Blog Archives

Retailers in Corner on Climate Change

world climate conf paris

The World Climate Change Conference in Paris is under way, attended by over 150 countries. In a message received today, from William Taylor, co-ordinator of Farmers for Action, Northern Ireland (second left, meeting on farmgate prices) writes:

WT farmgate pricesThis has brought into sharp focus just where our world is with industrial pollution, food production and its value and the value of farmers.

According to Sir David Attenborough, Barack Obama and others there is still time to fix this, but only just and we must act now for the sake of our children and future generations!

Now we have the corporates, food wholesalers, retailers and processors in a corner.

How can they mention the word ‘green’ yet import New Zealand lamb during 2015 when there is plenty already here, purely for profit and to play off New Zealand farmers against UK farmers and vice versa. (Ed: see MP Caroline Lucas’: Stopping the great food swap: Relocalising Europe’s food supply).

How can they import beef even from Poland when there is plenty here already and so the list goes on – but no longer! FFA intend to hold the corporates and Westminster Government to account on their carbon foot print at every turn by exposing their green credentials for the pharisees that they currently are.

Furthermore, FFA would warn the Government about pointing the finger at livestock methane emissions (which are being improved on) which disperse in 20 years – while the corporate food world plays fast and loose with carbon footprints and the resulting CO2 emissions that take 200 years to disperse, purely for profit, with the Government’s blessing, while UK farmers go broke.

FFA are calling for the Westminster Government to introduce the pre-EU Isle of Man system, where regional produce, which must come from the nearest source, must all be used first and foremost before any is imported.

US cannot turn up at a climate change conference in Paris in full support and then agree to have the same food – eg beef – sailing to the US whilst another ship sails to the UK with the same cargo. This is but one example of the double standards of the UK Government and Europe on climate change that FFA are not prepared to tolerate!

Farmers For Action

56 Cashel Road, Macosquin, Coleraine, BT51 4NU

Tel. 028 703 43419 / 07909744624

Email taylor.w@btconnect.com

The Guardian, Marc Gunther and some NGOs can’t be trusted on GMOs

The Guardian is said to have received money from the Gates Foundation, promoters of industrial agriculture, from biotech company Syngenta, for a supplement on food security. Several years ago announced at an editorial meeting that it was now pro GMO – a potentially lucrative stance which appears to persist.

marc guntherSan Francisco based author Marc Gunther, writes on business and sustainability for the Fortune Magazine (Fortune 500 & Fortune 100 companies) – like his father before him – and for Guardian Sustainable Business US, launched two years ago.

In a recent Guardian article, Gunther notes that NGOs are trusted, far more than corporations or the government, but adds that when it comes to genetically modified foods, they don’t always stick to the truth.

Despite the public relations and political pressure to accept genetically modified foods, he rues the fact that 48%, according to Gallup or more according to ABC NEWS poll and others – would prefer not to eat foods produced using genetic engineering:

“Some fear that they pose a serious health hazard, despite assurances from corporations, government regulators and mainstream scientists that the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) now on the market are safe”.

Ironically however, he admits that the US “does not require genetically engineered plants to be proven safe” and further – that “it’s impossible to prove that GMOs or, for that matter, conventional foods are safe”.

Antoniou and Robinson elucidate:

Research on GM foods commissioned by the European Union (EU) is often claimed to conclude that GM foods are safe. This is a misrepresentation of this research project, most of which was not designed to examine the safety of specific GM foods.

Three animal feeding studies from the project that did examine the safety of a GM food raise concerns, including differences in organ weights and immune responses in the GM-fed animals. These findings should be followed up in long-term studies.

Gunther: “Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years” – but we note that there are serious misgivings about America’s health record.

dr christopher walker global healthThe Economist reports new research by Dr Christopher Murray (right) and his team from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (University of Washington). This was published in Journal of the American Medical Association and presented to government officials at a White House event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. The research published data showing that both sexes have longer periods of illness in later life and a lower life expectancy than their peers in the OECD – parts of West Virginia and Mississippi faring worse than Bangladesh and Algeria. Alzheimer’s disease, liver cancer, Parkinson’s and kidney cancer were on the upswing, accounting for a significant increase in premature deaths in the U.S.

Gunther notes legitimate reasons to oppose GMOs:

  • On at least two occasions, biotech crops – corn in one case and rice in another – not approved for human consumption, found their way into the food system.
  • GMOS haven’t, so far, done much to feed the hungry.

But he fails to mention the very real problems being posed by ‘superweeds’ and pest resistance

Gunther compares NGOs with companies: both are self-interested, both seek attention in a noisy marketplace and a financial return, but he fails to compare the scale of these returns and the massive fortunes at stake in the corporate world. As an NGO affiliated correspondent says: “Corporates have all the resources … we manage to do what we do with such limited resources because we do have public trust/sympathy”.

The writer agrees that the public should be selective when reading NGO reports, giving credence to those who give links to authoritative sources – in English or with translation facilities.

Finally, Lawrence Woodward reflects:

lawrence text.