U.S. Navy to release genetically engineered organisms into the ocean, unleashing mass genetic pollution with devastating consequences


Image: U.S. Navy to release genetically engineered organisms into the ocean, unleashing mass genetic pollution with devastating consequences

(Natural News) No longer content to tinker with the genetic design of crops and humans, scientists – at the behest of the U.S. Military – are now turning their attention to the world’s oceans. As reported by Defense One, the Pentagon is looking at various ways in which to genetically engineer marine microorganisms into living surveillance equipment capable of detecting enemy submarines, divers and other suspicious underwater traffic.

The Military is also looking at using genetic engineering to create living camouflage in which creatures react to their surroundings to avoid detection, along with a host of other potentially nefarious applications.

While such modifications might appear to offer benefits to national security endeavors, there will be a price to pay – as is always the case when scientists interfere with genetic design. What will the effects of mass genetic pollution be on our oceans, and what irreversible and devastating results may be unleashed? (Related: First GMO ever produced by genetic engineering poisoned thousands of Americans.)

Unleashing engineered organisms without knowing the consequences

Military officials, who insist that this type of research is still in its infancy, are being supported in their endeavors by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).

Defense One explained the research in more detail:

You take an abundant sea organism, like Marinobacter, and change its genetic makeup to react to certain substances left by enemy vessels, divers, or equipment. These could be metals, fuel exhaust, human DNA, or some molecule that’s not found naturally in the ocean but is associated with, say, diesel-powered submarines. The reaction could take the form of electron loss, which could be detectable to friendly sub drones.

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“In an engineered context, we might take the ability of the microbes to give up electrons, then use [those electrons] to talk to something like an autonomous vehicle,” explained NRL researcher, Sarah Glaven, who was speaking at an event hosted by the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab. “Then you can start imagining that you can create an electrical signal when the bacteria encounters some molecule in their environment.”

Researchers have already proven, in a laboratory environment, that the genes of E. Coli bacteria can be manipulated to exhibit properties that could prove useful for submarine detection. However, this type of research is limited because it may not necessarily be replicable in marine life found in the areas where you need them to be in order to detect unfriendly subs.

Nonetheless, Glaven believes that the team can make these types of mutated marine organisms a reality in just a year.

“The reason we think we can accomplish this is because we have this vast database of info we’ve collected from growing these natural systems,” she noted. “So after experiments where we look at switching gene potential, gene expression, regulatory networks, we are finding these sensors.” (Related: Genetic pollution harms organisms through 14 generations of offspring, stunning scientific study reveals.)

Part of a wider “synthetic biology” military program

This marine modification research forms part of a greater $45 million military program which encompasses the Navy, Army and Air Force platforms, and has been labeled the Applied Research for the Advancement of Science and Technology Priorities Program on Synthetic Biology for Military Environments. The program aims to provide researchers in these branches of the military with whatever tools they deem necessary to engineer genetic responses in a way that could be manipulated by the Military.

It is not difficult to imagine that this large-scale genetic manipulation program could create disastrous effects – effects which our children and grandchildren will be left to deal with, and which may prove irreversible.

Top Pharma-Brand of Children’s Vitamins Contains Aspartame, GMOs, & Other Hazardous Chemicals


Top US Brand of Children's Vitamins Contains Aspartame, GMOs, & Other Hazardous Chemicals

The #1 Children’s Vitamin Brand in the US contains ingredients that most parents would never intentionally expose their children to, so why aren’t more opting for healthier alternatives?

Kids vitamins are supposed to be healthy, right? Well then, what’s going on with Flintstones Vitamins, which proudly claims to be “Pediatricians’ #1 Choice”?  Produced by the global pharmaceutical corporation Bayer, this wildly successful brand features a shocking list of unhealthy ingredients, including:

The Bayer Health Science’s Flintstones product page* designed for healthcare professionals leads into the product description with the following tidbit of information:

“82% of kids aren’t eating all of their veggies1. Without enough vegetables, kids may not be getting all of the nutrients they need.”

References: 1. Lorson BA, Melgar-Quinonez HR, Taylor CA. Correlates of fruit and vegetable intakes in US children. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(3):474-478.

The implication? That Flintstones vitamins somehow fill this nutritional void. But let’s look a little closer at some of these presumably healthy ingredients….

ASPARTAME

Aspartame is a synthetic combination of the amino acids aspartic acid and l-phenylalanine, and is known to convert into highly toxic methanol and formaldehyde in the body.  Aspartame has been linked to over 40 adverse health effects in the biomedical literature, and has been shown to exhibit both neurotoxicity and carcinogenicity [1]  What business does a chemical like this have doing in a children’s vitamin, especially when non-toxic, non-synthetic non-nutritive sweeteners like stevia already exist?

CUPRIC OXIDE

Next, let’s look closer at Cupric Oxide, 2mg of which is included in each serving of Flinstone’s Complete chewable vitamins as a presumably  ‘nutritional’ source of ‘copper,’ supplying “100% of the Daily Value  (Ages 4+), according to Flintstones Vitamins Web site’s Nutritional Info.[2]

But what is Cupric Oxide? A nutrient or a chemical?

According to the European Union’s Dangerous Substance Directive, one of the main EU laws concerning chemical safety, Cupric Oxide is listed as a Hazardous substance, classified as both  “Harmful (XN)” and “Dangerous for the environment” (N).  Consider that it has industrial applications as a pigment in ceramics, and as a chemical in the production of rayon fabric and dry cell batteries. In may be technically correct to call it a mineral, but should it be listed as a nutrient in a children’s vitamin? We think not.

Top US Brand of Children's Vitamins Contain Aspartame, GMOs, & Other Hazardous Chemicals

COAL TAR ARTIFICIAL COLORING AGENTS

A well-known side effect of using synthetic dyes is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. For direct access to study abstracts on this topic view our Food Coloring research page.  There is also indication that the neurotoxicity of artificial food coloring agents increase when combined with aspartame,[3] making the combination of ingredients in Flintstones even more concerning.

ZINC OXIDE

Each serving of Flinstones Complete Chewable vitamins contain 12 mg of zinc oxide, which the manufacturer claims delivers 75% of the Daily Value to children 2  & 3 years of age.  Widely used as a sun protection factor (SPF) in sunscreens, The EU’s Dangerous Substance Directive classifies it as an environmental Hazard, “Dangerous for the environment (N).”  How it can be dangerous to the environment, but not for humans ingesting it, escapes me.  One thing is for sure, if one is to ingest supplemental zinc, or market it for use by children, it makes much more sense using a form that is organically bound (i.e. ‘chelated’) to an amino acid like glycine, as it will be more bioavailable and less toxic.

SORBITOL

Sorbitol is a synthetic sugar substitute which is classified as a sugar alcohol. It can be argued that it has no place in the human diet, much less in a child’s. The ingestion of higher amounts have been linked to gastrointestinal disturbances from abdominal pain to more serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.[4]

FERROUS FUMARATE

The one clear warning on the Flinstone’s Web site concerns this chemical. While it is impossible to die from consuming iron from food, e.g. spinach, ferrous fumarate is an industrial mineral and not found in nature as food. In fact, ferrous fumarate is so toxic that accidental overdose of products containing this form is “a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6.” The manufacturer further warns:

Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.

DL-ALPHA TOCOPHEROL ACETATE

 

This synthetic, petrochemically derived analogue of vitamin E consists of 8 different chemical molecules, all of which have questionable bioactivity and safety. You can peruse first-hand published literature on its potential toxicity here, and our recent report on concerning indications that this mix of chemicals may adversely affect immune function, gene expression, and neurological health in the very young:  What Is This Petrochemical “Vitamin” Doing In Infant Brains?

HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL

Finding hydrogenated oil in anything marketed to children is absolutely unacceptable. These semi-synthetic fatty acids incorporate into our tissues and have been linked to over a dozen adverse health effects, from coronary artery disease to cancer, violent behavior to fatty liver disease.[5]

GMO CORN STARCH

While it can be argued that the amount of GMO corn starch in this product is negligible, even irrelevant, we disagree. It is important to hold accountable brands that refuse to label their products honestly, especially when they contain ingredients that have been produced through genetic modification. The ‘vitamin C’ listed as ascorbic acid in Flintstones is likely also produced from GMO corn. Let’s remember that Bayer’s Ag-biotech division, Bayer CropScience, poured $381,600 of cash into defeating the proposition 37 GMO labeling bill in California. Parents have a right to protect their children against the well-known dangers of genetically modified foods and the agrichemicals that contaminate them, don’t they? GMO corn starch is GMO, plain and simple. We’d appreciate it if Bayer would label their “vitamins” accordingly.

In summary, Bayer’s Flintstone’s vitamin brand is far from a natural product, and the consumer should be aware of the unintended, adverse health effects that may occur as a result of using it.

So, what’s the alternative? We encourage our readers to strike to the root problem of nutritional deficiencies: poor food quality and selection. Organic, local, sustainable, and traditionally prepared food in line with an ancestral diet is the way to go. Failing that, look into whole food concentrates and whole food supplements. Nature, and not the chemist’s laboratory, is where we will all find the best solution.


Resources

Geneticist David Suzuki Says Humans “Are Part Of A Massive Experiment”


  

gmo

 

 

We are doing our part to try and spread the word about GMOs, (genetically modified organisms) but we’re not the only ones. Multiple public figures, scientists and researchers have been speaking out about GMOs for a number of years. For example, not long ago a former Canadian Government Scientist at Agriculture Canada, Dr. Thierry Vrain (one of many) spoke out against GMOs. Another prominent public figure, Geneticist David Suzuki has been a long time advocate against GMOs, and has been speaking out about how they can be hazardous to human health as well as the environment. Below, I’ve provided a video example of Suzuki explaining why he feels the way he does about GMOs. Public figures with a wide audience can have a great impact on the consciousness of the masses, they are great ‘tools’ for waking more people up to the reality that GMOs can  be harmful to human health as well as the environment. It’s time to pay attention, do your own research and to question what you’ve been told. We can no longer trust branches of the government that deal with food and health, we must not take their word for it, it’s better if you actually look into it yourself rather than blindly believing what your are told.

 It doesn’t seem to be much of a debate anymore, it’s clear that GMOs can indeed be harmful to human health. There is a reason why a majority of countries around the world have permanently banned GMOs, so what’s taking North America so long? One reason might be the fact that biotech corporations like Monsanto seem to be above the government and influence policy, but thankfully these things are changing. Big Island, Hawaii has recently banned all GMO products and bio-tech company products. Various bills calling for moratoria on GE food include Vermont, North Dakota, Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco and more.

This large movement against GMOs is not based on belief, multiple researchers and scientists all around the world have shown that GMOs can be harmful. Here is a study that shows how Bt toxins found in Monsanto crops can be damaging to red blood cells, and potentially cause leukemia. Here is another one that shows how GMO animal feed caused severe stomach inflammation and enlarged uteri in pigs. There have been multiple studies linking GMOs to cancer, and a range of other diseases. Scientists all over the world have come together to show their support for the ban of GMOs.

Along with GMOs come the pesticides, which have been linked to cancerparkinson’sautism and alzheimer’s, to name a few.

As you can see, alternative media outlets are not the only ones doing their research. Most who investigate this topic, and do the research for themselves will come to the same conclusions. This is what David Suzuki and many others have done as well.

By slipping it into our food without our knowledge, without any indication that there are genetically modified organisms in our food, we are now unwittingly part of a massive experiment.

 The FDA has said that genetically modified organisms are not much different from regular food, so they’ll be treated in the same way. The problem is this, geneticists follow the inheritance of genes, what biotechnology allows us to do is to take this organism, and move it horizontally into a totally unrelated species. Now David Suzuki doesn’t normally mate with a carrot and exchange genes, what biotechnology allows us to do is to switch genes from one to the other without regard to the biological constraints. It’s very very bad science, we assume that the principals governing the inheritance of genes vertically, applies when you move genes laterally or horizontally. There’s absolutely no reason to make that conclusion.

Below is an article written by David Suzuki and Faisal Moola. At the beginning concerns with the 210 release of the super-genetically modified corn called ‘SmartStax,’ are mentioned which has now shown to be harmful to human health and banned all over the world. This article was written in 2009, but still has some good information.

By David Suzuki with Faisal Moola

In gearing up for the 2010 release of its super-genetically modified corn called ‘SmartStax’, agricultural-biotechnology giant Monsanto is using an advertising slogan that asks, ‘Wouldn’t it be better?’ But can we do better than nature, which has taken millennia to develop the plants we use for food?

We don’t really know. And that in itself is a problem. The corn, developed by Monsanto with Dow AgroSciences, “stacks” eight genetically engineered traits, six that allow it to ward off insects and two to make it resistant to weed-killing chemicals, many of which are also trademarked by Monsanto. It’s the first time a genetically engineered (GE) product has been marketed with more than three traits.

Canada approved the corn without assessing it for human health or environmental risk, claiming that the eight traits have already been cleared in other crop seeds — even though international food-safety guidelines that Canada helped develop state that stacked traits should be subject to a full safety assessment as they can lead to unintended consequences.

One problem is that we don’t know the unintended consequences of genetically engineered or genetically modified (GM) foods. Scientists may share consensus about issues like human-caused global warming, but they don’t have the same level of certainty about the effects of genetically modified organisms on environmental and human health!

A review of the science conducted under the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development in 2008 concluded that “there are a limited number of properly designed and independently peer-reviewed studies on human health” and that this and other observations “create concern about the adequacy of testing methodologies for commercial GM plants.”

Some have argued that we’ve been eating GM foods for years with few observable negative consequences, but as we’ve seen with things like trans fats, if often takes a while for us to recognize the health impacts. With GM foods, concerns have been raised about possible effects on stomach bacteria and resistance to antibiotics, as well as their role in allergic reactions. We also need to understand more about their impact on other plants and animals.

Of course, these aren’t the only issues with GM crops. Allowing agro-chemical companies to create GM seeds with few restrictions means these companies could soon have a monopoly over agricultural production. And by introducing SmartStax, we are giving agro-chemical companies the green light not just to sell and expand the use of their “super crops” but also to sell and expand the use of the pesticides these crops are designed to resist.

A continued reliance on these crops could also reduce the variety of foods available, as well as the nutritive value of the foods themselves.

There’s also a reason nature produces a variety of any kind of plant species. It ensures that if disease or insects attack a plant, other plant varieties will survive and evolve in its place. This is called biodiversity.

Because we aren’t certain about the effects of GMOs, we must consider one of the guiding principles in science, the precautionary principle. Under this principle, if a policy or action could harm human health or the environment, we must not proceed until we know for sure what the impact will be. And it is up to those proposing the action or policy to prove that it is not harmful.

That’s not to say that research into altering the genes in plants that we use for food should be banned or that GM foods might not someday be part of the solution to our food needs. We live in an age when our technologies allow us to “bypass” the many steps taken by nature over millennia to create food crops to now produce “super crops” that are meant to keep up with an ever-changing human-centred environment.

A rapidly growing human population and deteriorating health of our planet because of climate change and a rising number of natural catastrophes, among other threats, are driving the way we target our efforts and funding in plant, agricultural, and food sciences, often resulting in new GM foods.

But we need more thorough scientific study on the impacts of such crops on our environment and our health, through proper peer-reviewing and unbiased processes. We must also demand that our governments become more transparent when it comes to monitoring new GM crops that will eventually find their ways in our bellies through the food chain.

Sources:

http://davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2009/09/more-science-needed-on-effects-of-genetically-modifying-food-crops/

GMO Update/More Info

 

In 1996, Steven M. Druker did something very few Americans were doing then — learn the facts about the massive venture to restructure the genetic core of the world’s food supply. The problem of unawareness still exists today, but it’s getting much better thanks to activists like Druker.

Druker, being a public interest attorney and the Executive Director of the Alliance For Bio-Integrity, initiated a lawsuit in 1998 that forced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to divulge its files on genetically engineered foods.

He’s recently published a book on the lawsuit (2015). In the book, Druker provides details of his experience, and he’s also released the documents on his website showing the significant hazards of genetically engineering foods and the flaws that the FDA made in its policy.

It’s called Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public.

The book has some very impressive reviews. For example, David Schubert, Ph.D., molecular biologist and Head of Cellular Neurobiology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies said that this “incisive and insightful book is truly outstanding. Not only is it well-reasoned and scientifically solid, it’s a pleasure to read – and a must-read.”

Stephen Naylor, Ph.D., CEO and Chariman of Mai Health Inc., an individual who spent 10 years as a Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Pharmacology and the Mayo Clinic stated that Druker’s “meticulously documented, well crafted, and spell binding narrative should serve as a clarion call to all of us.” 

Joseph Cummins, Ph.D. and Professor Emeritus of Genetics at Western University in London, Ontario believes that Druker’s book is a “landmark” and that “it should be required reading in every university biology course.” 

John Ikerd, Ph.D. and Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Missouri further accentuated the previous statements by saying that the evidence is “comprehensive and irrefutable; the reasoning is clear and compelling. No one has documented other cases of irresponsible behaviour by government regulators and the scientific establishment nearly as well as Druker documents this one.” 

In publishing his book and filing this lawsuit, Druker exposed how the agency covered up the warnings of its own scientists about the risks, lied about the facts, and then ushered these foods onto the market in violation of federal law.

Dr. Jane Goodall wrote the foreword to the book,

“As part of the process, they portrayed the various concerns as merely the ignorant opinions of misinformed individuals – and derided them as not only unscientific, but anti-science. They then set to work to convince the public and government officials, through the dissemination of false information, that there was an overwhelming expert consensus, based on solid evidence, that GMOs were safe.”

Check out the book here.

It’s also noteworthy to mention that Druker has actually served on the food safety panels at conferences held by the National Research council and the FDA, presented lectures at numerous universities, met with government officials throughout the world, and conferred at the White House Executive Offices with a task force of President Clinton’s Council on Environmental Quality.

You can also check out his website, where he has published key FDA documents revealing hazards of genetically engineered foods and the flaws with how the agency made its policy. 

A Summary On The Issue With More Shocking Revelations From WikiLeaks

Today, things have changed and more people in America have started to ask more questions, as well as demand labels on genetically engineered food products. This is thanks to the work of people like Druker, but there is still lots to do, and much to tackle in order to get to the bottom of this GMO debate.

Ask yourself: why are dozens upon dozens of countries across the world completely banning the import or growth of genetically modified foods in their countries? Several of them have already cited numerous environmental and human health concerns, and others have simply stated that they’d like to do more research.

When it comes to the actual research, it’s concerning that the World Health Organization (WHO) has zero long term studies showing the safety of GE foods.

The only long term study that has been conducted was in November 2012 in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology by Gilles-Eric Seralini and his team of researchers at France’s Caen University (source). It was a very significant study that made a lot of noise worldwide, and the first of its kind under controlled conditions that examined the possible effects of a GMO maize diet treated with Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide.

The study found severe liver and kidney damage as well as hormonal disturbances in rats fed with GM maize in conjunction with low levels of Roundup that were below those permitted in most drinking water across Europe. Results also indicated high rates of large tumors and mortality in most treatment groups.

The study was retracted in North America, but then republished in multiple journals in Europe, one of them being Environmental Sciences Europe (source).

The North American retraction was the result of strong commercial pressure pressure of North American biotech companies, like Monsanto, but the re-published studies in Europe (above, for example)  were even more up-to-date and put to rest its previous criticisms.

This is a great example of the politicization of modern day science.

This fact was also made clear by WikiLeaks documents:

Resistance to the advent of genetically modified foods has been pronounced across Europe. The continent features some of the strictest regulations governing the use and cultivation of GMO products, and public skepticism about biotech goods is quite high – a fact not lost on American diplomats. In a lengthy report dating from late 2007 , a cable issued by the State Department outlined its “Biotechnology Outreach Strategy, ‘which, among other things, recognized the European Union’s ‘negative views on biology’ and committed as a national priority to limiting them (O7STATE160639).

Initial attention paid to the State Department’s part in pushing industrial manufactures on its allies obscured the even bigger role it played in assuring a place for genetically modified agricultural products (GMOs) in a region that largely wanted nothing to do with them. The American campaign promoting biotech products was a worldwide effort. In all, some 1,000 documents from the Cablegate cache address this effort, a significant number of which originate in Europe. U.S. diplomats on the continent gave considerable attention to insuring the interests of American biotech firms in Europe – Whether through “education” programs, government lobbying, or outright coercion – as well as stripping down European Union regulations designed to act as a bugger against them. Available cables published by WikiLeaks suggest that the United States invests considerable time, effort, and expense in its operations on behalf of the American biotech firms.

Source:http://www.collective-evolution.com

Toxicology Expert Speaks Out About Roundup and GMOs


Story at-a-glance

  • There are NO peer-reviewed scientific papers establishing the safety of GMO crops. There are, however, both clinical and peer-reviewed scientific papers showing the hazards of GMO crops, including harmful secondary effects
  • Epidemiological patterns show there’s an identical rise in over 30 human diseases alongside our increased usage of glyphosate and the increased prevalence of genetically engineered proteins in our food
  • Glyphosate is not “just” an herbicide. It was originally patented as a mineral chelator. It immobilizes nutrients, making them unavailable for your body. It’s also patented as a potent antibiotic that can devastate human gut bacteria
  • The EPA recently doubled the amount of glyphosate allowed in food. Soybean oil is now allowed to contain a whopping 400 times the limit at which it can impact your health

Dr. Don Huber is likely the leading GMO expert in the world. He is an award-winning, internationally recognized scientist, and professor of plant pathology at Purdue University for the past 35 years.

His agriculture research is focused on the epidemiology and control of soil-borne plant pathogens, with specific emphasis on microbial ecology, cultural and biological controls, and the physiology of host-parasite relationships.

His research over the past few decades has led him to become very outspoken against genetically modified organisms (GMO) and genetically engineered (GE) foods and the use of Roundup in agriculture in general.

He’s really one of the best scientists we have in the GMO movement for documenting the dangers of genetically engineered foods.

“I appreciate the opportunity to share a little bit of my research and the research of many other scientists who are expressing concern; recognizing that we’ve missed the boat in much of this discussion and much of the process, because it’s really a food and health safety issue that we’re dealing with here,” he says.

Three Things You Need to Know About GMOs

There’s a lot of confusion about the basic validity of concerns about genetically engineered (GE) foods. Many have been deceived into thinking that there’s really no difference between GE foods and conventional fare, and all these worries are just paranoid fear-mongering.

According to Dr. Huber, the following three facts are some of the most important that everyone needs to understand about GMOs:

1.Despite what the media and so-called “experts” proclaim, there are NO peer-reviewed scientific papers establishing the safety of GMO crops.

According to Dr. Huber, so far, no one has been able to establish that there’s a safety factor to either the genetically engineered proteins (i.e. the foreign proteins produced by the genetically modified plant) or the chemicals we’re consuming in ever larger quantities as a result of the genetic engineering process.

There are, however, both clinical and peer-reviewed scientific papers showing the hazards of GMO crops, including harmful secondary effects.

“A group of us met with top USDA administrators. They assured us that they based all their decisions on peer-reviewed science. When we asked them if they would share any of that, they were unable to produce any,” he says.

2.Epidemiological patterns show there’s an identical rise in over 30 human diseases correlated with our increased usage of glyphosate and the increased prevalence of genetically engineered proteins in our food.

3.Genetically engineered foods, as well as conventional crops that are heavily sprayed with glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup), have lower nutrient density than organic foods. They also contain high amounts of pesticides with documented harmful health effects, along with novel, highly allergenic, proteins.

Little-Known Facts About Glyphosate

You can’t really discuss genetic engineering without also addressing the chemicals these plants are engineered to tolerate. About 85 percent of all genetically engineered plants are herbicide-tolerant—designed to tolerate very high levels of herbicides, glyphosate in particular. These are the so-called Roundup Ready crops.

It’s important to realize that glyphosate is not “just” an herbicide. As explained by Dr. Huber, it was first patented as a mineral chelator. It immobilizes nutrients, so they’re not physiologically available for your body.

“You may have the mineral [in the plant], but if it’s chelated with glyphosate, it’s not going to be available physiologically for you to use, so you’re just eating a piece of gravel,” Dr. Huber says.

Naturally, health effects are bound to occur if you’re consistently eating foods from which your body cannot extract critical nutrients and minerals. Mineral deficiencies can lead to developmental and mental health issues, for example. Glyphosate is also patented as an antibiotic—and a very effective one at that— against a large number of beneficial organisms. Unfortunately, like all antibiotics, it also kills vitally important beneficial soil bacteria and human gut bacteria.

“Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus faecalis—these are organisms that keep you healthy either by providing accessibility to the minerals in your food or producing many of the vitamins that you need for life. They’re also the natural biological defenses to keep Clostridium, Salmonella, and E.coli from developing in your system,” Dr. Huber explains.

“When you take the good bacteria out, then the bad bacteria fill that void, because there aren’t any voids in nature. We have all of these gut-related problems, whether it’s autism, leaky gut, C. difficile diarrhea, gluten intolerance, or any of the other problems. All of these diseases are an expression of disruption of that intestinal microflora that keeps you healthy.”

Glyphosate was first patented as a chelator in 1964 by Stauffer Chemical Co. It was patented by Monsanto and introduced as an herbicide in 1974. And then in 1996, Roundup Ready crops hit the market. There’s been a steep increase in the usage of Roundup since then, because you can apply it multiple times without damaging your crop. Making matters worse, they’re now also using glyphosate as a ripening agent—even for non-GMO crops. It’s applied right before harvest time to ripen off the crop.

“We have about a five-fold increase in glyphosate usage on many of our GMO crops. With the Roundup Ready-resistant weeds, we see that rate going up exponentially,” he says.

Did You Know? EPA Just Increased Allowable Limits of Glyphosate in Your Food

Despite well-understood health risks, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is repeatedly approached by agricultural and biotech companies asking for increased limits of this pernicious toxin in your food.

“The companies say we have to increase the amount of glyphosate that we can have in your food, so we can have a ‘safe’ product – not based on science but based on how much chemical is actually in our food!” Dr.Huber says.

On May 1, the EPA went ahead and doubled the amount of glyphosate allowed in food… Soybean oil may now contain as much as 40 parts per million (ppm) of glyphosate. Meanwhile, research by Dr. Monika Krueger at Leipzig University shows that a tenth of a part per million is all that it takes to kill your Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Enterococcus faecalis! So soybean oil is now allowed to contain a whopping 400 times the known limit at which it can impact your health.

Can GMOs Coexist with Conventional Crops?

On September 20, agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) will soon publish a notice in the Federal Register asking for public comments on how agricultural coexistence in the US might be strengthened. At the time of this writing, the USDA has not yet published that notice, but you can search the Federal Register for the latest notices here.1

According to the media release:2

“The Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture recommended that USDA support agricultural coexistence by strengthening education and outreach on this vital issue… In response, with this notice, we are asking all those with a vested interest in coexistence to help us learn more about what coexistence means to them, how they are already contributing to it, and what more is needed to achieve coexistence. With this input, we can continue the dialogue begun by the AC21 group3 and find practical solutions that will help all sectors of American agriculture be successful.

… Coexistence is defined as the concurrent cultivation of crops produced through diverse agricultural systems including traditionally produced, organic, identity preserved, and genetically engineered crops. USDA supports all forms of agriculture and wants each sector to be as successful as possible providing products to markets in the United States and abroad.”

Vilsack wants comments… How about we start with the suggestion that “Biotech Government of the Year shouldn’t be running the show.” He says the USDA supports ALL agriculture, yet the USDA primarily subsidizes junk food crops—corn and soy—and cave in to the multi-million dollar lobbying of the biotech industry. Meanwhile, the USDA has all but wiped out raw milk, heritage hogs, and most small farmers. So, really, the only agriculture the USDA support is the chemical variety. When asked whether he believes that it’s ever appropriate or possible for GMOs to coexist with conventional and organic crops, Dr. Huber replies:

“We know how to get these genes in; we don’t know how to remove them,” he says. “I don’t see any opportunity for coexistence with the current technology that we have because of that promiscuous nature of the genes. If you have a gene that is spread by pollen, like Roundup Ready alfalfa, it’s just a matter of time before bees or the wind is going to transfer that particular pollen to every alfalfa crop that you’re going to grow. There’s a very high probability that you’re going to see that genetic component in it.”

The StarLink Case—Proof Positive GMOs Can’t ‘Coexist’ with Natural Plants

According to Dr. Huber, our knowledge of what we’re doing in the genetic engineering process is extremely limited. Contrary to popular belief, we’re still only in the initial stages of understanding what we’re doing in that whole process:

“We do know that it’s more like a virus infection than it is a breeding program. In other words, you’re throwing genes in, but you’re not moving all of the regulatory and control mechanisms with those genes so that they’re only going to function at a time when the plant needs it or under conditions when it needs it. It’s a flawed science to think that you have one gene or one little group of genes and it’s going to do this particular function and not the other things.”

Clearly, that’s not the general perception. Most people are still under the illusion that genetic engineering is a very precise approach. That’s certainly what the industry wants you to believe. But as Dr. Huber points out, we learned some very important facts from  sequencing of the human genome: There aren’t nearly enough genes to do all of the things we know are done within the human body.

This is related to the profoundly important relationships that epigenetics controls. We found out that a gene actually functions in relation to the environment and its relationship to other genes or other genetic components in that code. When you disrupt those relationships and the integrity of the genetic code, you end up with mutations and epigenetic effects that we’ve yet to explore.

“We know they occur because for every one of those successful expressions that you get from genetic engineering, you have over a million other things that take place that are negative,” he says. “We also have potentially negative [effects] with the one that succeeded in expressing a particular protein that you want for genetic engineering. But nobody even looks for all of those other epigenetic effects that occur.

One of the things that we do know, since we don’t have the regulatory genes that would normally be part of those components from a regular breeding program, is that the genes that are being inserted are extremely promiscuous. They’re not stable. They may stay in and be transferred through a regular breeding program after they’re introduced. But we know that they can be transferred to soil microorganisms when the stubble or the grain is digested and decomposed in the soil—or in your gut.”

In the latter case, your gut flora can then pick up those same genes, and can start producing those foreign proteins, which are extremely allergenic. A perfect example of this was the StarLink corn, which produced a protein that turned out to be very toxic to humans. StarLink was grown 10 years ago for a pharmaceutical process. It was pulled off the market when they realized it had escaped from its confines and had the ability to contaminate corn destined for food production.

We know that GE crops decimate agricultural variety—countless varieties have been wiped out in order to foster a few monocultures. Now, if GMOs are removed, will there really be less food variety?

This ridiculous concept was recently brought forth by Scientific American.4 The erroneous and illogical claims made in the editorial mirrors claims made by Monsanto—such as the idea that GMO labels could destroy the market for genetically engineered foods in a country where 70 percent of processed foods already contain them. This, they want you to believe, would result in “less variety and higher costs.” Look, we’re primarily talking about ingredients like corn syrup and soy! And food companies do not appear to have any major problems supplying Europe, where GMOs have to be labeled, with products that do not contain genetically engineered corn and soy.

It’s funny how times have changed at Scientific American, as they now tow the biotech line like a well greased PR firm. It wasn’t all that long ago that they had the right idea, questioning the logic and safety of restricting GE crop research to the seed companies that make them.5

Could YOU Be Altering Your OWN Genes When You Eat GMOs?

As discussed by Dr. Huber, research clearly shows that the novel proteins created in genetically engineered plants are highly allergenic, with the capability to promote diseases like cancer and liver or kidney failure. But Dr. Huber points out that there are other factors involved as well, which have some scientists concerned about the spread of those genes into the human gut… Not only do GMOs alter your intestinal microflora, but research shows that human cells are also able to transfer those novel genes, thereby affecting the human genome.

“Especially with generation two genetic engineering, called gene silencing—that section of the nucleic acid can actually be picked up or attached to your own genes, and then start shutting down your own physiology in that process… It’s well-documented in the scientific literature.”

Indeed, last year, University of Canterbury Professor Jack Heinemann released results from genetic research he conducted on this type of GE wheat, which showed without “any doubt” that molecules created in the wheat, which are intended to silence wheat genes to change its carbohydrate content, may match human genes and potentially silence them. If that’s not a concern, I don’t know what is! University Professor Judy Carman agreed with Heinemann’s analysis, stating in Digital Journal:6

“If this silences the same gene in us that it silences in the wheat — well, children who are born with this enzyme not working tend to die by the age of about five.”

Heinemann reported that his research revealed over 770 pages of potential matches between two GM genes in the 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 the 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.

Glyphosate—Another Culprit in Bee Die-Offs?

Glyphosate may also play a role in bee colony collapse disorder. As stated by Dr. Huber, there are three established characteristics of colony collapse disorder that suggests glyphosate may be (at least in part) responsible:

  1. The bees are mineral-deficient, especially in micronutrients
  2. There’s plenty of food present but they’re not able to utilize it or to digest it
  3. Dead bees are devoid of the Lactobacillus and the Bifidobacterium, which are components of their digestive system

The bees also become disoriented, suggesting endocrine hormone disruption. Neonicotinoid insecticides, which are endocrine hormone disruptors, have been demonstrated to make a bee disoriented and unable to find its way back to the hive. Glyphosate is also a very strong endocrine hormone disruptor.

Dr. Huber cites a study on glyphosate in drinking water at levels that are commonly found in US water systems, showing a 30 percent mortality in bees exposed to it. And that’s just from common levels of glyphosate in drinking water…

Glyphosate Is a Cumulative Chronic Toxin

Americans are in a tough spot right now, as there’s no telling which foods might contain genetically engineered ingredients tainted with high amounts of Roundup. Labeling would at least tell you that much, and give you the freedom to choose another product.

“A consumer needs to be very concerned. They need to be active in the labeling aspects,” Dr. Huber says. “They also need to be active in the requirement for safety studies. These haven’t been done. When the EPA employed the term ‘substantially equivalent,’ it gave the chemical companies essentially a waiver on doing any of the safety tests. The only thing that they’ve ever tested for is acute toxicity. Well, we know that glyphosate, for instance, isn’t an acute toxin. It’s a serious chronic toxin. That’s been well-established in peer-reviewed scientific articles. We have more of those coming along all the time. There is no question that it’s a chronic toxin.”

According to Dr. Huber, glyphosate at a mere 0.5 ppm is toxic to your endocrine hormone system, which includes your pituitary, thyroid, and reproductive hormones. Ten ppm is cytotoxic to kidney cells; one ppm is toxic to your liver, and 0.1-10 ppm are toxic to a whole series of human cellular functions or cells directly. Dr. Huber has even likened glyphosate to DDT in terms of toxicity. Consider that, and then consider that we are currently using some 880 million pounds—that’s nearly ONE BILLION pounds—of glyphosate annually on crops grown worldwide.

As Dr. Seneff and Samsel reveal in a recent study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, glyphosate is probably the most harmful chronic toxin we’ve ever encountered, both in our environment and on our dinner plates. Their findings show that two of the key problems caused by glyphosate in the diet are nutritional deficiencies, and systemic toxicity.

“It’s just that you don’t get killed or die today from it; you have to suffer through the process of gluten intolerance, leaky gut, Crohn’s, Alzheimer’s, autism, or any of those diseases that are related to the health of your gut, which we’re seeing now on an epidemic scale in our society,” he says.

Why Is the USDA Ignoring This Health Threat?

Two years ago, in 2011, Dr. Huber wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, informing him of many of the safety concerns surrounding genetically engineered crops, along with yet another groundbreaking finding that could spell absolute disaster for your entire food supply. He warned Vilsack about the emergence of a brand new electron microscope-sized organism associated with something called Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) in soy.

It’s also found in a large variety of livestock given GE feed who experience both spontaneous abortions and infertility. This includes cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, and poultry. Might it affect humans in the same way? Dr. Huber urged the USDA to investigate the matter and suspend approval of GE alfalfa until proper studies have been completed.

“We know that all herbicides are chelators, mineral chelators. That’s how they compromise the plant’s physiology: they tie up a particular nutrient and shut down a physiologic pathway,” he says. “This wasn’t new from that standpoint. But the thing that was different [with glyphosate] was its biocidal effect. It’s not only a chelator, but it’s also a strong antibiotic to beneficial microorganisms. How do you compensate for that? How do you restore biological activities?

Much of my research, which was focused on glyphosate, was focused on the biology and restoration of those mineral nutrients. I served on the National Plant Disease Recovery Program. I was chairman at that time and also for the USDA. I’ve also served for 40 years on our various threat pathogens committees and recognized what the potential problems were with Roundup Ready alfalfa.”

The American Stock Growers’ Association also testified before Congress, saying that infertility was threatening the animal industry. Dr. Huber saw how all of these issues were connected—via genetically engineered crops and the application of glyphosate. He felt an obligation to alert the USDA secretary and to ask for his help in getting the research done before further jeopardizing not only our fourth most important crop, but also our entire animal production because of the prevalence of this new abortogenic entity, found in high concentrations in GE or high-glyphosate intense growth conditions.

His warnings were ignored, and GE alfalfa was deregulated that same year. Why is the USDA ignoring warnings from a scientist with 50 years of experience with plant pathology, soil-borne diseases, microbial ecology, and host-parasite relationships?

“A group of us met with the top administrators. I’ve never met with the secretary personally. But we did have the privilege of meeting and sharing our concerns and 130 or so peer-reviewed scientific articles that support our position with top administrators in USDA and some of the other agencies. They assured us that if we could do the work, they would be willing to look at it.

Well, they haven’t looked at any of the other peer-reviewed science… And the USDA scientists, who have a tremendous amount of knowledge on the impact of glyphosate, have all been muzzled. They’re not permitted to say anything about it. I got a phone call from one a few weeks ago. He said, ‘I’ll be retiring fairly soon. I plan on moving off and sharing that stage with you because I have a lot that I want to say. I just can’t say it right now.’”

GMOs Are Not the Solution to Feed a Burgeoning Population

There is simply no question and there is irrefutable evidence that genetic engineering is not the solution to feed a growing world population. Rather, it actually increases disease susceptibility of plants by impairing their immune response. It also reduces, not increases, yield potential. There’s never been a genetically engineered plant that increases the intrinsic yield of a plant. Improved plant yield is accomplished through traditional breeding programs that promote improved gene expression.

“We’re only expressing 25 or 30 percent of the genetic potential for yield in any of our crops now,” Dr. Huber says. “There’s tremendous potential there. It’s a matter of using that traditional breeding as we’ve done for many years and getting better expression – not throwing in additional genes to act like a virus and disrupt the integrity of the whole process that’s required for yield and quality.

We can increase all of the nutrient density with traditional breeding. In fact, the Brazilians are doing that. They’ve just released new varieties of soybean with higher vitamin A, and corn with higher vitamin A and vitamin C. We can do all of that with traditional breeding. We’ve been doing it for years. You don’t need to disrupt the genetic integrity and introduce all the collateral damage with its long-term effects.”

I can personally attest to this fact as well. High-performance agriculture is one of my new passions, so much so it’s turning into something of a second career—to learn and understand how to optimize plant growth and the environment. I’ve been applying what I’ve learned in my own garden for a few months now, and I’ve been able to personally witness the maximization of genetic potential that is possible. For example, by using compost tea and mineral amendments, the leaves on some plants, like my lime trees and oleanders, are literally 300 to 400 percent bigger than the typical leaf of these plants. It’s truly extraordinary! You wouldn’t even imagine that plants could grow that big.

Part of the problem is that we’ve gotten used to less than mediocrity, when it comes to plant performance. According to John Kempf,7 an Amish farmer and one of the leaders in the field of high-performance agriculture, farmers and food producers routinely harvest only about 10 to 15 percent of the inherent genetic capacity of any given crop. In a nutshell, the foundation of health – whether we’re talking about plants, soils, animals, or people – it really boils down to two things:

  1. Having adequate mineral nutrition, and
  2. Having that nutrition, in the case of plants, be supplied by an active soil microbial community, or having a strong soil biology

Genetically engineered crops decimate both. How could it possibly be the answer to rising food demands?

Watch the video discussion.URL:https://youtu.be/yx4UVhJcnpo

“The Future of Food”—GMOs, Gene Patenting, and the Corporatization of Our Food Supply



Story at-a-glance

  • The award winning documentary “The Future of Food” covers the genetic engineering of food, gene patenting, and corporatization of the food supply
  • Genetic engineering is complex and unpredictable, resulting in pieces of DNA interacting with each other in unexpected and potentially dangerous ways
  • Oregon and Colorado have GE food labeling initiatives on this November’s ballot; labeling laws have passed in Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine
  • Between 2012 and mid-2014, Monsanto and GMA spent more than $100 million to successfully block GE labeling legislation in more than 30 states
  • Americans spend more on organic foods with each passing year; polls consistently show about 90 percent support GE food labeling

The GMO food labeling movement has gained momentum over the past several years, passing labeling laws in three states. America’s awareness of the risks of genetically engineered (GE) foods and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to their health and the environment continues to expand.

The Future of Food is not a new film, but still does an excellent job of covering contemporary issues that continue to threaten your health, including genetic engineering, gene patenting, and the corporatization of the food supply.

The film has received multiple awards, including Best Documentary at the deadCENTER Film Festival in 2004, as well as an Oscar nomination for the same.1 Of special importance to me, it was the movie that catalyzed my interest in the GMO problem and after watching it, I committed to doing everything I could to stop this danger.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Deborah Garcia about her new film Symphony of the Soil when I was lecturing in Santa Rosa California at the Heirloom Seed Conference.

Download Interview Transcript

The US has no laws requiring the labeling of GE foods, yet polls consistently show that the overwhelming majority of Americans—over 90 percent in most polls—believe these foods should be labeled. Sixty-four countries already require the labeling of GE foods, including European Union states, Japan, and China.2

More than 80 percent of all processed foods sold in the US now contain GE ingredients. With elections around the corner and labeling initiatives making the ballot in two states, it’s important to know what’s at stake.

As GE Labeling Initiatives Grow, Industry’s War Against Labeling Rages On

Genetically engineered food labeling laws have passed in Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine, and more than 20 other states are presently considering them. California and Washington saw very narrow losses in 2012 and 2013, by three percent and one percent, respectively.3

GE labeling initiatives will be on this November’s ballot in Oregon and Colorado. It’s just a matter of time before the scales really begin tipping in our favor. But industry won’t give up without a fight.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association of America (GMA), whom I recently named “the most evil corporation on the planet,” is suing Vermont in an effort to overturn their recently passed labeling law.

GMA is also pushing a Congressional bill, the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014, dubbed the “DARK” (Denying Americans the Right to Know) Act, which would bar states from passing GE labeling laws altogether.

Industry’s latest tactic is launching a coordinated attack against Vandana Shiva, one of the world’s most vocal and well-respected environmentalists and anti-GE activists.

Oregonians are more determined than ever, with this year’s initiative being their second attempt to pass a labeling measure—their first back in 2002. Measure 27 failed (20 percent to 80 percent).

This was due to the pressure of a massive smear campaign promulgated by industry groups like DuPont, General Mills, and of course GMA. Reflecting upon the past decade, we’ve gone from losing by 80 percent 12 years ago to losing by just one percent last year—so the tides are definitely turning.

Nevertheless, industry will continue its war on labeling at any cost—there seems to be no limit to the lies money can buy. Between 2012 and mid-2014, Monsanto and GMA successfully blocked GE labeling legislation in more than 30 states, with a price tag exceeding $100 million.

‘The Largest Biological Experiment Humanity Has Ever Seen’

With genetic engineering, in order for a gene to be inserted into a cell, you need something good at invading cells, which is why bacteria and viruses are typically used to “smuggle” desirable DNA from one organism into another… a complicated and unpredictable process.

What could possible go wrong? Well, any number of things—take suicide genes, for example. “Suicide genes” are inserted into the DNA of GE plants in order to prevent their seeds from being viable for future use. This forces a farmer to purchase seeds from the seed company every season.

Imagine the ramifications on our food supply if these suicide genes were to transfer to other seeds around the world, where farmers collect their seed for next year’s crops, or raise rare heirloom varieties.

Another issue is the insertion of antibiotic marker genes, which is concerning due to its potential for worsening the widespread problem of antibiotic resistance. And then there is the issue of viral DNA appearing in unexpected places. The European Food Safety Authority discovered a hidden viral gene in 54 of 84 commercially approved GE crops. Plant pathologists spoke out about the potential dangers of this viral gene fragment, stating it may confer “significant potential for harm,” and called for a total recall of affected crops.

Plants expressing the viral gene fragment exhibit gene expression abnormalities, which indicates that the protein produced by the gene functions as a toxin. The known targets of its activity are also found in human cells, so there is potential for this plant toxin to produce toxic effects in humans. These are just three possible consequences of genetically manipulating our food supply—but there are many more frightening scenarios that are less than far-fetched. A single gene can express or influence a variety of traits. According to Dr. Ignacio Chapela, Microbial Ecologist, University of California Berkeley:

“As we move on into the biotech revolution and we’re producing more and more transgenic manipulations, we will start seeing pieces of DNA interacting with each other in ways that are totally unpredictable. This is probably the largest biological experiment humanity has ever entered into.”

Today’s Food System Kills Bees, Decimates Soil, and Squelches Diversity

Genetic engineering has created a food system rooted in monoculture and heavy agrichemical use, such as synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Ten thousand agricultural chemicals have been registered for use. More than 1.1 billion pounds of toxic pesticides, including glyphosate and atrazine, are used annually, costing $25 billion.

While nearly one billion pounds of glyphosate is doused on both conventional and GE crops worldwide each year, GE crops receive the heaviest amounts. The majority ends up in our soil and waterways, destroying soil’s beneficial organisms while allowing pathogens to flourish. These toxic agricultural chemicals are also killing off our bees and butterflies.

In addition to decimating soils, industrialized agriculture wastes energy, water, and other precious natural resources, as well as trapping farmers in a vicious cycle of using more and more chemicals. For example, those planting Monsanto’s Bt corn incur severe damage from the resistant corn rootworm, so they are forced to apply increasing amounts of pesticide to try and rescue their failing Bt crops. Furthermore, GE crops and monoculture result in “erosion of diversity.”

When you insert one single genotype that preferentially passes its genes to the progeny, it crowds out genetic diversity, and in the long-term this presents a serious threat to the food supply. Genetic uniformity increases vulnerability to pests and disease.4 This is why dozens of countries have banned GE crops. Ninety-seven percent of vegetable varieties grown at the beginning of the 20th Century are now extinct.

Glyphosate Linked to Birth Defects and Hormone-Dependent Cancers

Residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide Roundup, are found in most commonly consumed foods in the Western diet, courtesy of GE sugar, corn, and soy, as well as conventionally-grown desiccated wheat. Atrazine and nitrates form a deadly combination, as nitrates shut off your body’s defenses against these chemicals. Research suggests glyphosate may “enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions (including gut bacteria) and promote disease.” Glyphosate also appears to stimulate hormone-dependent cancers even at extremely low concentrations.

Studies show that even tiny exposures to common agricultural chemicals can induce abortions and resorption of fetuses in pregnant women. In fact, the greatest effects appear to be from the lowest doses. Very small exposures can alter developmental trajectories, resulting in birth defects, irregularities in genitalia, and learning impairments. Babies conceived during the months of highest lawn chemical use are known to have greater risks for these birth defects and developmental abnormalities. When children are overexposed to glyphosate, especially through consumption of GE foods, their likelihood of having an adverse vaccine reaction also increases.

Monsanto Attacks Farmers for Patent Infringement

For 200 years, the patenting of life was prohibited, especially with respect to foods. But all of that changed in 1978 with the first patent of a living organism, an oil-eating microbe, which opened the proverbial floodgates. Patenting of life forms was never approved by Congress or the American public. But as far the GE industry is concerned, they own a gene, wherever it ends up. According to OCA, as of August 2013, Monsanto owned 1,676 seed, plant, and other similar patents.5

Unlike GE drugs that are produced under controlled conditions in secured labs, once GE plants are released into the environment, they cannot be controlled. Uncontrolled spreading of GE seed is commonplace. This benefits only the patent holder—which raises the question, “Was this their plan all along?”

Monsanto has been suing farmers for patent infringement if GE plants are found in their fields, regardless of how they got there. Sometimes canola seeds blow off trucks into nearby fields or pollen is transported by the wind. Monsanto claims to own any plant that bears its patented genes, which is devastating to small farmers. It doesn’t help that there are thousands of secret GE crop test sites across the US… you could be living right next to one and not even know it.6 Monsanto has filed over 140 lawsuits against farmers for intentionally planting its seeds without paying royalties, and settled another 700 cases. Most farmers agree to pay a fine in order to avoid a costly lawsuit.

In 2014, the US Supreme Court struck down a case that would have protected farmers if their fields became inadvertently contaminated with patented seeds, giving Monsanto the legal rights to continue suing farmers for patent infringement.7, 8Making farmers responsible for Monsanto’s genes is like having your neighbor hold YOU responsible for erecting a fence to keep HIS dog out of your yard. Unfortunately, there is no fence high enough to keep GE seeds out of neighboring land.

The Revolving Door Between Government and Industry

The genetic engineering of our food system is proceeding essentially unregulated, despite the fact that three federal agencies are responsible for the safety of genetically engineered foods.

  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for assessing the environmental impacts of GE crops and regulating GE crop field testing. However, in a study of more than 8,000 field test applications, not a single environmental assessment was required by USDA. In fact, new USDA rules actually cut the time in half that it takes GE seed developers to go through a regulatory review.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates insecticides. Bt insecticide is engineered into every cell of Bt crops. EPA approved an exemption for residue tolerance levels for Bt toxin in GE soy foods and animal feed, so that Monsanto and other pesticide companies can incorporate as much as they want. The agency also recently raised allowable levels of glyphosate in food by significant amounts.9, 10 Allowable levels in oilseed crops such as soy were doubled, from 20 ppm to 40 ppm just last summer. It also raised the levels of permissible glyphosate contamination in other foods—many of which were raised to 15-25 times previous levels.
  • US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for food safety. Every novel substance in food must be tested. However, GE foods (such as soy lecithin and corn syrup) were granted “GRAS status” (generally regarded as safe) using the argument of “substantially equivalent”— which exempts them from testing or labeling. This was done through a former VP of Monsanto Michael Taylor, who was deputy commissioner of the FDA in the early 90s. Despite many studies in the last 20 years disproving the substantially equivalent claim, the FDA has failed to reverse its decision.

How does the government get away with this? It’s fairly simple. It fills its regulatory positions with corporate shills—there’s a revolving door for people with industry ties, such as Michael Taylor, Linda Fisher, Donald Rumsfeld, and others. Monsanto has deep roots in Washington, DC. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft received Monsanto’s largest contribution to any political candidate in the 2000 election, toward his campaign for senate re-election. Corporate interests explain why the government continues to look the other way.

Subsidizing the Junk Food Industry

While the agrichemical industry rakes in record profits from GE seeds, farmers lose money growing them and can’t stay in business without government subsidies. As of the time of this film (2004), the farmer’s cost for growing one bushel of GE corn or soy was $3.20, and their return was about $2.20. Obviously, farmers were unable to stay in business with this sort of margin, so agricultural subsidies were created. When wealthy countries subsidize crops, there are global repercussions—the markets of developing countries are undercut, making subsistence farming virtually impossible.

Subsidies support only the most widely grown industrial crops—corn, wheat, and soybeans—ergo, those that go directly to the processed food industry. Far from providing us with nutrition, US agricultural subsidies contribute to the declining health of Americans and fuel the obesity epidemic. It’s complete idiocy… junk food is subsidized in one department, while another department across the hall funds an anti-obesity campaign.

Over the past 15 years, taxpayers have paid corn farmers more than $77 billion in subsidies, and more than 75 percent of the funds are paid to a mere 10 percent of America’s farmers. Farm subsidies are no longer based on need. Mega-farms receive an annual fixed cash payment based on their acreage, whether they need them or not. Large corporate farms receive the majority of farm subsidies while small farmers receive little to none. You subsidize the junk food industry with your taxes, whether you consume their products or not. As farm subsidies are already in the federal budget, a better approach might be to reallocate them in a way that provides incentives to farmers who grow healthy crops using sustainable farming methods.

A Three-Step Self-Help Plan to Avoid Genetically Engineered Foods

On a brighter note, consumer spending trends reflect America’s growing awareness about the shortfalls of the industrial food system. Consider America’s growing hunger for organic foods:11, 12

  • In 1990, Americans spent one billion dollars on organic foods
  • In 2003, they spent $13 billion
  • In 2009, they spent $24.8 billion
  • In 2013, they spent $35.1 billion
  • A recent report showed that 65 percent of consumers prefer foods with organic ingredients

In a recent interview, research scientist and internationally recognized sustainability expert Dr. Elaine Ingham suggested the following three-step plan to help you avoid GE foods:

  1. Choose local organic food. This is a must if you want to stop supporting the likes of Monsanto with your hard-earned dollars. Genetically engineered seeds and materials are not allowed in organic farming and food production, so at present it’s the only way to ensure you’re not accidentally buying something with GE ingredients. Beware that the terms “natural” or “all-natural” on a label has absolutely NO meaning when it comes to GE ingredients—the natural label is in no way interchangeable with the certified organic label.
  2. Improve the soil in your garden and grow your own vegetables. This is my new passion. Please refer to my interview with Paul Gautschi to learn simple strategies you can use to make your home or local garden thrive.
  3. Support GMO labeling campaigns. With elections quickly approaching, this is the time to get the word out to your friends and family about the importance of passing labeling laws. Forward this article as widely as you can to increase awareness about this important issue.

Watch the video. URL:https://vimeo.com/44961550

How GMOs and Glyphosate Impact Soil Biology


Robert Kremer, Phd., co-author of the book Principles in Weed Management, is a certified soil scientist and professor of Soil Microbiology at the University of Missouri. He recently retired from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), where he worked as a microbiologist for 32 years.

He’s conducted research since 1997 on genetically engineered (GE) crops, and in this interview he reveals how GE crops and glyphosate impact soil ecology and biology.

Story at-a-glance

  • Glyphosate shuts down amino acid synthesis, followed by inhibition of protein synthesis necessary for plant growth. When that happens, it makes the plant more susceptible to pathogens in the soil
  • Glyphosate also acts as a mineral chelator, and minerals such as zinc, copper, and manganese act as cofactors in many enzymes. This mineral suppression opens the plant up to disease
  • When minerals are bound to glyphosate in the plant, they will not be available to your body when you eat it. Instead, those minerals will be excreted or stored in your body along with the glyphosate

Roundup Causes Buildup of Pathogens on Root Systems

Prior to the advent of genetically engineered (GE) crops, his research projects were focused on plant and microorganism interactions in the soil.

It was well-known that one of the secondary mechanisms of actions of glyphosate was that it tended to cause the plant to become infected with opportunistic soil pathogens.

When the first transgenic plants came out around 1996, Kremer’s team decided to investigate whether the use of glyphosate on genetically engineered (GE) soybeans might attract certain soil pathogens like Fusarium.

While often considered as a pathogen, several species in the Fusarium genus can be beneficial in the environment, as they mediate decomposition of organic substances in the soil.

Other species are opportunistic, and if the conditions are just right on a plant, they will attack the plant and become pathogenic (infectious) under those circumstances.

What they found was that after application of Roundup (the active ingredient of which is glyphosate), there was always a buildup of soilborne Fusarium on soybean and corn root systems during the season.

“When you see that amount of Fusarium building up on a root system, you would suspect there would be a potential for disease development under ideal conditions,” Kremer says.

“As it turns out with soybean and corn, we identified four or five major species. We found actual disease-causing pathogenic species in only 10 to 20 percent of root samples that were assayed.

One is the causal agent of sudden death syndrome in soybean, which causes a wilt and root rot, primarily under wet soil conditions.

But interestingly, while we thought we would consistently detect this pathogen on roots of soybean treated with glyphosate, it was never a dominant species found in field soil or on the roots season after season.

What we did find were many other Fusarium species, some of which could be pathogenic or cause a disease under certain conditions.

Our main conclusion from that was that these soybean varieties, due to their genetic modification and glyphosate treatment, provided a soil environment very conducive for proliferation of Fusarium, thereby setting up a good potential for disease to rapidly develop if the conditions were optimal for that to happen.

This is because the inocula needed for disease progression is already built up on the roots and ready to infect when conditions allow whereas non-transgenic soybean did not exhibit that disease potential.”

How Glyphosate Disrupts Plant Growth

As described by Kremer, glyphosate’s primary mode of action is that it shuts down amino acid synthesis, followed by inhibition of protein synthesis necessary for plant growth.

A complementary mode of action is that when this happens, it causes the plant to be more susceptible to the microbes (and any pathogens) in the soil.

The reason for this is because the amino acids are also building blocks for other compounds that have defensive functions against soil pathogens — such as Fusarium. As a result, the plant becomes more susceptible to attack and infection by many microorganisms in the soil.

Glyphosate also acts as a mineral chelator, and minerals such as zinc, copper, and manganese which are essential cofactors in many plant and human enzymes.

Chelating or removing these minerals from the plants is largely responsible for impairing their protein synthesis as the enzymes involved in syntheses require the minerals to function. This then opens the plant up to attack.

Glyphosate Is Systemic, and That’s Part of the Problem

We often think of glyphosate as just another herbicide being applied topically, but it’s important to realize that one of the properties of glyphosate is that when it enters a plant, it becomes systemic, and cannot be washed off like many other herbicides.1

It becomes integrated into every cell in the plant, especially the faster growing cells. As explained by Kremer:

“It is translocated throughout the plant, primarily towards growing points of the plant, meristematic tissue, and one of the most active growing points in the plant are young root tips.

A lot of the glyphosate applied to the plant passes through the plant. It goes to meristems and to developing seeds. But a lot of it is transported to the roots, and much of that passes through the root, into the soil…

When glyphosate is released there… it will contact nutrients that are in the soil solution and chelate or immobilize them, tying them up, and making them unavailable to the plant.

The nutrients also become unavailable to beneficial microorganisms that are in the rhizosphere. They are not able to acquire those micronutrients at all. You have a two-way effect here.

You have an effect on the plant where it can’t take up these essential nutrients to mediate the reactions by the enzymes, where those micronutrients are needed.

Also, the microorganisms that have enzymes to those of plants, cannot accomplish their metabolism either.”

Once Bound by Glyphosate, Micronutrients Are Also Made Unavailable to Your Body

Interestingly, if you do a tissue analysis of a GE plant looking for micronutrients, the test may reveal that there are sufficient amounts of manganese and other minerals present. However, the tissue analysis will not tell you how much of this manganese is tied up and therefore made unavailable by the glyphosate in the plant…

Moreover, if the minerals are bound to glyphosate in the plant, there’s no way for your body to dissociate that bond to make the nutrients available when you eat it. Instead, those minerals will simply be excreted back out, or worse, stored in your body right along with the glyphosate.

Making matters even worse, glyphosate formulations such as Roundup are synergistically even more toxic than glyphosate itself. For example, surfactant chemicals disrupt the cellular membranes in the plant, making uptake of other chemicals like glyphosate a lot easier, and hence riskier.

“With some of the microorganisms we found, [the surfactants] will interfere with cellular membrane lipids. For example, in some of these microorganisms, it will interfere with soil enzyme activities that have beneficial effects in some biological processes. There’s a lot more that we need to learn about this, because there are many additives in the formulation of Roundup, surfactants being just one of those compounds.”

The Drawbacks of ‘Burndown Application’ of Glyphosate in No-Till Farming

Some sustainable agriculture no-till farmers use of Roundup in what’s called a “burndown application” in the spring to kill off any weeds and vegetation in the field prior to planting. No-till is a very beneficial practice, as tilling the soil decimates many beneficial soil microbes, especially the mycorrhizal fungi, and it contributes to the massive loss of topsoil. However, sterilizing the soil in this manner has significant drawbacks in the long-term, and if a farmer is not careful, it can result in a failed crop.

As explained by Kremer:

“The burndown is often used as a pre-treatment for no-till. When that happens, any vegetation is going to get a flush of microbial activity in the root zone. This is why it’s recommended farmers wait at least a week or 10 days in order for that flush of potential pathogenic microbes in the soil to peak and die down.

Then you can plant your crop without the risk of this unbalanced microbial community attacking the seedling of your new crop. That’s a real problem. I’ve known personally of some farmers who can’t wait. They plant right after burndown, and they pay for it with the appearance of their crops later, because it does affect their early growth.”

You can think of this as being similar to the clinical application of an antibiotic for a serious disease. In this case, the glyphosate is not applied to treat a disease; it’s just an agricultural process. Nevertheless, it’s killing the soil microbiome just as an antibiotic kills the microbiome in your gut and has nearly identical adverse side effects. It decreases the soil’s ability to nourish the plants and resist pests.

The residual activity — in both cases — can last for quite a while, not just a few days. Sure, the bacterial balance will begin to improve, but it still leaves an unbalanced microbial community in its wake. And there are many components of the microbial community that actually thrive with glyphosate. Fusarium is one of them, and most of them are not beneficial.

“Another one that tolerates glyphosates is Agrobacterium,” Kremer says. “Some of the Agrobacterium species can be very important disease agents. Those two organisms kind of bring this full circle. They not only tolerate glyphosate, but they are also what we call manganese oxidizers; they will actually tie up manganese in the soil.

So not only do you have glyphosate tying up [manganese], but you have this increase in organisms that will also tie-up manganese because it oxidizes it to an unavailable form. This is one of the other outcomes of using glyphosate… Now, it’s interesting that glyphosate is used a lot in perennial crops, such as vineyards, orchards, and almond production.

I believe it’s fair to note that when we use a lot of glyphosate in those systems for vegetation control, what is happening is that when the glyphosate is released through the roots in those systems, glyphosate can then be taken up by some of those desirable plants, such as grapevines and trees, which are not Roundup-resistant.

The next thing you know, we will have some root dieback in the topsoil, or we have this abnormal growth that we’ve seen in grapes. Then they wonder why they’re having production problems. The overuse of glyphosate in some of these perennial systems is a very serious problem.”

GMOs Have Led to Increase in Herbicides and Other Agricultural Chemicals

One justification the chemical technology industry used to promote and support the use of GE crops is that they would decrease the need for pesticides. In reality, weed resistance to the chemical has led to a steady increase in use. An estimated 60 million acres of farmland are now overrun with glyphosate resistant superweeds.

Even though farmers rotate between growing corn and soybeans, most grow Roundup Ready versions of both crops. In other words, these crops tolerate Roundup applications for weed control. So even though the crop changes, you have a continuous application of Roundup year after year. Often, that is preceded by Roundup in a burndown treatment, and then you have application of Roundup during the season, probably more than once.

“Instead of going to different crops that are not Roundup Ready, the thought was, ‘Well, let’s just engineer the crop to resist other herbicides that can kill out the Roundup-resistant weeds.’ Yes, [we] will have crops that are resistant to at least two or three different herbicides, including glyphosate. The other herbicides may be 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and dicamba. These are to take out the glyphosate-resistant weeds.

But we already know that in 2,4-D and dicamba, there are weeds that have been shown to be resistant to that class of compounds as well. It’s just a matter of time before those weeds will be resistant to maybe three different herbicides. We know that there are some weeds that are resistant to five different herbicides. The writing is on the wall that this is going to happen,” Kremer says.

More chemicals are also being used to control diseases associated with soybeans and corn. When the first transgenic soybeans came out, the seed was never treated with insecticides or fungicides. Now you can’t buy Roundup Ready seed without having it treated with at least one insecticide and a fungicide to control anticipated pests. So farmers cannot buy “clean” seeds anymore; certainly not from Monsanto. And this cocktail of chemicals is eventually transferred to the plant, and consumed by livestock and humans.

To Regenerate Soil, We Need a New Agricultural System

According to Kremer, after years of growing GE corn and soybeans, many farmers are now noticing a decline in productivity — which again is the exact converse of Monsanto’s promises. And the reason for this decline is directly linked with declining soil health. As noted by Kremer:

“What has happened, primarily with industrial agriculture, is that using glyphosate and transgenic [plant] varieties, and all the chemical fertilizers that we’re putting out there, we’ve decreased soil organic matter, which is the key to soil health, because it affects all the properties of the soil.”

As you would expect, many nutrients, especially the micronutrient levels, have also decreased in our food. As a result of these adverse ramifications, increasing numbers of farmers are ready for change, and many now want to revert back to non-GMO crops. This is certainly part of the answer, but it’s not the whole solution. Soil must be actively regenerated with appropriate processes. It’s not enough to just switch to non-GMO seeds.

Using cover crops is an important part of the solution, as it helps build up organic matter in the soil, breaks up compactions, and allows for better water and air infiltration below the surface of the soil, which helps beneficial microorganisms thrive. Incorporating holistic herd management is another key component.

“I think there is a lot of opportunity for that,” Dr. Kremer says. “I know some farmers who are already doing that. And, if we could have the grazers on the land to process that vegetative material and deposit the organic matter around, that would go a long way to reviving and remediating these soils. The biggest problem is that we have this separation of the various types of agriculture.

Most of the confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are out West, and we ship all our grain out there. We’re taking the nutrients away from here, and they have these huge of piles of manure in the West [that need to be in the soil]… I think the demand for meat that is not fed with GE crops is growing, and I believe we’re going to see more local processors and maybe local feeding operations where we have grass-fed cattle and grass-fed hogs.

We may be seeing a turn towards that, because most of those large feeding operations obviously are using the commodity corn and soybean, which are Roundup Ready. I think there’s going to be a point where we will see this change come around. We’re going to have a complete, sustainable system with livestock and the feed grains being grown in the same landscape.”

GE Food Dangers: Why GMOs Can Never Be Safe


Story at-a-glance

  • Documentary explores the dangers of genetically engineered (GE) foods, including the adverse economic impact of having our exports refused by countries opting out of GMOs
  • 64 countries now require labeling of GE foods; more than 90 percent of Americans favor similar labeling in the U.S.
  • HR 1599, which would bar states from implementing GMO labeling, may go to the Senate for a vote as soon as September, so time is running out to set your senators straight; talking points suggested

While no one knows exactly what the effects of consuming pesticide-soaked genetically-engineered (GE) crops will be over time, all of humankind serves as “lab rat” as a few massive corporations profit handsomely from their experiment.

The good news is, although we’ve lost some battles, we seem to be winning the war.

Awareness about the potential risks of GE foods continues to grow, largely through the publicity generated by state direct ballot initiatives that bypass the legislatures. The latest polls suggest more than 90 percent of Americans now want to know what’s in their food.

As a result of increased public awareness, industry has ramped up their efforts to maintain the status quo, pouring exorbitant amounts of money into anti-labeling campaigns in order to control the public, press and government.

Economic Impacts That Are Rarely Discussed

With mounting scientific evidence about the human and environmental costs of GE foods and industrial agriculture, 64 nations now require the labeling of foods containing GE ingredients.1

Many nations have banned GE crops altogether, including parts of the EU, Austria, China, India, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy and Russia.2

With so many rejecting GE foods, major U.S. exports of soy and corn have lost international trade value. One expert estimated $200 to 300 million per year are lost in European exports alone.

With regard to China, U.S. corn exports dropped 85 percent in one year (2013 to 2014), according to the trade association, which bases its estimates on data from export companies.3

In Europe, the GMO tug-of-war continues, as 58 GE foods remain legal for import, with 17 new ones added in April 2015 (maize, cotton, soybean, oilseed rape, sugar beets, and carnations).4Individual EU states are granted the option of opting-out.5

Here in the U.S., industry’s greed rages on. Corporate leaders and government officials refuse to heed GMO warnings — even from their own scientists.

Those who sound the alarm are frequently “managed” by means more typically associated with gangsters. They are targeted to be discredited with harassment, ridicule, and tactics best described as “corporate terrorism.”

Why GMOs Can Never Be Safe

Genetic modification interferes with the naturally occurring genetic modifications organisms undergo in order to survive.

An organism’s genome is not static but fluid, and its biological functions are interconnected with its environment and vice versa. Trying to control genetic changes via artificial modification is a dangerous game.

Compared to natural genetic modification (vertical gene transfer), artificial genetic modification is inherently hazardous because it lacks the precision of the natural process, enabling genes to be transferred between species that would never have been otherwise exchanged.

Artificial genetic modification uses horizontal gene transfer, which involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different and naturally incompatible species, yielding unexpected and often unpredictable results — including the transfer of foreign genes into humans.

EPA Has Raised Allowed Limits for Carcinogen Levels in Your Food

The claim that GE foods are materially comparable to conventional foods, and therefore inherently safe, falls flat when you consider GE crops are designed to be different.

For example, “Roundup Ready” crops are engineered to withstand the herbicide Roundup, which would normally threaten the survival of the crop if sprayed too liberally.

Moreover, in a 2014 study6 titled “Compositional Differences in Soybeans on the Market: Glyphosate Accumulates in Roundup Ready GM Soybeans,” the authors specifically conclude that nutritional and elemental variables “without exception” demonstrate “substantial non-equivalence” between GM soy and non-GM varieties.

With the advent of Roundup Ready crops, use of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) has significantly risen, with about 1 billion pounds sprayed on crops every year.

Glyphosate’s toxicity is well established, with adverse health effects ranging from birth defects to endocrine dysfunction to cancer. Unbelievably, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) admits foods are not tested for glyphosate residues due to the high cost of doing so.7

However, GE crops are much more heavily contaminated with glyphosate than conventional crops by nature of their very design, and this fact alone blows a massive hole in the safety claim.

Glyphosate was recently classified as a Class 2A “probable human carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Even in the midst of mounting questions about glyphosate’s safety, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raised the allowable limits of glyphosate8 in our food and feed crops back in July 2013. Allowable levels in oilseed crops such as soy were doubled, from 20 ppm to 40 ppm. Permissible glyphosate levels in many other foods were raised to 15 to 25 times previous levels.

Root and tuber vegetables, with the exception of sugar, got one of the largest boosts, with allowable residue limits being raised from 0.2 ppm to 6.0 ppm. The level for sweet potatoes was raised to 3 ppm.

Enough Already — It’s Time to Boycott

By now, it should be clear you cannot depend on industry or government to ensure the safety of the foods you eat. You must take matters into your own hands. I invite you to vote with your wallet and join me in boycotting GE foods and other tainted foods, including CAFO meat and dairy as they’re typically fed GMO feed and treated with antibiotics and growth-accelerating drugs.

Boycotting contaminated foods might not be as easy as you think, as many foods labeled “natural” are not really natural. Many “mom and pop” companies that started out on the right foot are later swallowed up by big corporations, with concerns over food quality tossed right out the window. True Activist assembled a printable list of nearly 70 food companies owned by Monsanto, which you can download here.9 Other small companies have fallen prey to other corporate buy-outs, such as: 10, 11

  • Burt’s Bees was bought by Clorox
  • Krave Jerky was sold to Hershey
  • Naked Juice was purchased by Pepsi
  • Odwalla now belongs to Coca-Cola
  • Applegate Farms sold out to Hormel

In fact, just 10 corporations control almost every product on grocery store shelves. How many of your products are owned by these ten mega-corporations?

10 Mega Corporations

Prevent Your Senator from Voting Yes on HR 1599

HR 1599 is a measure looming ominously over your right to know what’s in your food, ironically misnamed the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.”

The bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan) in order to preempt states’ rights to enact GMO labeling laws, and specifically prohibit Congress or individual states from requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods or ingredients. Under this bill, food manufacturers would be allowed to use the word “natural” on products that contain GMOs. HR 1599 is commonly referred to as the “Deny Americans the Right to Know” or DARK Act.

Unfortunately, on July 23, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 1599 — greased with lots of GMA and biotech money (Grocery Manufacturers Association, aka Junk Food Industry). According to a report12 by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), food and biotechnology companies spent $63.6 million in 2014 to lobby specifically for this kind of anti-labeling legislation. That’s nearly three times the amount spent on anti-labeling efforts in 2013.

And not surprisingly, House members who voted to ban GMO labeling received on average three times more money from the agribusiness industry during the 2014 election cycle than those who voted against it.13

Republican dissention in the Senate is our last hope for killing this monstrous bill, which is simply the latest tactic aimed at protecting Monsanto and its minions. It’s imperative you contact your senators today, urging them not to support HR 1599. Tell them this bill is an attack on consumer rights and states’ rights, and you expect your elected officials to protect you.

You can find your senators’ contact information by clicking the button below, or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. A phone call has greater impact than an email, but a face-to-face meeting will usually make the strongest impact of all. The Senate went into a month-long recess on August 10, during which time senators often return to their home states. You can find out where they are and set up an appointment by calling the district office.

It’s really imperative to concentrate our efforts on our senators right now, and to inform them accurately. They’re being deceived by industry lobbyists, and this is our last chance to preserve our right to know what’s in our food.

HR 1599 Eliminates States’ Rights

In addition to barring states from creating their own GMO labeling requirements, HR 1599 also preempts all state and local regulation of GE crops, and further weakens federal oversight.14 Rather than simply labeling foods containing GE ingredients, the bill calls for the creation of a USDA non-GMO certification program similar to its National Organic Program — essentially shifting all of the costs over to those wanting to declare their foods non-GMO.

This system is as backwards as it gets. If GMOs were labeled as they rightfully should be, there would be no need for GMO-free labeling, which was originally nothing more than a workaround to give consumers what they want — the right to make informed purchasing decisions.

The basic purpose of food labeling is to inform you of what you’re buying, its basic ingredients, and additives — rather than what’s NOT in the food (unless it relates to a known health risk, such as peanut allergy or gluten intolerance).

Under HR 1599, any food that’s not part of a man-made genetic experiment will be forced to declare that it’s “normal” on the label, or be assumed to contain GMOs. It’s complete nonsense, and the only beneficiaries of such a convoluted system are the biotechnology and processed food industries.

If GE foods were as wonderful as industry claimed, Monsanto and its cohorts would be vociferously in favor of stamping their labels with an official “proof of GMO seal” — it would be free advertising for them! But instead they spend tens of millions of dollars fighting it. The only explanation that makes sense is they have something to hide, and they know consumers are onto them.

Four Talking Points to Review BEFORE Speaking to Your Senator

In order to help you educate your senators about the necessity and appropriateness of labeling GE foods, I devoted the majority of a recent article to HR 1599 talking points. A much more comprehensive discussion of the following four issues can be found in that article, so I recommend your reading it in detail before you meet with your Senator. Very briefly, the four points are the following:

  • GMO labeling will NOT increase food costs
  • Consumers expect traditional foods — not GMOs — to be the norm, so transgenic foods should carry the label and distinction of being “different”
  • Three reasons GMO foods are unsafe (primary contributors to chronic disease, pesticide/herbicide resistance, and antibiotic resistance)
  • Several claims made by the GMO industry are false (insecticide-resistant crops have NOT reduced insecticide use; herbicide-producing GE crops have NOT decreased herbicide use; and GE plants have actually created insecticide and herbicide resistance).

watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/5fEO9UkpkVk

Russia Has Decided To BAN The Use Of Genetically Modified Ingredients


Russia has announced a game-changing move in the fight against Monsanto’s GMOs, completely banning the use of genetically modified ingredients in any and all food production.

Russia

In other words, Russia just blazed way past the issue of GMO labeling and shut down the use of any and all GMOs that would have otherwise entered the food supply through the creation of packaged foods (and the cultivation of GMO crops).

“As far as genetically-modified organisms are concerned, we have made decision not to use any GMO in food productions,” Deputy PM Arkady Dvorkovich revealed during an international conference on biotechnology.

This is a bold move by the Russian government, and it sits in unison with the newly-ignited global debate on GMOs and the presence of Monsanto in the food supply. It also follows the highly-debated ruling by the World Health Organization that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup is a ‘probable carcinogen.’

But I also want to put it into perspective for you. If this announcement were to be made in the United States, for example, it would mean a total transformation of the food manufacturing industry. But in Russia, the integration of GMOs is not close to the same level as in the U.S.

We know that, in the United States, 90 plus percent of staple crops like corn are genetically modified, along with 94 percent of soybeans and 94 percent of cotton. A ban on GMOs in food production would radically change the entire food supply. In Russia, however, the country is much more poised for a GMO food revolution.

As RT reports:

“According to official statistics the share of GMO in the Russian food industry has declined from 12 percent to just 0.01 percent over the past 10 years, and currently there are just 57 registered food products containing GMO in the country. The law ordering obligatory state registration of GMO products that might contact with the environment will come into force in mid-2017.”

 

President Vladimir Putin believes that he can keep GMOs out of the country, even while staying in compliance with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) commandments. In a past meeting addressing the members of the Board of the Russian Federation Council he stated:

“We need to properly construct our work so that it is not contrary to our obligations under the WTO. But even with this in mind, we nevertheless have legitimate methods and instruments to protect our own market, and above all citizens.”

New Way to Boost Crop Production Doesn’t Rely on GMOs or Pesticides


Researchers are fiddling with the plant equivalent of gut bacteria.

A new treatment for cotton seeds draws on beneficial microbes that live inside plants—much like the good bacteria in our own guts—to help the crops thrive in dry conditions.

The microbe-enhanced cotton, the first product from startup Indigo Agriculture, is already growing on 50,000 acres spread across five different states in the southern United States. Indigo CEO David Perry says the treatment increases yield as much as irrigation can. The company also today announced a new $100 million investment round that brought its venture funding total to $156 million.

Many experts argue that global agricultural productivity is not growing fast enough to keep up with the increase in global demand for food. Intense competition for land and pressures to reduce chemical fertilizer and pesticide use have led technologists to search for new ways to increase yield. Adding beneficial microbes to crops could be an effective but less controversial alternative to genetic engineering.

A field of cotton from seeds treated with Indigo’s microbes.

Seed treatments containing such microbes are part of an emerging class of agricultural technologies known as “biologicals.” The microbiome—the communities of bacteria and fungi that live in the soil around the roots, on the surface of the plant, and inside the plant tissue—contributes to a plant’s health and growth. The idea is that by isolating these good bacteria and fungi and then adding them back into the plant, they could stimulate more growth and make crops healthier.

Agriculture companies including Monsanto have already released a number of microbial products. But most of what’s on the market now is focused on organisms that live in soil. Indigo’s focus is on so-called endophytes, or the bacteria and fungi that actually live in the plant tissue. Researchers have studied the interactions between these particular microbes and their plant hosts for several decades, but are just now beginning to realize how to apply what they’ve learned, according to Betsy Arnold, a professor of plant sciences and ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, and an academic collaborator with Indigo.

On the left are cotton plants grown with Indigo’s seed treatment. On the right are untreated crops.

Recent advances in DNA sequencing and inexpensive computing have made it more economical to perform computational analysis on huge databases of microbial genetic information in search of insights that might help improve crops. Indigo has built a database of tens of thousands of individual microbes isolated from crops that thrive under harsh conditions. The company’s scientists use machine learning and other techniques to probe that data in search of new insights.

Tyler McClendon, president of Oxbow Agriculture, which is currently growing 1,000 acres of Indigo’s cotton, says he believes Indigo’s focus on isolating specific microörganisms that seem to help plants thrive under stress makes more sense than the “broad based,” soil-focused approaches other companies are taking.

McClendon says Indigo’s business model is also unique, in that the final cost of the technology to the farmer is tied to a “measurable increase in crop yield.” Under the traditional model, farmers must pay for everything up front and then hope for the best, says Perry. Indigo doesn’t ask for much financial commitment up front, he says. Instead, he says, “we ask for a share of the value we create at harvest.” McClendon says this kind of approach makes farmers more receptive and could speed the adoption of new biotechnologies.

Top Pharma-Brand of Children’s Vitamins Contains Aspartame, GMOs, & Other Hazardous Chemicals


Top US Brand of Children's Vitamins Contains Aspartame, GMOs, & Other Hazardous Chemicals

The #1 Children’s Vitamin Brand in the US contains ingredients that most parents would never intentionally expose their children to, so why aren’t more opting for healthier alternatives?

Kids vitamins are supposed to be healthy, right? Well then, what’s going on with Flintstones Vitamins, which proudly claims to be “Pediatricians’ #1 Choice”?  Produced by the global pharmaceutical corporation Bayer, this wildly successful brand features a shocking list of unhealthy ingredients, including:

On Bayer Health Science’s Flintstones product page designed for healthcare professionals they lead into the product description with the following tidbit of information:

82% of kids aren’t eating all of their veggies1. Without enough vegetables, kids may not be getting all of the nutrients they need.

References: 1. Lorson BA, Melgar-Quinonez HR, Taylor CA. Correlates of fruit and vegetable intakes in US children. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(3):474-478.

The implication? That Flintstones vitamins somehow fill this nutritional void. But let’s look a little closer at some of these presumably healthy ingredients….

ASPARTAME

Aspartame is a synthetic combination of the amino acids aspartic acid and l-phenylalanine, and is known to convert into highly toxic methanol and formaldehyde in the body.  Aspartame has been linked to over 40 adverse health effects in the biomedical literature, and has been shown to exhibit both neurotoxicity and carcinogenicity [1]  What business does a chemical like this have doing in a children’s vitamin, especially when non-toxic, non-synthetic non-nutritive sweeteners like stevia already exist?

CUPRIC OXIDE

Next, let’s look closer at Cupric Oxide, 2mg of which is included in each serving of Flinstone’s Complete chewable vitamins as a presumably  ‘nutritional’ source of ‘copper,’ supplying “100% of the Daily Value  (Ages 4+), according to Flintstones Vitamins Web site’s Nutritional Info.[2]

But what is Cupric Oxide? A nutrient or a chemical?

According to the European Union’s Dangerous Substance Directive, one of the main EU laws concerning chemical safety, Cupric Oxide is listed as a Hazardous substance, classified as both  “Harmful (XN)” and “Dangerous for the environment” (N).  Consider that it has industrial applications as a pigment in ceramics, and as a chemical in the production of rayon fabric and dry cell batteries. In may be technically correct to call it a mineral, but should it be listed as a nutrient in a children’s vitamin? We think not.

Top US Brand of Children's Vitamins Contain Aspartame, GMOs, & Other Hazardous Chemicals

COAL TAR ARTIFICIAL COLORING AGENTS

A well-known side effect of using synthetic dyes is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. For direct access to study abstracts on this topic view our Food Coloring research page.  There is also indication that the neurotoxicity of artificial food coloring agents increase when combined with aspartame,[3] making the combination of ingredients in Flintstones even more concerning.

ZINC OXIDE

Each serving of Flinstones Complete Chewable vitamins contain 12 mg of zinc oxide, which the manufacturer claims delivers 75% of the Daily Value to children 2  & 3 years of age.  Widely used as a sun protection factor (SPF) in sunscreens, The EU’s Dangerous Substance Directive classifies it as an environmental Hazard, “Dangerous for the environment (N).”  How it can be dangerous to the environment, but not for humans ingesting it, escapes me.  One thing is for sure, if one is to ingest supplemental zinc, or market it for use by children, it makes much more sense using a form that is organically bound (i.e. ‘chelated’) to an amino acid like glycine, as it will be more bioavailable and less toxic.

SORBITOL

Sorbitol is a synthetic sugar substitute which is classified as a sugar alcohol. It can be argued that it has no place in the human diet, much less in a child’s. The ingestion of higher amounts have been linked to gastrointestinal disturbances from abdominal pain to more serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.[4]

FERROUS FUMARATE

The one clear warning on the Flinstone’s Web site concerns this chemical. While it is impossible to die from consuming iron from food, e.g. spinach, ferrous fumarate is an industrial mineral and not found in nature as food. In fact, ferrous fumarate is so toxic that accidental overdose of products containing this form is “a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6.” The manufacturer further warns:

Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.

HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL

Finding hydrogenated oil in anything marketed to children is absolutely unacceptable. These semi-synthetic fatty acids incorporate into our tissues and have been linked to over a dozen adverse health effects, from coronary artery disease to cancer, violent behavior to fatty liver disease.[5]

GMO CORN STARCH

While it can be argued that the amount of GMO corn starch in this product is negligible, even irrelevant, we disagree. It is important to hold accountable brands that refuse to label their products honestly, especially when they contain ingredients that have been produced through genetic modification. The ‘vitamin C’ listed as ascorbic acid in Flintstones is likely also produced from GMO corn. Let’s remember that Bayer’s Ag-biotech division, Bayer CropScience, poured $381,600 of cash into defeating the proposition 37 GMO labeling bill in California. Parents have a right to protect their children against the well-known dangers of genetically modified foods and the agrichemicals that contaminate them, don’t they? GMO corn starch is GMO, plain and simple. We’d appreciate it if Bayer would label their “vitamins” accordingly.

In summary, Bayer’s Flintstone’s vitamin brand is far from a natural product, and the consumer should be aware of the unintended, adverse health effects that may occur as a result of using it.