But once the Transnational corporations and their friends in government got WTO ratified they leaped into action to consolidate their positions. By 1996 the first two pieces were in place.
The first was Dan Amstutz with the "Freedom to Farm Act of 1996." Aside from bankrupting so many farmers that Congress had to step in, the act dismantled the United States food reserve system. Despite scientific studies from Cornell showing bio-fuels use from 29 to 57% more fossil fuel than they replace, laws were passed mandating escalating use of bio-fuels and an ongoing artificial grain shortage was created. In 2008, worldwide food riots broke out and the USDA announced "the cupboard is bare." Unfortunately there is now no longer any method for renewing US food reserves. The grain traders even responded to the food crisis by writing a letter to President Bush discouraging the replacement of reserves because it would "distort" grain prices, suggesting a monetary fund, from which they could profit, instead.
"In summary, we have record low grain inventories globally as we move into a new crop year. We have demand growing strongly. Which means that going forward even small crop failures are going to drive grain prices to record levels. As an investor, we continue to find these long term trends ... very attractive." Food shortfalls predicted: 2008http://www.financialsense.com/fsu/editorials/dancy/2008/0104.html
As South African farmers who planted Monsanto's GM-maize this year found out, relying on this year's harvest especially when a corporation controls the seed, is risky at best. They suffered extensive crop failure when 82,000 hectares produced hardly any seeds due to an alleged 'underfertilisation process in the laboratory." With no grain reserves and wide spread use of GM seed this could put a frightening weapon in the hands of a corporation not known for its compassion.
The second action taken in 1996 was the adoption of the international HACCP rules. HACCP replaces the old US government's "hands on, in your face" type inspection. Now the corporations are doing the testing and the government inspects corporate paperwork instead of product. Since corporations are now the inspectors, is it any wonder that in July 2003, after the Con-agri E. coli recall, GAP released a major report titled "Shielding the Giant: USDA's 'Don't Look, Don't Know' Policy for Beef Inspection"? Or that Mr. Stan Painter, Chairman, National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals testified during the Congressional investigation into the Hallmark/Westland downer cow scandal:
It (the recall of Hallmark/Westland Meat) highlights one of the problems that we have attempted to raise with the agency ever since 1996 when the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) inspection system was put in place. There seems to be too much reliance on an honor system for the industry to police itself. While the USDA investigation is still on going at Hallmark/Westland, a couple of facts have emerged that point to a system that can be gamed by those who want to break the law. It (HACCP) shifted the responsibility for food safety over to the companies . http://domesticpolicy.oversight.house.gov/documents/20080418113258.pdf
URAA § 3512 (a) states: "No provision of any of the Uruguay Round Agreements, nor the application of any such provision to any person or circumstance, that is inconsistent with any law of the United States shall have effect."
Did Cargill and Monsanto profit?