Thursday, July 24, 2008

Help protect farmers from Monsanto harassment

AB 541 is close to becoming California's first state law protecting farmers from the hazards of genetically engineered crops. Having already passed the Assembly, it has since cleared the Senate Agriculture and Judiciary committees and will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 4th and then the full Senate. It has the support of Community Alliance with Family Farmers, the California Farmers Union, California Certified Organic Farmers, the California Farm Bureau, and many food safety and environmental organizations.

AB 541:

- Establishes the right of farmers and landowners to compensation for economic losses due to genetic contamination of their crops
- Protects farmers from being sued by a GE manufacturer if their crop is contaminated by that company's GE product.
- Establishes a county-level GE crop notification process so that farmers can trace contamination to the GE manufacturer.
- Protects the food supply by prohibiting the open-field cultivation of genetically engineered food crops used to produce drugs and biologics such as hormones and antibiotics.

AB 541 will enact protections for California farmers against frivolous lawsuits that intimidate and harass those who have not been able to prevent the inevitable - the drift of GE pollen or seed. It will level the playing field for farmers accused by agricultural biotechnology companies and other patent holders of contract violations, and discourage the practice of biotech companies sampling crops without explicit permission from farmers and prosecuting based on unverifiable testing results.

If you want to let legislators know you support this, go to this link:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kellogg plans to use genentically engineered sugar

Sugar from GE sugar beets will soon hit the market and Kellogg plans to use it - at least in the US (European's wouldn't stand for it). The Organic Consumer's Organization asked them to reconsider this position or face a boycott and Kellogg did not back down. (See letters from OCA and Kellogg's reply here) .

Since half of the granulated sugar in the U.S. comes from sugar beets, a move towards biotech beets means a dramatic alteration of the U.S. food supply. These sugars, along with GE corn and soy, are found in many conventional food products, so consumers will be exposed to genetically engineered ingredients in just about every non-organic multiple-ingredient product they purchase. At least with high-fructose corn syrup, there was a specific ingredient to avoid - but now we have to avoid anything with sugar to be safe.

The GE sugar beet is designed to withstand strong doses of Monsanto's controversial broad spectrum Roundup herbicide. Studies indicate farmers planting "Roundup Ready" corn and soy spray large amounts of the herbicide, contaminating both soil and water. Farmers planting GE sugar beets are told they may be able to apply the herbicide up to five times per year. Sugar beets are grown on 1.4 million acres by 12,000 farmers in the U.S. from Oregon to Minnesota. These GE Crops do NOT reduce the use of herbicide used - they INCREASE it!

I urge you to boycott Kellogg and other companies using or planning to use GE sugar. Monsanto's GE sugar beets will expose millions of consumers to untested and unlabeled so-called food that threaten human heath, the environment and farmers' rights everywhere.