry.
- 3. Eating GM crops cause numerous Americans, as well as others around the world, serious digestive ailments as they alter gut flora.
- 4. ‘Feeding studies’ are not required by Biotech nor the government agencies that allow new GM crops to be patented and unleashed on the public at large.
- 5. Biotech funds almost all of its own studies, so there is no ‘transparency’ as was touted over and over again at the Senate Committee meeting.
Instead of discussing these concerns, for more than three hours, both Senate Republicans and Democrats repeatedly praised GMOs, regurgitating Monsanto talking points, including the often-used propaganda speaking notes like the myth of “feeding the world.”
They also regurgitated the same old line that GMOs were perfectly “safe,” while intentionally ignoring the growing number of independent studies that point to real and potential harm from genetically engineered foods.
Who’s working for the US public? Not a soul in the Senate or House of Representatives. Any who have vocally spoken out against the industry get railroaded by their highly-paid lobbyists sitting in government office.
As Natural Society previously reported, here is an extensive list of who’s been paid off by Monsanto:
House of Representatives:
- Total paid by Monsanto to Democrats: $72,000
- Total paid by Monsanto to Republicans: $190,500
- Barrow, John (D-GA) $2,500
- Bishop, Sanford (D-GA) $5,000
- Boehner, John (R-OH) $10,000
- Braley, Bruce (D-IA) $5,000
- Camp, Dave (R-MI) $5,000
- Cantor, Eric (R-VA) $10,000
- Clay, William L Jr (D-MO)$10,000
- Cleaver, Emanuel (D-MO) $5,000
- Conaway, Mike (R-TX) $2,000
- Courtney, Joe (D-CT) $4,500
- Crawford, Rick (R-AR) $2,500
- Fincher, Steve (R-TN) $8,000
- Gardner, Cory (R-CO) $7,500
- Goodlatte, Bob (R-VA) $4,500
- Graves, Sam (R-MO) $5,000
- Griffin, Tim (R-AR) $1,000
- Guthrie, Brett (R-KY) $1,000
- Hanabusa, Colleen (D-HI)$5,000
- Hannemann, Mufi (D-HI) $1,000
- Hartzler, Vicky (R-MO) $3,000
- Holden, Tim (D-PA) $1,000
- Huelskamp, Tim (R-KS) $2,500
- Hultgren, Randy (R-IL) $2,500
- Jenkins, Lynn (R-KS) $2,500
- Johnson, Timothy (R-IL) $3,000
- King, Steven A (R-IA) $2,500
- Kingston, Jack (R-GA) $7,000
- Kinzinger, Adam (R-IL) $3,500
- Kissell, Larry (D-NC) $5,000
- Labrador, Raul (R-ID) $2,000
- LaMalfa, Doug (R-CA) $1,000
- Landry, Jeff (R-LA) $1,000
- Latham, Tom (R-IA) $10,000
- Loebsack, David (D-IA) $5,000
- Long, Billy (R-MO) $2,500
- Lucas, Frank D (R-OK) $10,000
- Luetkemeyer, Blaine (R-MO)$5,000
- Lungren, Dan (R-CA) $1,000
- McIntyre, Mike (D-NC) $1,000
- Neugebauer, Randy (R-TX)$1,000
- Noem, Kristi (R-SD) $1,000
- Nunes, Devin (R-CA) $3,500
- Owens, Bill (D-NY) $2,000
- Peterson, Collin (D-MN) $10,000
- Rogers, Hal (R-KY) $7,500
- Rokita, Todd (R-IN) $5,000
- Roskam, Peter (R-IL) $1,000
- Schilling, Bobby (R-IL) $3,000
- Schock, Aaron (R-IL) $5,000
- Shimkus, John M (R-IL) $5,000
- Simpson, Mike (R-ID) $10,000
- Smith, Adrian (R-NE) $5,000
- Stutzman, Marlin (R-IN) $5,000
- Thompson, Bennie G (D-MS)$10,000
- Thompson, Glenn (R-PA) $1,000
- Upton, Fred (R-MI) $5,000
- Valadao, David (R-CA) $2,500
- Wagner, Ann L (R-MO) $10,000
- Walden, Greg (R-OR) $1,000
- Walorski, Jackie (R-IN) $2,500
- Womack, Steve (R-AR) $1,000
- Total paid by Monsanto to Democrats: $37,500
- Total paid by Monsanto to Republicans: $85,000
- Akin, Todd (R-MO) $3,500
- Baucus, Max (D-MT) $1,000
- Berg, Rick (R-ND) $10,000
- Blunt, Roy (R-MO) $10,000
- Boozman, John (R-AR) $5,000
- Casey, Bob (D-PA) $2,500
- Chambliss, Saxby (R-GA) $5,000
- Fischer, Deb (R-NE) $5,000
- Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY)$1,000
- Grassley, Chuck (R-IA) $2,000
- Hirono, Mazie K (D-HI) $1,000
- Johanns, Mike (R-NE) $1,000
- Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN) $5,000
- Landrieu, Mary L (D-LA) $1,000
- McCaskill, Claire (D-MO)$5,000
- McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) $10,000
- Moran, Jerry (R-KS) $2,500
- Nelson, Ben (D-NE) $13,000
- Rehberg, Denny (R-MT) $2,000
- Risch, James E (R-ID) $3,500
- Roberts, Pat (R-KS) $9,000
- Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI) $8,000
- Thompson, Tommy G (R-WI)$5,000
- Wicker, Roger (R-MS) $1,000
- Wilson, Heather A (R-NM)$2,500
They’ve had a whole decade to come clean about GMOs, to tell the world, like Russia, Poland, Germany, (19 EU countries and counting) and others who have refused to feed their citizens GMOs, that GMOs are not truly the answer. Yet here we are playing the same old Monsanto charades.
Time for a mass firing? These Senators took an Oath of Office that included “defending the constitution.” I believe that includes the right to eat food that doesn’t kill you, or at least be informed so that you can choose to eschew it. The only oath that is being upheld here is one to Monsanto and the Big 6 companies who have ruined our food supply.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.