The Obama administration has threatened to block all European car exports if the EU does not accept America’s genetically-modified and hormone-enhanced produce.
On Sunday, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung claimed that 240 pages of text from the secret transatlantic trade deal (TTIP) obtained by Greenpeace show the US to be blackmailing the EU to force through the trade deal, despite European objections.
Specifically, the United States threatened to block European car exports, in order to force the European Union to buy genetically engineered fruits and vegetables from the US – a move that opponents to the deal point out will compromise consumer health and negatively affect Europe’s agricultural industry.
Greenpeace announced that it would release the smuggled text of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on Monday, undermining unusual efforts by the EU and US to keep the details secret.
The authenticity of the documents has been confirmed by German DPA news agency sources. The documents demonstrate that the White House sought to pressure the EU to replace its precautionary consumer safety principle with the US approach of permitting food products to be sold until risks are proven.
What are the safety concerns associated with GM foods?
The impact of genetically engineered foods, often associated with US agricultural multinationals including Monsanto, remain unknown in the long term, as these products are relatively recent. Often criticized, genetically-engineered produce allows for a greater yield and reduced product spoilage, as well as pest resistance, leading to lower prices at the store and some hope of alleviating world hunger.
Nonetheless, after the release of these products the US witnessed a spike in autoimmune diseases, and complaints of wheat sensitivity, or Celiac disease. Medium-term tests show no association between consumption of genetically engineered products and these ailments, leading the concerns to be dismissed as a fad among hypochondriacs.
More concerning, however, has been the large-scale die-off of US bee colonies that serve the vital natural function for pollinating crops. It remains to be seen whether the recent die-offs are related to genetically modified crops or to the potent glyphosate-based pesticides, including Monsanto’s Round-Up, that are routinely used on these crops.
Finally, Monsanto’s patenting of genetically-modified seeds has led to their litigation and seizure of small farms for intellectual property theft when natural cross-pollination led non-genetically modified crops to bear strains that included elements of the genetically modified ‘Round-Up Ready’ seeds.
Will TTIP be rubber-stamped through, despite growing public dissent?
During the 2016 US presidential cycle, Republicans and Democrats have come together to decry trade deals, citing a litany of economic and environmental concerns.
Likely Republican nominee Donald Trump frequently cites NAFTA and CAFTA as examples that trade deals expand the US trade imbalance and destroy the middle class. Democratic insurgent Bernie Sanders similarly critiques international trade deals but also includes concerns about worker’s wages and rights as well as environmental degradation.
The odds-on favorite to become the next US President, Hillary Clinton, has long supported global trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA, passed under her husband’s administration in the 1990s. She lobbied for the Panama trade deal as Secretary of State, and referred to the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal as the “gold standard” over 45 times.
Facing swelling frustration among younger and working class voters, Secretary Clinton now vows to oppose TPP and presumably TTIP.
Shop GMO-Free in the UK
Download the free app here
We’re very pleased to announce the launch of our free-to-download app Shop GMO-Free in the UK.
If you have an Android or Apple phone or iPad, you can now get free access to the only database giving the GM status of thousands of foods on sale in British supermarkets.
You’ll enjoy the speed and ease of knowing which foods to buy with our colourful and simple icons guiding you in your choices.
And you’ll also be able to avoid the increasingly recognised dangers to health from eating meat and dairy from animals fed on GM-feed.
Just download the app here at Shop GMO Free in the UK.
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