By Megan Kargher
Take a moment to pause and consider what it is you are eating on a daily basis. More and more people are trying to consume a healthy diet these days. Just what constitutes a healthy diet is a matter of great contention. Many including myself contend that limiting your exposure to pesticides, food additives and genetically modified (GM or GMO) foods is a good start and thus have begun eating organic foods. In order to eat only healthy natural foods we must first determine, how organic is organic? Will organic and homegrown foods be bred and legislated out of existence? What is Codex Alimentarius and how does it and corporate farming threaten bio-diversity, organic farms and even personal allotments or home gardens?
For those of us committed to improving or maintaining our health by eating a balanced organic diet, the agenda of corporate farming and governmental regulations complying with the Codex Alimentarius proposals spell disaster. This not only affects our access and right to additive-free, pesticide-free, industrially produced chemical-fertilizer-free and non-genetically-modified organic foods, it also threatens every participating country's rights of national sovereignty. In the United States of America the new federal food bills also threaten the constitutional sovereignty of the states.
What is Codex Alimentarius? Codex Alimentarius is an organization which works in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, which were all formed by the United Nations. Let's have a look at what they have to say about themselves on their website, click here. Under the heading 'Understanding Codex Alimentarius' in the very first paragraph of the prefix you will find:
"The Codex Alimentarius, or the food code, has become the global reference point for consumers, food producers and processors, national food control agencies and the international food trade. The code has had an enormous impact on the thinking of food producers and processors as well as on the awareness of the end users the consumers. Its influence extends to every continent, and its contribution to the protection of public health and fair practices in the food trade is immeasurable."
The reach and influence of Codex Alimentarius is undoubtedly global. There are 180 member countries, including such notables as Canada, the USA, every member state of the EU, Switzerland, Israel, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, China, Japan and Australia. Has this influence done more harm than good? Has the world seen an increase in the availability of healthy food products and fair trade? China is producing toxic baby formula. The USA is trying to legislate seed cleaning and seed banks. Use of toxic food additives like aspartame are increasingly pervasive in common international food products, including those products intended for children. More land is being planted with GM food crops every year.
All of the countries on the continent of Africa except one are members of Codex Alimentarius and a fat lot of good it has done them. There are still slaves used in the agricultural industry in many parts of Africa, most notably the coco industry. Many who work for the big food producing corporations are little better than slaves, not just in Africa. I have personally seen the effects of the large fish canneries in West African Nations such as Ghana and Togo. I have seen the brands on the market shelves in the USA, Europe and Canada while the local Africans dry their small catch on the pavement or smoke it in small community smoke houses, left with have barely enough to survive.
Why is it that Africans are starving when their governments ascribe to Codex Alimentarius? They are starving because their food is in Western shops for sale and not their own markets. Why are we drinking wines from Africa when those grapes could be dried into raisins and distributed to feed the children of Africa? Many Africans are starving because availability of indigenous hardy plant seed is reduced and the price of quality indigenous strains of seed inflated. Farmers in Africa and all over the non-western world are finding that GM and western plant seeds will not grow properly or at all, particularly when using the traditional farming methods in these areas. Crop failure equals starvation in many agrarian societies and GM crops have been a total failure for many poor farmers. The bottom line is they are starving because both governments and Codex Alimentarius are corrupt and serve not the public interest but the interest of the large multinational corporations, like Monsanto.
In the Western countries the influence of Codex Alimentarius and its corporate cronies is just as pervasive. In the USA more and more restrictive food laws are being passed as I write. A new bill introduced in the house of representatives, H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, has ominous implications for organic farmers. It also threatens farmers' ability to collect and store their own seeds as they have been doing for centuries. In addition, the American government's refusal to label products containing GM foods means that any food product sold or exported from the USA can potentially contain GM ingredients.
You may be exposing yourself to GM ingredients even when buying organic products. A recent study done by Professors Mark Partridge and Denis Murphy, at Glamorgan University in Wales, detected traces of GM ingredients in 10 of the 25 organic food samples tested. Professor Murphy stated, "We have recently observed that many soya products now carry 'GM free' or 'organic' labels, both of which imply an absence of GM ingredients in these foods. However, most of the soya now produced in the world comes from GM varieties."
Plants in non-GM crops are having their genetics affected by neighboring GM fields. Wind and insect borne cross-pollination is threatening many of the corn species in Mexico. GM pollen has also affected at least one man's honey crop in Germany, causing him to dispose of his harvest and relocate his bees so they would not have access to GM plants.
A wide variety of livestock are fed GM grains and then people eat the eggs, milk products and meat from these animals. If the grain does not need to be labeled GM, how can you be certain you are eating eggs, dairy and meat that are organic?
Natural foods are essential in order to ensure your own good health and that of future generations. Buy your food from local reputable organic farmers. Where and when possible you should grow your own produce. We must all refuse to accept unreasonable governmental restrictions on organic farms and gardens by actively resisting these laws and bills. Make your voice heard before it is too late. Human beings have the unalienable right to grow and eat healthy foods as well as a right to harvest and store the seeds produced by their crops.