The Liars at FDA, USDA, EPA, and ‘The Scientific Community’
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There’s plenty of evidence that the Biotech industry and the purveyors of toxic chemicals like Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, Bayer, and their ilk are poisoning us and our environment. They deny it. They say that their GMO crops are no different than organic crops in terms of safety, and therefore don’t need to be regulated or labelled.
Folks, it’s all bull. You know it. I know it. And they know it. But these perilous fictions allow our government agencies to give the green light for the oh-so-profitable poisoning to continue.
And why is this? Because our governmental agencies are staffed by revolving door flunkies from the Big Ag corporations. Executives from biotech and chemical firms slide into the seats of power at government agencies. Government apparatchiks slide out of government into cushy jobs in the biotech and chemical industries. It’s a neat, tightly controlled system—with some heavy duty built-in support. First in support is the lobbying industry that roams the halls of Congress, handing out big bucks to “educate” politicians, which really means buying their votes. Running for office takes scads of cash and cementing oneself in office for term after term takes even more cash. You can raise the cash in one of two ways: spend most of your day on the phone begging for money, or you can simply take it from the hands of the lobbyists who are waving it at you right in front of your nose and begging you to take it.
The only people who could possibly stop the poisoning of the food supply are the industry flunkies at government agencies like the USDA, FDA, and EPA, but you know they aren’t going to pull the emergency cord on their own gravy train. Congress could stop it, but Congress—Representatives and Senators alike—are bought and paid for by industry money.
There’s nowhere for us folks who have to suffer the diseases, fake foods, and price gouging of the Big Corporations to turn. Except to the streets. On May 25, hundreds of thousands of people—maybe millions–turned out in over 400 marches in 52 countries across the world to protest Monsanto’s poisonous abuses, control of world agriculture, and PR machine that cranks out lies and disinformation. That night, I pulled up CNN’s website to see how they played the story. They didn’t play the story. Not a word. Not a sentence. Nothing. Here’s a list of CNN’s headlines on the night of May 25, after thousands marched around the world against Monsanto:
2 women die in south Texas flood
Sources: Fox long aware of subpoena
Holder OK’d warrant against reporter
Trains collide, take out overpass
Soldier stabbed on patrol near Paris
Bynes: Cop sexually harassed me
Actress ‘wigged out’ in court
Teen rejects plea deal in same-sex case
Teen: ‘I’m scared of losing my life’
Rogers first openly gay male pro athlete
Zoo worker dies after mauling by tiger
Obama forgets salute, gives handshake
Second oldest man passes away
What’s next for Jodi Arias?
China’s blunt message to North Korea
Golson reportedly leaves Notre Dame
Redemption for Bayern Munich | Photos
Indy 500: Everything you need to know
Well, surely The New York Times would have a story in its Sunday edition. I checked The Times’s front page the next day: nothing. You’d think that a worldwide march against an American corporation involving 52 countries and hundreds of thousands of people might have warranted a notice. But no.
Monsanto and friends seem to have it nailed down tight. We will buy their crap and like it. As Big Ag, Big Biotech, and Big Pharma get rich and richer, so do our elected representatives. It’s obvious to anyone who’s looking that Congress doesn’t represent us, they represent the corporations who are writing their checks. Ever wonder why the Senate destroyed the amendment to the Farm Bill that would have allowed states to label GMOs? (And Senators who voted against that amendment included Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, and Kristen Gillibrand!) Ever wonder why the Senate silenced the amendment that would have repealed the “Monsanto Protection Act” that allows Monsanto to sell and grow their GMO crops even if a court declares that they aren’t allowed to. You know that Big Ag owns the House, with all those risible Tea Partiers running things. But the Senate?
Well, what about the scientists who publish study after study showing how GMO crops and agricultural toxins are really good for us? Aren’t they legitimate?
Check who’s paying for those studies. Remember the “unfunded” Stanford study that helped defeat the California GMO labelling proposition in the fall of 2012? Well, it turns out that the study was underwritten by–wait for it—Big Tobacco, Big Chem, Big Ag, and Monsanto. Fancy that.
Now check scientific studies conducted by research teams not funded by big biotech and ag corporations. They tell a far different story. Two researchers recently looked at 248 studies of the effects of glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Round Up, that the company called “safe as salt,” and found that glyphosate is possibly the most destructive environmental chemical there is when it comes to assaulting human health.
Here’s the bottom line. The big agricultural and food processing system in America is raping the country. Physically with its toxics and financially with its control of the food supply. And making us pay for it. And the money the system extorts from us is used to buy up our appointed and elected officials so their sociopathic scam is protected on all fronts.
How long are we going to let this go on?
It may take a while, but eventually Monsanto is going to self-destruct. Here’s why: people often eat, and the lucky ones eat often. But with every bite, they need to be saying to themselves, I am not allowed to know what’s in this food. I am not allowed to know what’s in this food. I am not allowed to know what’s in this food. And soon the absurdity of this, and the insulting premise of this statement, will give them the answer: Because Monsanto doesn’t want me to know what’s in my food. And why not? Simple–because if I knew what’s in my food, I wouldn’t eat it.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had stickers to put on conventional foods that say: You are not allowed to know what’s in this food. Or maybe: Don’t ask what’s in this food. Just shut up, open your mouth, and eat it. Or maybe: This Food Might Contain GMOs. Who Can Tell Without a Label? If the FDA won’t label food, maybe we should just do it. I bet Monsanto won’t like our labels. Here’s another one: This food contains (black bar here).
AG SCHOOL DISOVERS BENEFITS OF ORGANIC FARMING
Producers making the switch to organic crops to meet growing market demand not only fetch premium prices, according to a recent study, they also build healthy soil and sequester carbon, making organic agriculture a useful strategy for dealing with climate change.
The study, published in Crop Management in April, summarizes results from the Long-Term Agroecological Research (LTAR) Experiment, one of the longest running replicated comparisons of organic and conventional agriculture in the country. The experiment began in 1998 with funding from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. The LTAR site also has been used as a demonstration plot for U.S. Department of Agriculture studies.
“Farmers interested in transitioning to organic production will be happy to see that, with good management, yields can be the same, with potentially higher returns and better soil quality,” said Kathleen Delate, agronomy and horticulture professor at Iowa State University, who leads the project.
THE 12 WORST PRODUCTS MADE BY MONSANTO
When you take a moment to reflect on the history of product development at Monsanto, what do you find? Here are twelve products that Monsanto has brought to market. See if you can spot the pattern
4) Atom bomb and nuclear weapons
7) Agent Orange
8) Petroleum based fertilizer
9) Round Up glyphosate herbicide
10) NutraSweet (aspartame)
11) Bovine Growth Hormone
12) Genetically modified crops (GMOs)
Most sobering however, is that the world is once again buying into Monsanto’s “safe” claims.
Just like the early days of PCBs, DDT, Agent Orange, Monsanto has successfully fooled the general public and regulatory agencies into believing that RoundUp, and the genetically modified crops that help sell RoundUp, are “safe.”
Except Monsanto has learned a thing or two in the past 100+ years of defending its dirty products: these days, when a new study proving the negative health or environmental impacts of GMOs emerges, Monsanto attacks the study and its scientist(s) by flooding the media with counter claims from “independent” organizations, scientists, industry associations, blogs, sponsored social media, and articles by “private” public relations firms—frequently founded, funded and maintained by Monsanto.
Unfortunately, few of us take the time to trace the members, founders, and relationships of these seemingly valid sources back to their little Monsanto secret.
How is it that Monsanto is allowed to manipulate our food after such a dark product history? How is it they are allowed to cause such detrimental impact to our environment and our health?
According to the Organic Consumers Association, “There is a direct correlation between our genetically engineered food supply and the $2 trillion the U.S. spends annually on medical care, namely an epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases.”
Instead of healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, and grass-fed animal products, U.S. factory farms and food processors produce a glut of genetically engineered junk foods that generate heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer—backed by farm subsidies—while organic farmers receive no such subsidies.
FOLLOW THIS LINK
The following link takes you to a full-length movie about GMOs. It’s worth a look.
50 JUNK FOOD AND BIOTECH GROUPS BAND TOGETHER
TO KEEP TRUTH FROM THE PUBLIC
If you think it’s tough sorting truth from industry propaganda and lies, get ready for even tougher times ahead. More than 50 front groups, working on behalf of food and biotechnology trade groups―Monsanto being the most prominent―have formed a new coalition called Alliance to Feed the Future, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola.
The alliance, which is being coordinated by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), was created to “balance the public dialogue” on modern agriculture and large-scale food production and technology; i.e.’ this group will aim to become the go-to source for “real” information about the junk being sold as “food.”
The groups comprising this new alliance represent multi-national food companies, the biotech industry, and chemical companies that generate hundreds of billions of dollars worth of revenue from food related sales every year.
The full article is very thorough and revealing:
NON-APPROVED GMO WHEAT FOUND IN OREGON
Unapproved genetically engineered wheat has been discovered in an Oregon field, a potential threat to trade with countries that have concerns about genetically modified foods, according to Mary Clare Jalonik writing for the Associated Press.
The Agriculture Department said that the genetically engineered wheat is safe to eat and there is no evidence that modified wheat entered the marketplace. But the department is investigating how it ended up in the field, whether there was any criminal wrongdoing and whether its growth is widespread.
“We are taking this very seriously,” said Michael Firko of the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
A farmer discovered the genetically modified plants on his farm and contacted Oregon State University, which notified USDA early this month, Firko said.
No genetically engineered wheat has been approved for U.S. farming. USDA officials said the wheat is the same strain as a genetically modified wheat that was legally tested by seed giant Monsanto a decade ago but never approved. Monsanto stopped testing that product in Oregon and several other states in 2005.
The discovery could have far-reaching implications for the U.S. wheat industry if the growth of the engineered product turns out to be far-flung. Many countries around the world will not accept imports of genetically modified foods, and the United States exports about half of its wheat crop.
Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba said in a statement that the discovery is “a very serious development that could have major trade ramifications.” The state exports about 90 percent of its wheat.
“I am concerned that a highly regulated plant material such as genetically modified wheat somehow was able to escape into a crop field,” Coba said.
Monsanto noted that this is the first such report since its program was discontinued.
“While USDA’s results are unexpected, there is considerable reason to believe that the presence of the Roundup Ready trait in wheat, if determined to be valid, is very limited,” the company said.
USDA officials confirmed they have received no other reports of discoveries of genetically modified wheat. Firko and Acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse said they have already been in touch with international trading partners to try to assuage any concerns.
Responding to news that unauthorized genetically engineered (GMO) wheat has been found growing in the U.S., Greenpeace International scientist Janet Cotter made the following statement: “This outbreak of GMO wheat growing in the US confirms our concerns that GMO crops cannot be controlled. This is the latest in a long line of incidents involving the contamination of our food supply with GMO crops not approved for human consumption.”
The developers of GMO wheat have repeatedly said that the wheat will not contaminate conventional or organic wheat because it is predominantly self-pollinating (i.e. the pollen does not spread very far, unlike crops such as maize and oilseed rape). Despite these empty promises, GMO contamination has happened. “The only way to protect our food and environment is to stop the releases of GMO crops to the environment – including a ban on field trials,” Cotter said.
You Are Walking, Talking Organic Terrain, My Friends
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That’s right—think of your bodies as living landscapes, because that’s what they are.
Your body has hills and valleys. The hills—let’s say your shoulders–tend to be dry, but not far away are moist valleys, such as your armpits. Instead of trees, shrubs, and annual grasses inhabited by birds, mammals, predators, and prey, every inch of your landscape is colonized by bacteria and funguses, yeasts and other single-celled microorganisms, and in some cases, by tiny multi-celled organisms like the tardigrades that live in your eyelashes. But the life that lives on you, and in you (90 percent of the cells in your body are the bacteria in your intestines), is subject to the same rules that apply to the life of the fields and streams and hills and valleys of the landscapes where we live. They are most healthy when they are most diverse and forming strong, resilient ecosystems.
So, think now about your body as organically-managed living landscapes such as a garden or farm. Antibacterial soaps are to the life on your skin as pesticides are to the insects in the garden or on the farm. Antibiotics in your food or taken as medicine have the same effect on your intestinal flora—they disrupt the ecosystem by killing off the bacteria. Now if you have a serious infection, antibiotics are a godsend, but only when absolutely necessary.
Look at your food. Highly processed foods contain a raft of chemicals, GMOs, and man-made nutrients like vitamins manufactured in factories. Eating this stuff is the equivalent of using chemical fertilizers in your garden. Organic food, on the other hand, is grown in soil that’s fertilized naturally by actively decaying organic matter: the nutrients that were last season’s plants are deconstructed by microbes and fed to this season’s plants. The same process happens in your digestive system where trillions of microbes dismantle the food you eat and render it into forms your body can use to repair and build tissue.
Sometimes people ask me, “Why should I eat organic food?” There are many reasons but just one best answer to that question: Because you want to protect the life on which your life depends.
COULD CONGRESS PASS A LAW TO PRE-EMPT STATES’ RIGHTS TO LABEL GMOS?
On Wednesday, May 15, the House Ag Committee passed the King Amendment, a measure some say could take away states’ rights to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) reports.
If passed by the Senate, the King Amendment would take away states’ rights to “pass laws governing the production or manufacture of any agricultural product, including food and animals raised for food, that is involved in interstate commerce.”
The amendment was proposed by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), largely in response to a California law stating that by 2015, California will allow only eggs to be sold from hens housed in cages specified by California. But policy analysts emphasize that the measure, broadly and ambiguously written, might be used to prohibit or preempt any state GMO labeling or food safety law.
Will the King Amendment survive the Senate? No one can be sure, say analysts. However few doubt that Monsanto will give up. We can expect that more amendments and riders will be introduced into the Farm Bill – even if the King Amendment fails – over the next month in an attempt to stop the wave of state GMO labeling laws and initiatives moving forward in states like Washington, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and others. That’s why the OCA is calling on consumers to tell their Congress members to reject any rider or amendment that would preempt state’s rights to label GMOs.
AMENDMENT TO REPEAL THE MONSANTO PROTECTION ACT IS KILLED BY SENATE REPUBLICANS
Score another Congressional victory for Monsanto.
Senate Republicans denied an attempt to overturn the so-called “Monsanto Protection Act,” a measure recently signed into law that circumvents judicial authority concerning the planting and development of genetically modified seeds deemed to be unhealthy for human consumption.
An amendment to overturn the provision was put forth by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), but thanks to GOP opposition, it did not receive the unanimous consent required to be considered.
“This legislation, the Monsanto Protection Act, does something that I think most would find astounding,” Sen. Merkley said on Senate floor. “It allows the unrestricted sale and planting of variants of genetically modified seeds that a court has ruled have not been properly examined for their effect on other farmers, the environment, and human health.”
Lead by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who has since come forward to claim responsibility for anonymously slipping in the controversial “farmer assurance provision,” the official name of the Monsanto Protection Act, into a March spending resolution, Republicans prevented Merkley’s amendment from moving forward.
Blunt argues that the provision is to help protect farmers who purchase seeds and plant crops that are later determined to be unsafe.
According to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog group, Blunt has received $95,750 in political donations from Monsanto employees since 1996.
GMO LABELING LAWS MOVE AHEAD IN NEW ENGLAND
Legislators in three New England states are signaling the biotech industry that they’re ready to go to battle for consumers’ right to know about genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
GMO labeling bills recently cleared hurdles in Vermont, Maine and Connecticut. They still have a way to go before becoming law. But it’s a good sign that despite millions spent on lobbying, and despite threats of lawsuits against states that pass the GMO labeling laws, lawmakers are starting to take a stand.
On May 10, the Vermont House of Representatives passed H.112 by a vote of 99-42. The bill will be taken up by the Senate in January, 2014. On May 14, Maine’s L.D. 718 passed out of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee by a vote of 8-5. If passed, the law won’t go into effect until 2018, and then only after four of the nine northeastern states approve similar laws. And on May 21, the Connecticut Senate approved SB 802 by a vote of 35-1. The bill moves next to the Connecticut House.
ARSENIC IN CHICKEN FEED EQUALS ARSENIC IN CHICKEN MEAT
Contrary to what the drug and poultry industries have claimed in the past, the chicken meat on your dinner plate may well contain arsenic, a known carcinogen, if the bird was fed arsenic-based drugs before it was slaughtered.
So says a study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study, published this month in Environmental Health Perspective, provides more evidence that the use of arsenic-laced drugs, fed to chickens to make them grow faster and to improve their color, poses public health risks.
Arsenic in chicken waste, spread on fields as manure, has long been linked to cancer. In 2011, the U.S. Food & Drug Association (FDA) announced a “voluntary suspension” of the arsenic-laced drug Roxarsone, originally sold by Pfizer, Inc., but now owned by its spinoff, Zoetis, after the agency found small amounts of arsenic in the chicken meat it tested. The FDA, which claims that the amounts are too small to be dangerous to humans, has yet to ban the use of the drug in the U.S. But growers who stockpiled it prior to Pfizer’s voluntary suspension, continue to use it. In January of this year (2013) Maryland became the first state to ban the use of Roxarsone and other arsenic-based drugs in chicken feed. Because, well, the FDA can’t seem to get the job done.
There is no arsenic allowed in the production of organic chicken.
NEW REPORT EXPOSES BIOTECH AND JUNK FOOD FRONT GROUPS
Last month, the International Food Information Council Foundation released the third edition of its report: Food Biotechnology: A Communicator’s Guide to Improving Understanding. What sounds like a reasonable and helpful document is in fact the product of a well-oiled PR machine whose board of trustees includes executives from such food giants such as Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, and Mars.
In response to such tactics, Michele Simon of the Center for Food Safety has authored a new report that exposes the well-funded organizations and highly-sophisticated public relations strategies increasingly deployed to defend the food industry.
Her report describes how Big Food and Big Ag hide behind friendly-sounding organizations such as the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, the Center for Consumer Freedom, and the Alliance to Feed the Future. Their idea is to fool the media, policymakers, and general public into trusting these sources, despite their corporate-funded PR agenda.
Read her thorough and eye-opening report by pasting this link into your internet browser:
New GMO Wheat May Silence Human Nutritional Genes
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Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has developed a type of genetically engineered (GMO) wheat that may silence human genes, which could have truly disastrous health consequences, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website.
Last year, University of Canterbury Professor Jack Heinemann released results from genetic research he conducted on the wheat, which unequivocally showed that molecules created in the wheat, intended to silence wheat genes in order to change carbohydrate content, can match human genes and potentially silence them, too.
Heinemann’s research revealed over 770 pages of potential matches between two genes in the GE wheat and the human genome. Over a dozen matches were “extensive and identical and sufficient to cause silencing in experimental systems,” he said.
Experts warned that eating this GE wheat could lead to significant changes in the way glucose and carbohydrates are stored in the human body, which could be potentially deadly for children and lead to serious illness in adults. Yet despite the seriousness of these findings, regulators are ignoring and dismissing such warnings. According to the Institute of Science in Society, the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has approved at least five such GE food products already.
The biotech industry, led by Monsanto, is increasing its propaganda efforts to reshape its public image, and sway your opinion against the need to label genetically engineered foods. As The Atlantic recently reported. “Given its opposition to the labeling of GM foods… it seems clear that Monsanto wants you to close your eyes, open your mouth, and swallow.”
Many consumers are still in the dark about the very real risks that GE crops pose, both to the environment and human health. This is precisely what the biotech industry wants, even as increasing research demonstrates the many dangers associated with GE foods. For example, one recent study found that rats fed for two years with a type of genetically engineered corn that is prevalent in the US food supply developed massive mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and other serious health problems at dietary amounts of about 10 percent. Does 10 percent or more of your diet consist of genetically engineered ingredients? If processed foods form the basis of your diet, then you’re likely consuming far more genetically modified organisms (GMOs) than that, Dr. Mercola says.
Unfortunately, you can’t know for sure how many items in your fridge and pantry might contain GMOs since the U.S. does not require genetically engineered foods to be labeled. With the emergence of gene silencing crops, the need for labeling couldn’t possibly be greater. You can keep GMOs in your diet to a minimum by eating organic food whenever possible.
KIWIFRUIT TO INVADE U.S., PR PERSON CLAIMS
Eva Fedderly kindly wrote to let readers of this blog know that Zespri Organic Kiwifruit is one of the most nutrient-dense foods we have and that it will be reaching our shores within days.
Zespri’s Organic Kiwifruit contains more vitamin C than an orange, more potassium than a banana, has less than 50 calories, and contains lots of fiber, she says. Europeans often eat kiwifruit after meals as a sort of digestif to aid digestion. Also, she says, the kiwifruit is an ideal on-the-go, healthy snack because you can literally just cut it in half and scoop it with spoon! Fancy that.
Well thanks, Eva. I’ll keep an eye peeled for it.
JUDGE RULES CORPORATIONS HAVE NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
When it comes to the Constitution, the application of law, and common sense, the Supreme Court of the United States could learn a thing or two from President Judge Debbie O’Dell-Seneca of the Washington County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania.
Judge O’Dell-Seneca overruled a previous decision that made secret a settlement between a Mount Pleasant Township family injured by fracking on a property adjacent to their own, and a large energy corporation. Local newspapers sued to make the information public, and found that the settlement determined that the public’s right to be informed outstripped the corporation’s right to privacy.
In fact, O’Dell-Seneca went much further than that. The judge asserted corporations have no constitutional rights:
“…the Constitution vests in business entities no special rights that the laws of this Commonwealth cannot extinguish. In sum, [corporations] cannot assert [constitutional privacy] protections because they are not mentioned in its text.”
“…it is axiomatic that corporations, companies, and partnerships have no ‘spiritual nature,’ ‘feelings,’ ‘intellect,’ ‘beliefs,’ ‘thoughts,’ ‘emotions,’ or ‘sensations,’ because they do not exist in the manner that humankind exists… They cannot be ‘let alone’ by government, because businesses are but grapes, ripe upon the vine of the law, that the people of this Commonwealth raise, tend, and prune at their pleasure and need.”
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), provides a great analysis of this case.
Despite the mainstream media’s ostensible blackout on any reporting that calls into question corporate personhood, this recent decision is an important victory for the Move to Amend movement to create a Constitutional Amendment that would deny corporate personhood, an aberrant notion created by the Supreme Court in its Citizens United case.
CELDF Executive Director Thomas Linzey writes that “the ruling represents the first crack in the judicial armor that has been so meticulously welded together by major corporations. And it affirms what many communities already know — that change only occurs when people begin to openly question and challenge legal doctrines that have been treated as sacred by most lawyers and judges.”
Laws follow culture and the legal system adjusts as society’s views shift. This case illustrates that we are collectively beginning to change hearts and minds about the appropriate role of the corporation in society, even amongst those who are entrenched in the current system.
MAJOR OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDOOR FARMING
The organic food and agricultural industries are about to be revolutionized using green LED lighting in greenhouses during winter months.
An article in The Txchnologist magazine (that’s the correct spelling) details a recent study conducted by Purdue University and the implications its findings will have on winter farming. Check out the article by using this link: TXCHNOLOGIST.
The study finds that fans of the local food movement who despair through the winter months at high-priced greenhouse-grown or unripe produce transported over thousands of miles might soon find some relief.
Advanced lighting in greenhouses is successfully using cool and efficient LED systems to grow tomatoes in northern greenhouses through the winter. LED lighting is more energy efficient, and delivers the required amount of light using much less energy.
In an experiment, researchers saw no differences in productivity between plants grown under power-hungry sodium lights and those grown with LEDs. The difference in energy costs was significant, though. Cost for HPS lamps was 403 percent more than that of using vertical LED towers in the study
GMO FUNGUS NOW (AND FOREVER) ON THE LOOSE
The Institute for Responsible Technology reports that a GMO fungus has escaped from a genetic engineering laboratory at Lincoln University in New Zealand.
Before it was genetically modified, Beauveria bassiana was employed as a biological insecticide to control a variety of pests. After its genes were tinkered with, in a classic case of mistaken identity, scientists confused the GMO fungus with its natural strain already present in the environment and the GMO strain was inadvertently released into the wild. As a result, despite constant reassurances given the public that potentially dangerous organisms are contained securely within research labs, this experiment was not conducted within the required and approved genetic modification containment facilities.
The buildings suspected of the leak have been shut down until the severity and extent of the situation are fully understood. Don’t hold your breath, though; almost two weeks after the incident, investigators are still at a loss as to how it occurred. To top that off, both the university and research agency involved had been previously implicated or found responsible for other GE experiment breaches. So much for safeguards and assurances. Tragically, self-propagating genetic pollution is permanent. It cannot be recalled from the environment.
What might the GMO fungus do to the environment and its ecosystems? Who knows? Nothing like it has ever appeared on earth before. But I guess we’ll find out.
SEED-SAVING ILLEGAL IF YOU USE MONSANTO’S SEED
The Supreme Court recently came down on the side of Monsanto in a case that’s resonating through the biotech industry. It ruled that an Indiana farmer violated Monsanto’s patent on genetically modified soybeans when he used next-generation seeds to plant his future crops; in essence, the court said, he made copies of a patented invention.
Is Organic Farming the Answer to the Global Warming Crisis?
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Scientists atop Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii have announced that for the first time in three million years, atmospheric carbon dioxide has reached 400 parts per million—a level that many scientists consider a tipping point as the earth enters a period of heat and destructive storms, sea rises of from 60 to 80 feet, and other environmental assaults that may change life on earth and wipe out many species, including homo sapiens.
While I firmly believe that all this excess carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases like methane are the result of humanity’s burning of fossil fuels for energy and of short-sighted agricultural practices, a few ideologues say that it’s all part of a natural cycle and mankind has nothing to do with it. To them I say, so what? The science shows we’ve reached 400 ppm and computer models show that to be a very dangerous threshold to cross, no matter where or how the greenhouse gases arise.
If human beings had the political will, we might be able to slow the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide significantly. Here’s how:
1) Use electricity generated by islands of solar panels floating on the electrolytic oceans to dissociate seawater into oxygen and hydrogen, and burn them back together for energy to replace fossil fuels.
2) Farm our lands organically, recycling nutrients back to the land by
composting, and sequestering carbon by burying biochar by the millions
of tons. Biochar is roasted organic matter containing most of its carbon
that will stay buried in the soil for thousands of years, removing it from
uses that create carbon dioxide. Or just google biochar. It’s fascinating.
3) Create a worldwide body to plant trees, shrubs, or whatever will grow to
absorb carbon into plant matter, at the same time curbing the destruction
of forests everywhere in the world.
I could go on, but you get the idea. There is much we could do, if we only had a will. Those who chant “Drill Baby Drill,” who want to develop the fossil fuel resources of the Arctic, who want to burn and sell the sludge from Canadian tar sands brought to the U.S., by the Pipeline XL, who recklessly pursue fracking, and who pump crude oil from the ground around the world—these people are addicted to the money to be made from fossil fuels. They are like cocaine addicts who’ll do anything to get their drugs, or like a heroin addict whose quest for the next fix becomes the meaning of his life until he snuffs it out with an overdose. Only in the case of fossil fuels and the carbon dioxide we dump into the atmosphere, it may be that everyone gets snuffed out along with the addicts.
Analysis Finds Monsanto’s GE Corn
Nutritionally Inferior and High in Toxins
A report given to MomsAcrossAmerica by an employee of De Dell Seed Company (Canada’s only non-GMO corn seed company) offers a stunning picture of the nutritional differences between genetically engineered (GE) and non-GE corn, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola.
Here’s a small sampling of the nutritional differences found in this 2012 nutritional analysis:
• Calcium: GMO corn = 14 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 6,130 ppm (437 times more)
• Magnesium: GMO corn = 2 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 113 ppm (56 times more)
• Manganese: GMO corn = 2 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 14 ppm (7 times more)
GMO corn was also found to contain 13 ppm of glyphosate, compared to zero in non-GMO corn. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “safe” level for glyphosate in American water supplies is 0.7 ppm. In Europe, the maximum allowable level in water is 0.2 ppm. Organ damage in animals has occurred at levels as low as 0.1 ppm… At 13 ppm, GMO corn contains more than 18 times the “safe” level of glyphosate set by the EPA.
Another health hazard associated with glyphosate is its effect on gut bacteria. Not only does it promote the growth of more virulent pathogens, it also kills off beneficial bacteria that might keep such pathogens in check. And as we saw in a recent post on this site, glyphosatr disables an enzyme that is involved with detoxifying health-damaging chemicals in the body, so glyphosate not only damages the body itself, but prevents good bacteria from disarming disease-causing bacteria, and helps other toxins damage the body further.
Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey
More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce, according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News, writes author Andrew Schneider.
The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled “honey.”
The removal of these microscopic particles of pollen would make the honey flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies.
The food safety divisions of the World Health Organization, the European Commission, and dozens of others also have ruled that without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says that any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey. However, the FDA isn’t checking honey sold here to see if it contains pollen.
Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey. It is a spin-off of a technique refined by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey – some containing illegal antibiotics – on the U.S. market for years.
Food Safety News decided to test honey sold in various outlets after its earlier investigation found U.S. groceries flooded with Indian honey banned in Europe as unsafe because of contamination with antibiotics, heavy metal and a total lack of pollen which prevented tracking its origin.
Food Safety News purchased more than 60 jars, jugs and plastic bears of honey in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
The contents were analyzed for pollen by Vaughn Bryant, a professor at Texas A&M University and one of the nation’s premier melissopalynologists, or investigators of pollen in honey.
Bryant, who is director of the Palynology Research Laboratory, found that among the containers of honey provided by Food Safety News:
•76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed, These were stores like TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.
•100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.
•77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.
•100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smuckers, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.
•Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.
And if you have to buy at major grocery chains, the analysis found that your odds are somewhat better of getting honey that wasn’t ultra-filtered if you buy brands labeled as organic. Out of seven samples tested, five (71 percent) were heavy with pollen. All of the organic honey was produced in Brazil, according to the labels.
“In my judgment, it is pretty safe to assume that any ultra-filtered honey on store shelves is Chinese honey and it’s even safer to assume that it entered the country uninspected and in violation of federal law,” he added.
Richard Adee, whose 80,000 hives in multiple states produce 7 million pounds of honey each year, told Food Safety News that “honey has been valued by millions for centuries for its flavor and nutritional value and that is precisely what is completely removed by the ultra-filtration process.”
“There is only one reason to ultra-filter honey and there’s nothing good about it,” he says.
“It’s no secret to anyone in the business that the only reason all the pollen is filtered out is to hide where it initially came from and the fact is that in almost all cases, that is China,” Adee added.
Chinese honey has long had a poor reputation in the U.S., where – in 2001 – the Federal Trade Commission imposed stiff import tariffs or taxes to stop the Chinese from flooding the marketplace with dirt-cheap, heavily subsidized honey, which was forcing American beekeepers out of business.
To avoid the dumping tariffs, the Chinese quickly began transshipping honey to several other countries, then laundering it by switching the color of the shipping drums, the documents and labels to indicate a bogus but tariff-free country of origin for the honey.
Most U.S. honey buyers knew about the Chinese actions because of the sudden availability of lower cost honey, and little was said.
The FDA — either because of lack of interest or resources — devoted little effort to inspecting imported honey. Nevertheless, the agency had occasionally either been told of, or had stumbled upon, Chinese honey contaminated with chloramphenicol and other illegal animal antibiotics which are dangerous, even fatal, to a very small percentage of the population.
The U.S. imported 208 million pounds of honey over the past 18 months. Almost 60 percent came from Asian countries – traditional laundering points for Chinese honey. This included 45 million pounds from India alone.
And websites still openly offer brokers who will illegally transship honey and scores of other tariff-protected goods from China to the U.S.
The big grocery chains were no help in identifying the sources of the honey they package in their store brands.
For example, when Food Safety News was hunting the source of nine samples that came back as ultra-filtered from QFC, Fred Myer and King Sooper, the various customer service numbers all led to representatives of Kroger, which owns them all. The replies were identical: “We can’t release that information. It is proprietary.”
US EPA hikes glyphosate limits in food and feed – again
In obedience to a demand from Monsanto, the US EPA is proposing to hike the allowed residue limits — yet again — of the herbicide glyphosate in various food and feed crops, according to GM Watch. The allowed level in teff animal feed will be 100 parts per million (ppm); and in oilseed crops, 40 ppm. Allowed levels in some fruits and vegetables eaten by humans will also rise.
As a comparison, malformations in frog and chicken embryos were documented by Prof Andres Carrasco’s team at 2.03 ppm glyphosate, when injected into the embryos.
The EPA’s move comes shortly after the release of a study showing that glyphosate inhibits the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and leads to the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. Glyphosate concentrations at 0.1 mg/ml were found to inhibit growth of E. faecalis bacteria. E faecalis suppresses a bacterium called C. botulinum, which is responsible for botulism in cattle. The same concentration of glyphosate did not inhibit growth of C. botulinum. Some poultry and cattle feed samples in Germany were found to have 0.4–0.9 mg glyphosate/kg.
The findings suggest that glyphosate residues in feed may explain the increase in botulism seen in cattle in recent years.
Conclusion: there’s never been a better time to eat organic – and to object on animal welfare grounds to supermarkets’ decision to allow GM animal feed into their supply chains.
FDA Admits Chicken Meat Contains Arsenic
Arsenic is commonly added to poultry feed for the FDA-approved purposes of inducing faster weight gain on less feed, and creating the perceived appearance of a healthy color in meat from chickens, turkeys and hogs. Yet new studies increasingly link these practices to serious human health problems. A lawsuit filed last week seeks to force the FDA to fulfill its mandate to better protect the public from arsenic. The 2009 petition presented abundant science to FDA that arsenic compounds—like those added to animal feed—are directly toxic to animals and humans, but also that they convert to cancer-causing arsenic inside of chickens, in manure-treated soil and in humans. Additional testing since submission of the 2009 petition demonstrates even greater cause for public concern and therefore greater urgency meriting FDA’s prompt attention.
Organic Lifestyle Comments Off on INDEFENSIBLE
As someone who’s interested in eating organic food, you and millions upon millions of other people have brought worldwide agriculture to a tipping point. It has finally come to the world’s public consciousness that conventional chemical agriculture is an indefensible way to grow food.
The food system hasn’t changed completely yet, but it’s changing and changing fast. Many people now know that industrial agriculture destroys the soil, poisons the environment, produces substandard food, and damages human health. The industrial agricultural system is vast, but it’s beginning to break apart.
I have some perspective on this. It started in 1961 in eastern Pennsylvania, when I was graduating from college and in love with a young woman who was secretary to an executive at a small, local publishing outfit called Rodale Press. It was run by an intense man named J.I. Rodale and published two magazines: Prevention and Organic Farming & Gardening.
Rodale had a genius for understanding the way industrial agriculture goes against nature. He wrote about how it’s based on killing: its tools are pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, and throw in rodenticides. Yes, ~cide, as in suicide. And so he promoted farming that was just the opposite of chemical agriculture: organic farming (and gardening) that looks to emulate nature rather than thwart her, and by emulating her systems, enhance and augment them.
By 1963, I was working at Rodale Press on Organic Gardening. It was a little, digest-sized magazine with a small but loyal group of readers. “Little old ladies in tennis shoes,” is how we characterized the folks we were writing for. The magazine taught readers how to make compost for fertilizer, how to mulch for weed control, how to deal with insects in non-chemical ways, and how to grow good crops of fruits and vegetables.
When the world woke up to environmentalism in 1970, the magazine was perfectly poised to take a leading role in disseminating the movement’s ideals. Subscriptions shot up from about 200,000 to a million through the 1970s.
But something else was happening. Industrial agriculture became much more aggressive. Big Farms bought up small family farms. Fewer farmers farmed more land, and they did it with ever-more-harmful chemicals, ever-more-dangerous pesticides, greater quantities of chemicals, huge amounts of antibiotics, and finally, the developed genetically engineered foods. The killing machine that is modern chemical agriculture pried open the control panel of life and started doing what monkeys always do: monkeying around. Let’s put a frog gene into alfalfa and see what happens. Let’s take the gene from a bacterium that makes an insect toxin and insert it into corn, making each corn plant into a pesticide manufacturing facility. And on and on.
But the evidence of harm kept building. Now we know that Round Up herbicide causes a whole host of illnesses in humans. Now we know that genetically modified foods can turn not just corn but our own bodies into pesticide manufacturing facilities. Now we know that there are something like 275 human-made chemical compounds in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies. Now we see the skyrocketing incidence of obesity, diabetes, autism, celiac disease, cancer, and other diseases, and we are tracing their genesis back to the chemicals used in industrial agriculture.
And so all the lies and disinformation that Big Ag can buy are beginning to fall on deaf ears. Industrial agriculture is beginning to be seen for the bloated, money-clogged, pathological, destructive system that it is.
And J.I. Rodale’s tiny cry in the wind of a half century ago has become a maelstrom of public outrage against the chemical giants, the tainted food, the genetic frankenfoods, and the poisoning of life on earth. Organic food production, despite whatever flaws it may have—for nothing is perfect in this world—still returns the precious earth, acre by acre, back to Mother Nature to nourish and to heal.
Lie as the corporations might, industrial agriculture has become indefensible.
SOMETHING TO EAT
Delicious, non-GMO, organic, raw, vegan snacks and superfoods from Navitas Naturals. Check them out at www.navitasnaturals.com. The cacao-goji snacks and the sun-dried dragonfruit slices are wonderful.
SOMETHING NOT TO EAT
Del Monte, one of the world’s largest growers and distributors of pineapples, has developed a genetically modified pineapple that’s currently being grown in Costa Rica, one of the top pineapple-producing countries. It has just received approval by the USDA for eventual sale in the U.S.
The Latest Dirty Dozen from the Environmental Working Group
Fruits and veggies high in pesticide residues include apples, strawberries, grapes, peaches and imported nectarines, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and hot peppers.
Fruits and vegetables low in pesticide residues include asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cantaloupe, corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, mushrooms, onions, papayas, pineapples, English peas and sweet potatoes.
This latter group may not be residue free, but lists foods that are likely to have lower residues than the Dirty Dozen.
Biotech Industry Unveils New Propaganda Campaign
New efforts to force labeling of foods made with genetically modified crops, including a bill introduced by U.S. lawmakers, have struck a nerve with biotech crop developers who say they are rushing to roll out a broad strategy to combat consumer concerns about their products. The big biotech firms are still working out details of their plan, but it will likely have a large social media component, company executives said. The group will focus on conveying what it says are the many benefits of biotech crops.
Sounds like we’ll be getting tweets and Facebook messages, texts and robocalls telling us how safe and beneficial genetically modified crops are. And the messages will most likely not be attributed to Monsanto, DuPont, or Dow Chemical, but rather to some “respected scientist” with an MD or Ph.D after their name and a big, fancy title like, President, “Scientists for Common Sense.” The messages will be friendly, concerned for your health and for world health, and will tell you how science has shown GMO foods to be entirely safe—and more nutritious, too. But make no mistake. Such “scientists” will have been paid handsomely to sweet talk you—Wormtongue you—by you know who.
Once again, ask yourself, “Why don’t they want me to know what’s in my food?”
Majority of EU Countries Support
Partial Ban on Bee-Killing Pesticides
A clear majority of EU countries have supported the European Commission proposal to temporarily ban three pesticides that are scientifically shown to be harmful to bees: imidacloprid and clothianidin, produced by chemical company Bayer, and thiamethoxam, produced by Syngenta, according to environmental reporter Cassady Sharp..
The three pesticides are all neonicotinoids, pesticides that are used to coat seeds before germination, added to soil, or sprayed on plants.
In scientific reports published earlier this year, which triggered the Commission’s proposal, the European Food Safety Authority said the three neonicotinoids posed high acute risks to honeybees in certain crop uses. Extensive peer-reviewed scientific research has linked even low doses of neonicotinoids with neurological and other physiological damage to bees, as well as with disrupted foraging patterns and damage to their immune systems. Partial bans of neonicotinoids are already in place in Italy, France, Germany, and Slovenia, with no significant negative impacts on agricultural production.
Greenpeace European bees campaign coordinator Matthias Wüthrich said: “Bee decline is one of the most obvious and visible effects of a failed industrial farming model, which contaminates our environment and destroys farmers’ smartest natural ally – pollinators. European policymakers should shift funding away from chemical-intensive agriculture and promote ecological farming.”
How can anyone disagree with a movement toward an eco-friendly agriculture that cherishes its pollinators? Oh…that’s right. The companies that make and sell agricultural chemicals. Indefensible.