My own thoughts: cleanliness, clean air, clean food, clean water, clean mind and clean thoughts. Powerful food connection. As consumers, we do have the right to know what is in our food and we demand to label it!
On GMO bt corn, ... " genetically engineered food has the ability to create new, unintended toxins and increase allergens and other health problems. I site this 2011 study out of Canada where Canadian researchers found that 93% of blood samples and 80% of fetal cord blood samples contain a toxic found in a genetically engineered corn, Bt corn, that produces its own pesticides." ~
Words from the Food Revolution Summit:
Elizabeth Kucinich is director of government affairs for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Her husband Dennis Kucinich is an 8-term member of the United States Congress and a leading champion for the regulation of GMOs and for healthier school lunches, along with many other causes. They spoke candidly about the struggle and significance of enacting legislative change to food policy. Dennis: “(The genetic engineering struggle) reminds me so much of the battles that were going on over tobacco, where people were actually told in another era that tobacco is good for you, smoking cigarettes was healthy.” Dennis: “Independent studies show that genetically engineered food has the ability to create new, unintended toxins and increase allergens and other health problems. In a 2011 study out of Canada, researchers found that 93% of blood samples and 80% of fetal cord blood samples contain a toxic found in a genetically engineered corn, Bt corn, that produces its own pesticides.” Elizabeth: “Immediately after the Haitian earthquake Monsanto offered to donate hundreds of tons of GMO seeds to Haitian farmers. The Peasant Farmers Movement actually got together and 10,000 strong demonstrated in the streets and symbolically burned the seeds in protest. They understand the effects (the GMO direction would have on) seed supply, food sovereignty, and the pesticides and artificial fertilizers that would be necessitated by growth of these crops.”
Dennis: "We need a serious discussion in America about the impact of monopolies in agriculture. The horizontal and vertical monopolies that have taken place have created a monolith that includes pharmaceuticals, the chemical and biotech industries, and it includes banks that back them up. We learned that when banks were too big to fail, they brought down our economy. Monopolies in agriculture present a threat not just to our freedom but our ability to survive because you have to have food to eat. Monopolies in agriculture and banking have destroyed family farmers and made America a less democratic nation.” Many Summit speakers have encouraged participants to join in the GMO labeling struggle, and Just Label It is a great place to start.
Introduction to the interview:
Ocean Robbins: Welcome to The Food Revolution Summit where we explore how can heal your body and your world with food. This is Ocean Robbins and I am joined by my dad, John Robbins, in welcoming our guest duo, Elizabeth Kuchinich and her husband, Congressman Dennis Kuchinich. Elizabeth Kuchinich is the Director of Government Affairs for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. She and her husband, eight term Congressman Dennis Kuchinich are passionate peach, animal and health advocates. They both connect the impact of empowered individual choice to the global picture of social responsibility. Congressman Kuchinich was the youngest person ever to lead a major American city when he was elected Mayor of Cleveland at the age of 31. He has been a leading champion in the US Congress for the regulation of GMOs and for healthier school lunches along with many, many other causes.
Congressman Kuchinich has been honored by Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth and The League of Conservation Voters as a champion for clean air, clean water and an unspoiled earth. Elizabeth and Dennis, you are both such lights of integrity and service and love in this world. It is an honor and a joy for both my dad and me to consider you precious friends as well as to be inspired by your wisdom. Here to interview you is my dad, John Robbins.
John Robbins: Well thank you Ocean and thank you Dennis and Elizabeth for joining us. I know all of our listeners are grateful for the opportunity to connect with you, to hear you and to put into action your visions. We have a large listenership of very committed people. I want to start by asking you Dennis, it seems like every year you have introduced legislation in the House that would require genetically engineered foods to be labeled. Similar bills have been introduced in eighteen state legislatures but none has ever passed, despite polls showing that about 90% of the American public is in favor of labeling. Recently Monsanto has actually threatened to sue the State of Vermont if legislators there pass a GMO labeling bill. In your view, what is at stake in these battles and why have you been so persistent in seeking labeling?
An excerpt from the interview:
Dennis Kuchinich: Well what is at stake is our liberty, literally
our right to know and when you have Monsanto threatening the Government of the State of Vermont, then you know that Monsanto has become too big. Then you know that Monsanto, it reflects on their consistent effort to subvert the political process to deny the American people the right to know. Now, you are right John, I have introduced this bill for many congresses. Now I have a three part bill with the Genetically Engineered Right to Know Act and other legislation which is a Genetically Engineered Safety Act and a Genetically Engineered Farmer Protection Act. The labeling bill right now has 25 co-sponsors. So we are slowly but surely cranking up the public support from across the country. You said it; over 90% of the people want to know how their food is made let alone what’s in it.
John Robbins: Many of our listeners understand the dangers of letting companies like Monsanto or DuPont or Dow control the seed supply. Do you think public opinion around the Biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment is reaching a tipping point?
Dennis Kuchinich: Not yet. Farmers certainly are aware of the crisis. We want to make sure they are empowered to save their seeds and to seek compensation if they are contaminated by genetically engineered crops. The public is only dimly aware of this. Let me give you one of the reasons why. When I first proposed this over a dozen years ago, I brought it up to the House of Representatives, Monsanto let loose with a huge advertising campaign with men in white coats and petri dishes talking about how they were going to save the world from hunger with their genetically engineered products. They did that in order to try to break any hope for public support for a labeling bill. The American people are largely unaware of the fact that the food they are eating is genetically engineered and they don’t know that the Food and Drug Administration said in 1993 that genetically modified organisms were the substantive equivalent of conventional food. They did that without any tests or peer reviewed science. That’s what Monsanto wanted.
John Robbins: And since then what Monsanto has wanted, for the most part, it seems Monsanto has gotten.
Dennis Kuchinich: It’s a kind of corruption that exists at every level where corporations have influence over public policy and inevitably corporations are going to ruin public health unless they are held to a higher standard, unless there is labeling, unless we say that people do have a right to know. This reminds me so much of the battles that were going on over tobacco, where people were actually told in another era that tobacco is good for you, smoking cigarettes were good. They tried to promote all kinds of so called benefits and later on people found out they cause cancer. There hasn’t been any longitudinal studies on human health done for the consumption of genetically engineered products and yet we know that these products do have affects and we know that people should have a right to understand if there are implications with respect to allerginicity, toxicity, antibiotic resistance, these are all things that a Genetically Engineered Right to Know Act would take into account. So John Robbins, thank you so much for the attention that you pay to this and we are going to keep working at it in Congress to not just raise members' awareness but to make sure they take that back to their constituents to talk about the broader implications of genetically modified organisms and the way our food is manufactured.
Dennis Kuchinich: When we talk about food, we have to have a revolution or an evolution in human consciousness about food, not only with respect to how it is made but also with respect to the effect that the consumption of certain food has on human health. There is no question that the choices that we make empower a culture and in turn empower us if we choose a healthy diet, if we choose a sustainable diet, if we choose diets that are free of toxins and unknown quantities.
John Robbins: Well I want to ask you both something, in view of what you just said Dennis, it is nevertheless the case that Federal agricultural subsidies primarily go to unhealthy foods, actually almost two-thirds of the money currently goes to meat and dairy products while less than 1% goes to fruits and vegetables. We also heavily subsidize genetically engineered feed grains, corn and soy to feed livestock and factory farms and we do that at a time when we have the highest rate of obesity of any country in the world, at a time in which one in three US children born today will get diabetes, and yet we subsidize the foods that make us sick rather than those that would help us become healthier.
Dennis Kuchinich: ... so I am letting members know in California that by labeling genetically engineered food we can determine whether these foods are causing any health problems and give consumers the power to decide if they wish to avoid them. With California’s lull in agriculture this is going to be a very important initiative in that state and I am glad to be able to play a role as a member of the United States Congress to contact the dozens of members in the delegation to let them know about it and to enlist their support.
There will be many Members of Congress coming on board to support the initiative and so I think that if we get enough of them they can help pass it.!