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March for Science, Not Silence

Friday, April 06, 2018


The second nonpartisan March for Science will happen on April 14, 2018, with more than 70 satellite events around the world registered to participate. 


Since Biosyntrx strongly supports evidence-based policy making and government supported funding for scientific research, today’s Friday Pearl will focus on agricultural practices of particular interest to the Union of Concerned Scientists. When improving nutrient intake from food is the subject; we support science, not silence.


Our food system is failings us—but science can help transform it  

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Our government spends billions of dollars each year to subsidize crops used to produce processed foods and sugary drinks—the exact same foods that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) tells us to consume far less of than we have in the past.


This policy failure is contributing to a massive and costly public health crisis, as rates of chronic diet-related diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease have shot up increasingly both in adults and children.


The same policies that encourage unhealthy food production also support an outdated, unsustainable system of industrial agriculture, which has damaging impact on soil, air, water, human health, and rural economies.


From farm to fork, the people in the United States deserve a food system we can be proud of—one that ensures the success of farmers, while protecting our soil and water and helping to make a variety of nutrient-dense safe, healthy, and affordable vegetables and fruits available to everyone.


The USDA is funded to play a key role in this system—using science-based policies to advance innovative, sustainable farming practices and increase access to information. 


Hopefully, public pressure will soon stop science sidelining and the undermining of key public health and safety protections, while prioritizing the interests of large agribusiness companies over public interest. Choosing unqualified people for senior USDA staff positions, with obvious goals of undermining science-based health decisions and safety protections is not acceptable.


A gentle reminder

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Our voices and votes matter because it's our bipartisan tax dollars-supported USDA that employs the people who should be responsible for applying peer-reviewed science to ensure the US food system best serves the public interest, particularly in these areas:


Antibiotics in agriculture – Overuse of antibiotics in meat and poultry production has become a serious public health threat, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The USDA is responsible for controlling this public health threat.


School meal rules â€“ School meals and snacks provide more than half of the day’s calories for a typical American child. The health standards established by the Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 should be maintained, particularly where excessive sugar consumption is concerned.

  

Pesticide regulations – Nerve-damaging pesticides like Dow Chemical’s chlorpyrifos was recently EPA re-approved for use in our country, even though it was banned when WHO deemed it hazardous to humans. Exposure to chlorpryifos surpassing recommended levels has been scientifically linked to neurological issues, persistent developmental disorders, and autoimmune disorders.


The every-five-year Farm Bill expires at the end of 2018. The new one will authorize or reauthorize a multitude of federal programs including farm land subsidies, nutrition assistance, soil conservation and pesticide use that not only affects human safety, but also the safety of bees responsible for pollinating about one-sixth of the flowering plant species worldwide and approximately 400 different agricultural types of plant.

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The current Farm Bill subsidies effectively reward farmers for growing commodity crops and penalize those who grow far more healthy fruits and vegetables. If we want a healthier food system, a healthier country, and a healthier planet, this imbalance needs to be fixed in the 2018 Farm Bill.


The still good news is that science-based sustainable farming methods can, and do, produce abundant food without the obvious pitfalls of industrial agriculture. Larger Farm Bill thoughtful investment in local and regional food systems will help make fresh, healthy food available to everyone. And forward-looking science-based policies can help these innovative practices grow and prosper.

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When profit motives are considered far more important than people, it's time for the nation to undergo a radical revolution of values.      —Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968

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Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff

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PEARL

​We strongly nutrient-dense,  high quality food intake if possible, being active and involved citizens, and writing or calling Congress and asking for a Farm Bill and food system that help farmers succeed and makes nutrient-dense food available to everyone at an affordable price. This is money well spent.


The House Committee on Agriculture chairman is Michael Conaway (R-TX-11) and the ranking member is Collin Peterson (D-MN-07). The House Committee on Agriculture phone number is 202-225-2171. Do give them a call if you have concerns about the farming practices they use our tax dollars to support.


​And by all means if possible, join a March for Science in your area on April 14.






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