We’re under attack

December 16, 2011 at 6:47 am 7 comments

Listen up New Zealanders. Just imagine this news story appearing in the New Zealand Herald:

A pensioner from Oxford has been arrested by Food Safety officers for growing carrots in his backyard and sharing his produce with neighbours in exchange for silverbeet and cabbage. Officers raided the pensioner’s premises without a warrant and were armed. Agribusiness company employees, backed by the armed Food Safety officers, were also in attendance and will be prosecuting the pensioner.

Do you think I’m writing an Orwellian-style novel? Nope. I’m simply projecting forward based on a nasty proposed Act out there – the New Zealand Food Bill 160-2 (2010)and should it pass its second reading in early 2012, it could make the basic human right to grow food, save seeds, and share the produce with friends and family, a quaint relic of the past.

Under the rhetoric of “food safety”, the NZ Government is about to hand over control of food production to mega-corporations like Monsanto, who want full control of the global food supply chain from field to table. Everything from farmer’s markets to heritage seed banks, community and individual vegetable gardens could be affected. Frankly, it’s Monsanto trying to get their genetically-modified seeds into every country on the planet and stitching up a monopoly on world food.

Honestly, I can’t believe this. People around the world will either be laughing at New Zealand or….they will be shuddering to think that we are about to lead the way into a future where global companies and Government can control what we eat.

Go ahead and read the Bill. I’ll wait. As currently drafted, you could interpret that saving seeds will be an illegal activity; or sharing excess backyard produce with your neighbours will be an illegal activity; or selling your produce at your local farmer’s market will be an illegal activity. If you want a detailed overview of the Bill, go here.

I’ve read a lot on this, including the tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorists who say this is all part of the one world government future we’ll be facing. I don’t believe it will affect my right to grow a bunch of carrots in my backyard but it certainly could affect seed saving and heirloom, endangered plants and plants with medicinal properties. And that for me is the scary bit. Because it means that – if seed saving or heritage seed banks become illegal -  all we’ll be able to get hold of is genetically-modified seeds (like Monsanto’s Round Up Ready soy beans) or seeds from a Big Food company like Monsanto. And if you want to learn about what Monsanto could do to you or me should we save a seed from a Monsanto crop or unwittingly grow a Monsanto-patented crop because some honey bee pollinated our land, just read this. Or this. Or this. It will scare the bejesus out of you.

If, like me, you have a small herb garden and use say mint leaves in your salad or brew a hot cup of mint leaf tea – well, your human right to do this could well be under threat. Why? Because the Big Food companies currently don’t have patents over mint or ginger or lemon or sage. So they can’t make mega-profits. The Bill is part of NZ’s obligations to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Codex Alimentarius scheme for global food control.

Go off and search Codex Alimentarius – this is even more scary if you ask me. The Codex Alimentarius (or Food Code) basically limits health freedom. Because the more natural health products we use, the less profits Big Pharma, Big Food companies get. And that applies to the mint growing in the backyard. The Vitamin and Mineral Guideline of the Codex can ban all clinically effective vitamins, minerals and herbs. This means stuff you buy from your local health food. Don’t believe me? Then read this. Or this. Or this.

The natural health industry could disappear and our level of nutrition will decline whilst Big Companies and Big Pharma push GM foods and synthetically-made drugs on us.

If you are concerned about the NZ Food Bill, you can sign an online petition. Do your own research on the Food Bill and Codex Alimentarius. There is some alarmist stuff out there – such as Big Companies and Big Pharma wanting to get rid of organic and homegrown food because we would then face ill-health and be forced to buy highly-priced prescription medicines. But when you read up about Codex Alimentarius, you have to wonder. So the NZ Food Bill could be one fatal step towards global corporations and Governments telling us what we can and can’t eat.

You can watch a video about the NZ Food Bill and how it might affect you on the Campbell Live website. Meanwhile, I’ll be defending my right to grow carrots in my own backyard.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tshang  |  January 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    We are having similar issues here in the US and this is a topic hotly debated and discussed on Facebook. I for want total health and food freedom and will fight against any bill or organization that threatens those rights. I think you have every reason to be frightened. I hope the bills does not pass. The crap most people eat here in the states barely passes as food in my opinion. And don’t even get me started on GMO food.

    Reply
  • 2. thinkingshift  |  January 2, 2012 at 1:03 am

    Thanks for your comment. The underlying purpose of GMO foods is this – profit over people. It’s all about narrowing the seed variety base; having seed for plants that won’t self-seed. Hence, we become dependent on say Monsanto.

    Reply
  • 3. Pierre Lagacé  |  August 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Love this post… Just happened to stumble upon it…

    Reply
    • 4. thinkingshift  |  August 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm

      Hi Pierre – yes, it’s me in another disguise. ThinkingShift is my blog on political, social stuff but I moved over to another blog (www.dailyoxford.wordpress.com) about my life in New Zealand and, of course, the blog on my father. I still occasionally blog on ThinkingShift.

      Reply
  • 5. John  |  October 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Hi Kim, dropped by en route…somewhere…and spotted your piece on corporate control over local food production. Thought I’d share a still recent Canadian case.

    Briefly, an organic farmer whose livelihood depends on “clean” food despite non-organic farms in the area, found that his canola fields had become contaminated with Monsato’s non-organic product – seeds blown by the wind into the organic farm. Think the little farmers rights to conduct his organic business were protected? Hardly, Monsanto sued–and I understand initially won–a claim that the farmer was growing “stolen” Monsanto product.

    As you might imagine, multiple suits ensued with great inconsistencies and remarkable legal positions…at issue is the sheer cost of fighting large organizations…I suspect most would simply give up rather than risk ruin fighting for justice in a stacked system.

    Check out http://www.percyschmeiser.com/Blowin.htm for CBC’s coverage and http://www.percyschmeiser.com/Archives.htm for a cheerier outcome, though the struggles continue.

    All the best,
    your friend in BC

    Reply
    • 6. thinkingshift  |  October 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      Truly shocking John. I thought the new dictators of our society were the TSA and airport security dudes – but there are larger, more evil forces at work. I must read the cases to understand how on earth Monsanto gets away with it. Wind is Force Majeure – an Act of God – similar to storms, earthquakes, flood. So the seeds blew in via the wind onto his land – presumably a strong wind. Seems that any of us who want to eat cleanly, without pesticides etc or take alternative medicines are being more and more marginalised – if not stomped on. Have on your trip to somewhere John!

      Reply
  • 7. Zack Domike  |  August 5, 2013 at 1:06 am

    Parliament is about to pass Food Bill 160-2 into law. In spite of the many significant changes that were made after the First Reading, this remains a bill which hides its true purpose under the guise of addressing food safety. As such FB160-2 is a misguided attempt to control all aspects of NZ food production and bring global trade requirements to bear on all NZ food trade.

    Most members of parliament won’t have time to study this Bill. They will read the title, consider “Food Safety” sounds OK, and approve it having no idea that they are unnecessarily ceding domestic control to international corporations.

    FB160-2 is a control mechanism and vehicle for the enforcement of Codex Alimentarius, an ever-changing set of United Nations (FAO/WHO) food standards. Codex is being imposed on every exporting country in the world to comply with WTO litigation, and now further threatened through the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The Food Bill unnecessarily applies the same standards to exports and domestic trade.

    Once accepted and applied for food trade within this country, the FB160-2 dictates automatic adoption of all future versions of Codex, with no further Parliamentary oversight. Sadly, the Codex Commission is subject to significant pressures through the influence of Biotech and big Agri-Business companies by means of special ‘extra budgetary’ funding arrangements. These same companies are threatened by our brand: Clean Green 100% Pure NZ.

    FB160-2 brings Codex to eventually apply to everyone in New Zealand. Item (6) section 346 of Food Bill 160-2 reads: “Regulations made under this section (Order in Council, standards in relation to food) must not set a standard for food sold for export that is different from the standard set for food sold on the domestic market.” The implication of this provision being that Section 346 will be used by government to inject regulations (such as those promulgated under Codex) directly into the framework pertaining to the domestic market. In this way Kiwi regulations will be “harmonized” with the international standard and there will be no protection accorded to the special character of these cloudy islands.

    FB160-2 and Codex acting together introduce excessive regulation and compliance costs while legalizing toxic residues of many known poisons and carcinogens. This will ultimately result in unhealthy, unaccountable, nutrient deficient and statistically toxic food for all New Zealanders. These same excessive rules will throttle the innovation that could otherwise be expected to arise within the small to medium neutraceutical businesses so strong in the Top of the South.

    New Zealand should clearly establish its own domestic set of standards and not rely on overseas standards that are based on trade issues rather than robust science for food safety, and sustainable practices within the unique NZ environment. Our exports may be Codex complient, and controlled by big global Banks & Agri-Businesses, but our internal food policies must remain independent.

    It is vitally important that our representative in Parliament protect and safeguard the capacity of New Zealanders to do business in their country without international interference. As a person who eats food, I encourage you to ask them to vote against this Bill in its present form. Submissions close 16 Aug 2013 -

    Reply

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