STUDY SHOWS GMO DAMAGE TO PIGS
Organic Lifestyle Comments Off on STUDY SHOWS GMO DAMAGE TO PIGS
A LONG-TERM TOXICOLOGY STUDY ON PIGS FED A COMBINED GENETICALLY MODIFIED (GM) SOY AND GM MAIZE DIET
By Dr. Judy A. Carman, Howard R. Vlieger, et al.
A significant number of genetically modified (GM) crops have been approved to enter human food and animal feed since 1996, including crops containing several GM genes ‘stacked’ into the one plant. We randomised and fed isowean pigs either a mixed GM soy and GM corn (maize) diet or an equivalent non-GM diet in a longterm toxicology study of 22.7 weeks (the normal lifespan of a commercial pig from weaning to slaughter).
Equal numbers of male and female pigs were present in each group. The GM corn contained double and triple-stacked varieties. Feed intake, weight gain, mortality and blood biochemistry were measured. Organ weights and pathology were determined post-mortem. There were no differences between pigs fed the GM and non-GM diets for feed intake, weight gain, mortality, and routine blood biochemistry measurements.
The GM diet was associated with gastric and uterine differences in pigs. GM-fed pigs had uteri that were 25 percent heavier than non-GM fed pigs. GM-fed pigs had a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation with a rate of 32 percent of GM-fed pigs compared to 12 percent of non-GM-fed pigs. The severe stomach inflammation was worse in GM-fed males compared to non-GM fed males by a factor of 4 (400 percent) and GM-fed females compared to non-GM fed females by a factor of 2.2 (220 percent).
SYNGENTA CEO MAKES STUPID REMARKS ABOUT FARMING, GMOS
“There is very little about farming that’s natural,” Syngenta CEO Mike Mack told the Huffington Post at the recent Davos economic summit.
“Farming’s been around for 10,000 years and a lot of farming has been trying to keep the pests, however you do that, off the farm,” Mack continued. “As you get land grown more intensively, pest resistance is going to rise. How can you have a multiplicity of tools… to treat the pests who want to have a go at that crop?”
Mack called GMOs “a tool from the tool box; it is progressive.”
MMM…4-METHYLIMIDAZOLE. NOW THAT’S GOOD EATIN’
A Consumer Reports study found varying levels of 4-methylimidazole, a potentially carcinogenic chemical found in some caramel coloring, in 12 brands of soda from five manufacturers. The group recommended the FDA set a maximum level of the substance as an additive in foods or soda, require labeling, and ban products from using “natural” on labeling if they contain caramel colors.
The FDA responded by saying it has no reason to believe the coloring is unsafe but is reviewing new data on the safety of 4-methylimidazole to determine if regulatory action needs to be taken.
Top GMO Right-to-Know Grocers
Organic Lifestyle Comments Off on Top GMO Right-to-Know Grocers
From the Organic Retail and Consumer Alliance, a project of the Organic Consumers Association, comes this list of “Right to Know” grocery stores. They are stores that chipped in money to support the GMO right-to-know initiatives in California and Washington. If one of these stores is in your community, it deserves your whole-hearted support.
Alfalfa’s Market, Boulder, CO
Dad’s Organic Market, Saskatoon and Regina, SK
Downtown Farm Stand, Muncie, IN
Durango Natural Foods Co-Op, Durango, CO
Green Grocer, Chicago, IL and Dallas, TX
Mile High Organics, Denver, CO
Nourish Organic Market & Deli, Grand Rapids, MI
People’s Food Co-Op, Ann Arbor, MI
Sunspot Natural Market, Kokomo and West Lafayette, IN
To Your Health Market, Merrill, WI
Alternative Food Cooperative, Wakefield, RI
Berkshire Co-Op Market, Great Barrington, MA
Berkshire Organics Market & Deli, Dalton, MA
Dean’s Natural Food Market, Ocean, NJ
Debra’s Natural Gourmet, Concord, MA
Gary Null’s Uptown Whole Foods, New York, NY
Living Earth Natural Food & Supplement Center, Worcester, MA
MOM’s Organic Market, Baltimore, MD & Washington, DC
The Good Tern Co-Op, Rockland, ME
Upper Valley Food Co-Op, White River Junction, VT
Alberta Co-Op Grocery, Portland, OR
Ashland Food Co-Op, Ashland, OR
Chautauqua Natural Foods, Garberville, CA
Cliff’s Country Market, Caldwell, ID
Good Food Store, Missoula, MT
LifeSource Natural Foods, Salem, OR
Neighbors Market, Vancouver, WA
PCC Natural Markets, Seattle, WA
Sundance Natural Foods, Eugene, OR
Terra Organica, Bellingham, WA
4th Generation Market, Boca Raton, FL
Bare Essentials Natural Market, Boone, NC
Choice’s Natural Market, Venice, FL
Food and Thought Organic Market & Restaurant, Naples, FL
Health Trail Natural Foods, Newport News, VA
Native Sun Natural Foods Market, Jacksonville, FL
Nature’s Food Patch Market & Cafe, Clearwater, FL
Sunseed Food Co-Op, Cape Canaveral, FL
The Health Nut, Callao, VA
Tidal Creek Co-Op Food Market, Wilmington, NC
Down to Earth Organic & Natural, 5 stores on Hawaiian islands
Briar Patch Co-Op Natural Foods Community Market, Grass Valley, CA
Good Earth Natural Foods, Fairfax, CA
Goodwin’s Organic Foods & Drinks, Riverside, CA
Green PolkaDot Box, American Fork, UT
Jimbo’s…Naturally! San Diego, CA
Natural Grocery Company, El Cerrito & Berkeley, CA
New Leaf Community Markets, Santa Cruz, CA
Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Co-Op, San Diego, CA
Pacific Coast Greens, Malibu, CA
WHOLE FOODS: NO MORE FOODS GROWN IN SEWAGE SLUDGE
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) recently broke the story that the $12.9 billion-a-year grocery retailer Whole Foods Market had a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” when it came to non-organic produce being grown in fields spread with sewage sludge, euphemistically called biosolids.
Certified organic produce cannot be fertilized with sewage sludge, which is the residue of industrial and hospital waste and human excrement collected at sewage treatment plants and later–in some cases–spread on crops.
Since this story broke, nearly 8,000 activists and PRWatch readers have sent emails to Whole Foods executives asking the company to require its suppliers to disclose this information and to label produce grown in sewage sludge so that customers can make informed decisions.
Mario Ciasulli, a semi-retired engineer and home cook living in North Carolina, whom CMD profiled in December, 2012, blew the whistle on Whole Foods’ policy. As soon as he found out that shopping at Whole Foods was no protection against this potential contamination unless he could afford to buy only certified organic produce, he worked extensively to engage Whole Foods on this issue. He has insisted that management address his concerns about potential contamination of non-organic produce, price barriers to organic produce for those who are concerned, and the difficulty of finding out what non-organic produce may have been grown in soil fertilized with sewage sludge without labelling and accountability.
In late 2013, Whole Foods announced a new set of standards for the fresh produce and flowers it sells. Sewage sludge was not mentioned in the announcement, but Ciasulli received word from the company that “prohibiting the use of biosolids will be part of our core requirements. All of our suppliers will be compliant with the core requirements by the time we roll out the program.” A follow-up email to Ciasulli indicated, “This initial release was meant to be high-level. There are far too many nuances to include on a press release.”
Now Whole Foods Market spokesperson Kate Lowery has confirmed to CMD that the new standards will eventually prohibit the use of biosolids.
Sewage sludge is created by all of the human waste flushed down the toilet and sinks — which includes all the pharmaceutical residues from all the prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs taken by the men, women, and children in the city using the sewage system — and all the waste and toxic substances corporations flush down the drain, which can include industrial materials like solvents and other chemicals, plus medical waste.
The water is removed from the sludge, and it is heated to kill certain bacteria, but the heating of the sewage sludge does not remove dissolved metals like silver, metals like lead ajnd cadmium, flame retardants (which California recently listed as a carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent), and other chemicals.
In addition to flame retardants and metals, sewage sludge has been shown to contain toxic substances and other contaminants such as endocrine disruptors, pharmaceutical residues, phthalates, industrial solvents, resistant pathogens, and perfluorinated compounds. Some of these contaminants can bioaccumulate in plants grown in sludge-contaminated soil and remain as residue on vegetables in contact with the soil.
These plants are then eaten by children and adults.
THE FOOD CHAIN HAS CHANGED
The Organic Consumers Association reminds us how the food chain of our grandparents’ time has changed—a lot.
Fish no longer eat other fish. Cattle eat corn, even though it makes them sick. Chickens eat corn and fish. And fish eat byproducts from cows and poultry.
Even chicken feathers have become food.
California grows oranges, but sends them away because they’re too difficult to peel. The oranges Californians eat come from Australia.
The food chain doesn’t look like it used to.
Demand for more food, and cheaper food, has created a food chain that’s motivated to make the greatest amount of food at the cheapest cost. It’s efficient, if you measure efficiency by corporate profits. But in terms of health and the environment? Grandma wouldn’t approve.
BIG FOOD HAS BEEN LYING TO US ALL ALONG (DUH!)
Stephanie Soechtig’s “Fed Up,” as one might guess from the documentary’s title, is not a cheery little film, Brooks Barnes writes in The New York Times.
“While not quite delivering a Michael Moore-style vituperation, Ms. Soechtig and her executive producers — among them Katie Couric and Laurie David — make their exasperation extremely clear,” Barnes reports.
“’Fed Up,’ which is narrated by Ms. Couric, argues that food companies and their lobbyists have systematically misled consumers for decades, resulting in the world’s obesity epidemic. And the government, right down to Michelle Obama, has aided and abetted the problem, the documentary says.
“The film had its premiere at Sundance recently, but is far from the first documentary to take a harsh look at Big Food. Morgan Spurlock’s ‘Super Size Me’ visited this turf a decade ago. But ‘Fed Up,’ in part by holding some very high-profile feet to the fire, aims not only to inform but also to start a full-fledged movement.
“’We plan on taking this to the streets,’ said Ms. David, who helped produce the Oscar-winning global warming documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’
“’I hope that you folks feel pretty fed up after seeing this,’ she said of her film, which compares food conglomerates like Kraft, Coca-Cola and Kellogg to the tobacco companies that lied to consumers about the dangers of smoking.
“Mrs. Obama, who declined to speak with Ms. Soechtig according to the film, is portrayed as a patsy, with her well-meaning ‘Let’s Move!’ childhood obesity initiative quickly co-opted by food giants and undercut by politics. ‘I was disappointed she wouldn’t talk to us but not surprised,’ Ms. Soechtig said.
Most food companies also declined to participate, but some very prominent people did speak at length for the film, including former President Bill Clinton.”
Organic Milk: A Better Nutritional Profile
Organic Lifestyle Comments Off on Organic Milk: A Better Nutritional Profile
Organic milk has a healthier nutritional profile than conventional milk, according to a recent scientific article in PLoS-One.
For the first time, researchers took a long-term, nationwide look at how farming practices affect milk quality. Specifically, they examined omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratios. Healthy omega-6 to omega-3 ratios are low, around 2.3 to 1, but unhealthy diet trends have increased that ratio to between 10 and 15 to1, creating a deficiency of omega-3s. These omega fatty acid deficiencies can have negative health consequences, including inflammation, higher risk of heart disease, weight gain, depression, and diabetes.
In this study, researchers examined 220 organic and 164 conventional milk samples from dairies around the United States. They found that organic milk contained 25 percent less omega-6 fatty acids and 62 percent more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk, providing a healthier ratio. Conversely, there’s an unhealthy 2.5-fold higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in conventional compared to organic milk.
The study also took a look at how adult women can alter their diet to increase their consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. They found that by consuming high levels of organic milk with reduced intake of omega-6 fatty acids in their diet, women could decrease their omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid profile by around 80 percent.
OUR LAST GASP AS A DEMOCRACY
Because the organic community stands for real American values of protection of nature, personal liberty, personal privacy, clean food, and fairness to farmers, it’s important to note how forces at work in our beloved country today are threatening these values. Chris Hedges, writing in TruthDig, sounds this alarm:
“This is our last gasp as a democracy. The state’s wholesale intrusion into our lives and obliteration of privacy are now facts. And the challenge to us—one of the final ones, I suspect—is to rise up in outrage and halt this seizure of our rights to liberty and free expression. If we do not do so we will see ourselves become a nation of captives.
“The public debates about the government’s measures to prevent terrorism, the character assassination of Edward Snowden and his supporters, the assurances by the powerful that no one is abusing the massive collection and storage of our electronic communications miss the point.
“Any state that has the capacity to monitor all its citizenry, any state that has the ability to snuff out factual public debate through control of information, any state that has the tools to instantly shut down all dissent is totalitarian.
“Our corporate state may not use this power today. But it will use it if it feels threatened by a population made restive by its corruption, ineptitude, and mounting repression. The moment a popular movement arises—and one will arise—that truly confronts our corporate masters, our venal system of total surveillance will be thrust into overdrive.
“The most radical evil, as Hannah Arendt pointed out, is the political system that effectively crushes its marginalized and harassed opponents and, through fear and the obliteration of privacy, incapacitates everyone else.
“Our system of mass surveillance is the machine by which this radical evil will be activated. If we do not immediately dismantle the security and surveillance apparatus, there will be no investigative journalism or judicial oversight to address abuse of power. There will be no organized dissent. There will be no independent thought. Criticisms, however tepid, will be treated as acts of subversion. And the security apparatus will blanket the body politic like black mold until even the banal and ridiculous become concerns of national security.”
I might add that we got a foretaste of what Hedges is talking about when we saw what happened to the peaceful and Constitutional Occupy movement that tried to call attention to the abuses of power and fraud being committed by Wall Street and the banks. The surveillance apparatus feeding intelligence from the NSA, CIA, and FBI to the local militarized police forces around the nation busted heads and arrested protestors and drove the Occupiers out of business.
It all sounds so Orwellian and seems so nightmarish because it is, folks. It is.
BIG FOOD’S PLAN TO END OPPOSITION TO GMO LABELING
The following is an important article from the Organic Consumers Association.
“The food industry is going door-to-door on Capitol Hill, seeking lawmakers willing to sponsor a bill to preempt state mandatory GMO labeling laws by substituting a weak federal ‘solution.’
“The solution Big Food has in mind, revealed on Jan. 7 by POLITICO, would limit the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) power to require mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It would also wipe out states’ rights to enact mandatory labeling laws, and would guarantee companies the right to use the word ‘natural’ on products that contain GMOs.
“Big Food’s plan also would likely try to appease consumers by including weak FDA guidance on voluntary labeling of GMOs—guidance that would exempt common ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, canola oil and others. And require little or no independent verification for claiming a product is GMO-free.
“It’s not as though we didn’t see it coming.
“Last week, after learning that the Grocery Manufacturers Association (Big Food’s lobbying group), had petitioned the FDA to allow food makers to use the word ‘natural’ on GMO-contaminated foods, we predicted a treacherous road ahead for the anti-GMO movement in 2014.
“In 2013, we warned about a letter to the FDA asking the agency to finalize its 2001 guidance on voluntary labeling of GMOs—a move we suggested then, and still believe, would preempt state and federal mandatory labeling of GMOs.
In a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, two former government officials floated the idea of a compromise that would include allowing specific amounts of GMOs, and/or exemptions for certain ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup or canola oil, where processing has made it impossible to detect GMO ingredients. The authors also reiterated industry’s argument that if consumers want GMO-free, they can buy organic.
“In response, one scientist told the OCA: ‘That is a smokescreen that allows the biotech industry to avoid taking responsibility for the harm caused by their patented, transgenic creations. Without mandatory GMO labeling, there is no way to understand public health impacts or conduct epidemiological research on diets containing GMOs.’
“After decades of quietly profiting by contaminating food products with cheap, unsafe GMO-contaminated ingredients, the food industry sees those profits at risk. They’ve spent millions to defeat laws that are common in 60 other countries. Now, in an effort to undermine state laws, and subvert the democratic process, Big Food wants to cut a deal with Congress and the FDA. A deal that will provide no meaningful protection for consumers, and hand industry yet another free pass to poison and pollute.
“Consumers have been clear. More than 90 percent of us want mandatory GMO labeling laws. No voluntary schemes. No watered-down regulations. No compromises. Please sign our petition to the FDA asking the agency to reject any federal law that is weaker than the state laws already passed in Maine and Connecticut, and proposed in Vermont and other states.”
You can find the petition at this site: http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50865/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12702
RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ORGANIC FARMING REVITALIZE AN ITALIAN TOWN
The following article is by Laurie Guevara-Stone of EcoWatch and was published on January 9, 2014
“A trip to Varese Ligure, Italy, will bring you face to face with a charming town of pastel-colored houses and a plethora of restaurants serving dishes with organic porcini mushrooms and chestnuts. Stop at the bustling markets and you will see Italians who have travelled from far and wide to purchase the locally produced organic meats, cheeses, and honey. It’s a far cry from just 20 years ago, when this town in the Liguria region of northwest Italy was fading away due to a lack of jobs, no industry, decaying properties, and a lack of essential services.
“At the end of the 1980s, Varese Ligure had gone from a population of 6,000 to 2,250. However, the mayor at the time, Maurizio Caranza, refused to give up hope for his dying town. He decided to take what others thought of as Varese Ligure’s weaknesses–geographical isolation, lack of modern industry, antiquated farming practices–and turn them into strengths. He realized the valley’s clean air and unspoiled land were assets and opportunities. What better way to capitalize on those attributes than by becoming a sustainable tourist destination through renewable energy and organic farming?
“Now, 20 years later, four wind turbines produce 8 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year, generating three times more electricity than the town uses. The town hall and secondary school are covered with solar photovoltaic panels, producing on site 98 percent and 62 percent of their electricity needs, respectively. The wastewater treatment plant has a 4 kW PV system and the town swimming pool is heated with solar panels. There is also a small 8 kW hydroelectric system.
“The electricity from the renewable energy systems is fed into the local grid managed by ACAM, the electric utility company in La Spezia. While ACAM manages and maintains the wind turbines, the ACAM utility and the municipality jointly own them. ACAM pays Varese Ligure about $30,000 each year for the excess electricity and also provides the town with various services as part of its payment for the electricity, such as sorted waste and landfill site management.
“To rebuild the town, Caranza asked the residents if they would be willing to repair and renovate their ancient stone houses if the town’s administration got funding to redo the roads, sewers, aqueducts, and street lighting. Though some people were resistant at first, Caranza finally won them over, and home renovations began. While some of the funding for renovations came from the European Union, the majority of it came from the citizens themselves. A psychological factor was at work, Caranza said. ‘If you go to someone’s house and it’s much nicer and cleaner than yours, then when you go back to your home you realize that you want to improve it, too.’
“There was also a lot of education about organic farming practices, and a push for farmers to stop using chemical fertilizers. Most farmers actually couldn’t afford chemical fertilizers, so were farming without chemicals out of necessity already, but weren’t officially certified. To get these conservative farmers to become organic certified, Caranza explained that organic products could be sold at higher prices and helped farmers get EU grants for organic farms. Now 108 organic farms supply 98 percent of town’s produce, meat, and dairy products. The Vara valley, now known as the ‘Organic Valley,’ became Europe’s first valley certified as the international benchmark for environmental management.
“One important program they started in the town in 1996 was the Environmental Education Center (CEA), which educates children of the region about organic agriculture, renewable energy, and sustainability. The CEA takes schoolchildren on tours of organic farms, dairy cooperatives, and bee keeping operations; it offers educational courses on small wind turbines, solar panels, and solar cookers; and it educates youth about energy consumption and climate change.
“Varese Ligure is currently rated one of the best small towns in Italy by the Touring Club Italiano, even receiving the organization’s orange flag, awarded to small towns for excellence in tourism, hospitality, and the environment. There has been a 500 percent increase in tourists since the late 1990s, an additional $514,000 in annual tax revenues, 140 new jobs, and a stable population.
“Caranza is proud of what has become of his town. ‘Tourism is an important sector for six months a year, local farmers produce an abundance of organic fruit and vegetables, meat, and dairy products, and the village now recycles 25 percent of its refuse,’ he reports. ‘Because the political will existed, we succeeded in arresting Varese Ligure’s decline.’ And more than arresting decline, with a mixture of clean energy and sustainable agriculture, they have truly transformed the community.”
The Moral Courage of Snowden and the Times
Organic Lifestyle Comments Off on The Moral Courage of Snowden and the Times
Thursday’s lead editorial in The New York Times encouraged our government to give amnesty to Edward Snowden. At the same time, the Huffington Post polled its readers as to their feelings about whether Snowden is a hero or a traitor. The result—55 percent of readers said they thought Snowden is a hero, while 45 percent think he’s a traitor. At the same time, Washington DC buses carrying signs saying, “Thank You Edward Snowden” were so popular that many more are planned for days to come.
Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald, in a piece on the Huffington Post, said that human beings who know they’re being watched all the time no longer act freely, with liberty. They act in ways that will meet the expectations of those doing the surveillance. And so, big chunks of the Constitution—namely the fourth and first amendments protecting our privacy and liberty, respectively—are gone or compromised.
This should greatly concern us as folks who want to see the food system changed to one that’s fair, open, and safe—organic, in other words. Each bit of the Constitution that is gouged out by rogue bureaucracies like the NSA brings us one step closer to corporate rule by the very wealthy, and another name for corporate governance is fascism. And make no mistake—we are headed in that direction. The drift to the far right is aided by bad Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United that gave wealthy corporations the power to buy elections and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act that now allows states most associated with voting rights problems to again block free and fair elections. All this is aided by an executive branch of the government that sees no need to prosecute the head of National Intelligence for lying to Congress, or prosecute bank and Wall Street thieves for what they have illegally done to millions of Americans. And it’s aided by a passive electorate (that’s us) that puts up with legislators who shut down the government, cut food stamps to hungry children, and cruelly end unemployment assistance to 1.3 million out-of-work Americans. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Not to these folks.
What do you think will happen to farming and food production if we continue the corporatist agenda? The toxic chemicals used in agriculture and food production, the GMOs, the contamination of organic crops, and all the rest, will only get worse.
Edward Snowden has done this country a monumental favor by revealing the extent of the illegalities at the heart of our Orwellian spytocracy. It’s clear now. The NSA and its satellite “intelligence” agencies keep track of everything that everyone does. Did you see the revelation last week that when people buy electronic equipment over the Internet, the NSA grabs the order, inserts spyware into the devices, and then sends them on to their unsuspecting purchasers? Even George Orwell or the East German Stasi didn’t go that far.
If we want an organic food supply then we must ask our candidates for office whether they take or will take money from Big Ag, Big Food, and Biotech industries. And if they do, they must not be elected. And if they are elected and found to have lied, then they must be recalled. Somewhere, somehow, someone has to cry, “Stop!”
Like Edward Snowden did. He is a true American hero.
ORWELLIAN OR GOEBBELSIAN? YOU DECIDE
Multinational food corporations last month petitioned the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to allow companies to continue to label or market products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as “natural.” All signs point to efforts by industry and the FDA to create voluntary, weak, or watered-down mandatory GMO labelling laws that would take away states’ rights to impose strict GMO labelling laws, and also exempt a large percentage of GMO ingredients from labelling.
MONSANTO INCULCATES KIDS WITH GMO BENEFITS
Monsanto is boasting about its partnership with the Youth Development Organization, the world’s largest and most influential youth organization, with more than 6.8 million members in 80 countries, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website.
The 4-H is receiving funding from Monsanto, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cargill, DuPont, United Soybean Board, Coca-Cola, and Pfizer.
Monsanto recently attempted to brainwash young children with a 16-page book called, “Biotechnology Basics Activity Book,” full of colorful pages and cartoon characters touting the benefits of GMOs.
If your child is involved with 4-H, please monitor the messages he or she is getting, rather than making assumptions that they are based in truth.