Today, the principle topic of discussion is, admittedly, rather dark and depressing for the Europeans among us, but crucial information I would not have you be without a moment longer, nevertheless.
I hope you’re not as shocked as I was. And that you follow the SIMPLE post-bombshell advice offered.
But before I dive in, I have a little favour to ask each and every one of you.
Perhaps I’m being a little cheeky, given that you are currently on a mandatory lesser-quota of posts-per-week for the time being, but my request is actually connected to the reason I’m being less prolific with my posts.
You know that website I’m working on (I think I may have mentioned it once or twice)? Well, it’s been suggested that I have a testimonials section.
So you can pretty much guess what the favour is: would you be willing to write me a testimonial to take pride of place on my forthcoming website?
It doesn’t have to be long and rambling; short and sweet works just as well (hopefully with the emphasis on the sweet bit).
Let your keyboard run wild, or, if you’re not sure what to write, the questions below may act as a useful guide. But please don’t answer them one by one, though, or all the testimonials will sound similar! They’re just suggestions to prompt you in the right direction.
If you can squeeze a few minutes in for me over the next two weeks, I will be forever in your debt. But then again, any time is good.
Just click the comment button on this or any other post and type away.
And if you could end your comments with your name (or blog name/whatever), your age, the country you are from, and your occupation, that would be fine and dandy. And, more importantly, it won’t look like I made them up myself!
For those of you for whom English is a second language, don’t worry, I’ll tidy the writing up if needs be.
Here are the questions to help if you need:
a) Do you find the information in the posts useful?
b) Do you trust and rely on what is written?
c) Do you find the posts inspiring?
d) Do you find yourself wanting to/actually sharing them with people?
e) Do you look forward to reading them?
f) How do you find the writing style?
g) Do they ever make you smile or laugh?
h) Does it enable you to be more conscious and to make better choices?
i) Have any posts motivated you to change anything about the way you eat/cook/live generally? If so, what?
j) How is this blog better/different to others on similar subject that you have read?
But now, here we go with some less-than-sunny tidings. Some of you may already be well aware of this, but it came as a blow to me, so I thought I’d better share it.
Remember my three-part blogs about Monsanto and GM crops? In one of them, I mentioned that I had written to my MP, asking him to find me a definitive answer as to the EXACT current scenario on GMs in the UK and Europe.
And find he did. Edward Garnier has been my MP for the last 12 years, and I have to say, right here, right now, that he is the most on-the-case, I-don’t-come-out-of-hibernation-just-before-election-time MP I have ever encountered. You only have to ask, and the job is done. EVERY time. If only they were all like that.
But his findings don’t bode well, I’m afraid.
I don’t know whether Edward used bright lights, waterboarding, or just a casual email, but the following is the response he received from Lord de Mauley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Natural Environment and Science. (This guy must carry some pretty large business cards to get all of that on one line).
I’ve added my own comments at the end of each section.
“In the European Union, GM products can only be marketed if they pass a robust, science based safety assessment, with the independent European Food Safety Authority playing a central role in the process.”
Hmm. What does “central role” mean? The one thing it implies to me is that they are not the only ones “testing” these GM products. As you know from the posts on Monsanto, it is pretty standard practice for the companies themselves to submit their own test results. I cannot know for definite that this is the case here, but you have to wonder how many of the conclusions are an “inside job”.
“Under the EU regime to date, over 40 different types of GM crop have been approved for use as imported food or animal feed products.”
A-ha! So they are ALREADY in our food chain, then.
“EU legislation also requires that any food or feed ingredients made from an authorised GM crop have to be labelled to ensure choice.”
Even when I wasn’t eating only organic, I never used to look out for the dreaded initials on the rare occasions I would buy food in packaging. Why?
Because I always believed the urban myth that the UK and Europe was a GM foods-free zone.
Conclusion: START CHECKING YOUR PACKAGING NOW. Or don’t buy stuff in packets.
I THINK veggies are safe, but maybe only for a short while, as you will learn in a moment.
With regard to labelling, this is what Claire, my on-line marketing guru, website creator and friend, found when looking for cheese in her local Co-Op TODAY:
As an aside, according to the Vegetarian Society’s website, and I quote: “the traditional source of rennet is the stomach of slaughtered newly-born calves. Vegetarian cheeses are manufactured using rennet from either fungal/bacterial sources or genetically modified micro-organisms.”
But back to the case in point. According to the information in my letter, you can check here to see what foods available in the UK and Europe contain GM foods. Phew.
Actually, not phew.
I typed in “cheese” and then I had to choose from a list in another automatic drop-down bar. The problem with this was that the drop-down list only contained certain crops to choose from, such as oilseed rape and soy. And cheese isn’t a crop, is it?
In this, we find yet another great example of so-called “freedom of information” for consumers which, in reality, is less use than the proverbial ashtray on a motorbike and about as free as Rolf Harris will (hopefully) soon find himself.
But now for the REAL shocker (it sent me reeling, anyway):
“The use of GM feed has become commonplace in the UK and EU livestock sector, especially imported soya. According to the European Feed Manufacturers’ Association, about 85% of the EU’s compound animal feed production includes approved GM material.”
So, there you have it, plain and simple: If you eat non-organic meat, this stuff is already in your system.
And I would hazard a guess that your poor digestive system is currently grappling – albeit second-hand – with Monsanto soy, most likely grown somewhere in South America and put into feed, which was then given to the animals you’ve been eating.
Are we talking Roundup-ready soy? Almost certainly, but why take the risk anyway? Read part one of my Monsanto trilogy to find out why you should switch IMMEDIATELY to organic meat (which has never been reared on GM feed), or, of course, cut meat out all together.
“Organic’s too expensive”, I hear a throng of you chorus in union. Even if you’re a firm believer that you NEED meat to survive (you don’t, by the way; I’m doing just fine), you certainly don’t need it every day. So buy organic only, and if that means only eating meat three times a week, then so be it.
The letter continues:
“No GM crops are being commercially cultivated in the UK, but there is one field trial of “False Flax” (Camelina sativa) taking place at a site in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.”
Lord de Mauley then offers the following link with more information on this crop:
(I’ve just looked up Rothamsted Research, and they are a research facility conveniently close to Harpenden, so you can hazard a guess that this is the place in charge of the “experiment”).
The letter goes on to offer more links about GM crop cultivation more generally, and concludes:
“The Government considers safety as paramount and we will only agree to the planting of GM crops or the marketing of GM products if there is a sound basis for concluding that people and the environment will not be harmed.”
Well, I think that Arpad Pusztai already set these particular parameters for Europe and the UK way back in 1998. And when he expressed these less-than-positive findings to the British public, he was disgraced, discredited and, oh yes, promptly sacked. All after being hailed a hero for a short-lived 24 hours. I will leave you to draw your own conclusions on that one.
But there is something YOU can do now to stop this getting even more out of hand than it already is. Below is a link to an easy-to-sign-in-seconds petition raised by www.sumofus.org who have their beady eyes on Monsanto and the pro-GM lobby at all times.
Their latest petition is to draw YOUR MP’s attention to the fact that GM crops could be planted in Europe as soon as next year.
Look at the progression of events here and you can begin to understand how Monsanto and other companies like it manage to creep in under the radar. First they get a toe in the door, then a foot, and then, hey presto, GMs are everywhere. Just like they are in the States. But once things get to that stage, it will be too late, nature, power and politics being what they are.
Sure, it’s taken pro-GM companies a lot longer to get into Europe and the EU, probably thanks to the out-spokennes of dear, old Arpad and our cultural tendency towards suspicion more generally.
But with each step, things get a little easier, starting with trials being allowed in Leicestershire (and elsewhere) around 15 years ago (when I was a news reporter), then GM soy being permitted in animal feeds. Now there are more crop trials, and very soon – UNLESS YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT NOW – they will start being commercially grown EVERYWHERE that EU legislation presides.
So sign the petition below. And do it now. Do it for yourself. For your kids. For their kids. Or for your goldfish. I don’t care about your motivation, just act. It’s the only sane thing to do. And then share it:
And believe me, it won’t be a simple case of ambling along to your local supermarket and studying the labels in a tactic of avoidanace; as you know from my earlier posts, it doesn’t take long for forces of nature to cross-pollinate non-GM crops with GM versions. And before you know it, there is no longer a choice. (Look at India’s stock of cotton seed – not a grain of non-GM to be found now).
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it is YOUR future health, and the future health of YOUR CHILDREN that is at stake here. And what is more important than that?
So if you’ve only got time either to write me a testimonial, or to sign the above petition and share it, then please go for option B.
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