Sunday, August 4, 2013

FDA to Define “Natural”, Secretly Negotiated Free Trade Agreements, Monsanto Roundup, Flvrsavr 1st Transgenic Crop, PIG GENES in Oranges

"FDA does not have a definition of “natural.” There is reason to question this common wisdom. As noted in one of our Alerts from December 2011, it is true that the FDA published a notice in the Federal Register in 1993 stating that it declined to adopt a definition of “natural.” It is equally true, however, that at the end of that same notice the FDA stated that it planned to maintain “its current policy… not to restrict the use of the term ‘natural’ except for added color, synthetic substances, and flavors as provided in [21 C.F.R.] § 101.22. Additionally, the agency will maintain its policy… regarding the use of ‘natural,’ as meaning that nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in the food.” 2010 it declined a request from a federal district court in New Jersey to state whether high-fructose corn syrup is “natural.” It will be interesting to see if the FDA responds to the current requests and how any response the FDA may provide to the requests compares to the Federal Register “non-definition.”

These cases are also interesting because they raise questions concerning the powers of two of the three branches of our federal government with respect to each other. The FDA already faces serious resource constraints. What if several courts start asking it to define natural or other terms with respect to numerous different ingredients, not just GMO ingredients? If the courts impose deadlines, FDA may have to shift resources from other presumably important work to comply with the deadlines. Congress imposed statutory deadlines for FDA to issue several food safety regulations in the Food Safety Modernization Act and FDA failed to comply with them. ."
Federal District Courts Request FDA to Define “Natural” With Respect to Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMO) Foods

The Monsanto Menace: The feds see no evil as a belligerent strongman seeks control of America's food supply
""Monsanto and the biotechs need to respect traditional property rights and need to keep their pollution on their side of the fence," says Maine farmer Jim Gerritsen. "If it was anything but agriculture, nobody would question it. If I decided to spray my house purple and I sprayed on a day that was windy, and my purple paint drifted onto your house and contaminated your siding and shingles, there isn't a court in the nation that wouldn't in two minutes find me guilty of irresponsibly damaging your property. But when it comes to agriculture, all of a sudden the tables are turned."
Contamination isn't just about boutique organic brands, either. It maims U.S. exports, too.

Take Bayer, which grew unapproved, experimental GM rice at test plots around Louisiana State University for just one year. Within five years, these plots had contaminated 30 percent of U.S. rice acreage. No one's certain how it happened, but Bayer's rice was found as far away as Central America and Africa."
How Monsanto Can Be Defeated
"...On the international level, Monsanto and Big Food, joined by other large corporations concerned about the growing grassroots power of consumer, environmental, and Fair Trade networks, are lobbying for fast track passage of new secretly negotiated Free Trade Agreements, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), popularly known as “TAFTA,” and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Both TAFTA and TPP are basically supercharged versions of the highly unpopular NAFTA and WTO trade agreements.
These “forced trade” agreements would, among other things, lower standards on food safety and environmental protection, including taking away the rights of nations and states to require strict GMO food labeling and safety-testing. Provisions in these trade agreements would allow corporations to sue a nation if pro-consumer or environmental laws interfered with their trade and “expected profits.” Judgments and penalties would be determined by secret trade tribunals, with corporate lawyers serving as judges. Under the TAFTA/TPP regime, the U.S. and other countries would be required to hand over national sovereignty to foreign investors and multinational corporations.

So even as we mobilize for strategic GMO right-to-know victories in Washington, Vermont and other states, we must simultaneously mobilize the public to fight against federal preemption on GMO labeling, and stop the next generation of these secret Forced Trade agreements."

FlavrSavr Tomato-First Transgenic Crop... 
New York Times did a big story and a video on this fail recently...
NYT also did one on PIG GENES into ORANGES
Not to be outdone I found articles on the NYT articles...
"One of the commenters to the Times story makes a good point about today’s grocery store tomatoes calling the store-bought tomato the “gateway drug” of vegetable gardeners. “Tasteless commercial tomatoes pushes (sic) a lot of people into growing their own,” he writes. In that, they are providing consumers a valuable service. Want delicious, old-fashoned flavored tomatoes? You know what to do.
Of course, the whole culture changed when Monsanto bought Calgene and turned the whole GMO business into a secretive, patent-dependent business. Most of the GMOs grown today are major ingredient sources — corn, soybeans — and their use is never identified on product labels (wise consumers know that if a food contains corn or soy, the majority of which is GMO, it most likely contains genetically-engineered products). They continue to fight laws that might require them to label such products even though the tide is turning against them.
One of the original developers makes an important distinction when it comes to the Flavr Savr and today’s genetically modified plants. Today, the benefits of the GMO crop is to the farmer and not the consumer. That may be true but, with billions of dollars in sales, we think the benefits go to the corporations that own the patents on these trans genetic plants. No wonder they want to keep secrets."

The future of orange crops are at risk and pig genes may be considered part of the solution. (I’m not kidding)

"Does the New York Times really care about the health of its readers?
Although our hearts break for the thousands of people who have lost their jobs and for the unknown impact this orange crop devastation will have on the world as it continues to spread, our tempers boil against the New York Times for their highly biased representation of GMOs to their readers, of whom many are ignorant to the harmful realities related to GMOs. Astoundingly, the NYT attempts to compare genetically modifying oranges to ancient breeding practices, something that they call “genetic merging.” ...

Completely ignoring the inherent dangers of GMOs and confusing the process with conventional crossbreeding...

“People are either going to drink transgenic orange juice or they’re going to drink apple juice,” one University of Florida scientist told Kress. “And,” according to the NYT, “If the presence of a new gene in citrus trees prevented juice from becoming scarcer and more expensive, Kress believed, the American public would embrace it. ‘The consumer will support us if it’s the only way,’ Kress assured his boss.” -

Orange growers are still divided Kress’s boss worried about damaging the image of juice long promoted as “100 percent natural.” “Do we really want to do this?” he demanded in a 2008 meeting at the company’s headquarters on the northern rim of the Everglades. “The public will never drink G.M.O. orange juice,” one grower said at a contentious 2008 meeting. “It’s a waste of our money.” “The public is already eating tons of G.M.O.’s,” countered Peter McClure, a big grower. “This isn’t like a bag of Doritos,” snapped another. “We’re talking about a raw product, the essence of orange.”

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