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Genetically Modified Plants

Genetically modified foods have become a serious risk to not just the viability of our food supply, but to human health. The articles below are provided to educate and motivate you to become engaged in this issue by making your voice heard to politicians and to the companies that create these plants.

No GMO Canola in Willamette Valley

Send a Comment to Oregon Department of Agriculture

A letter or email from you is needed, and soon! The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is pressing ahead with plans to allow the growing of canola in the Willamette Valley as a biofuel. Nearly 90% of canola currently grown in the U.S. is genetically modified to resist common herbicides. Canola readily cross-pollinates with closely related plants, such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and turnips, seeds of which Willamette Valley farms produce for the rest of the world.

A number of Willamette Valley specialty seed growers are certified organic. Contamination of their seed crops with pollen from genetically modified canola will result in their loss of organic certification and destroy their carefully cultivated businesses, an extremely likely scenario if canola is introduced into the valley.

Deadline January 25: The ODA needs to hear from you opposing the planting of canola in the Willamette Valley under any circumstances. Once this rampant grower gets a foothold here, it can never be eradicated. Simply stated: “production of rapeseed [canola] for oil or seed is incompatible with production of crops of the same or related species grown for seed or vegetables." This is important. Once genetic pollution occurs, we’ve fallen over the genetic cliff.

Write or email by January 25:

Canola Hearings Officer, Oregon Department of Agriculture, 635 Capitol St. NE, Salem, OR 97301, or email to: canola-rulemaking@oda.state.or.us.

Support Oregon’s long-established organic farmers. Canola is not for the Willamette Valley.

Frankenfish for Dinner

Tell the FDA to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement on Genetically Engineered Salmon

The FDA has completed its environmental assessment of genetically engineered salmon, the last step before approval of this first-ever GE animal for human consumption. It’s considered an animal drug. GE salmon contains a spliced-in growth hormone gene that makes it grow up to five times faster, reaching market size in about 18 months instead of three years, and its approval will put the entire US salmon industry at risk. If this approval is not halted, these GE fish will be among the millions of salmon that currently escape from open ocean pens every year and compete with wild salmon, threatening the very survival of our native salmon populations.

Deadline February 25: The public does not want to eat genetically engineered fish, but the approval of GE salmon will open the door to approval of other GE fish and animals, including pigs and cows. No labeling is required. Read what Center for Food Safety says about GE fish here. Here’s what Senator Dianne Feinstein, cosponsor of a bill (that didn’t move) last Congress to require labeling of GE salmon, says: “I am concerned that the FDA is using a regulatory framework for animal drugs to assess the safety and environmental consequences of this product. This drug approval process was not designed to regulate genetically modified foods.” Again, we now face a genetic cliff.

Write or email:

Go here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0899-0001

Write: RE: Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0899, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852

 Or sign a petition here.

California’s Prop 37, "Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act", FAILS

Going down to defeat, California’s Proposition 37 ballot initiative campaign to label genetically engineered food was outspent $46 million to $7 million by Monsanto and other biotech corporations, pesticide companies and junk food manufacturers such as PepsiCo. Still, at 53% to 47% the loss was relatively close. Read more at the Organic Consumers Association web site. Stay tuned. The "Just Label It" movement is gathering momentum. We hope to see it return to Oregon soon.

Label It – Oregon's GMO Ballot Initiative

Did Not Happen in 2012

The GMO (genetically modified organism) Label It ballot initiative was delayed from signature gathering by a challenge on constitutionality by Terry Witt of Orwellians for Food and Shelter. Though the Secretary of State’s office has approved a title and number, there is a two-week waiting period during which Mr. Witt can file an appeal. That means signature gathering cannot start until June 13 at the earliest, thus effectively killing any chances to meet this year’s deadline to submit enough signatures. Organizers are considering strategies focused on the 2013 legislative session, a 2014 state ballot initiative, and county initiatives. Good news, the California GMO Label It ballot initiative, with 850,000 petition signatures, has made it to the November ballot.

Here in Oregon, a Benton County (Corvallis) group is working to put forth a county level measure adopting a sustainable agriculture "bill of rights" which will, among several things, ban the cultivation of GM crops in the open environment. A Jackson County (Ashland) group is currently working towards a county ordinance for the November ballot banning the cultivation of GMOs there. Farmers are particularly worried about genetic drift as wind-borne pollen from GM crops contaminates their crops. In California, Marin, Mendocino and Santa Cruz counties have successfully banned GM crops.

"The World According to Monsanto"

On March 8th, the Juniper Group Program Night focused on a film about Monsanto’s tightening control of food production in the U.S., its bullying of small farmers, and its race to genetically engineer (GE) and patent the world’s food supply. This maker of Agent Orange, DDT and rBGH (milk) has now gotten approval to sell GE alfalfa, which will probably deliver a devastating blow to organic farmers from contamination.

There is mounting evidence of serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GMO) food and crops to humans, animals and the environment. A new pathogen has been found in GMO crops that points to rising infertility rates in dairy heifers of over 20% and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as 45%. Monsanto’s Roundup Ready GE corn, soy, cotton, canola and now sugar beets and alfalfa are designed to withstand massive doses of weed killers, and GE crops have resulted in an increase of 383 million pounds of herbicide use between 1996 and 2008. Now, weeds resistant to Roundup Ready have resulted in superweeds that have taken millions of farm acres out of production.

You can join the fight against this overt threat to world-wide health. The Organic Consumers Association has initiated a campaign called Millions Against Monsanto. Go to their web site and sign the petition, call for a moratorium, be informed, and join the discussion.