Documentary, “Poison on the Platter”: GE Foods Are Spreading Across India
- The documentary “Poison on the Platter” examines how multinational corporations and the Indian government have conspired to spread GE foods across India
- Despite laws banning the import of GE foods, they line supermarket shelves across India
- Dozens of GE crop trials are underway on Indian farmland, including okra, potatoes, and BT brinjal (eggplant), which makes its own insecticide.
The corporate and regulatory forces that are out to get genetically engineered (GE) foods onto your dinner plate by any means possible are not confined to the United States.
In his documentary, Poison on the Platter, Indian filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt examines from a unique non-Western perspective how multinational corporations and government regulators have conspired to spread GE foods across India.
The film provides an insightful perspective about the world impact of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as discussed by scientists on the other side of the globe.
If you don’t believe contamination of our food supply by GMOs holds the potential for planetary disaster, you might change your mind after seeing this film. Mahesh Bhatt warns:
“In their mad rush to capture the multi-billion dollar Indian agriculture and food industry, the biotech multinational companies are bulldozing warnings by scientists about the adverse impact of GM foods on health and environment…
[T]his is hurtling mankind toward a disaster, which will be far more destructive than anything the world has seen so far, simply because it will affect every single person living on this planet.”
GE proponents claim that GE foods are the solution to world hunger, increased crop yield and variety, lowered input costs, and reduced environmental impact.
They also claim that foods derived from GMOs are “substantially equivalent” to foods created by conventional growing methods. The problem is that none of those claims are supported by science.
The List of Risks Posed by GE Foods Continues to Grow
Epidemiological patterns reflect a rise in more than 30 human diseases alongside the steady increase of GE ingredients in our food supply and the dramatic increase in the use of agrichemicals, such as glyphosate.
Glyphosate is not “just” an herbicide—it was originally patented as a mineral chelator. It immobilizes nutrients, making them unavailable for your body. Glyphosate is also patented as an antibiotic that can devastate human gut bacteria.
When you mix the genes of one species with those of another, you’re courting disaster. GE food trials involving laboratory animals have uncovered higher mortality, infertility, and multi-organ damage—such as bleeding stomachs.
Even Monsanto’s own mouse studies demonstrated that GE foods have toxic effects on multiple organs, including the liver and kidneys. One of the most ominous concerns about the GE food system is its impact on our soils.
Monoculture and massive agrichemical use are decimating soils at an alarming rate—soils that took thousands of years to develop. Trillions of beneficial microbes that make up healthy soil are destroyed, depleting its nitrogen and leading to soil erosion, pollution, and wasted water from massive runoff.
Nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizer runoff has created dead zones along many coastal waterways. GE crop monocultures destroy in a blink what nature has taken millennia to create.
US Recklessly Speeds Ahead with Next-Generation GE Crops
What’s going on in India is not that different from the US. Despite all of the hellish evidence, there seems to be no risk substantial enough to deter the American government from pushing ahead with new GE seeds.
Herbicide and insecticide use is skyrocketing. USDA recently deregulated Dow Chemical’s next-generation GE crops, which are not only glyphosate-resistant, but also carry resistance to toxins like the Agent Orange ingredient 2,4-D and Dicamba. EPA has also approved Enlist Duo—a new herbicide to be used on Dow’s 2,4-D and glyphosate-resistant corn and soybeans.
EPA has also doubled the amount of glyphosate allowed in your food. For example, soybean oil is allowed to contain a whopping 400 times the limit at which it can impact your health. Widespread use of GMOs has led to an enormous resistance problem.
Superweeds and resistant pests are rapidly spreading across farmland, which has necessitated the deployment of even more noxious chemicals. USDA data reveals that glyphosate use has increased 12-fold since 1996. Meanwhile, weed resistance has been documented on 60 million farm acres across the US.
The US Earns the Gold for Highest GE Food Production
The US is the world’s leading producer of GE foods, many of which are being exported to countries, like India, that will allow it. Monsanto is the largest manufacturer of GE seeds, producing 90 percent of those used across the globe. Yet three quarters of Americans are not even aware that they consume GE ingredients in almost every meal.
Many other countries believe that GE foods must be safe because Americans have been consuming them for two decades—and “not dying from them.” However, the fallacy of this reasoning is evident when you realize that it took the US about 500 years to realize that tobacco wasn’t safe.
The incidence of chronic diseases in the US has escalated since the introduction of GE foods. Therefore, no one can claim that Americans are healthy, and no one can say with any assurance that GE foods are safe. Many scientists argue that we haven’t had enough time for the effects of GMOs to fully reveal themselves across populations—and when they do, the damage may be irreparable. In the words of GMO expert and founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology Jeffrey Smith:
“I can say with absolute confidence that there is irrefutable and overwhelming evidence that genetically engineered foods are harmful and that they are not being evaluated properly by the governments of India, United States, the European Union, or anywhere in the world. This is one of the most dangerous technologies ever introduced on Earth, and it’s being deployed in our food supply. It is madness! What we need is a political willingness to say no more… We don’t understand the language of DNA.”
Cheap Food Brings Expensive Healthcare
Genetically engineered foods have increased to keep pace with an exploding demand for “cheap food.” Farmers are constantly pushed for higher yields. The current system is creating a glut of ecological problems, such as ravaging our bee populations. Forty years ago, Americans spent 16 percent of their income on food and eight percent on healthcare; today, those numbers are reversed. This “cheap food” system has bought us the most expensive healthcare in the world. In the same way that medical schools and universities are controlled by the drug industry, the food system is controlled by the agrichemical industry.
The industrialized food system is putting many small farmers out of business. Land grant universities, funded by corporate agribusiness, are under enormous pressure to shush any research that goes against the party line. Educational institutions are afraid to “bite the hand that feeds them.” Mark Kastel, Co-Founder of The Cornucopia Institute, explains how other strategies are used to ensure that the public never finds out about the health dangers of GMOs:
“Monsanto and others actually have contracts with farmers, a technology agreement that prohibits the farmers from using any of their crop for research—other than agronomic research and yield research. So they can’t partner with a physician or a medical researcher to take a look at the impact on human health. They’ve really impeded our ability to know whether or not GMOs are safe.”
Big Bucks Buys Big Votes
Money changes everything. Monsanto, Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and other pro-GMO forces continue pouring millions into every anti-labeling campaign in an effort to prevent you from knowing what you’re eating. Their strategy consists of false claims, lies, and scare tactics, but their money is buying them smaller and smaller margins—labeling laws are coming closer to passage with each election. Every “loss” is actually a “win” when you look at the trends. As people gain awareness of the issues, they will refuse to stand for the status quo.
- In 2012, industry spent $45 million to defeat California’sProp 37 labeling bill, and it lost by six points.
- Between 2012 and mid-2014, Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) successfully blocked GMO labeling laws in over 30 states, at a price tag of more than $100 million. According to the most recent analysis, opponents of GMO labeling spent more than $27 million on lobbying in the first six months of 2014 alone—this is about three times more than they spent during all of 2013.
- In the November 2014 election, the GMO industry and supporters spent $37 million to prevent Oregon and Colorado from passing their respective labeling laws. This effort was successful in Colorado, but in Oregon the race couldn’t be any tighter!
It’s Time to Stop the Insanity
Election season may be over, but you can vote with your wallet every day. If enough of us make our voices heard, things CAN change. For example, you can boycott GMA Member Traitor Brands, which helps level the playing field. As always, continue educating yourself and sharing what you’ve learned. Think of yourself as being pro-evidence, as opposed to anti-GMO. Just because you question something doesn’t mean you’re opposed to it—you just want more evidence so that you can make a good decision for yourself and your family. This film provides one more learning tool that you can forward to your friends and family, to help them take charge of their health.
The insanity has gone far enough. It’s time to unite and fight back, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. To learn more about this boycott, and the traitor brands that are included, please visit TheBoycottList.org. I also encourage you to donate to the Organic Consumers Fund. Your donation will help fight the GMA lawsuit in Vermont.
Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference. By boycotting GMA Member Traitor Brands, you can help level the playing field, and help take back control of our food supply. And as always, continue educating yourself about genetically engineered foods, and share what you’ve learned with family and friends.
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A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai heard a petition by two residents of one of five ground-plus-two-storey buildings owned by the H B Wadia Fire Temple Charity Fund. The petitioners said the landlord-Trust and (Mhada) have cited financial inability. The total expenditure estimated by the court appointed architect is around Rs 75 lakh.
Subsequently, residents’ advocate Raju Moray and the Trust’s advocate Khushroom Davierwalla told the court that their clients are ready to share one-third cost of repairs. Mhada’s advocate said it could contribute only Rs 22 lakh. The judges directed the Trust to take approval for reimbursement from Mhada before appointing a contractor and begin work under a structural engineer. The petitioners said they had also requested the Bombay Parsi Punchayet to look into the matter as the residents are Parsis.
The deeper they dig, the likeliness of irreversible climate change heightens… and they don’t seem to be stopping.
In Dhanbad, India, the heart of India’s coal fields has seen decades of strip mining, desolating the landscape and sickening the residents. So, you would think that they would stop right? Maybe rethink this extreme exploitation of land? But no, instead they dig deeper and deeper into a coal rush that scientists deem irreversible climate change will be the outcome, and make India’s already extremely polluted cities even more uninhabitable.
According to The New York Times, “If India goes deeper and deeper into coal, we’re all doomed,” said Veerabhadran Ramanathan, director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and one of the world’s top climate scientists. “And no place will suffer more than India.”
These coal mining plans may interfere with any hope of a global climate pact to be negotiated at the Climate Change Conference in Paris next year. The United States, China and Europe have all pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, however, India is the worlds third-largest emitter, and has shown no inclination of carbon emissions targets.
The New York Times quotes India’s power minister, Piyush Goyal, at a recent conference in New Dehli,
“India’s development imperatives cannot be sacrificed at the altar of potential climate changes many years in the future, The West will have to recognize we have the needs of the poor.”
In fact, Mr. Goyal has promised to double India’s use of domestic coal from 565 million tons last year to more than a billion tons by 2019. The government may denationalise commercial coal mining to accelerate extraction.
It is estimated that 37 million Indians could be displaced due to rising sea levels by 2050. India’s cities are among the hottest in the world. Their traffic is the deadliest in the world, and will increase with new mining activities. Climate change will effect India forcefully, and they are a major obstacle in trying to reverse these effects!
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Plastic shopping bags, an abundant source of litter on land and at sea, can be converted into diesel, natural gas and other useful petroleum products, researchers report.
The conversion produces significantly more energy than it requires and results in transportation fuels – diesel, for example – that can be blended with existing ultra-low-sulfur diesels and biodiesels. Other products, such as natural gas, naphtha (a solvent), gasoline, waxes and lubricating oils such as engine oil and hydraulic oil also can be obtained from shopping bags.
A report of the new study appears in the journal Fuel Processing Technology.
There are other advantages to the approach, which involves heating the bags in an oxygen-free chamber, a process called pyrolysis, said Brajendra Kumar Sharma, a senior research scientist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center who led the research. The ISTC is a division of the Prairie Research Instituteat the University of Illinois.
“You can get only 50 to 55 percent fuel from the distillation of petroleum crude oil,” Sharma said. “But since this plastic is made from petroleum in the first place, we can recover almost 80 percent fuel from it through distillation.”
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The list reveals which companies around the world are doing the most to combat climate change. It has 187 companies from across the globe that illustrate that a low-carbon future does not mean low profit.
The Indian companies that made it to the list — CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014 — are: Essar Oil, Larsen & Toubro, Tech Mahindra, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro.
“Awarded an ‘A’ grade for their performance, they (the companies in the list) earn a position on the first global ranking of corporate efforts to mitigate climate change”, said the organization in a statement while releasing the report comprising the names of the companies and the parameters\methodology followed on Wednesday.
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Pune Municipal Corporation has given relief to flat owners who are paying 3 times property tax because their builders failed to obtain Completion Certificates for their buildings. They have proposed a special scheme which will allow the flat owners to complete the necessary formalities, after which they will be exempted from penalty.
Click Here for the Times of India report.