Monday, June 24, 2013

Musings: Here and There

Super moon, hidden all night by a blanket of gray fleece, emerges just before dawn to show her full, cool whiteness, lighting the way as the dogs and I walk along a ribbon of black road. And then she is engulfed again by clouds that later bring a rainbow and part long enough to reveal two thick waterfalls streaking down the green face of Makaleha.

If you think that genetically modified foods are safe just because the Food and Drug Administration says so, think again. FDA-approved ingredients used in up to 80% of all American convenience food have been banned by other countries, according to a new book “Rich Food, Poor Food.”

We're talking about stuff like brominated vegetable oil, a substance found in Mountain Dew, but banned in more than 100 countries because it has been linked to thyroid disease. And the dyes yellow #5 and yellow #6 — derived from coal tar – that makes Kraft mac & cheese so cheerily bright. Then there's asthma-inducing azodicarbonamide, a bleaching agent that is common in many processed American foods, but banned in most European countries. In Singapore, its use carries a $500,00 fine and prison term of up to 15 years.

Ironically, even as America feeds its citizens the kind of crappy food that makes them sick, it makes health care prohibitively expensive and attacks every effort to even explore a single-payer system..

Meanwhile, we've also seen other nations move to prohibit and restrict genetically modified crops and products — or at least require labeling — and ban certain pesticides that are allowed here.

So why is the U.S. so out of step? What is so different about here and there? Surely there can't be that much debate about the science. What seems far more likely is the regulators in America are in bed with industry.

Just something to keep in mind when the County Council takes up Gary Hooser's pesticide disclosure, buffer zone and GMO moratorium bill on Wednesday. No doubt the chemical/seed companies will make their usual argument: our operations are already regulated by the state and the feds.

It's true, they are. But that doesn't mean the regulations in place are sufficient to keep us and the land and water healthy and safe.

If you'd like to weigh in on the proposed bill, send emails to 


Anonymous said...

The GMO war transcends liberalism/conservatism, and is fueled by corporate America.

Anonymous said...

Joan, your second paragraph is a masterpiece of redirection. Let's accept the assertion that 80% of ingredients approved by the US FDA are banned in other countries, which I frankly find hard to believe. Still, this would seem to imply your acceptance of these other countries (China?) as arbiters of food safety for Americans. So what do you make of the fact that the European Food Safety Agency has approved many biotech events for feed, food and cultivation? Is your anti-science theology suddenly assuaged? I didn't think so...

Anonymous said...
If one (the president) appoints people who have worked for pesticide/herbicide companies to high positions in USDA, FDA, and EPA,
one could expect that many harmful chemicals (with long term use) will be approved in our food supply.

Its about making money not health.

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

I suppose what bothers me the most is that we are in a position where we must prove that these things are not safe, when they should be in a position of having to prove that they are. And then time goes by and more harm is done while we are trying to figure out how to make it stop.