President Obama has become the best friend that agribusiness has ever had in the White House. He just signed a law that critics are already dubbing the “Monsanto Protection Act.” The law makes it illegal for a federal judge to issue a court order halting the sale, use, or distribution of genetically engineered seeds even if it is proven the seeds could be harmful. The law would also limit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ability to regulate the use of genetically engineered seeds.
They call the measure the Monsanto Protection Act because it only benefits the makers of genetically engineered seeds, such as Monsanto. Congress was able to put this horrendous piece of legislation on the books by tacking it onto a funding act for the USDA and other agencies. If Obama hadn’t signed the law, the USDA would have had to cut back on food inspections.
Why You Should Worry About The Monsanto Protection Act
Instead of going into the well-documented dangers of genetically modified foods here, I’ll just raise one troubling point. Why would Monsanto and its operatives on Capitol Hill go out of their way to get this law passed if there wasn’t something wrong with genetically modified foods? What do those people know that we don’t? If GM foods were safe in the first place, they wouldn’t need this law.
The frightening thing is that signing this law was in keeping with Obama’s whole agriculture policy. In spite of Michelle’s advocacy for organic food, the Obama administration has been squarely on the side of agribusiness since it took office. Tom Vilsack, who used to ride on Monsanto’s corporate jet when he was governor of Iowa, was both appointed and reappointed Secretary of Agriculture by Obama. Vilsack, a media darling, is also a likely choice for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.
To make matters worse, some observers, including organic food advocate Dr. Joseph Mercola, have alleged that the Department of Homeland Security and the USDA have plans to ban or severely restrict organic farming in the name of food safety. The idea is to prove that organic farming is at risk for terrorist attack but conventional farming is not. In other words, the Obama administration wants to force genetically engineered food on your family whether you want it or not.
The USDA itself has a long and proven history of championing big agribusiness over small farmers. In the past it’s even tried to list genetically engineered algae as an organic food. It has also refused to require that food labels list whether a product contains genetically engineered materials or not. Even the People’s Republic of China and Saudi Arabia require such labeling; our supposedly democratic government does not.
It looks as if big food and its henchmen in Washington are afraid of a massive backlash against genetically engineered food. In particular, they’re afraid of huge lawsuits they might face if it’s proven that GM food does cause harm. Worse, they’re trying to use government to protect their investment in genetically modified food.
A Troubling Double Standard
The Monsanto Protection Act exposes a troubling double standard that is on display from America’s leaders. News reports that President Obama and Michelle go out of their way to avoid processed food, industrialized food, and genetically modified food and keep from feeding it to their daughters. Sasha and Malia Obama attend an exclusive private school in Washington, where the cafeteria only serves organic food. Former presidential chefs have revealed that the food served in the Clinton, G.W. Bush, and Obama White Houses has been almost exclusively organic.
Get the picture here: Our leaders are trying to force something on us that they refuse to eat. The executives of the large corporations that bankrolled the successful opposition to Proposition 37 in California (which would have required labels to list all genetically modified ingredients) eat in corporate cafeterias and exclusive restaurants that only use organic ingredients.
They shop at Whole Foods, a supermarket chain that plans to label all genetically modified products. A large percentage of the American population cannot afford to shop there. Whole Foods and its competitor, Trader Joe’s, refused to carry Monsanto’s genetically modified corn; however, Wal-Mart stocked the GM product.
So What Can You Do To Protect Your Family From Genetically Modified Foods?
Obama’s latest action should be a wakeup call to all of us who care about our families’ health. We need to take actions to defend our families and not rely on the government to do it.
Fortunately, there is a lot that you can do to protect your family from genetically modified foods. The Non-GMO Project maintains a list of foods that are verified to contain non-GMO ingredients. The list is available at the project’s website. Start buying organic non-GMO products. Also vote with your money by shopping at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and other stores that label or refuse to stock GMO food.
Beyond that, you need to locate sources of organic non-GMO food for your family. The best, of course, is your own garden. You can start by investing in a large stockpile of heirloom seeds now. These are traditional seeds that pollinate, which means you can harvest new seeds from the plants you grow. You can order heirloom seeds online, and with them you can have a source of organic vegetables. Learn how to can and preserve food so you can have a supply of food all winter.
Look into other alternative sources of food, such as food cooperatives, foraging, local organic farms, farmer’s markets, and community gardens as well. If you belong to a church or community organization, try to talk the members into organizing an organic community garden.
Try to get in a position so you’ll be able to serve your family healthy, organic food even if Monsanto succeeds in yanking it from the shelves. Also learn how to cook so that you can prepare your own food from raw ingredients. Organic ingredients aren’t that much more expensive that regular ones, especially if you grow the majority of it yourself.
What Does The Future Hold?
Be ready for a massive federal assault on organic food and the opponents of genetically modified foods. The Monsanto Protection Act looks like an opening shot in this war.
Expect to see the USDA and agribusiness engage in a disinformation campaign similar to what tobacco conducted on behalf of cigarettes. Dr. Mercola believes it’s already begun. They’ll use pseudoscience to defend genetically modified foods and scare tactics against GM opponents. A big one will be that the poor will starve if food is labeled genetically engineered. Another tactic will be branding everybody who refuses to eat GM food as a granola-eating hippie.
It looks like it’s going to be much harder for average people to control what their families eat in the near future. Only those of us who take action now will be able to keep healthy food on our tables.