New Eastern Outlook
by F. William Engdahl
Today many countries are in a deep battle to decide whether to allow or prohibit Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). In Russia the government has been in a heated debate for months over a possible ban. China has rejected US shipments of corn for containing illegal GMO corn from Syngenta. Brazil is moving away from GMO soybean cultivation to certified Non-GMO soya. India is also in a heated governmental battle over GMOs .
Sometimes I find it enjoyable to report when something positive and healthy for us takes place. Such is the case with what may seem a tiny development, but in reality marks an extremely important shift that could have profound effect on our food security. It has to do with chickens, chickens sold in Germany. It is perhaps a marker in a global war for our future food health.
Some brief background is in order.
In February this year the German Poultry Association (Zentralverband der Deutschen Geflügelwirtschaft e.V. or ZDG), unilaterally declared that it was stopping using GMO-free animal feed, following similar moves by other associations in England and Denmark. They claimed that there was a worldwide shortage of certified GMO-free soya, a prime component in industrial chicken feed today.
It turns out that was a lie, a lie clearly to the interest of the world’s largest patented GMO soya seed purveyor, Monsanto, who dominates USA and Argentina GMO soya cultivation. The world soybean cultivation is dominated by three growing regions—USA, Argentina and Brazil. The only one of the three that still can certify significant no-GMO soybeans is Brazil, something Monsanto and the GMO food cartel would like to end. It’s no minor issue. Far away most of the GMO acreage under cultivation in the world today is for GMO soybeans or GMO corn.
Battle lines drawn
At the end of August, battle lines were becoming clearly defined in a war for German and, in reality, global food security. At the end of August, a group of the most powerful German supermarkets demanded from the German Poultry Association (ZDG) to stop using GMO feed for both egg and poultry meat production, starting from January 1st 2015.
In early December Germany’s largest poultry producer, Weisenhof, based in Lower Saxony, raised the white flag of surrender and announced that it will return to using GMO-free animal feed due to “consumer demand.” Alexander Hissting of VLOG (Association of Food without Genetic Engineering) told the German Der Spiegel: “We expect an almost complete return of the poultry meat industry to GMO-free production in the coming months.”
A group of Germany’s leading Supermarket groups, not content with the ZDG explanation, had consulted the Brazilian soybean producers following the claim by ZDG. The supermarkets found they had been lied to by the poultry association. The reason the ZDG gave for not continuing GMO-free soya feeding was not the case. There is clearly enough Brazilian GMO-free feed in the system to supply Europe’s needs.
I have absolutely no personal or commercial interest in any of the following supermarket groups. In the interest of greater consumer awareness, I am naming the German supermarkets that have so far fought and apparently are about to win the rollback of the ZDG that consumers might be able to decide themselves where they buy their family’s poultry.
In 2013 a grouping of twelve of the largest Supermarket groups in the European Union, eight of them based in Germany, signed what is known as the Brussels Soy Declaration. It demanded that EU consumers and farmers have the choice whether to eat or use non- GMO soya. It was a direct reaction to the announcement by some UK supermarkets that they would be using GMO Soy in animal feed for the first time.
The Brussels Soy Declaration, a direct blow to Monsanto, Syngenta, BASF and other GMO producers, declared “full support of the continued, and even expanded, production of GMO-free soy in Brazil in order to provide European consumers with GMO-free food products, thereby giving them the option to exercise their right to individual food sovereignty.”
It was no PR stunt. They clearly meant it, and that gives ground for celebration. The German Supermarkets signing the Brussels Soy Declaration were Edeka, Lidl, Rewe, Tegut, Deutsche Verband Tiernahrung e. V. (DVT), Kaufland, Kaiser’s Tengelmann, Netto Marken-Discount. Spar of Austria, Colruyt Group of Belgium, Sonae of Portugal and the Swiss Soya Network also signed. Anyone who has ever gone grocery shopping in Germany can recognize that this is a powerful coalition in the secret war for our food security.
Next battle: EU Parliament
The war, however, enters a new phase next month. In January 2015, the European Parliament will vote whether member states can decide for themselves to grow GMO crops or not. That opens the door to corrupt national officials such as in the UK to sanction GMO for the first time. In an extraordinary move to warn against such a move, a group of United States citizens took the unusual step of buying a full page ad in the London Times and billboard space in London to warn British citizens about the reality of allowing GMO cultivation and consumption.
The open letter was signed by individuals and organizations representing some 57 million Americans and included American celebrities Susan Sarandon, Daryl Hannah and Robert Kennedy Jr, US NGOs, trade groups and businesses such as Food & Water Watch, the Sierra Club, the Rachel Carson Council, Friends of the Earth, the Organic Consumers Association.
The signed letter documented two decades of catastrophe in US agriculture from GMO untested use: “We are writing as concerned American citizens to share with you our experience of genetically modified (GMO) crops and the resulting damage to our agricultural system and adulteration of our food supply. In our country, GMO crops account for about half of harvested cropland. Around 94% of the soy, 93% of corn (maize) and 96% of cotton grown is GMO,” the Open Letter stated. “GMO crops were released onto the market with a promise that they would consistently increase yields and decrease pesticide use. They have done neither. In fact, according to a recent US government report yields from GMO crops can be lower than their non-GMO equivalents. Farmers were told that GMO crops would yield bigger profits too. The reality, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, is different…”
The Open Letter from America continues the devastating indictment of their twenty-year USA experience with GMO, adding that the, “cost of growing these crops has spiraled. GMO seeds cannot legally be saved for replanting, which means farmers must buy new seeds each year. Biotech companies control the price of seeds, which cost farmers 3-6 times more than conventional seeds. This, combined with the huge chemical inputs they require, means GMO crops have proved more costly to grow than conventional crops. Because of the disproportionate emphasis on GMO crops, conventional seed varieties are no longer widely available leaving farmers with less choice and control over what they plant.”
It was President George Herbert Walker Bush who opened the door to Monsanto in 1992, when he endorsed as US government policy Monsanto’s fraudulent Doctrine of Substantial Equivalence, which allowed Monsanto to literally get away with murder and proliferate their GMO seeds on an unknowing American public with no independent US Government health and safety long-term tests.
The citizen revolt against the robbing of our food sovereignty and food security is taking a major positive new dimension with the defeat of the German ZDG decision. We can enjoy the small victories for human respect and decency, while we move on to other larger engagements.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”