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Michelle Obama's decision to make her new White House vegetable garden entirely organic has angered America's powerful agribusiness lobby who are urging the First Lady to consider the use of appropriate "crop protection products".
Mrs Obama started work on the kitchen garden with a gang of schoolchildren last month. Media coverage of the first White House food plot since Eleanor Roosevelt "dug for victory" in the Second World War garnered media coverage across the world.
Shortly after the digging began, Mrs Obama received a letter from the Mid-America CropLife Association (MACA), which represents the companies producing the pesticides and fertilisers underpinning "conventional" American agriculture, the paper said.
Addressed to "Mrs Barack Obama", the letter congratulated the First Lady on "recognising the importance of agriculture in America". Farming is America's largest industry, generating 20 per cent of GDP and directly or indirectly employing 22 million people.
The letter avoiding the term "organic", highlights the role of technological advances - technologies that can see a single acre produce almost 20 tonnes of strawberries of 110,000 heads of lettuce in a season - in modern agriculture.
"Today, an average farmer produces enough food to feed 144 Americans who are living longer lives than many of their ancestors. Technology in agriculture has allowed for the development of much of what we know and use in our lives today," MACA wrote.
"If Americans were still required to farm to support their family's basic food and fibre needs, would the US have been leaders in the advancement of science, communication, education, medicine, transportation and the arts?
"We live in a very different world than that of our grandparents. Americans are juggling jobs with the needs of children and ageing parents. The time needed to tend a garden is not there for the majority of our citizens, certainly not a garden of sufficient productivity to supply much of a family's year-round food needs."
The carefully-worded letter also "respectfully" encourages Mrs Obama to recognise the role played by conventional agriculture in feeding America's growing population.
But MACA, which represents agribusinesses like Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and DuPont Crop Protection, is rather less thrilled about the fact that no chemicals will be used to grow the crops. The group is worried that the decision may give consumers the wrong impression about conventionally grown food.
"Even at Monsanto, many in-the-know employees won't consume the company's own GM creations."
By Jeffrey Smith > April 1, 2009
If President Obama's new Food Safety Working Group dedicates all their time and credentials to prevent future food recalls, they will have saved thousands of people--but forsaken millions.
Over the last decade, our radically changing diet has ushered in the explosive growth of food-related ailments, such as allergies, asthma, obesity, diabetes, autism, infertility, gastro-intestinal disorders, and learning disabilities. Of all the changes in our food, the most dangerous transformation was the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops.
When these gene-spliced concoctions, such as GM soy, corn, canola, and cottonseed, came on the scene in 1996, the proportion of Americans suffering from three or more chronic ailments. After just 9 years, that nearly doubled to 13%. GM foods are the prime suspect. > > Government policy at odds with science
Until now, the government has sidestepped the controversy by hiding behind FDA policy, which asserts that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are "substantially equivalent" to natural foods and therefore don't require any safety studies. But as Obama acknowledged, "many of the laws and regulations governing food safety in America" are outdated.
In truth, the FDA's GMO policy was not even up-to-date when it was implemented in May 1992. FDA documents made public from a lawsuit revealed that virtually all the agency scientists asked to comment voiced strong warnings that GMOs may cause serious health problems. But the FDA was under orders from the White House to fast track GM foods, and the person in charge of FDA policy was the former attorney of biotech giant Monsanto--and later become their vice president. The scientists and the science were ignored.
Now that animals fed GMOs--in labs and farms around the world--have exhibited symptoms related to the growing list of diseases in the US population, the President's Food Safety team, including Dr. Margaret Hamburg as FDA Commissioner, must update GMO regulation. A scientifically sound regulation would translate into an immediate ban of current GM crops, and the implementation of rigorous safety testing requirements before any GMO was put back into the food supply. And certainly mandatory labeling, as promised by President Obama during his campaign, must accompany any GM food approval.
Presidents and industry insiders avoid GMOs . The Obama family has wisely opted out of exposing themselves to GM foods by requiring organic--and therefore non-GMO--foods served at the White House. They are even planting an organic garden on the south lawn of the White House, to feature 55 types of vegetables. > > The Bush family also had an organic kitchen policy. Laura Bush was "adamant" about it, but kept it all quiet. > > Even at Monsanto, many in-the-know employees won't consume the company's own GM creations.
Back in 1999, the management of the cafeteria at Monsanto's UK headquarters in High Wycombe, England wrote: > > "In response to concern raised by our customers . . . we have decided to remove, as far as possible, genetically modified soy and maize (corn) from all food products served in our restaurant. . . . We have taken the above steps to ensure that you, the customer, can feel confident in the food we serve." And one former Monsanto scientist told me that his colleagues, who were safety testing milk from cows injected with the company's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, decided to stop drinking milk--unless it was organic.
It's now time to let us all opt out of this dangerous and failed GM experiment. If Obama's team is serious about food safety and public health, they must take GMOs off our plates and put them back into the laboratory.
© 2008 Jeffrey Smith - All Rights Reserved > >
Americans are juggling jobs with the needs of children and ageing parents. The time needed to tend a garden is not there for the majority of our citizens, certainly not a garden of sufficient productivity to supply much of a family's year-round food needs."
The time needed to tend a garden is not there for the majority of our citizens, certainly not a garden of sufficient productivity to supply much of a family's year-round food needs.
Those companies need to shove it. A person chooses not to poison themselves and they write a letter asking them to? They don't care about health at all, all they see is a threat to their products.
An estimated 16,625 farmers across India killed themselves in 2007, the last year that was reported. The numbers are horrifying, and they indicate the sense of despair that the poorest people in the world are facing today....
...The current fate of farmers in India is a tangled hierarchy that involves politics, agro-business, multinationals, trade liberalization, global subsidies, the environment, water, ethics, and human rights. Activists point out the role of agrochemicals, particularly genetically engineered seeds, that have been aggressively marketed to Indian farmers by companies like Monsanto--an American multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation that also wields a powerful influence on the farming practices in America
An estimated 16,625 farmers across India killed themselves in 2007,
Originally posted by ruckus49
not all genetically modified food is bad.