The nation's growing dependence on prepared food means that by the time consumers eat the food, it has been transported numerous times, cooked and cooled, and touched by many different people. Each step in processing could increase the risk of pathogens.
Although food once was grown and distributed locally in America, today large corporations produce food in centralized facilities and ship nationally and internationally, which means that a processing mistake will be felt nationwide or all over the world instead of just locally. Improper holding temperatures, inadequate cooking, contaminated equipment, food from unsafe sources, and poor personal hygiene by packagers can all lead to foodborne illnesses. According to Answers.com, in 1998 Sara Lee recalled thirty-five million pounds of hot dogs and lunch meat due to the presence of Listeria. "This is food contamination on a scale unprecedented a generation ago," stated the site. It's enough to make even a glutton think twice about the food he or she eats.
Recently, geneticallymodified food crops using growth hormones have come under increasing scrutiny for causing health irregularities. Monsanto first synthesized the hormone in large quantities in 1994 utilizing recombinant DNA technology. Cattle now are routinely given growth hormones to make them gain weight faster, thus reducing both the time and feed required prior to slaughtering. Regulation of these hormones is not possible because it is impossible to tell the difference between the added hormones and those made by the animal's own body.
Since the introduction of artificial growth hormones several reports have shown that boys are growing pubic hair and girls are developing breasts at younger ages than in the past. According to the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, studies in the United States have shown an earlier onset of puberty in recent decades and there is evidence that the onset of puberty is changing, possibly related to environmental exposure to endocrine- disrupting chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body. It is hormone signals from the brain that trigger the onset of puberty.
Some experts argue that such premature puberty is merely the result of cosmetics and the desire for kids to emulate favorite celebrities. However, this does not explain why premature puberty has been noted in the United States and not in Europe, according to a May2009 study cited in the NewYork Times, which added, "This discrepancy has led to speculation that the changes observed in the United States may really be due to differences in data collection methods among large-scale studies and changing ethnic demographics in that country." But such rationalization fails to mention growth hormones. Has the use of growth hormones in beef and milk-producing cattle escaped the consideration of these researchers? If the hormones will increase growth in the cows, it surely must promote accelerated growth in humans.
In a recent report based on a fifteen-year study of young girls in Denmark, researchers determined that the average age of breast development has begun a full year earlier compared with girls studied in the early 1990s. This may mean that as the use of growth hormones spreads, so does the accelerating maturation of youngsters.
This may not be just another conspiracy theory as, according to the NewYork Times, "Studies have documented that a number of chemicals, such as bisphenol-A used to make hard clear plastic containers, may act as endocrine disruptors and have estrogenic effects on the body."
Few large epidemiological studies have been conducted to determine whether early puberty is associated with growth-hormone-treated foods, and some that have, such as a study of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH), were done by the manufacturer. So no clear connection has been established between chemicals having estrogenic effects and premature puberty. It is reminiscent of how the cigarette industry once fought health studies overthe hazards of smoking.
Concerns over food safety can be dated back to 1902 when USDA chemists found that food preservatives contained harmful chemicals, a discovery that added to growing public concern. In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act were passed in an effort to assure the public that the government was attempting to protect them from impure foods and drugs. But then in 1933, Arthur Kallet and F. J. Schlink published 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs: Dangers in Everyday Foods, Drugs and Cosmetics, a popular book attacking the 1906 Food and Drug Act and stating that the federal government was incapable of protecting the public from unsafe food and drugs due to incompetence and ineffective laws. The authors stated their book was "written in the interest of the consumer, who does not yet realize that he is being used as a guinea pig...."
Noting the close connections between the government and the giant corporations that produce both the nation's food and drugs, they foresaw that "If the poison is such that it acts slowly and insidiously, perhaps over a long period of years.. .then we poor consumers must be test animals all our lives; and when, in the end, the experiment kills us a year or ten years sooner than otherwise we would have died, no conclusions can be drawn and a hundred million others are available forfurther tests."
THE RISE OF THE FDA
D ue το the popularity of Kallet and Schlink's book, as well as federal whistleblowers speaking out publicly, the mass media that tended to stand with the corporations was bypassed, leading to demands that action be taken to safeguard food and drug consumption. The result was passage of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) of 1938. Today this act is considered the foundation of government food and drug regulation. It was meant to be enforced by the Food and Drug Administration, which was created in 1927 when existing federal offices were combined. The FDCA expanded the definition of contamination to include harmful bacteria or chemicals and allowed the FDA to inspect food manufacturing and processing facilities and monitor animal drugs, feeds, and veterinary devices. The act also required ingredients of nonstandard foods to be listed on labels, prohibited the sale of food prepared under unsanitary conditions, and authorized mandatory standards for foods, such as setting the allowable amount of rat feces in foodstuffs.
Some claimed such legislation was not enough. According to a citizen petition to the USDA, filed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in 2001, "[T]he prevalence of food borne illness in this country caused by eating fecally contaminated meat and poultry remains staggeringly high, providing clear evidence that current inspection methods and regulations are insufficient and misdirected." The petition claimed that current inspection policies pertain only to that feces which is visible to the naked eye and does not protect consumers from unseen particulates.
Further promises of public protection came in August 1996 with passage of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) that allowed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate pesticides used in the food production. However, the FQPA also eliminated the 1958 Delaney clause to the 1938 law that prohibited even tiny amounts of any cancer-causing substance added to food products. The Delaney clause, an amendment named after New York Democratic congressman James Delaney, had set a fixed risk standard of "zero cancer risk" for pesticide residue in food, whereas the FQPA softened this to a mere "reasonable certainty that no harm" would result from any type of exposure, including drinking water. Some saw the hand of the corporate globalists in this move to lessen public protection.
One method to protect corporate interests is to fill government posts with persons connected to both sides. One prime example of the revolving door between government regulation and corporate foodstuffs is Michael Taylor, who was named President Obama's new deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA in early 2010.
Fresh out of law school in 1976, Taylor began his career as an FDA staff attorney. He then moved to the law firm of King & Spaulding, which represented Monsanto as it was developing genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (BGH). Returning to the FDA in 1991 as deputy commissioner for policy, Taylor, while instituting tougher anticontamination measures for foods, supported the FDA decision to approve Monsanto's bovine growth hormone. He also was partly responsible for a controversial policy permitting milk from BGH-treated cows not to be labeled as such. Taylor then moved to the U.S. Agriculture Department in 1994 to oversee its food-safety program before returning to work for Monsanto as a vice president for public policy. After a time at George Washington University, in July 2009, Taylor became an adviser to the FDA commissioner.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS
Another public concern has been over nontraditional, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods. Such organisms have had their genes altered by scientists in a laboratory to help the crop resist weeds, insects, and diseases; increase its nutrients; or lengthen its shelf life.
Beginning in 2006, more than twelve hundred lawsuits were filed against Bayer CropScience AG claiming damages caused by the firm's genetically modified (GM) rice seeds. Although the rice was not approved for human consumption, Bayer—along with Louisiana State University —had been testing the rice for resistance to the company's Liberty herbicide. Farmers in five states claimed the modified rice had escaped and contaminated commercial rice supplies in more than 30 percent of America's ricelands. When the USDA announced that trace amounts of the GM rice had been found in U.S. long-grain rice stocks, there was a 14 percent decline in rice futures, which meant lower prices paid for crops. Growers claimed this cost them $150 million.
"Bayer did not keep track of its genetically modified seed," argued attorneys for the rice growers. "This is a living, growing organism. That's why you have to be so careful."
But a major focal point of concern in the debate over GMOs is Monsanto. Headquartered in Creve Coeur, Missouri, this multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation is the world's leading producer of GM seeds as well as pesticides. In 2005, Monsanto was reaching into other areas of food. The company applied fortwo patents with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva for exclusive ownership of GM pigs.
"If these patents are granted, Monsanto can legally prevent breeders and farmers from breeding pigs whose characteristics are described in the patent claims, or force them to pay royalties," warned Greenpeace researcher Christoph Then. "It's a first step toward the same kind of corporate control of an animal line that Monsanto is aggressively pursuing with various grain and vegetable lines."
Some semblence of sanity was brought to this issue on March 29, 2010, when U.S. district court judge Robert W. Sweet struck down two patents on human genes that had been linked to ovarian and breast cancer. This decision sent a chill through the multibillion-dollar corporations that today claim patent rights on about 20 percent of human genes. Judge Sweet's 152-page decision, involving gene patents of the Myriad Genetics company, stated the patents were "improperlygranted" as they involved a "law of nature." He agreed with gene patent opponents, who argued that the idea that isolating a gene made it patentable was merely "a 'lawyer trick' that circumvents the prohibition on the direct patenting of the DNA in our bodies but which, in practice, reaches the same result."
Some researchers see Monsanto as attempting to dictate what farmers will grow and what consumers will eat. The agricultural giant produces patented seeds (termed "Terminator" seeds) designed to not reproduce, meaning farmers each year will have to buy more Monsanto seeds. Several recent court cases involved Monsanto attorneys suing farmers who illegally, or even unknowingly thanks to the winds, ended up with Monsanto's patented crops growing in their fields. Such activity has made Monsanto a prime target for antiglobalization and environmental activists.
Interest in modifying genetic material increased after a March 2009 report was released that stated that South African farmers lost millions of dollars when eighty-two thousand hectares of Monsanto GM corn failed to produce hardly any seeds. Although the manufacturer, Monsanto, offered compensation for the losses, Mariam Mayet, director of the Africa Centre for Biosecurity in Johannesburg, demanded an immediate ban on all GM foods and a government investigation.
But at least in this case only crops were lost. During 2008, an underreported epidemic took place in India, when thousands of desperate farmers were driven to suicide when they could not get out of debt. While Monsanto claimed that their weevil-resistant cotton would produce larger crops, they failed to mention they would require much more water, an ingredient in short supply. In 2003, more than seventeen thousand Indian farmers had committed suicide. The numbers have simply grown ever since, creating both mystery and controversy. Although the suicides were caused primarily by bankruptcy, many believe these bankruptcies in part came as a result of the promotion of Monsanto GM seeds.
Though the suicide epidemic seems complex to those studying it, there has been more and more scrutiny directed at the role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the biochemical firm Monsanto. Curiously, the suicides began around 1998, the same year the WTO allowed corporate giants like Monsanto into India's seed market. Nonrenewable genetically modified crops soon replaced the self-sustainable farming system that India had used for thousands of years. Farmers were obligated to purchase not only GM seed but also the chemical pesticides produced by Monsanto for those crops.
According to Jessica Long of Montreal's nonprofit Centre for Research on Globalization, "Seventy-five percent of cultivable Indian land exists in dry zones. Non-GM rice utilizes 3,000 liters of water in order to produce one kilo, while non-renewable hybrid rice requires 5,000 liters per kilo!.. .Continuous GM cotton crop failures resulted in the state of Andrha Pradesh, the seed capital of India, prohibiting the sales of [Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium used as a pesticide] cotton varieties by Monsanto."
Due to the ongoing controversy over the use of GM seeds, in 2008 the Indian government forced Monsanto to reduce royalties received from its patented seeds.
"The economic disparity of Indian farmers only increases as they try to keep up with the lowest import prices. It is estimated that they are losing $26 billion annually," stated Long. "While 90 percent of farm loans come from money lenders, they are charged anywhere from 36-50 percent interest, placing them in a cyclical mode of poverty. Surely poverty alone cannot be responsible for such massive amounts of bloodshed! After all, poverty has always existed, so what is it about current conditions that have led to all this bloodshed? The fact is that mass suicides have transformed these farmers into agrarian martyrs for peasants everywhere."
Monsanto officials denied that theirfirm was behind the deaths, explaining on the company website: "The reality is that the tragic phenomena of farmer suicides in India began long before the introduction of Bollgard [Monsanto's herbicide] in 2002. Farmer suicide has numerous causes with most experts agreeing that indebtedness is one of the main factors. Farmers unable to repay loans and facing spiraling interest often see suicide as the only solution." Although bankruptcy was the obvious cause of most of India's suicides, many blamed Monsanto's genetically modified crops, which required more water than traditional crops, as well as Monsanto's herbicides for farmers' losses.
"By claiming global monopoly patent rights throughout the entire food chain, Monsanto seeks to make farmers and food producers, and ultimately consumers, entirely dependent and reliant on one single corporate entity for a basic human need. It's the same dependence that Russian peasants had on the Soviet Government following the Russian revolution. The same dependence that French peasants had on Feudal kings during the Middle Ages. But control of a significant proportion of the global food supply by a single corporation would be unprecedented in human history," warned Brian Thomas Fitzgerald of Greenpeace.
In January 2010, a study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences reported that researchers, after analyzing the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, linked Monsanto's GM corn to kidney and liver damage in rats. Monsanto officials were quick to state that the research was "based on faulty analytical methods and reasoning and do not call into question the safety findings for these products." However, the study's author, Gilles-Eric Seralini, responded, "Our study contradicts Monsanto conclusions because Monsanto systematically neglects significant health effects in mammals that are different in males and females eating GMOs, or not proportional to the dose. This is a very serious mistake, dramatic for public health. This is the major conclusion revealed by our work, the only careful reanalysis of Monsanto's crude statistical data."
Awareness about GMOs in foods can be traced back as early as 2002. Although the FDA, EPA, and USDA all have stated that their research shows no long-term health risks from GMO foods, Dr. Stanley Ewen, a consultant histopathologist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmaryand one of Scotland's leading experts in tissue diseases, warned in a report to a government health committee that eating GM food could cause cancer. In a report to a government health committee, Ewen expressed "great concern" about the use of the cauliflower mosaic virus as a "promoter" in GM foods that could increase the risk of stomach and colon cancers. Ewen wrote that the infectious virus is used like a tiny engine to drive implanted genes to express themselves and could encourage the growth of polyps in the stomach or colon. "The faster and bigger the polyps grow, the more likely theyare to be malignant," he wrote, adding, "It is possible cows' milk will contain GM derivatives that can be directly ingested by humans as milk or cheese. Even a lightly cooked, thick fillet steak could contain active GM material."
Cancer was only one of some fifty harmful effects of GMO foods and growth hormones listed in a research article by nutritionist Nathan Batalion that included a warning from Harvard biology professor Dr. George Wald, a Nobel Laureate in Medicine.
"Our morality up to now has been to go ahead without restriction to learn all that we can about nature. Restructuring nature was not part of the bargain. This direction may be not only unwise, but dangerous. Potentially, it could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics," stated Wald.
Monsanto's growth hormone IGF-1 has been linked to increased risk of human colorectal and breast cancer in studies both in the United States and Canada. However, the FDA downplayed the significance of such studies.
Reflecting concern over the safety of GMOs, the UN's Food Safety Agency, representing 101 nations worldwide, in 1999 ruled unanimously to continue a 1993 European moratorium on Monsanto's genetically engineered hormonal milk (rBGH). This ban was not reported in the American media, further indicating the extent of Monsanto's influence in the media.
Award-winning journalists Steve Wilson and Jane Akre both were fired when they tried to expose the cover-up of such studies as well as the ban on growth hormones in Europe. According to the Goldman Environmental Prize website, "As investigative reporters for the Fox Television affiliate in Tampa, Florida, [Wilson and Akre] discovered that while the hormone had been banned in Canada, Europe and most other countries, millions of Americans were unknowingly drinking milk from rBGH-treated cows. The duo documented how the hormone, which can harm cows, was approved by the government as a veterinary drug without adequately testing its effects on children and adults who drink rBGH milk. They also uncovered studies linking its effects to cancer in humans. Just before broadcast, the station cancelled the widely promoted reports after Monsanto, the hormone manufacturer, threatened Fox News with 'dire consequences' if the stories aired. Under pressure from Fox lawyers, the husband-and-wife team rewrote the story more than eighty times. After threats of dismissal and offers of six-figure sums to drop their ethical objections and keep quiet, they were fired in December, 1997."
The addition of unsafe, even toxic, chemicals to food and water may be attributed to laxity and greed on the part of producers, but when coupled with the public statements of leading globalists concerning the desire to reduce the human population, which will be discussed later, it takes on a much darker aspect.
One would think that a good diet with plenty of vitamins might help prevent disease and malnutrition, but even here the New World Order may interfere.
The World Health Organization (WHO) was founded in 1948 with the goals of setting global standards of health and helping governments to strengthen national health programs. The WHO and the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) work together in committees, conferences, and commissions. One of their most significant joint efforts is the Codex Alimentari us (Latin for "food code") Commission, which sets standards for food commodities, codes for hygiene and technology, pesticide evaluations, and limits on pesticide residues. It also evaluates food additives and veterinary drugs and sets guidelines for contaminants. Approximately 170 nations accept its standards and codes.
In recent years, controversy had grown over the application of food standards to traditional vitamins and mineral supplements. A major cause for concern by nutritionists is that the Codex Alimentari us list is recognized by the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is feared that the WTO will use Codex Alimentari us standards in disputes overthe classification of vitamins as food.
Such fears are not irrational since in 1996 the German delegation to the Codex Alimentari us Commission advocated a ban on herbs, vitamins, and minerals sold for preventative or therapeutic reasons and advanced a position that supplements should be classified as drugs with attendant restrictions and physician prescriptions. Though the commission agreed, there was an aftermath of such public protest that passage of the new classifications was postponed. As protests waned in mid-2005, the commission quietly adopted guidelines for vitamin and mineral food supplements, allowing member countries to regulate dietary supplements as drugs or other categories. Although the new classifications do not yet ban supplements outright, they do subject them to labeling and packaging requirements, set criteria for the setting of maximum and minimum dosage levels, and require that safety and efficacyare considered when determining ingredient sources.