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The 2009 Food 'Safety' Bills Harmonize Agribusiness Practices in Service of Corporate Global Governance

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Those who are concerned about what the Organic Consumers Association calls the real Monsanto bill, The Global Food Security Act (SB 384), can see Taylor's contribution to that piece of legislation by reviewing a report he wrote for a think tank called the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa. The report, "Beating Africa's Poverty By Investing in Africa's Infrastructure,"(7) supports the expansive agenda of biotech firms. The organization is funded in part by the Rockefeller and Gates foundations, and Taylor's work product provides the rational for SB 384.(8) According the organization's website, it aims to "implement Partnership activities to strengthen agricultural and rural enterprises and to facilitate their integration into regional, national and global markets" by bringing together "core representatives from U.S. and Africa-based private and public organizations who have experience with Africa's agriculture and trade-related issues." To give him credit, Taylor is relentless and prolific. If only his work sought to empower rather than enslave.

Since shedding the title of Vice President of Monsanto, Taylor has been busy promoting the concept of "risk assessment" as a means to deal with food-borne illness as an alternative to urging regulatory agencies to actually enforce laws already on the books and to adequately fund them so they could do so. Like "substantial equivalence," the risk assessment conceit offers a great opportunity to change the system to benefit corporate interests. Taylor has spent years churning out the necessary conceptual building blocks in cross-pollinating think tanks and foundations to create the intellectual framework for legislative proposals like these food "safety" bills.

The reports produced by the Trust of America's Health rely heavily on "risk assessment, management and communication," a form of message control hatched at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, a corporate-funded affair that provides "scientific" justification for a wide range of policies corporations want to see implemented. Using this method of risk analysis, the necessary justification can be produced for just about whatever outcome is wished by the underwriters.

It's no real surprise that Taylor's think-tank-funded policy on risk assessment, like his report "Food Safety Updated: Developing Tools for a More Science- and Risk-Based Approach,"(9) underwritten by the Milbank Memorial Fund and Resources for the Future, has been embraced and institutionalized by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

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Codex A Tool of Global Governance by Corporate Command

If some variation of this batch of bad bills is passed into legislation, US citizens will find their laws considerably closer to becoming harmonized with Codex Alimentarius, a set of international food codes crafted by unaccountable and unelected bureaucrats in conjunction with vested industry and trade interests. It's important that the public learns more about Codex, because its "standards" will be enforced by the World Trade Organization to govern global trade practices of all its member nations. Furthermore, this body of food codes will take legal precedence over national laws, like the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).

The US media are assiduously silent on the matter of Codex. Under the helpful cover of the media's information blackout, Codex Alimentarius Commission meetings are regularly attended by officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, State, Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of US Trade Representative, and the US Codex Office. Non-governmental agencies in attendance at the meetings include the 49th Parallel Biotechnology Consortium, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Consumers Union, Crop Life International, Dow Chemical, Dupont, the European Association of Bioindustries, the Grain and Feed Trade Association, the International Cooperative Alliance, the International Council of Beverages Associations, the International Council of Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Institute of Food Technologists, the International Glutamate Technical Committee and the International Life Sciences Institute, Monsanto, and Sygenta, among others with the exception, that is, of any democratically elected and accountable representatives of citizens these food codes will affect.

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The standards created by the Codex Alimentarius Commission are set to enable industry interests to dictate and control rules covering vitamins, minerals and nutrients, genetically modified plants and livestock, toxic residues, antibiotics, drugs, growth stimulants and other hormones in food and animals, organic foods, the irradiation of plants and animal food and nanotechnology. Scott Tips, President of the National Health Federation, the only accredited health freedom organization allowed to participate at Codex meetings, projects that these standards are on tract to be implemented sometime between 2011 and 2013.

Codex committees -- such as the Codex Committees on Food Additives and Contaminants (CCFAC), Pesticide Residues (CCPR), Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods (CCRVDF), Food Hygiene (CCFH), General Principles (CCGP), Food Labeling (CCFL), Nutrition and Food for Dietary Uses (CCNFDU), Import and Export Inspection and Certification Systems (CCFICS) and Methods of Analysis an Sampling (CCMAS) all employ the concept of risk management to determine the rules they recommend to the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC).

Codex standards are of critical importance to agribusiness, because they are acknowledged as the appropriate guidelines in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreements of the WTO Agreement. While the WTO had provisions that allowed member states to create barriers to trade by citing national legislation to ensure food safety, those provisions would become void, thanks to the SPS and TBT agreements, if an international safety standard created by Codex determined otherwise. So, thanks to the unelected and unaccountable private deal-makers who wrote these trade agreements, Codex rules will trump national law.

Meet the Missus -- Christine Lewis Taylor

Undermining US law for the benefit of multinational corporations is a family affair in the Taylor household. To see how the concept of "risk assessment" can be usefully abused, let's look at how Mrs. Michael Taylor adopts the conceit to her purposes.

Christine Lewis Taylor, a veteran FDA employee, has been busy working up the "scientific" justification for placing a cap on the level of nutrients people should be allowed to consume. To do so, she pushes a perverse concept that defines nutrients as toxins. In other words, Mrs. Taylor would like us all to believe that the vitamins and minerals needed by cells throughout the body in order to function and detoxify should be considered hazardous, requiring governmental oversight that would limit people's exposure to them under law.

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After a stint heading up the Codex delegation on the Committee on Food Labeling and another as a delegate to Codex's Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses, Christine Lewis Taylor was farmed out by the Institute of Medicine to the World Health Organization, where she played an instrumental role as Project Director in applying the risk assessment model to redefine nutrition as we know it. Her mission: To develop the framework whereby an "upper safe limit" would be set, defining the amount supplements the public should be allowed to purchase except by prescription. In her WHO capacity, she organized a seminar, selected the scientists who would be allowed to participate in it, and oversaw the group's published conclusion.(10)

US law regulates supplements as food. But the pharmaceutical industry wants to change that and have supplements regulated as drugs, and bureaucrats like Mrs. Taylor are doing what they can to comply. Taylor argues that people are exposed to too many nutrients and wants to see the establishment of a one-size-fits-all international standard set that stipulates how much of each nutrient people need, a amount that in some cases is less than the already established recommended daily allowances.(11)

But the good news, at least for pharmaceutical companies, is that there would be more profit to be made in treating a host of vitamin-deficiency diseases. And, once these guidelines are adopted by Codex, people would no longer have the freedom to purchase therapeutic amounts of dietary supplements to compensate for a nutrient-deficient and legally poisoned food supply to which we're subjected. Supplements would no longer be consider food as they are under DSHEA but instead would be regulated as drugs, available only by prescription or in amounts so limited as to render them insufficiently helpful in the prevention of disease.

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Nicole Johnson is a researcher and activist living in Ventura county, California. Her kids wish she would go back to painting and stop worrying so much about the world.

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