Slipped into the Agricultural Appropriations Bill, which passed through Congress last week, was a small provision that’s a big deal for Monsanto and its opponents.
The provision protects genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks and has thus been dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act” by activists who oppose the biotech giant.
President Barack Obama signed the spending bill, including the provision, into law on Tuesday
Since the act’s passing, more than 250,000 people have signed a petition opposing the provision and a rally, consisting largely of farmers organized by the Food Democracy Now network, protested outside the White House Wednesday.
Not only has anger been directed at the Monsanto Protection Act’s content, but the way in which the provision was passed through Congress without appropriate review by the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees. The biotech rider instead was introduced anonymously as the larger bill progressed — little wonder food activists are accusing lobbyists and Congress members of backroom dealings.
The Food Democracy Now and the Center for Food are directing blame at the Senate Appropriations Committee and its chairman, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. According to reports, many members of Congress were apparently unaware that the “Monsanto Protection Act” even existed within the spending bill, HR 933; they voted in order to avert a government shutdown.
“It sets a terrible precedent,” noted the International Business Times. “Though it will only remain in effect for six months until the government finds another way to fund its operations, the message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right.”
Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
My thoughts are that we have ourselves to blame and to thy own self be true. We should have known...by now especially, we should have expected that something BAD was afoot and going to pass while the media was wall-to-wall coverage on a social policy dispute which has a history of several Presidents. Damn... Sneaky on that one. Didn't even get much more than passing mention earlier on ..and now? Well, forgiveness rather than permission, right?
Or... We gotta pass it before you see what your screwed with....as it's sure coming to be more often, huh?
Thank you for contacting me regarding the production and distribution of genetically modified (GM) foods. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this matter.
The United States enjoys the safest and most plentiful food supply in the world. Key to our successes are production and safety processes rooted in sound scientific practices. Among these practices, biotechnology has the potential to help keep U.S. agriculture at the world's forefront.
As you know, food containing GM plant varieties is now commonplace. The Congressional Research Service estimates that nearly 70 percent of the U.S. food supply contains some form of GM crop variety—most notably corn and soy-based ingredients used in many processed foods. However, only one GM food product derived from animals has been approved to date. GM food products are subject to all U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food safety and ingredient labeling standards.
Multiple federal agencies play a role in the development, production, and marketing stages of the entire U.S. food supply—whether traditional or GM foods. Before planting, the USDA must review and approve all GM crop varieties—subject to further examination by the Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, any plant or animal product intended for human consumption must then undergo strict scrutiny for food safety by the USDA and the FDA.
Another topic of interest is food from animal clones. Following an extensive study of meat and dairy products derived from cloned animals, the FDA concluded that these products are as safe as meat and dairy products derived from naturally-born animals. However, the USDA has determined that cloned animals will not qualify for the USDA Organic marketing label, even if the animal is raised on an organic diet.
I appreciate having the opportunity to represent Texas in the United States Senate, and you may be certain that I will work to ensure that decisions concerning the development, production, and marketing of our food supply continue to be rooted in sound and safe scientific practice. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
United States Senator
The Act doesn't grant that immunity. It tells the Sec. of Ag. to grant a limited, temporary, approval to allow the farmer to continue using whatever it is that is contested, only after it had originally been determined that there was no need to regulate it. It also requires the Sec. of Ag. to restudy the problem, and quickly, because the approval is only for as long as necessary to conduct the restudy.
Why on Earth, would you require immunity from litigation, if there is no health risks or environmental risks from the product you provide?