NON-GMO SHOPPING GUIDE -- How to avoid foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
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With the cost of food recently skyrocketing – hitting not just shoppers but the poor and hungry in the developing world – genetically modified (GM) foods are once again being promoted as the way to feed the world. But this is little short of a confidence trick. Far from needing more GM foods, there are urgent reasons why we need to ban them altogether.
1. GM foods won’t solve the food crisis
A 2008 World Bank report concluded that increased biofuel production is the major cause of the increase in food prices. GM giant Monsanto has been at the heart of the lobbying for biofuels (crops grown for fuel rather than food) — while profiting enormously from the resulting food crisis and using it as a PR opportunity to promote GM foods!
“The climate crisis was used to boost biofuels, helping to create the food crisis; and now the food crisis is being used to revive the fortunes of the GM industry.” — Daniel Howden, Africa correspondent of The Independent
“The cynic in me thinks that they’re just using the current food crisis and the fuel crisis as a springboard to push GM crops back on to the public agenda. I understand why they’re doing it, but the danger is that if they’re making these claims about GM crops solving the problem of drought or feeding the world, that’s bull****.” – Prof Denis Murphy, head of biotechnology at the University of Glamorgan in Wales
2. GM crops do not increase yield potential
Despite the promises, GM has not increased the yield potential of any commercialised crops. In fact, studies show that the most widely grown GM crop, GM soya, has suffered reduced yields.
A report that analyzed nearly two decades worth of peer reviewed research on the yield of the primary GM food/feed crops, soybeans and corn (maize), reveals that despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase US crop yields. The author, former US EPA and US FDA biotech specialist Dr Gurian-Sherman, concludes that when it comes to yield, “Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down.”
“Let’s be clear. As of this year , there are no commercialized GM crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly, there are no GM crops on the market that were engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil. Not one.” – Dr Doug Gurian-Sherman
3. GM crops increase pesticide use
US government data shows that in the US, GM crops have produced an overall increase, not decrease, in pesticide use compared to conventional crops.
“The promise was that you could use less chemicals and produce a greater yield. But let me tell you none of this is true.” – Bill Christison, President of the US National Family Farm Coalition
4. There are better ways to feed the world
A major UN/World Bank-sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists and endorsed by 58 countries concluded that GM crops have little to offer global agriculture and the challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change, because better alternatives are available. In particular, the report championed “agroecological” farming as the sustainable way forward for developing countries.
5. Other farm technologies are more successful
Integrated Pest Management and other innovative low-input or organic methods of controlling pests and boosting yields have proven highly effective, particularly in the developing world. Other plant breeding technologies, such as Marker Assisted Selection (non-GM genetic mapping), are widely expected to boost global agricultural productivity more effectively and safely than GM. 
“The quiet revolution is happening in gene mapping, helping us understand crops better. That is up and running and could have a far greater impact on agriculture [than GM].” – Prof John Snape, head of the department of crop genetics, John Innes Centre
6. GM foods have not been shown to be safe to eat
Genetic modification is a crude and imprecise way of incorporating foreign genetic material (e.g. from viruses, bacteria) into crops, with unpredictable consequences. The resulting GM foods have undergone little rigorous and no long-term safety testing, but animal feeding tests have shown worrying health effects. Only one study has been published on the direct effects on humans of eating a GM food. It found unexpected effects on gut bacteria, but was never followed up.
It is claimed that Americans have eaten GM foods for years with no ill effects. But these foods are unlabeled in the US and no one has monitored the consequences. With other novel foods like trans fats, it has taken decades to realize that they have caused millions of premature deaths.
“We are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences.” — Dr Suzanne Wuerthele, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxicologist
7. Stealth GMOs in animal feed — without consumers’ consent
Meat, eggs and dairy products from animals raised on the millions of tons of GM feed imported into Europe do not have to be labelled. Some studies show that contrary to GM and food industry claims, animals raised on GM feed ARE different from those raised on non-GM feed. Other studies show that if GM crops are fed to animals, GM material can appear in the resulting products and that the animals’ health can be affected. So eating “stealth GMOs” may affect the health of consumers.
8. GM crops are a long-term economic disaster for farmers
A 2009 report showed that GM seed prices in America have increased dramatically, compared to non-GM and organic seeds, cutting average farm incomes for US farmers growing GM crops. The report concluded, “At the present time there is a massive disconnect between the sometimes lofty rhetoric from those championing biotechnology as the proven path toward global food security and what is actually happening on farms in the US that have grown dependent on GM seeds and are now dealing with the consequences.”
9. GM and non-GM cannot co-exist
GM contamination of conventional and organic food is increasing. An unapproved GM rice that was grown for only one year in field trials was found to have extensively contaminated the US rice supply and seed stocks. In Canada, the organic oilseed rape industry has been destroyed by contamination from GM rape. In Spain, a study found that GM maize “has caused a drastic reduction in organic cultivations of this grain and is making their coexistence practically impossible”.
The time has come to choose between a GM-based, or a non-GM-based, world food supply.
“If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell and consume GM foods, soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free of GM. It’s a one way choice, like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia; once it’s made, it can’t be reversed.” – Roger Levett, specialist in sustainable development
10. We can’t trust GM companies
The big biotech firms pushing their GM foods have a terrible history of toxic contamination and public deception. GM is attractive to them because it gives them patents that allow monopoly control over the world’s food supply. They have taken to harassing and intimidating farmers for the “crime” of saving patented seed or “stealing” patented genes — even if those genes got into the farmer’s fields through accidental contamination by wind or insects.
“Farmers are being sued for having GMOs on their property that they did not buy, do not want, will not use and cannot sell.” – Tom Wiley, North Dakota farmer
1. A Note on Rising Food Prices. Donald Mitchell, World Bank report, 2008. http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-file...0/Biofuels.PDF
2. Hope for Africa lies in political reforms. Daniel Howden, The Independent, 8 September 2008, http://www.independent.co.uk:80/opinion/commentators/daniel-howden-hope-for-africa-lies-in-political-reforms-922487.html
3. GM: it’s safe, but it’s not a saviour. Rob Lyons, Spiked Online, 7 July 2008, GM: it’s safe, but it’s*not*a*saviour | spiked
4. The adoption of bioengineered crops. Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo and William D. McBride, US Department of Agriculture Report, May 2002, http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aer810/aer810.pdf
5. Glyphosate-resistant soyabean cultivar yields compared with sister lines. Elmore, R.W. et al., Agronomy Journal, Vol. 93, No. 2, 2001, pp. 408–412
6. Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops. Doug Gurian-Sherman, Union of Concerned Scientists, 2009, Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops (2009) | Union of Concerned Scientists
7. Genetic engineering — a crop of hyperbole. Doug Gurian-Sherman, The San Diego Union Tribune, 18 June 2008, Genetic engineering – a crop of hyperbole | The San Diego Union-Tribune
8. Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years. Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., The Organic Center, November 2009, The Organic Center :: State of Science :: Pesticides
9. Family Farmers Warn of Dangers of Genetically Engineered Crops. Bill Christison, In Motion magazine, 29 July 1998, Family Farmers Warn of Dangers of Genetically Engineered Crops by Bill Christison - Rural America / In Motion Magazine
10. International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development: Global Summary for Decision Makers (IAASTD). Beintema, N. et al., 2008, International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development
11. International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development: Global Summary for Decision Makers (IAASTD). Beintema, N. et al., 2008, International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development
12. Marker-assisted selection: an approach for precision plant breeding in the twenty-first century. Collard, B.C.Y. and D.J. Mackill, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, Vol. 363, 2008, pp. 557-572, 2008
13. Breeding for abiotic stresses for sustainable agriculture. Witcombe J.R. et al., Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 2008, Vol. 363, pp. 703-716
14. Gene mapping the friendly face of GM technology. Professor John Snape, Farmers Weekly, 1 March 2002, p. 54
15. Here is a small selection of such papers: Fine structural analysis of pancreatic acinar cell nuclei from mice fed on GM soybean. Malatesta, M. et al., Eur. J. Histochem., Vol. 47, 2003, pp. 385–388; Ultrastructural morphometrical and immunocytochemical analyses of hepatocyte nuclei from mice fed on genetically modified soybean. Malatesta, M. et al., Cell Struct Funct., Vol. 27, 2002, pp. 173-180; Ultrastructural analysis of testes from mice fed on genetically modified soybean. Vecchio L. et al., Eur. J. Histochem., Vol. 48, pp. 448-454, 2004; A long-term study on female mice fed on a genetically modified soybean: effects on liver ageing. Malatesta M. et al., Histochem Cell Biol., Vol. 130, 2008, pp. 967-977; Effects of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine. Ewen S.W. and A. Pusztai, The Lancet, Vol. 354, 1999, pp. 1353–1354; New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity. SĂ©ralini, G.-E. et al., Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol., Vol. 52, 2007, pp. 596-602.
16. Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract. Netherwood T. et al., Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 22, 2004, pp. 204–209.
17. Trans Fats: The story behind the label. Paula Hartman Cohen, Harvard Public Health Review, 2006, Harvard Public Health Review Spring 2006
18. Report on animals exposed to GM ingredients in animal feed. Professor Jack A. Heinemann, PhD. Prepared for the Commerce Commission of New Zealand, 24 July 2009, http://bit.ly/4HcJuJ
19. Detection of Transgenic and Endogenous Plant DNA in Digesta and Tissues of Sheep and Pigs Fed Roundup Ready Canola Meal. Sharma, R. et al., J. Agric. Food Chem., Vol. 54, No. 5, 2006, pp. 1699–1709; Assessing the transfer of genetically modified DNA from feed to animal tissues. Mazza, R. et al., Transgenic Res., Vol. 14, No. 5, 2005, pp. 775–784; Detection of genetically modified DNA sequences in milk from the Italian market. Agodi, A., et al., Int. J. Hyg. Environ. Health, Vol. 209, 2006, pp. 81–88
20. Report on animals exposed to GM ingredients in animal feed. Professor Jack A. Heinemann, PhD. Prepared for the Commerce Commission of New Zealand, 24 July 2009, http://bit.ly/4HcJuJ
21. The Magnitude and Impacts of the Biotech and Organic Seed Price Premium. Dr Charles Benbrook, The Organic Center, December 2009, http://www.organic-center.org/report...l_11-30-09.pdf
22. Risky business: Economic and regulatory impacts from the unintended release of genetically engineered rice varieties into the rice merchandising system of the US. Blue, Dr E. Neal, report for Greenpeace, 2007, http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/conten...y-business.pdf
23. Seeds of doubt: North American farmers’ experience of GM crops. Soil Association, 2002, Soil Association : Help
24. Coexistence of plants and coexistence of farmers: Is an individual choice possible? Binimelis, R., Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Vol. 21, No. 2, April 2008
25. Choice: Less can be more. Roger Levett, Food Ethics magazine, Vol. 3, No. 3, Autumn 2008, p. 11, http://www.foodethicscouncil.org/node/384
26. See, for example, Marie-Monique Robin’s documentary film, Le Monde Selon Monsanto (The World According to Monsanto), ARTE, 2008; and the website of the NGO, Coalition Against Bayer-Dangers, www.cbgnetwork.org
27. GM company Monsanto has launched many such lawsuits against farmers. A famous example is the case of the Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser. Just one article on this case is “GM firm sues Canadian farmer”, BBC News Online, 6 June 2000, BBC News | AMERICAS | GM firm sues Canadian farmer
28. Monsanto ”Seed Police” Scrutinize Farmers. Stephen Leahy, InterPress Service, 15 January 2004, Monsanto ”Seed Police” Scrutinize Farmers
NON-GMO SHOPPING GUIDE -- How to avoid foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
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QVOD PRIVS NON FVERIT IN CAESARE
Byron J Richards
In the 2010 growing season Monsanto plans to unleash its latest Frankenfood experiment on the American and Canadian public, a new version of genetically mutated corn with eight abnormal gene traits called Genuity SmartStax corn. It is the culmination of an astonishing scandal that has been steadily building over the past decade. During this time Monsantoâ€™s mutated seeds have grown to 90% of the U.S. soy crop and 85% of the corn crop â€“ and wheat is next on their agenda. Their efforts have been marked by corporate bullying and have drawn the attention of the Justice Department who is conducting an antitrust investigation. All the while they have been spending millions on lobbying to fast track their agenda before the American public even realizes what hit them. Monsanto is making an ominous power play to corner the worldwide market on food and seeds. In the process they are adversely altering the very nature of food itself.
Few people would eat Monsantoâ€™s â€śfoodâ€ť if they understood what it was or knew that they were eating it. President Obama and his family wonâ€™t eat it. Neither did the Bush family. Even a Monsanto employee cafeteria rejects it. This is no laughing matter. Your health and the health of your children and grandchildren are at stake. It seems more like a scene from a horror flick than something happening in modern day America. Imagine your digestive tract turned into a Roundup Ready herbicide factory and other warped genetic signals slowly and progressively rotting away your health. Unlike acute food poisoning from infectious E.coli, it is a slow and insidious poisoning.
Why GMO Food is Dangerous
Monsantoâ€™s GMO (genetically modified organism) technology inserts non-food genes, genes from other species, into the DNA of food, altering the very nature of food itself. In some cases these genes make the crops more tolerant to the Roundup Ready herbicide made by Monsanto and in other cases the genes abnormally cause the DNA of food cells to produce toxic proteins that act as pesticides.
Most people are not comfortable with the concept of altering the nature of food in a grand genetic experiment with unknown consequences. The idea of food producing its own internal toxin is equally abhorrent. After all, who wants to eat toxic food? Even fewer trust this technology in the hands of Monsanto, a company with a history of blatant disregard for human health. It was Monsanto that knowingly poisoned the planet with toxic PCBs.
The process of making GMO seeds also poses health risks. Viral promoter genes are used during this production process and become part of the DNA mix, posing a risk for new types of viral disease. An unintended side-effect of this production technology is chronic activation or suppression of normal genes in the modified plants. This alters the actual nutrient structure of food and the function of the proteins within that food â€“ a very serious matter.
The entire process of producing GMO seeds is also unpredictable. It creates multiple random genetic events in every food cell invaded by the mutant genes. Because each gene doesnâ€™t just do one thing and is highly interactive with other genes, the production of GMO food is not consistent and therefore safety cannot be guaranteed â€“ especially when you understand that our scientific knowledge of gene interdependencies is in its infancy.
Eating food that is mutated by other non-food species is a grand experiment to say the least. GMO mutants can transfer to the living bacteria in your digestive tract, as has been shown in animal experiments. This can adversely change the way your gut bacteria behave so that they create pesticides and become more resistant to your immune system and medical treatments. If the GMO mutants were to transfer to an existing infection in your digestive tract then it could create your own superbug.
Because the proteins in GMO food are structurally different than normal food they significantly increase the risk for allergy. Allergy is one form of inflammation that is likely to result from GMO food, but there are many other potential sources. These include the mis-metabolism of the food, the inherent toxicity of the food, and the pesticide residues on the food. These inflammatory problems of GMO food will additively contribute to other forms of inflammation such as pollution and stress and add to the total inflammation burden sets the stage for many diseases. It is likely that GMO food will have a significant impact on pregnancy problems and developmental problems in children. At this time nobody can rule out GMO as a possible causative factor in Autism, as the rates of both have risen together. A recent re-evaluation of data provided by Monsanto showed that various types of GMO corn caused significant inflammatory organ damage to rats.
It has now been shown that the health consequence of eating high amounts of Roundup Ready residue that is being sprayed in ever-higher amounts on GMO crops is the disruption of your endocrine system. A recent study shows that these residues of Roundup Ready are highly interactive with sex hormones and significantly disrupt their function.
A 2008 Austrian government study showed that feeding GMO corn to mice for multiple generations resulted in fertility issues and weakened kidneys, as well as changes in metabolic pathways involved with inflammation, cholesterol, and protein. Here is a link to the 105 page report.
GMO crops are also drastically and adversely altering soil quality. In fact, soil animals such as earthworms are now found to have incorporated GMO mutant corn genes into their cells. This finding is of extreme importance to potential human health problems. There is certainly nothing preventing this from happening to humans.
For more information on the devastating health consequences of consuming GMO foods read Jeffrey Smithâ€™s books, Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette.â€ť
You may be wondering the obvious; if GMOs are so dangerous to eat then why are they allowed in the food supply?
Corporate Cronyism â€“ A Corrupt FDA Places the Public in Danger
We now know that FDA scientists originally working on the issue of the safety of GMO food had considerable concerns that included allergies, toxins, adverse nutritional effects, and new diseases. They urged long-term studies but were ignored by FDA management who instead decided that GMO food was â€śsubstantially equivalentâ€ť to normal food. In 1992 these managers issued the following policy statement in the Federal Register, â€śThe agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.â€ť In retrospect, that policy, which stands to this day, was a flat out lie and a treasonous betrayal of the public trust.
Court cases have forced into public view the documents expressing the concerns of the FDA scientists. You can read them all at this link to the BioIntegrity.Org website. In fact, rushing GMO foods to market also represents a serious breach of scientific integrity by the overall research community.
Today, the FDA is a world leader in proteomic technology, the advanced analysis of protein structure and function. Italian researchers using proteomics have already proven beyond any question that GMO food is so genetically different from normal food that it cannot possibly be considered substantially equivalent. Certainly the FDA could discover this fact for themselves in a matter of hours. Why are FDA scientists in handcuffs and not taking action?
Part of the FDA management teamâ€™s culture of corruption is a revolving door with the various companies they are supposed to be regulating, the very definition of corporate cronyism. These shenanigans have had the net effect of the FDA acting primarily as a police force bully representing various powerful lobbies that buy protection and marketing favors, while stomping on the rights of the little guys like organic family farms and consumers. In the case of food, Monsanto wins the gold medal for influence pedaling at the expense of human health.
One of the more egregious examples of cronyism is Michael Taylor. He was an FDA staff lawyer and Executive Assistant to the FDA Commissioner from 1976 to 1981. From 1981 to 1991 he worked at the law firm of King and Spaulding, acting as Monsantoâ€™s lawyer and lobbyist. He was a major proponent for overturning the Delaney Clause, a 1958 law prohibiting the introduction of known carcinogens to processed foods, a law Monsanto hated and which was eventually overturned by Clinton in 1996. His main responsibility during this time was gaining regulatory approval of Monsantoâ€™s genetically modified cancer-causing bovine growth hormone (rBGH).
To complete his efforts on the bovine growth hormone issue Taylor went back to work for the FDA in 1991 with the title Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the Food and Drug Administration. He was directly responsible for writing the FDA policy on â€śsubstantial equivalenceâ€ť which initially ushered in the rBGH era and to this day enables Monsanto to market its GMO mutated food with no appropriate oversight by the FDA as to safety. He also formulated policy that prevented milk producers from informing consumers that their milk was free of bovine growth hormone â€“ intentionally preventing consumers from being able to tell what was in the milk product they were consuming.
After accomplishing his dirty work, he left the FDA in 1994 and went to work for Monsanto as Vice President for Public Policy, working on Monsantoâ€™s long range plans. More recently, he became a Senior Fellow at Resources for the Future (RFF) and Director of the Risk, Resources and Environmental Management division. In this role, he strategized how to get Monsantoâ€™s GMO crops into Africa, working closely with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. He also worked closely with the Bush Administration, and is the point man in helping an elite agenda to spread GMO seeds and biotech dependence around the world.
You guessed it â€“ now he is back at the FDA in a new position the Obama Administration created â€“ Senior Advisor to the Commissioner, working primarily on issues of food safety! â€śI am pleased to welcome Mike Taylor back to the FDA,â€ť Commissioner of Food and Drugs Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., said in announcing Taylorâ€™s appointment. â€śHis expertise and leadership on food safety issues will help the agency to develop and implement the prevention based strategy we need to ensure the safety of the food we eat.â€ť
As Monsanto, in anti-competitive collusion with Dow, takes their new GMO toxic and mutated corn to market, stacked with eight genes, it should come as no surprise that absolutely no safety testing is being required by the FDA. Never before have there been eight genes altered simultaneously within the cells of food. One gene is bad enough. Three is horrendous. But eight?
The fact that the FDA is not requiring extensive safety testing by independent sources of this highly unpredictable and dangerous technology is unthinkable. It is a grim day when the fox is in charge of the henhouse.
There Is No Good Reason for Monsantoâ€™s GMOs
If you listen to Monsanto and their business cohorts such as Cargill, they state they are trying to feed the world. In reality, the world could eliminate Monsantoâ€™s mutated food tomorrow and it would be a better place. It could also do without Cargill acting as an unregulated food banker, profiting on the manipulation of food sales at the expense of farmers in a way that is every bit as bad as the worst of Wall Street. There is no need for Monsantoâ€™s GMO mutated seeds. They offer no advantages. It is an industry being propped up by unelected bureaucrats and elected officials on the receiving end of Monsantoâ€™s multi-million dollar lobbying operation.
Michael Taylor is one example of corporate crony influence, there are many others. The USDA is profiting from Monsantoâ€™s seeds that cannot be used the next growing season (the Terminator aspect of the problem). The EPAâ€™s failure to regulate the amounts of Roundup Ready used on food is yet another scandal. Itâ€™s all about profits and control â€“ while undermining the worldâ€™s farmers and the biodiversity and sustainability of crops.
Contrary to the Monsanto and Cargill propaganda, GMO technology does not increase crop yields, as has been fully documented in the Union of Concerned Scientists report titled Failure to Yield. And GMO crops are very bad for the carbon footprint.
The fact that the Obama administration is actively forwarding Monsantoâ€™s efforts should be a grave concern to every American. Of course, the last 16 years of Clinton and Bush also did everything in their power to help Monsanto. No wonder Americans are fed up. Politicians in both parties are beholden to the golden idol, not the best health interests of its citizens.
Take Back Our Food â€“ Join the Fight
We the people can have a huge impact and we can change this serious threat to human health. Donâ€™t buy GMOs food. GMOs permeate corn and soy products, beet sugar is now mutated, and wheat is next in line. If you arenâ€™t sure how to avoid GMO foods and brands then follow the advice given on Jeffrey Smithâ€™s Non-GMO shopping guide. Demand from your political representatives that all GMO food be labeled as containing GMOs. This isnâ€™t just a political issue â€“ this is about your personal health and the future of food.