Whose health is it anyway?

Whose health is it anyway?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an interesting study in contradiction. Not that this would stand out in Washington, where the accepted norm is to say one thing and do another; but when the health of the population is involved, we all need to take a hard look.

On the one hand, USDA poses as a health agency, issuing Dietary Guidelines for Americans. On the other hand, the agency favors what many consider antihealth interests. For example, USDA ignored the over 200,000 people who wrote in opposition to the planting of GM alfalfa and has given the biotech industry a “green” light.

The natural products industry wants to eliminate toxic chemicals from both our food supply and our environment. The USDA, meanwhile, is empowering corporate interests that are applying a massively lethal dose—an estimated 150 million more pounds per year—of these chemicals.

When we see studies revealing hundreds of toxins (some of which were banned years ago) in the blood of pregnant mothers and in the umbilical-cord blood of unborn children, that the USDA can be so political about decisions that have such profound ramifications is simply unconscionable.

The United States has failed for 25 years to pass a single law addressing the health and environmental consequences of GMOs. We have no mandatory labeling and no mandatory testing. According to Andrew Kimbrell, head of the Center for Food Safety, the USDA has not released an environmental impact statement on one single GMO plant.

The truth is that no one knows the long-term health or environmental consequences of GMOs. That’s the problem. We know that organic crops can be polluted by GMO crops, and that should be enough to call a halt. The government is sanctioning short-term profits to boost GNP tallies in what can only be viewed as a massive human experimentation program. (Remember the Atomic Energy Commission’s assurances that atmospheric nuke testing was perfectly safe?)

There are clearly sides in this battle of health vs. wealth and USDA has sided with the biotech, chemical and industrial-agriculture industries. These industries have contributed to lowering the nutritional quality of our produce (just taste a lifeless supermarket tomato), demineralizing our soils, polluting our groundwater and rivers, and increasing the toxic body burden of the population.

Eating more local, organic produce is certainly a good idea (not a specific USDA recommendation). But with all of the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and GMOs in the marketplace (not to mention growth hormones and antibiotics), our bodies—and especially those of our children—are under an unparalleled toxic assault. Without a doubt this requires the assistance of supplementation (over 70 percent of doctors take supplements themselves); it also requires a good dose of clear thinking.

Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Having the Department of Agriculture define health standards hasn’t yet made America the healthiest nation on Earth—only one of the fattest.

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