Will President Trump work for Monsanto’s interests? Jeffrey Smith reads the tea leaves of the first 100 days to see where the administration is going on GMOs and pesticides, and what our response should be.
We are going to talk about President Trump, GMOs, and pesticides. Based on the first 100 days, it appears that President Trump and his team are going to be more of the same in terms of promoting Monsanto and the GMO agenda, in fact, it may be worse. Some of you do not know that the Obama administration was worse than the previous Bush administration. We do not know if this administration will be worse yet, but it is not looking good.
As you know, President Trump, EPA Administrator Pruitt, and the confirmed USDA Secretary Perdue, have received millions of dollars from big ag and chemical companies, and now it looks like they are paying them back. President Trump recently signed a new executive order, specifically targeting agriculture, and directed Secretary Perdue to undertake a 180-day review to identify and eliminate “unnecessary regulations”. The executive order does not specifically talk about GMOs, but it uses the same terms that the biotech industry has used in previous administrations, like “advance the adoption of innovations and technology for agricultural production” or “require executive departments and agencies to reply upon the best available science when reviewing or approving crop protection tools” and finally, “encourage the production, export and use of domestically produced agricultural products”. These are all code words for “promote GMOs”.
Before I go on, I want to invite you to sign the petition, which is in the newsletter accompanying this download, asking the Trump administration to include reasonable voices from organic, etc. in the evaluation committee looking at agricultural policies and not just big ag.
Let us review some of the President’s men, and see how they line up with respect to GMOs. Jeff Sessions has accepted contributions from Monsanto multiple times, and he might be able to fast track the proposed merger of Bayer Crop Science and Monsanto, creating the largest seed and largest pesticide company in the world, and President Trump (before he was inaugurated) sat down with the CEOs of both companies and had a “productive meeting on the future of the agricultural industry”. It looks like we are not going to see any push back on the monopolistic merger that’s going on there.
Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, is tightly entwined in the industry he will regulate. He used to sell fertilizer (but not the organic varieties); he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from big ag business; he is a known proponent of GMOs and all things big ag; he runs a company that trades agricultural commodities, and; he is in charge of interpreting the DARK Act which we will get back to in a second.
Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, sued the EPA many times, is deeply in the pocket of big ag, and does not like regulation. The EPA looks at pesticides and pesticide producing products, but it does not look good for the EPA with Pruitt as a regulator. The current budget proposal will fire 25% of their workforce, including 9 staffers focused on endocrine disruptors. It will knockout 31% of their budget, but hire 10 new security detail for Pruitt.
Then we have the FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, who is not only tied to over 25 entities from a financial disclosure letter, including biotech and pharmaceutical, but he co-authored a report in favor of genetically engineered animals, saying they have compelling benefits for healthcare, nutrition, the environment, and animal welfare. He is also a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, which is an influential right-wing think tank that advocates for many things including GMOs – very pro-GMO. With Gottlieb at the helm of the FDA – and the FDA has been mandated for decades to promote GMOs – it will be more of the same from him.
So now, with all those people in position in the policy-making wing of our government, what can we do? Well, let us look, for example, at the DARK Act. When the DARK Act (denying America’s the right to know) was passed recently by congress, it eliminated the ability of states to pass labeling requirements for GMOs. It knocked out Vermont’s labeling requirement, and many people who were casually looking at the GMO world, figured that was a huge blow for the GMO movement, knocking the movement off its center. While it is now true that labels are not mandatory, the anti-GMO movement does not require mandatory labels to win.
A case in point, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). Monsanto introduced this genetically engineered drug for dairy cows that increased their milk supply and destroyed the health of the animals. The drug also promoted so much IGF1, which is a cancer promoting hormone, that I was told by one of Monsanto’s former scientists that three of his colleagues who did the safety studies on the milk from the cows treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone, refused to drink milk thereafter, unless it was organic. One bought his own cow.
We educated people (especially moms) about the health dangers of drinking milk and other dairy products from cows that were injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone. At no time was it required for that milk to have a label. In fact, the person who determined that the product did not need a label if it used the recombinant bovine growth hormone was Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, later Monsanto’s vice president, and then back at the FDA under the Obama administration as the US Food Safety Czar. So, there were no required labels, and yet the milk producers that did not use recombinant bovine growth hormone, wrote on their labels “no rBST”, “no rBGH”, “no artificial growth hormones” – all meaning the same thing. That milk sold at a premium because consumers were wanting milk without the recombinant bovine growth hormone. That forced Walmart, Starbucks, Yoplait, Dannon, and most American dairies to kick the recombinant bovine growth hormone out, even though there were no required labels.
We are in a very similar situation now, where the non-GMO labels are taking over. We have companies that are bragging – very expensive brags like Nestle’s advertising on television that its coffee creamer is non-GMO. We have General Mills, Unilever, Kellogg’s, Post, Campbells, Hershey, Del Monte, and Hellman’s mayonnaise removing GMOs from at least one brand, often many, and more to come.
So, in the world of GMOs, the customer is king and queen. This is what we are doing at the Institute for Responsible Technology, working with the more fundamental laws of nature around GMO acceptance and approval, not policy, but consumer demand based on accurate education about the health dangers. Because GMOs are in food, it is very easy to have that influence, by educating the eater.
It is not quite as easy to regulate pesticides from a consumer level, but the good news is, there is a strategy that is working. Around the country, there are cities, counties and communities that have kicked out Roundup® and other toxic herbicides in favor of non-toxic, cost-effective alternatives. The city of Richmond, California not only banned the use by the city, but actually paid for and created advertisements for TV, encouraging citizens to stop using the toxic Roundup® and other herbicides. Because of current law, a city or county cannot restrict the use by everyone in that city or county, just their own purchases, but they can encourage. Similarly, in Irvine, CA when the city stopped using it, many other groups such as homeowner associations, golf courses, and schools jumped on board to also use the non-toxic, cost-effective alternatives.
At the Institute for Responsible Technology, we gathered 3 individuals, who in groups in their communities, were successful in eliminating the use of Roundup® and other toxic herbicides, and we explain how they did it. If you go to one of our websites, www.Roundup® risks.com, you can watch the 2-hour webinar and download the toolkit. You have all the information there that you need to immediately approach your city council, county board, school, homeowner’s association, golf courses, etc. Even though we cannot affect the national strategy or policy at this moment – and it looks like we do not have the people in place at the EPA to do that – we can certainly curtail the use dramatically in localities. By eliminating the use of GMOs through educating people about the health dangers, we eliminate the consumption of Roundup® laden GMOs like Roundup Ready® soy, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets, and alfalfa.
Just as a point, Roundup® is also sprayed on non-GMO crops like wheat, barley, rye, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sunflower, sugar cane, etc. I have to add this: please eat organic as much as possible, and when you do, take notes, and see how your life changes. It will help you stay organic.
In fact, I’m working on a movie with Amy Hart called Secret Ingredients. If you go to www.secretingredientsmovie.com you can watch the trailer. It will be out this year and it is about families who heal from dramatic health problems when they switch to all organic meals. I’ll talk more about that in a future audio download and will be announcing the introduction of the film later this year.
So there you have it, the current Trump administration is now set to continue the pro-GMO policies of previous administrations, and possibly make them worse. Yet we are continuing to win the GMO battle. If anyone asks, “how is the GMO battle going?”, tell them we are totally winning. 57% of Americans say GMOs are unsafe and they are concerned about it. We are winning, and winning in the market place, and now we are winning more in local areas to stop the use of Roundup® and other toxic pesticides.
And please, safe eating.