Charles W. Elliott
We’re following a story that continues to emerge from Sri Lanka, India, and Central America of a mysterious illness striking down tens of thousands of poor farm workers, destroying their kidneys. The victims are often young, male outdoor farm workers, far removed from the usual patient with severe kidney failure: older, sedentary men with a history of diabetes or hypertension. What would connect these dying farm workers in different countries across two continents?
Photo credit: Anna Barry-Jester, Center for Public Integrity
A recent study estimated that the ailment, called “chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology” (CKDu) has killed more than 20,000 people in Central America alone.
We invite you to watch this five-minute video “Mystery in the Fields” from the Center for Public Integrity that explains the problem and shows its devastating human impact on poor families and communities.
Charles W. Elliott
The recent battle over California’s Proposition 37, a ballot initiative to require consumer labeling of genetically modified organism (“GMO”) food, has shone a harsh spotlight on the impacts of biotechnology on agriculture and our food supply, and on corporate influence over the political process and the public’s right to information. As corporate efforts to expand the use of genetic engineering in agriculture march onward, we see a counterweight in the movements for sustainable food production and support for organic and small scale farming. We’ll be taking a look at some of the issues surrounding use of genetic engineering in food production in a series of blog posts on GMOs: Food, Money & Control.
Consumers Kept in the Dark: Big Push to Label Genetically-Modified Food Fails
Proposition 37 — the ballot initiative that would have required GMO food labeling in California, the world’s ninth largest economy — drowned under the tsunami of corporate money opposing it. Monsanto, a leading maker of genetically engineered seeds, contributed $8.1 million alone. More than $45 million was spent by large agribusiness, big processed food manufacturers, and chemical companies, including DuPont, PepsiCo, General Mills, Nestle, Conagra and Dow. It should come as no surprise that Dow, the company that brought us dioxin-laced Agent Orange, would prefer that we not know whether the food we eat contains foreign genetic material.