Genetic Modification News StoriesExcerpts of Key Genetic Modification News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of genetically modified organisms news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The government illegally approved a breed of genetically engineered salmon without assessing the harm the fish might cause if they escaped their confines and interbred with other salmon species, a federal judge ruled. The Food and Drug Administration agreed in 2015, under President Barack Obama's administration, to allow AquaBounty Technologies to produce the fish, which is an Atlantic salmon that has been infused with a growth hormone gene from Pacific salmon, also known as chinook, and DNA from a slithery creature known as an eelpout. But U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria of San Francisco said the FDA had failed to consider or study what would happen if the genetically engineered salmon slipped out and reached waters inhabited by other salmon. â€śThey may directly interact with wild salmon, such as by mating or simply by competing for resources,â€ť Chhabria said in a ruling on a lawsuit by environmental, consumer and fishing organizations. â€śEven if this scenario was unlikely, the FDA was still required to assess the consequences,â€ť especially since the agency knew AquaBounty's facilities were likely to grow, he said. â€śBefore starting the country down a road that could well lead to commercial production of genetically engineered fish on a large scale, the FDA should have developed a full understanding – and provided a full explanation – of the potential environmental consequences,â€ť Chhabria said. The FDA did not say whether it would appeal the ruling.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
US authorities have approved a plan to release more than 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes across the Florida Keys, despite objections from local residents. British-based firm Oxitec are behind the project that will test whether the altered mosquitoes can work as an alternative to pesticides to control the spread of diseases. The male mosquito, which is named OX5034, has been created to produce female offspring that die at larval stage, before they grow big enough to spread disease and bite. Female mosquitoes bite for blood while they mature their eggs, but males do not carry the diseases as they feed on nectar. The mosquitoes will be released in the Florida Keys in 2021, but will be expanded into Harris County, Texas, after the Environmental Protection Agency granted Oxitec’s request for an experimental use permit. Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Centre for Technology Assessment and Centre for Food Safety ... criticized the decision. “What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because EPA unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks. Now without further review of the risks, the experiment can proceed,” Mr Hanson [said]. Since the initial announcement of the project in May, more than 230,000 people have signed a petition against the proposal, which was supported by more than 30 local physicians. Local media reported that residents were unhappy to be treated as “guinea pigs” for the experiment.
Note: Read more about the controversy surrounding Oxitec's genetically altered mosquitoes. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMOs from reliable major media sources.
Warren D. Ward, 48, was in high school when the swine flu threat of 1976 swept the U.S. A relative died in the 1918 flu pandemic, and the 1976 illness was feared to be a direct descendant of the deadly virus. “The government wanted everyone to get vaccinated,” Ward said. “But the epidemic never really broke out. It was a threat that never materialized.” The episode began in February 1976, when an Army recruit at Ft. Dix, N.J., fell ill and died from a swine flu virus thought to be similar to the 1918 strain. Several other soldiers at the base also became ill. The CDC ... called on President Ford and Congress to begin a mass inoculation. The $137-million program began in early October, but within days reports emerged that the vaccine appeared to increase the risk for Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological condition that causes temporary paralysis but can be fatal. More than 40 million Americans ... received the swine flu vaccine before the program was halted in December after 10 weeks. More than 500 people are thought to have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving the vaccine; 25 died. Only about 200 cases of swine flu and one death were ultimately reported. No one completely understands the causes of Guillain-Barre, but the condition can develop after a bout with infection or following surgery or vaccination. The federal government paid millions in damages. The pandemic, which some experts estimated at the time could infect 50 million to 60 million Americans, never unfolded.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.
One of the most powerful Big Food lobbyists wants to change its image. The Grocery Manufacturers Association ... is planning to change its name to the Consumer Brands Association in 2020, a sign the group is trying to distance itself from past troubles. In the past two years, food companies like Campbell, Kraft Heinz, Nestle, Hershey and Unilever have left the GMA, amid disputes. Among the issues that were fiercely debated were how and when to disclose the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The organization says each of the former members left for individual reasons, but the common thread was a failure by the organization to adapt as consumer sentiments and trends were evolving. “Gone are the days when we could have one face to policymakers and a different one to consumers,” said GMA President and CEO Geoff Freeman. ″Policymakers have little to no influence on the decisions consumers make,” he said. The organization’s agenda is based on the industry’s realization that it must react to consumers’ demands, rather than fight them, Freeman said. The new name more clearly identifies the companies in its membership: branded names in food, beverage, personal care and household products. GMA wants to fix what it believes is a broken system to help address the country’s recycling crisis. The U.S. does not have uniform recycling laws, which has led to contamination of shipments meant for recycling. Exacerbating this issue, China ... has begun to refuse America’s garbage.
Note: In 2016, the Grocery Manufacturers Association was forced to pay $18 million in damages for violating Washington State law in its opposition to a GMO labeling initiative. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
In November, Dr. He Jiankui announced that twin girls had been born in China from embryos whose genes he had altered using CRISPR gene-editing technology. According to the magazine Science, he hoped to build a baby-designing business. In March, a World Health Organization committee argued for a moratorium on clinical human genome editing "until its implications have been properly considered." But no system of global guidance exists to implement or enforce such a ban on the practice. In June, a Russian scientist declared that he plans to proceed anyway. You can imagine what bad actors with eugenic fantasies could do with this technology. But today, many parents, with the best interest of their future children in mind, choose embryos based on the genes inside. Since 1978, when the first child, Louise Brown, was born using in-vitro fertilization, this and other assisted reproductive technologies have expanded immensely, creating over a million babies. Because preimplantation genetic diagnosis allows parents to avoid transmitting mutations to children, CRISPR will unfortunately probably be used to enhance progeny with socially desired traits such as height, certain athletic abilities or intelligence. Such uses will be very profitable. Due to high costs, assisted reproductive technologies, including preimplantation genetic diagnosis, are not available to everyone and are thus altering how thousands of affluent people -- but not poorer individuals -- thrive and live.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
Soon, soybeans will be bred to yield stable oil without the addition of dangerous trans fats. Lettuce will be grown to handle warmer, drier fields. Wheat to contain less gluten. And pigs bred to resist deadly viruses. Ten years ago, such genetic changes would have been considered science fiction – or so far off into the future of breeding as to be almost unimaginable. But gene editing, particularly with a tool called Crispr-Cas9, has made it much easier and more efficient to tinker with the genomes of plants and animals. The first Crispr-edited products will begin reaching the market this year, and researchers believe it’s only a matter of time before US grocery shelves could be filled with gene-edited produce, grains and meat. The technology will be subject to stringent health and environment review, as well as labeling requirements in the EU, but not in the US. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a statement last March saying it would not regulate crops whose genetic changes could have been produced with conventional breeding. The European court of justice, by contrast, ruled last summer that gene-edited crops should be regulated as GMOs. The scientific challenges have been largely settled. But political and social ones remain. Jennifer Kuzma, co-director of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State University, said US consumers are willing to pay 20% more to avoid GMO foods, and nearly half of the public reports actively avoiding genetically modified ingredients and food.
Note: Read an excellent addendum to this important article by GMO expert Jeffrey Smith recommending caution in these little-tested new products. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMOs and food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Near Tampa Bay, Florida, I watched airboats move up and down the river banks, spraying massive plumes of weedkiller. The main active ingredient in that mist ... is glyphosate. It is now an ingredient in more than 750 products, including ... Monsanto’s Roundup. This August, the jury in a civil trial found Monsanto, which was acquired [by] Bayer, guilty of causing the cancer of Dewayne Johnson, a school groundskeeper. Roughly 8,700 similar cases against Monsanto are also before the courts. Almonds, carrots, quinoa, soy products, vegetable oil, corn and corn oil, canola seeds used in canola oil, beets and beet sugar, sweet potatoes – these are just some of the foodstuffs which typically contain high levels of glyphosate. Research released in August by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that Cheerios, Quaker Old Fashioned Oats and at least 29 other popular breakfast foods contained what the EWG considers unsafe quantities of the herbicide. The environmental group has been urging public action to get the EPA to revise its outdated standards, which currently fail to protect the public from glyphosate in foods. Levels of glyphosate in the bodies of people in some areas appear to have jumped over 1,300% in the past 20 years. Unlike pharmaceuticals, which have to go through relatively rigorous (if imperfect) testing before being released on the marketplace, the vast majority of chemicals like glyphosate will never be adequately tested for their effects on ecosystems or human beings.
The Pentagon is studying whether insects can be enlisted to combat crop loss during agricultural emergencies. The bugs would carry genetically engineered viruses that could be deployed rapidly if critical crops such as corn or wheat became vulnerable to a drought, a natural blight or a sudden attack by a biological weapon. The concept envisions the viruses making genetic modifications ... during a single growing season. The program, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has a warm and fuzzy name: “Insect Allies.” But some critics find the whole thing creepy. A team of skeptical scientists and legal scholars published an article in the journal Science on Thursday arguing that the Insect Allies program opens a “Pandora’s box" and involves technology that “may be widely perceived as an effort to develop biological agents for hostile purposes and their means of delivery.” The authors ... contend that Insect Allies could potentially be interpreted as a violation of an international treaty called the Biological Weapons Convention. “We argue that there is the risk that the program is seen as not justified by peaceful purposes,” [said] co-author Silja Voeneky, a professor of international law. She said the use of insects as a key feature of the program is particularly alarming, because insects could be deployed cheaply and surreptitiously by malevolent actors.
A California judge has rejected Monsanto’s appeal to overturn a landmark jury verdict which found that its popular herbicide causes cancer. Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a father of three and former school groundskeeper ... won a $289m award over the summer after alleging that his exposure to Roundup weedkiller gave him cancer. Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company, filed an appeal of the verdict, which said the company was responsible for “negligent failure”, knew or should have known that its product was “dangerous”, and had “acted with malice or oppression”. San Francisco superior court judge Suzanne Bolanos ... has ruled to reduce punitive damages from $250m to $39m. The August verdict was a major victory for campaigners who have long fought Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world. Studies have repeatedly linked the glyphosate chemical ... to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a type of blood cancer. Internal Monsanto emails uncovered in the litigation suggested that the corporation has repeatedly worked to stifle critical research over the years while “ghost-writing” scientific reports favorable to glyphosate. Thousands of plaintiffs across the country have made similar legal claims, alleging that glyphosate exposure caused their cancer or resulted in the deaths of their loved ones. Last week, four jury members spoke to the Guardian about the judge questioning their unanimous decision, urging her to allow the verdict to stand.
Note: The EPA continues to use industry-sponsored studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. A recent independent study published in a scientific journal also found a link between glyphosate and gluten intolerance. Internal FDA emails suggest that the food supply contains far more glyphosate than government reports indicate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health.
Scientists announced today that they have created the first successful human-animal hybrids. The project proves that human cells can be introduced into a non-human organism, survive, and even grow inside a host animal, in this case, pigs. This biomedical advance has long been a dream and a quandary for scientists hoping to address a critical shortage of donor organs. An international team of researchers led by the Salk Institute ... created what’s known scientifically as a chimera: an organism that contains cells from two different species. Such experiments are currently ineligible for public funding in the United States. Public opinion, too, has hampered the creation of organisms that are part human, part animal. The Salk-led group [used] the genome editing tool called CRISPR to hack into mouse blastocysts—the precursors of embryos. There, they deleted genes that mice need to grow certain organs. When they introduced rat stem cells capable of producing those organs, those cells flourished. The mice that resulted managed to live into adulthood. Pigs have a notable similarity to humans. Not that these similarities made the task any easier. In order to introduce human cells into the pigs without killing them, [the team] had to get the timing just right. When those just-right human cells were injected into the pig embryos, the embryos survived. Then they were put into adult pigs, which carried the embryos for between three and four weeks before they were removed. In all, the team created 186 later-stage chimeric embryos that survived.
Note: For lots more on the disturbing topic of human-animal hybrids, see this Washington Post article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on genetically modified organisms and health.
Within the Defense Department, one agency’s recent project sounds futuristic: millions of insects carrying viruses descend upon crops and then genetically modify them to withstand droughts, floods and foreign attacks. But in a warning published Thursday in the journal Science, a group of independent scientists and lawyers objected. They argue that the endeavor is not so different from designing biological weapons - banned under international law since 1975 - that could swarm and destroy acres of crops. “Once you engineer a virus that spreads by insect, it is hard to imagine how you would ever control it,” said Guy Reeves, a researcher ... who contributed to the critique. “You haven’t just released a transmissible virus - you’ve released a disease,” he added. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa ... launched the Insect Allies research program in 2016, budgeting $45 million over four years to transform agricultural pests into vectors that can transfer protective genes into plants within one growing season. The critics said publishing the new research findings could establish “preliminary instruction manuals” for developing offensive biological weapons. Foreign military programs are often “driven by perception of competitors’ activities,” the critics warn, and “the mere announcement of this program may motivate other countries to develop their own capabilities in this arena — indeed, it may have already done so.”
The Congressional Pollinator Protection Caucus, which is an actual thing, held a bipartisan twilight event that involved the release of 50 monarch butterflies into the darkening sky. This was a nice moment. As Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Democrat of Ohio, said, "We should all be able to agree on butterflies." The CPPC is serious business. Between the destruction of monarch habitats ... and the ongoing mystery of colony collapse among the bees, American agriculture is endangered. In 2017, according to the Center For Biological Diversity, the overwintering population of monarchs dropped by a third. The butterfly's dramatic decline has been driven in large part by the widespread planting of genetically engineered crops. The vast majority of U.S. corn and soybeans are genetically engineered for resistance to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, a potent killer of milkweed, the monarch caterpillar's only food. The dramatic surge in the use of Roundup ... has virtually wiped out milkweed plants in the Midwest's corn and soybean fields. Overall monarchs have declined by more than 80 percent over the past two decades. In the mid-1990s the population was estimated at nearly one billion butterflies, but this year’s population is down to approximately 93 million butterflies. The [Trump] administration is determined to defang the Endangered Species Act while a review of the monarch's status under the ESA is pending.
Note: Recently, Monsanto's Roundup herbicide was also linked to the rapid decline of bee populations by a major study. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and GMOs.
German conglomerate Bayer on Thursday closed its $63 billion merger with Monsanto after getting the required nod from U.S. and EU regulators. The closing sets the stage for the ... brand name "Monsanto" to be dropped by Bayer. Monsanto's agricultural biotechnology research and development operations that are going to Bayer are the largest in the world. "The entire business is essentially going over to Bayer intact," said ... analyst Seth Goldstein. "Taking away the Monsanto name is more of a branding. It should allow for easier PR for Bayer." The annual Harris Poll of corporate reputation ratings among America's "100 most visible companies" has regularly shown Monsanto rank toward the lower end of the list. Monsanto ranked 97 on the list of 100 companies in 2017 and survey results this year put it at 95. Monsanto has spent upwards of $100 million in some years on advertising costs. Some of the corporate efforts have been in direct response to social media attacks ... against genetically modified organisms. Monsanto also has faced protests over the American company's Roundup herbicide product containing glyphosate. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic" back in 2015. "It's not a surprise Bayer is dropping the Monsanto name since the brand has so many issues and there was international rejection of GMOs," said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety.
Note: Monsanto has become the target of a negative publicity campaign for very good reasons because of it's huge support of GMOs and RoundUp. Now, Bayer is hoping to erase this negative image, yet they are far from a responsible company. See this post documenting how Bayer collaborated with the Nazis to kill Jews and much more. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the corporate world and in the food system.
Foodmakers will soon be required to disclose when their products contain genetically modified ingredients - but those labels may not be as obvious, or as comprehensive, as consumers expected. A proposed rule released by the Agriculture Department ... instructs foodmakers to use the term “bioengineered” to label such foods instead of “genetically modified.” The proposed rule ... will now undergo a public comment period and could be finalized as early as this summer. Congress passed a mandatory-labeling law in 2016. Food companies will have three options for disclosing the ingredients, the USDA said: a one-sentence label declaration, such as “contains a bioengineered food ingredient”; a standardized icon, such as the one used in the National Organic Program; or a QR code or other digital marker that directs shoppers to a website for more information. Under one plan, the USDA said it would exempt highly refined sugars and oils, such as those made from genetically modified corn, soybeans and sugar beets, from labeling. This would effectively exempt as much as 70 percent of covered food products from GMO labeling. Under another plan, the USDA would exempt products containing ingredients from mixed sources that were less than 5 percent genetically modified by weight. That ... is significantly higher than the 0.9 percent threshold observed by China, Russia and the European Union.
Christine Sheppard fantasizes about her life before cancer. For 12 years, Sheppard had no idea what might have caused her non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - until IARC [The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer] reported that glyphosate, the key ingredient in the popular weed killer Roundup, is "probably carcinogenic to humans". That's the same herbicide Sheppard said she sprayed on her coffee farm in Hawaii for five years. Sheppard is one of more than 800 cancer patients suing Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, claiming the company failed to warn consumers about the risk of cancer associated with Roundup products. Recently unsealed court documents appear to show Monsanto mounting its effort to discredit the IARC report before it was even released. A month before the IARC report came out in 2015, Monsanto executive William F. Heydens sent an internal email [that] suggested ghostwriting parts of an "overall plausibility paper" to save money. After the report [was released] Heydens sent an email to Monsanto's US agency lead. Dan Jenkins, Monsanto's US agency lead ... suggested talking to Jess Rowland, then chairman of the EPA's Cancer Assessment Review Committee. But the next day, Jenkins said Rowland called him. "(Rowland) told me no coordination is going on and he wanted to establish some, saying 'If I can kill this I should get a medal,'" Jenkins wrote, as shown in the plaintiffs' motion to compel the deposition of Rowland.
Note: Read more on Monsanto's fake research and influence over EPA regulators. The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
A whistle-blower who once worked for Monsanto walked away with a handsome payout for alerting regulators to accounting improprieties within the company, according to Reuters. Regulators will reportedly award the former executive with $22 million in connection with the $80 million settlement agreement Monsanto made with the S.E.C. over an incentive program the company ran to promote its trademark weed killer, Roundup. The $22 million payout is the second-highest sum the S.E.C. has given so far to a whistle-blower, behind a $30 million award paid in September 2014. The regulatory agency enacted a program to sweeten the idea of reporting impropriety in 2011, as part of the Dodd-Frank reforms. With between 10 and 30 percent of penalties or settlement agreements made with the government on the line, Wall Streeters and company insiders have all but lined up to tip off the S.E.C. Between September 2014 and September 2015 alone, the agency says 4,000 people forked over information, and more than 30 of them have pocketed a collective $85 million over the last five years.
Note: Monsanto lied to regulators and investors about RoundUp's profitability for three years. Major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies on the dangers of Roundup. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
A noted plant scientist who spent much of his career at Purdue University sent a letter to the USDA informing the agency that he'd discovered a mysterious new disease-causing organism in Monsanto's (MON) genetically engineered Roundup Ready corn and soybeans. Now, that scientist - Don Huber - has written a follow-up letter ... and appears in a videotaped interview where he presents an even scarier picture of the damage he claims Monsanto's herbicide chemical glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) is doing to both plants and the animals who eat them. Use of glyphosate has soared thanks to widespread use of Monsanto's soy and corn seeds, which are genetically modified to survive its effects. The problem with glyphosate, Huber says, is that it effectively "gives a plant AIDS," weakening its defenses and making it more susceptible to pathogens, such as the one his team discovered. The scientists have taken to calling the bug "the electron microscope (EM) organism," since it can only be seen with an electron microscope. Huber claims that the double whammy of weakened defenses and the new EM organism have contributed to "unexplained epidemics" of disease on farms. He's heard from cattle farmers who are struggling because they're experiencing a 15% infertility rate and 35% rate of spontaneous abortions among their herds. When the farmers switch to non-GE soy and corn for feed, the problems decline dramatically.
A reputable-sounding nonprofit organization released a report attacking the organic food industry in April 2014. The 30-page report by Academics Review, described as “a non-profit led by independent academic experts in agriculture and food sciences,” found that consumers were being duped into spending more money for organic food. The [group's] press release ends on this note: “Academics Review has no conflicts-of-interest associated with this publication, and all associated costs for which were paid for using our general funds without any specific donor’ influence or direction.” What was not mentioned in the report, the news release or on the website: Executives for Monsanto Co., the world’s leading purveyor of agrichemicals and genetically engineered seeds, along with key Monsanto allies, engaged in fund raising for Academics Review, collaborated on strategy and even discussed plans to hide industry funding, according to emails obtained by U.S. Right to Know. Jay Byrne, former head of communications at Monsanto ... offered to act as a “commercial vehicle” to help find corporate funding for Academics Review. In March 2016, Monica Eng reported ... on documents showing that Monsanto paid Professor Bruce Chassy more than $57,000 over a 23-month period to travel, write and speak about GMOs - money that was not disclosed to the public. The money was part of at least $5.1 million in undisclosed money Monsanto sent through the University of Illinois Foundation.
Note: Monsanto has reportedly pushed fake science in other circumstances as well. Major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public on the dangers of its products, most notably Roundup. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
Monsanto is under fire because the company's herbicide, Roundup (active ingredient: glyphosate), is suspected of being carcinogenic. The longstanding dispute about glyphosate has been brought to a head by the release of explosive documents. Monsanto's strategies for whitewashing glyphosate have been revealed in internal e-mails, presentations and memos. Even worse, these "Monsanto Papers" suggest that the company doesn't even seem to know whether Roundup is harmless to people's health. "You cannot say that Roundup is not a carcinogen," Monsanto toxicologist Donna Farmer wrote in one of the emails. "We have not done the necessary testing on the formulation to make that statement." The email ... is one of more than 100 documents that a court in the United States ordered Monsanto to provide as evidence after about 2,000 plaintiffs demanded compensation from Monsanto in class-action suits. They claim that Roundup has caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of lymph node cancer. "The Monsanto Papers tell an alarming story of ghostwriting, scientific manipulation and the withholding of information," says Michael Baum, a partner in [a] law firm ... bringing one of the US class actions. Monsanto ... also behaved irresponsibly when it comes to the question of Roundup's absorption into the body. Back in 2002, the company's experts discovered that "between 5 and 10 percent" of the substance penetrated the skin of rats. As a consequence, the author of the email wrote: "We decided thus to STOP the study."
Note: Monsanto was recently banned from the European parliament after shunning important hearings with regulators. This company's use of scientists as industry puppets, its lies to regulators and the public and its massive lobbying campaign have not kept information on the risks and dangers of its products from getting out. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
The latest study to look at the long-term effects of Roundup, a popular weed killer developed by Monsanto in the 1970s, raises questions about the herbicide’s possible contributions to poor health. The study ... tracked people over the age of 50 in southern California from 1993-1996 to 2014-2016, with researchers periodically collecting urine samples. The percentage of people who tested positive for a chemical called glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, shot up by 500% in that time period. The levels of glyphosate also spiked by 1208% during that time. Exactly what that means for human health isn’t quite clear yet. One trial from the UK, in which rats were fed low levels of glyphosate throughout their lives, found that the chemical contributed to ... a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver and contributes to inflammation and scarring of the tissue. [Researcher Paul] Mills says that the levels of glyphosate documented in the people in his study were 100-fold greater than those in the rats. Mills says the findings should make people more aware of what they are ingesting along with their food. While Roundup was developed to eliminate most weeds from genetically modified crops - and thus reduce the amount of pesticides sprayed on them - recent studies have found that many weeds are now resistant to Roundup. That means growers are using more Roundup, which could only exacerbate potential negative health effects on people who consume those products.
Note: Glyphosate is the most heavily used agricultural chemical in human history. According to a recent UN report, "the assertion promoted by the agrochemical industry that pesticides are necessary to achieve food security is not only inaccurate, but dangerously misleading." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
The idea that pesticides are necessary to feed the world’s fast-growing population is “inaccurate and misleading”, a UN report has warned. The document, which is expected to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council this week, strongly denounced the “aggressive promotion” of pesticides by the industry as experts found the chemicals had “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole”. [These impacts] have been exacerbated by corporations’ “systematic denial”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and by having “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions globally”. Lobbyists have often defended pesticides as being necessary to increase yields as the world is facing threats of climate change impact. But the report debunks this idea. “The assertion promoted by the agrochemical industry that pesticides are necessary to achieve food security is not only inaccurate, but dangerously misleading. In principle, there is adequate food to feed the world; inequitable production and distribution systems present major blockages that prevent those in need from accessing it.” The report notes that while pesticides have “not succeeded in eliminating worldwide hunger”, studies indicate that food can contain “a cocktail of pesticides”. Washing has no effect on modern pesticides.
Note: Pesticide giant Monsanto was recently banned from the European parliament after shunning important hearings with regulators. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
When researchers collected honey samples from around the world, they found that three-quarters of them had a common type of pesticide suspected of playing a role in the decline of bees. That demonstrates how pervasive a problem the much-debated pesticide is for honeybees, said authors of a study published ... in the journal Science. "What this shows is the magnitude of the contamination," said study lead author Edward Mitchell ... adding that there are "relatively few places where we did not find any." Over the past few years, several studies - in the lab and the field - link insecticides called neonicotinoids ... or neonics, to reduced and weakened honeybee hives. Neonics work by attacking an insect's central nervous system. As part of a citizen science project, the Swiss researchers asked other experts, friends and relatives to ship them honey samples. More than 300 samples arrived and researchers tested 198 of them for five of the most common types of neonics. Overall, 75 percent of the samples had at least one neonic, 45 percent had two or more and 10 percent had four or more. Results varied by region. In North America, 86 percent of samples had the pesticide; Asia, 80 percent; Europe, where there's a partial ban, 79 percent; Africa 73 percent; the Australian region, 71 percent and South America, 57 percent. The study found that nearly half of the honey samples exceeded a level of the pesticide that some previous research said weakens bees.
Note: CNN News reported in 2010 that pesticide manufacturer Bayer covered up the link between its neonicotinoids and massive bee die-offs. Read more about how these pesticides sicken bees and harm food crops. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing food system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Documents released Tuesday in a lawsuit against Monsanto raised new questions about the company’s efforts to influence the news media and scientific research and revealed internal debate over the safety of its highest-profile product, the weed killer Roundup. The active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, is the most common weed killer in the world. The documents underscore the lengths to which the agrochemical company goes to protect its image. Documents show that Henry I. Miller ... a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops, asked Monsanto to draft an article for him that largely mirrored one that appeared under his name on Forbes’s website in 2015. An academic involved in writing research funded by Monsanto, John Acquavella, [wrote] in a 2015 email to a Monsanto executive, “I can’t be part of deceptive authorship on a presentation or publication.” He also said of the way the company was trying to present the authorship: “We call that ghost writing and it is unethical.” Mr. Miller’s 2015 article on Forbes’s website was an attack on the findings of ... a branch of the World Health Organization that had labeled glyphosate a probable carcinogen. The documents also show that A. Wallace Hayes, the former editor of a journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, has had a contractual relationship with Monsanto. In 2013, while he was still editor, Mr. Hayes retracted a key study damaging to Monsanto that found that Roundup, and genetically modified corn, could cause cancer and early death in rats.
Few science writers have worked as hard as Keith Kloor to impact public opinion on genetically modified organism (GMO) agriculture. An adjunct professor at New York University and former editor for Audubon and blogger for Discover, Kloor has spent years championing GMO products and portraying skeptics and critics as scientifically illiterate quacks. His curious form of advocacy includes bitter attacks on anyone who disagrees with him. Kloor’s targets have included Jake Tapper of CNN; Michael Pollan, professor of journalism at UC-Berkeley; Tom Philpott of Mother Jones; Mark Bittman, the noted food columnist; Glenn Davis Stone, Guggenheim Fellow and professor of archaeology at Washington University; Nassim Taleb, professor of risk engineering at NYU; Marion Nestle, professor of food science at NYU; and Charles Seife, professor of science journalism at NYU. The public has known for some time that Keith Kloor loves GMOs. What they haven’t known, until now, is how hard he’s worked with industry-funded “experts” to present corporate talking points as journalism and then try to cover his tracks. An avalanche of documents released through court proceedings and freedom of information requests point to a coordinated effort by corporate front groups, scientists secretly funded by agrichemical industry giants, and allied reporters attempting to portray themselves as arbiters of scientific expertise while condemning critics of GMO technology as “antiscience.”
Note: The above article provides an in-depth view of Monsanto's corruption of mass media. This company's use of scientists as industry puppets, its lies to regulators and the public and its massive lobbying campaign have not kept information on the risks and dangers of GMOs from getting out.
Glyphosate, an herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto Co's popular Roundup weed killer, will be added to California's list of chemicals known to cause cancer effective July 7, the state's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said on Monday. Monsanto vowed to continue its legal fight against the designation, required under a state law known as Proposition 65. The listing is the latest legal setback for the seeds and chemicals company, which has faced increasing litigation over glyphosate since the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer said that it is "probably carcinogenic" in a controversial ruling in 2015. Dicamba, a weed killer designed for use with Monsanto's next generation of biotech crops, is [also] under scrutiny in Arkansas after the state's plant board voted last week to ban the chemical. OEHHA said the designation of glyphosate ... will proceed following an unsuccessful attempt by Monsanto to block the listing in trial court. Listing glyphosate as a known carcinogen ... would require companies selling the chemical in the state to add warning labels to packaging. Monsanto and other glyphosate producers would have roughly a year from the listing date to re-label products or remove them from store shelves if further legal challenges are lost.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Major lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food industry corruption and health.
Of the many pesticides that American farmers have embraced in their war on bugs, neonicotinoids are among the most popular. One of them, called imidacloprid, [boasts] sales of over $1 billion a year. A 2016 study suggested a link between neonicotinoid use and local pollinator extinctions. As the bee debate raged, scientists studying the country’s waterways started to detect neonicotinoid pollutants. In 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey collected water samples from streams throughout the United States and discovered neonicotinoids in more than half of the samples. And on Wednesday, a team of [researchers] at the USGS and University of Iowa reported that they found neonicotinoids in treated drinking water. It marks the first time that anyone has identified this class of pesticide in tap water. The Environmental Protection Agency has not defined safe levels of neonicotinoids in drinking water. The pesticides ... work their way into plant tissue rather than just coating the leaves and stems. Neonicotinoids can slip past sand [water filtration systems] because they ... dissolve very readily in water. The research team looked at how effectively the university’s sand filtration system ... blocked the three neonicotinoids studied. The university’s sand filter removed 1 percent of the clothianidin, 8 percent of imidacloprid and 44 percent of thiamethoxam.
Residues of many types of insecticides, fungicides and weed killing chemicals have been found in roughly 85 percent of thousands of foods tested. Data released ... by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows varying levels of pesticide residues in everything from mushrooms to potatoes and grapes to green beans. One sample of strawberries contained residues of 20 pesticides. Notably, the agency said only 15 percent of the 10,187 samples tested were free from any detectable pesticide residues. That’s a marked difference from 2014, when the USDA found that over 41 percent of samples were “clean” or showed no detectable pesticide residues. Prior years also showed roughly 40-50 percent of samples as free of detectable residues. Absent from the USDA data was any information on glyphosate residues, even though glyphosate has long been the most widely used herbicide in the world. The Food and Drug Administration also annually samples foods for residues of pesticides. The most recent public residue report issued by the FDA shows that violation rates for pesticide residues have been climbing in recent years.
Concerns about the world’s most widely used herbicide are taking a new twist. Researchers looking at exposure to the herbicide known as glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup-branded herbicides, said they tested and tracked 69 expectant mothers and found that the presence of glyphosate levels in their bodily fluids correlated with unfavorable birth outcomes. Glyphosate ... has become the subject of hot debate over the last few years because of research that links the herbicide to types of cancer and other health ailments. Monsanto is being sued by hundreds of people who claim they or their loved ones developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma because of exposure to glyphosate-based Roundup. Documents discovered in the course of the litigation indicate the company may have manipulated scientific research to hide evidence of harm. The team that presented their report Wednesday ... collected the data over two years, from 2015-2016, and found that higher glyphosate levels in women correlated with significantly shorter pregnancies and with lower adjusted birth weights. [Paul Winchester, who led the study], said he was surprised to see such a high percentage of women tested showing glyphosate in their urine. He was sharply critical of the U.S. government, which routinely skips testing for glyphosate residues in food.
Note: Major lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public on the dangers of glyphosate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health.
A new report issued by the National Academy of Sciences says U.S. regulatory agencies need to prepare for new plants, animals, and microbes that will be hitting the market in the next five to 10 years. The new products ... could overwhelm regulatory agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration. Changes in the vast communities of microorganisms that live in and outside the human body may contribute to diseases, but scientists don’t yet understand all these complex relationships. That isn’t stopping companies trying to develop genetically engineered bacteria to treat a whole range of medical conditions. Ingested in pills, these living microorganisms could end up in wastewater and possibly drinking water. Early this year, the FDA proposed new regulations requiring researchers to get approval for gene editing in cattle, pigs, dogs, and other animals. This week, startup Memphis Meats announced plans to start selling chicken grown from cultured animal cells. The company is among a handful of startups aiming to develop animal-like proteins that don’t require traditional agricultural methods. Lab-made meat falls into a regulatory gray area. Gene drives [promote] an engineered gene’s spread through an entire population. [The technique] is being considered to eliminate invasive rodents on islands and to wipe out mosquitoes that transmit malaria. The idea is that organisms would inherit self-limiting genes that drive them toward extinction. But a gene drive has never been tried in the wild.
Note: A recent Nature article makes it clear that engineered 'gene drives' are extremely risky and can not be safely contained. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Emails released as part of a federal lawsuit against Monsanto suggest the agriculture supplier cozied up to an EPA regulator and sought to whitewash studies to ignore potential cancer-causing effects of an herbicide found in weed-killer. NPR reports the emails show the company asked scientists to co-sign safety studies on glyphosate, an active ingredient in Roundup, after the International Agency for Research on Cancer found glyphosate may cause cancer. The emails show company representative William Heydens suggesting the company "ghost-write" a finding. He wrote, according to NPR, "we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak." The emails ... also show EPA regulator Jess Rowland boasting in a 2015 email to Monsanto that, "If I can kill this I should get a medal," referring to a Monsanto effort to stop a government investigation into glyphosate. CBS reported another email from a Monsanto employee to an EPA director said, "I doubt EPA and Jess can kill this, but it's good to know they are going to actually make the effort." The company defended the relationship in an interview with Bloomberg. Rowland ... has left the EPA's pesticide division and is involved in about two dozen lawsuits related to the company not disclosing potential cancer-causing hazards of glyphosate.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public on the dangers of glyphosate. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
The reputation of Roundup, whose active ingredient is the world’s most widely used weed killer, took a hit on Tuesday when a federal court unsealed documents raising questions about its safety and the research practices of its manufacturer, the chemical giant Monsanto. Monsanto’s internal emails and email traffic between the company and federal regulators ... suggested that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics and indicated that a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency had worked to quash a review of Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, that was to have been conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The files were unsealed by Judge Vince Chhabria, who is presiding over litigation brought by people who claim to have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of exposure to glyphosate. The litigation was touched off by a determination made nearly two years ago by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, that glyphosate was a probable carcinogen. Court records show that Monsanto was tipped off to the determination by a deputy division director at the E.P.A., Jess Rowland, months beforehand. That led the company to prepare a public relations assault on the finding well in advance of its publication. Last year, a review by The New York Times showed how the [chemical] industry can manipulate academic research or misstate findings.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public on the dangers of glyphosate. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
The European Parliament is concerned about food safety and human health. They asked a group of experts ... to review the possible health advantages of organic food and organic farming. Our report reviews existing scientific evidence regarding the impact of organic food on human health. The most important information in this report is about pesticides in food. In conventional food, there are pesticide residues that remain in the food even after it’s washed. Organic foods are produced virtually without pesticides. Three long-term birth cohort studies in the U.S. suggest that pesticides are harming children’s brains. Women’s exposure to pesticides during pregnancy ... was associated with negative impacts on their children’s IQ and neurobehavioral development. Also, one of the studies looked at structural brain growth ... and found that the gray matter was thinner in children the higher their mothers’ exposure to organophosphates, which are used widely in pesticides. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, and women planning to become pregnant, may wish to eat organic foods as a precautionary measure because of the significant and possibly irreversible consequences for children’s health. We know that the overly prevalent use of antibiotics in farm animals is a contributing factor in the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria - a major public health threat because this resistance can spread from animals to humans. On organic farms, the preventive use of antibiotics is restricted.
A delegation of independent scientists urged the EPA to ban RoundUp, Monsanto’s flagship herbicide. Providing testimony that it poses an unreasonable risk to humans, animals, and the environment, scientists spoke at a closed meeting with EPA [officials]. The scientists explained the physiological reasons why exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, is linked to autism, Alzheimer’s, cancer, birth defects, obesity, gluten intolerance, among other health issues. 300 million pounds of RoundUp are sprayed each year on corn, soy, sugar beets, canola, and weeds in the United States alone. $5 billion, or half Monsanto’s annual sales, comes from glyphosate-containing products. Dr. Stephen Frantz, Pathobiologist Research Scientist led the team. “When a cell is trying to form proteins, it may grab glyphosate instead of glycine to form a damaged, mis-folded protein. After that it’s medical chaos ... with many diseases and disorders as a result.” Moms Across America founder Zen Honeycutt was a participant at the meeting. Her son had been a casualty of processed foods, diagnosed with autism until his mother switched to an all-organic diet. “Mothers and caretakers are seeing their loved ones get sick on GMOs and glyphosate/herbicide sprayed foods and get better when they avoid them. Because glyphosate is contaminating our urine, water, breast milk and nearly all our foods, we are systematically causing sickness throughout America.”
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
California can require Monsanto to label its popular weed killer Roundup as a possible cancer threat even though the chemical giant insists it poses no risk to people, a judge tentatively ruled Friday. California would be the first state to order such labeling if it carries out the proposal. Monsanto had sued the nation's leading agricultural state, saying California officials illegally based their decision for carrying the warnings on findings by an international health organization based in France. Critics take issue with Roundup's main ingredient, glyphosate. It is sold in more than 160 countries, and farmers in California use it on 250 types of crops. The chemical is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a Lyon, France-based branch of the U.N. World Health Organization, classified the chemical as a “probable human carcinogen.” Shortly afterward, the most populated U.S. state took its first step in 2015 to require the warning labels. Once a chemical is added to a list of probable carcinogens, the manufacturer has a year before it must attach the label. Dozens nationwide ... are suing Monsanto, claiming the chemical gave them or a loved one cancer.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. More lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. Yet the EPA used industry studies while ignoring independent studies to declare Roundup safe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
Corporate spin is nothing new. Whether it’s cigarettes or sugar-laden sodas, the companies that make billions from such products employ a variety of strategies to promote the good and bury the bad. But the tactics being unveiled by Monsanto and surrogates over glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and the lynchpin for the success of genetically engineered crops, are noteworthy for the depths of their deception. The latest move, the formation of a group called “Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research”, (CAPHR) clearly promotes an agenda opposite to that which its name implies. Formed this month by the American Chemistry Council, whose membership includes Monsanto and other chemical industry titans, the group’s express purpose is to discredit the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a unit of the World Health Organization. An IARC scientific team declared in March 2015 that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen after reviewing an extensive body of published research on the subject. Monsanto and friends have been harassing IARC ever since through a series of demands, threats and legal maneuvers, including lobbying the U.S. House of Representatives to cut funding for IARC. The new campaign takes the assault further. Embedded in the industry’s truth-twisting tactics is the characterization of anyone who gives credence to scientific research showing problems with glyphosate, or the GMOs that go with it, as “anti-science.”
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Big lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMOs and the corruption of science.
Monsanto Co. and officials within the Environmental Protection Agency are fighting legal efforts aimed at exploring Monsanto’s influence over regulatory assessments of the key chemical in the company’s Roundup herbicide, new federal court filings show. The revelations are contained in a series of filings made ... as part of litigation brought by more than 50 people suing Monsanto. The plaintiffs claim they or their loved ones developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) after exposure to Roundup herbicide, and that Monsanto has spent decades covering up cancer risks linked to the chemical. Lawyers for the plaintiffs want the court to lift a seal on documents that detail Monsanto’s interactions with former top EPA brass Jess Rowland regarding the EPA’s safety assessment of glyphosate, which is the key ingredient in Roundup. They also want to depose Rowland. But Monsanto and the EPA object to the requests. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared in March 2015 that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen, with a positive association found between glyphosate and NHL. Monsanto has been fighting to refute that classification. Rowland has been key in Monsanto’s efforts to rebut the IARC finding. He chaired the EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC) that issued an internal report in October 2015 contracting IARC’s findings. That 87-page report, signed by Rowland, determined that glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. More lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. Yet the EPA used industry studies while ignoring independent studies to declare Roundup safe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
Genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides. The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides. Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents ... shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise. The United States and Canada have gained no discernible advantage in yields - food per acre - when measured against Western Europe. Also, a recent National Academy of Sciences report found that “there was little evidence” that the introduction of genetically modified crops in the United States had led to yield gains beyond those seen in conventional crops. At the same time, herbicide use has increased in the United States. And the United States has fallen behind Europe’s biggest producer, France, in reducing the overall use of pesticides, which includes both herbicides and insecticides. Pesticides are toxic by design ... and have been linked to developmental delays and cancer. The same companies make and sell both the genetically modified plants and the poisons.
Note: Explore over 40 scientific studies that have demonstrated the health dangers of GM foods. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and the GMO controversy.
The Washington, D.C.-based Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has been slapped with a $6 million civil penalty, which will be trebled due to its "intentional violations of state law" for laundering money in a 2013 Washington state initiative campaign. If the ... $18 million in total damages holds up on appeal, it may be the highest fine for campaign finance violations in the history of the United States. The grocery lobby group poured more than $11 million into the "No on 522" committee, which fought and narrowly defeated an initiative to require labeling of genetically modified foods and seeds sold to consumers in the state. What prompted the massive award? The GMA established what it called a "defense of brands account." It collected money to defeat the Washington initiative while shielding the identities of major food manufacturers (e.g. Pepsico, Coca-Cola, General Mills, General Foods) who were putting up millions of dollars in support. The GMA, its members and other sources had spent $43 million in 2012 to defeat California's Proposition 37, which would have required all packaged food products to identify genetically modified organisms. "While successfully defeating Prop. 37, certain individual member companies of GMA and some GMA staff received negative responses from the public because of their opposition to Prop. 37," Judge Hirsch wrote in her ruling. Hence, an elaborate scheme was hatched - and approved by the GMA's board - to conceal individual donors.
Note: Read a more in-depth, revealing article on this on mercola.com. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and the GMO controversy.
Testing for residues of an herbicide developed by Monsanto Co. that has been linked to cancer has turned up high levels in honey from the key farm state of Iowa, adding to concerns about contamination. The Food and Drug Administration began glyphosate residue testing in a small number of foods earlier this year after the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Research by FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem and John Vargo, a chemist at the University of Iowa, shows that residues of glyphosate - the chief ingredient in Monsanto’s branded Roundup herbicide - have been detected [in honey] at ... more than 10 times the limit of 50 ppb allowed in the European Union. “According to recent reports, there has been a dramatic increase in the usage of these herbicides, which are of risk to both human health and the environment,” Chamkasem and Vargo stated in their laboratory bulletin. Because there is no legal tolerance level for glyphosate in honey in the United States, any amount could technically be considered a violation, according to statements made in FDA internal emails, obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The Environmental Protection Agency may soon move to set a tolerance, however. The agency has set tolerance levels for glyphosate residues in many foods the EPA expects might contain residues of the weed killer.
Government testing for residues of an herbicide that has been linked to cancer has been put on hold, slowing the Food and Drug Administration’s first-ever endeavor to get a handle on just how much of the controversial chemical is making its way into U.S. foods. The FDA ... launched what it calls a “special assignment” earlier this year to analyze certain foods for residues of the weed killer called glyphosate after the agency was criticized by the U.S. Government Accountability Office for failing to include glyphosate in annual testing programs that look for many less-used pesticides. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world, and is the key ingredient in Monsanto Co.’s branded Roundup herbicide line. Several private groups ... have been finding glyphosate residues in varying levels in a range of foods. Earlier this year, one of the agency’s senior chemists also analyzed glyphosate residues in honey and oatmeal and [found that some] samples contained residue levels well over the limit allowed in the European Union. The agency ... put the glyphosate residue testing part of the work plan on hold amid confusion, disagreement and difficulties with establishing a standard methodology to use across the agency’s multiple U.S. laboratories, according to FDA sources. With the testing on hold, it is not clear when the agency might have final results on the glyphosate residue analysis.
Note: Laboratory tests have shown alarming levels of glyphosate in many common foods. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and health.
A research report commissioned by Health Canada finds consumers have "strong feelings" about being able to identify genetically modified products when they're shopping, and 78 per cent are calling for clear labelling on packages. "There was a prevailing belief among participants that there should be greater transparency to consumers and, once raised, many questioned why government in particular should be resistant to providing consumers with more information that would help them make more informed decisions," read the findings from The Strategic Counsel. Given the choice, 62 per cent would buy a non-GM food over a GM product out of fears of health hazards or impacts on the environment. According to Health Canada's website, all GM foods are "rigorously assessed" for safety. But labelling is now voluntary. Negative views revealed in the research highlight a "difficult challenge" for Health Canada ahead. Anti-GM advocates have successfully filled the "information void," the report reads. In May, Health Canada provoked controversy when it approved the first genetically modified food animal for sale after "rigorous" scientific reviews. A high number of participants opposed GM food in any form, the report said. Only 26 per cent of respondents indicated they would be comfortable eating foods that have been genetically modified, and just 22 per cent support the development and sale of GM foods in Canada.
News that Ketchum Inc., the public relations firm leading the charge to promote chemical-dependent GMO agriculture, is launching a new “specialty group” to capture a slice of the growing organic food market caught many food industry players by surprise last week. Ketchum’s new branch, called “Cultivate,” is pitching itself to “help purpose-driven brands with a natural, organic, and sustainable focus.” The news comes as Ketchum remains a key player in PR efforts to dampen demand for organic foods, spinning messages that tell consumers organics are over-priced and over-hyped. In 2013, Monsanto hired Ketchum’s parent company, Omnicom, to “reshape” its reputation amid fierce opposition to GMOs, according to the Holmes Report. Ketchum now works closely with Monsanto and the agrichemical industry on its massively funded PR efforts to promote genetically engineered food and crops, stop GMO labeling, downplay concerns about pesticides, counteract consumer advocates and convince consumers that organic food is no different from conventional food. A closer look at Ketchum’s past and current activities turns up more reasons that purpose-driven organic and natural food companies might want to steer clear of Ketchum’s “Cultivate” branch. Emails from the late 1990s indicate that Ketchum was involved in espionage against nonprofit groups that were raising concerns about GMOs. Ketchum ... has worked to undermine consumer advocates and the organic foods industry. It would be unwise for organic companies to hire the PR firm.
A former Monsanto executive who tipped the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to accounting improprieties involving the company's top-selling Roundup product has been awarded more than $22 million from the agency's whistleblower program. The award of $22,437,800 was tied to an $80 million settlement between the SEC and Monsanto in February, according to the [executive's] lawyer, Stuart Meissner in New York. It is the agency's second largest under the program. The Dodd Frank financial reform law empowered the SEC to award money to whistleblowers who give information to the agency which leads to a fine. Awards to 33 whistleblowers by the SEC's program have now surpassed a total of $107 million since the agency launched the program in 2011, the agency said. Monsanto's $80 million SEC settlement followed allegations that the company misstated its earnings in connection with Roundup, a popular weed killer. The SEC's case against Monsanto revolved around a corporate rebate program designed to boost Roundup sales. The SEC had said that Monsanto lacked sufficient internal controls to account for millions of dollars in rebates that it offered to retailers and distributors. It ultimately booked a sizeable amount of revenue, but then failed to recognize the costs of the rebate programs on its books. That led the St. Louis-based agriculture company to "materially" misstate its consolidated earnings for a three-year period. The award represents more than 28 percent of the total penalty and nearly the 30 percent maximum allowed under the SEC's bounty program.
Note: The above shows that Monsanto has been lying to their investors about how profitable Roundup is while major lawsuits build over the connection between Roundup and cancer. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Florida Keys are three months away from a straw poll vote on whether to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes on an island just east of Key West. The tourist destination is awash in lawn signs ... that showcase the overhead view of a mosquito and read: “NO CONSENT to release of genetically modified mosquitoes”. For the last five years, the biotechnology company Oxitec has been developing a plan to experimentally release the GMO mosquitoes in the Keys, which scientists hope could eventually impede the spread of the Zika virus [by undercutting] the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. But the prospect of ridding the neighborhood of a disease-carrying pest hasn’t quelled public dissatisfaction. Mila de Mier ... has led the charge against the mosquitoes’ release, collecting nearly 170,000 signatures in an online petition against the experiment. “It’s about human rights – this can’t be pushed down our throats without consent,” said De Mier. If the trial goes well, the technology would be on track to commercial approval in the United States, opening a slice of the nation’s $14bn pest control market to the company. Globally, analysts predict Oxitec’s mosquito could bring in up to $400m in annual sales for its parent company, Intrexon. With millions in potential sales at stake, the experiment in the environmentally sensitive, populous area hinges on the fundamental question proposed by opponents: do the people who live where an experiment is to be conducted have a right to decide whether to go forward?
Note: Oxitec, a company criticized for secretly releasing GM mosquitoes into the wild in 2009, was purchased last August by biotech giant Intrexon for $160 million. By December, the Zika virus was all over the news and Intrexon was ramping up production of these GM insects to "fight Zika" in Brazil. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMO controversies and Zika virus fear mongering.
A controversial scientist who carried out provocative research on making influenza viruses more infectious has completed his most dangerous experiment to date by deliberately creating a pandemic strain of flu that can evade the human immune system. Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has genetically manipulated the 2009 strain of pandemic flu in order for it to “escape” the control of the immune system’s neutralising antibodies, effectively making the human population defenceless against its reemergence. Most of the world today has developed some level of immunity to the 2009 pandemic flu virus. However ... Professor Kawaoka intentionally set out to see if it was possible to convert it to a pre-pandemic state in order to analyse the genetic changes involved. Professor Kawaoka’s work had been cleared by Wisconsin’s Institutional Biosafety Committee, but some members of the committee were not informed about details of the antibody study ... and have voiced concerns about the direction, oversight and safety of his overall research on flu viruses. “I have met Professor Kawaoka in committee and have heard his research presentations and honestly it was not re-assuring,” said Professor Tom Jeffries, a dissenting member of the 17-person biosafety committee. This is the first time that someone has taken a strain of influenza virus, called H1N1, known to have caused a global epidemic, in other words a “pandemic”, and deliberately mutated it many times over.
Nearly all food labels in Vermont are now required to disclose when products include genetically engineered ingredients. The requirement, passed two years ago, became effective on Friday. The rule is the first of its kind in the United States, and although it applies only within the tiny state, it is having national impact. Most major food and beverage companies have already added language to their labels to meet the new rule, rather than deal with the logistical hassle of having separate labels for different states. But not all the same products will definitely be on shelves. Vermont’s law requires the labeling of most packaged grocery products as well as any whole fruits or vegetables produced with genetic engineering. That means virtually all products containing derivatives of crops like corn, soy, canola and sugar from sugar beets will need labels, as most of those crops in the United States are grown from genetically modified seeds. Vermont’s law is careful, however, to exclude cheese, a big business in the state. The law also exempts meat from animals that have eaten feed made from genetically engineered grains. The labeling issue has generated heavy and frantic lobbying by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the trade groups representing major commodity producers of crops like soy and corn, who have wanted a federal law that would prevent mandatory labels.
Note: On July 8, the US Senate passed a bill which allows food companies to continue to avoid clear GMO ingredient labeling. Let's hope it does not pass the full Congress and become a law. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing food industry corruption and GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
A technique that allows particular genes to spread rapidly through populations is not ready to be set loose in the wild, warns a committee convened by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In a [new] report ... the committee argued that such ‘gene drives’ pose complex ecological risks that are not yet fully understood. “We are not ready for any kind of release,” says Elizabeth Heitman, co-chair of the committee. Gene drives ... have long been postulated as a way to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria. But the field was hampered by technical challenges until the recent advent of sophisticated - and easy-to-use - tools for engineering genomes. In the past two years, researchers have used a popular gene-editing technique called CRISPR–Cas9 to develop gene drives that spread a given gene through a population almost exponentially faster than normal. But as molecular biology research on gene drives has surged forward, it has outpaced our understanding of their ecological consequences, says Heitman. Even a small, accidental release from a laboratory holds the potential to spread around the globe: “After release into the environment, a gene drive knows no political boundaries,” the committee wrote. Given this risk, the report also stressed the importance of layering multiple methods of containment to prevent accidental release of engineered species, and of consulting with the public even before gene drive experiments are undertaken in the laboratory.
Note: According to the Washington Post, the USDA recently stated that it will not regulate a food product product engineered with this risky CRISPR technique. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Environmentalists have taken to streets around the world to protest against seed giant Monsanto at the same time as the company is facing a $62 billion takeover by Bayer, the German drugs giant. More than 400 simultaneous demonstrations against genetically modified crops and pesticides were organised around the world this weekend. The protests took place in over 40 countries. They come come as Monsanto faces an unsolicited takeover offer by Bayer, the chemical giant that invented aspirin. The deal could create the world’s biggest supplier of farm chemical and genetically modified seeds. Up to 3,000 protesters, rallied by environmental organisations including Greenpeace and Stop TAFTA, an anti-capitalist group, gathered in Paris, according to Agence France Presse. Protesters voiced their anger against Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup which is classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organisation. In the US, where 90 per cent of corn, soybean and cotton is genetically modified, campaigners promoted the march with a billboard in Times Square, showing a topless model and the slogan: “Keep GMOs out of your genes.” On Monday Bayer made an unsolicited $62 billion all-cash offer to acquire Monsanto. A concentration of corporate power in the agriculture and chemical sector would be bad news for both farmers and consumers. It would accelerate the decrease in crop diversity while limiting consumer choice. Farmers would ... find it harder to choose what they grow and how they grow it.
Note: Bayer's pesticides have been implicated in the collapse of bee populations. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's "RoundUp" pesticide, is now the most heavily-used agricultural chemical ever and probably causes cancer. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
For the first time, a food product created using CRISPR – a promising but controversial gene-editing technique – could be on track to be sold and eaten. And it might be the first of many. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed that it will not regulate the cultivation and sale of a white-button mushroom created using CRISPR. The decision came in the form of a letter to Yinong Yang, a plant pathologist at Pennsylvania State University who created the new mushroom. Yang's frankenfungi is a simple Agaricus bisporus, the kind of white-button mushroom you could buy at any grocery store. But Yang targeted several genes that code for the protein that causes mushrooms to turn brown as they age or get bruised. The result is a mushroom more resilient to automated harvesting and long storage periods. If you support the labeling of GMOs, the USDA's decision to wave this shroom in without a second thought might strike you as scary. If Yang had tackled mushroom browning by adding bits of genetic code from another organism, it would have been subject to USDA scrutiny as other non-browning produce has been. Until recently, genetic modification required the insertion of foreign viruses or bacteria, but CRISPR is more advanced than that. Because of that loophole, it's not under the USDA's jurisdiction. The EPA only regulates GMOs designed for pest control, and the FDA considers all GMOs to be safe. That leaves this non-browning mushroom cleared for take-off.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Consumers around the country will soon know just by looking at the packaging of popular brands such as Cocoa Puffs cereal or Yoplait yogurt whether or not they contain genetically modified ingredients. Their maker, General Mills, plans to make that information visible on its products nationwide. Other major food companies have since followed, including Kellogg, ConAgra and candy maker Mars. Campbell Soup publicized the same decision in January. The companies are all responding to a Vermont law requiring the labelling of genetically modified foods starting in July, and to pressure from consumers and advocacy groups to reveal more information about controversial ingredients. Between 70% and 80% of packaged food in the US contains ingredients from genetically modified organisms. A genetically modified organism is created in a laboratory by taking genes from one species and inserting these genes into another to breed certain characteristics. Big food companies have historically fought mandatory labelling. They worry that genetic manipulation creates an impression that the food is unnatural or unhealthy. Meanwhile, anti-GMO advocacy groups, such as Center For Food Safety, and food makers who say they don’t use GMOs, including Plum Organics and Nature’s Path, also cast the fight as an issue of transparency, and accuse food makers of hiding important information from the public.
Note: 64 countries now require labelling of GM ingredients. When will the US give its citizens the right to know? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
It's been called "perhaps the most contentious issue in the food industry": Should food products be labeled to indicate they contain genetically modified ingredients? Leading Republicans in the Senate tried to answer that question on Wednesday with a clear "no," but failed. The Senate rejected a bill that would have prevented any state from requiring GMO labels on food. The bill, sponsored by Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, would have created a voluntary national labeling standard for foods containing GMOs, but it would have blocked Vermont from implementing its first-in-the-nation mandatory GMO labeling law, currently set to take effect on July 1. The Roberts bill failed to get the 60 votes needed to move forward. Among those opposing the Roberts measure was Just Label It, a coalition of businesses and organizations supporting mandatory GMO labels on food. "This is the most hotly debated issue in food right now," says Scott Faber, the group's executive director. "Consumers should have the right to choose," Faber says. "They should have the right to know what's in their food and be trusted to make their own choices." That argument - consumers' right to know - holds sway among many legislators. Earlier this month, during debate on the Roberts bill in the Senate agriculture committee, many lawmakers pointed to polls that show a majority of Americans support labeling genetically modified ingredients in foods.
Note: Read more about why the overwhelming majority of Americans believe GMO foods should require labels. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Several EU countries could scupper plans by the European commission to approve the relicensing of a weedkiller linked to cancer. The vote to relicense glyphosate, a key ingredient in herbicides such as Monsanto’s multibillion-dollar brand Roundup, had been scheduled at a two-day meeting of experts from the EU’s 28 member states, which begins on Monday. But officials are now saying that they may postpone the vote rather than lose it, raising the prospect of a legal limbo for glyphosate, the licence for which runs out in June. France, the Netherlands and Sweden have all said they will not support an assessment by the European food safety authority (Efsa) that glyphosate is harmless. That ruling ran counter to findings by the WHO’s cancer agency that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans”, causing a bitter row over scientific methodology and industry influence. The Swedish environment minister, Ĺsa Romson, said: “We won’t take risks with glyphosate and we don’t think that the analysis done so far is good enough. We will propose that no decision is taken until further analysis has been done and the Efsa scientists have been more transparent about their considerations.” An Efsa panel based its recommendation that glyphosate was safe ... on six industry-funded studies that have not been fully published. Glyphosate use has been banned or restricted in large parts of Europe because of alleged links to a host of health problems, ranging from birth defects and kidney failure to coeliac disease, colitis and autism.
Note: The overlap between the GMO industry and European regulators has become increasingly controversial. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, presides over a company with famously wacky product labels. But Bronner himself, grandson of the founder ... has emerged as a serious, though fun-loving, activist, particularly around pesticides and genetically modified crops. Bronner's writing on GMOs is too hot for the advertising pages of the English-speaking world's two most renowned science journals, Science and Nature - even though a slew of magazines ... accepted the Bronner ad. It consists of a short essay, known in publishing as an advertorial, [and] focuses on how GMO crops have led to a net increase in pesticide use in the United States, citing an analysis by Ramon Seidler, a retired senior staff scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency. Bronner ... first published his critique on Huffington Post, and then decided to publish it as an ad in a variety of high-profile magazines. Science was close to accepting it. An ad sales manager for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which published the magazine, emailed on September 15 that she would send over paper work "in a bit," adding that "[a]fter you sign it, I can take your credit card info." The price: $9,911.00. But hours later, she wrote back, squashing the deal: "This has gone up the ladder quite far and our CEO along with the board have come back saying that we cannot accept the ad. We're concerned about backlash from our members and potentially getting into a battle with the GMO industry."
Note: See the original ad at this link. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation and the GMO controversy from reliable major media sources.
Michael Specter's recent articles bashing Vandana Shiva and the labeling of genetically engineered foods (Seeds of Doubt and The Problem with G.M.O. Labels) in the New Yorker are the latest high-profile pro-GMO articles that fail to engage with the fundamental critique of genetically engineered food crops in US soil today: rather than reduce pesticide inputs GMOs are causing them to skyrocket in amount and toxicity. Setting the record straight, Dr. Ramon J. Seidler, Ph.D., former Senior Scientist, Environmental Protection Agency, has recently published a well-researched article documenting the devastating facts, "Pesticide Use on Genetically Engineered Crops," in Environmental Working Group's online AgMag. Dr. Seidler's article cites and links recent scientific literature and media reports, and should be required reading for all journalists covering GMOs, as well as for citizens generally to understand why their right to know if food is genetically engineered is so important. Over 99% of GMO acreage is engineered by chemical companies to tolerate heavy herbicide (glyphosate) use and/or produce insecticide (Bt) in every cell of every plant over the entire growing season. The result is massive selection pressure that has rapidly created pest resistance - the opposite of integrated pest management. Predictably ... we now have huge swaths of the country infested with "superweeds" and "superbugs" resistant to glyphosate and Bt, meaning more volume of more toxic pesticides are being applied.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Major lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
The world is awash in glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, produced by Monsanto. It has now become the most heavily-used agricultural chemical in the history of the world. A study published Tuesday ... reveals that Americans have applied 1.8 million tons of glyphosate since its introduction in 1974. Worldwide, 9.4 million tons of the chemical have been sprayed onto fields. That’s ... enough to spray nearly half a pound of Roundup on every cultivated acre of land in the world. And it’s troubling, considering that in March 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer unanimously determined that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans. Research has also shown that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it interferes with the proper functioning and production of hormones, in human cell lines. The mass-spraying of glyphosate has [also] led to the explosion of resistant weeds, which have evolved to survive despite being sprayed. Already, weeds resistant to the herbicide are found on half of all American farmers’ fields. Glyphosate was once only used on a small-scale. However, in the 1990s, Monsanto began introducing genetically modified crops that were resistant to the herbicides, such as Roundup Ready corn and soybeans. Since then, its use has skyrocketed. At the same time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has relaxed its rules. Fifty times more glyphosate is allowed on corn grain now than in 1996.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Major lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
The use of GMOs is controversial. There is debate in the scientific community as to whether the consumption of GMO foods hurts people directly. But there is no denying that GMOs result in vastly more herbicide (such as Roundup, a top weed killer) being dumped on food crops, and that glyphosphate (the active ingredient in Roundup) probably causes cancer in the quantities used. Other Roundup ingredients are suspect as well. Those who oppose GMOs don't have the upper hand in Congress and so they ... seek to establish a uniform labeling system so that food producers clearly identify whether their products have GMOs or not. Labeling is very popular among American consumers: In multiple polls conducted over the years by many different firms, about 90 percent of Americans consistently support mandatory labeling. Mandatory labeling initiatives are in play in many states, and have passed in three (Maine, Vermont and Connecticut). But Big Ag is spending heavily to block these efforts. The House and Senate are listening to Big Ag rather than to American consumers. The House recently passed a bill that gives the appearance of supporting GMO disclosure while doing the opposite. The bill, H.R. 1599, carries a brilliantly deceptive name that would make George Orwell proud. Called the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014" the bill would reinforce the current voluntary disclosure system but would prohibit individual states and counties from enacting more stringent legislation. The detractors have branded this bill the "DARK Act" as in "Deny Americans the Right to Know"."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Americans overwhelmingly support labeling foods that have been genetically modified or engineered, according to a New York Times poll conducted this year, with 93 percent of respondents saying that foods containing such ingredients should be identified. Three-quarters of Americans expressed concern about genetically modified organisms in their food, with most of them worried about the effects on people’s health. Thirty-seven percent of those worried about G.M.O.’s said they feared that such foods cause cancer or allergies. Among those with concerns, 26 percent said these foods are not safe to eat, or are toxic, while 13 percent were worried about environmental problems that they fear might be caused by genetic engineering. Nearly half of Americans said they were aware that a large amount of the processed or packaged foods they now buy at the grocery store contains genetically modified ingredients. Overall concern was higher among women than men, perhaps not surprisingly, as more women identify themselves as the principal grocery shopper in the household. Americans were almost equally divided about eating genetically modified vegetables, fruits and grains, with about half saying they would not eat them. They were even less comfortable about eating meat from genetically engineered animals: three-quarters said they would not eat G.M.O. fish, and about two-thirds said they would not eat meat that had been modified.
Note: Explore over 40 scientific studies that have demonstrated the health dangers of GM foods. Despite overwhelming public support for labelling of GMOs, the GM lobby has spent huge amounts of money to keep US states from enacting labelling laws. Sadly, they have largely been successful. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
For decades, the Hershey Co. has used sugar made from both sugar beets and sugar cane, but it decided earlier this year to stop buying beet sugar because it comes from genetically modified, or GM, seeds. Hershey communications director Jeff Beckman confirmed that the kisses and many other products stocked on shelves since Halloween no longer contain beet sugar. The company also is transitioning away from artificial to natural ingredients, he said. About 55 percent of domestic U.S. sugar is produced from sugar beets, and nearly 100 percent of the beet seeds are genetically modified to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Hershey is the only national brand that has dropped beet sugar, although other companies have been asking questions and there has been a lot of chatter about GM sugar on social media. Part of the pressure on Hershey came from a coalition of groups called GMO Inside that began a campaign in 2013 suggesting that consumers tell Hershey and Mars, another large candy manufacturer, to drop all GM ingredients from their products. Elizabeth O’Connell, campaigns director for Green America, one of the groups in the anti-GM coalition ... said consumer groups will continue to pressure companies to remove GM ingredients from food, or at least to label them so consumers know what they’re buying. A current priority is dairy products, she said, because cows are fed mixtures of soy meal, corn and other products from GM seed.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The mosquitoes developed and raised here at the laboratories of Oxitec, a British biotech company based near Didcot, have already infiltrated wild populations in Brazil, Malaysia and the Cayman Islands. The company hopes that it will reduce populations of disease-carrying mosquitoes by 80%. [Oxitec] is primarily focused on ... the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries [dengue fever]. The main weapons against A aegypti, pesticides and education, have had little success in preventing its spread. Oxitec's chief scientific officer ... came up with an alternative using genetic modification. He produced mosquitoes that were engineered to need an antibiotic, tetracycline, to develop beyond larval stage. Critics of Oxitec say that the company is rushing to commercialise its products to provide a return on investment, massaging research while leaving key questions unanswered. Earlier this year, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Germany examined information regarding the release of modified insects into the environment in Malaysia and Grand Cayman, which were carried out by Oxitec. The scientists' findings suggest that there are "deficits in the scientific quality of regulatory documents and a general absence of accurate experimental descriptions available before releases start". Oxitec is now producing mosquitoes in Brazil. It recently reported that it reduced the number of Aedes mosquitoes by 85%, compared with an area where the company's mosquitoes weren't released.
Note: So GM mosquitoes were released in Brazil a few years ago (note this article was published in 2012). It turns out the area where they were released looks like the same area where the Zika outbreak occurred. Could the outbreak have been caused by these GM mosquitoes? For more, see this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Bill and Melinda Gates are facing calls for their philanthropic Foundation, through which they have donated billions worldwide, to be subject to an international investigation. The Gates Foundation is about benefiting big business, especially in agriculture and health, through its “ideological commitment to promote neoliberal economic policies and corporate globalisation,” according to [a] report published by the campaign group Global Justice Now. The report accuses the Gates Foundation of [turning] “basic needs into commodities controlled by the market.” The report is critical of the close working relations between the Foundation and major international pharmaceutical corporations. It accuses the Gates Foundation of promoting specific priorities through agriculture grants, some of which undermine the interests of small farmers. These include promoting industrial agriculture, use of chemical fertilisers and expensive, patented seeds, and a focus on genetically modified seeds. The criticism echoes the accusations made by the Indian scientist Vandana Shiva who called the Gates Foundation the “greatest threat to farmers in the developing world.” The Foundation’s emphasis on “technological solutions” often ignores real solutions involving social and economic justice. “This cannot be given by donors in the form of a climate-resilient crop or cheaper smartphone, but must be about systemic social, economic and political change – issues not represented in the foundation’s funding priorities.”
Note: The Gates Foundation is heavily invested in GMO giants like Monsanto. It also provided $5 million to Oxitec, a company criticized for secretly releasing GM mosquitoes into the wild in 2009. Oxitec was purchased last August by biotech giant Intrexon for $160 million. By December, the Zika virus was all over the news and Intrexon was ramping up production of these GM insects to "fight Zika" in Brazil. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Campbell Soup Company may become the first major U.S. food company to list genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in its ingredients lists nationwide as it threw its weight behind a national labeling standard. The company announced its support on Thursday for federal regulation of GMO standards, noting it is in favor of federal legislation that would allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate which foods can be labeled GMOs. The company's support for federal legislation comes as Vermont prepares to implement the Vermont Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act, which would require a GMO label on food by July 1, 2016, if the food is "entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering." Campbell posted an example of that label on its website and said it was preparing to expand the GMO labeling nationwide even without federal regulations, but to do so would need guidance from the FDA and USDA. The company estimates the new labels could be implemented in approximately 12 to 18 months after it gets guidance from the federal agencies. There is currently no federal standard for what food would constitute a GMO, unlike a food item that is deemed USDA Organic. The World Health Organization defines a GMO as "foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g. through the introduction of a gene from a different organism."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A panel of scientists is disputing a World Health Organization report published earlier this year that concluded glyphosate, the world's most widely used weed killer and main ingredient in Monsanto Co's Roundup herbicide, is probably carcinogenic to humans. The 16-member panel, assembled by Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy, will present its findings to the annual meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis on Monday, aiming to publish the study at a later date after peer review. Monsanto paid Intertek for the panel's work. Concerns about glyphosate on food have been a hot topic of debate in the United States recently and contributed to the passage in Vermont last year of the country's first mandatory labeling law for foods that are genetically modified. Critics say that industry-linked scientists are downplaying the risk to human health and trying to discredit the IARC report by casting doubt on some of the scientific studies that it reviewed. Ten of the 16 scientists on the Intertek panel have been consultants for Monsanto in the past and two others are former Monsanto employees.
Note: Read an informative article titled "Monsanto Charged With Crimes Against Humanity" on mercola.com. Read how the EPA used industry studies while ignoring independent studies to declare Roundup safe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Dow AgroSciences, which sells seeds and pesticides to farmers, made contradictory claims to different parts of the U.S. government about its latest herbicide. The Environmental Protection Agency just found out, and now wants to cancel Dow's legal right to sell the product. The herbicide, which the company calls Enlist Duo, is a mixture of two chemicals: glyphosate (also known as Roundup) and 2,4-D. It's Dow's answer to the growing problem of weeds that are resistant to glyphosate, which has become the weed-killing weapon of choice for farmers across the country. The new formulation is intended to work hand-in-hand with a new generation of corn and soybean seeds that are genetically engineered to tolerate sprays of both herbicides. When Dow applied for permission to sell Enlist Duo in 2011, it told the EPA that this mixture of glyphosate and 2,4-D is no more toxic than the two chemicals are, if considered separately. The EPA ... approved the new herbicide just over a year ago, [yet later] discovered that Dow had been telling the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office a different story. Dow's patent application for Enlist Duo claims that this mixture of chemicals does, in fact, offer farmers something new: "synergistic herbicidal weed control." Last month, the EPA asked Dow to explain these synergistic effects. On Nov. 9, the company responded with what the EPA calls "extensive information." The EPA, after taking a look at the new information, decided to ask the court for a chance to reverse its approval of Enlist Duo.
Note: Read an excellent mercola.com article titled "GMO cookie is crumbling." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the corruption of science and the controversy surrounding GMOs.
Americans may not agree on much. But according to polls, more than 90 percent support genetically engineered (GE) food labeling. Despite the industrial food complex spending hundreds of millions on lobbying against labeling, three states have responded to the call from their voters and passed labeling laws. Vermont's laws will require that companies start labeling by July, 2016. This deadline has the agribusiness community scrambling for a way out. The biotech industry, along with its top enabler at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Secretary Tom Vilsack, is trying to sell the idea that the long derided and poorly utilized QR code is the answer to consumer concerns about GE foods. A QR code ... is similar to a bar code. To use it, a person must have a smartphone device, an internet connection, and a QR code reader downloaded onto his or her phone. Vilsack and now even Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are promoting QR code information on GE foods as sufficient to rescind the mandatory on package clear and accessible labeling required by the state laws. Substituting clear and accessible on-package labeling with QR codes would be a form of discrimination against the poor, the rural, the elderly and many other groups. We do not want this discriminatory, burdensome and privacy invasive technology to become the norm.
Note: Read more about why the overwhelming majority of Americans believe GMO foods should require labels. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
The new movie Consumed tackles the controversial world of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in unprecedented fashion, offering insight into their risks. Its message could not be more timely in the wake of the recent news that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first genetically engineered salmon for human consumption. The fish, like all genetically engineered ingredients in this country, will not be labeled, leaving American consumers in the dark. Like many food and environmental safety activists around the world, I’m outraged. The biotech industry and the FDA have hijacked not only our basic rights as consumers, but also our fundamental human rights in the face of corporate monopolization of our food supply. They are jeopardizing our health and the environment more than ever before. In detailed comments submitted to the FDA, Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union, argues the FDA review process was based on “sloppy science” and the genetically engineered salmon could pose many risks. “Because FDA’s assessment is inadequate, we are particularly concerned that this salmon may pose an increased risk of severe, even life-threatening allergic reactions,” he writes. The majority of Americans ... believe they have a fundamental right to know what is in their food. A 2013 New York Times poll found that 93% of Americans want GMOs to be labeled. More than 60 countries label GMOs, and in some cases even ban them, but the U.S. still does not.
Note: Read an excellent mercola.com article titled "GMO cookie is crumbling." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
In approving genetically engineered salmon as safe to eat and safe for the environment, the Food and Drug Administration rejected petitions from environmental and food safety groups asking that companies selling this salmon be required to label it as genetically engineered. Congress should overturn that decision. The salmon, made by AquaBounty Technologies of Maynard, Mass., has genes inserted that allow it to grow to market size twice as fast as wild salmon. At least one consumer group has announced plans to sue the F.D.A. to overturn its approval of the engineered salmon. Some leading grocery chains, responding to consumer concerns, have said they won’t sell the genetically engineered salmon. The F.D.A. said there is no reason to mandate labeling because there is no material difference between engineered and natural fish. But the value of that information should be left to consumers to decide. Vermont enacted a law last year that will require labeling of genetically engineered foods starting next July unless a suit filed in June 2014 by four industry trade groups derails it. Other states with strong consumer movements may try to follow. The House passed a bill on July 23, 2015, that would pre-empt states from requiring such labeling, and industry groups are pressing the Senate to attach similar language as a rider to an omnibus spending bill. The Senate should rebuff that tactic and allow states to adopt mandatory labeling laws if they wish.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Heavy use of the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup, may be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers, according to a new study. The report, published this month in the online journal Entropy, said evidence indicates that residues of glyphosate, the chief ingredient in Roundup and other weedkillers, has been found in food. Those residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease. “Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body,” the study says. Environmentalists, consumer groups and plant scientists from several countries have warned that heavy use of glyphosate is causing problems for plants, people and animals. Monsanto is the developer of both Roundup herbicide and of crops that are genetically altered to withstand being sprayed with the weedkiller. These biotech crops, including corn, soybeans, canola and sugarbeets, are planted on millions of acres in the United States annually. Farmers like them because they can spray Roundup directly on the crops to kill weeds in the fields without harming the crops. Roundup is also used on lawns, gardens and golf courses.
Note: Watch a video of this MIT researcher talking about this vitally important topic. Read how the EPA used industry studies while ignoring independent studies to declare Roundup safe. Monsanto is trying to stop the state of California from listing Glyphosate as carcinogenic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
The world’s biggest animal “cloning factory” is due to open in China, producing one million calves a year, sniffer dogs and even genetic copies of the family pet. The center may cause alarm in Europe, where the cloning of animals for farming was banned in September due to animal welfare considerations. But Xu Xiaochun, chairman of Chinese biotechnology company BoyaLife that is backing the facility, dismissed such concerns. Interest in agricultural biotechnology has been rapidly increasing in China, where [beef prices] are said to have tripled from 2000 to 2013. Mr Xu said his new facility will clone racehorses and a handful of dogs for people with “emotional ties” to their pets, but its main focus was producing cattle. However, he appeared to be more excited about its ability to churn out sniffer dogs. “The dog has to be smart and obedient, strong, sensitive," he said. The factory, which will include a 15,000 square metre laboratory, an animal centre, a gene bank and an exhibition hall ... is due to open in the first half of next year. BoyaLife will operate the facility with its South Korean partner, Sooam Biotech, that runs a centre that can clone dogs for customers willing to pay $100,000 (Ł66,000), and has already produced more than 550 puppies. The new facility will initially produce 100,000 cattle embryos a year, eventually increasing to one million.
A powerful new technique for generating “supercharged” genetically modified organisms that can spread rapidly in the wild has caused alarm among scientists. The development of so-called “gene drive” technology promises to revolutionize medicine and agriculture. However, scientists at the forefront of the development believe ... gene-drive technology poses a serious threat to the environment and human health if accidentally or deliberately released from a laboratory without adequate safeguards. Last week the US National Academy of Sciences initiated a wide-ranging review of gene-drive technology in “non-human organisms” and in this week’s journal Science a group of 27 leading geneticists call on the scientific community to be open and transparent about both the risks and benefits of gene drives. Researchers have likened gene-drive technology to a nuclear chain reaction because it allows GM genes to be amplified within a breeding population of insects or other animals without any further intervention once the trait has been initially introduced. This is the case even if the trait is non-beneficial to the organism. Laboratory experiments on fruit flies have shown that a modified gene introduced into one individual fly can take just a few generations to “infect” practically every other fly in the breeding population, in defiance of the normal rules of genetics which dictate a far slower spread.
Note: A large segment of the scientific community called for a moratorium on using this technology on humans. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Environmental Protection Agency concluded in June that there was “no convincing evidence” that glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the U.S. and the world, is an endocrine disruptor. The decision was based almost entirely on pesticide industry studies. Most of the studies were sponsored by Monsanto or an industry group called the Joint Glyphosate Task Force. Of the small minority of independently funded studies that the agency considered in determining whether the chemical poses a danger to the endocrine system, three of five found that it did. One, for instance, found that exposure to glyphosate-Roundup “may induce significant adverse effects on the reproductive system of male Wistar rats.” Another concluded that “low and environmentally relevant concentrations of glyphosate possessed estrogenic activity.” And a review of the literature turns up many more peer-reviewed studies finding glyphosate can interfere with hormones. Many of the industry-funded studies contained data that suggested that exposure to glyphosate had serious effects. Yet in each case, sometimes even after animals died, the scientists found reasons to discount the findings — or to simply dismiss them. Having companies fund and perform studies that affect them financially [is] the standard practice at EPA. The International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled glyphosate a probable carcinogen in March.
Note: Read an excellent mercola.com article titled "GMO cookie is crumbling." Monsanto is trying to stop the state of California from listing Glyphosate as carcinogenic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Consumer advocates, environmental groups, fishermen and retailers reacted strongly to the federal government’s announcement Thursday approving genetically modified salmon for consumer use. The landmark approval - the first genetically engineered food animal endorsed for sale in the United States - has sparked a passionate response ... especially because it will not require special labelling. Around 2 million people previously filed public comments against the FDA’s approval of what opponents call “Frankenfish,” and the Center for Food Safety announced Thursday that it would sue the FDA in response. “This sets the bar incredibly low for engineered animals,” said Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union. “There were serious problems with the safety assessment.” At least 60 retailers - including chains like Safeway, Target, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, as well as local independent grocers like Bi-Rite and Rainbow Community Market - have made a pledge with Friends of the Earth not to sell the salmon when it goes to market. Chief among concerns about the GMO salmon is its potential for causing allergies and its ability to contaminate wild populations. Testing for potential allergens was only done on a very small sample size. The tested fish actually did show a higher allergenicity. Critics are also concerned about the fish’s ability to escape and cause environmental harm.
Two kinds of genetically modified pigs are on their way to becoming ... dinner. But consumers are wary and lack confidence in governments' readiness to regulate this new class of food product. The African swine fever resistant pig has an immune gene that is slightly more like a warthog's. The double-muscle pig has a mutation similar to one produced by normal breeding in a muscly cow breed called the Belgian blue. Lucy Sharratt, co-ordinator for the Canadian Biotechnology Network, said a major reason why consumers are wary is because of the way genetically modified foods are regulated in Canada. Health Canada doesn't do its own testing of the foods, relying instead on data generated by the companies trying to put the foods on the market, which is kept secret. It doesn't disclose what it's assessing. Nor does it consult with farmers or consumers, or require labelling of genetically modified foods after the fact. In the U.S., safety information about genetically modified foods is also kept secret.
Law firms around the United States are lining up plaintiffs for what they say could be "mass tort" actions against agrichemical giant Monsanto Co that claim the company's Roundup herbicide has caused cancer in farm workers and others exposed to the chemical. The latest lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Delaware. The lawsuit is similar to others filed last month in New York and California accusing Monsanto of long knowing that the main ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was hazardous. Monsanto "led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup was safe," the lawsuit states. The litigation follows the World Health Organization's declaration in March that there was sufficient evidence to classify glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans." "We can prove that Monsanto knew about the dangers of glyphosate," said Michael McDivitt, whose Colorado-based law firm is putting together cases for 50 individuals. Roundup ... brought Monsanto $4.8 billion in revenue in its fiscal 2015. But questions about Roundup's safety have dogged the company for years. Attorneys who have filed or are eying litigation cited strong evidence that links glyphosate to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Monsanto is also fending off claims over its past manufacturing of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which the WHO classifies as known carcinogens. At least 700 lawsuits against Monsanto or Monsanto-related entities are pending.
Note: It's interesting to note that a Google search shows almost no major media picked up this key news. Read how the EPA used industry studies while ignoring independent studies to declare Roundup safe. Read also an excellent mercola.com article titled "GMO cookie is crumbling." Monsanto is trying to stop the state of California from listing Glyphosate as carcinogenic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
WikiLeaked cables released over the weekend revealed more about the US' role as a global bully. In a 2007 cable from Craig Stapleton, then US Ambassador to France, he encouraged the US government to "reinforce our negotiating position with the EU on agricultural biotechnology by publishing a retaliation list." A list, he added, that "causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility." The stated reason for their attack was that "Europe is moving backwards not forwards" on GMOs, with "France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the [EU] Commission." The Ambassador was concerned that France and others would put a ban on the cultivation of Monsanto's GM corn seeds. According to the cable, the Ambassador ... was also upset about France's draft biotech law that "would make farmers and seed companies legally liable for pollen drift." This concept that the "polluter pays" is a foundational principle of US law - except for GMOs. Offering consumers a choice on GMOs is not on the US government agenda. Stapleton's tone in the letter was insistent. "We should not be prepared to cede on cultivation because of our considerable planting seed business in Europe." He said, "Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices."
Note: For lots more showing US commitment to spread frankenfoods, see this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Monsanto Co.’s undisclosed recruitment of scientists from Harvard University, Cornell University and three other schools to write about the benefits of plant biotechnology is drawing fire from opponents. Monsanto says it’s in regular contact with public-sector scientists as it tries to “elevate” public dialog on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit group funded by the Organic Consumers Association that obtained e-mails under the Freedom of Information Act, says correspondence revealing Monsanto’s actions shows the “corporate control of science and how compliant some academics are.” The articles have become the latest flashpoint in an information war being waged over plant biotechnology. The articles in question appeared on the Genetic Literacy Project’s website in a series called “GMO - Beyond the Science.” Eric Sachs, who leads Monsanto’s scientific outreach, wrote to eight scientists to pen a series of briefs aimed at influencing “public policy, GM crop regulation and consumer acceptance.” Five of them obliged. University of Florida Professor Kevin Folta said he agreed to write “Anti-GMO Activism and Its Impact on Food Security” because communicating science to the public is his job. Folta has faced public criticism since the New York Times ... reported last month about his communications with Monsanto and a $25,000 donation to the science communication program he runs.
Sixteen countries have alerted the European Union that they want to opt out of E.U.-approved GM crops. Members of the economic bloc have until Oct. 3 to let the E.U. know if they were requesting to opt out of growing GMO produce from major companies like Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and Pioneer, and according to the Food Navigator, a food trade publication, countries including Germany, Italy, Denmark, Bulgaria and Cyprus recently filed their requests and applications, increasing the number to 16. In August, Scotland publicly said it would prohibit GMO crops out of concern that they could damage the country’s “clean and green” brand. “Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment – and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status,” Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said in a statement at the time. “A growing number of governments are rejecting the commission’s drive for GM crop approvals,” Greenpeace’s E.U. food policy director Franziska Achterberg told the Guardian. “They don’t trust the E.U. safety assessments and are rightly taking action to protect their agriculture and food. The only way to restore trust in the E.U. system now is for the commission to hit the pause button on GM crop approvals and to urgently reform safety testing and the approval system.”
Note: Read also an article on how the American Academy of Pediatrics has cut ties with Monsanto. To understand the serious risks and dangers of GMOs, see this excellent summary of the acclaimed book "Seeds of Deception."
Corporations have poured money into universities to fund research for decades, but now, the debate over bioengineered foods has escalated into a billion-dollar food industry war. Companies like Monsanto are squaring off against major organic firms like Stonyfield Farm. Both sides have aggressively recruited academic researchers. The biotech industry has published dozens of articles, under the names of prominent academics, that in some cases were drafted by industry consultants. Monsanto and its industry partners have also passed out an undisclosed amount in special grants to scientists ... to help with “biotechnology outreach” and to travel around the country to defend genetically modified foods. The moves by Monsanto, in an alliance with the Biotechnology Industry Organization and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, are detailed in thousands of pages of emails that were at first requested by the nonprofit group U.S. Right to Know, which receives funding from the organic foods industry. The emails show how academics have shifted from researchers to actors in lobbying and corporate public relations campaigns. An inner circle of [biotech] industry consultants, lobbyists and executives ... devised strategy on how to block state efforts to mandate G.M.O. labeling. The opponents of genetically modified foods have used their own creative tactics, although their spending on lobbying and public relations amounts to a tiny fraction of that of biosciences companies.
Note: Read an article which takes it even deeper and shows what the NYT left out. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the corruption of science and the controversy surrounding GMOs.
U.S. regulators for the first time are proposing limits on the planting of some genetically engineered corn to combat ... a bug that ranks among the most expensive crop threats to U.S. corn farmers. The plan is aimed at widely grown corn varieties sold by Monsanto, the first to sell rootworm-resistant corn, and rival seed makers including DuPont and Dow Chemical. Such corn seeds have been genetically modified to secrete proteins that are toxic to destructive insects. The [Environmental Protection Agency's] proposal would require seed companies to limit some Midwestern farmers’ practice of sowing fields with corn year after year in areas harboring resistant rootworms. The agency is taking a tougher stance because the industry’s efforts haven’t done enough. Genetically modified corn ... was planted on an estimated 80% of U.S. cornfields last year, up from 19% in 2000. Midwestern farmers’ embrace of pest-resistant corn since the first varieties’ launch in 1996 has diminished its power. Repeated exposure to the corn’s bug-killing proteins means that the small number of rootworms that are able to consume the BT toxin and live can reproduce by the thousands and spread across fields that are used to grow corn year after year. “Over large areas, the [modified] corn plants will lose effectiveness, and growers will be forced to rely much more on insecticides,” said [University of Arizona entomology professor] Bruce Tabashnik. “That’s bad for their bottom line, and it’s bad for the environment.”
Note: The full article can be found on this webpage. In order to engineer pest-resistant corn, chemical companies must saturate seedling fields with pesticides. Birth defects and other illnesses increase sharply around those fields. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Pediatrician Carla Nelson ... waited for the ambulance plane to take the infant from Waimea, on the island of Kauai, to the main children’s hospital in Honolulu. It was the fourth [severe heart malformation] she had seen in three years. There have been at least nine in five years, she says, shaking her head. That’s more than 10 times the national rate. Corn that’s been genetically modified to resist pesticides [is] a major cash crop on four of [Hawaii's] six main islands. In Kauai, chemical companies Dow, BASF, Syngenta and DuPont spray 17 times more pesticide per acre than on ordinary cornfields in the US mainland. About a fourth of the total are called Restricted Use Pesticides because of their harmfulness. Just in Kauai, 18 tons – mostly atrazine, paraquat (both banned in Europe) and chlorpyrifos – were applied in 2012. The World Health Organization this year announced that glyphosate, sold as Roundup, the most common of the non-restricted herbicides, is “probably carcinogenic in humans”. When the spraying is underway ... residents complain of stinging eyes, headaches and vomiting. At these times, many crowd the waiting rooms of the town’s main hospital, which was run until recently by Dow AgroSciences’ former chief lobbyist in Honolulu. The chemical companies that grow the corn ... refuse to disclose with any precision which chemicals they use, where and in what amounts, but they insist the pesticides are safe. Today, about 90% of industrial GMO corn grown in the US was originally developed in Hawaii.
Vermont is scheduled to become the first U.S. state to require foods with altered DNA to be labelled as such. Rocker Neil Young is lending his support to the state’s efforts. Young, who performed in concert Sunday at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Vermont, appeared earlier with Gov. Peter Shumlin and donated $100,000 to a fund devoted to defending Vermont’s genetically modified organism, or GMO, labeling law from legal challenges. “It’s a huge gift, and we need more like them,” Shumlin said Monday. The money will be used to help defray the costs of a legal battle that Attorney General Bill Sorrell has estimated could cost the state as much as $8 million. The Grocery Manufacturers of America and other industry groups are suing to block the law before its scheduled implementation date, July 1, 2016. Young has been touring to promote a new album, “The Monsanto Years,” which is sharply critical of the Monsanto Co.’s role in agriculture.
Note: Monsanto's political clout in the U.S. recently led to what has been popularly termed "the Monsanto protection act." The risks and dangers of genetically engineering crops are becoming increasingly clear.
After an arm of the U.N.'s World Health Organization (WHO) identified the main ingredient in Monsanto's popular weed killer Roundup as "probably carcinogenic to humans," France has taken a step to limit sales of the herbicide. On Sunday, French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal announced that the government would ban the sale of Roundup at garden centers in the country. Roundup and generic versions of glyphosate are still the most widely used herbicides in the world, among farmers and municipalities alike. As of 2012, it was the top choice of New York City for killing weeds in its parks. Farmers like Roundup because "Roundup Ready" versions of crops like corn and soybeans have been modified to specifically tolerate the herbicide, allowing growers to spray Roundup widely across their fields without damaging their crops. Shortly after the WHO announcement, Patrick Moore, who has an ecology Ph.D. and is a controversial defender of genetically modified crops, offered to drink Roundup on French television to prove its safety. But when a TV host offered him a glass of the stuff, Moore refused, and the video of the exchange quickly went viral online.
Note: The Netherlands, Bermuda, and Sri Lanka preceded France in banning over the counter sales of Roundup. Watch a revealing documentary showing how Monsanto ruthlessly pursued farmers to stop them from planting their own seeds and corrupted judges to illegally support their efforts. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
Neil Young ... has a new album coming out at the end of June called "The Monsanto Years." And it's a biting attack on the seed giant -- as well as other big corporations. The title track refers to "the poison tide of Monsanto" and describes a farmer who "signs a deal for GMOs that makes life hell with Monsanto." Young also lashes out at Starbucks in a song called "A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop." "I want a cup of coffee but I don't want a GMO. I like to start my day off without helping Monsanto," Young sings in his trademark nasal whine. The singer announced ... that he would no longer drink Starbucks lattes because the company, along with Monsanto, was part of the Grocery Manufacturers Association trade group. That organization sued the state of Vermont to overturn a law that would require food and beverage companies to disclose on their labels if GMOs are used in the products. "GMO labeling matters. Mothers need to know what they are feeding their children. They need freedom to make educated choices at the market," Young said. Young also rails against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling on campaign finance in several songs. And he criticizes Walmart's labor practices in a song called "Big Box," which has the following verse: "People working part-time at Walmart never get the benefits for sure." So far, it looks like Walmart isn't planning to retaliate against Young. You can preorder "The Monsanto Years" at Walmart.com.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing genetic modification news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
From Paris to Ouagadougou, thousands of people took to the streets Saturday to protest against the American biotechnology giant Monsanto and its genetically modified crops and pesticides. The third annual March Against Monsanto was being held in upwards of 400 cities in more than 40 countries. About 2,500 people staged anti-Monsanto protests in the Swiss cities of Basel and Morgues, where the company has its headquarters for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Up to 3,000 protesters ... gathered in Paris, with Monsanto's market-leading herbicide Roundup the main targets of protesters' anger. The controversial product's main ingredient was recently classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans" by the World Health Organization. "Looking for mass suicide? Go for Roundup," read one placard at another French protest in the western city of Rennes. Halfway around the planet in Burkina Faso, around 500 marched against the US giant which introduced GM cotton into the west African country in 2003. Demonstrators demanded a 10-year moratorium on the planting of Monsanto seeds so "independent research can be conducted" into the effects of the technology. Up to 1,000 anti-Monsanto activists gathered in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg as the sun was setting for a minute's silence "in homage to the existing and future victims poisoned by pesticides", according to the organisers. The worldwide March Against Monsanto was begun in 2013 by the Occupy movement.
Note: Monsanto's political clout in the U.S. recently led to what has been popularly termed "the Monsanto protection act." The negative health impacts of Monsanto's RoundUp are well known and this product is considered by the WHO to "probably cause cancer", while the risks and dangers of genetically engineering crops to tolerate such chemicals are becoming increasingly clear.
A Vermont law that could make the state the first in the country to require labeling of genetically modified food has been allowed by a federal judge to stand for now despite opposition by food industry groups. U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss in Burlington on Monday ruled against the Grocery Manufacturers' Association and other industry groups in their request for a preliminary order to block the law from going into effect as scheduled on July 1, 2016. The case is likely to go to trial. The ruling comes nearly a year after Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the law, under which Vermont is expected to become the first state to require genetically modified organism, or GMO, food labeling. The Grocery Manufacturers Association was joined by the Snack Foods Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, seeking to have Vermont's law declared unconstitutional. Supporters of the law have included consumer and environmental groups. The judge found that the concerns embedded in Vermont's law were well within the state's purview. "The safety of food products, the protection of the environment, and the accommodation of religious beliefs and practices are all quintessential governmental interests, as is the State's desire 'to promote informed consumer decision-making,'" she wrote, quoting from the state's court filings.
Note: Can you believe that industry groups are claiming it is unconstitutional to require labeling of GMOs? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on genetically modified foods from reliable major media sources.
Scientists in China have genetically modified human embryos in a world first. The Chinese group used a genome editing procedure called Crispr to modify an aberrant gene that causes beta-thalassaemia, a life-threatening blood disorder, in faulty IVF embryos obtained from local fertility clinics. The team, led by Junjiu Huang at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, is the first to publish such work, confirming rumours that have been circulating for months that human embryos had been modified in China. The work is described in the journal Protein and Cell. Two prominent journals, Nature and Science, rejected the paper citing ethical objections, Huang said. Last month, researchers writing in Nature called for a global moratorium on the genetic modification of human embryos, citing “grave concerns” over the ethics and safety. They added that any therapeutic benefits were tenuous. Genetic modification of the DNA in human embryos would not only affect the individual but their children and their children’s children and so on down the generations. That could halt the inheritance of genetic diseases that run in families, but it could also pass on unforeseen medical problems that the procedures may cause. One of the main safety concerns with genome editing is the risk of changes being made to healthy genes by accident. These so-called “off-target” edits happened far more than expected in Huang’s study, suggesting that the procedure they used is far from safe.
Note: The negative effects of generically modified foods on health are becoming clear. What will happen if our human gene-pool is similarly tinkered with?
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer announced findings that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp line of pesticides, is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The research, published in The Lancet Oncology, relies on studies conducted on the chemical over the last few decades. Use of glyphosate – which the EPA has deemed safe — has soared in the last two decades with the introduction of crops genetically engineered to withstand the herbicide. Glyphosate is also a main ingredient in a new product called “Enlist Duo” recently introduced by Dow Chemical. Widespread use of the chemical has also come under fire because weeds are becoming increasingly resistant to it. Dow has marketed its new product ... as a new tool for farmers battling herbicide-resistant weeds. But agriculture experts say farmers should look at other ways to manage weeds, like cover-cropping, increased rotation and mechanical removal. This week, environmental groups sent a letter to the EPA renewing their calls for the agency to reconsider its decision to approve Enlist Duo. The groups also called on the EPA to reexamine its findings that glyphosate is safe. Monsanto has come out swinging. In a press release, Chief Technology Officer Dr. Robb Fraley said the company is “outraged”. Monsanto has demanded a retraction of the report.
The issues surrounding G.M.O.s - genetically modified organisms - became more complicated last week when the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the widely used herbicide Roundup, probably causes cancer in humans. Two insecticides, malathion and diazinon, were also classified as "probable" carcinogens by the agency, a respected arm of the World Health Organization. Roundup, made by Monsanto for both home and commercial use, is crucial in the production of genetically engineered corn and soybean crops, so it was notable that the verdict on its dangers came nearly simultaneously with an announcement by the Food and Drug Administration that new breeds of genetically engineered potato and apple are safe to eat. Few people are surprised that an herbicide in widespread use is probably toxic at high doses or with prolonged exposure, circumstances that may be common among farmers and farmworkers. Nor is it surprising that it took so long - Roundup has been used since the 1970s - to discover its likely carcinogenic properties. There is a sad history of us acting as guinea pigs for the novel chemicals that industry develops. To date, G.M.O.s and other forms of biotech have done nothing but enrich their manufacturers and promote a system of agriculture that's neither sustainable nor for the most part beneficial. We don't need better, smarter chemicals along with crops that can tolerate them; we need fewer chemicals. There's no reason to put the general population, and particularly the farming population, at risk for the sake of industry profits.
Note: Monsanto's Roundup and the GMO crops that support its use are well-known by scientists to be a threat to public health. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMO risks and how these are covered up.
For decades, Monsanto and its enablers inside the USDA have denied the central tenets of evolutionary biology, namely natural selection and adaptation. Since the early 1980s, Monsanto has endlessly hyped genetically engineered (GE) crops they claim could reduce hunger, reduce pesticide use, and survive droughts. In reality, no such "miracle" crops exist. No significantly greater yielding crops, no more effective drought resistance crops. And ... around 85 percent of all genetically engineered crops in the United States and around the world have been engineered to withstand massive doses of herbicides, mostly Monsanto's Roundup. Each year 115 million more pounds of Roundup are spread on our farmlands because of these altered crops. Wouldn't that massive increase in Roundup use over that huge a portion of our cropland cause some weed populations to develop resistance? Of course. As a result, in less than 20 years, more than half of all U.S. farms have some Roundup resistant "superweeds," weeds that now infest 70 million acres of U.S farmland. A science-based, and safer, way forward is to ... use ecologically based weed control. There are proven organic and agroecological approaches that emphasize weed management rather than weed eradication, soil building rather than soil supplementing. Crop rotation and cover crops can return productive yields without ridding the land of genetic biodiversity, and could reduce herbicide use by 90 percent. So it's long past due that our government required real and rigorous science when regulating GE crops.
Note: Read more about how GMO technology has backfired, producing new "superweeds" and "superbugs" that threaten crop production. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMO risks and how these are covered up.
A group of leading biologists on Thursday called for a worldwide moratorium on use of a new genome-editing technique that would alter human DNA in a way that can be inherited. Ethicists, for decades, have been concerned about the dangers of altering the human germline — meaning to make changes to human sperm, eggs or embryos that will last through the life of the individual and be passed on to future generations. Until now, these worries have been theoretical. But a technique invented in 2012 makes it possible to edit the genome precisely and with much greater ease. The technique has already been used to edit the genomes of mice, rats and monkeys, and few doubt that it would work the same way in people. Though such a moratorium would not be legally enforceable and might seem unlikely to exert global influence, there is a precedent. In 1975, scientists worldwide were asked to refrain from using a method for manipulating genes, the recombinant DNA technique, until rules had been established. “We asked at that time that nobody do certain experiments, and in fact nobody did, to my knowledge,” said Dr. Baltimore, who was a member of the 1975 group. The new genome-editing approach was invented by Jennifer A. Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, and Emmanuelle Charpentier of Umea University in Sweden. Many ethicists have accepted the idea of gene therapy, changes that die with the patient, but draw a clear line at altering the germline, since these will extend to future generations.
Note: Is this voluntary moratorium enough to stay the hand of our corrupt scientific establishment?
Jane Goodall may be the world's most famous primatologist -- 50 years ago, she became the first to prove that nonhuman animals make tools -- but lately she's been spending more time focusing on ... plants. Her newest book, Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder From the World of Plants, cowritten with Gayle Hudson, chronicles her lifelong love of all things leafy. Why the newer focus on plants? It was as though the plants ... said, "Look, Jane, you've spent all your life doing stuff for animals. It's our turn now." So it ended up being this incredibly inclusive book, which led me into very dark areas of human history, into the plantations and the slave trade, all the horrors of modern agriculture with its chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and then ... genetically modified plants. That was the most chilling of all: the huge conspiracy by the big companies who do genetic modification to keep the public from knowing the truth, to subvert the course of justice. What do you tell people who aren't convinced about buying organic? I say that if they really investigated the chemicals that are in nonorganic foods, they wouldn't want to eat them. And they say, "Oh, but we've been eating all this chemical and GMO food for ages and it doesn't hardly hurt us." But look at the rise of autism and attention deficit disorders among children since the end of World War II, when all these agricultural chemicals began. There are all kinds of diseases which nobody really knows why they're increasing. If you look at the chemicals that are in the plants, you don't want to have them in your body.
Note: The above is taken from an in-depth Huffington Post interview. Goodall, now 79, runs the Jane Goodall Institute to protect chimpanzees' habitat, and Roots and Shoots to encourage children to become conservationists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Its first attempt to develop genetically engineered grass ended disastrously for the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. The grass escaped into the wild from test plots in Oregon in 2003. Yet Scotts is once again developing genetically modified grass that would ... be resistant to damage from the popular weedkiller Roundup. But this time the grass will not need federal approval before it can be field-tested and marketed. Scotts and several other companies are developing genetically modified crops using techniques that either are outside the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Department or use new methods — like “genome editing” — that were not envisioned when the regulations were created. “If you take genetic material from a plant ... there’s a bunch of stuff you can do that at least technically is unregulated,” Jim Hagedorn, Scotts chief executive, told analysts in December 2013. Other companies, including Cellectis, are using new genome-editing techniques that can change the plant’s existing DNA rather than insert foreign genes. Cibus, a privately held San Diego company, is beginning to sell herbicide-resistant canola developed this way. “With our technology, we can develop the same traits but in a way that’s not transgenic,” said Peter Beetham, chief executive of Cibus, using a term for a plant containing foreign genes. Regulators around the world are now grappling with whether these techniques are even considered genetic engineering and how, if at all, they should be regulated.
Note: Scotts is Monsanto's exclusive agent for consumer RoundUp. They are trying to engineer plants to be more resistant to RoundUp's toxicity, so that greater quantities of this deadly poison can be dumped on our lawns and food crops. It remains impossible to contain the spread of transgenetic material that escaped a Scotts Miracle-Gro Company lab in 2003. For more, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles.
Monsanto is donating $4.7 million to the campaign to oppose GMO labeling in Colorado. The St. Louis-based agriculture company is a primary producer of genetically modified seeds. The No on 105 committee has raised almost $10 million through Sept. 24, with Pepsico and Kraft Foods also giving more than $1 million each. The group begins running TV ads against the initiative this week. Meanwhile, the supporters of the labeling initiative, Right to Know GMO, have raised about $323,000, including almost $120,000 in the most recent two weeks. That groups top donors are Food Democracy Action at $140,000 total and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps at $25,000.
Note: In every election where GMO labeling was on the ballot, big industry has poured in many times more money that those in favor of disclosure. This is a very good example of how in the US, it is much more a democracy of every dollar gets one vote rather than every person gets one vote. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
[Vandana] Shiva’s fiery opposition to globalization and to the use of genetically modified crops has made her a hero to anti-G.M.O. activists everywhere. At each stop [on a recent European tour], Shiva delivered a message that she has honed for nearly three decades: by engineering, patenting, and transforming seeds into costly packets of intellectual property, multinational corporations such as Monsanto, with considerable assistance from the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the United States government, and even philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are attempting to impose “food totalitarianism” on the world. She describes the fight against agricultural biotechnology as a global war against a few giant seed companies on behalf of the billions of farmers who depend on what they themselves grow to survive. Shiva contends that nothing less than the future of humanity rides on the outcome. Shiva, along with a growing army of supporters, argues that the prevailing model of industrial agriculture, heavily reliant on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fossil fuels, and a seemingly limitless supply of cheap water, places an unacceptable burden on the Earth’s resources. The global food supply is indeed in danger. Feeding the expanding population without further harming the Earth presents one of the greatest challenges of our time, perhaps of all time. By the end of the century, the world may well have to accommodate ten billion inhabitants. Sustaining that many people will require farmers to grow more food in the next seventy-five years than has been produced in all of human history.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Ben & Jerry's has made a pledge to remove all GMO ingredients from its ice cream. The company has taken a vocal stand in recent years in support of states looking at legislation that would require manufacturers to disclose food that is made with genetic engineering. And Vermont recently passed a law that will require labeling starting in 2015. Ben & Jerry's co-founder Jerry Greenfield [then] launched a campaign to help fill the coffers of Vermont's crowd-sourced defense fund set up to combat lawsuits over its labeling law. Some other mainstream companies are carefully — and much more quietly — calibrating their non-GMO strategies. General Mills' original plain Cheerios are now GMO-free, but the only announcement was in a company blog post in January. Grape Nuts, another cereal aisle staple, made by Post, is also non-GMO. And Target has about 80 of its own brand items certified GMO-free. Megan Westgate runs the Non-GMO Project, which acts as an independent third-party verifier of GMO-free products, including Target's. She says her organization knows about "a lot of exciting cool things that are happening that for whatever strategic reasons get kept pretty quiet." The Non-GMO Project has certified more than 20,000 products since it launched in 2007, and Westgate says this is one of the fastest growing sectors of the natural food industry, representing $6 billion in annual sales.
Dr. Andres Carrasco, an Argentine neuroscientist who challenged pesticide regulators to re-examine one of the world’s most widely used weed killers, has died. He was 67. Dr. Carrasco, a molecular biologist at the University of Buenos Aires and past-president of Argentina’s CONICET science council, was a widely published expert in embryonic development. His 2010 study on glyphosate [became] a major public relations challenge for the ... Monsanto Company. Glyphosate is the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup brand of pesticides, which have combined with genetically modified “Roundup-Ready” plants to dramatically increase the spread of industrial agriculture around the world. [The technology's] spread has increasingly exposed people to glyphosate and other chemicals. Dr. Carrasco, principal investigator at his university’s Cellular Biology and Neuroscience Institute, told The Associated Press in a 2013 interview that he had heard reports of increasing birth defects in farming communities after genetically modified crops were approved for use in Argentina, and so decided to test the impact of glyphosate on frog and chicken embryos in his laboratory. His team’s study, published in the peer-reviewed Chemical Research in Toxicology journal, found that injecting very low doses of glyphosate into embryos can change levels of retinoic acid, causing the same sort of spinal defects that doctors are increasingly registering in communities where farm chemicals are ubiquitous. “If it’s possible to reproduce this in a laboratory, surely what is happening in the field is much worse,” Dr. Carrasco told the AP.
Note: For further studies showing the grave dangers of Roundup and Glyphosate, see this article.
A group of mothers, scientists and environmentalists met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulators on [May 27] over concerns that residues of Roundup, the world's most popular herbicide, had been found in breast milk. The meeting ... followed a five-day phone call blitz of EPA offices by a group called Moms Across America demanding that the EPA pay attention to their demands for a recall of Roundup. "This is a poison and it's in our food. And now they've found it in breast milk," said Zen Honeycutt, founder of Moms Across America. "Numerous studies show serious harm to mammals. We want this toxic treadmill of chemical cocktails in our food to stop." Roundup is an herbicide developed and sold by Monsanto Co. since the 1970s, and used in agriculture and home lawns and gardens. The chief ingredient, glyphosate, is under a standard registration review by the EPA. The agency has set a deadline of 2015 for determining if glyphosate use should continue as is, be limited or halted. Environmentalists, consumer groups and plant scientists from several countries have said in recent years that heavy use of glyphosate is causing problems for plants, people and animals. They say some tests have raised alarms about glyphosate levels found in urine samples and breast milk. In 2011, U.S. government scientists said they detected significant levels of glyphosate in air and water samples. Glyphosate is sprayed on most of the corn and soybean crops in the United States, as well as over sugar beets, canola and other crops.
Note: For further studies showing the grave dangers of Roundup and Glyphosate, see this article.
Vermont's governor on [May 8] signed a bill into law that will require the labeling of genetically modified foods -- hailing it as the first such law in the nation. Under the new law, food offered for retail sale that is entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering must be labeled as such by July 2016. "Vermonters take our food and how it is produced seriously, and we believe we have a right to know what's in the food we buy," said Gov. Peter Shumlin. "More than 60 countries have already restricted or labeled these foods, and now one state -- Vermont -- will also ensure that we know what's in the food we buy and serve our families." In the absence of federal action, other states have introduced similar legislation or ballot initiatives, according to the non-profit Center for Food Safety. Maine and Connecticut passed laws requiring labeling, but they won't go into effect until other states pass GMO-labeling laws. Vermont is the first to pass a "no strings attached" bill, the watchdog group said. Supporters of the law expect it will be challenged in court. "I can make no predictions or promises about how the courts will ultimately rule but I can promise that my office will mount a vigorous and zealous defense of the law that has so much support from Vermont consumers," said Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service approved a non-GMO label for meat and liquid egg products in June, the first time the department has approved such a label from a third party. GMO foods were approved for human consumption in 1995.
Note: For more on the major risks from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing summary available here. For many major media articles laying bare the serious risks and dangers of GMOs in our food, click here.
Vermont on [May 8] became the first state in the nation to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Gov. Peter Shumlin signed that mandate into law on Thursday afternoon, saying in a statement “we believe we have a right to know what’s in the food we buy.” The new law represents a significant victory for advocates who have for years pushed such measures at the state and local level. But there remains one more hurdle to overcome: a likely lawsuit. Legislators, officials and advocates are preparing for the state to be sued over the new law. Last month, state Attorney General Bill Sorrell told Vermont Public Radio that he would be “very surprised” if the state isn’t sued. And officials were so sure of a challenge that the measure itself creates a $1.5 million legal defense fund, to be paid for with settlements won by the state. “The threat of a lawsuit worked for a while, but now it doesn’t work anymore,” says Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, whose organization has for years worked with activists and lawmakers in Vermont on the issue. At least 25 states have considered such legislation, according to a recent report on labeling requirements from the nonprofit Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. And advocates are hopeful they will get a measure on the Oregon ballot this year. Proponents argue that the science behind genetically modified food is far from conclusive and ask why consumers should take risks without knowing what they’re eating. If companies truly stand behind the safety of GMO foods, they shouldn’t worry about having to identify them, advocates for labeling argue.
Note: For many major media articles laying bare the serious risks and dangers of GMOs in our food, click here. For more on the major risks from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing summary available here.
More than 90 percent of the soybeans churned out on US farms each year are genetically engineered to withstand herbicides, nearly all of them involving one called Roundup. Organic production, by contrast, is marginal—it accounts for less than 1 percent of total American acreage devoted to soy. After harvest, the great bulk of soybeans are crushed and divided into two parts: meal, which mainly goes into feed for animals that become our meat, and fat, most of which ends up being used as cooking oil or in food products. According to the US Soy Board, soy accounts for 61 percent of American's vegetable oil consumption. Given soy's centrality to our food and agriculture systems, the findings of a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Food Chemistry are worth pondering. The authors found that Monsanto's ubiquitous Roundup Ready soybeans, engineered to withstand its own blockbuster herbicide, contain more herbicide residues than their non-GMO counterparts. The team also found that the GM beans are nutritionally inferior. They found residues of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) and aminomethylphosphonic acid, or AMPA, the compound glyphosate breaks down into as it decays, on all 10 of the GM samples—and in none of the non-GM and organic ones. The researchers found residue levels hovering above a level Monsanto itself has characterized as "extreme." Independent research ... found that Roundup in water at 3 ppm induced morphological changes in frogs.
Note: For more on the risks to health from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing summary available here.
Vermont has raised the stakes in the debate over genetically modified foods by becoming the first state to pass a bill requiring that they be labeled as such in the grocery aisle, making the move despite the opposition of the powerful U.S. food industry. The Vermont bill says genetically modified foods "potentially pose risks to health, safety, agriculture, and the environment" and includes $1.5 million for implementation and defense against lawsuits expected from the food and biotech industries. It's unclear how GMO labeling might affect consumers' wallets or food companies' bottom line if shoppers reject labeled foods. The labels will say "produced with genetic engineering" for packaged raw foods, or "partially produced with genetic engineering" or "may be produced with genetic engineering" for processed food that contains products of genetic engineering. Meat and dairy would be exempt. A national New York Times poll in January 2013 found that 93 percent of respondents said foods containing GMOs should be labeled. Twenty-nine other states have proposed bills recently to require GMO labeling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than 60 countries require such labeling, according to the Vermont Right to Know campaign. Some farmers in Vermont, known for its organic food operations, see the bill's passage as a David-vs.-Goliath victory. "This vote is a reflection of years of work from a strong grass-roots base of Vermonters who take their food and food sovereignty seriously and do not take kindly to corporate bullies," Will Allen, manager of Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford, said.
Note: For more on the good reasons to require GMO labels on foods, see the excellent summary of the risks from GMOs available here.
France's lower house of parliament adopted a law on [April 15] prohibiting the cultivation of any variety of genetically modified maize, saying it posed a risk to the environment. France adopted a decree last month to halt the planting of Monsanto's insect-resistant MON810 maize, the only GM crop allowed for cultivation in the European Union. The law also applies to any strain adopted at EU level in future, including another GM variety, Pioneer 1507 developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical, which could be approved by the EU executive later this year after 19 out of 28 member states failed to gather enough votes to block it. The Socialist government, like its conservative predecessor, has opposed the growing of GM crops because of public suspicion and widespread protests by environmentalists. Jean-Marie Le Guen, the minister in charge of relations with parliament, told the National Assembly, "This bill strengthens the decree passed last March by preventing the immediate cultivation of GMO and extending their reach to all transgenic maize varieties." A debate on the future of GM policy is going on at EU level, with the European Commission suggesting an opt-out that would allow individual countries to ban such crops. Le Guen called for a stable EU system that would ensure member states' decisions could not be challenged legally.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods and founding executive director of The Institute for Responsible Technology, a leading source of GMO-health-risk information, says several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. In fact, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid genetically modified foods altogether. Ready to go GMO free? Here are 10 ways to shop smarter: 1. Go organic. The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit GMOs, so shopping organic is a great way to avoid them. 2. Load up on fruits and veggies. Most fresh produce is non-GMO, says Smith, but zucchini, yellow summer squash, edamame, sweet corn and papaya from Hawaii or China are considered high risk and are best avoided. Only buy those high-risk fruits and vegetables if they are labeled "organic" or "non-GMO," he advises. 3. Look for the non-GMO-verified seal. Since GMOs require no labeling, this seal is one of the best ways to tell when foods are free of genetic modification. 4. Join the Tipping Point Campaign. This network of local activists is working to educate communities on the dangers of GMOs. 5. Beware of additives. The five most common GMOs -- corn, canola, soy, cotton and sugar beets -- often end up as additives (in the form of corn syrup, oil, sugar, flavoring agents or thickeners) in packaged foods.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Consumers around the world are becoming aware of the dangers of industrial, chemical-based agriculture. The most legitimate science and research bodies recommend turning toward organic and sustainable agriculture, shunning genetically engineered (GE or GMO) products and the chemicals they are designed to promote. With the growth and power of the food movement, corporate giants are beginning to take action. After decades of employing a "block-us-and-we'll-sue-you" approach, Monsanto recently began an intense makeover PR campaign: popularity by association. Monsanto is cozying up to the reputation, authenticity and wholesomeness of family farmers -- and hoping the all-American nostalgia many associate with the small scale farmer rubs off on them. During the Super Bowl, key media markets saw Monsanto's "It Begins with a Farmer" commercials, which were intended to demonstrate that the company shares the same values as family farmers and the consumers they feed and clothe. In reality, Monsanto is no friend to the family farmer or the communities they live in and support. In fact, Monsanto (and other chemical companies like Dow Chemical, Syngenta, BASF, Pioneer/Dupont, and Bayer) have forced small farmers into a dying breed. The cost of industrial agriculture forces farmers to get big or get out. This is particularly true of GE herbicide-resistant seeds, which USDA economists tell us have contributed to increased consolidation of farmland in fewer hands. In the end, family farmers get squeezed out by the mammoth farms enabled by biotechnology.
Note: For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The authors of a study calling for GM crops to be fast-tracked into Britain’s farms and kitchens all have links to the industry. The report was presented as the work of ‘independent’ scientists and was published on [March 13] by a government advisory body. It was used to support a bid to speed up the development of the controversial crops in the UK, but it has emerged that all five authors have a vested interest in promoting GM crops and food – and some are part-funded by the industry. Critics of GM [have] described the report as ‘biased and downright dangerous’, and accused the biotech giants and the Government of mounting a crude propaganda campaign to overturn public opposition. The academics behind the study were chosen by the Council for Science and Technology, the body that advises the Prime Minister on science policy issues. They include Professor Sir David Baulcombe, from Cambridge University, who works as a consultant for GM firm Syngenta, which gives his department research funding. Syngenta is behind a genetically modified maize or corn, called GA21, which could go into UK farms as early as next spring, making it Britain’s first commercially grown GM crop. Also on the list is Professor Jonathan Jones, of the Sainsbury Laboratory, which is at the centre of Britain’s GM research. It is part-funded by former Labour science minister, Lord Sainsbury, who is one of the country’s biggest supporters of the technology. Another co-author was Professor Jim Dunwell, of the University of Reading. He was a founder member of CropGen, which describes its mission as ‘to make the case for GM crops and foods’
Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here. For an excellent summary of the risks and dangers from GMO foods, click here.
It's easy to think of "organic" and "non-GMO" as the best buddies of food. They sit comfortably beside each other in the same grocery stores — most prominently, in Whole Foods Market. Culturally, they also seem to occupy the same space. Both reject aspects of mainstream industrial agriculture. In fact, the movement to eliminate genetically modified crops — GMOs — from food is turning out to be organic's false friend. The non-GMO label has become a cheaper alternative to organic. "More and more, there's concern [among organic food companies] that they created a monster," says Mark Kastel, a pro-organic activist who's co-founder of the Cornucopia Institute. No food retailer likes high costs. If it can offer a cheaper product that attracts the same consumers, it will do it. According to Kastel, that's how Whole Foods and others are using non-GMO labels. "This is a potent marketing vehicle designed to blur the line between organic and nonorganic," he says. David Bruce, director of eggs, meat, produce and soy for Organic Valley, a major organic food company, says the non-GMO labels "definitely" are diverting some consumers away from organic food. "We call it trading down," he says. Bruce says organic companies need to draw a clear line that sets organics apart from any alternatives. "The goal is to educate consumers that 'non-GMO' or 'natural' products are not 100 percent the same as an organic product," he says.
Note: For more on the risks from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The nation’s two largest conventional grocery chains, Kroger and Safeway, have announced that they will not sell genetically engineered salmon. They join several other chains, including Target, Whole Foods ... and Trader Joe’s. The Food and Drug Administration has not yet decided whether to approve the salmon, with DNA retooled so that the fish grow twice as fast as conventional salmon. The FDA’s final decision on the fish has been expected for a long time, and there is speculation that the agency has been holding off mainly because it knows that the public is inclined to look suspiciously on the new product. Consumer groups have taken matters into their own hands by appealing to food markets not to carry the fish, and they’re obviously having some notable successes. The other markets should fall in line; they don’t need these salmon in their fish departments in order to succeed, and, in fact, they stand a good chance of turning off consumers who worry about making over the DNA of an animal that, for all the fish farms, is essentially a wild creature.
Note: For more on the risks from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration is set to begin two days of meetings tomorrow to consider radical biological procedures that, if successful, would produce genetically modified human beings. This is a dangerous step. These techniques would change every cell in the bodies of children born as a result of their use, and these alterations would be passed down to future generations. The F.D.A. calls them mitochondrial manipulation technologies. The procedures involve removing the nuclear material either from the egg or embryo of a woman with inheritable mitochondrial disease and inserting it into a healthy egg or embryo of a donor whose own nuclear material has been discarded. Any offspring would carry genetic material from three people — the nuclear DNA of the mother and father, and the mitochondrial DNA of the donor. Developers of these modification techniques say they are a way for women with mitochondrial disease to give birth to healthy children to whom they are related genetically. Some are also promoting their use for age-related infertility. These procedures are deeply problematic in terms of their medical risks and societal implications. Will the child be born healthy, or will the cellular disruptions created by this eggs-as-Lego-pieces approach lead to problems later on? What about subsequent generations? And how far will we go in our efforts to engineer humans? Unfortunately, there are now worrisome signs that opposition to inheritable genetic modifications, written into law by dozens of countries, according to our count, may be weakening. British regulators are also considering mitochondrial manipulations, and proponents there, like their counterparts in the United States, want to move quickly to clinical trials.
Note: For more on the dangers to society of genetic engineering, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
American biotechnology has turned Argentina into the world's third-largest soybean producer, but the chemicals powering the boom aren't confined to soy and cotton and corn fields. The Associated Press documented dozens of cases around the country where poisons are applied in ways unanticipated by regulatory science or specifically banned by existing law. The spray drifts into schools and homes and settles over water sources; farmworkers mix poisons with no protective gear; villagers store water in pesticide containers that should have been destroyed. Now doctors are warning that uncontrolled pesticide applications could be the cause of growing health problems among the 12 million people who live in the South American nation's vast farm belt. In Santa Fe, cancer rates are two times to four times higher than the national average. In Chaco, birth defects quadrupled in the decade after biotechnology dramatically expanded farming in Argentina. A nation once known for its grass-fed beef has undergone a remarkable transformation since 1996, when the St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. promised that adopting its patented seeds and chemicals would increase crop yields and lower pesticide use. Today, Argentina's entire soy crop and nearly all its corn and cotton are genetically modified, with soy cultivation alone tripling to 47 million acres. Agrochemical use did decline at first, then it bounced back, increasing ninefold from 9 million gallons in 1990 to more than 84 million gallons today as farmers squeezed in more harvests and pests became resistant to the poisons.
Note: For more on issues that matter to our health, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Most people like to know what they are eating. However, labeling for genetically modified organisms is not required in any state. This is largely because of the money expended by GM seed producers toward blocking food-labeling laws. A common claim made by this group is that GM foods have been proved safe to eat and that there is a global scientific consensus to support this statement; therefore, no labeling is needed. However, an examination of the scientific data ... show[s] that both claims are blatantly false. GM crops have fostered an epidemic of herbicide resistant weeds and insects that are no longer killed by the built-in toxins. The result is a massive increase in herbicide use -- an additional 527 million pounds over the past 16 years. The major herbicide, glyphosate, is found inside the GM plants we eat, leading to its detection in people. There is increasing evidence that GM crops and the chemicals required for their production are harmful to humans. An Associated Press story in October documented the large increase in cancer and birth defects in commercial farming areas of Argentina since the introduction of GM crops. These data confirm recent animal studies showing that GM corn and the herbicides sprayed on it caused a dramatic increase in cancer in the same strain of rats used in FDA drug safety tests. Another large study showed an increase in severe stomach inflammation in pigs caused by GM feed containing insecticidal toxins, a condition that would likely lead to cancer in humans. In reality, there is no evidence that GM food is safe for human consumption.
Note: For more on the damaging health impacts of GMO foods and the movement to label them, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Under pressure from consumers and activist groups, General Mills says it will stop using genetically modified ingredients to make its original Cheerios cereal. While the oats used to make Cheerios have never contained any genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the company did make changes to its sourcing — and now, for example, only uses non-GMO pure cane sugar instead of beet sugar, says spokesman Mike Siemienas. The move is being hailed by anti-GMO activist groups as a major victory. It comes at a time activists have been increasingly pressuring American food makers to remove GMOs from all foods — or, at the very least, label all foods that do contain GMOs. Last year, Whole Foods became the first national grocery chain to require all of its suppliers to label all products that contain GMOs by 2018. In the past year, Chipotle announced plans to phase out GMOs and Kashi is also is taking action to phase out GMOs. "This is a big deal," says Todd Larsen, corporate responsibility director at Green America, a green economy activist group. "Cheerios is an iconic brand and one of the leading breakfast cereals in the U.S." What's more, he adds, "We don't know of any other example of such a major brand of packaged food, eaten by so many Americans, going from being GMO to non-GMO. " One year ago, the group used social media efforts to rally consumers to pressure General Mills to make Cheerios without GMOs. Cheerios was picked, in part, because it's one of the first foods given to many toddlers.
Note: For more on the health risks of GMO foods, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Genetically modified maize causes cancer: that was the gist of one of the most controversial studies in recent memory, published in September 2012 by Food and Chemical Toxicology. [But] on November 28th the journal retracted it. The article was by Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen, in France, and his colleagues. It described what happened to rats fed with NK603 maize, a variety made resistant to a herbicide called glyphosate by a genetic modification made by Monsanto. Monsanto also discovered glyphosate’s herbicidal properties. It sells it under the trade name “Roundup”. In Dr Séralini’s experiment, rats fed with the modified maize were reckoned more likely to develop tumours than those which had not been. Females were especially badly affected: their death rates were two or three times as high as those of control groups. The article was explosive. Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s prime minister, said that if its results were confirmed his government would press for a Europe-wide ban on NK603 maize. Russia suspended imports of the crop. Kenya banned all GM crops. Though the paper has been retracted, that is unlikely to be end of the matter. The journal’s publisher said there was “no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data”, which are the usual justifications for retraction. Scientific opinion runs strongly against the conclusion that GM foods are harmful—but not universally so. A group called the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility backed Dr Séralini.
Note: Over 100 scientists have signed a pledge to boycott Elsevier, the publisher of the journal which retracted the GMO study, as you can see at this link. For an excellent video review of the study, click here. For more on the health risks of GMO foods, see the deeply revealing report available here.
A proposal to require labeling of genetically engineered foods and seeds in Washington state enjoyed broad public support in polls this summer. That was before some of the largest food companies swooped in to spend more so consumers would know less about what they are eating. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a Washington-based trade group that represents companies such as ConAgra Foods and Kraft Foods, was responsible for $11 million of the $22 million campaign against the initiative, compared with about $9 million by pro-labeling advocates. The GMA's campaign made the difference. The initiative, which had 66 percent support in a September survey, was defeated by 51 percent to 49 percent. The grocers, who opposed the proposal as arbitrary and costly for businesses, raised more than $2.3 million from PepsiCo Inc. and about $1.5 million each from Coca-Cola Co., [and] Nestle USA. Those groups also were part of a $45 million campaign that defeated a labeling initiative in California last year. "Spending is not a problem" for organizations opposed to labeling requirements, said Colin O'Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety, which backed the Washington state initiative. "These companies will spend whatever it takes to defeat labeling at the state level." If that's the case, the trade associations and their members will be issuing a lot more checks as fights over labeling food are breaking out in other states and advocates are pressing the matter in Congress with proposed legislation from both sides awaiting action.
Note: For more on the risks from genetically-modified organisms in food and the environment, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
China recently rejected a 60,000-ton shipment of American corn because it included unapproved genetically modified grain, the country’s food-quality watchdog said. The shipment was halted in the southern port city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, after it was discovered to contain MIR162, a special insect-resistant variety of maize developed by Syngenta, a Swiss maker of seeds and pesticides, according to Chinese state media. MIR162 is not on the Chinese government's short list of approved grains considered genetically modified organisms, or GMO. Still, Chinese consumers remain wary of GMO crops and some nationalist-leaning pundits have suggested the Western-dominated technology leaves China’s food supply vulnerable. The U.S. is the world’s largest corn exporter and China is its No. 3 customer. The Asian nation is expected to buy a record 7 million tons of corn in the 2013-14 marketing year. Experts described the recent rejection of U.S. corn as probably an isolated incident and said China would continue with its buying binge.
Note: For more on the risks from genetically-modified organisms in food and the environment, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The 2013 World Food Prize was awarded to three chemical company executives, including Monsanto executive vice president and chief technology officer, Robert Fraley, responsible for development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The choice of Fraley was widely protested, with eighty-one members of the prestigious World Future Council calling it “an affront to the growing international consensus on safe, ecological farming practices that have been scientifically proven to promote nutrition and sustainability.” The choice of Monsanto’s man triggered accusations of prize buying. From 1999 to 2011, Monsanto donated $380,000 to the World Food Prize Foundation, in addition to a $5 million contribution in 2008. For some, the award to Monsanto is actually a sign of desperation on the part of the GMO establishment. The arguments of the critics are making headway. Owing to concern about the dangers and risks posed by genetically engineered organisms, many governments have instituted total or partial bans on their cultivation, importation, and field-testing. A few years ago, there were sixteen countries that had total or partial bans on GMOs. Now there are at least twenty-six, including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia. Significant restrictions on GMOs exist in about sixty other countries. Already, American rice farmers face strict limitations on their exports to the European Union, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, and are banned altogether from Russia and Bulgaria because unapproved genetically engineered rice “escaped” during open-field trials on GMO rice.
Note: For more on the risks from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The public has the right to know what’s in our food. Over 70 percent of processed foods have genetically modified ingredients. GM crops are modified to contain novel patented bacterial and viral DNA never before seen in foods. Not surprisingly, most polls show around 90 percent of the public wants to know which foods are genetically modified. They want the same right to choose as consumers in the 64 countries around the world that mandate some form of labeling of GM foods. Washington state is currently ground zero, with a GM labeling initiative on the Nov. 5 ballot. Chemical and food corporations have raised over $20 million to defeat the measure. They are willing to spend whatever it takes. Last year, the opposition spent over $45 million to narrowly defeat a similar initiative in California. Why are agrichemical companies willing to spend such huge sums to defeat labeling? These companies’ GM foods would not be able to compete in an informed marketplace against non-GM foods. The fact is that, after spending 30 years genetically modifying crops, these companies have failed to come up with a single trait that would attract consumers. GM foods do not have improved nutrition, fewer calories, better taste or lower costs. In other words, they have no market advantage at all. A rational consumer, when faced with a non-genetically engineered bag of corn chips versus a labeled genetically engineered bag would have no incentive to buy the engineered brand. Labeling would expose these companies’ complete failure to provide a single benefit to America’s consumers. The only thing these foods offer is potential risk.
Note: For more on the risks from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Some argue [that Genetically Modified Organisms] are the way to “feed the world” and that an exploding population will require them. Others see GMO technology as part of a corporate plot to take over fields and drive farmers into debt, while everything from pesticide use to allergies are on the rise because of them. [But] the GMO debate is also distracting us from [other] interventions which have worked to dramatically reduce hunger and malnutrition over the last fifty years, and are today in desperate need of our continued support. These successful programs had a remarkable impact on the number in need today because they made small-scale farmers more profitable and families more self-reliant, diets more diverse and children and adults better educated. “Success [is] not simply about increasing the physical supply of food,” states “Millions Fed,” a report by the International Food Policy Research Institute. “Rather, [successes] are about reductions in hunger that result…from a change in an individual’s ability to secure quality food.” “Nutrition is multifaceted – it involves access to food, water and sanitation, hygiene, disease and infection, poverty,” says Nancy Haselow, Vice President of the Helen Keller International (HKI). “There is no single solution to solve malnutrition, so we need to provide multiple and synergistic interventions, a combination of approaches is best. Sustainable solutions that can be left in the community, are owned by the community, and put tools and knowledge and skills in the hands of mothers and fathers are important to addressing the problem.” A myriad of initiatives, non-reliant on GMO technology, have already proven successful in reducing hunger.
Note: For more on the grave risks associated with GMO foods, see the deeply revealing summary available here.
Washington state is the next battleground in an ongoing effort by food activists to get products containing genetically engineered ingredients labeled. Initiative 522 goes before voters Nov. 5. It would require that foods containing ingredients from genetically engineered plants be labeled as such. "We believe that we have a right to know what's in our food," said Elizabeth Larter, the Seattle-based communications director for the Yes on 522 campaign. "This campaign is not about whether GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are good or bad; this is really just providing more information for consumers." The labeling effort is being funded by grass-roots donations and a large contribution from Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One, a California soap company founded in the 1960s. "This is about chemical companies buying up the seed companies," said David Bronner, president of the company. Opponents to labeling "understand that if they lose in Washington state, game over," he said of why the company is supporting the initiative and encouraging others to do so. "In 2013 alone there have been 26 states that have introduced labeling legislation," says Katey Parker with the Just Label It coalition, a pro-labeling group based in Washington, D.C. Washington's Yes on 522 campaign so far has raised $4.8 million. Squaring off on the other side is a coalition of food manufacturers and seed producers that thus far has raised a war chest of $17.2 million. That's a state record. The top five contributors were the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and Bayer CropScience.
Note: For lots more on the serious risks posed by genetically-modified food, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Agricultural business giant Monsanto reported worse-than-expected losses for its fiscal fourth quarter ... due to lower sales of its genetically engineered seeds. The company forecast for fiscal 2014 also came in below Wall Street expectations, and it revealed plans to buy farming software and data firm The Climate Corporation. The combination sent shares lower in morning trading. The St. Louis company recorded a loss of $249 million, or 47 cents per share, for the quarter ended Aug. 31. That was wider than its loss of $264 million, or 42 cents per share, in the 2012 fourth quarter. The company's performance was hurt by a steep drop in sales of genetically modified soybean seeds, which fell 38 percent to $87 million.
Note: For more on the destructive impacts of Monsanto's GMO seed/pesticides technology, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Much attention has been turned in recent months to the fact that the agro-chemical/GMO industry -- corporate giants Dow, Pioneer DuPont, Syngenta, Monsanto, BASF -- have been using Hawaii since the 1990s as one of their main testing grounds for experiments engineering new pesticide-crop combos. On the "Garden Island" of Kauai, the industry controls over 15,000 acres of prime agricultural land, which they drench with over 17 tons of restricted-use pesticides each year, and likely at least five times that amount in non-restricted pesticides that may be equally as harmful (such as glyphosate). Pioneer DuPont alone has used 90 pesticide formulations with 63 active ingredients in the past 6 years. They apply these pesticides around 250 days each year, with 10-16 applications per day on average. Pesticides are sprayed next to schools, hospitals, neighborhoods and major waterways, with zero buffer zone and zero public knowledge of what is being sprayed. Preliminary evidence suggests that living in the shadow of these companies may be causing alarming rates of rare birth defects and cancers. Through the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) these same chemical corporations are seeking to lock us in to arrangements that guarantee their profit interests will not be impeded by pesky democratic governments protecting people's health or other common interests. If passed, it will amount to perhaps the biggest corporate power-grab in history, putting the rights of corporations above those of elected governments and sovereign nations.
Note: The TPP is a highly secretive international agreement being negotiated under the pretext of "trade" between twelve Asian and Pacific Rim countries, including the United States. Why is the media keeping this huge agreement largely secret? For more on the environmental and health impacts of GMO crops, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
What happens to the seed affects the web of life. When seed is living, regenerative and diverse, it feeds pollinators, soil organisms and animals - including humans. When seed is non-renewable, bred for chemicals, or genetically engineered with toxic Bt or Roundup Ready genes, diversity disappears. In recent years, beekeepers have been losing 25% of their hives each winter. According to a scientific study in 2008, bees and pollinators contribute more than €153bn annually to agriculture. Chemically-farmed soils, sprayed with herbicides and pesticides kill the beneficial organisms that create soil fertility and protect plants. Organic seeds and organic farming do not just protect human health; they protect the health and wellbeing of all. With industrial seeds and industrial agriculture, the diversity of plants and crops disappears. India had 200,000 rice varieties before the "green revolution" in the 1970s, which relied on pesticides and fertilisers to avert famine in India. This diversity was replaced by monocultures. Today the fastest expanse in acreage is of genetically engineered corn and soya, because they are patented and corporations can collect royalties from farmers. When seed freedom disappears and farmers become dependent on GMO seeds, they in effect become seed slaves. According to the National Bureau of Crime Records, more than 284,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since seed monopolies were established in India. Gandhi spun cotton for our freedom. Today GMO Bt cotton has enslaved [these] farmers in debt, and pushed them to suicide. And 95% cotton seed is controlled by one company: Monsanto.
Note: Author Vandana Shiva is a biodiversity campaigner and founder of Navdanya, which campaigns for biodiversity and against corporate control of food and seeds. For more on the environmental and health impacts of GMO crops, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Insecticide sales are surging after years of decline, as American farmers plant more corn and a genetic modification designed to protect the crop from pests has started to lose its effectiveness. It has sparked fresh concerns among environmental groups and some scientists that one of the most widely touted benefits of genetically modified crops—that they reduce the need for chemical pest control—is unraveling. At the same time, the resurgence of insecticides could expose both farmers and beneficial insects to potential harm. Until recently, corn farmers in the U.S. had largely abandoned soil insecticides, thanks mostly to a widely adopted genetic trait developed by Monsanto Co. that causes corn seeds to generate their own pest-killing toxins. Today, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, two-thirds of all corn grown in the U.S. includes a rootworm-targeting gene known as Bt. In 2011, however, entomologists at Iowa State University and the University of Illinois started to document rootworms that were immune to the Monsanto gene, and have found these resistant pests scattered across the Midwest. Now, many farmers have decided they need to spray their soil to kill any rootworms that have developed Bt resistance, as well as growing populations of other pests. Scott Greenlee, who farms 1,700 acres in Sac City, Iowa, said he planned to start using a soil insecticide this year after part of his crop succumbed to rootworms in 2012. The 53-year-old Mr. Greenlee, who had planted Monsanto's Bt corn, said the affected fields produced just 50 or 60 bushels per acre, about a third of his normal yield. "It was a train wreck," he added.
Note: For more on the destructive impacts of GMO crop technology, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Hidden in the soil of Illinois and Iowa, a new generation of insect larvae appears to be munching happily on the roots of genetically engineered corn, according to scientists. It's bad news for corn farmers, who paid extra money for this line of corn, counting on the power of its inserted genes to kill those pests. It's also bad news for the biotech company Monsanto, which inserted the larvae-killing gene in the first place. In fact, the gene's apparent failure ... may be the most serious threat to a genetically modified crop in the U.S. since farmers first started growing them 15 years ago. The economic impact could be "huge," says the University of Arizona's Bruce Tabashnik, one of the country's top experts on the adaptation of insects to genetically engineered crops. Billions of dollars are at stake. The scientists who called for caution now are saying "I told you so," because there are signs that a new strain of resistant rootworms is emerging. In eastern Iowa, northwestern Illinois, and parts of Minnesota and Nebraska, rows of Bt corn have toppled over, their roots eaten by rootworms. Entomologist Aaron Gassmann at Iowa State University, who authored the [new] paper, collected insects from some of these fields and found many with a greater-than-expected ability to tolerate Bt. The EPA is now recommending that ... farmers in areas where such damage has been observed to stop planting this kind of Bt corn altogether. Instead, those farmers will have to use other methods, such as spraying chemical insecticides, to control the rootworm.
Note: For more on the destructive impacts of GMO crop technology, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The French researcher who caused a scientific storm when he claimed to show that some GM food led to tumours and cancers in rats has accused the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) of "recklessly endangering public health" by not demanding long-term testing of the foods. In a series of parliamentary and public meetings held this week in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini has challenged UK politicians and safety authorities to review the way safety is assessed. Séralini, a molecular biologist at Caen University, said: "Our research found severe toxicity from GM maize and [Monsanto pesticide] Roundup. The British Food Standards Agency has uncritically accepted the European Food Safety Authority's dismissal of the study, even though many of EFSA's experts have been exposed as having conflicts of interest with the GM industry. At the very least, the British government should demand long-term mandatory safety testing on all GM foods before they are released onto the market," he said. "The British scientific authorities are deliberately misleading their government and are recklessly endangering public health in ignoring the findings of our research." Séralini's study found that rats developed much higher levels of cancers and died earlier than controls when fed a diet of Monsanto's Roundup-tolerant GM maize NK603 for two years, or were exposed to Roundup over the same period. The usual industry tests last for 90 days.
Note: For more on the risks from GMO foods, see the highly informative summary available here.
Recently the debate over genetically modified (GMO) foods has heated up again. Over the weekend New York Times writer Amy Harmon wrote again of the saving graces of genetically engineered foods, this time citing “Golden Rice” as a clear example of the life-saving abilities of GMOs. Yet ... there are other highly effective tools out there to solve hunger and malnutrition besides genetic engineering. Why am I against the creation of Golden Rice, even if it may stop millions of children from going blind? The basic answer is simple: trust. Science has a credibility problem. Today it is not “false fears” that has bred skeptical consumers, it is experience. The most audacious claim made by those who believe genetic engineering is the way to go [is] that genetic engineering is somehow better, and in the long run, cheaper than other more natural ways of eating and that the logistical complexities of getting fruits and veggies to malnourished human beings are too large to overcome. Baloney. The amount of money it has cost to concoct a product like Golden Rice is enormous. Scientists first got initial funding for Golden Rice from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1984 and have now been supported (with monies to cover lab expenses, legal fees, teaching assistants, salaries, long patent processes, etc) for more than 30 years. Meanwhile, again and again, simple low-cost, low-tech solutions like “kitchen gardening,” improved agricultural methods, and cover cropping have been found to give outstanding nutritional and economic results quickly to farmers.
Note: For more on the risks from GMOs, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
As part of its "Food With Integrity" program, Chipotle this week posted information on its website identifying which items on its menu contain genetically modified ingredients. The chain posted a chart noting that 12 out of 25 ingredients, including its rice, barbacoa, chips, chicken, vegetable fajitas, steak and flour tortillas (except in certain restaurants) use either genetically modified corn or soybean oil, the vast majority of which is derived from GM soybeans. The chain said that those ingredients are "currently unavoidable" but that it is "working hard" to eliminate them. This move comes on the heels of Ben & Jerry's announcement that all of its flavors will be GM ingredient free by the end of the year and Whole Foods pledge to phase out all foods with GM ingredients by 2018. Although GM crops ... are considered safe by federal authorities and are legal to plant and sell, some independent studies have linked them to health and environmental problems. The announcements happen amid a flurry of state bills to require mandatory labeling of food with GM ingredients. In more GM news, this afternoon the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan amendment to require labeling of GM salmon as part of a 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill. Overseas, where the labeling question is largely over, the GM debate rages over expanding GM crop planting approvals in the European Union. Asked [whether UK Prime Minister David] Cameron would eat GM foods or allow his children to eat them, the spokesman steadfastly declined to answer.
Note: Much of Europe labels their food for GMOs, which are even banned in many areas. Read an MSN article on the banning of GM foods from all restaurants and food in the UK's parliament at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Connecticut on [June 3] became the first state to pass a bill that would require food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically modified ingredients. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said he would sign the bill into law, after reaching an agreement with the legislature to include a provision that the law would not take effect unless four other states, at least one of which shares a border with Connecticut, passed similar regulations. “This bill strikes an important balance by ensuring the consumers’ right to know what is in their food while shielding our small businesses from liability that could leave them at a competitive disadvantage,” Mr. Malloy said in a statement issued over the weekend after negotiations on the necessary provisions. The legislature passed the bill on Monday, 134 to 3. More than 20 other states are considering labeling laws, including New York, Maine and Vermont. Early polling suggests widespread support for a ballot initiative that would require labeling in Washington, as concern spread about the impact of genetically engineered salmon and apples on two of the state’s marquee businesses. In 2005, Alaska passed a law requiring the labeling of all genetically engineered fish and shellfish, but Connecticut would become the first state to adopt labeling broadly. Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, called Connecticut’s move an “important first step,” and “a reminder of where the tide is going on this issue.” Big food and seed companies like Monsanto and Dow spent tens of millions of dollars last fall to help defeat a ballot measure in California that would have required labeling.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Protesters rallied in dozens of cities [on May 26] as part of a global protest against seed giant Monsanto and the genetically modified food it produces. Organizers said "March Against Monsanto" protests were held in 52 countries and 436 cities, including Los Angeles where demonstrators waved signs that read "Real Food 4 Real People" and "Label GMOs, It's Our Right to Know." The 'March Against Monsanto' movement began just a few months ago, when founder and organizer Tami Canal created a Facebook page on Feb. 28 calling for a rally against the company's practices. "If I had gotten 3,000 people to join me, I would have considered that a success," she said Saturday. Instead, she said an "incredible" number of people responded to her message and turned out to rally. "It was empowering and inspiring to see so many people, from different walks of life, put aside their differences and come together today," Canal said. The group plans to harness the success of the event to continue its anti-GMO cause. "We will continue until Monsanto complies with consumer demand. They are poisoning our children, poisoning our planet," she said. Protesters in Buenos Aires and other cities in Argentina, where Monsanto's genetically modified soy and grains now command nearly 100% of the market, ... carried signs saying "Monsanto-Get out of Latin America." In Portland, thousands of protesters took to Oregon streets. Police estimate about 6,000 protesters took part in Portland's peaceful march.
Note: For a powerful summary of the dangers to health and the environment from genetically modified foods, click here. For major media news articles revealing the risks and dangers of GMOs, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Unapproved genetically modified wheat found growing in the United States is threatening the outlook for U.S. exports of the world's biggest traded food commodity, with importers keenly aware of consumer sensitivity to gene-altered food. Major importer Japan has canceled a tender offer to buy U.S. western white wheat, while other top Asian wheat importers South Korea, China and the Philippines said they were closely monitoring the situation. The European Union is preparing to test incoming shipments, and will block any containing GM wheat. GM wheat was discovered this spring on a farm [in] Oregon, in a field that grew winter wheat in 2012. Scientists found the wheat was a strain field-tested from 1998 to 2005 and deemed safe before St. Louis-based biotech giant Monsanto withdrew it from the regulatory approval process on worldwide opposition to genetically engineered wheat. No GM wheat varieties are approved for general planting in the U.S. or elsewhere, the USDA said. The EU has asked Monsanto for a detection method to allow its controls to be carried out. With high consumer wariness to genetically-modified food, few countries allow imports of such cereals for direct human consumption. However, the bulk of U.S. corn and soybean crops are genetically modified.
Note: For a powerful summary of the dangers to health and the environment from genetically modified foods, click here. For major media news articles revealing the risks and dangers of GMOs, click here.
U.S. officials raced to quell global alarm on [May 30] over the first-ever discovery of an unapproved strain of genetically modified wheat, working to figure out how the rogue grain escaped from a field trial a decade ago. In the wake of news that a strain developed by biotech giant Monsanto Co had been found in an Oregon field late last month, major buyer Japan cancelled plans to buy U.S. wheat while the Europe Union said it would step up testing. Worried U.S. farmers wondered if their own fields had been contaminated. Even after weeks of investigation, experts are baffled as to how the seed survived for years after Monsanto had ceased all field tests of the product. It was found in a field growing a different type of wheat than Monsanto's strain, far from areas used for field tests, according to an Oregon State University wheat researcher who tested the strain. The discovery threatens to stoke consumer outcry over the possible risk of cross-contaminating natural products with genetically altered foods, and may embolden critics who say U.S. regulation of GMO products is lax. It is all the more alarming because the wheat strain was thought to have been eliminated after test trials ended in 2005, as Monsanto abandoned efforts to secure regulatory approval due to worldwide opposition. While there have been more than 20 major violations of U.S. regulations on handling or co-mingling biotechnology crops, none have ever involved wheat before. Some analysts feared a potentially damaging blow to the $8 billion wheat export business, recalling the more than yearlong disruption to corn sales following a similar discovery in 2000.
Note: For a powerful summary of the dangers to health and the environment from genetically modified foods, click here. For major media news articles revealing the risks and dangers of GMOs, click here.
Monsanto Co is not pushing for expansion of genetically modified crops in most of Europe as opposition to its biotech seeds in many countries remains high, company officials said on [May 31]. European [spokespersons for] Monsanto told the German daily [Die Tagezeitung] that they were no longer doing any lobby work for cultivation in Europe and [were] not seeking any new approvals for genetically modified plants. Monsanto corporate spokesman Thomas Helscher said ... that the company is making it clear that it will only pursue market penetration of biotech crops in areas that provide broad support. "As far as we're convinced this only applies to a few countries in Europe today, primarily Spain and Portugal." The company has been focusing lately on gaining market share in the conventional corn market in Ukraine, and Monsanto Vice President Jesus Madrazo, who oversees international corporate affairs, said Eastern Europe and South America are key growth areas for the company now. Unlike Europe, South America has largely been welcoming of Monsanto's crop biotechnology, but the company is also facing hurdles there as it is awaiting approvals by China, which is a large buyer of soybeans from Brazil.
Note: For a powerful summary of the dangers to health and the environment from genetically modified foods, click here. For major media news articles revealing the risks and dangers of GMOs, click here.
Last week, the European Commission voted to place a two-year moratorium on most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides, on the suspicion that they're contributing to the global crisis in honeybee health. Might [that] inspire the US Environmental Protection Agency to make a similar move? The answer is no. The EU move will have no bearing on the EPA's own reviews of the pesticides, which aren't scheduled for release until 2016 at the earliest. Other food-related substances and practices that are banned in Europe [are] green-lighted [in the US]. 1. Atrazine: A "potent endocrine disruptor," Syngenta's popular corn herbicide has been linked to a range of reproductive problems at extremely low doses in both amphibians and humans, and it commonly leaches out of farm fields and into people's drinking water. What Europe did: Banned it in 2003. US status: EPA: "Atrazine will begin registration review, EPA's periodic reevaluation program for existing pesticides, in mid-2013." 2. Arsenic in chicken, turkey, and pig feed. 3. "Poultry litter" in cow feed. 4. Chlorine washes for poultry carcasses. 5. Antibiotics as growth promoters on livestock farms. 6. Ractopomine and other pharmaceutical growth enhancers in animal feed. 7. Gestation crates.
Note: For each numbered substance or practice, this article indicates the action taken by the EU and the inaction by the US government. For an article that gives more information on all of this and two additional banned practices, click here.
U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for overseas lobbying that promotes controversial biotech crops developed by U.S.-based Monsanto Co and other seed makers, a report issued on [May 14] said. A review of 926 diplomatic cables of correspondence to and from the U.S. State Department and embassies in more than 100 countries found that State Department officials actively promoted the commercialization of specific biotech seeds, according to the report issued by Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer protection group. The officials tried to quash public criticism of particular companies and facilitated negotiations between foreign governments and seed companies such as Monsanto over issues like patents and intellectual property, the report said. The cables show U.S. diplomats supporting Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, in foreign countries even after it paid $1.5 million in fines after being charged with bribing an Indonesian official and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 2005. One 2009 cable shows the embassy in Spain seeking "high-level U.S. government intervention" at the "urgent request" of Monsanto to combat biotech crop opponents there. The report covered cables from 2005-2009 that were released by Wikileaks in 2010. "It really goes beyond promoting the U.S.'s biotech industry and agriculture," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "It really gets down to twisting the arms of countries and working to undermine local democratic movements that may be opposed to biotech crops."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Food & Water Watch ... spent months looking at the extent to which the US State Department is working on behalf of the GM seed industry to make sure that biotech crops are served up abroad whether the world wants them or not. Between 2007 and 2009, annual cables were distributed to "encourage the use of agricultural biotechnology", directing US embassies to "pursue an active biotech agenda". There was a comprehensive communications campaign aimed to "promote understanding and acceptance of the technology" ... in light of the worldwide backlash against GM crops. The State Department worked to diminish trade barriers to the benefit of seed companies, and encouraged the embassies to "publicize the benefits of agbiotech as a development tool". Monsanto was a great beneficiary of the State Department's taxpayer-funded diplomacy: the company appeared in 6.1% of the biotech cables analyzed between 2005 and 2009 from 21 countries. The cables also show extensive lobbying against in-country efforts to require labeling of GM foods. The US government is now quietly negotiating major trade deals with Europe and the countries of the Pacific Rim that would force countries to accept biotech imports, commercialize biotech crops and prevent the labeling of GM foods. The vast influence that Monsanto and the biotech seed industry have on our foreign affairs is just one tentacle of a beast comprised by a handful of huge corporations who wield enormous power over most food policy in the United States.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
The Supreme Court usually isn't friendly toward questionable patents, but it came down overwhelmingly on the side of agribusiness giant Monsanto [on April 22] in a case that's bound to resonate throughout the biotechnology industry. The court ruled unanimously that an Indiana farmer violated Monsanto's patent on genetically modified soybeans when he culled some from a grain elevator and used them to replant his own crop in future years. "If simple copying were a protected use, a patent would plummet in value after the first sale of the first item containing the invention," Justice Elena Kagan ruled in a short 10-page opinion. Who it helps: Inventors and entrepreneurs who have patents on products that can be self-replicated, from computer software to cell lines. Who it hurts: Consumers paying high prices. The Center for Food Safety released a report in February that showed three corporations control much of the global commercial seed market. It found that from 1995-2011, the average cost to plant 1 acre of soybeans rose 325%. Center for Food Safety executive director Andrew Kimbrell called the ruling a setback for farmers. "The court chose to protect Monsanto over farmers," he said. "The court's ruling is contrary to logic and to agronomics, because it improperly attributes seeds' reproduction to farmers, rather than nature."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
A landmark step in the campaign to ban a nerve-agent pesticide blamed for causing mass die-offs in bees could be reached on [April 29] following one of the most intensive environmental lobbying battles of recent years. Months of furious argument which has pitched green groups, the chemical industry, farmers, scientists and politicians at bitter odds with each other will be decided in a crucial EU vote in Brussels. Britain’s Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, has been criticised for failing to support a ban on three types of neonicotinoid pesticides which have been linked to a dramatic decline in the bee population. Last week, designers Katharine Hamnett and Vivienne Westwood handed a petition with 300,000 signatures to Downing Street demanding the Government support the initiative. They are backed by Friends of the Earth and the campaign group Avaaz, which has 2.6 million signatories on its online petition calling for the ban. But Mr Paterson [has] claimed he is the victim of a “cyber-attack” from opponents. Opponents of the moratorium reject the evidence of more than 30 scientific studies in the last three years showing the harmful impact of neonicotinoids on bees. The chemicals attack insects’ nervous systems and are active in all aspects of a plant, meaning they are present in the pollen and nectar gathered by bees.
Note: As mentioned in this article, the excellent activist organization Avaaz.org played a key role in this. Check out their great website which has many millions of members at this link.
On the heels of last year's defeat on the issue in California, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., have introduced a bill to order the Food and Drug Administration to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered foods. The legislation, which would require food manufacturers and stores to tag items made with genetically modified ingredients or grown from genetically engineered seeds, has ... more than 20 co-sponsors. It has been hailed by food labeling advocates as a boon for consumers who have repeatedly tried to get such laws passed [and] shows that demand for a genetically engineered labeling law has reached critical mass. "This is big because for the first time in 13 years the U.S. Senate has recognized consumers' right to know," said Colin O'Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety, of the federal proposal. Unlike Prop. 37, criticized for giving exemptions to products such as beef and most dairy, the federal bill would include all food items under the FDA's purview. Foods such as beef and poultry, which are overseen by the Department of Agriculture, would also follow the labeling law, O'Neil said. Surveys show that more than 90 percent of Americans support the labeling of genetically modified foods. Genetically engineered foods require labeling in 64 countries, including Russia and China.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on risks from GMO foods, click here. For an excellent summary of scientific research showing the major risks and dangers of these foods, click here.
Widely used pesticides have been found in new research to block a part of the brain that bees use for learning, rendering some of them unable to perform the essential task of associating scents with food. Bees exposed to two kinds of pesticide were slower to learn or completely forgot links between floral scents and nectar. These effects could make it harder for bees to forage among flowers for food, thereby threatening their survival and reducing the pollination of crops and wild plants. The findings add to existing research that neonicotinoid pesticides are contributing to the decline in bee populations. The new findings on the effect of pesticides on bee brains showed that within 20 minutes of exposure to neonicotinoids the neurons in the major learning centre of the brain stopped firing. Christopher Connolly at the University of Dundee, who led the peer-reviewed work published in the online journal Nature Communications, said it was the first to show the pesticides had a direct impact on pollinator brain physiology. A parallel peer-reviewed study on the behaviour of bees subjected to the same insecticides found the bees were slower to learn or completely forgot important associations between floral scent and food rewards. "Disruption in this important function has profound implications for honeybee colony survival, because bees that cannot learn will not be able to find food," said Dr Geraldine Wright, at Newcastle University, who led the work.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on GMOs, click here.
Even people used to the closeness of the US administration and food giants like Monsanto have been shocked by the latest demonstration of the GM industry's political muscle. Little-noticed in Europe or outside the US, President Barack Obama last week signed off what has become widely known as "the Monsanto Protection Act", technically the Farmer Assurance Provision rider in HR 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2013. According to an array of food and consumer groups, organic farmers, civil liberty and trade unions and others, this hijacks the constitution, sets a legal precedent and puts Monsanto and other biotech companies above the federal courts. It means, they say, that not even the US government can now stop the sale, planting, harvest or distribution of any GM seed, even if it is linked to illness or environmental problems. The backlash has been furious. A Food Democracy Now petition has attracted 250,000 names. The only good news, say the opponents, is that because the "Monsanto Protection Act" was part of the much wider spending bill, it will formally expire in September. The bad news however is that the precedent has been set and it is unlikely that the world's largest seed company and the main driver of the divisive GM technology will ever agree to give up its new legal protection. The company, in effect, now rules.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the harm caused by GMOs, click here.
A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables. Many beekeepers suspect the biggest culprit is the growing soup of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides that are used to control pests. Beekeepers and some researchers say there is growing evidence that a powerful new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, incorporated into the plants themselves, could be an important factor. The explosive growth of neonicotinoids since 2005 has roughly tracked rising bee deaths. Neonics, as farmers call them, are ... systemic pesticides, often embedded in seeds so that the plant itself carries the chemical that kills insects that feed on it. Neonicotinoids persist for weeks and even months. A coalition of beekeepers and environmental and consumer groups sued the E.P.A. last week, saying it exceeded its authority by conditionally approving some neonicotinoids. The European Union has proposed to ban their use on crops frequented by bees. Some researchers have concluded that neonicotinoids caused extensive die-offs in Germany and France. Neonicotinoids are hardly the beekeepers’ only concern. Herbicide use has grown as farmers have adopted crop varieties, from corn to sunflowers, that are genetically modified to survive spraying with weedkillers.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the harmful effects of GMOs, click here.
A number of US supermarket chains pledged on [March 20] not to sell genetically modified salmon, in a sign of growing public concern about engineered foods on the dinner table. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the final stages of deciding whether to allow GM salmon on to the market. If approved, AquaBounty Technology's salmon would be the first genetically engineered animal to enter the food supply. The GM salmon is the first [of some 30 species] of genetically engineered fish under development, including tilapia. Researchers are also working to bring GM cows, chickens and pigs to market. However, those plans could be blocked by Wednesday's commitment not to sell genetically engineered seafood from national grocery chains including Trader Joe's, Aldi and Whole Foods, as well as regional retailers. Between them, the chains control about 2,000 outlets. Campaigners said they represent a growing segment of the population that is concerned about GM food, and willing to pay higher prices for healthier foods. Critics of GM salmon say the FDA has not conducted proper oversight of the fish, which are raised from eggs hatched in a facility in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and grown to maturity in tanks in a remote area of Panama. They say there is insufficient data to back up AquaBounty's claims its salmon can grow to maturity twice as fast as wild salmon. They also dispute the company's claims that there is no increased risk to people with allergies.
Note: For an excellent summary of the dangers posed by genetically-engineered organisms in the food supply, click here. To sign a petition against GM salmon, click here. For information on a recently passed law which grants Monsanto immunity from prosecution for planting dangerous GM crops, click here.
Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain, on [March 8] became the first retailer in the United States to require labeling [by 2018] of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores, a move that some experts said could radically alter the food industry. The announcement ricocheted around the food industry and excited proponents of labeling. “Fantastic,” said Mark Kastel, co-director of the Cornucopia Institute, an organic advocacy group that favors labeling. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the trade group that represents major food companies and retailers, issued a statement opposing the move. The labeling requirements announced by Whole Foods will include its 339 stores in the United States and Canada. Since labeling is already required in the European Union, products in its seven stores in Britain are already marked if they contain genetically modified ingredients. The labels currently used show that a product has been verified as free of genetically engineered ingredients by the Non GMO Project, a nonprofit certification organization. Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Just Label It, a campaign for a federal requirement to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients, called the Whole Foods decision a “game changer.” He compared the potential impact of the Whole Foods announcement to Wal-Mart’s decision several years ago to stop selling milk from cows treated with growth hormone. Today, only a small number of milk cows are injected with the hormone.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on GMO labeling and the dangers posed by GMO foods, click here.
Should anyone, or any corporation, control a product of life? The journey of a 75-year-old Indiana farmer to the [Supreme Court] began rather uneventfully. Vernon Hugh Bowman purchased an undifferentiated mix of soybean seeds from a grain elevator, planted the seeds and then saved seed from the resulting harvest to replant another crop. Finding that Bowman's crops were largely the progeny of its genetically engineered proprietary soybean seed, Monsanto sued the farmer for patent infringement. The case [Bowman vs. Monsanto Co.] is a remarkable reflection on recent fundamental changes in farming. In the 200-plus years since the founding of this country, and for millenniums before that, seeds have been part of the public domain — available for farmers to exchange, save, modify through plant breeding and replant. Through this process, farmers developed a diverse array of plants that could thrive in various geographies, soils, climates and ecosystems. But today this history of seeds is seemingly forgotten in light of a patent system that, since the mid-1980s, has allowed corporations to own products of life. Although Monsanto and other agrochemical companies assert that they need the current patent system to invent better seeds, the counterargument is that splicing an already existing gene or other DNA into a plant and thereby transferring a new trait to that plant is not a novel invention. A soybean, for example, has more than 46,000 genes. Properties of these genes are the product of centuries of plant breeding and should not, many argue, become the product of a corporation. Instead, these genes should remain in the public domain.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the destructive impacts of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), click here.
An appeal by organic farmers [of] a court ruling last year turned into a wide-ranging protest this morning with speakers skewering Monsanto Co. for its policies and demanding labeling of genetically modified food. About 200 people, many from organic seed companies, rallied in a park directly across from the White House. The protest suggested an uptick in efforts to demand labeling, which was defeated in a California ballot initiative in November. Monsanto spent at least $8 million in an industry-wide effort to sink the California proposition. Organic farmers, who are pressing a lawsuit against Monsanto, often complain that their products are threatened by wind-blown pollen from genetically altered crops. "We want and demand the right of clean seed not contaminated by a massive biotech company that's in it for the profit," Carol Koury, who operates Sow True Seeds in Asheville, N.C., said at the rally. The gathering was held in conjunction with an appeal heard today before a three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel in Washington. The suit questions the legality of Monsanto's seed patents and seeks protection from patent-infringement suits against farmers in the event their fields are found to contain genetically modified seed. Last February, U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald in the Southern District of New York dismissed the suit.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the risks from genetically modified organisms, click here.
Although a ballot initiative to label foods containing genetically modified organisms failed in California, the organizers behind the measure say their movement is better organized and larger than ever before. Supporters of California’s Proposition 37 are not giving up the fight after Tuesday’s rejection. In fact, they’re saying that the organizing around the initiative helped forge a diffuse group of individuals interested in healthy food into a powerful, organized movement. “The Organic Consumers Association is a million strong," said Ronnie Cummins, the founder and director of that group said. "We have 5 million people on our email list and we’re looking forward to continuing this battle.” While the initiative won urban coastal counties such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, it lost in the state’s central valleys. “We just didn't have the funds to compete on the air” in those regions, said Stacy Malkan, media director at California Right to Know. “Many of those voters were getting their news from TV and we couldn't compete with them.” Companies like Monsanto, DuPont, and Pepsi poured nearly $50 million dollars into opposing the measure—about seven times what its supporters were able to raise—and spent most of the money on television and radio ads. Throughout the campaign, the truthfulness of advertisements opposing the measure came into question. At one point, the No on 37 campaign ran an ad that identified Henry I. Miller, an opponent of the measure, as a professor at Stanford University. The campaign was forced to pull the ad after Stanford announced that Dr. Miller was not a professor there.
Note: Though polls have shown 90% of Americans want their food labeled if it contains GMOs, huge spending by big industry managed to defeat this California proposition by a narrow margin. Sometimes money does have a hugely disproportionate role in politics. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on elections corruption, click here.
A genetically modified cow whose milk lacks a substance that causes allergic reactions in people has been created by scientists in New Zealand. In their first year of life, two or three in every hundred infants are allergic to a whey protein in milk called BLG. The researchers engineered the cow, called Daisy, to produce milk that doesn't contain the protein. While the genetic alteration slashed levels of BLG protein in the cow's milk to undetectable levels, it more than doubled the concentrations of other milk proteins called caseins. The cow was created with the same cloning procedure that led to Dolly the sheep in 1996. Most of the differences between cow and human milk do not cause problems for people who consume it, but BLG or beta-lactoglobulin protein, which is found in milk from cows and other ruminants, is a major cause of allergic reactions. To make Daisy, scientists took a cow skin cell and genetically modified it to produce molecules that block the manufacture of BLG protein. The nucleus of this cell was then transferred into a cow egg that had its own nucleus removed. The reconstituted egg was grown in the lab until it formed what is called a blastocyst, a ball of around 100 cells, and then transplanted into the womb of a foster cow. The cloning technique is not efficient. Of around 100 blastocysts the scientists implanted into cows, more than half of the pregnancies failed early on, and only one live calf, Daisy, was born. One question the New Zealand team is working on now is why Daisy was born without a tail. The cloning process is most likely to blame for the birth defect.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), click here.
Dr. Shinya Yamanaka invented a time machine. That's how he and his colleagues sometimes describe their work. They take full-grown cells from humans and they regress them - they send them back in time, to their earliest, embryonic state - and then they coax them into the future, into totally new types of cells. Last week, Yamanaka was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his work creating induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells - cells that are genetically engineered into blank slates, allowing them to be transformed into any type of cell in the body. His technique could allow scientists to explore human diseases like they never have before, or help doctors regenerate tissue lost to injury or illness. Using his technology, scientists can now take a skin cell and transform it into a heart cell that will actually beat in a lab dish. Yamanaka's IPS cells, developed just six years ago, have the potential to revolutionize medical research, his peers say. Labs that never were able to access stem cells before can now make them, and the cells themselves could be used to treat patients someday. They are already helping scientists study complex human diseases like Alzheimer's and autism. "Everything was turned upside down with Shinya Yamanaka's work," said Dr. Arnold Kriegstein, director of stem cell research at UCSF. "It really has transformed the field. It made it possible for laboratories all over the world, with very little investment, to start making stem cells."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on genetic engineering, click here.
It's becoming clear that we can grow all the food we need, and profitably, with far fewer chemicals. Conventional agriculture can shed much of its chemical use - if it wants to. What may be the most important agricultural study this year ... was done on land owned by Iowa State University called the Marsden Farm. On 22 acres of it, beginning in 2003, researchers set up three plots: one replicated the typical Midwestern cycle of planting corn one year and then soybeans the next, along with its routine mix of chemicals. On another, they planted a three-year cycle that included oats; the third plot added a four-year cycle and alfalfa. The longer rotations also integrated the raising of livestock, whose manure was used as fertilizer. The results were stunning: The longer rotations produced better yields of both corn and soy, reduced the need for nitrogen fertilizer and herbicides by up to 88 percent, reduced the amounts of toxins in groundwater 200-fold and didn't reduce profits by a single cent. In short, there was only upside - and no downside at all - associated with the longer rotations. There was an increase in labor costs, but remember that profits were stable. So this is a matter of paying people for their knowledge and smart work instead of paying chemical companies for poisons. And it's a high-stakes game; according to the Environmental Protection Agency, about five billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States.
California’s Proposition 37, which would require that genetically modified (G.M.) foods carry a label, has the potential ... to change the politics of food not just in California but nationally too. Genetically modified foods don’t offer the eater any benefits whatsoever — only a potential, as yet undetermined risk. Monsanto and its allies have fought the labeling of genetically modified food ... vigorously since 1992, when the industry managed to persuade the [F.D.A.] — over the objection of its own scientists — that the new crops were “substantially equivalent” to the old and so did not need to be labeled, much less regulated. The F.D.A. policy was co-written by a lawyer whose former firm worked for Monsanto. More than 60 other countries have seen fit to label genetically modified food, including those in the European Union, Japan, Russia and China. Monsanto and DuPont, the two leading merchants of genetically modified seed, have invested more than $12 million to defeat Prop 37. Americans have been eating genetically engineered food for 18 years, and as supporters of the technology are quick to point out, we don’t seem to be dropping like flies. But they miss the point. The fight over labeling G.M. food is not foremost about food safety or environmental harm, legitimate though these questions are. The fight is about the power of Big Food. Monsanto has become the symbol of everything people dislike about industrial agriculture: corporate control of the regulatory process; lack of transparency (for consumers) and lack of choice (for farmers); an intensifying rain of pesticides; and the monopolization of seeds, which is to say, of the genetic resources on which all of humanity depends.
Note: To learn more about the revolving door between Monsanto and the FDA, click here. To read about many suppressed scientific studies which showed the GM foods were often harmful and sometimes even lethal to a variety of lab animals, click here. To watch a powerful video showing clearly how Monsanto has attacked those who will not use their GM seeds, click here.
Proposition 37 ... is rooted in a simple premise: Consumers have the right to know if their food is produced using genetic engineering. It's been standard practice in all member countries of the European Union for years. The latest published research shows that 61 countries have some form of mandatory labeling for foods containing genetically modified crop ingredients. The companies that sell genetically modified seeds and manufactured foods argue that American consumers don't need such detailed labels. They say, "Just trust us." That is a lot to ask. Product labels are the front line of consumer protection. Research and development on genetically engineered products ... are largely done by private sector, not public sector, scientists because companies very aggressively protect their patents. The level of secrecy and the combative nature of the industry fuel public distrust. Unfortunately, consumers cannot look to the federal government to increase their trust. Some government officials in positions that make policy on genetically engineered products may hold biases born of their previous jobs with GMO seed companies. Distrust is amplified by questions over who really benefits from GMO foods. As we saw in the multibillion-dollar tobacco case settlement in 1998, companies cannot always be trusted to put health before profit. Another concern is the skyrocketing price of seed for farmers. Finally, GMO products on the market offer American consumers no clear benefits. Proposition 37 simply requires basic transparency and truthful packaging, and companies would have 18 months to implement it. And it would protect consumers' right to know in a product category central to health.
Note: For a powerful essay showing the harmful effects of genetically modified foods, click here.
A television spot opposing Proposition 37, the genetically engineered food labeling initiative, was pulled briefly this week to better identify a think-tank researcher attacking the ballot issue. The controversy came as the opponents of the ballot measure, with $35 million in contributions from the food industry and biochemical firms, expanded a week-old television advertising blitz. [The] No on 37 spot ... featured an academic, identified on screen as “Dr. Henry I. Miller M.D., Stanford University, founding dir. FDA Office of Technology.” He is standing in an ornately vaulted campus walkway. Lawyers for the Proposition 37 campaign complained to Stanford’s general counsel, noting that the Stanford ID on the screen appeared to violate the university’s policy against use of the Stanford name by consultants. What’s more, Miller is not a Stanford professor but, rather, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank housed on the Stanford campus, the letter said. Stanford agreed. The university, spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said, “doesn’t take any positions on candidates or ballot measures, and we do not allow political filming on campus.” The filmmakers also are removing “the campus from the background of the video," she said. Stanford’s request to edit the Miller video "is proof positive of the lack of credibility and lack of integrity of the No on 37 campaign,” said Yes on 37 spokeswoman Stacy Malkan.
Note: This Henry Miller is the same scientist who, according to Forbes, stated that some people could benefit from the low levels of radiation released by the Fukushima meltdowns, and has argued strongly for the reintroduction of DDT. Do you think he might be a little biased towards big business? For lots more questionable behavior by this supposed expert, click here.
U.S. farmers are using more hazardous pesticides to fight weeds and insects due largely to heavy adoption of genetically modified crop technologies that are sparking a rise of "superweeds" and hard-to-kill insects, according to a newly released study. Genetically engineered crops have led to an increase in overall pesticide use, by 404 million pounds from the time they were introduced in 1996 through 2011, according to the report by Charles Benbrook, a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University. Of that total, herbicide use increased over the 16-year period by 527 million pounds while insecticide use decreased by 123 million pounds. Herbicide-tolerant crops were the first genetically modified crops introduced to world, rolled out by Monsanto Co. in 1996, first in "Roundup Ready" soybeans and then in corn, cotton and other crops. Roundup Ready crops are engineered through transgenic modification to tolerate dousings of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide. In recent years, more than two dozen weed species have become resistant to Roundup's chief ingredient glyphosate, causing farmers to use increasing amounts both of glyphosate and other weedkilling chemicals to try to control the so-called "superweeds." Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the environmental and health risks posed by GMO foods, click here.
Russia's consumer rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said ... it has suspended the import and use of genetically modified corn made by Monsanto Co. following a study's allegations that the crop causes cancer. Rospotrebnadzor said the country's Institute of Nutrition has been asked to assess the validity of the study, while the European Commission's Directorate General for Health & Consumers has also been contacted to explain the European Union's position. The study, conducted by the University of Caen in France, [found] that rats fed over a two-year period with the U.S. chemical company's genetically modified NK603 corn, developed more tumors and other severe diseases than a test group fed with regular corn. The study also [found] that rats fed with NK603 and exposed to Monsanto's Roundup weed killer suffered from more pathologies than the test group. Last week Monsanto said it did not think the French study would affect its license to export the NK603 to Europe but would wait to hear from the European Food Safety Authority, or EFSA, which has been asked by the European Commission to also look into the research.
Note: For a powerful summary of the risks to health from GMO foods, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on GMOs, click here. For a powerful 13-minute video revealing the disturbing results of the above-mentioned scientific study showing how GM corn greatly increased cancer incidence in rats, click here.
For seven years [Professor Gilles-Eric SĂ©ralini, professor of molecular biology at Caen university in France] and his team have questioned the safety standards applied to varieties of GM maize and tried to re-analyse industry-funded studies presented to governments. Last week, Seralini brought the whole scientific and corporate establishment crashing down on his head. In a peer-reviewed US journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, he reported the results of a â‚Ź3.2m study. Fed a diet of Monsanto's Roundup-tolerant GM maize NK603 for two years, or exposed to Roundup over the same period, rats developed higher levels of cancers and died earlier than controls. But barely had the paper surfaced than it was attracting heavyweight academic criticism. Commentators variously claimed the study to be "biased", "poorly performed", "bogus", "fraudulent", "sub-standard", "sloppy agenda-based science", "inadequate" and "unsatisfactory". SĂ©ralini and his scientists were labelled "crafty activists" and "anti-science". It was a triumph for the scientific and corporate establishment which has used similar tactics to crush other scientists like Arpad Pusztai of the Rowett Institute in Scotland, who was sacked after his research suggested GM potatoes damaged the stomach lining and immune system of rats, and David Quist and Ignacio Chapela, who studied the flow of genes from illegally planted GM maize to Mexican wild maize.
Note: For a powerful summary of the risks to health from GMO foods including the story of the above-mentioned Arpad Pusztai, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on GMOs, click here. For a powerful 13-minute video revealing the disturbing results of the first long-term scientific study on GMOs showing how they greatly increased cancer incidence in rats, click here.
French scientists said on [September 19] that rats fed on Monsanto's genetically modified corn or exposed to its top-selling weedkiller suffered tumors and multiple organ damage. Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and colleagues said rats fed on a diet containing NK603 - a seed variety made tolerant to dousings of Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller - or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the United States, died earlier than those on a standard diet. The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology and presented at a news conference in London. The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group. GMOs are deeply unpopular in Europe and many other countries, but dominate key crops in the United States after Monsanto in 1996 introduced a soybean genetically altered to tolerate Monsanto's Roundup weed killer. Seralini was part of a team that has voiced previous safety concerns based on a shorter rat study in a scientific paper published in 2009. This new study takes things a step further by tracking the animals throughout their two-year lifespan. Seralini believes his latest lifetime rat tests give a more realistic and authoritative view of risks than the 90-day feeding trials that form the basis of GM crop approvals, since three months is only the equivalent of early adulthood in rats.
Note: For alarming photos and more from the above long-term study on the dangers of GM food, click here. For an incisive, powerful 13-minute video revealing the disturbing results of this first long-term scientific study on GMOs, click here. For an excellent article and a great two-minute video clearly explaining the major dangers of GM food, click here. For a powerful summary of the health risks from GM foods, click here.
It's not an exaggeration to say that almost everyone wants to see the labeling of genetically engineered materials contained in their food products. And on Nov. 6, in what's unquestionably among the most important non-national votes this year, Californians will have the opportunity to make that happen [by voting] on Proposition 37. It would require "labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways." And it would prohibit marketing "such food, or other processed food, as ‘natural.' " Polls show Prop 37 to be overwhelmingly popular: roughly 65 percent for to 20 percent against, with 15 percent undecided. Nationally, on the broader issue of labeling, in answer to the question of whether the Food and Drug Administration should require that "foods which have been genetically engineered or containing genetically engineered ingredients be labeled to indicate that," a whopping 91 percent of voters say yes and 5 percent say no. This is as nonpartisan as an issue gets, and the polls haven't changed much in the last couple of years. Unsurprisingly, Big Food in general - and particularly companies like Monsanto that produce genetically engineered seeds ... have already thrown tens of millions of dollars into defeating Prop 37. In general, as California goes, so goes the nation.
Note: With such a strong mandate, why do no U.S. states have GMO labeling laws? Will the many millions of dollars pumped into the Prop 37 campaign by Monsanto and others sway the voters? We will find out soon. For a powerful summary of the health risks from GMO foods, click here.
Modern wheat is a "perfect, chronic poison," according to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who has published a book, [Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health] all about the world's most popular grain. Davis said that the wheat we eat these days isn't the wheat your grandma had: "It's an 18-inch tall plant created by genetic research in the '60s and '70s," he said. "This thing has many new features nobody told you about, such as there's a new protein in this thing called gliadin. It's not gluten. I'm not addressing people with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease. I'm talking about everybody else because everybody else is susceptible to the gliadin protein that is an opiate. This thing binds into the opiate receptors in your brain and in most people stimulates appetite, such that we consume 440 more calories per day, 365 days per year." Davis said a movement has begun with people turning away from wheat - and dropping substantial weight. "We're seeing hundreds of thousands of people losing 30, 80, 150 pounds. Diabetics become no longer diabetic; people with arthritis having dramatic relief. People losing leg swelling, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and on and on every day." To avoid these wheat-oriented products, Davis suggests eating "real food," such as avocados, olives, olive oil, meats, and vegetables. "(It's) the stuff that is least likely to have been changed by agribusiness," he said. "Certainly not grains. When I say grains, of course, over 90 percent of all grains we eat will be wheat."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.
California voters this fall will decide a ballot measure that would require labeling of foods containing genetically engineered material. But the Department of Agriculture is already tied in knots over how to deal with the contamination of organic and conventional foods by biotech crops. On [August 27], a USDA advisory panel will consider a draft plan to compensate farmers whose crops have been contaminated by pollen, seeds or other stray genetically engineered material. The meeting is expected to be contentious, pitting the biotechnology and organic industries against each other. The draft report acknowledged the difficulty of preventing such material from accidentally entering the food supply and concerns that the purity of traditional seeds may be threatened. It also cited fears on both sides that official action to address contamination could send a signal to U.S. consumers and export markets in Europe, Japan and elsewhere that the purity and even safety of U.S. crops are suspect. Bioengineered crops dominate U.S. commodities, including 90 percent of U.S. corn. In some states, penetration is all but complete, including 99 percent of the Arkansas cotton crop. Most processed foods contain genetically engineered material. The organic industry said biotech companies should be responsible for containing their own genes and that contamination threatens the right of farmers to choose how to farm.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the dangers of genetically-modified foods, click here. For more on the California ballot measure to require GM labelling called the "right to know," click here.
In California ... voters will decide in the November election whether consumers should have the right to know what goes in their food. Proposition 37, if it passes, will require food manufacturers to disclose whether their products contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). It is estimated that 40 to 70 percent of foods currently sold in grocery stores in California contain some genetically altered ingredients. The [FDA] does not require safety studies, and no long-term research on potential health effects has been conducted yet, although there are reports of preliminary studies that have linked GMOs to allergies and other health risks. Proposition 37 does not intend to impose any bans. “It’s simply saying: Let’s give consumers information so we can choose for ourselves whether or not we want to eat genetically engineered foods. Consumers in 50 other countries – including all of Europe, Japan, China and Russia – all have this right,” argued Grant Lundberg, the CEO of Lundberg Family Farms, and Kathryn Phillips, Director of the Sierra Club California. Having started as a grassroots movement, Proposition 37 has a good chance of succeeding. A whopping 65 percent of registered voters in California say they support the measure. But so far, less than 3 million dollars have been raised by the organizers. Opponents, mainly chemical and food-processing companies, including Monsanto, BASF, Bayer, Dow, Nestle, Coca Cola and Pepsico, have raised more than nine times as much. Ignoring facts and keeping information secret is not a sustainable strategy in the long run. California’s Right-to-Know movement could morph into something like that with the potential of spreading across the whole country.
Note: This article neglects to mention scientific studies which have shown that lab animals got very sick and some even died after being fed GM food. For a well researched and footnoted paper on this, click here. For a great collection of past major media articles revealing the serious risks and dangers of genetically modified foods, click here.
If Proposition 37 passes, California would become the first state in the nation to require new labels on a host of food products commonly found on grocery store shelves. Many other nations, including Japan, China and a host of European countries, already label genetically engineered food. In the United States, however, products that contain genetically engineered ingredients are generally not labeled. Proponents ... have raised $2.8 million. A company owned by Joseph Mercola, a controversial holistic health activist from Illinois with more than 100,000 Twitter followers, has kicked in $800,000. Opponents have raised nine times as much. Almost all of the nearly $25 million has come from a variety of chemical, seed and processed-food companies. Monsanto, a leading producer of genetically engineered seeds, donated $4.2 million, the largest donation. The labeling initiative largely covers processed foods. Milk, cheese and other dairy products made from cows that are injected with the bovine growth hormone or eat genetically engineered feed like alfalfa would be exempt, but meat or dairy products from animals that are genetically engineered would be labeled. In 2000, 25 percent of the corn planted in the United States was genetically engineered, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By 2012, that figure had soared to 88 percent. The group California Right to Know, which is leading the pro-labeling campaign, is counting on a vast social media network and volunteers to get its message out. Stacy Malkan, a spokeswoman for the yes campaign, said [this] "is a people's movement against out-of-state corporations."
Note: A graph in this article shows that 94% of the funds raised against Proposition 37 came from outside of California. And how interesting that Dr. Mercola is called controversial, considering that he now has nearly 2 million subscribers to his mos excellent email list. For an article titled "The Top 10 Lies Told by Monsanto on GMO Labeling in California," click here. For a great collection of past major media articles revealing the serious risks and dangers of genetically modified foods, click here.
Voters will decide on an issue this November that affects us all: our right to know what's in our food. Millions of Californians are saying: We want to know, and we have the right to know, if our food has been genetically engineered. Parents, farmers, health care professionals, environmentalists, politicians and labor groups want to know, too. Proposition 37 requires companies to add a few words to labels if their food has been genetically modified. Also called GMOs, these modified plant and animal products have been altered in a lab to combine DNA from one species with another to create combinations that don't occur in nature. An example is Monsanto's genetically modified sweet corn, which has been engineered to contain an insecticide, Bt toxin, within the corn itself. Voters and consumers also have environmental concerns. GMO crops have led to an overall increase in pesticide use, the emergence of superweeds and superbugs, and the unintentional contamination of non-GMO crops with GMO-crop pollens. Here in California, out-of-state pesticide and food companies have contributed $25 million to blanket the airwaves with deceptive commercials trying to persuade us that labeling is too costly, scary or confusing. We've heard it all before. They used the same tactics to claim hardship if they were forced to tell consumers about calories, fat content or other information we use every day to choose our food. We're not buying these scare stories. It's a simple label. We have a right to know what's in our food. This is how our country is supposed to work - we are free to make informed choices. Proposition 37 will help us exercise that freedom about what we eat. We urge you to vote yes on Prop. 37.
Note: For a great collection of past major media articles revealing the serious risks and dangers of genetically modified foods, click here.
Last fall, at a business lunch with co-workers, Grace Booth enjoyed three chicken enchiladas. The food, she recalls, was very good — but then something went very wrong. "I thought, oh my God, what is happening to me? I felt like I was going to die." In the emergency room in nearby Oakland the diagnosis was severe allergic reaction and from here Grace Booth's story reached officials in Washington. At the time the national corn market was in an uproar. Starlink, a gene modified corn not approved for human food, had been found in taco shells and recalls were emptying the shelves of corn products. The fear was possible allergic reactions. At that moment, Booth says, she had no idea that the corn tortillas in her lunch were about to be recalled. In the wake of the recalls more than 50 Americans, including Booth, claimed they had reactions to Starlink corn. That forced the government to launch the first full-scale allergy investigation in the history of biotech food. It has taken months, but the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration have collected food samples and blood from two dozen people whose cases were believed most serious. [Symptoms] "[v]aried from just abdominal pain and diarrhea [or] skin rashes to some patients ... having very severe life-threatening reactions," said Dr. Marc Rothenberg, the allergy chief at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. He is an adviser to the government in the Starlink investigation. Its slow going he says because investigators first had to find the Starlink protein and then invent a blood test.
Note: The date of this article is May 17, 2001, though on the webpage itself a different date is listed. With so many examples of allergic reactions and more to GM foods, why does the FDA continue to insist that these foods are safe? Could it be because many top leaders at the FDA once worked at Monsanto?
In November, voters will decide whether to make California the first state in the nation to require labels on most genetically modified food products. At least 18 states, including California, have tried to pass similar laws through their legislatures and failed. This time, however, the measure made it to the statewide ballot with 1 million citizen signatures; recent polls show Proposition 37 winning by a significant margin. Food activists across the country are watching the California battle closely, with opponents of genetic modification hoping to make the proposition a model for other states. Supporters of the law, including organic trade groups and environmentalists, say consumers have a right to know if the food they're eating contains genetically modified material - particularly when the long-term health effects are unclear. Seventy percent to 80 percent of processed foods sold in the U.S. are made with genetically engineered ingredients, including corn, soybeans, sugar beets and cotton oil. If the California measure passes, processed genetically engineered food products would include the words "Partially produced with genetic engineering" on the front or back label. For whole foods such as sweet corn or salmon, grocers would be required to have a sign on the shelf. Alcohol, most meat, eggs and dairy products would be exempt. Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology based in Iowa, said "Based on the evidence - damage to virtually every organ evaluated and immune and gastrointestinal problems - labels are needed."
Note: If you read this entire article, you will detect a clear bias against GMO labelling. It quotes a UCLA professor stating, "There is not one credible scientist working on this that would call it unsafe." Yet the article fails to mention the many scientists who have provided solid evidence that GMOs are unsafe. For a powerful essay showing the grave risks and dangers of GMOs, click here. For a New York Times article listing several scientists who raised serious questions about GMOs, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on genetically modified foods, click here.
The nation's largest agribusiness and biotech companies are pouring millions of dollars into California to stop the first-ever initiative to require special labels on foods made with genetically modified ingredients, a sign of their determination to keep the measure from sparking a nationwide movement. So far, farming giants such as Monsanto, Dupont Pioneer and Cargill have contributed nearly $25 million to defeat the proposal, with much of that cash coming in the past few days. Monsanto, the largest contributor, gave $4.2 million this week. It's nearly 10 times the amount raised by backers of the ballot measure who say California's health-conscious shoppers want more information about the food they eat. With nearly three months to go before the November election, the measure's opponents appear to be following the previous blueprint developed by major industries to defeat ballot initiatives in the nation's largest consumer market: Raise large sums of money to swamp the airwaves with negative advertising. The food initiative, known as Proposition 37, ... would require most processed foods to bear a label by 2014 letting shoppers know if the items contain ingredients derived from plants with DNA altered with genes from other plants, animals, viruses or bacteria. "It's an epic food fight between the pesticide companies and consumers who want to know what's in their food," said Stacy Malkan, media director for the California Right to Know campaign.
In late 1986, four executives of the Monsanto Company, the leader in agricultural biotechnology, paid a visit to Vice President George Bush at the White House. In the weeks and months that followed, the White House complied, working behind the scenes, to help Monsanto — long a political power with deep connections in Washington — get the regulations that it wanted. It was an outcome that would be repeated, again and again, through three administrations. What Monsanto wished for from Washington, Monsanto — and, by extension, the biotechnology industry — got. Even longtime Washington hands said that the control this nascent industry exerted over its own regulatory destiny — through the Environmental Protection Agency, the Agriculture Department and ultimately the Food and Drug Administration — was astonishing. Dr. Louis J. Pribyl, one of 17 government scientists working on a policy for genetically engineered food, ... knew from studies that toxins could be unintentionally created when new genes were introduced into a plant's cells. The government was dismissing that risk and any other possible risk as no different from those of conventionally derived food. That meant biotechnology companies would not need government approval to sell the foods they were developing. "This is the industry's pet idea, namely that there are no unintended effects that will raise the F.D.A.'s level of concern," Dr. Pribyl wrote in a fiery memo to the F.D.A. scientist overseeing the policy's development. "But time and time again, there is no data to back up their contention."
Note: For a powerful essay showing the grave risks and dangers of GMOs, click here. Explore over 40 scientific studies that have demonstrated the health dangers of GM foods. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on genetically modified foods, click here.
Rejecting entreaties from consumers and activists, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says it has no objection to selling a new crop of genetically modified sweet corn created by biotech giant Monsanto. Environmental and health activists expressed surprise and disappointment at Wal-Mart’s decision. Earlier this year, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and General Mills said they would not carry or use the genetically modified sweet corn. “A lot of people who were their customers explicitly said we don’t want you to carry this product, and I think it’s unfortunate that they chose not listen to that feedback,” said Patty Lovera, assistant director of the consumer group Food and Water Watch. In March, the group presented Wal-Mart with a petition signed by 463,000 people asking it to boycott the product, she said. Monsanto’s genetically modified sweet corn is resistant to a common herbicide, which allows farmers to kill weeds without killing the corn. It also contains a toxin that fends off certain pests. Critics say they would like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require some pre-market safety testing and labeling of genetically modified foods, saying the lack of study makes it impossible to know whether they pose health risks. “There has been a doubling of food allergies in this country since 1996,” said Michael Hansen, a senior scientist at Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports. “Is it connected to genetically engineered foods? Who knows when you have no labeling? That is the problem.”
Note: Strangely, this article was taken down from the Tribune website shortly after its original posting. To read the complete article, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the dangers of genetically modified foods, click here.
Efforts to write benefits for biotech seed companies into U.S. legislation, including the new Farm Bill, are sparking a backlash from groups that say the multiple measures would severely limit U.S. oversight of genetically modified crops. From online petitions to face-to-face lobbying on Capitol Hill, an array of consumer and environmental organizations and individuals are ringing alarm bells over moves they say will eradicate badly needed safety checks on crops genetically modified to withstand herbicides, pests and pesticides. The measures could speed the path to market for big biotech companies like Monsanto and Dow Chemical that make billions of dollars from genetically altered corn, soybeans, cotton and other crops. "They are trying to change the rules," said George Kimbrell, senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety, which has lawsuits pending against government regulators for failing to follow the law in approving certain biotech crops. "It is to the detriment of good governance, farmers and to the environment." As early as next week the U.S. House of Representatives could take up one of the more controversial measures - a provision included in the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill known as Section 733 that would allow biotech crops to be planted even if courts rule they were approved illegally. Opponents call it the "Monsanto Rider" because Monsanto's genetically altered alfalfa and sugar beets have been subject to court challenges for illegal regulatory approvals.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the dangers of genetically modified organisms, click here. Multiple reliable sources show that you may be eating genetically modified food daily which scientific experiments have repeatedly demonstrated can cause sickness and even death in lab animals. Click here to verify.
France's attempt to ban the planting of a Monsanto strain of genetically modified maize was rejected by the EU's food safety body. In response to scientific evidence submitted by France [EFSA] backing its bid to ban the GM maize, the European Food Safety Authority ruled that "there is no specific scientific evidence, in terms of risk to human and animal health or the environment" to support a ban. In 2008, France banned the the strain MON 810 following public protests against the GM maize, but this was overturned by a French court in 2011. However, in March the French government reinstated the ban, with the then agricultural minister Bruno Le Maire saying the move was "to protect the environment". The Monsanto-owned strain, marketed as YieldGard by the US company, is an insect-resistant strain of maize that was introduced in 1997. The ruling follows a renewed focus on GM food in the UK, with researchers making a plea to anti-GM activists not to rip up a test site of GM wheat.
Note: The risks of genetically-modified foods are well established, including many deaths of lab animals fed GM diets; click here to read an excellent summary. For more on corporate and government corruption, click here and here.
Kellogg is facing anger on social-media sites because of complaints that its popular Kashi brand of cold cereals doesn't live up to the company's "natural" billing on ads and boxes. The controversy went viral a week ago after a Rhode Island grocer tacked a note to one of his store shelves, telling customers he wouldn't sell the cereal because he found out the brand used genetically engineered, non-organic ingredients. Photos of the note began popping up on Facebook pages and food blogs as some consumers claimed Kellogg was misrepresenting its cereal. The soy in Kashi cereals comes from soybeans that have had a gene inserted to protect the soybeans from the herbicide Roundup, which kills weeds. Kashi has done nothing wrong, says David DeSouza, Kashi general manager. "The FDA has chosen not to regulate the term 'natural,' " he says. The company defines natural as "food that's minimally processed, made with no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners." Kellogg is not misleading people, says Barbara Haumann of the Organic Trade Association in Brattleboro, Vt. Consumers "are totally confused" and don't understand that the only way to get organic food is to buy organic, she says.
Note: For a succinct summary of the dangers posed by genetically-modified foods, click here.
Biotechnology's promise to feed the world did not anticipate "Trojan corn," "super weeds" and the disappearance of monarch butterflies. In the Midwest and South - blanketed by more than 170 million acres of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton - an experiment begun in 1996 with approval of the first commercial genetically modified organisms is producing questionable results. Those results include vast increases in herbicide use that have created impervious weeds now infesting millions of acres of cropland, while decimating other plants, such as milkweeds that sustain the monarch butterflies. More than a million people have signed a petition to the Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of genetically engineered food. The stakes on labeling such foods are huge. The crops are so widespread that an estimated 70 percent of U.S. processed foods contain engineered genes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved more than 80 genetically engineered crops while denying none. Genetically engineered crops ... have spawned an infestation of "super weeds" now covering at least 13 million acres in 26 states. The crops led to a 400-million-pound net increase in herbicide applications. Dave Mortensen, a weed ecologist at Pennsylvania State University, said the number of "super weed" species grew from one in 1996 ... to 22 today. Last month, scientists definitively tied heavy use of glyphosate to an 81 percent decline in the monarch butterfly population. It turns out that the herbicide has obliterated the milkweeds on Midwest corn farms where the monarchs lay their eggs after migrating from Mexico. Iowa State University ecologist John Pleasants, one of the study's authors, said the catastrophic decline in monarchs is a consequence of the genetically engineered crops that no one foresaw.
Note: Multiple reliable sources have shown that you may be eating genetically modified food daily which scientific experiments have repeatedly demonstrated can cause sickness and even death in lab animals. For key reports from major media sources on hidden facts on the dangers of genetically modified food, click here.
Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers’ near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds. To fight them [farmers] are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing. “We’re back to where we were 20 years ago,” said [farmer Eddie] Anderson. Farm experts say that such efforts could lead to higher food prices, lower crop yields, rising farm costs and more pollution of land and water. The first resistant species [was found] in 2000. Since then, the problem has spread, with 10 resistant species in at least 22 states infesting millions of acres. The superweeds could temper American agriculture’s enthusiasm for some genetically modified crops. Roundup Ready crops account for about 90 percent of the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn and cotton grown in the United States. However, if Roundup doesn’t kill the weeds, farmers have little incentive to spend the extra money for the special seeds. “The biotech industry is taking us into a more pesticide-dependent agriculture when ... we need to be going in the opposite direction,” said Bill Freese, a science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety in Washington. Roundup-resistant pigweed ... could pose as big a threat to cotton farming in the South as the beetle that devastated the industry in the early 20th century.
Note: Few Americans are aware that almost all of the soybeans and corn they eat was genetically modified. And thanks to a controlled media, even fewer know that these GM crops have repeatedly been shown in scientific studies to cause cancer and even death in lab animals. For lots more on this, click here and here.
Bill Gates' support of genetically modified crops as a solution for world hunger is of concern to those ... involved in promoting sustainable, equitable and effective agricultural policies in Africa. His technocratic ideology runs counter to the best informed science. The World Bank and United Nations funded 900 scientists over three years in order to create an International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). Its conclusions were diametrically opposed, at both philosophical and practical levels, to those espoused by Gates and clearly state that the use of GM crops is not a meaningful solution to the complex situation of world hunger. The IAASTD suggests that rather than pursuing industrial farming models, "agro-ecological" methods provide the most viable means to enhance global food security. These include implementing practical scientific research based on traditional seed varieties and local farming practices adapted to the local ecology over millennia. Agro-ecology has consistently proven capable of sustainably increasing productivity. Conversely, the present GM crops generally have not increased yields over the long run, despite their increased costs and dependence on agricultural chemicals, as highlighted in the 2009 Union of Concerned Scientists report, "Failure to Yield."
Note: For an excellent summary of the risks posed by genetically-modified foods, click here.
If you want to avoid sugar, aspartame, trans-fats, MSG, or just about anything else, you read the label. If you want to avoid G.M.O.’s — genetically modified organisms — you’re out of luck. They’re not listed. You could, until now, simply buy organic foods, which by law can’t contain more than 5 percent G.M.O.’s. Now, however, even that may not work. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved three new kinds of genetically engineered (G.E.) foods: alfalfa (which becomes hay), a type of corn grown to produce ethanol), and sugar beets. And super-fast-growing salmon — the first genetically modified animal to be sold in the U.S., but probably not the last — may not be far behind. It’s unlikely that these products’ potential benefits could possibly outweigh their potential for harm. But even more unbelievable is that the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S.D.A. will not require any of these products, or foods containing them, to be labeled as genetically engineered, because they don’t want to “suggest or imply” that these foods are “different.” They are arguably different, but more important, people are leery of them. Nearly an entire continent — it’s called Europe — is so wary that G.E. crops are barely grown there and there are strict bans on imports (that policy is in danger). Furthermore, most foods containing more than 0.9 percent G.M.O.’s must be labeled.
Note: For an article showing how cozy the relationship between Monsanto and the White House is on this issue, click here.
A top federal regulator's ties to Monsanto Co., a maker of genetically modified food, are fueling an election-year recall push by consumer and public-interest groups flexing their clout on the Internet. Michael Taylor, the Food and Drug Administration's deputy commissioner for food safety, is at the center of a burgeoning dispute between opponents who have collected more than 420,000 signatures on an online petition demanding he be fired and supporters who praise his efforts to curb food-borne illnesses. At issue is the 16 months ending in 2000 that Taylor worked as Monsanto's vice president for public policy, between stints in the Clinton and Obama administrations. The petition reflects anger over the agency's enforcement actions against small food producers and products such as raw milk. The online petition, along with others circulated on Facebook and other social-media sites since at least August, blames Taylor for allowing genetically modified organisms into the U.S. food supply without requiring testing as to their effects while he served at the agency in the 1990s. Taylor, in an interview, said his work is misrepresented, and the effort to have him fired "is more about Monsanto than about me. The claim is I was a Monsanto lobbyist, which paints a bad picture," he said. "It doesn't say what I did there or what I think about biotechnology."
With safety concerns widespread, Americans almost unanimously favor mandatory labels on genetically modified foods. And most say they'd use those labels to avoid the food. Barely more than a third of the public believes that genetically modified foods are safe to eat. Instead 52 percent believe such foods are unsafe, and an additional 13 percent are unsure about them. That's broad doubt on the very basic issue of food safety. Nearly everyone, moreover — 93 percent — says the federal government should require labels on food saying whether it's been genetically modified, or "bio-engineered" (this poll used both phrases). Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare. Fifty-seven percent also say they'd be less likely to buy foods labeled as genetically modified. The image problem of genetically modified food is underscored by contrast to organic foods. While only five percent of Americans say they'd be more likely to buy a food labeled as genetically modified, 52 percent say they'd be more likely to buy food that's labeled as having been raised organically. Genetically modified foods are particularly unpopular among women, another problem for food producers since so many women do the family shopping. Sixty-two percent of women think genetically modified foods are unsafe to eat, a view that's shared by far fewer men, 40 percent.
Note: Members of the U.S. Congress are finally starting to take action on this most important topic. For more key information on what you can do to help, click here.
A two-year-old Food and Drug Administration appointment is stirring up online protests once more. In 2009, President Obama appointed Michael Taylor as a senior adviser for the FDA. Consumer groups protested the appointment because Taylor had formerly served as a vice president for Monsanto, the controversial agricultural multinational at the forefront of genetically modified food. In recent days, a petition calling for the former Monsanto VP’s ouster is gaining steam. “President Obama, I oppose your appointment of Michael Taylor,” the petition on Signon.org reads. “Taylor is the same person who was Food Safety Czar at the FDA when genetically modified organisms were allowed into the U.S. food supply without undergoing a single test to determine their safety or risks. This is a travesty.” Signers of the petition argue that Monsanto should not have influence at the FDA because it will hurt farmers and threaten plants and animals. They cite scientific research that has found genetically modified foods could be a cause for chronic illnesses or cancer in the U.S. The petition calls Taylor’s appointment an example of a “fox watching the hen house.”
BASF, the German chemical giant, is to pull out of genetically modified [GM] plant development in Europe and relocate it to the US, where political and consumer resistance to GM crops is not so entrenched. The headquarters of BASF Plant Science will move from Limburgerhof in south-west Germany to Raleigh, North Carolina, and two smaller sites in Germany and Sweden will close. The company will transfer some GM crop development to the US but stop work on crops targeted at the European market – four varieties of potato and one of wheat. The decision ... signals the end of GM crop development for European farmers. Bayer, BASF’s German competitor, is working on GM cotton and rice in Ghent, Belgium – but not for European markets. “This is another nail in the coffin for genetically modified foods in Europe,” said Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth. BASF battled for some 13 years before the European Union approved in 2010 cultivation of its Amflora potato, which was intended to provide high-quality starch for industrial customers. However, German test sites had to be put under constant guard and activists still succeeded in destroying potato fields.
Note: The European public is well aware of the serious threats of GM food, yet the U.S. public, thanks to a controlled media, knows very little about this. For an excellent overview of the threats to health from genetically-modified foods, click here. For key articles from major media sources on these risks, click here.
The first genetically engineered animal may be about to enter the food supply. This is also the moment for consumers to demand to know what's in their food. Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, believes that genetically engineered fish should not be allowed into the food supply unless it is proved safe for humans and the environment. At the very least, it should be labeled. One of the most critical issues before the [Food and Drug Administration] is the potential for genetically engineered fish to cause consumers to experience increased allergic responses. Unfortunately, the FDA allowed AquaBounty Technologies, the company developing the genetically engineered salmon, to declare that there was no increase in allergy-causing potential in their AquAdvantage salmon, based on data from just six engineered fish - even when the data suggested the genetic engineering process itself did increase the allergy-causing potential. Public opinion clearly and consistently supports mandatory labeling. Our polling found that 95 percent of the public wants labeling of genetically engineered animals, while other polls found that only 35 percent of the public said that they would be willing to eat seafood that has been genetically engineered. Consumers sent nearly 400,000 comments to the FDA demanding the agency reject genetically engineered salmon, or at least require that it be labeled.
Note: For an excellent overview of the threats to health from genetically-modified foods, click here.
An unprecedented agricultural experiment is being conducted at America's dinner tables. While none of the processed food we ate 20 years ago contained genetically engineered ingredients, now 75 percent of it does - even though the long-term human health and environmental impacts are unknown. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't require labeling of genetically engineered foods. In 1992, the FDA ruled that genetically engineered foods didn't need independent safety tests or labeling requirements before being introduced. But one of its own scientists disagreed, warning there were "profound differences" with genetically engineered foods. Genetically engineered seed manufacturers were allowed to sell their products without telling consumers. A 2006 survey found that 74 percent of Americans had no idea that genetically engineered foods were already being sold. About 94 percent of U.S. grown soybeans are genetically engineered and contain a gene that protects them against glyphosate, now the nation's most widely used pesticide. Almost all the research on the safety of genetically engineered foods has been conducted by the companies that sell them. A recent poll found 93 percent of Americans think genetically engineered foods should be labeled. This month, 384,000 people signed a Just Label It (www.justlabelit.org) petition urging the FDA to mandate genetically engineered food labeling nationally.
Note: Over one million people have now signed the above-mentioned petition. Please join in signing and making your voice heard at this link. For powerful, verifiable information showing scientific studies which revealed lab animals died after ingesting GMOs, click here. For other major media articles on the many dangers of GM food, click here.
Monsanto Co.’s insect-killing corn is toppling over in northwestern Illinois fields, a sign that rootworms outside of Iowa may have developed resistance to the genetically modified crop. Michael Gray, an agricultural entomologist at the University of Illinois in Urbana, said he’s studying whether western corn rootworms collected last month in Henry and Whiteside counties are resistant to an insect-killing protein derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, a natural insecticide engineered into Monsanto corn. The insects were collected in two fields where corn had toppled after roots were eaten by rootworms, Gray said today. Planting Bt corn year after year increases the odds that the bugs will develop resistance to the insecticide, he said. While the symptoms parallel bug resistance that’s been confirmed in Iowa, analysis of the Illinois insects won’t be complete until next year, he said. “Whatever is the cause, it is generating a lot of concern.”
Note: For more on this, click here.
The Agriculture Department has exempted a genetically engineered grass from federal regulation, a decision that some critics say could portend a loosening in oversight of biotech crops. The department said that an herbicide-tolerant Kentucky bluegrass being developed by Scotts Miracle-Gro was not subject to federal regulation because its creation did not entail use of any plant pests. The genetically engineered bluegrass contains a gene that allows it to tolerate the widely used herbicide Roundup, also known as glyphosate. That allows the chemical to be sprayed to kill weeds without harming the grass. The decision shocked some critics of biotechnology crops. “It’s a blatant end-run around regulatory oversight,” said George Kimbrell, senior lawyer at the Center for Food Safety, a Washington advocacy group. Margaret Mellon, director of the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said other companies might follow the same strategy, putting the Agriculture Department “out of the game of regulation.” The critics say there have been other signs that the Agriculture Department has been looking to weaken regulation, like a proposed pilot project that would let companies provide more input into the environmental assessments of their crops.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the risks posed by genetically modified organisms, click here.
As recently as a decade ago, farms in the Midwest [commonly contained] unruly patches of milkweed amid the neat rows of emerging corn or soybeans. Not anymore. Fields are now planted with genetically modified corn and soybeans resistant to the herbicide Roundup, allowing farmers to spray the chemical to eradicate weeds, including milkweed. A growing number of scientists fear it is imperiling the monarch butterfly, whose spectacular migrations make it one of the most beloved of insects. Monarchs lay their eggs on milkweed, and their larvae eat it. Experts like Chip Taylor say the growing use of genetically modified crops is threatening the orange-and-black butterfly by depriving it of habitat. “This milkweed has disappeared from at least 100 million acres of these row crops,” said Dr. Taylor, an insect ecologist at the University of Kansas and director of the research and conservation program Monarch Watch. “Your milkweed is virtually gone.” About five times as much of the weed killer was used on farmland in 2007 as in 1997, a year after the Roundup Ready crops were introduced, and roughly 10 times as much as in 1993. “It kills everything,” said Lincoln P. Brower, an entomologist at Sweet Briar College who is also an author of the paper documenting the decline of monarch winter populations in Mexico. “It’s like absolute Armageddon for biodiversity over a huge area.” A spokesman for Monsanto, the inventor of the Roundup Ready crops and the manufacturer of Roundup, agreed.
Investigations have found that every single supermarket in Britain stocks meat and dairy from animals fed GM [Genetically Modified] soy. Leading brands including Cadbury, Unilever and Dairycrest, also use products from livestock fed GM. In fact the new technology is so widespread that it is likely at least one item of food you eat today will have come from an animal fed GM soy, whether it was the milk on your cereal or the bacon in your sandwich. But what effect is our growing reliance on soy having on the countries supplying Britain with this ‘invisible ingredient’? Paraguay ... in many ways [is] the perfect place to grow unsustainable soy. Ruled by despotic dictators for centuries, the country is famous for being a hot bed of drug smugglers [and] Nazi war criminals. Even now, with a new democratically government in place, corruption is rife and regulations to protect the people are lax to say the least. In the last year the amount of land planted with soy has grown to a record 2.6 million hectares, most of which is GM, leading to claims of deforestation, violent land disputes and the ‘poisoning’ of local communities. Already it is estimated that 90 per cent of the Atlantic Rainforest in Paraguay has been lost to make way for crops, taking with it thousands of unique plants species, hundreds of rare birds and endangered animals like the jaguar. Its not just animals that suffer. Groups of Guarani people claim they have been driven from their land by the soy farmers. ‘Campesinos’, the small farmers who have traditionally worked the land, also claim they have been displaced.
Note: Many are not aware that much of the food they eat, especially soy and corn, comes from geneticaly modified crops which have been shown to pose a major risk to health. For more, click here and here.
Scientists have created genetically modified cattle that produce "human" milk in a bid to make cows' milk more nutritious. The scientists have ... introduced human genes into 300 dairy cows to produce milk with [some of] the same properties as human breast milk. The scientists behind the research ... hope genetically modified dairy products from herds of similar cows could be sold in supermarkets. The research has the backing of a major biotechnology company. Genetically modified food has become a highly controversial subject and currently they can only be sold in the UK and Europe if they have passed extensive safety testing. The consumer response to GM food has also been highly negative, resulting in many supermarkets seeking to source products that are GM free. Helen Wallace, director of biotechnology monitoring group GeneWatch UK, said: "We have major concerns about this research to genetically modify cows with human genes. There are major welfare issues with genetically modified animals as you get high numbers of still births. There is a question about whether milk from these cows is going to be safe for humans and it is really hard to tell that unless you do large clinical trials like you would a drug, so there will be uncertainty about whether it could be harmful to some people. Ethically there are issues about mass producing animals in this way."
Note: For a powerful summary of the dangers of genetically modified foods, click here. And for other major media news articles exposing the serious risks and dangers of genetically modified foods, click here.
Questions about the safety of a popular herbicide made by Monsanto Co have resurfaced in a warning from a U.S. scientist that claims top-selling Roundup may contribute to plant disease and health problems for farm animals. Plant pathologist and retired Purdue University professor Don Huber has written a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warning that a newly discovered and widespread "electron microscopic pathogen appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings." Huber coordinates a committee of the American Phytopathological Society as part of the USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System. Huber said the organism has been found in high concentrations of Roundup Ready soybean meal and corn, which are used in livestock feed. He said laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of the organism in pigs, cattle and other livestock that have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility. The organism is also prolific in corn and soybean crops stricken by disease, according to Huber. "It should be treated as an emergency." He requested USDA participation in an investigation, and he urged a moratorium on approvals of Roundup Ready crops. USDA officials declined to comment about the letter's contents. Roundup has long been a draw for critics, who say the herbicide promotes widespread weed resistance, or "super weeds." "While the evidence is considered preliminary, the potential damage to humans and animals is severe," said Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology. There have been other alarms raised about Roundup, including a report last year from Argentine scientists who claimed that Roundup can contribute to birth defects in frogs and chickens.
Note: This revealing article seems to have disappeared from MSNBC and other websites, yet you can still find it on the Reuters website at this link. For other revealing major media articles showing the clear risks and dangers of genetically modified foods already on our plates, click here. For a vital essay by Jeffrey Smith detailing scientific studies where lab animals died from eating these foods, click here.
The Obama administration Thursday abandoned a proposal to restrict planting of genetically engineered alfalfa, the latest rule-making proposal shelved as part of the administration's review of "burdensome" regulation. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's decision not to regulate alfalfa genetically modified to survive applications of the Monsanto Co. herbicide Roundup is a victory for the big seed and agri-chemicals company and the American Farm Bureau Federation. The Obama administration said earlier this month it is reviewing all proposed government regulation to weed out proposals that are overly burdensome to businesses—part of a broader effort to repair relations with employers and industry. The administration has also shelved two proposed workplace-safety rules opposed by business. Alfalfa is raised as hay on about 20 million acres, making it the fourth-biggest U.S. crop by acreage. Only about 250,000 acres of alfalfa is raised organically, however. Some biotechnology officials have predicted that U.S. farmers will use genetically modified seeds to grow half of the nation's alfalfa. The vast majority of the nation's corn, soybeans and cotton are grown from genetically modified varieties.
Note: The US government once again sides with big business and endangers public health. For a powerful, well researched essay which shows how these genetically engineered crops have been proven to cause cancer and kill lab animals in many studies, click here. For more reliable information, click here and here.
The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show. In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops. "Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices," said Stapleton, who with Bush co-owned the St Louis-based Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s [and is married to Dorothy Walker, a first cousin of former U.S. president George H.W. Bush]. In other newly released cables, US diplomats around the world are found to have pushed GM crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative. In addition, the cables show US diplomats working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto. It also emerges that Spain and the US have worked closely together to persuade the EU not to strengthen biotechnology laws. In one cable, the embassy in Madrid writes: "If Spain falls, the rest of Europe will follow." The cables show that not only did the Spanish government ask the US to keep pressure on Brussels but that the US knew in advance how Spain would vote, even before the Spanish biotech commission had reported.
Note: For a powerful 13-minute video revealing the disturbing results of the first long-term scientific study on GMOs and showing how they greatly increased cancer incidence in rats, click here. For more revealing information on this from Dr. Mercola, click here. For an excellent overview of scientific studies on the risks from genetically-modified foods, click here.
A genetically engineered fish infused with genes from other species, including an eel-like creature, could soon be on dinner plates in the Bay Area and around the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering an application by AquaBounty Technologies Inc. of Massachusetts to bioengineer a sterile salmon that would grow extremely fast and, if all goes as planned, never set so much as a fin in a natural body of water. It would be the first genetically engineered animal to be approved for human consumption. The proposal, which is awaiting an environmental assessment and a preliminary decision by the FDA, has created a furor among environmentalists, who have dubbed the species "Frankenfish." They claim the doctored salmon could spread disease in humans or circulate mutant genes in the wild if an accident or sabotage ever set them loose. "The effect of what happens if these genetically engineered fish escape is largely unknown and has been largely unquestioned by the FDA," said Colin O'Neil, the regulatory policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety, an environmental nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. "These fish have been demonstrated to be less healthy. Consumers clearly do not want to eat genetically engineered salmon."
Note: For a superb summary of the dangers posed by genetically-modified foods, click here.
Forbes made Monsanto the company of the year last year in "The Planet Versus Monsanto." I know because I wrote the article. Since then everything that could have gone wrong for the genetically engineered seed company has gone wrong. Super-weeds that are resistant to its RoundUp weed killer are emerging, even as weed killer sales are being hit by cheap Chinese generics. An expensive new bioengineered corn seed with eight new genes does not look impressive in its first harvest. And the Justice Department is invesigating over antitrust issues. All this has led to massive share declines. Other publications are making fun of our cover story. Monsanto is destined to remain the dominant bioengineered seed company for some time to come. But unless it comes up with a hot new product, its growth years could all be behind it.
Note: WantToKnow.info's Fred Burks was blacklisted by Monsanto, likely for reporting stories like that above. For more on this, click here.
Reversing a longstanding policy, the federal government said on [October 29] that human and other genes should not be eligible for patents because they are part of nature. The new position could have a huge impact on medicine and on the biotechnology industry. The new position was declared in a friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Department of Justice ... in a case involving two human genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer. “We acknowledge that this conclusion is contrary to the longstanding practice of the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the practice of the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies that have in the past sought and obtained patents for isolated genomic DNA,” the brief said. The issue of gene patents has long been a controversial [one]. Opponents say that genes are products of nature, not inventions, and should be the common heritage of mankind. They say that locking up basic genetic information in patents actually impedes medical progress. Proponents say genes isolated from the body are chemicals that are different from those found in the body and therefore are eligible for patents. In its brief, the government said it now believed that the mere isolation of a gene, without further alteration or manipulation, does not change its nature.
Note: This is great news. To see how patents have been used in scary ways to promote global monopolies, watch this documentary.
The Food and Drug Administration has wrapped up three days of hearings and public comment on the effort by AquaBounty Technologies, a Massachusetts company, to sell salmon genetically engineered to grow twice as fast as normal salmon. But the meetings ended without an FDA decision on whether the company can move ahead with sales. USA TODAY's Elizabeth Weise [answers questions about the issue]: Q: What are the issues? A: There are really two: Are these fish safe to eat, and are they safe for the environment? FDA staff, in a report released earlier this month, found the genetically engineered (or GE) salmon to be as safe to eat as normal salmon. But several members of the agency's Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee felt that the tests for food safety could have included more data and encouraged the agency to request more from the company. Q: What's the environmental issue? A: Some scientists and environmental groups worry that if these fast-growing salmon escaped into the ocean, they might out-compete native salmon populations for both food and mates. As almost all wild Atlantic salmon are endangered, anything that could harm them is of concern.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corporate and government corruption, click here and here. For a highly-informative overview of the threats posesd to health and the environment by genetically modified foods, click here.
Monsanto, the giant of agricultural biotechnology, has been buffeted by setbacks this year that have prompted analysts to question whether its winning streak of creating ever more expensive genetically engineered crops is coming to an end. The latest blow came last week, when early returns from this year’s harvest showed that Monsanto’s newest product, SmartStax corn, which contains eight inserted genes, was providing yields no higher than the company’s less expensive corn, which contains only three foreign genes. Monsanto has already been forced to sharply cut prices on SmartStax and on its newest soybean seeds, called Roundup Ready 2 Yield, as sales fell below projections. Sales of Monsanto’s Roundup, the widely used herbicide, has collapsed this year under an onslaught of low-priced generics made in China. Weeds are growing resistant to Roundup, dimming the future of the entire Roundup Ready crop franchise. And the Justice Department is investigating Monsanto for possible antitrust violations. Until now, Monsanto’s main challenge has come from opponents of genetically modified crops, who have slowed their adoption in Europe and some other regions. Now, however, the skeptics also include farmers and investors who were once in Monsanto’s camp.
Note: For those who are not aware of how Monsanto executives are quite consciously endangering your health, click here.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ... is being heavily criticised in Africa and the US for getting into bed not just with notorious GM company Monsanto, but also with agribusiness commodity giant Cargill. Trouble began when a US financial website published the foundation's annual investment portfolio, which showed it had bought 500,000 Monsanto shares worth around $23m. Seattle-based Agra Watch - a project of the Community Alliance for Global Justice - was outraged. "Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well being of small farmers around the world… [This] casts serious doubt on the foundation's heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa," it [said]. South Africa-based watchdog the African Centre for Biosafety then found that the foundation was teaming up with Cargill in a $10m project to "develop the soya value chain" in Mozambique and elsewhere. Who knows what this corporate-speak really means, but in all probability it heralds the big time introduction of GM soya in southern Africa. The fact is that Cargill is a faceless agri-giant that controls most of the world's food commodities and Monsanto has been blundering around poor Asian countries for a decade giving itself and the US a lousy name for corporate bullying. Does the foundation actually share their corporate vision of farming and intend to work with them more in future?
Note: To read how WantToKnow.info manager Fred Burks was blacklisted by Monsanto for reporting on its blatant disregard of the dangers of genetically modified foods, click here.
As the Food and Drug Administration considers whether to approve genetically modified salmon, one thing seems certain: Shoppers staring at fillets in the seafood department will find it tough to pick out the conventional fish from the one created with genes from another species. Despite a growing public demand for more information about how food is produced, that won't happen with the salmon because of idiosyncracies embedded in federal regulations. The FDA says it cannot require a label on the genetically modified food once it determines that the altered fish is not "materially" different from other salmon - something agency scientists have said is true. Perhaps more surprising, conventional food makers say the FDA has made it difficult for them to boast that their products do not contain genetically modified ingredients. The decision carries great weight because, while genetically modified agriculture has been permitted for years and engineered crops are widely used in processed foods, this would be the first modified animal allowed for human consumption in the United States. The AquAdvantage salmon has been given a gene from the ocean pout, an eel-like fish, and a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon. Consumer advocates say they worry about labeling for genetically engineered beef, pork and other fish, which are lining up behind the salmon for federal approval.
Note: For an excellent overview of the dangers of genetically modified foods, click here.
Our diet is indeed killing us, and it's killing the planet too. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta released a study revealing that nearly 27% of Americans are now considered obese (that is, more than 20% above their ideal weight), and in nine states, the obesity rate tops 30%. We eat way too much meat — up to 220 lb. per year for every man, woman and child in the U.S. — and only 14% of us consume our recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Our processed food is dense with salt and swimming in high-fructose corn syrup, two flavors we can't resist. Currently, enough food is manufactured in the U.S. for every American to consume 3,800 calories per day — we need only 2,350 in a healthy diet. Keeping the food flowing — and the prices low enough for people to continue buying it — requires a lot of industrial-engineering tricks, and those have knock-on effects of their own. Up to 10 million tons of chemical fertilizer per year are poured onto fields to cultivate corn alone, for example, which has increased yields 23% from 1990 to 2009 but has led to toxic runoffs that are poisoning the beleaguered Gulf of Mexico.
A federal district court judge revoked the government’s approval of genetically engineered sugar beets [on August 13], saying that the Agriculture Department had not adequately assessed the environmental consequences before approving them for commercial cultivation. The decision, by Judge Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court in San Francisco, appears to effectively ban the planting of the genetically modified sugar beets, which make up about 95 percent of the crop, until the Agriculture Department prepares an environmental impact statement and approves the crop again, a process that might take a couple of years. Beets supply about half the nation’s sugar, with the rest coming from sugar cane. Sugar beet growers sold the 2007-8 crop for about $1.335 billion, according to government data. The decision came in a lawsuit organized by the Center for Food Safety, a Washington advocacy group that opposes biotech crops. In his order ... the judge granted the plaintiffs’ request to formally vacate the approval of the beets. That would bar farmers from growing them outside of a field trial. Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, said the ruling was another sign the Agriculture Department was not doing its job. “This is regulation by litigation,” he said.
Note: For a highly-informative survey of the dangers of genetically-modified foods, click here.
Genetically engineered versions of the canola plant are flourishing in the form of roadside weeds in North Dakota, scientists say, in one of the first instances of a genetically modified crop establishing itself in the wild. Critics of biotech crops have long warned that it is hard to keep genes — in this case, genes conferring resistance to common herbicides — from spreading with unwanted consequences. The roadside plants apparently start growing when seeds blow from fields or fall out of trucks carrying the crops to market. In the plains of Canada, where canola is widely grown, roadside biotech plants resistant to the herbicide Roundup have become a problem, said Alexis Knispel, who has just completed a doctoral dissertation on the subject at the University of Manitoba. Some farmers, she said, have had to return to plowing their fields to control weeds — a practice that contributes to soil erosion — because they can no longer use Roundup to control the stray canola plants. She also said the proliferation of roadside canola would make it difficult to keep organic canola free of genetically engineered material. The biotech canola has also been found growing in Japan, which does not even grow the crop, only imports it. Scientists have also reported that genetically engineered grass established itself in the wild in Oregon.
Note: For a highly-informative survey of the dangers of genetically-modified foods, click here.
The Food and Drug Administration is seriously considering whether to approve the first genetically engineered animal that people would eat — salmon that can grow at twice the normal rate. The salmon’s approval would help open a path for companies and academic scientists developing other genetically engineered animals. The salmon was developed by a company called AquaBounty Technologies and would be raised in fish farms. It is an Atlantic salmon that contains a growth hormone gene from a Chinook salmon as well as a genetic on-switch from the ocean pout, a distant relative of the salmon. Under a policy announced in 2008, the F.D.A. is regulating genetically engineered animals as if they were veterinary drugs and using the rules for those drugs. And applications for approval of new drugs must be kept confidential by the agency. Critics say the drug evaluation process does not allow full assessment of the possible environmental impacts of genetically altered animals and also blocks public input. “There is no opportunity for anyone from the outside to see the data or criticize it,” said Margaret Mellon, director of the food and [agriculture] program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. When consumer groups were invited to discuss biotechnology policy with top F.D.A. officials last month, Ms. Mellon said she warned the officials that approval of the salmon would generate “a firestorm of negative response.”
Note: For a valuable summary of the dangers of genetically engineered foods, click here.
The bio-tech company Monsanto can sell genetically modified seeds before safety tests on them are completed, the US Supreme Court has ruled. A lower court had barred the sale of the modified alfalfa seeds until an environmental impact study could be carried out. But seven of the nine Supreme Court Justices decided that ruling was unconstitutional. The seed is modified to be resistant to Monsanto's brand of weedkiller. The US is the world's largest producer of alfalfa, a grass-like plant used as animal feed. It is the fourth most valuable crop grown in the country. Environmentalists had argued that there might be a risk of cross-pollination between genetically modified plants and neighbouring crops. They also argued over-use of the company's weedkiller Roundup, the chemical treatment the alfalfa is modified to be resistant to, could cause pollution of ground water and lead to resistant "super-weeds".
Note: For a powerful summary of the dangers of genetically-modified organisms, click here.
The Agriculture Department has given a preliminary green light for the first commercial production of a food crop engineered to contain human genes, reigniting fears that biomedically potent substances in high-tech plants could escape and turn up in other foods. The plan ... calls for large-scale cultivation in Kansas of rice that produces human immune system proteins in its seeds. The proteins are to be extracted for use as an anti-diarrhea medicine and might be added to health foods such as yogurt and granola bars. Critics are assailing the effort, saying gene-altered plants inevitably migrate out of their home plots. In this case, they said, that could result in pharmacologically active proteins showing up in the food of unsuspecting consumers. Although the proteins are not inherently dangerous, there would be little control over the doses people might get exposed to, and some might be allergic to the proteins, said Jane Rissler of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "This is not a product that everyone would want to consume," Rissler said, adding that other companies grow such plants indoors or in vats. "It is unwise to produce drugs in plants outdoors."
Note: For a detailed analysis of the dangers of this genetically-modified rice program, click here.
Genetically engineered crops have provided “substantial” environmental and economic benefits to American farmers, but overuse of the technology is threatening to erode the gains, a national science advisory organization said ... in a report. The study was issued by the National Research Council, which is affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences. David E. Ervin, the chairman of the committee that wrote the report, ... warned that farmers were jeopardizing the benefits by planting too many so-called Roundup Ready crops. These crops are genetically engineered to be impervious to the herbicide Roundup, allowing farmers to spray the chemical to kill weeds while leaving the crops unscathed. Overuse of this seductively simple approach to weed control is starting to backfire. Use of Roundup, or its generic equivalent, glyphosate, has skyrocketed to the point that weeds are rapidly becoming resistant to the chemical. That is rendering the technology less useful, requiring farmers to start using additional herbicides, some of them more toxic than glyphosate. One critic, Charles Benbrook, said the conclusion that the crops help farmers might not be true in the future. That is because the report relies mostly on data from the first few years, before prices of the biotech seeds rose sharply and the glyphosate-resistant weeds proliferated.
Note: The benefits of GE crops are not substantial and have been intensely debated by involved scientists, though this debate has been covered up by both government and the press. For an excellent overview of the threats posed by genetically modified foods, click here.
Brussels bureaucrats [are determined] to spread GM crops throughout Europe, against the will of most of its people. In a little-noticed move last week, the European Commission defied most of the governments to which it is supposed to answer to give the green light to growing a [genetically] modified potato across the continent. It was the first time a GM crop had been authorised for cultivation in 13 years. But, now the long moratorium has been broken, similar approvals for others are expected rapidly to follow. The decision has its origins in a couple of secret, top-level meetings called by Jose Manuel Barroso, the Commission's strongly pro-GM president. He invited the prime ministers of each of the 27 EU member states to send a personal representative along to discuss how to "speed up" the spread of the technology and "deal with" public opposition. About three times as many Europeans oppose genetic modification as support it. As a result, GM crops cover only about 0.12 per cent of Europe's agricultural land – and the continent accounts for just 0.08 per cent of the area growing them worldwide. And they have been losing ground. In the past two years, both France and Germany banned the Monsanto maize, joining Austria, Hungary, Greece and Luxembourg.
Note: Though Europeans are very aware of the threat of genetically modified foods and have worked hard to prohibit them, the media in the US have managed to stifle almost any reporting on the topic. Most Americans have no idea that they are regularly eating GM foods known to have serious health risks.
The introduction of a genetically modified potato in Europe risks the development of human diseases that fail to respond to antibiotics, it [has been claimed]. German chemical giant BASF this week won approval from the European Commission for commercial growing of a starchy potato with a gene that could resist antibiotics – useful in the fight against illnesses such as tuberculosis. Farms in Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic may plant the potato for industrial use, with part of the tuber fed to cattle, according to BASF, which fought a 13-year battle to win approval for Amflora. But other EU member states, including Italy and Austria and anti-GM campaigners angrily attacked the move, claiming it could result in a health disaster. During the regulatory tussle over the potato, the EU's pharmaceutical regulator had expressed concern about its potential to interfere with the efficacy of antibiotics on infections that develop multiple resistance to other antibiotics, a growing problem in human and veterinary medicine. Drug resistance is part of the explanation for the resurgence of TB, which infects eight million people worldwide every year.
Note: For an excellent summary of the threats to health from genetically-modified foods, click here.
There is more than a casual association between GM [Genetically Modified] foods and adverse health effects. There is causation [as] confirmed in several animal studies. Specificity of the association of GM foods and specific disease processes is also supported. In spite of this risk, the biotechnology industry claims that GM foods can feed the world through production of higher crop yields. However, a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists reviewed 12 academic studies and indicates otherwise: "The several thousand field trials over the last 20 years ... indicate a significant undertaking. Yet none of these field trials have resulted in increased yield ... with the exception of Bt corn." Therefore, because GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health and are without benefit, ... because GM foods have not been properly tested for human consumption, and because there is ample evidence of probable harm, the AAEM asks:  Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.  Physicians to consider the possible role of GM foods in the disease process.  Our members, the medical community, and the independent scientific community to gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption and health effects.  For a moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term independent safety testing, and labeling of GM foods, which is necessary for the health and safety of consumers.
Note: Why was this not reported in the mainstream media? A top academy of physicians states our health is being endangered by GM foods, yet no one is reporting this. For how our media is bought off in matters like this, click here. For a powerful essay showing blatant corruption of the science around GMOs and FDA complicity, click here. For key media articles on this vital topic, click here.
The rapid adoption by U.S. farmers of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton has promoted increased use of pesticides, an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds and more chemical residues in foods, according to a report ... by health and environmental protection groups. The groups said research showed that herbicide use grew by 383 million pounds from 1996 to 2008, with 46 percent of the total increase occurring in 2007 and 2008. The report was released by nonprofits The Organic Center (TOC), the Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Center for Food Safety (CFS). The groups said that [there is] a net overall increase on U.S. farm fields of 318 million pounds of pesticides, which includes insecticides and herbicides, over the first 13 years of commercial use. The rise in herbicide use comes as U.S. farmers increasingly adopt corn, soy and cotton that have been engineered with traits that allow them to tolerate dousings of weed killer. The report by the environmental groups states that a key problem resulting from the increase in herbicide use is the emergence of "super weeds," which are difficult to kill because they have become resistant to the herbicides. "This report confirms what we've been saying for years," said Bill Freese, science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety. "The most common type of genetically engineered crops promotes increased use of pesticides, an epidemic of resistant weeds, and more chemical residues in our foods. This may be profitable for the biotech/pesticide companies, but it's bad news for farmers, human health and the environment."
Note: Why did the major media fail to report this Reuters' article? To read the full report, "Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years", and to view additional information, click here. And for a powerful online lesson on health which has already transformed lives, click here.
A federal judge has ruled that the government failed to adequately assess the environmental impacts of genetically engineered sugar beets before approving the crop for cultivation in the United States. The decision could lead to a ban on the planting of the beets, which have been widely adopted by farmers. Judge Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court in San Francisco said that the Agriculture Department should have done an environmental impact statement. He said it should have assessed the consequences from the likely spread of the genetically engineered trait to other sugar beets. The decision echoes another ruling two years ago by a different judge in the same court involving genetically engineered alfalfa. In that case, the judge later ruled that farmers could no longer plant the genetically modified alfalfa until the Agriculture Department wrote the environmental impact statement. Two years later, there is still no such assessment. “We expect the same result here as we got in alfalfa,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, a Washington advocacy group that was also involved in the alfalfa lawsuit. “It will halt almost any further planting and sale because it’s no longer an approved crop.” The Center for Food Safety was joined in the suit by the Sierra Club, the Organic Seed Alliance and High Mowing Organic Seeds, a small seed company. The beets contain a bacterial gene licensed by Monsanto that renders them impervious to glyphosate, an herbicide that Monsanto sells as Roundup. Judge White said that the pollen from the genetically engineered crops might spread to non-engineered beets.
Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. The new findings intensify a debate about so-called “inerts” – the solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other substances that manufacturers add to pesticides. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients are approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. About 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA. Until now, most health studies have focused on the safety of glyphosate, rather than the mixture of ingredients found in Roundup. But in the new study, scientists found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells – even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns. One specific inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA, was more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than the herbicide itself –- a finding the researchers call “astonishing.” “This clearly confirms that the [inert ingredients] in Roundup formulations are not inert,” wrote the study authors from France’s University of Caen. “Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death [at the] residual levels” found on Roundup-treated crops, such as soybeans, alfalfa and corn, or lawns and gardens.
Note: Monsanto, Roundup’s manufacturer, is the same company that has been using a corrupt judicial system to bankrupt farmers who won't use their seeds. For more on this important topic, click here.
The United States is now relying heavily on foreign intelligence services to capture, interrogate and detain all but the highest-level terrorist suspects seized outside the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, according to current and former American government officials. Pakistan's intelligence and security services captured a Saudi suspect and a Yemeni suspect this year with the help of American intelligence and logistical support, Pakistani officials said. They are still being held by Pakistan, which has shared information from their interrogations with the United States, the official said. The current approach, which began in the last two years of the Bush administration and has gained momentum under Mr. Obama, is driven in part by court rulings and policy changes that have closed the secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency, and all but ended the transfer of prisoners from outside Iraq and Afghanistan to American military prisons. Human rights advocates say that relying on foreign governments to hold and question [captives] could increase the potential for abuse at the hands of foreign interrogators. The fate of many ... whom the Bush administration sent to foreign countries remains uncertain. One suspect, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who was captured by the C.I.A. in late 2001 and sent to Libya, was recently reported to have died there in Libyan custody. In the last years of the Bush administration and now on Mr. Obama's watch, the balance has shifted toward leaving all but the most high-level terrorist suspects in foreign rather than American custody.
Note: It appears that the US government is simply avoiding bringing any of its captives under official US control. After the fanfare surrounding the closure of some of its "secret" prisons abroad, the government is moving detainees into prisons run by the governments of foreign countries. Could this be for the purpose of continuing the same torture and indefinite detention that it can no longer carry out in US-controlled prisons? For lots more on the "war on terror" from reliable sources, click here.
Gordon Brown and other European leaders are secretly preparing an unprecedented campaign to spread GM crops and foods in Britain and throughout the continent, confidential documents obtained by The Independent on Sunday reveal. The documents –- minutes of a series of private meetings of representatives of 27 governments –- disclose plans to "speed up" the introduction of the modified crops and foods and to "deal with" public resistance to them. The secret meetings were convened by Jose Manuel Barroso, the pro-GM President of the Commission, and chaired by his head of cabinet, Joao Vale de Almeida. The prime ministers of each of the EU's 27 member states were asked to nominate a special representative. Neither the membership of the group, nor its objectives, nor the outcomes of its meetings have been made public. But The IoS has obtained confidential documents, including an attendance list and the conclusions of the two meetings held so far – on 17 July and just two weeks ago on 10 October – written by the chairman. The list shows that President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany sent close aides. Britain was represented by Sonia Phippard, director for food and farming at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The conclusions reveal the discussions were mainly preoccupied with how to speed up the introduction of GM crops and food and how to persuade the public to accept them. The documents also make clear that Mr Barroso is going beyond mere exhortation by trying to get prime ministers to overrule their own agriculture and environment ministers in favour of GM.
Note: For an excellent summary of the many health risks posed by genetically modified foods, click here.
Prince [Charles] has [made] his most anti-GM speech yet, in delivering ... the Sir Albert Howard Memorial Lecture to the Indian pressure group Navdanya. "I believe fundamentally that unless we work with nature, we will fail to restore the equilibrium we need in order to survive on this planet," [he stated]. He plunged straight into the most controversial and emotive of all the debates over GM crops and foods by highlighting the suicides of small farmers. Tens of thousands killed themselves in India after getting into debt. The suicides were occurring long before GM crops were introduced, but campaigners say that the technology has made things worse because the seeds are more expensive and have not increased yields to match. The biotech industry strongly denies this, but two official reports have suggested that there "could" be a possible link. Prince Charles expressed no doubts in his lecture, delivered at the invitation of Dr Vandana Shiva, the founder of Navdanya, and one of the leading proponents of the technology's role in the deaths. He spoke of "the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming in part from the failure of many GM crop varieties". Broadening his offensive, he said that "any GM crop will inevitably contaminate neighbouring fields", making it impossible to maintain the integrity of organic and conventional crops. For the first time in history this would lead to "one man's system of farming effectively destroying the choice of another man's" and "turn the whole issue into a global moral question." He quoted Mahatma Gandhi who condemned "commerce without morality" and "science without humanity".
Note: For many powerful reports on the dangers of genetically modified organisms, click here.
Britain's first human-animal hybrid embryos have been created, forming a crucial first step, scientists believe, towards a supply of stem cells that could be used to investigate debilitating and so far untreatable conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's and motor neurone disease. Lyle Armstrong, who led the work, gained permission in January from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to create the embryos, known as "cytoplasmic hybrids". His team at Newcastle University produced the embryos by inserting human DNA from a skin cell into a hollowed-out cow egg. An electric shock then induced the hybrid embryo to grow. The embryo, 99.9% human and 0.1% other animal, grew for three days, until it had 32 cells. Eventually, scientists hope to grow such embryos for six days, and then extract stem cells from them. The researchers insisted the embryos would never be implanted into a woman and that the only reason they used cow eggs was due to the scarcity of human eggs. Cardinal Keith O'Brien used his Easter sermon to denounce what he called experiments of "Frankenstein proportion" and called the bill a "monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life". Catholics object to the idea of putting human and animal DNA in the same entity and to the notion of creating what they regard as a life for the purposes of research, a life that will then be destroyed.
Note: For more on this important issue, click here.
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday opened the way for a bevy of genetically engineered salmon, cows and other animals to leap from the laboratory to the marketplace, unveiling an approval process that would treat the modified creatures like drugs. The guidelines for the first time make explicit the regulatory hoops companies would have to jump through to sell engineered salmon that grow twice as fast as wild fish; pigs with high levels of ... omega-3 fatty acids in their meat; or goats that produce ... proteins, such as insulin, in their milk. Many experts ... say the proposed regulations may not go far enough to protect the public. In particular, they argue that the approval process would be highly secretive to guard the commercial interests of the companies involved, and that the new rules do not place sufficient weight on the potential environmental effect of what many consider to be Frankenstein animals. Animals can't be treated exactly like drugs, said Jaydee Hanson, a policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety in Washington. "Drugs don't go out and breed with each other. When a drug gets loose, you figure you can control it. When a bull gets loose, it would be harder to corral." The first product likely to be sold under the new rules is a genetically engineered Atlantic salmon produced by Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc. of Waltham, Mass. Inserted genes from two other fish allow it to reach full size in 18 months rather than the normal 30. Aqua Bounty, along with other biotechnology companies, has been pushing the FDA to establish guidelines and hopes to win approval next year.
Note: For a superb survey of the risks to health from genetically modified food organisms, click here.
Food and milk from the offspring of cloned animals may have entered the U.S. food supply, the U.S. government said on Tuesday, but [then claimed] it would be impossible to know because there is no difference between cloned and conventional products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in January [that] meat and milk from cloned cattle, swine and goats and their offspring were as safe as products from traditional animals. Before then, farmers and ranchers had followed a voluntary moratorium on the sale of clones and their offspring. While the FDA evaluated the safety of food from clones and their offspring, the U.S. Agriculture Department was in charge of managing the transition of these animals into the food supply. "It is theoretically possible" offspring from clones are in the food supply, said Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman. Cloning animals involves taking the nuclei of cells from adults and fusing them into egg cells that are implanted into a surrogate mother. There are an estimated 600 cloned animals in the United States. Critics contend not enough is known about the technology to ensure it is safe, and they also say the FDA needs to address concerns over animal cruelty and ethical issues. "It worries me that this technology is out of control in so many ways," said Charles Margulis, a spokesman with the Center for Environmental Health.
Note: For a revealing summary of the health risks associated with genetically modified foods, click here.
The mass development of genetically modified crops risks causing the world's worst environmental disaster, the Prince of Wales has warned. In his most outspoken intervention on the issue of GM food, the Prince said that multi-national companies were conducting a "gigantic experiment ... with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong". The Prince ... also expressed the fear that food would run out because of the damage being wreaked on the earth's soil by scientists' research. Relying on "gigantic corporations" for food, he said, would result in "absolute disaster. That would be the absolute destruction of everything... and the classic way of ensuring there is no food in the future," he said. "What we should be talking about is food security not food production. And if they think its somehow going to work because they are going to have one form of clever genetic engineering after another then again count me out, because that will be guaranteed to cause the biggest disaster environmentally of all time." Small farmers, in particular, would be the victims of [large corporations] taking over the mass production of food. "I think it's heading for real disaster," he said. "We [will] end up with millions of small farmers all over the world being driven off their land into unsustainable, unmanageable, degraded and dysfunctional conurbations of unmentionable awfulness." The Prince of Wales's forthright comments will reopen the whole debate about GM food.
Note: To watch a video of the Prince's exclusive interview with The Telegraph, click on the link above. For an excellent overview of the many risks associated with genetically modified foods, click here.
Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis. The study – carried out over the past three years at the University of Kansas – has found that GM soya produces about 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent, contradicting assertions by advocates of the technology that it increases yields. Professor Barney Gordon, of the university's department of agronomy, said he started the research – reported in the journal Better Crops – because many farmers who had changed over to the GM crop had "noticed that yields are not as high as expected even under optimal conditions". He added: "People were asking the question 'how come I don't get as high a yield as I used to?'" He grew a Monsanto GM soybean and an almost identical conventional variety in the same field. The modified crop produced only 70 bushels of grain per acre, compared with 77 bushels from the non-GM one. The GM crop – engineered to resist Monsanto's own weedkiller, Roundup – recovered only when he added extra manganese, leading to suggestions that the modification hindered the crop's take-up of the essential element from the soil. The new study confirms earlier research at the University of Nebraska, which found that another Monsanto GM soya produced 6 per cent less than its closest conventional relative, and 11 per cent less than the best non-GM soya available.
Note: For many important reports on genetically modified organisms from major media sources, click here.
Heather Meek leafs through the seed catalogue she wrote on the family computer, on winter nights after the kids went to bed. Selling seeds is more than just an extra source of income on [her] organic farm an hour northwest of Montreal. For Meek and partner Frederic Sauriol, propagating local varieties is part of a David and Goliath struggle by small farmers against big seed companies. At stake, they believe, is no less than control of the world's food supply. Since the dawn of civilization, farmers have saved seeds from the harvest and replanted them the following year. But makers of genetically modified (GM) seeds -- introduced in 1996 -- have been putting a stop to that practice. The 12 million farmers worldwide who will plant GM seeds this year sign contracts agreeing not to save or replant seeds. That means they must buy new seeds every year. Critics charge such contracts confer almost unlimited power over farmers' lives to multinational companies whose priority is profit. They say GM seeds are sowing a humanitarian and ecological disaster. Worldwide, GM crops have grown 67-fold in 12 years, now covering 690.9 million hectares in 23 countries. Alexander Muller, assistant director of [the] Food and Agriculture Organization, warned that loss of agricultural biodiversity threatens the world's ability to survive climate change. "The erosion of biodiversity for food and agriculture severely compromises global food security," [he said]. Muller's words resonate with farmers Meek and Sauriol, whose four daughters help with the painstaking work of cleaning seeds over the winter. "Growing seed is a big job," says Meek. "But if you don't grow your seed, you lose your power."
Note: For a powerful overview of the risks of genetically modified organisms, click here.
A handful of the world's largest agricultural biotechnology companies are seeking hundreds of patents on gene-altered crops designed to withstand drought and other environmental stresses, part of a race for dominance in the potentially lucrative market for crops that can handle global warming. Three companies -- BASF of Germany, Syngenta of Switzerland and Monsanto of St. Louis -- have filed applications to control nearly two-thirds of the climate-related gene families submitted to patent offices worldwide, according to the report by the Ottawa-based ETC Group, an activist organization that advocates for subsistence farmers. Many of the world's poorest countries, destined to be hit hardest by climate change, have rejected biotech crops, citing environmental and economic concerns. Importantly, gene patents generally preclude the age-old practice of saving seeds from a harvest for replanting, requiring instead that farmers purchase the high-tech seeds each year. The ETC report concludes that biotech giants are hoping to leverage climate change as a way to get into resistant markets, and it warns that the move could undermine public-sector plant-breeding institutions such as those coordinated by the United Nations and the World Bank, which have long made their improved varieties freely available. "When a market is dominated by a handful of large multinational companies, the research agenda gets biased toward proprietary products," said Hope Shand, ETC's research director. "Monopoly control of plant genes is a bad idea under any circumstance. During a global food crisis, it is unacceptable and has to be challenged."
Note: For many disturbing reports on risks from genetic engineering from major media sources, click here.
The Bush administration has slipped a controversial ingredient into the $770 million aid package it recently proposed to ease the world food crisis, adding language that would promote the use of genetically modified crops in food-deprived countries. The value of genetically modified, or bio-engineered, food is an intensely disputed issue in the U.S. and in Europe, where many countries have banned foods made from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Opponents of GMO crops say they can cause unforeseen medical problems. They also contend that the administration's plan is aimed at helping American agribusinesses. "This is a hot topic now with the food crisis," said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association. "I think it's pretty obvious at this point that genetically engineered crops ... don't increase yields. There are no commercialized crops that are designed to deal with the climate crisis." Noah Zerbe, an assistant professor of government and politics at Humboldt State University in California, said that GMO crops might not be appropriate for developing countries. "You get fantastic yields if you're able to apply fertilizer and water at the right times, and herbicides to go along with that," Zerbe said. "Unfortunately, most African farmers ... can't afford these inputs." The U.S. tried to introduce GMO crops to Africa in 2002, with mixed results. European Union opposition was part of the reason that several African nations that year balked at an offer of U.S. aid that included corn, some of which was genetically modified. [Despite] a severe drought, Zambia rejected the U.S. aid altogether.
Note: For an eye-opening overview of the risks of genetically modified foods, click here.
Gary Rinehart clearly remembers the summer day in 2002 when the stranger walked in and issued his threat. Rinehart was behind the counter of the Square Deal, his “old-time country store,” as he calls it, on the fading town square of Eagleville, Missouri, a tiny farm community 100 miles north of Kansas City. As Rinehart would recall, the man began verbally attacking him, saying he had proof that Rinehart had planted Monsanto’s genetically modified (G.M.) soybeans in violation of the company’s patent. Better come clean and settle with Monsanto, Rinehart says the man told him—or face the consequences. But Rinehart wasn’t a farmer. He wasn’t a seed dealer. He hadn’t planted any seeds or sold any seeds. He owned a small—a really small—country store in a town of 350 people. On the way out the man kept making threats. Rinehart says he can’t remember the exact words, but they were to the effect of: “Monsanto is big. You can’t win. We will get you. You will pay.” Scenes like this are playing out in many parts of rural America these days as Monsanto goes after farmers, farmers’ co-ops, seed dealers—anyone it suspects may have infringed its patents of genetically modified seeds. As interviews and reams of court documents reveal, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents in the American heartland to strike fear into farm country. They fan out into fields and farm towns, where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops; infiltrate community meetings; and gather information from informants about farming activities. Farmers say that some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors. Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records.
Note: For a revealing summary on the health impacts of genetically modified food, click here.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture yesterday asked U.S. farmers to keep their cloned animals off the market indefinitely even as Food and Drug Administration officials announced that food from cloned livestock is safe to eat. Bruce I. Knight, the USDA's undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, requested an ongoing "voluntary moratorium" to buy time for "an acceptance process" that Knight said consumers in the United States and abroad will need, "given the emotional nature of this issue." Yet even as the two agencies sought a unified message -- that food from clones is safe for people but perhaps dangerous to U.S. markets and trade relations -- evidence surfaced suggesting that Americans and others are probably already eating meat from the offspring of clones. Executives from the nation's major cattle cloning companies conceded yesterday that they have not been able to keep track of how many offspring of clones have entered the food supply, despite a years-old request by the FDA to keep them off the market pending completion of the agency's safety report. At least one Kansas cattle producer also disclosed yesterday that he has openly sold semen from prize-winning clones to many U.S. meat producers in the past few years, and that he is certain he is not alone. "This is a fairy tale that this technology is not being used and is not already in the food chain," said Donald Coover, a Galesburg cattleman and veterinarian who has a specialty cattle semen business. "Anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn't know what they're talking about, or they're not being honest." Last year, [only] 22 percent of Americans who responded to a major survey said they had a favorable impression of food from clones.
Note: For lots more reliable information on how big business takes huge risks with the food we eat, click here.
The Food and Drug Administration is set to announce as early as next week that meat and milk from cloned farm animals and their offspring can start making their way toward supermarket shelves. The decision would be a notable act of defiance against Congress, which last month passed appropriations legislation recommending that any such approval be delayed pending further studies. Moreover, the Senate version of the Farm bill ... contains stronger, binding language that would block FDA action on cloned food, probably for years. The FDA has hinted strongly in the past year that it is ready to lift its "voluntary moratorium" on the marketing of milk and meat from clones and their offspring, saying that the science led them to that decision. But public opinion has been negative on the issue, with some saying that not enough safety studies have been conducted and others concerned about the health of the clones, which are far more likely than ordinary farm animals to die early in life. A handful of U.S. companies have pushed for marketing approval. Margaret Mellon of the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group, said she had read the entire 678-page draft risk assessment and found it to be "long on assumptions and short on data, and especially short on the data that are directly relevant to food consumption safety." Of particular concern, she said, was that even though the vast majority of clones die either before birth or soon after, those that survive are deemed normal. She said the FDA should withhold approval at least until it has a regulatory plan in place that will give it an ability to track food from clones and watch for human health impacts. Others have called for mandatory labeling so consumers can avoid products from clones. The FDA has said that lacking any safety concerns, it will not demand such labels. The Agriculture Department has also declared that meat from clones cannot be deemed organic.
Note: For lots more reliable information on how big business takes huge risks with the food we eat, click here.
Until recently ... even the most sophisticated laboratories could make only small snippets of DNA -- an extra gene or two to be inserted into corn plants, for example, to help the plants ward off insects or tolerate drought. Now researchers are poised to cross a dramatic barrier: the creation of life forms driven by completely artificial DNA. Scientists in Maryland have already built the world's first entirely [artificial] chromosome -- a large looping strand of DNA made from scratch in a laboratory. In the coming year, they hope to transplant it into a cell, where it is expected to [be able to direct] the waiting cell to do its bidding. And while the first synthetic chromosome is a plagiarized version of a natural one, others that code for life forms that have never existed before are already under construction. The cobbling together of life from synthetic DNA, scientists and philosophers agree, will be a watershed event, blurring the line between biological and artificial -- and forcing a rethinking of what it means for a thing to be alive. That unprecedented degree of control over creation raises more than philosophical questions, however. What kinds of organisms will scientists ... make? How will these self-replicating entities be contained? And who might end up owning the patent rights to the basic tools for synthesizing life? Some experts are worried that a few maverick companies are already gaining monopoly control over the core "operating system" for artificial life and are poised to become the Microsofts of synthetic biology. That could ... place enormous power in a few people's hands. "Ultimately synthetic biology means cheaper and widely accessible tools to build bioweapons, virulent pathogens and artificial organisms that could pose grave threats to people and the planet," concluded a recent report by the Ottawa-based ETC Group, one of dozens of advocacy groups that want a ban on releasing synthetic organisms pending wider societal debate and regulation.
Note: Remember that top secret government programs are usually at least a decade ahead of anything reported to the public. To read more on the dangers of genetically modified organisms, click here.
European Union environmental officials have determined that two kinds of genetically modified corn could harm butterflies, affect food chains and disturb life in rivers and streams, and they have proposed a ban on the sale of the seeds, which are made by DuPont Pioneer, Dow Agrosciences and Syngenta. The environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas, contends that the genetically modified corn, or maize could affect certain butterfly species, specifically the monarch, and other beneficial insects. For instance, research this year indicates that larvae of the monarch butterfly exposed to the genetically modified corn “behave differently than other larvae.” In the decision concerning the corn seeds produced by Dow and Pioneer, Mr. Dimas calls “potential damage on the environment irreversible.” In the decision on Syngenta’s corn, he says that “the level of risk generated by the cultivation of this product for the environment is unacceptable.” Barbara Helfferich, a spokeswoman for Mr. Dimas ... said that the European Union was within its rights to make decisions based on the “precautionary principle” even when scientists had found no definitive evidence proving products can cause harm. “The commission has the authority to be a risk manager when it comes to the safety and science of genetically modified crops,” Ms. Helfferich said. In the decisions, Mr. Dimas cited recent research showing that consumption of genetically modified “corn byproducts reduced growth and increased mortality of nontarget stream insects” and that these insects “are important prey for aquatic and riparian predators” and that this could have “unexpected ecosystem-scale consequences.”
Note: For a highly informative summary of health risks from genetically modified organisms, click here.
Craig Venter, the controversial DNA researcher involved in the race to decipher the human genetic code, has built a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals and is poised to announce the creation of the first new artificial life form on Earth. The announcement ... will herald a giant leap forward in the development of designer genomes. It is certain to provoke heated debate about the ethics of creating new species. A team of 20 top scientists assembled by Mr Venter, led by the Nobel laureate Hamilton Smith, has already constructed a synthetic chromosome. Using lab-made chemicals, they have [created] a chromosome that is 381 genes long and contains 580,000 base pairs of genetic code. The DNA sequence is based on the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium which the team pared down to the bare essentials needed to support life, removing a fifth of its genetic make-up. The wholly synthetically reconstructed chromosome, which the team have christened Mycoplasma laboratorium ... is then transplanted into a living bacterial cell and ... in effect becomes a new life form. The new life form will depend for its ability to replicate itself and metabolise on the molecular machinery of the cell into which it has been injected, and in that sense it will not be a wholly synthetic life form. However, its DNA will be artificial, and it is the DNA that controls the cell and is credited with being the building block of life. [Venter] has further heightened the controversy surrounding his potential breakthrough by applying for a patent for the synthetic bacterium. Pat Mooney, director of a Canadian bioethics organisation, ETC Group, said the move was an enormous challenge to society to debate the risks involved. "Governments, and society in general, is way behind the ball. This is a wake-up call - what does it mean to create new life forms in a test-tube?" He said Mr Venter was creating a "chassis on which you could build almost anything."
Note: For an abundance of reports highlighting the dangers posed by genetic modification, click here.
More than 14 months after the Agriculture Department began an investigation into how the U.S. supply of long-grain rice became tainted with an unapproved genetically engineered variety -- an event that continues to disrupt U.S. exports -- the government announced yesterday that it could not figure out how the contamination happened. Agency officials said documents from several years ago that might have helped them determine what went wrong had been lost or destroyed. Lacking clear evidence of who was responsible, they said, the government will not take enforcement action against any person or entity, including Bayer CropScience, the company whose gene-altered products slipped into the food supply. The widespread, low-level contamination with experimental genes that make the rice pesticide-tolerant, one of several such events in recent years, prompted countries around the world to cut off imports of U.S. long-grain rice. Rice prices plummeted, and many farmers, scientists and biotechnology activists called for an overhaul of the oversight system for gene-altered crops. While some countries have begun to accept U.S. rice with added testing, the European Union and Russia have not -- a trade loss valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Critics assailed the report as yet more evidence that the nation's regulatory system for gene-altered crops is broken. "This underlines the anxiety people have about more such incidents occurring," said Margaret Mellon of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a science-based advocacy group that has called for a more rigorous approval process for biotech crops.
Note: For important reports from major media sources which reveal the dangers of genetically modified foods and other organisms, click here.
In the spring of 2001, a ... rice farmer named Jacko Garrett watched a fleet of 18-wheelers haul away truckloads of rice that he had grown with great care. "It just bothers me so bad," Garrett said. "I'm sitting here trying to find food to feed people, and I've got to bury five million pounds of rice." Garrett's rice was genetically modified, part of an experiment that was brought to an abrupt halt by its sponsor, a ... biotechnology company called Aventis Crop Science. The company had contracted with a handful of farmers to grow the rice, which was known as Liberty Link because its genes had been altered to resist a weed killer called Liberty, also made by Aventis. In January 2006, small amounts of genetically engineered rice turned up in a shipment that was tested ... by a French customer of Riceland Foods. Because no transgenic rice is grown commercially in the U.S., the people at Riceland were stunned. Then came another shock. Testing revealed that the genetically modified rice contained a strain of Liberty Link that had not been approved for human consumption. What's more, trace amounts of the Liberty Link had mysteriously made their way into the commercial rice supply in all five of the Southern states where long-grain rice is grown. The tainted rice was everywhere. If in the past year or so you or your family ate Uncle Ben's, Rice Krispies, or Gerber's, or drank a Budweiser ... you probably ingested a little bit of Liberty Link, with the unapproved gene. Last November, over the howls of anti-GMO activists, the USDA retroactively approved the Liberty Link rice, known as LL601. The department said the genes that it approved are similar to those inserted for years into canola and corn, with no apparent ill effects.
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. In fact, Kimbrell is the man who calls the current administration's efforts to protect food safety "Katrina on a plate."
"Just about everybody is pretty serious about their chow," says Deborah Koons Garcia, enjoying the understatement. No matter how serious they are, though, Garcia knows most people don't realize that genetically engineered foods have quietly slipped into much of the American food supply, mostly from corn and canola. They're in an estimated 60 percent of all processed foods. "We are at a crossroads," says Garcia. She's spent the last three years ... making "The Future of Food," a documentary about GMO (genetically modified organism) foods. "Someone needed to make this film, because if this technology isn't challenged and if this corporatization of our whole food system isn't stopped, at some point it will be too late," says Garcia. "It became clear that GMOs are really a much bigger issue ... And it was really clear that there hadn't been a really good film that told the whole story from the cellular, from the microscopic level, all the way up to the global," Garcia says. Her 90-minute documentary ... expresses a strong point of view against letting new life forms loose on the land without long-term testing of the health effects and real government controls, especially labeling of foods. Garcia threads a clear path through the history, science and politics of GMO foods to a clear call for action.
Note: To view this highly educational film, which may encourage you to change your eating habits, click here.
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.
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.
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.
A mysterious decimation of bee populations has German beekeepers worried, while a similar phenomenon in the United States is gradually assuming catastrophic proportions. In the United States ... bees are dying in such dramatic numbers that the economic consequences could soon be dire. No one knows what is causing the bees to perish, but some experts believe that the large-scale use of genetically modified plants in the US could be a factor. Since last November, the US has seen a decline in bee populations so dramatic that it eclipses all previous incidences of mass mortality. Beekeepers on the east coast of the United States complain that they have lost more than 70 percent of their stock since late last year, while the west coast has seen a decline of up to 60 percent. Scientists call the mysterious phenomenon "Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD), and it is fast turning into a national catastrophe. A number of universities and government agencies have formed a "CCD Working Group" to search for the causes of the calamity, but have so far come up empty-handed. They are already referring to the problem as a potential "AIDS for the bee industry." Diana Cox-Foster, a member of the CCD Working Group ... said that the bees' death is accompanied by a set of symptoms "which does not seem to match anything in the literature." Some had five or six infections at the same time and were infested with fungi -- a sign, experts say, that the insects' immune system may have collapsed. The fact that genetically modified, insect-resistant plants are now used in 40 percent of cornfields in the United States could be playing a role.
Note: Bees play a vital role in fertilizing most flowers and crops. The consequences of this bee calamity could be far reaching. For an abundance of reliable, verifiable evidence that genetically modified crops, which are already a part of the normal U.S. diet, can be very damaging to the health of bees and humans, click here.
The two sides in the debate over genetically modified crops issued warring reports assessing the first decade of the technology this week, as the industry's sunny view clashed with the darker vision of critics. The world's farmland planted with biotechnology crops reached 252 million acres in 2006, the industry-backed International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications calculated in a report ... that promotes the products as solutions for hunger and future fuel demand. The report concluded that biotechnology boosts crop yields and benefits the environment. That view was challenged by Friends of the Earth International and the Center for Food Safety in a report released Wednesday. The two groups argued that engineered plants don't produce larger harvests than conventional varieties, are often more vulnerable to drought and have increased the use of pesticides. The United States and Argentina host about 70 percent of the world's biotech crop acreage, both sides said. But adoption of the technology is growing at a faster rate in developing countries than in industrialized nations, according to the International Service. About 10 million farmers in 22 countries sow genetically modified crops, it said. The dominant biotech crop is soybeans, with 57 percent of world acreage, followed by maize, cotton and canola. Opponents said the crops are mainly a boon to agribusiness and big agricultural chemical companies trying to increase sales of seeds, weed-killers and bug sprays. Biotech crop seeds are often engineered to be resistant to the herbicides or pesticides sold by the same company.
Note: For reliable information showing that you may be eating genetically modified food every day which scientific experiments have repeatedly demonstrated can cause sickness and even death, click here.
A team at the institute that cloned Dolly the sheep have made a genetically engineered chicken that produces cancer drugs in its eggs. The chickens produce the cancer drugs in their egg whites, the team at the Roslin Biocentre in Edinburgh reported. The drugs include a monoclonal antibody — themselves lab-engineered immune system proteins — and a human immune system protein used to treat cancer and other conditions. Scientists have been trying to find good ways to turn animals into factories. Cattle, sheep and goats all have been genetically engineered to produce human proteins in their milk, including insulin and drugs to treat cystic fibrosis, but the Roslin team thought chickens, with their shorter life cycles and egg-laying prowess, also might be useful. They used a virus to infect very early chicken embryos. The virus inserted the genetic material into the DNA of chick embryos in newly laid eggs. The researchers hatched these chicks and found the male chicks who had indeed incorporated the new DNA in their semen. These cockerels were then bred with normal hens and they screened the resulting chicks to see which ones still carried the two new genes. The researchers have now bred several hundred chickens that can produce the desired proteins. Other companies have created animals and plants that produce human and animal proteins, as well as vaccines.
Note: It's a brave new world. For more on genetically modified organisms, click here.
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 full article for the other three distrubing 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.
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.
Note: For reliable information on the deception and dangers of GM (Genetically Modified) food, click here.
For years the life science companies...have argued that genetically modified food is the next great scientific and technological revolution in agriculture. Nongovernmental organizations...have been cast as the villains in this unfolding agricultural drama...accused of continually blocking scientific and technological progress because of...opposition to genetically modified food. Now, in an ironic twist, new, cutting-edge technologies have made gene splicing and transgenic crops obsolete. The new frontier is called genomics, and the new agricultural technology is called marker-assisted selection, or MAS. This technology offers a sophisticated method to greatly accelerate classical breeding. A growing number of scientists believe that MAS...will eventually replace genetically modified food. Environmental organizations that have long opposed genetically modified crops are guardedly supportive of MAS technology. Rapidly accumulating information about crop genomes is allowing scientists to [use] MAS to locate desired traits in other varieties of a particular food crop, or its relatives that grow in the wild. Then they cross-breed those related plants with the existing commercial varieties to improve the crop. With MAS, the breeding of new varieties always remain within a species, thus greatly reducing the risk of environmental harm and potential adverse health effects associated with genetically modified crops. If properly used as part of a much larger systemic and holistic approach to sustainable agricultural development, MAS technology could be the right technology at the right time in history.
Note: For astonishing information on the dangers to your health of genetically modified foods, see the most popular document on our website in recent months at http://www.WantToKnow.info/deception10pg
A lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks to force the U.S. government to conduct mandatory reviews of genetically engineered foods and require labeling of such foods once they are approved. The Center for Food Safety's suit against the Food and Drug Administration comes after years of lobbying by environmental and consumer groups for more stringent regulation and labeling of biotech crops. Genetically modified crops, such as soybeans, corn, and canola, are grown widely throughout the United States, and the world leader in development and marketing of the gene-altered crops is...Monsanto. Yet the United States requires no independent testing of these crops or the food products they are used in, does not mandate what data companies must submit for review, and does not require that foods that contain biotech crops be labeled. CFS and more than fifty consumer and environmental groups, filed a legal petition with the FDA in March 2000, asking the agency to adopt a more rigorous approach to biotech food regulation, but the CFS said Wednesday that the FDA had ignored the petition. At various times over the last several years, different scientists, including some within the FDA, have warned that altering the genetic makeup of a food plant by inserting genes from one organism into another...could trigger unexpected food allergies, create toxins in food, or spread antibiotic-resistant disease. CFS said the tests that exposed that potential hazard have not been conducted on any of the genetically modified foods currently marketed.
Note: Many laboratory animals died in scientific tests of GM foods, yet this news has yet to be reported in the major media. If you want to understand the risks involved with the ever-increasing numbers of genetically modified organisms in the food you eat, don't miss: http://www.WantToKnow.info/deception10pg
Ministers are trying to scrap an international agreement banning the world's most controversial genetic modification of crops, grimly nicknamed "terminator technology", a move which threatens to increase hunger in the Third World. The Government is to push for terminator crops to be considered for approval on a "case-by-case basis" at two meetings this month; its position closely mirrors the stance of the United States and other GM [genetically modified organisms]-promoting countries. Terminator technology...would stop hundreds of millions of poor farmers from saving seeds from their crops for resowing for the following harvest, forcing them to buy new ones from biotech companies every year. The technique is officially known as genetic use restriction technology (Gurt), making crops produce sterile seeds. It could be applied to any crop, including maize and rice, widely grown in developing countries. The UK working group on terminator technology...says: "It could destroy traditional farming methods, damage farmers' livelihoods and threaten food security, particularly in developing countries." [Former UK Minister of Environment Michael] Meacher said: "For the first time in the history of the world, farmers would be stopped from using their own seeds."
Note: For more on this alarming development: http://www.WantToKnow.info/deception10pg
If you are looking to banish pesticides from your child's diet, new research suggests that organic food will do the trick, at least when it comes to two common pesticides. Researchers found that pesticide levels in children's bodies dropped to zero after just a few days of eating organic produce and grains. "After they switch back to a conventional diet, the levels go up," said study co-author Chensheng Lu, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at Emory University. Lu said the impetus for the new study was a previous research project that examined pesticide levels in 110 children and only found one child whose body was pesticide-free -- a child who regularly ate organic food. The findings were to be discussed Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in St. Louis. The study, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, appeared online last September in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Learn more about organic diets from CNN.com.
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.
Note: For an excellent summary of the dangers of genetically modified foods that Americans are already eating without their knowledge, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/deception10pg
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: 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 an excellent overview: http://www.wanttoknow.info/deception10pg
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: For lots more reliable, verifiable information on this vital topic, see our summary of Seeds of Deception.
Anheuser-Busch Cos., the nation’s No. 1 buyer of rice as well as its largest brewer, says it won’t buy rice from Missouri if genetically modified, drug-making crops are allowed to be grown in the state. Last month, Arkansas-based Riceland Foods Inc., the world’s largest rice miller and marketer, asked federal regulators to deny a permit for Ventria’s project, saying its customers don’t want to risk buying genetically modified rice. Anheuser-Busch is believed to be the first major company to threaten a boycott over the issue, according to comments filed last month with the Agriculture Department.
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