Posts Tagged ‘GM’

Genetic Roulette

Posted: 24/09/2012 in Health
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GM foods crop up throughout my consideration of food and its relationship to disease, but I haven’t particularly focussed on GM, primarily because being British and living in Thailand GM foods don’t cross my path. But then I watch this film and I look at the way this movie portrays the connection of some disease with GM, it makes me ask the questions:-

How much GM produce have I eaten? – in the UK – on my travels?
How much has GM contributed to my lifestyle diseases?”

The real issue is of course the US but GM has expanded giving a problem in South Africa and India, and I have seen stuff about South America. How far does it go elsewhere? Thailand has a non-GM policy but there is a Monsanto office in Bangkok. Why? Whilst I would actually trust Thais to fight GM, I would not believe their government would fight it off. And Monsanto throw money at their problems so a Thai government would not get in the way.

I search out organic produce but in truth it is only 50%. But the GM foods affect processed more than what I eat, so I would feel relatively safe. But it is a real worry, watch the movie to see why.

Genetic Roulette
The movie is also available at Forbidden Knowledge

Addendum 11/10/13

This clip was sent by BrasschecksTV, reporters explaining how their news was killed. Not unexpected – just factual:-

Seeds – the basis of farming, the basis of our civilisation – we must eat. When the world is playing fossil-fuel politics with peoples’ lives in Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq and elsewhere it almost seems irrelevant to start arguing about seeds. Farmers they are always griping, most farmers vote right-wing, their humanitarian stances are often weak. Yet these farmers are being completely exploited by the 1% BigFood, and our governments because they are puppets simply accept this. Seeds of Freedom is a 30-minute documentary produced by the Gaia Foundation that brings home the point if we allow it.

I have previously written about GM – some are tagged, mostly in this blog. I also like whistleblowers, they have been there done that and come out the other side. So I like this set of articles and reports – haven’t read them all but I see part of the function of this blog as providing sources for me and for the reader(s) – OK reader. So here are some GM details from erstwhile genetic engineers. They are from Earth Open Source.

First there is an introductory article, then an introductory page about their report, a press release about their report, and the report itself.

If I want to know more about GM the links are here.

Biodiversity

Posted: 26/05/2012 in Big Food, Big Pharma, ONE planet
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This is an issue I was involved with politically for a while in the early 90s but the truth is I never saw the real dangers. Now I think I can based on the movie Future of Food. Does biodoversity matter? OK, there is the obvious example – potato blight in 19th century Ireland where sadly a million died. This is associated with what I used to call “cash crops”. Basically the colonial power, in the Irish case – the UK, forced the farmers to grow a particular variety of potato – not sure why, then disease hit the potato and because it was a monoculture those people died. A similar blight hit Bolivia but their biodiversity meant there was not the death. Ireland’s potato blight was a colonial crime so whenever any UK citizen asks about the IRA and bombs, the potato blight is a sufficient answer – despite there being many more reasons. And cash-cropping is not limited to Ireland. Desertification in Africa is a serious problem around the edges of the expanding Sahara, and this is simply caused by non-indigenous cash-cropping. Now in Africa it is hard to tell that the indigenous staple food is millet, and that throughout the people eat corn or maize products claiming them as their own. What dangers does this non-indigenous cropping hold for the future?

Cash-cropping has already reduced the variety of crops, and now Monsanto is stepping in buying all the seed varieties stockpiling them and forcing the farmers to plant their GM seeds (using Roundup fertiliser) which is producing disease-forming food. Not only is there less variety of foods but the foods there are are dangerous to our health – based on a business strategy of one company supported by their revolving political door.

Nature has created a variety of foods for a purpose. For me this statement is sufficient as it is for those close to the land – sadly I am not close to the land. But let me try and explain. My recent health recovery was based on eating plant-based foods that I cooked naturally – not processed with additives and preservatives. Natural food produces good health. Now I have no faith in BigPharma for whom profit is the motivation, but where do they search for healing? In nature. As there is no profit in Nature because BigPharma cannot patent Nature, they then try to synthesise the pharmaceuticals in the lab. Once synthesised these drugs are marketed producing the afore-mentioned profits. If we knew we could find the cures in Nature, heal ourselves – keeping the expense of BigPharma out of the loop, surely that is safer and better. This is why when I watch Forbidden Cures, about the suppression of the claims for cancer-healing, even though I am not professionally-trained to know myself I do believe that Nature can provide the healing. This is why it is up to government to research these Forbidden Cures,
but of course they won’t because they are 1% puppets and the revolving door of BigFood and BigPharma controls them.

In terms of healing what are we losing as the different varieties of foods are consigned to history? Firsly with cash crops and then with the Monsanto appropriation of seeds we are losing Nature’s biodiversity – with what consequences?

Here is Vandana Shiva discussing the importance of biodiversity in India:-

Whilst she moves on from biodiversity to other matters this 15-minute interview encapsulates the problems of Monsanto, biodiversity and 1% politics. It is interesting she calls her university, the grandmothers’ university, the home of traditional knowledge.

Here is an edited clip where Vandana explains the Monsanto strategy for seeds, and then she explains the 1% strategy of forcing farmers to use their seeds ostensibly because products from their seeds are cheaper. And yet the only reason that the products are cheaper is because of the high level of subsidisation:-

And the clip was taken from this TV show.

A board meeting

Posted: 25/05/2012 in Big Food
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In the 1950’s an eager young executive presented his plan. “The first thing you need to make money is a market, and to make the most money you turn that market into a monopoly. If you have a market and monopoly then people are forced to buy from you because you are the only company selling. This is good business, right?

What is the product that everyone has to buy? Food. After water food is the next basic essential – note I am sure there will be companies now trying to control water turning it from a free resource into something we have to pay for. Where does food come from? Originally farms, so to make our profits we must control the farms. Now farmers are always complaining about subsidies – farmers want a free lunch, so there won’t be much popular resistance if farmers start complaining. So we will control the farms.

Controlling farms is very difficult because farmers work with Nature, how do we control her? Seeds are Nature – originally a free resource like water. So we need to make farmers buy seeds from us and no-one else. So we have to find a way of owning the seeds, now that is difficult because seeds are life – Nature. That is the first part of our problem.

Pre-war farmers had a diversity of their own seeds, grew them to their satisfaction, and made a comfortable living. Let’s get our government wing to subsidise certain crops so the farmers will start to grow them more – a monoculture. But science tells us that this will present problems, and this will help us. With this monoculture there will be an increase in pests so they can buy pesticides from us – we have the plant and a surplus of pesticides from the war. So with the subsidies we are beginning to control the market because they are buying pesticides. But they are not necessarily buying our pesticides so this is the second part of our problem.

What if we can connect the seeds and the pesticides? That is our objective, our business plan – our mission.” The board agreed.

Many years later the next clone of an executive came along. “I have a way of connecting the seeds and the pesticide, and with it a way to force people to buy from us. Our scientists have developed seeds that are designed to work with our pesticide so that with these seeds the only way to get a yield is with our pesticide, but the yield will be higher- mmmm. If we increase the subsidies on these crops then farmers will want to buy our products.

But this still doesn’t force them to buy from us, however because our scientists have used science that has changed the genes we can argue that it can be patented. You might say that this argument is weak but it is enough for us if we put someone from our legal staff on the supreme court. I am equally sure there will be objections from food scientists claiming that if we alter the genes we have altered the food so we need someone to be at the FDA to get us approval. Again the argument is weak, the food is substantially equivalent, but that doesn’t matter so long as we have someone in place and can exert influence.

Next we patent as many seeds as we can, once they have accepted that our seeds can be patented. Then we stop those seeds from being used and we start to have more control. Once we have the patent we can force people to use our seeds by using patent law. We can use nature to make our profits. Once we start growing the wind will blow our seeds onto other land, and as a result we can claim that farmers are breaking our patent. Even the organic farmers cannot fight the wind and pollination. Again this patent ownership is a weak argument but we can use our legal department to force this to happen. Over time farmers will be forced to buy our seeds, and we will control the US market.

Once we have the seeds and pesticide patented in the US and have this form of control, it will allow us to spread the seeds globally. It will take time but we can do it. In the Third World we can setup NGO’s backed by benefactors from the business world. They can go in and tell the farmers that their yields will increase. With the benefaction we can subsidise the initial use of the seeds but once we have the monoculture the farmers will have to come back to us.

There will be resistance in more developed countries, and that will have to be worked on. No easy task but we can use political pressure, they will come over.” The young exec sat down, and looked at the three reports he had in front of him, he read the attached memo:-

1)In the long term it is likely that Nature will develop resistance to the pesticides, and new “superpests” will come into being.

2) Whilst we can get FDA approval, there is still the problem that there will be health issues with the use of GM foods. That’s a thought, the Exec said to himself, maybe we can develop a pharmaceutical division specifically to deal with the health effects from our seeds and pesticides, an amusing irony he thought.

3) Although initially the yields will be higher in the long time we are not so sure.

He pushed the reports to one side.

Out of the 1% grew the early company who paid for the scientists, who placed Michael Taylor in charge of the FDA, and placed Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. The company became Monsanto.

Update:-

Amusing PR gaff. One caterer for a UK branch of Monsanto refuses to serve GM – newspaper report.

Addendum 11/10/13

This clip was sent by BrasschecksTV, reporters explaining how their news was killed by Monsanto. Not unexpected – just factual:-

This blogentry about the the Future of Food was intentionally enigmatic for two reasons. Firstly I hoped my reader would watch it, and secondly I have not internalised the full ramifications of thefilm that genuinely frightened me.

Let me place some of my fears in context. I am what is termed a health freak, or at least I have been since I retired. The basis of this “health-freakness” is that I follow a natural unprocessed diet of grains, legumes, veg and fruit – with a bit of fish for B12. I was put onto this health diet when I visited a natural health practititoner who told me my reflux plus problems were what is termed “GERD”, and that to recover from this disease I needed to eat “naturally”. I listened to his advice, and bit-by-bit my health has improved; I have just turned 60 and whilst my legs are weakening from football injuries overall I feel my health is improving.

That improvement sounds a stupid thing to say given my age but it has a sound basis in natural thinking. Every 7 years our bodies regenerate themselves based on the quality of food we put in, and since that quality has improved my health has improved. I have not had the stress of teaching so that also has improved my health. So at a time when western people are traditionally beginning to suffer with accumulated lifetime degenerative diseases based on the toxicity of the foods they eat, my health is improving.

It is no accident that I became ill, it was because of the foods I ate and the hard work I did. In our lifetimes we cannot do much about being wage-slaves but we can do something about the foods we eat. UNTIL …. along comes Monsanto. Using Nature’s elements and a corrupt legal system – a legal system that favours the 1% – they have started a process to control all our food. Food begins life on the farm, is processed, and is sold in our shops. For me any food that is processed causes disease, I have cut out processing and mostly just eat organic. The organic movement is slowly growing until now with Monsanto – they are trying to block it by controlling seeds.

How can you patent something that belongs to Nature such as seeds? The fact that the law has allowed this shows exactly how unfair the law is. There is a phrase “one law for the rich and one law for the poor”. With the repressive violence shown to the Occupy movement globally we have “one law for the 1%”, and with the patenting of seeds we have “one law for the 1% BigFood”. The damage to humans caused by GM foods has not been assessed as discussed in the the Future of Food. But for me there is no doubt. I have experienced the healing that comes from eating Nature’s food, I know the disease that can come from processed foods. But how much worse will it be when that food has been genetically altered?

Still at least I can buy organic food? Not after a while, and that is the power of the patent when misused in our corrupt system. Even though the patent had been accepted, it shouldn’t affect organic farmers. After all they can still grow their crops and sell them. But then Nature steps in, the wind blows the bees pollinate and plants from GM seeds are found on organic farms. Now anyone who knows organic finds this an abhorrence, and would support the courts fining Monsanto for the pollination of their seeds on someone else’s land. But no, the law has said that by patent because the seeds have been found on these farmers’ land they have stolen it. I have a hard time believing that the law can say this, this is extreme even for 1% law, but that is the case. In this clip a lawyer for some organic farmers explains some of the efforts he has made to fight Monsanto’s 1% law.

With Nature’s collusion, over a period of time Monsanto will control the seeds for all the US, and the US won’t even have the recourse to organic food. So grow it in your own garden? Can you stop nature blowing the wind? Can the organic farmers patent the natural foods? NO. It is Nature. Monsanto got away with it because scientists manipulated the genes and then claimed it as an “invention” – GM.

Now what is clear from the the Future of Food is that Monsanto have no intention of limiting their monopoly to the US. Through Bill Gates and other 1% benefaction GM foods are being marketed in Africa as poverty reduction because of the supposed increased yield. As both the the Future of Food and Dan Ravicher points out the evidence is not clear that there is increased yield. What is clear is that once they have used the planting combination of GM seeds and Roundup farmers are ensnared annually to buy Monsanto products. India has had Monsanto for a while. The farmers have bought into the trap, cannot make ends meet, and are committing suicide (unbiased? – system argument presenting case for GM).

Thailand has strong anti-GM laws but GM has reached Kanchanaburi. European peoples might well fight the introduction of GM but the governments are in the hands of the 1% and in our system of government profits outplays democracy any day.

But the truth is these heinous crimes are sneaking in. Monsanto is slowly getting control of all farm production. Most people kind of know that GM is wrong but they are not as frightened as I am. Why? I know processed food causes disease, most people don’t so they are not as frightened. Monsanto is far bigger than Dan Ravicher and his organic farmers.

Here in Thailand it is hard to find organic produce but I can mostly. The law here does not prohibit organic produce, the people in general are not aware. But they do fight GM so I suspect in my lifetime I will be able to eat mostly healthily. I would have less confidence back in the UK, but in my lifetime it would probably be just OK. But what about the kids?

Kids haven’t got the sense to keep away from processed foods. The sugar- and MSG-baited products have already had an impact on the earlier onset of lifestyle degenerative disease. But what is worse is an increase in disorders such as ADHD which many claim comes from the toxins (preservatives) in our foods. But what will be the new generation of GM diseases be like?

People call them frankenfoods, what will that mean for our kids?

Update 21/9/13 – here is a clip belying the myths that surround GM foods:-

Bill Gates “lies” are covered in this clip.

Future of Food

Posted: 19/05/2012 in Big Food, Health, ONE planet
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The ramifications of what this movie, the Future of Food, portends are the most frightening of all that I have done on cancer food and health.

“For the anarchist, freedom is not an abstract philosophical concept, but the vital concrete possibility for every human being to bring to full development all the powers, capacities, and talents with which nature has endowed him, and turn them to social account. The less this natural development of man is influenced by ecclesiastical or political guardianship, the more efficient and harmonious will human personality become, the more will it become the measure of the intellectual culture of the society in which it has grown.” taken from Chomsky on Anarchism.

I want to begin by examining the limitations of this anarchist freedom as described by Chomsky. “Bring to full development all the powers, capacities, and talents with which nature has endowed him”, I like this as a starting point, and I like the emphasis that it is a “vital concrete possibility”. In other words it is all well and good to say that we are free to develop naturally, but if it is not a concrete possibility then that phrase is meaningless sophistry. In fact for such a concrete possibility to be an actuality this search for freedom has to be a primary motivation for a society. What does this mean? This completely alters the ethos of our society at present. In the current society the dominant ethos is that of profits for the few (1% is the current terminology for this superclass). So the interests of this natural development is limited by these desires for profit. For freedom we initially need sustenance, to obtain this sustenance we are required to work. In some ways this work is reasonable as people need to work together to help develop the potential for all to be free, but the purpose of the work is not working for each other but to enable the profits for the few. In fact the current social ethos is to enslave people to the need for work by requiring taxes and other moneys above and beyond the need for their personal sustenance. The argument given is that that taxation is to build social resources such as infrastructure, if that was the case that would be reasonable, but in reality the purpose of taxation is to get the people to pay for this infrastructure to enable businesses to trade and make a profit. Whilst there are social benefits to paying for industry’s infrastructure the ultimate purpose is that the profits are increased and they then become assets for the few – often money lying idle in bank accounts. If those profits were returned to society to enable peoples’ freedom this might be an acceptable ethos of society, but the reality is that this is not the case. People are forced to work for wages that enable the profits of multinationals whose money is then syphoned off into the personal bank accounts of the few. Whilst it might be purported that industry is making socially useful items the reality is far from this.

Let us begin with food – a sustaining basic. What has happened to the way BigFood produces food? They have added toxic substances to preserve food, they have added substances such as excessive sugar, MSG and aspartame that heightens taste but which are damaging to health. Even when scientists have determined that these additives are damaging to health, BigFood continues such production and attempt to deceive people that there no problems. If a person’s health is damaged there can only be limited development to freedom whilst individuals fight disease with all energy etc that takes. In the case of aspartame Coca-Cola knew of the health effects of using aspartame but they continue to use it in their diet products and used their influence to ensure that there was political support for their FDA approval at presidential level. As more people become aware of the damages aspartame can do, they rename it AminoSweet. And what about GM products? There has been an outcry against these products but still the company promotes their sale and there are political maneouvres by governments to support their sales, yet in India people commit suicide because of GM.

And what about dealing with disease? Does BigPharma help us with dealing with disease? Far from it, they market supposed cures at exhorbitant prices – sometimes covered by insurance schemes, but for the poor unaffordable. Doctors learn their medicine at university. They leave university where their only access to drugs is through the pharmacy reps who market the latest cures produced in their company labs. See Pharma Whistleblower. But what about healing through food? Whilst there is strong evidence for this, BigPharma uses its profits to belittle the approach. This is particularly true of degenerative disease where lifestyle change is needed for cure but instead BigPharma markets supposed cures that rake in the profits with little chance of success. Cancer is a particular example of this as can be seen through movies such as “Healing Cancer from the Inside Out”.

As for other expenditure what happens? Money is spent to create a consumer desire, and then the for example the latest technology, car or mobile phone, is touted round, and people develope the desire to purchase these items, without the advertising would they buy them? If society was seeking freedom from consumer purchases would there be this advertising? Would society be trying to create the demand? How many definitions of freedom would include the freedon to own the latest technology? How many definitions of freedon include ownership of 4by4’s by citydwellers? On a personal level this consumer society does little to promote freedom but does much to create wage-slaves and make people indebted to the system.

Perhaps we might argue that our education system educates for freedom. Teachers begin by learning that educare means leading out, and idealists might see that leading out as a raison d’etre for education – and that education unfortunately fails. But in reality education succeeds in its objectives – maintaining the status quo with rich increasing their wealth and the poor working to pay for what they can get. This is not education for freedom – discussed more in Matriellez.

So society is not working for freedom of its members, the simplest way to describe it is wage slavery. So we need to examine the socio-political conditions that would lead to freedom. But where do we begin with that? Do we establish a notion of freedom or do we simply ask for conditions that can lead to freedom? This is difficult as what is freedom? Let’s try to establish what freedom is and then see if we can determine conditions that could possibly lead to that.

Here is where I go Buddhist or start talking Krishnamurti. Freedom is a situation in which we sustain our bodies, energy and mind enabling our selves to flourish. By living to our true selves we are free from needs and desires, and our wings can fly. Or to use Chomsky’s description “bring to full development all the powers, capacities, and talents with which nature has endowed him”. There is another spiritual point that fits well with what Chomsky says – we are Unity, One Earth, One Planet, when it comes to “turn(ing ourselves) to social account” that has to be a reality if we are Unity. In the earlier part of the Treatise (this is a blog entry but in some way will be added to the treatise later) where I have discussed the “Three Tenets of Zandtao”:-

Improving the mind

Harmonising our energy

Taking care of our bodies

the measures for sustaining body, energy and mind have been developed. Through meditation there is a possibility that our selves can flourish. This has also been discussed earlier in the treatise. If you have reached this stage in the Treatise then you are likely to be more sympathetic to this spiritual approach to Freedom, I am not so sure that the political tradition of anarchism will be so enamoured. Whilst, in the Treatise, I have spent much time developing the Three Tenets, there is no contradiction with Chomsky’s “bring(ing) to full development all the powers, capacities, and talents with which nature has endowed” human beings. And if Unity were accepted then we have “social account”.

Educationally this can begin to be approached through Matriellez’ approach although the establishment of a Freedom curriculum would require many more nuts and bolts. The real difficulty lies with the 1%, quite simply freedom cannot be achieved whilst we don’t have democracy – whilst the 1% employs us as wage slaves. It is in consideration of this wage slavery that anarchism as a society of freedom examines political structures in the workplace. Freedom in the workplace requires a workforce being given the opportunity to flourish. This cannot occur within existing hierarachical structures, where one job is considered more important than another – thus rewarded by increased salaries. This process intentionally creates disunity through competition, measuring one against another rather than approaches to work together for the benefit of each other. So whilst attainment of freedom is a useful tool for dismissing current organisation in the workplace, replacing those structures with approaches such as cooperation will not enable Freedom without a society committed to the ideal and recognising the personal or spiritual approach necessary to begin working towards Freedom.

There is also the converse. How much do those on spiritual journeys similar to the ones described earlier in the Treatise recognise the importance of appropriate structures in the means of livelihood? How many on spiritual journeys seek to bring their compassion and insight into workplace production? How often is production tacitly dismissed as greed and materialism, and Freedom seen in terms of Nirvana an etheral state of mind attainable outside the structures of production such as in a monastery or as a mystical recluse? There is an imperative to marry the two traditions seeking greater clarity on Freedom through the spiritual tradition, and a greater involvement of the spiritually aware to recognise that a significant part of humanity’s lack of Unity is determined by the political structures of the 1%. If the 99% were not wage slaves maybe they would have the time to investigate possible Paths to Freedom.

(added to freedom page)

Big Food

Posted: 31/08/2011 in Big Food, Health
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(added to Health page)

To begin looking at health we need to begin to look at our food. There is a functional relationship between healthy eating and good health, if we eat healthily then we maintain good health – and the converse is also true if we eat food containing toxins our bodies become diseased. For me fighting disease means eating healthily, and by doing so personally I have become far more vital. In my last few years of working it was always an effort. I would get into work and the demands of the job kept me motivated, but getting home I was tired and did nothing during term-time. In early retirement I don’t feel as if I am carrying my body around, life is not an effort, and I put this down to healthy eating where I have an ongoing process of detoxifying as I strive to live happily. As I have said I use Paul Pitchford for specific problems but mainly I am concerned about detoxification, a conscious process of detoxifying and equally a conscious process against retoxifying. And to stop the toxins entering my system I had to stop eating processed foods. Now this is not easy but it is worthwhile. Eat what comes from the ground locally. I spend far more time cooking and shopping – that is unavoidable.

And what am I avoiding? Big Food. To understand why watch Food Inc – this movie is far more eloquent then I am – Earthlings also shows how we treat animals but it does not directly relate it to our health – see blog entry.

Since watching this film I have become aware of how endemic this poisoning for profit has become. I was particularly angered by the manipulations of the corporatocracy in get
ting acceptance of aspartame. Please check these earlier comments and find a link to a movie on aspartame – Donald Rumsfeld!

I have not followed the GM issue as much as I should. I am totaly against genetic engineering as it seems totally against nature – I consider myself to eat “Natural” food. I have an acquaintance who drinks too much coke. I tried to check the ingredients but for some reason it is acceptable for coke to be considered secret – I then discovered yesterday that HFCS is a GM food. I found this YouTube clip:-

or watch it from here. I knew that GM meant that the corn was modified so that it was compatible with the pesticide but I didn’t know what that meant. They guys spitting out the corn showed me. The GM corn is never used as corn because it has been damaged, it is sent away to be converted to this sweetener – and then they showed the poisons that are added to make High Fructose Corn Syrup. I then went on to watch “King Korn”, it kind of ambles through the issues within the wider ambit of corn and Iowa farming – the pertinent political points are in the clip but the movie is good context.

Jeffrey Smith is an anti-GM activist, and this is a talk of his – watch it for details about GM (also available at his website). I particularly note the FDA approach that is something like, GM foods are like foods so we don’t need to test them – even though his talk quotes testers who have said that GM is linked to un known disease. When you mess about at the genetic level it is bound to have unknown consequences. There are good resources at the website Institute of Responsible Technology. I note that GM products are illegal in many countries, but do you believe that the HFCS in your UK coke is GM-free? I am not so sure when I hear this on the news:-

At the beginning of the talk Jeffrey spoke about the tipping point. In an earlier campaign people had fought against rGBH – genetically-engineered bovine growth hormone – in milk. When enough people refused to buy milk with it in, then Walmart and others refused to sell it. Enough people had created a tipping point where it was not profitable for the companies to sell – consumer power – what an MCN could be part of. Tipping Point!

Finally I watched Alex Jones on food – download here, I could have been saying the same thing without the ranting.