Poland Bans Genetically Modified Crops


(WakingTimes) – The North-Eastern European country, Poland, has become the latest EU nation to ban the production of genetically modified (GM) crops, although, the European Food Safety Authority has approved GM crops as being safe for cultivation. Poland’s Ministry of Agriculture has opted to take advantage of  a special ‘safeguard clause’ which allowed them to reject these GM crops, allowing Poland to protect their agricultural base from contamination.

Recently, the European Union approved two GM crops for Europe, Monsanto’s MON810 Maize, and BASF’s Amflora Potato, however, Poland’s ban will take effect on January 28th.

“To justify the enactment of these regulations, the Ministry of Agriculture pointed out to the impossibility of the coexistence of GM crops and the natural varieties, without the risk of contamination of the latter. The Ministry also draws attention to the threat of contamination of honey by pollen of maize MON 810 and the lack of research supporting the safety of GM crops on the environment and human health. From now on, a farmer who illegally sows MON 810 maize or Amflora potato may be levied with severe financial penalties and even with the destruction of his crop.” (GMWatch)

This is good news for opponents of genetically modified foods as their consumption has been linked to cancers and other health problems in labratory animals and in humans. Last year, Russia temporarily banned the production of several GM crops, but in the last week “Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare conducted its own safety assessment of NK603 and concluded that there were no adverse effects on humans.” (AGProfessional)

This is a small and perhaps temporary victory in the fight against franken-foods, but activists must remain steadfast and dedicated to stop the tidal wave of genetically modified crops, which rely much more heavily on boutique pesticides and herbicides than traditionally cultivated crops. And organizations working toward this goal, like GreenPeace, are quick to point out that we must remain vigilant so that the EU is not able to overturn this ban, and also that proper oversight is implemented to ensure that GM crops will be controlled effectively and that the ban is actually observed by local farmers.


Trial Postponed For Farmer Targeted By Milk Police


(Activist Post) -A little more than a week ago we covered the ongoing battle of Vernon Hershberger with the Wisconsin legal system. Hershberger was raided by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, citing a failure to have proper retail licensing for distribution. He subsequently had his raw milk stocks destroyed by injecting blue dye, had his farm shut down, and was arrested.
While in jail, he signed an agreement to comply with a ban on distribution and posted a $500 bond to gain his release. However, after further thought, Vernon considered the spurious accusations and decided to declare his own food independence; he cut the tape and resumed his farming and distribution. He has been looking at potentially 3 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for his resistance.
In March, people flew in from all over the country to attend a support rally prior to Hershberger’s first court appearance. A full-length documentary, Let Them Eat Grass (trailer below) will soon be released that will give full documentation to Hershberger’s plight, as well as highlighting the activism which has perhaps aided in his trial being repeatedly postponed.
We are happy to report a new development in this case.
A rally had been announced ahead of Vernon’s latest trial date of the week of January 7, 2013. However, it looks the momentum –  a vigorous defense issued by his attorney, Elizabeth Rich – has pressured yet another postponement, this time for several months or longer.

According to a letter sent by the Hershbergers:

Members and Friends,

First a very big Thank You to you all for your prayers and all the other means of support that have been rendered on our behalf! We appreciate it very much! Sometimes the load gets to be pretty heavy. It sure was good to see the work that the Lord did today in the way things worked out. We trust that he has a special plan for letting this all happen in this way!

Yes! The trial has been postponed … at least 4 months but maybe longer than that. This is all due to the wonderful Attorney that we have and her quick wit, with which she handled the proceedings today. The State proposed to kick out all professional witnesses from testifying at trial due to this being a case about license and not about raw milk. They had persuaded the Judge to do it their way when Elizabeth brought up the 1st amendment issue in that I have a sincerely held religious belief that I would not take anyone to court. Therefore the only options I had when the holding order was put in place was to take it to an Administrative Court or to disregard it. Being that we don’t believe in taking someone to Court our only option was to disregard the Holding Order and face the consequences. She asked for permission to file a brief in regards to the first Amendment rights. The State claimed they don’t have time for something like that over the Holidays with the trial so close. The Judge said he will give us time to file the brief and in order to give each side the time that they need we will have to postpone the trial and that was that. We will have a scheduling conference call on Jan 4 to decide the dates for any up coming hearings and the trial.

We are hoping this will give everyone a chance to enjoy their Holidays in a more relaxed way and spend more time with family and friends.

David Gumpert, writing for The Complete Patient adds that the complexities on both sides were raised on issues such as “jury nullification, legal intent, attempts to block witnesses from testifying, differences in how to define ‘consumers’, the extent of DATCP’s authority, and any number of other issues … and this all before the trial began.”
The latest hearing, as alluded to in Vernon’s note above, was one surrounding the foundational First Amendment right to freedom of religious belief and exercise thereof. Gumpert provides additional context:

The judge asked the prosecutors whether Hershberger had had an opportunity to challenge the findings earlier. A prosecutor said the Summary Special Order included a recitation of appeal rights — Hershberger could have filed an administrative appeal of the Order, but he did not. Based on that, the judge ruled that Beals’ testimony could not come in.

Rich said that, to the extent the judge’s ruling was based on Hershberger ‘s failure to file the administrative appeal of the orders, it violated his First Amendment rights, because he has a sincerely held religious belief that prevents him from being the aggressor in any legal proceedings.

( . . . )

Hershberger’s religious beliefs stem from his upbringing in an Amish community. The Amish generally avoid taking legal action, and even in some cases from hiring lawyers to defend themselves when they are prosecuted.

We will continue to keep you posted about new developments in the Vernon Hershberger case, as well as the wider fight for food freedom.
As we head through the holiday season, let us not forget to share the good news of the many victories, even amid the vigorous move by state bureaucracy to shut down natural health and consumer choice. Here are 7 Victories for Raw Milk Freedom Advocates. And here is a link that was added to David Gumpert’s piece above that cites a recent victory in Michigan for Shady Grove Farm; the judge ruled that they were in fact protected by the Right to Farm Act.
Please add your own links of victory in the comment section below that we can share with others and help maintain momentum in the food freedom revolution.