Friday, September 10, 2010

Farmer Suicides in India Due to GMO's

In 1998, the World Bank's policies forced India to open up its seed sector to global corporations like Monsanto, Cargill and Syngenta. The global corporations changed the input economy overnight. Farm saved seeds were replaced by patented corporate seeds, which need more water, fertilizers, highly toxic pesticides and cannot be saved.

The Vidharba region has the highest level of farmer suicides --- 4,000 per year, or 10 per day. This is also the region with the highest acreage of Monsanto's GMO Bt cotton. Monsanto's GM seeds caused a suicide economy.

Bills HR 5577, 5578 and 5579 are in the legislative process.

Official Summary HR 5577

6/23/2010--Introduced.Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act - Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), the Federal Meat Inspection Act, and the Poultry Products Inspection Act to deem a food misbranded if it contains or was produced with a genetically engineered material unless its labeling contains statements meeting specified requirements. Requires the periodic testing of such foods transferred along a chain of distribution to assure accuracy of labels, subject to specified exceptions. Excludes, in all three Acts, food:
(1) served in restaurants; or
(2) prepared primarily in a retail establishment, ready for human consumption, but not offered for sale for immediate consumption in the establishment. Excludes, for purposes of the FDCA, a medical food as defined in the Orphan Drug Act. Subjects violators to civil monetary penalties, exempting recipients who accept a guarantee of the absence of genetically engineered material in good faith or producers whose food inadvertently becomes contaminated by genetically engineered material. Authorizes citizen suits as specified.

HR 5578
To prohibit the open-air cultivation of genetically engineered pharmaceutical and industrial crops, to prohibit the use of common human food or animal feed as the host plant for a genetically engineered pharmaceutical or industrial chemical, to establish a tracking system to regulate the growing, handling, transportation, and disposal of pharmaceutical and industrial crops and their byproducts to prevent human, animal, and general environmental exposure to genetically engineered pharmaceutical and industrial crops and their byproducts, to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the safety of genetically engineered foods, and for other purposes.

HR 5579

To provide additional protections for farmers and ranchers that may be harmed economically by genetically engineered seeds, plants, or animals, to ensure fairness for farmers and ranchers in their dealings with biotech companies that sell genetically engineered seeds, plants, or animals, to assign liability for injury caused by genetically engineered organisms, and for other purposes.

The Genetically Engineered Organism Liability Act will provide legal recourse for farmers who have been damaged economically by a genetically engineered crop or animal. Much of the controversy surrounding the recent court decision that removed a ban on genetically-modified alfalfa would have been moot with this bill. If this bill passes, then a farmer who wants to sell his organically grown alfalfa, but is unable to because his alfalfa has cross-pollinated with genetically-modified alfalfa, will be able to sue the company responsible for creating the alfalfa that has moved into the organic fields.

Similarly, a conventional farmer who wants to export alfalfa to a country that has banned GMOs (as many have) will be able to recoup any financial losses due to gene contamination.

Please contact your state representative regarding these issues -- call and tell them about your concern and demand they support these bills.

It's been a while since LNH mentioned Monsanto, but we haven't forgotten the importance and global relevance of genetically modified foods. If you think GMO's are small potatoes (no pun intended), think again. Monsanto makes the #1 selling pesticide in the world (RoundUp), and has created monster seeds -- See archived LNH blogs for stories.

The GMO problem is world-wide --- especially in developing countries.

Here's a French video (english sub-titled):


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