In addition to the personal attacks on seed cleaners, Monsanto is getting laws put into place that themselves are overwhelming and destructive of seed cleaners and all those who save normal seeds.
If Monsanto can eliminate seed cleaners, they would have accomplished a TOTAL monopoly in the Midwest, the bread basket of the world, and they would control world food, feed and now bio-fuel prices at will. They would, as well, have broken the fragile dam that seed cleaners and seed bankers now provide against the insanely-fast and just plain insane on-coming tide genetic engineering.
And Monsanto is working closely with the FDA in redefining seeds as a potential health hazard, subject to bioterrorism, and under that rubric to create rules for importation (controlling access)
Interim final rules on Prior Notice of Importation
rules for registering acceptable facilities (setting up corporate standards for the storage seeds, threatening small farmers)
rules for talking police control of the seeds (allowing for raids on farmers)
and rules for a level of record keeping almost impossible for small farmers and ordinary people to achieve.
"These new rules will allow FDA to better identify potentially dangerous foods, as well as respond more quickly to new threats and to handle foodborne illness outbreaks more efficiently."
Using the Bioterrorism Act and the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN), the FDA now has a focus on seeds which includes
- Prevention (federal and state surveillance sampling programs to monitor the food supply)
- Preparedness (strengthen laboratory capacity and capabilities)
- Response (surge capacity to handle terrorist attacks or a national emergency involving the food supply), and
- Recovery (support recalls, seizures, and disposal of contaminated food or feed to restore confidence in the food supply).
For those of you painfully familiar with what is happening to real milk dairy farmers and the government use of false "contamination" reports to raid farms, steal products ad equipment and terrorize and destroy farmers, it will be important to see how "bioterrorism" has now moved control over normal food even more tightly into the hands of government/corporate agencies, giving them national reach, crushing regulations for farmers, immense policing power over food, and the use of an emergency to be able to seize and destroy anything they choose.
At the level of seeds, it is important note that Monsanto is promoting every part of this.
The laboratories that FERN uses represent the FDA, FSIS, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, the Agricultural Marketing Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Agency. Other federal members of the FERN include the Agricultural Research Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security, the Laboratory Response Network (LRN) and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).
The FDA talks about "a safety net" for human health but it is one defined by corporation and one that is closing on small farmers' existence.
And even the FDA's basic food safety is being "set" in a way aimed to destroy seed cleaners and (if you will notice in the short list below) organic farming itself.
FDA's guidance on good agricultural practices (GAPs) can be found in the
FDA Guide to Minimize Microbial Hazards for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
where the key sources of contamination in seed production include:
- Agricultural water sources
- Use of manure as fertilizer
- Harvesting, transportation, and seed-cleaning equipment
- Seed storage facilities
Please note the FDA does not include Monsanto's petroleum-based fertlizers or pesticides, or GE-labs, as potential sources of contamination.
In addition to buying on seed companies, suing farmers, eliminating seed cleaners, putting laws against seed cleaning and saving into place, influencing the FDA and Homeland Security regulations on seeds that set farmers up to lose theirs in "food safety" or "bioterrorism" raids, a law in Canada pushed by the FDA, USDA and the WTO (all heavily involved with Monsanto) would criminalize all natural substances. Thought it initially seems to be "only" an attack by the pharmaceutical industry on all natural health substances, it would include seeds and seed banking. And it would become law in the US - and without any ability to vote against it - if the North American Union is passed.
We need to understand that the effort to defend Steve Hixon, a seed cleaner, is an effort to defend the right of all of us and of our farmers worldwide to OPEN access to normal seeds. We must protect those who collect and clean them and we must roll back the massive corporate efforts to utterly control them - by criminalizing any aspect of owning, growing, collecting, storing and re-using of them.
Seeds are life and survival itself and our human right to access to them is being taken over. That is why people are coming together now to help defend Steve Hixon, a seed cleaner.
For those interested in joining FarmOn, a list aimed at providing funds to support the legal teams gathering to help Hixon, go to firstname.lastname@example.org
and request to sign on.