2007-06-27, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Opponents of GE [genetically engineered] food ... say problems suggested in some health studies could take years to show up. Meanwhile, we're eating lots of GE foods anyway, whether we know it or not -- especially in processed foods, because corn, soy and canola are the Big 3 GE food crops." Since our government has refused to label these foods, how do we avoid buying and eating these foods?" asks [Andrew] Kimbrell, an attorney who heads the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Food Safety, a vocal opponent of GE foods. His new book, Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food ... answers that question. For conscious eaters, the heart of the book is a 14-page guide to your local supermarket. It tells you which foods are the most likely to contain GE ingredients (chips, snacks and baby formula), which aren't (fruits, vegetables, wheat), and how to read labels for "hidden ingredients" derived from corn, soy or canola (hint: look for high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin and canola oil). A passport-size version of the guide, small enough to slide into most pockets or purses, comes along with the book. "I wanted to give people a usable tool to avoid these foods so they don't feel so helpless," said Kimbrell. The book isn't intended to present the pros and cons of GE foods. Kimbrell is 100 percent against the technology and spends a lot of time in court fighting companies like Monsanto, to keep GE crops from spreading. The Center for Food Safety also opposes irradiation and food animal cloning, and has labored to keep industry from weakening federal organic standards.
When Organic Isn't Really Organic
2007-03-14, Time Magazine
When you buy a gallon of organic milk, you expect to get tasty milk from happy cows who haven't been subjected to antibiotics, hormones or pesticides. But you might also unknowingly be getting genetically modified cattle feed. Albert Straus, owner of the Straus Family Creamery ... decided to test the feed that he gives his 1,600 cows last year and was alarmed to find that nearly 6% of the organic corn feed he received from suppliers was "contaminated" by genetically modified (GM) organisms. Organic food is, by definition, supposed to be free of genetically modified material. But as GM crops become more prevalent, there is little that an organic farmer can do to prevent a speck of GM pollen or a stray GM seed from being blown by the wind onto his land. In 2006, GM crops accounted for 61% of all the corn planted in the U.S. and 89% of all the soybeans. So Straus and five other natural food producers, including industry leader Whole Foods, announced last week that they would seek a new certification for their products, "non-GMO verified," in the hopes that it will become a voluntary industry standard for GM-free goods. In a few weeks, Straus expects to become the first food manufacturer in the country to carry the label in addition to his "organic" one. With Whole Foods in the ring, the rest of the industry will soon be under competitive pressure to follow. Genetically modified crops have become so prevalent in the U.S. that chances are you've been buying and eating them for years. You just wouldn't know it from the label: the U.S. Department of Agriculture, unlike agencies in Europe and Japan, do not require GM foods to be labeled.
Note: This article also states "scientists have not identified any specific health risks from eating GM foods." This is a clear lie, when two sentences later the article mentions Jeffrey Smith, who has written an entire book with excellent documentation showing many scientific studies in which animals died shortly after consuming GM foods. To see an excellent summary of this book including reliable footnotes, click here.
'The Future of Food'
2005-09-30, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Food insiders may already know the disturbing facts highlighted by this film, but the general public is in for a shock at how corporations are using misleading campaigns -- and scare tactics -- to ensure that people around the world become dependent on genetically modified food. Monsanto and other corporate behemoths are motivated (not surprisingly) by profits, according to farmers, academics and others who talk to documentarian Deborah Koons Garcia. Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser was targeted by Monsanto's lawyers because some of the corporation's patented seedlings were found on his property. Schmeiser didn't plant them there; wind blew the insecticide-resistant seeds onto his farm from another farm, or the seeds fell off a passing truck. Monsanto didn't care, ordering Schmeiser to kill all his family's seed because they'd potentially been contaminated by its patented product. Schmeiser ... fought Monsanto, spending his retirement money against the sort of legal attack that has already scared farmers throughout North America. Incredibly, a judge ruled in favor of Monsanto. Garcia's documentary shows how much the U.S. federal government favors these corporations, especially through lax oversight (the [FDA] and the Department of Agriculture seem to rubber-stamp every corporate project having to do with genetically modified food). In the past 20 years, Monsanto's alumni have occupied the high reaches of American power. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, for example, did legal work for the corporation, while Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was president of a Monsanto subsidiary.
Biotech critics at risk : Economics calls the shots in the debate
2004-01-11, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Between 1999 and 2001, unbeknownst to the others, each [of four scientists] made a simple but dramatic discovery that challenged the catechism of the same powerful industry -- biotechnology -- that by then had become the handmaiden of industrial agriculture and the darling of venture capitalists. When he was the principal scientific officer of the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, Hungarian citizen Arpad Pusztai fed transgenically modified [GMO] potatoes to rodents in one of the few experiments that have ever tested the safety of genetically modified food. Almost immediately, the rats displayed tissue and immunological damage. After he reported his findings, which eventually underwent peer review and were published in the United Kingdom's leading medical journal, Lancet, Pusztai's home was burglarized and his research files taken. Soon thereafter, he was fired from his job at Rowett, and he has since suffered an orchestrated international campaign of discreditation. [Read the full article for the other three disturbing stories of scientific suppression.] These four men were not attacked because of flawed or imperfect experiments but because the findings of their work have a potential economic effect. The sad part is that the academies and other allegedly independent institutions that once defended scientific freedom and protected employees like Hayes, Chapela, Losey and Pusztai are abandoning them to the wolves of commerce, the brands of which are being engraved over the entrances to a disturbing number of university labs.
Note: Big money is clearly stifling good science and keeping the public in the dark about genetic modifications in the food we eat. To educate yourself on this most important topic, click here.
Got rbST in your milk?
2007-03-25, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Richard Cotta, CEO of California Dairies Inc., the nation's second-largest dairy cooperative, is guided by a simple business philosophy: "If you want milk with little blue dots, you'll have it, as long as you are willing to pay for it." So, when a string of major customers, including supermarket giant Safeway, came to his co-op saying they would no longer accept milk from cows treated with a genetically engineered growth hormone, the co-op bowed to the inevitable. In January, California Dairies' board voted to ask its members not to inject synthetic bovine growth hormone into their cows. The action by a co-op that ships 50 million pounds of milk every day is part of a sweeping, consumer-driven agricultural makeover. Demand for natural foods is rising, while increasing numbers of consumers are avoiding products that rely on antibiotics or growth hormones. And food retailers are listening. Recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rbST, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration 14 years ago. It sustains lactation by stimulating cows' appetites so they eat more and produce more milk, perhaps an extra 5 quarts per day. The European Union, Japan, Canada and Australia did not approve rbST. The reasons included questions about human and animal safety, as well social and economic considerations. Research that shows injections of rbST increase another hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, in cows. Too much IGF-1 in humans is linked with increased rates of colon, breast and prostate cancer. Synthetic hormone use also ... leads to increased use of antibiotics, whose overuse is already a serious problem in the livestock industry.
Note: For many years the media has avoided even mentioning the major controversy over growth hormone use in milk and other animal products. To better understand how the mass media and big industry sometimes work together for profit at the expense of your health, click here.
Genetically Engineered Rice Wins USDA Approval
2006-11-25, Washington Post
The Department of Agriculture declared safe for human consumption yesterday an experimental variety of genetically engineered rice found to have contaminated the U.S. rice supply this summer. The move ... to deregulate the special long-grain rice, LL601, was seen as a legal boon to its creator, Bayer CropScience. The company applied for approval shortly after the widespread contamination was disclosed in August and now faces a class-action lawsuit filed by hundreds of farmers in Arkansas and Missouri. The experimental rice ... escaped from Bayer's test plots after the company dropped the project in 2001. The resulting contamination, once it became public, prompted countries around the world to block rice imports from the United States, sending rice futures plummeting and farmers into fits. In approving the rice, the USDA allowed Bayer to take a regulatory shortcut and skip many of the usual safety tests. Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the nonprofit Center for Food Safety, said the quick approval shows that the USDA is more concerned about the fortunes of the biotechnology industry than about consumers' health. "USDA is telling agricultural biotechnology companies that it doesn't matter if you're negligent, if you break the rules, if you contaminate the food supply with untested genetically engineered crops, we'll bail you out," Mendelson said in a statement. Officials in Europe, where genetically altered rice is derisively dubbed "Frankenfood," made clear as recently as last week that European countries will not accept any U.S. rice, he said.
GM: New study shows unborn babies could be harmed
2006-01-06, Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Women who eat GM [genetically modified] foods while pregnant risk endangering their unborn babies, startling new research suggests. The study...found that more than half of the offspring of rats fed on modified soya died in the first three weeks of life, six times as many as those born to mothers with normal diets. Six times as many were also severely underweight. The research - which is being prepared for publication - is just one of a clutch of recent studies that are reviving fears that GM food damages human health. Italian research has found that modified soya affected the liver and pancreas of mice. Australia had to abandon a decade-long attempt to develop modified peas when an official study found they caused lung damage. The World Trade Organisation is expected next month to support a bid by the Bush administration to force European countries to accept GM foods. The Monsanto soya is widely eaten by Americans.
Note: If the article link above fails, click here. Though the European press provides good coverage, the US media is amazingly quiet on the issue of GMOs, which is so vital to our health. For our database of articles on genetic modification from major media sources, click here.
Rats fed GM corn due for sale in Britain developed abnormalities in blood and kidneys
2005-05-22, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Rats fed on a diet rich in genetically modified corn developed abnormalities to internal organs and changes to their blood, raising fears that human health could be affected by eating GM food. Details of secret research carried out by Monsanto, the GM food giant...shows that rats fed the modified corn had smaller kidneys and variations in the composition of their blood. According to the confidential 1,139-page report, these health problems were absent from another batch of rodents fed non-GM food. Although Monsanto last night dismissed the abnormalities in rats as meaningless and due to chance...a senior British government source said ministers were so worried by the findings that they had called for further information. The full details of the rat research are included in the main report, which Monsanto refuses to release on the grounds that "it contains confidential business information which could be of commercial use to our competitors".
Note: If the above article link fails, click here.
America's masterplan is to force GM food on the world
2006-02-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Three judges emerged after years of secret deliberation to rule that Europe had imposed a de facto ban on GM [genetically modified] food imports between 1999 and 2003, violating WTO rules. The court also ruled that Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg had no legal grounds to impose their own unilateral import bans. Actually, the judges said much more, but in true WTO style no one has been allowed to know what. A few bureaucrats in the US, EU, Argentina and Canada have reportedly seen the full 1,045-page report, and an edited summary of some of its conclusions has been leaked. But no one, it seems, will take responsibility for the ruling, which may force the EU to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate some of the world's most heavily subsidised farmers, and could change the laws of at least six countries that have imposed GM bans. It is now clear that the real reason the US took Europe to the WTO court was...to make it easier for its companies to...open regulatory doors in China, India, south-east Asia, Latin America and Africa, where most US exports now go. This is where millions of tonnes of US food aid heads, and where US GM companies are desperate to have access, buying up seed companies and schmoozing presidents.
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Genetically Modified Foods, Organisms