http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/09/jeff-smith-interview-gmo-week.aspxHealth | Tags: Food safety, Genetic engineering, Genetically modified food, Genetically modified organism, gmo, Health, Monsanto, Organic farming | Comment (0)
Subject: Tell Your Senators: Monsanto can’t feed the world
In a promising move, the G8 — a group of the world’s eight wealthiest nations — has just announced a shift away from providing direct food aid to developing countries and towards helping farmers abroad produce and distribute their own food.
That’s a laudable goal. But the Obama administration along with members of the U.S. Congress are using this singular moment to move their own agenda: propping up U.S. biotechnology companies like Monsanto. They hope to accomplish this by promoting genetically modified seeds and chemical inputs as tools to fight hunger, despite research that shows that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have little impact on crop yield and do not fare well in drought-prone regions that need the most help.
I just took action and signed a petition asking my senators to oppose the Casey-Lugar bill that would push GMOs on the world. I hope you will, too.
Please have a look and take action.
Thanks! MarilynUncategorized | Tags: Agriculture, Biotechnology, Crop yield, Dear Friend, Genetically modified food, Genetically modified organism, Monsanto, United States | Comment (0)
The new film “Food Inc.” is a shocking look at the health, human rights and environmental nightmare that lands on our plate each meal.
It turns out that figuring out the most simple thing – like what’s on your dinner plate, and where it came from – is actually a pretty subversive act.
That’s what director Robert Kenner found out while spending six years putting together the amazing new documentary, “Food Inc.,” which features prominent food writers Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation).
Warning: “Food Inc.” is not for the faint of heart. While its focus is not on the gory images of slaughterhouse floors and filthy feedlots, what it does show about the journey of our food from “farm” to plate is not pretty.
The story’s main narrative chronicles the consolidation of our vast food industry into the hands of a few powerful corporations that have worked to limit the public’s understanding of where its food comes from, what’s in it and how safe it may be.
But it’s also a larger story about the people that have gotten in the way of the stampeding corporate herd – like farmer Joel Salatin (also profiled in Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma), who has bravely bucked the trend to go corporate.
There’s also Barbara Kowalcyk, who becomes a tireless food-safety advocate after her 2 1/2-year-old son Kevin died from eating an E. coli-tainted hamburger. And there is the economically strapped Orozco family, which is faced with the difficult decision of whether to save money by buying cheap processed food and spend more later on medical bills, or spring for the more expensive, but healthier food options that stretch its immediate income.
There are also the farmers who appear with their faces blacked out on screen for fear of Monsanto, or the communities ravaged by Type 2 diabetes, or the undocumented workers at processing plants who are recruited from their NAFTA-screwed homelands, illegally brought over the border to work dangerous jobs for peanuts, only to be humiliatingly sacrificed in immigration raids that only criminalize workers and never the employers.
It’s really the people that make this film so riveting. If you’ve read Pollan’s or Schlosser’s important works, then you already know a lot – but the film is still eye-opening on so many levels. And sometimes, you really just have to see it to believe it.
Both Pollan and Schlosser narrate the film, but it is the ordinary folks in the film that make you realize how critical these issues are to the future of food, health care, the environment and human rights in this country.
If you care about what you eat, then you should see this film – and if you do, you’ll likely never walk through the supermarket in the same way again. And that’s a damn good thing.
AlterNet recently had the chance to talk with Kenner about whether our food is really safe to eat, why the food industry doesn’t want us to know what we’re eating, and how we can fight back.
Tara Lohan: So how did this film come about?
Robert Kenner: I read Eric Schlosser’s book, Fast Food Nation, and I was struck by the idea that with food, there could be so much we don’t know about something we are as familiar with. I began to think about doing a film about how we eat and where the food comes from. Ultimately exploring the idea that – on one level we are spending less of our paycheck on food today than probably at any point in the history of the world – and at the same time, this inexpensive food is coming to us at a high cost that you don’t see at the checkout counter.
I thought by being able to talk about all the producers – from the [small farmer] Joe Salatins of the world to big agribusiness – it could be a very interesting conversation. Unfortunately, that conversation never took place [because the agribusiness companies wouldn't consent to be interviewed], so the movie kept transforming into something different. I was very disappointed in the wall and the veil that was placed between us and this conversation about our food.
TL: What was your learning curve like – how much did you know about these issues going into this, and what did you learn along the way?
RK: I’m still learning. I didn’t come into this as a food activist, I came into this as a filmmaker who found it an interesting conversation. I didn’t want to make a film for the converted, I didn’t want to make a film for the true believers; I wanted to make a film for people who hadn’t thought about the food they are eating. I thought it was most important to try and get people, not to turn their stomachs but to open their eyes.
My previous film was called Two Days in October, and it was a story about Vietnam told from all different points of view, and I found I learned more from the people whose opinions were different than mine, and I thought that was great – unfortunately, this was the opposite. The people who were different wanted to put up a wall. I didn’t realize how subversive the world of food was.
I went to a hearing on whether we should label cloned meats. When the lady who represented the industry spoke and said, “I really think it is not in the consumer’s interest to be given this information because it’s too confusing,” I got goosebumps and thought, “this is scary.”
Then I realized that this is happening time and time again, and I hadn’t been aware of it – whether it’s GMOs that these corporations say are really good and will save the world but then they’ll fight like hell to make sure you don’t know it’s in your food.
Then there is [food-safety advocate] Barb Kowalcyk, who can’t tell me what she eats because of the veggie libel laws. And I’m thinking something is off. If you live in a free society and are going to have free trade, it has got to be based on information; and if we are being denied that information we can’t make the right choices. I didn’t realize I was making a film about First Amendment rights. There is a lot to the story about our food.
TL: You mentioned not being able to have the conversation you wanted because there were so many corporations that wouldn’t go on camera with you, but there were also ordinary people who were afraid to talk.
RK: You know, if you talk, and you’re involved in this world of food production, you do so at great peril. And you pay the price. It is amazing how vulnerable you can be if you step forward and enter this conversation.
TL: One of the startling things in the film was the industry connections that so many of the people had who were in positions of power at the FDA and the USDA.
RK: One thing we say in the film is that we are not opposed to people going from industry to government, that is OK. The problem is when they go from industry to government, rule on things they are involved in in industry and then go back to industry with great bonuses. That seems a conflict of interest.
And it wasn’t only in the Bush era. In a funny way this crosses boundaries between Democrats and Republicans. On some of the levels, Monsanto has gotten a free ride because people think they are going to save the world with GMOs and their seeds. It has cut across party lines. It feels like tobacco research. Unfortunately, the ag schools have been taken over by industry, and they are now publishing reports.
I think the parallels to tobacco are really true. Eric [Schlosser] has a line that sums it up: that they are huge, powerful, rich corporations thoroughly connected to government issuing misleading statements about their products, saying they are not unhealthy – ultimately, there are real parallels, and I think as we start to see how unsafe this food is, like tobacco, we are going to change it.
TL: Are you seeing any changes in the first few months of the Obama administration?
RK: Well, I think this wasn’t a high priority because, obviously, there are huge crisis situations that have to be solved, but I don’t think you can solve health care without changing the food system, when 1 out of 3 Americans born after the year 2000 is going to get early-onset diabetes; it is going to bankrupt the health care system. And I think there is a direct connection between food and health.
I don’t think you can deal with the environment without dealing with the food system when 20-25 percent of your carbon footprint involves growing and transporting food.
I think these issues are coming to the surface and are becoming more important, there has just been some movement on food safety where the FDA will have the power to recall food (which they do not have now), such as Nestle’s cookie dough, which has E. coli in it.
TL: So, right now, the FDA doesn’t have the power to recall food?
RK: The hamburger that killed Barb’s son prompted her to help create Kevin’s Law to get the USDA, which is in charge of meat, to be able to recall food. It’s a complex situation – the USDA oversees meat, but if it’s a cheeseburger, then it’s the FDA, because it’s dairy. But neither of them have the power to recall food. The hamburger that killed Barb’s son sat on the shelves for 12 days after he died when they knew where it came from, but the government couldn’t recall it – it was up to the corporation. Hopefully that one will start to be changed.
But we are subsidizing food that is making us sick in an even bigger way than E. coli, and that’s obesity and diabetes. And I think that we have to figure out a way to turn the farm bill into the food bill.
TL: What does that mean?
RK: To start representing eaters’ interests, not agribusiness. Unfortunately, that bill doesn’t come up again until 2012. When we screened the film for [USDA head Tom] Vilsack, he said “we need a movement to follow. If there is a movement, we can help follow, but we can’t change farm subsidies without people demanding it.” Because he’s up against agribusiness, and they’re very powerful.
TL: To me one of the shocking numbers in the film were the figures for diabetes, which you mentioned – 1 in 3 Americans born after 2000 and 1 in 2 who are minorities – are there people in the health community who are drawing these connections?
RK: Oh yeah, that’s why we can’t have health care reform without fixing that. Diabetes is going to be so expensive. I really hope that we battle this idea of elitism, that people say that the can only afford bad food. That’s why I think that family in the film was so important, because we have people who have a hard time paying for healthier, less-processed food, but meanwhile, they are now paying for it in their health care costs. The invisible costs are becoming very real for them, and how many people in that community have diabetes is astounding. They could not believe I didn’t know someone without Type 2 Diabetes.
TL: So, based on everything you’ve learned in this film, do you think of our food as being safe to eat?
RK: I try not to eat industrialized foods as much. What is the bigger danger, is the idea of how they figure out how to deliver salt, sugar and fat to us. Sixty-four percent of Americans are either overweight or obese. I think, like tobacco they are trying to figure out how to sell you a product that is a bit addicting, and they are using billions of dollars of advertising, and they are training kids to do it at an early age, and they are overwhelming taste buds. So that’s the scary part.
TL: One of the things I liked in the film was talking, not just about the environmental and health impacts of the food we are eating, but about the labor laws and the treatment of the workers in some of the processing plants.
RK: For me, one of the shocks of making this film was that at every rural location we went to there were parts of towns that only spoke Spanish and that our food is grown and processed by illegal immigrants, and it is really this hypocritical world that we live in because we are depending on them to deliver this inexpensive food to the supermarket, but yet we also don’t want them in our communities because people think it taxes communities – the health care and schools.
But unfortunately, the people who get arrested are the workers who are working hard and doing their part, and the reason they are being hired is because they are doing difficult, dangerous, low-paying jobs, and only people without rights would want to do that work. And that for me was as important as talking about how the animals are mistreated – I tried not to even go there. But people are always shocked by animal mistreatment in the film, and I didn’t think I even put it in.
TL: I think there were some pretty gruesome scenes.
RK: God, I was just talking with my editor, and we thought we took them out. What you don’t see in this film, and I didn’t even want to go there … you see the chickens, but the fact is that pigs don’t move except for the day they are executed, or cows just sit in their own excrement – you know thousands of them in these giant factory feedlots. We’ve created megafactories, and it’s not just the meat, it is the tomatoes and all the way down the line – we’ve created a machine of great efficiency that produces the food rather inexpensively, but it comes with great consequence.
TL: One of the lighter scenes in the film is where the Wal-Mart reps go out to this small organic dairy farm that is selling its milk to Stonyfield Farms.
RK: Oh yes, this happened right at the end of the film, and we were trying to get Wal-Mart in, and all of a sudden they said yes, we’d like to come. Whoever was willing to appear in the film, I wanted to present them in the best possible light. It is very easy to say a lot of negative things about Wal-Mart, and we wouldn’t be the first to do it, but I also thought that I wanted to use that section of the film to show that consumers have power and that we are not out to make a film about how terrible every corporation is, because I do think there is a role in corporations helping to change the system, and we have to talk about that.
TL: What’s so funny is when the farmer meets the Wal-Mart reps …
RK: Yeah, she says, “I’ve never been in your stores – we boycott you – and I’ve been doing it for so long, I can’t even remember why.” She was great.
TL: It makes you realize how complex the food system is, when small organic farmers are also dependent on Wal-Mart to sell what they are producing. What do you think people should be doing – shopping locally and organically is good – but what else?
RK: I think the big thing is that we’re not going to be perfect, so if you can change one meal a day, you’re going to have a huge impact. Go to takepart.com – that lists things we can be doing and organizations to get involved with to help make change.
We say, we vote three times a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – but we also vote with our vote. When it comes to our meals, there is local, which I think is the best, it affects things on so many levels. There is organic – I was in fields where people had to wear spacesuits, and I don’t think we should be eating food when people need spacesuits to grow it. When you go to the supermarket, start to read labels. All those funny words are corn and soy, and they are going to not be good for you. And know you have power – talk to people, ask for things you want. But don’t feel bad if you’re not perfect.
People think if they can’t do it all the time they don’t have to do anything. Change one meal. But then we have to stop subsidizing food that is making us sick, we have to change the national school-lunch program. If we supported local farms and got that to the school systems and spent a dollar there, we’d save a a fortune in medicine and train kids to eat right, and we’d have better communities.
We have to vote with our votes and our forks. I am really optimistic that it’s going to change. I feel a sense of real growth – it might not be quick, but it is going to change, there is a real growing movement. The question is when. This is an unsustainable system, it can’t go on.
»Uncategorized | Tags: Corporation, Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation, Food industry, Health care, Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan, Monsanto | Comment (0)
Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 6:07 PM
Uncategorized | Tags: Agriculture, Allegedly Unethical Firms, Business, Food safety, Monsanto, TomVilsack, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Yahoo | Comment (0)
Congressional Bill HR 875 was introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose husband Stanley Greenburg works for Monsanto.
The bill is essentially a giant gift package for Monsanto, mandating the criminalization of seed banking, prison terms and confiscatory fines for small farmers and 24 hour GPS tracking of their animals, and of “industrial” standards to independent farms.
The corporations want nothing less than full control of the land, the end of normal animals so they can substitute patented genetically engineered ones, and the end of normal seeds and thus of seed banking by farmers or individuals.
And now Monsanto wants its own employee, Michael Taylor (the man who forced genetically engineered rBGH on the country when the Clintons placed him over “food safety” in the 90’s) back in government, this time to act with massive police power as a “food safety tsar”. HR 875 would give him immense power over what is done on every single farm in the country and massive police state power to wield over farmers.
Rosa DeLauro and Stanley Greenburg have a great deal to account for in attempting to force through a mislabeled “food safety” bill with hidden intent to wipe out farmers and harm everyone.
for links, go to http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/04/02/Monsantos-Dream-Bill–HR-875.aspx
Op Ed News March 9, 2009
Cryptogon March 9, 2009
Campaign for Liberty March 6, 2008
Dr. Mercola”s Comments Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
Although I’m not familiar enough with this bill in its entirety to make any definitive declarations about what it would mean for the future of small organic farms should it pass, I will say this: any law introduced by someone with ties to Monsanto is likely to be grossly tainted by industry bias.
Who Does This Bill Benefit the Most?
And Monsanto in particular – one of the most evil companies on the planet — is a powerful entity that has repeatedly proven its clout. Monsanto has already managed so many reprehensible acts, it boggles the mind. Including:
Leading the world into a new age of potentially hazardous genetic modification of seeds.
Patenting not only their own GMO seeds, but also a huge number of crop seeds, patenting life forms for the first time — without a vote of the people or Congress.
Not allowing farmers to save their seeds to replant the next year – a practice that has been done for generations. Instead, they aggressively seek out and sue farmers they suspect of doing so.
Suing farmers who have not been able to prevent the inevitable drift of Monsanto’s GE pollen or seed onto their land for patent infringement!
Producing two of the most toxic substances ever known — polychlorinated biphenyls, known as PCBs, and dioxin (Agent Orange).
Perhaps their biggest assault to your food supply already is what’s known as terminator technology. These are seeds that have been genetically modified to “self-destruct.” In other words, the seeds (and the forthcoming crops) are sterile, which means farmers must buy them again each year.
The implications that terminator seeds could have on the world’s food supply are disastrous: the traits from genetically engineered crops can get passed on to other crops. Once the terminator seeds are released into a region, the trait of seed sterility could be passed to other non-genetically-engineered crops, making most or all of the seeds in the region sterile.
If allowed to continue, every farmer in the world could come to rely on Monsanto for their seed supply!
So, would it be safe to say that Monsanto stands to gain from H.R. 875?
Absolutely! With thousands of organic farmers driven out of business, they would be that much closer to dominating the food supply of the world, since organic farms don’t use Monsanto seeds or toxic products.
Based on their history, I believe it’s prudent to question what the future of our small farms will hold, should a bill with such blatant ties to Monsanto be allowed to pass without further scrutiny.
It is quite possible, perhaps even most probable, that the bill entitled H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 is designed to halt the growing trend of small organic farms – not through a direct, frontal assault on organic farming, but rather by insidiously creating rules and laws that make it extremely difficult, and incredibly expensive, for small farms to comply.
And in this case, the rules and regulations created by this proposed bill are mandatory, not voluntary, meaning they apply equally to a tiny farmer with half a dozen cows as it does to a massive factory farm.
What are the Potential Hazards of HR 875?
The stated purpose of H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 is:
To establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes.
As detailed in the articles above, some of the potential hazards of HR 875 include:
* It includes small farmers who just sell their fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets
* Anyone engaged in food growing, or “holding food for consumption” in the U.S. would have to register annually, and create and maintain extensive records of the foods they grow and/or store
* The definitions of who this law pertains to are so broad and loosely defined that they could potentially even include your personal backyard fruit or vegetable garden, even if you don’t sell anything but grow them for personal consumption
* It appears it could dictate how all food growers would have to grow their food, including potentially the necessity to use certain pest control measures, for example
* Authorities would have the ability to inspect any food production facility at random to make sure it’s operating in compliance with the food safety law, and again the definition of “food production facility” is so loosely defined it could apply to your personal orchard, vineyard, or vegetable garden, as long as it produces something edible
* After the enactment of this Act, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture and representatives of State departments of agriculture will promulgate regulations to establish “science-based minimum standards for the safe production of food” by food production facilities. Meaning, no one even knows what the food production standards are yet, but whatever they turn out to be will have to be followed
* It is prohibited to: fail to register; refuse to permit access to an inspector; refuse to allow copying of all records; fail to establish or maintain any record required under the law
* Should you fail to comply with any of the rules and regulations, there are both civil and criminal penalties, going as high as $1 million per violation, something that could clearly wipe out any small farmer in a blink of an eye
What Can You Do?
I believe everyone should take the time to look this bill over and decide for yourself — Do you, or do you not believe industry will use every loophole they can find to further their own interests over up-and-coming small, organic family farms?
If you believe this bill warrants further scrutiny before being blindly passed, here are a few ways you can get involved and make your voice heard:
1. Contact your Congressional members at 202-224-3121 and ask them to oppose HR 875 and S 425.
2. Sign the Natural Solutions Foundation’s petition to Amend the Food Safety Modernization Act H.R. 875 [and Substitutes], by adding a “Natural and Family Food and Farming Exclusion Amendment”
3. Find out who sits on your states agriculture and farming committee and contact them with your concerns.
4. Contact your local elected officials and let them know your position on legislation and why.
5. Attend a local Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) meeting, this is a good start to learning about what is going on in farming, as well as getting involved with local and state initiatives .
6. Support the Farmers Legal Defense Fund
Monsanto’s Many Attempts to Destroy All Seeds but Their Own
This Company May Be the Biggest Threat to Your Future Health
How Monsanto Manipulates the System to Poison Your Health
Uncategorized | Tags: Agriculture, Food safety, Genetic engineering, Genetically modified organism, Monsanto, Organic farming, Rosa DeLauro, United States Department of Health and Human Services | Comment (0)
THIS IS REAL
To begin reversing GM contamination will require ending the power biotech companies such as Monsanto exert over our government and through that, over our food.
HR 875, was introduced by Rosa DeLauro whose husband Stanley Greenburg works for Monsanto.
The bill is monstrous on level after level – the power it would give to Monsanto, the criminalization of seed banking, the prison terms and confiscatory fines for farmers, the 24 hours GPS tracking of their animals, the easements on their property to allow for warrantless government entry, the stripping away of their property rights, the imposition by the filthy, greedy industrial side of anti-farming international “industrial” standards to independent farms – the only part of our food system that still works, the planned elimination of farmers through all these means.
The corporations want the land, they want more intensive industrialization, they want the end of normal animals so they can substitute patented genetically engineered ones they own, they want the end of normal seeds and thus of seed banking by farmers or individuals. They want control over all seeds, animals, water, and land.
Lots more information here: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h875/show
This is REAL folks. This bill has 39 sponsors, (all democrats for the few people out there that think democrats are going to save us all) so it should move fast. 2 of the bills sponsors are from AZ – Gabrielle Giffords (CD-8) and Raul Grijalva (CD-7). If you live in these districts, it’s time to get active, get these representatives to realize what they are doing, and get them to rescind support.
All of this permaculture will be for naught if the federal gestapo comes and hauls you off to jail so you can eat prison food.
Uncategorized | Tags: Agriculture, Gabrielle Giffords, Genetic engineering, Genetically modified food, Monsanto, Property, Rosa DeLauro, Stanley Greenburg | Comment (0)
Please forward to everyone…..
US House and Senate are about (in a week and a half) to vote on bill that
will OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING (bill HR 875). There is an enormous rush to get
this into law within the next 2 weeks before people realize what is
Main backer and lobbyist is Monsanto – chemical and genetic engineering
giant corporation (and Cargill, ADM, and about 35 other related
agri-giants). This bill will require organic farms to use specific
fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by the newly formed agency
to “make sure there is no danger to the public food supply”. This will
include backyard gardens that grow food only for a family and not for sales.
If this passes then NO more heirloom clean seeds
but only Monsanto genetically altered seeds that are now showing up with
unexpected diseases in humans.
There is a video on the subject.
And another one:
The name on this outrageous food plan is:
Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (bill HR 875).
THIS IS REAL, FOLKS! PASS THIS ALONG TO ALL CONCERNED ON YOUR
MAILING LISTS & CALL YOUR SENATE REPRESENTETIVES TODAY!
Get on that phone and burn up the wires. Get anyone else you can to do the same thing.
The House and Senate WILL pass this if they are not massively threatened with loss
of their position…. They only fear your voice and your vote.
The best thing to do is go to www.house.gov/writerep <http://www.house.gov/writerep> all you have to do is
put in your zip and it will give you your congressperson and how to get in
touch with them. When you call their office someone will answer the phone,
just tell them (politely) that you are calling to express your views on HR 875.
Tell them your views, they’ll take your name and address and pass your
comments along to the congressperson.
The following link is a list of the U.S. senators and their contact info:
Mahalo Nui Loa and Thank you for your time <3
In spite of 20,00 e-mails from organic consumers and, in apparent contradiction to his announcement that he wants an organic garden at the White House, Obama has chosen Tom Vilsack, a strong bio-tech proponent supporting genetically engineered crops, cloned animals, etc., to run the Department of Agriculture.
As you will see below, Vilsack is truly Monsanto‘s boy. He pre-empted the local votes of towns and counties who had voted to disallow GE seeds!
It’s still possible to block Vilsack’s confirmation with a massive support of the petition drafted by the Organic Consumer Association. It’s easy to sign on at this link:
or from the Organic Consumer Association website http://www.organicconsumers.org/
Your email will be sent to your Senators and the President-Elect‘s office.
The article below gives further details.
Uncategorized | Tags: Agriculture, Biotechnology, Genetic engineering, Monsanto, Organic Consumer Association, Tom Vilsack, United States Department of Agriculture, White House | Comment (0)
Unintended GMO Health Risks
Genetically modified foods:
YES, you are already eating them.
NO, they are not safe to eat.
Did you know… since 1996 Americans have been eating genetically modified (GM) ingredients in most processed foods.
Did you know… GM plants, such as soybean, corn, cottonseed, and canola have had foreign genes forced into their DNA. And the inserted genes come from species, such as bacteria and viruses, that have never been in the human food supply.
Did you know… genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not safe. They have been linked to thousands of toxic and allergenic reactions, thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ and system studied in lab animals.
Find out what the risks are and start protecting yourself and your family today!
Why isn’t the FDA protecting us?
In 1992, the Food and Drug Administration claimed that they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different from conventionally grown foods and therefore were safe to eat. But internal memos made public by a lawsuit reveal that their position was staged by political appointees under orders from the White House to promote GMOs. FDA scientists, on the other hand, warned that GMOs can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long term safety studies, but were ignored. The FDA does not require any safety evaluations for GMOs. Instead, biotech companies, who have been found guilty of hiding toxic effects of their chemical products, are now in charge of determining whether their GM foods are safe. (The FDA official in charge of creating this policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney and later their vice president.)
Although these biotech companies participate in a voluntary consultation process with the FDA, it is a meaningless exercise. The summaries of the superficial research they submit cannot identify most of the health risks of GMOs.
Genetic modification is radically different from natural breeding
In contrast to the statements of biotech advocates, FDA scientists and others affirm that genetic modification is not just an extension of the conventional breeding techniques that have been used by farmers for millennia. Genetic engineering transfers genes across natural species barriers, using imprecise laboratory techniques that bear no resemblance to natural breeding. Furthermore, the technology is based on outdated concepts of how genes and cells work.
Widespread, unpredictable changes
Gene insertion is done either by shooting genes from a “gene gun” into a plate of cells or by using bacteria to invade the cell with foreign DNA. The altered cell is then cloned into a plant. These processes create massive collateral damage, causing mutations in hundreds or thousands of locations throughout the plant’s DNA. Natural genes can be deleted or permanently turned on or off, and hundreds may change their levels of expression.
- The inserted gene is often rearranged;
- It may transfer from the food into our body’s cells or into the DNA of bacteria inside us; and
- The GM protein produced by the gene may have unintended properties or effects.
GM foods on the market
The primary reason companies genetically engineer plants is to make them tolerant to their brand of herbicide. The four major GM plants, soy, corn, canola, and cotton, are designed to survive an otherwise deadly dose of weed killer. These crops have much higher residues of toxic herbicides. About 68% of GM crops are herbicide tolerant.
The second GM trait is a built-in pesticide. A gene from the soil bacterium called Bt (for Bacillus thuringiensis) is inserted into corn and cotton DNA, where it secretes the insect-killing Bt-toxin in every cell. About 19% of GM crops produce their own pesticide. Another 13% produce a pesticide and are herbicide tolerant.
There is also Hawaiian papaya and a small amount of zucchini and yellow crookneck squash, which are engineered to resist a plant virus. Help stop the introduction of GM sugar in late 2008. Send a letter to top companies on our website.
Growing evidence of harm from GMOs
GM soy and allergic reactions
- Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced.
- A human subject showed a skin prick allergic-type reaction to GM soy, but not to natural soy.
- The level of one known soy allergen is as much as 7-times higher in cooked GM soy compared to non-GM soy.
- GM soy also contains an unexpected allergen-type protein not found in natural soy.
Bt corn and cotton linked to allergies
The biotech industry claims that Bt-toxin is harmless to humans and mammals because the natural bacteria version has been used as a spray by farmers for years. In reality, hundreds of people exposed to Bt spray had allergic-type symptoms, and mice fed Bt had powerful immune responses and damaged intestines. Moreover, Bt in GM crops is designed to be more toxic than the natural spray and is thousands of times more concentrated.
GMOs fail allergy tests
No tests can guarantee that a GMO will not cause allergies. Although the World Health Organization recommends a protein screening protocol, the GM soy, corn, and papaya in our food supply fail those tests— because they have properties of known allergens.
GMOs cause immune reactions to non-GM foods
- If proteins “digest” slowly, there is more time for allergic reactions. Because GM soy reduces digestive enzymes in mice, it may slow protein digestion and promote allergies to many foods.
- Mice not only reacted to Bt -toxin, they had immune responses to formerly harmless compounds.
- Similarly, a mouse test indicated that people eating GM peas could develop allergies both to the peas and to a range of other foods. The peas had already passed all the allergy tests normally used to get GMOs on the market. It took this advanced mouse test, which was never used on the GMOs we eat, to discover that the peas could be deadly.
GMOs and liver problems
- Rats fed GM potatoes had smaller, partially atrophied livers.
- The livers of rats fed GM canola were 12-16% heavier.
- GM soy altered mouse liver cells in ways that suggest a toxic insult. The changes reversed after their diet switched to non-GM soy.
GM soy, reproductive problems, and infant mortality
- More than half the offspring of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks.
- Male rats and mice fed GM soy showed changes in their testicles; the mice had altered young sperm cells.
- The DNA of mouse embryos whose parents ate GM soy functioned differently than those whose parents ate non-GM soy.
Many offspring of female rats fed GM soy were considerably smaller,
and more than half died within three weeks (compared to 10% of the
non-GM soy controls).
Bt crops linked to sterility, disease, and death
- When sheep grazed on Bt cotton plants after harvest, within a week 1 in 4 died. Shepherds estimate 10,000 sheep deaths in one region of India.
- Farmers in Europe and Asia say that cows, water buffaloes, chickens, and horses died from eating Bt corn varieties.
- About two dozen US farmers report that Bt corn varieties caused widespread sterility in pigs or cows.
- Filipinos in at least five villages fell sick when a nearby Bt corn variety was pollinating.
The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may be a precursor to cancer. Rats also had damaged organs and immune systems.
Functioning GM genes remain inside you
Unlike safety evaluations for drugs, there are no human clinical trials of GM foods. The only published human feeding experiment verified that genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of intestinal bacteria and continues to function. This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have their GM proteins produced continuously inside us.
- If the antibiotic gene inserted into most GM crops were to transfer, it could create super diseases, resistant to antibiotics.
- If the gene that creates Bt -toxin in GM corn were to transfer, it might turn our intestinal flora into living pesticide factories.
- Animal studies show that DNA in food can travel into organs throughout the body, even into the fetus.
GM food supplement caused deadly epidemic
In the 1980s, a contaminated brand of a food supplement called L-tryptophan killed about 100 Americans and caused sickness and disability in another 5,000-10,000 people. The source of contaminants was almost certainly the genetic engineering process used in its production. The disease took years to find and was almost overlooked. It was only identified because the symptoms were unique, acute, and fast-acting. If all three characteristics were not in place, the deadly GM supplement might never have been identified or removed.
If GM foods on the market are causing common diseases or if their effects appear only after long-term exposure, we may not be able to identify the source of the problem for decades, if at all. There is no monitoring of GMO-related problems and no long-term animal studies. Heavily invested biotech corporations are gambling away the health of our nation for profit.
Help end the genetic engineering of our food supply
When the tipping point of consumer concern about GMOs was achieved in Europe in 1999, within a single week virtually all major food manufacturers committed to remove GM ingredients. The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to reach a similar tipping point in the US before the end of 2009.
Our growing network of manufacturers, retailers, healthcare practitioners, organizations, and the media, is informing consumers of the health risks of GMOs and helping them select healthier non-GMO alternatives.
Go to www.responsibletechnology.org to get involved and learn how to avoid GMOs. Look for our Non-GMO Shopping Guide in summer 2008.
Start buying non-GMO today.
Help us stop the genetic engineering of our food supply.
Donations to the Institute For Responsible Technology are tax-deductible. Your $25 membership includes a free educational gift.
There are three ways to become a member or make a donation:
Institute For Responsible Technology
P.O. Box 469, Fairfield, IA 52556
The health information is from the book Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risk of Genetically Engineered Foods, by Jeffrey M. Smith.
© copyright Institute For Responsible Technology 2008
The Institute is a fully tax deductible project of The Coordinating Council, a 501c(3).
 See www.biointegrity.org
 See Part 2, Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA 2007
 See for example 233-236, chart of disproved assumptions, in Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA 2007
 J. R. Latham, et al., “The Mutational Consequences of Plant Transformation,” The Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2006, Article ID 25376: 1-7; see also Allison Wilson, et. al., “Transformation-induced mutations in transgenic plants: Analysis and biosafety implications,” Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews – Vol. 23, December 2006.
 Srivastava, et al, “Pharmacogenomics of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and the cystic fibrosis drug CPX using genome microarray analysis,” Mol Med. 5, no. 11(Nov 1999):753–67.
 Latham et al, “The Mutational Consequences of Plant Transformation, Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2006:1-7, article ID 25376, http://www.hindawi.com/journals/JBB/index.html; Draft risk analysis report application A378, Food derived from glyphosate-tolerant sugarbeet line 77 (GTSB77),” ANZFA, March 7, 2001, www.agbios.com/docroot/decdocs/anzfa_gtsb77.pdf; E. Levine et al., “Molecular Characterization of Insect Protected Corn Line MON 810.” Unpublished study submitted to the EPA by Monsanto, EPA MRID No. 436655-01C (1995); Allison Wilson, PhD, Jonathan Latham, PhD, and Ricarda Steinbrecher, PhD, “Genome Scrambling—Myth or Reality? Transformation-Induced Mutations in Transgenic Crop Plants Technical Report—October 2004,” www.econexus.info; C. Collonier, G. Berthier, F. Boyer, M. N. Duplan, S. Fernandez, N. Kebdani, A. Kobilinsky, M. Romanuk, Y. Bertheau, “Characterization of commercial GMO inserts: a source of useful material to study genome fluidity,” Poster presented at ICPMB: International Congress for Plant Molecular Biology (n°VII), Barcelona, 23-28th June 2003. Poster courtesy of Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini, Président du Conseil Scientifique du CRII-GEN, www.crii-gen.org; also “Transgenic lines proven unstable” by Mae-Wan Ho, ISIS Report, 23 October 2003, www.i-sis.org.uk
 Netherwood et al, “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract,” Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2; Chowdhury, et al, “Detection of genetically modified maize DNA fragments in the intestinal contents of pigs fed StarLink CBH351,” Vet Hum Toxicol. 45 , no. 2 (March 2003): 95–6; P. A. Chambers, et al, “The fate of antibiotic resistance marker genes in transgenic plant feed material fed to chickens,” J. Antimic. Chemother. 49 (2000): 161–164; and Paula S. Duggan, et al, “Fate of genetically modified maize DNA in the oral cavity and rumen of sheep,” Br J Nutr. 89, no 2 (Feb.2003): 159–66.
 Mark Townsend, “Why soya is a hidden destroyer,” Daily Express, March 12, 1999.
 Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, “Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An immunologic comparison,” Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 26, no. 3 (May–June 2005): 210-216(7).
 A. Pusztai and S. Bardocz, “GMO in animal nutrition: potential benefits and risks,” Chapter 17, Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals, R. Mosenthin, J. Zentek and T. Zebrowska (Eds.) Elsevier, October 2005.
 Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, “Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An immunologic comparison,” Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 26, no. 3 (May–June 2005): 210-216(7).
 M. Green, et al., “Public health implications of the microbial pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis: An epidemiological study, Oregon, 1985-86,” Amer. J. Public Health 80, no. 7(1990): 848–852; and M.A. Noble, P.D. Riben, and G. J. Cook, Microbiological and epidemiological surveillance program to monitor the health effects of Foray 48B BTK spray (Vancouver, B.C.: Ministry of Forests, Province of British Columbi, Sep. 30, 1992)
 Vazquez et al, “Intragastric and intraperitoneal administration of Cry1Ac protoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis induces systemic and mucosal antibody responses in mice,” 1897–1912; Vazquez et al, “Characterization of the mucosal and systemic immune response induced by Cry1Ac protein from Bacillus thuringiensis HD 73 in mice,” Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 33 (2000): 147–155; and Vazquez et al, “Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac protoxin is a potent systemic and mucosal adjuvant,” Scandanavian Journal of Immunology 49 (1999): 578–584. See also Vazquez-Padron et al., 147 (2000b).
 Nagui H. Fares, Adel K. El-Sayed, “Fine Structural Changes in the Ileum of Mice Fed on Endotoxin Treated Potatoes and Transgenic Potatoes,” Natural Toxins 6, no. 6 (1998): 219–233.
 See for example “Bt cotton causing allergic reaction in MP; cattle dead,” Bhopal, Nov. 23, 2005, http://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=170692&cat=Health;
 Ashish Gupta et. al., “Impact of Bt Cotton on Farmers’ Health (in Barwani and Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh),” Investigation Report, Oct–Dec 2005; and M. Green, et al., “Public health implications of the microbial pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis: An epidemiological study, Oregon, 1985-86,” Amer. J. Public Health 80, no. 7(1990): 848–852; and M.A. Noble, P.D. Riben, and G. J. Cook, Microbiological and epidemiological surveillance program to monitor the health effects of Foray 48B BTK spray (Vancouver, B.C.: Ministry of Forests, Province of British Columbi, Sep. 30, 1992)
 FAO-WHO, “Evaluation of Allergenicity of Genetically Modified Foods. Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert
Consultation on Allergenicity of Foods Derived from Biotechnology,” Jan. 22–25, 2001; http://www.fao.org/es/ESN/food/pdf/allergygm.pdf
 Gendel, “The use of amino acid sequence alignments to assess potential allergenicity of proteins used in genetically modified foods,” Advances in Food and Nutrition Research 42 (1998), 45–62; G. A. Kleter and A. A. C. M. Peijnenburg, “Screening of transgenic proteins expressed in transgenic food crops for the presence of short amino acid sequences indentical to potential, IgE-binding linear epitopes of allergens,” BMC Structural Biology 2 (2002): 8–19; H. P. J. M. Noteborn, “Assessment of the Stability to Digestion and Bioavailability of the LYS Mutant Cry9C Protein from Bacillus thuringiensis serovar tolworthi,” Unpublished study submitted to the EPA by AgrEvo, EPA MRID No. 447343-05 (1998); and H. P. J. M. Noteborn et al, “Safety Assessment of the Bacillus thuringiensis Insecticidal Crystal Protein CRYIA(b) Expressed in Transgenic Tomatoes,” in Genetically modified foods: safety issues, American Chemical Society Symposium Series 605, eds. K.H. Engel et al., (Washington, DC, 1995): 134–47.
 M. Malatesta, M. Biggiogera, E. Manuali, M. B. L. Rocchi, B. Baldelli, G. Gazzanelli, “Fine Structural Analyses of Pancreatic Acinar Cell Nuclei from Mice Fed on GM Soybean,” Eur J Histochem 47 (2003): 385–388.
 Vazquez et al, “Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac protoxin is a potent systemic and mucosal adjuvant,” Scandanavian Journal of Immunology 49 (1999): 578–584. See also Vazquez-Padron et al., 147 (2000b).
 V. E. Prescott, et al, “Transgenic Expression of Bean r-Amylase Inhibitor in Peas Results in Altered Structure and Immunogenicity,” Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry (2005): 53.
 Arpad Pusztai, “Can science give us the tools for recognizing possible health risks of GM food,” Nutrition and Health, 2002, Vol 16 Pp 73-84
 Comments to ANZFA about Applications A346, A362 and A363 from the Food Legislation and Regulation Advisory Group (FLRAG) of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) on behalf of the PHAA, “Food produced from glyphosate-tolerant canola line GT73,” http://www.iher.org.au/
 M. Malatesta, C. Caporaloni, S. Gavaudan, M. B. Rocchi, S. Serafini, C. Tiberi, G. Gazzanelli, “Ultrastructural Morphometrical and Immunocytochemical Analyses of Hepatocyte Nuclei from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” Cell Struct Funct. 27 (2002): 173–180.
 M. Malatesta, C. Tiberi, B. Baldelli, S. Battistelli, E. Manuali, M. Biggiogera, “Reversibility of Hepatocyte Nuclear Modifications in Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” Eur J Histochem, 49 (2005): 237-242.
 I.V. Ermakova, “Diet with the Soya Modified by Gene EPSPS CP4 Leads to Anxiety and Aggression in Rats,” 14th European Congress of Psychiatry. Nice, France, March 4-8, 2006; “Genetically modified soy affects posterity: Results of Russian scientists’ studies,” REGNUM, October 12, 2005; http://www.regnum.ru/english/526651.html; Irina Ermakova, “Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies,” Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4–9.
 Irina Ermakova, “Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards,” Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels, June 12, 2007
 L. Vecchio et al, “Ultrastructural Analysis of Testes from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” European Journal of Histochemistry 48, no. 4 (Oct–Dec 2004):449–454.
 Oliveri et al., “Temporary Depression of Transcription in Mouse Pre-implantion Embryos from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” 48th Symposium of the Society for Histochemistry, Lake Maggiore (Italy), September 7–10, 2006.
 I.V. Ermakova, “Diet with the Soya Modified by Gene EPSPS CP4 Leads to Anxiety and Aggression in Rats,” 14th
European Congress of Psychiatry. Nice, France, March 4-8, 2006; “Genetically modified soy affects posterity: Results of Russian scientists’ studies,” REGNUM, October 12, 2005; http://www.regnum.ru/english/526651.html; Irina Ermakova, “Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies,” Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4–9.
 “Mortality in Sheep Flocks after Grazing on Bt Cotton Fields—Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh” Report of the Preliminary Assessment, April 2006, http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=6494
 Mae-Wan Ho, “GM Ban Long Overdue, Dozens Ill & Five Deaths in the Philippines,” ISIS Press Release, June 2, 2006; and Mae-Wan Ho and Sam Burcher, “Cows Ate GM Maize & Died,” ISIS Press Release, January 13, 2004, http://www.isis.org.uk/CAGMMAD.php
 Personal communication with Jerry Rosman and other farmers, 2006; also reported widely in the farm press.
 See for example Mae-Wan Ho, “GM Ban Long Overdue, Dozens Ill & Five Deaths in the Philippines,” ISIS Press Release, June 2, 2006; “Study Result Not Final, Proof Bt Corn Harmful to Farmers,” BusinessWorld, 02 Mar 2004; and “Genetically Modified Crops and Illness Linked,” Manila Bulletin, 04 Mar 2004.
 Arpad Pusztai, “Can science give us the tools for recognizing possible health risks of GM food,” Nutrition and Health, 2002, Vol 16 Pp 73-84; Stanley W. B. Ewen and Arpad Pusztai, “Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine,” Lancet, 1999 Oct 16; 354 (9187): 1353-4; and Arpad Pusztai, “Facts Behind the GM Pea Controversy: Epigenetics, Transgenic Plants & Risk Assessment,” Proceedings of the Conference, December 1st 2005 (Frankfurtam Main, Germany: Literaturhaus, 2005)
 Netherwood et al, “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract,” Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2.
 Ricarda A. Steinbrecher and Jonathan R. Latham, “Horizontal gene transfer from GM crops to unrelated organisms,” GM Science Review Meeting of the Royal Society of Edinburgh on “GM Gene Flow: Scale and Consequences for Agriculture and the Environment,” January 27, 2003; Traavik and Heinemann, Genetic Engineering and Omitted Health Research; citing Schubbert, et al, “Ingested foreign (phage M13) DNA survives transiently in the gastrointestinal tract and enters the bloodstream of mice,” Mol Gen Genet. 242, no. 5 (1994): 495–504; Schubbert et al, “Foreign (M13) DNA ingested by mice reaches peripheral leukocytes, spleen, and liver via the intestinal wall mucosa and can be covalently linked to mouse DNA,” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94, no. 3 (1997): 961–6; Schubbert et al, “On the fate of orally ingested foreign DNA in mice: chromosomal association and placental transmission to the fetus,” Mol Gen Genet. 259, no. 6 (1998): 569–76; Hohlweg and Doerfler, “On the fate of plants or other foreign genes upon the uptake in food or after intramuscular injection in mice,” Mol Genet Genomics 265 (2001): 225–233; Palka-Santani, et al., “The gastrointestinal tract as the portal of entry for foreign macromolecules: fate of DNA and proteins,” Mol Gen Genomics 270 (2003): 201–215; Einspanier, et al, “The fate of forage plant DNA in farm animals; a collaborative case-study investigating cattle and chicken fed recombinant plant material,” Eur Food Res Technol 212 (2001): 129–134; Klotz, et al, “Degradation and possible carry over of feed DNA monitored in pigs and poultry,” Eur Food Res Technol 214 (2002): 271–275; Forsman, et al, “Uptake of amplifiable fragments of retrotransposon DNA from the human alimentary tract,” Mol Gen Genomics 270 (2003): 362–368; Chen, et al, “Transfection of mEpo gene to intestinal epithelium in vivo mediated by oral delivery of chitosan-DNA nanoparticles,” World Journal of Gastroenterology 10, no 1(2004): 112–116; Phipps, et al, “Detection of transgenic and endogenous plant DNA in rumen fluid, duodenal digesta, milk, blood, and feces of lactating dairy cows,” J Dairy Sci. 86, no. 12(2003): 4070–8.
 William E. Crist, Toxic L-tryptophan: Shedding Light on a Mysterious Epidemic, http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/L-tryptophan/index.cfm; and Jeffrey M. Smith, Seeds of Deception, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA 2003, chapter 4, Deadly Epidemic