Monday, November 15, 2010

U.S. Senate Wants To Stick It Down Your Throat

As the lame duck U.S. Senate is scheduled to debate the S 510 food bill this week, so does it prepare to aid and abet its big agri-business sponsors in shoving more sub-lethal poisons down the throats of every man, woman and child in America (not to mention our four-legged friends).

While the bill may reduce to some extent the occasional incidents of headline-grabbing illnesses and deaths resulting from E-coli and salmonella outbreaks originating primarily from industrial food facilities, the more subtle, slow acting poisons such as can be found in genetically modified organisms, bovine growth hormones, herbicides and pesticides will become more widespread and much more difficult for the discerning and cautious consumer to avoid. These sub-lethal poisons are of the sort that you can't identify with any particular meal; rather, as they accumulate, they result in, say, the chance occasion of horizontal gene transfer from Monsanto's Bt corn to your intestinal flora, leading to episodes of putrid burp syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome, with such intestinal stresses eventually culminating in colon cancer. Or these slow poisons will gradually compromise your immune system, making you more and more susceptible to viruses, and rendering you a little more vulnerable to the grim reaper a little sooner than you would have been under historical alimentary conditions.

Indeed, this bill may be said to institute Death Panels on the cellular level.*

How is this achieved? It is achieved in the same way that any industry comes to be dominated by its largest corporations - by co-opting large government bureaucracies to set up regulatory standards which it has little trouble meeting (or the violations of which are fiscally manageable) while smaller companies must devote proportionately larger shares of resources to dealing with paperwork and inspectors (of agencies like the FDA which tend to avoid prosecutions of large corporations armed with formidable legal departments). The smaller the business is, the larger the fraction of its budget that must be devoted to satisfying regulatory regimes. The result in the case of the food bill then will be less small, locally owned, organic producers of high quality, unprocessed, non-GMO, fresh, delicious and highly nutritious food, and more factory-farmed, industrial-processed, irradiated and additive-laden GMO "food".

While many are promoting the Tester Amendment to the bill as way to exempt small farms and local food products, the amendment may be a fake out, its words trumped by a sovereignty-eviscerating passage in the main body of the bill:


Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the United States is a party.

For more on all this...

Yupfarming: Leaked trade agreements and hidden things inside S 510: Corporations plan to end normal farming

Food Freedom: S 510 is hissing in the grass

FarmWars: Food ‘Safety’ Bills Harmonize Agribusiness Practices in Service of Corporate Global Governance


* A sweeping inference, one might say; but see Unintended Horizontal Transfer of Recombinant DNA, by Kaare M Nielsen and Daniele Daffonchio.

And consider the claim, albeit anecdotal, in Jeffrey Smith's article, Doctors Warn: Avoid Genetically Modified Food...

When evidence of gene transfer is reported at medical conferences around the US, doctors often respond by citing the huge increase of gastrointestinal problems among their patients over the last decade. GM foods might be colonizing the gut flora of North Americans.

Finally, in Science News: Colorectal cancer risk linked to stomach bacterium, inflammation, we read...

Many common cancers arise in cells that line the insides of organs, such the lung and colon, [William Nelson, a medical oncologist at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, in Baltimore,] said. “This is the barrier from the outside world, and these areas carry huge amounts of bacterial flora. So these are sites in which the immune inflammatory response is going to try to control that flora — and there is always going to be collateral damage.” If that damage includes changes to the cells’ genes and disturbs their growth cycle, such cells can turn malignant, he said.

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