. . . but have Monsanto et al. gone too far this time? A rider to a resolution that will fund the federal government through September 30 – critics call it the “Monsanto Protection Act” – is too much for even mainstream media like the New York Times and Bloomberg to stomach. This rider prevents federal courts from putting a stop to the sale and planting of genetically engineered (GE) food crops that the courts themselves have deemed possibly dangerous to public health while the USDA performs an environmental impact report. How could such a thing happen despite an avalanche of letters and emails from a public that opposed this rider? Well, as the Alliance for Natural Health points out, it has something to do with the nearly $90 million Monsanto and the agricultural industry contributed to political campaigns between 2011 and 2012. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), who introduced the rider, alone received $243,000 from agribiz PACs in 2010. Food Democracy Now! reports that the rider is already being used by agribiz to support a legal argument against a citizen-led ballot initiative in Jackson County, Oregon, that would ban GE crops in that county. We can still get rid of this rider. Since it is attached to a time-limited resolution, it will remain in effect only until Congress enacts a 2014 Appropriations Bill. Although this is supposed to be done by September 30, Congress will probably not have a bill ready by then. But as the time approaches, we can begin putting pressure on our Congressional representatives. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chairman of the very powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, has apologized for letting the rider get through this time and has made it clear that she will oppose it in the future. Have Monsanto et al gone too far this time? Their blatant corruption, undermining our democracy with money, has certainly not gone unnoticed by even the mainstream media. Is the tide beginning to turn? Despite the $45 million agribiz spent to defeat a California proposition which would have required all GE foods to be labeled, Whole Foods recently announced that they will require all GE foods on their shelves be labeled by 2018. This will have a significant impact on many of its suppliers. While the GMO issue still appears formidable, there may be cause for cautious optimism.
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