Posts tagged crops
31 Percent Of U.S. Honey Bees Were Wiped Out This Year – Who Will Pollinate Our Crops?
If bees keep dying off at this rate, we are going to be facing a horrific agricultural crisis very rapidly in the United States. Last winter, 31 percent of all U.S. bee colonies were wiped out. The year before that it was 21 percent. These colony losses are being described as “catastrophic” by those in the industry, and nobody is quite sure how to fix the problem. Some are blaming the bee deaths on pesticides, others are blaming parasites and others are blaming cell phones. But no matter what is causing these deaths, if it doesn’t stop we will all soon notice the effects at the supermarket.
Bees pollinate about a hundred different crops in the United States, and if the bees disappear nobody is quite sure how we will be able to continue to grow many of those crops. This emerging crisis does not get a lot of attention from the mainstream media, but if we continue to lose 30 percent of our bees every year it is going to have a cataclysmic effect on our food supply.
The frightening thing is that the bee deaths appear to be accelerating and they appear to be even worse in the UK and Canada…
This past winter was one of the worst on record for bees. In the U.S., beekeepers lost 31 percent of their colonies, compared to a loss of 21 percent the previous winter. In Canada, the Canadian Honey Council reports an annual loss of 35 percent of honey bee colonies in the last three years. In Britain, the Bee Farmers’ Association says its members lost roughly half their colonies over the winter.
“It has been absolutely catastrophic,” said Margaret Ginman, who is general secretary of the Bee Farmers’ Association. “This has been one of the worst years in living memory.”
Scientists have been scrambling to figure out what is causing this, and one study that was recently conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture may have some answers…
The study, published July 24 in the online journal PLOS ONE, is the first analysis of real-world conditions encountered by honey bees as their hives pollinate a wide range of crops, from apples to watermelons.
The researchers collected pollen from honey bee hives in fields from Delaware to Maine. They analyzed the samples to find out which flowering plants were the bees’ main pollen sources and what agricultural chemicals were commingled with the pollen. The researchers fed the pesticide-laden pollen samples to healthy bees, which were then tested for their ability to resist infection with Nosema ceranae – a parasite of adult honey bees that has been linked to a lethal phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder.
On average, the pollen samples contained 9 different agricultural chemicals, including fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and miticides. Sublethal levels of multiple agricultural chemicals were present in every sample, with one sample containing 21 different pesticides. Pesticides found most frequently in the bees’ pollen were the fungicide chlorothalonil, used on apples and other crops, and the insecticide fluvalinate, used by beekeepers to control Varroa mites, common honey bee pests.
The particular parasite mentioned above, Nosema ceranae, is extremely destructive to honeybees, and this study found that some pesticides and fungicides make it much more likely that bees will become infected by these parasites…
When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.
Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.
“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.
So are these pesticides and fungicides the cause of Colony Collapse disorder?
The authors of the study stated very clearly that they were not making that conclusion.
But it does seem more than coincidental that continental Europe is not seeing bees die in the same kinds of numbers and they have banned many of these pesticides and fungicides. The following is from a recent article by Christina Sarich…
A study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has labeled one pesticide, called clothianidin, as completely unacceptable for use, and banned it from use entirely. Meanwhile, the U.S. uses the same pesticide on more than a third of its crops – nearly 143 million acres. Two more pesticides linked to bee death are imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. These are also used extensively in the US, while elsewhere, they have been taken out of circulation.
There are others that are not entirely convinced that pesticides and fungicides are the primary cause of the mass bee deaths that we are seeing. In some cases, tens of millions of bees are dying all at once. How could that be caused by pesticides and fungicides? The following is from a recent article by Arjun Walia…
It’s not just the United States, Elmwood, Canada also recently reported a discovery of over 30 million dead bees. The massive bee deaths in Elmwood came shortly after approximately 50 thousand bees were found dead in an Oregon parking lot.
No matter what the true cause is, we need to find a solution quickly because if we start running out of honey bees we will rapidly be facing a nightmarish agricultural apocalypse.
Just check out the following list of crops that are pollinated by honey bees…
Black and Red Currants
Acerola – used in Vitamin C supplements
Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
Chili peppers, red peppers, bell peppers, green peppers
Black Eyed Peas
Can you imagine life without those foods?
I can’t either.
But if bees keep dying off like this, first those crops will start becoming extremely expensive and then they will start disappearing from our store shelves altogether.
About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.
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Image credit: http://thetruthwins.com
Despite Irrefutable Evidence of Toxicity and Death, Monsanto’s Friends at the EPA Raise Allowable Glyphosate Levels0
By Daisy Luther
Despite Irrefutable Evidence of Toxicity and Death, Monsanto’s Friends at the EPA Raise Allowable Glyphosate Levels
Great news! You no longer have to worry about excessive levels of glyphosate, the toxic chemical found in Monsanto’s Round-up pesticide, in your food or in the feed that livestock consumes. Why not? Well, the Environmental
Deception Protection Agency has looked over the situation, and in their infinite wisdom, raised the safety threshold of glyphosate that is allowed to be in consumable goods.
The EPA’s change of heart means that the the allowed glyphosate level in animal feed will rise to 100 parts per million (ppm) and 40 ppm in oilseed crops. Thankfully, there’s no need for us to worry because they’ve assured us that the new allowable levels are only “minimally toxic” to humans.
The EPA is the agency that is charged with protecting the air we breathe, the soil in which we grow our food and the water that we drink. Unfortunately the only responsibility they seem to take seriously is their commitment to furthering the agendas of big business. This decision to allow more Roundup to drench the food supply comes immediately after two major, peer reviewed studies have proven that glyphosate is deadly.
The first study found that glyphosate increases the breast cancer cell proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range.
An alarming new study, accepted for publication in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology last month, indicates that glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide due to its widespread use in genetically engineered agriculture, is capable of driving estrogen receptor mediated breast cancer cell proliferation within the infinitesimal parts per trillion concentration range.
The study, titled, “Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors,” compared the effect of glyphosate on hormone-dependent and hormone-independent breast cancer cell lines, finding that glyphosate stimulates hormone-dependent cancer cell lines in what the study authors describe as “low and environmentally relevant concentrations.”
Another study found that consumption of glyphosate causes intestinal and gut damage, which opens the door to numerous human diseases, such as diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, heart disease, obesity, autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
However, another classification of allergy-type food is emerging and getting recognized for adverse effects on the human intestinal tract and gut. Those foods are genetically modified organisms known as GMOs or GEs. There is scientific research indicating intestinal damage from GMO food and the article “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Disease” discusses how the inordinate amount of pesticides sprayed on GMOs leaves residues in GMO crops that, in turn, are being traced to modern diseases. (source)
The Organic Consumers Association is very concerned. They are behind a petition to lobby the EPA to lower the allowable glyphosate levels instead of raising them. (Find it HERE) The OCA cites numerous reasons why the EPA’s current move is a deadly mistake:
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world. According to the EPA, at least 208 million tons of Roundup were sprayed on GE crops, lawns and roadsides in the years 2006 and 2007. In 2007, as much as 185 million pounds of glyphosate was used by U.S. farmers, double the amount used just six years ago.
A 2009 study found that Americans use about 100 million pounds of glyphosate annually on their lawns and gardens. It’s safe to assume all these number are much higher now. Why? Because GE crops are now being invaded by new strains of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” requiring higher and higher doses of poison.
Beyond Pesticides has assembled extensive documentation of past research linking glyphosate to increased cancer risk, neurotoxicity and birth defects, as well as eye, skin, respiratory irritation, lung congestion, increased breathing rate, damage to the pancreas, kidney and testes.
Glyphosate also endangers the environment, destroys soil and plants, and is linked to a host of health hazards. The EPA’s decision to increase the allowed residue limits of glyphosate is out of date, dangerous to the health of people and the environment and scientifically unsupportable. (source)
So why would the EPA make this ruling?
Because instead of being an unbiased agency looking out for public interest, they are merely puppets for the biotech industry. They spread disinformation from beneath a cloak of benevolence and authority. They use the trust that people have put in them to deceive and manipulate the public in favor of big business.
Here are some examples of their incestuous partnerships:
The EPA has been accused of covering up crimes committed by public health enemy #1, Monsanto, as well as Dow Chemicals. The EPA’s investigation proved that Monsanto knowingly tainted Lysol (used by moms everywhere to sanitize babies’ toys) with dioxin. However, no criminal charges have been forthcoming as of this publication.
The EPA also quietly closed an investigation of Monsanto’s twisted cover-up in the Nitro, West Virginia herbicide plant accident that exposed hundreds of workers to deadly carcinogen dioxin, which can still be found in nearby streams and lakes. Despite the fact that this investigation simply disappeared, Monsanto agreed in February to pay $93 million dollars to residents of Nitro in order to settle a class action lawsuit.
The EPA has refused to ban a pesticide made by Dow Chemicals, the controversial 2,4-D, the same substance used in Agent Orange. This pesticide will be used on corn crops that have been genetically engineered to be resistant to the toxin. Agent Orange causes cancer, hormone disruption, genetic mutations and neurotoxicity and will be soon be coming to a corn field near you.
The EPA has refused a petition to ban BPA in industry, citing a lack of scientific evidence of the negative effects of the chemical. BPA is commonly found tainting canned goods, especially soup, and bottled water that has been exposed to heat. (Author’s note: It would probably be very expensive for industry to have to replace all those containers with BPA-free cans and bottles.) (source)
The EPA pulled an identical sleight of hand when radiation from the Fukushima disaster began to reach the United States in 2011. They raised the acceptable levels of radiation, stopped measuring it, and even tried to convince us that a little radiation was actually good for us:
The EPA is right on top of things with their response, of course. First, they promptly closed down 8 of 18 radiation measuring stations in the hardest hit area, California. Then, to further calm the good people of the nation, the EPA magically changed the numbers. They’ve raised the amount of radiation that we can safely absorb and ingest. It wouldn’t do for the large factory farms to be unable to sell their tainted produce or for the huge dairies to be stuck with all that radioactive milk.
The radiation in our food supply is of so little concern to the EPA that they’ve actually begun to tell us that a little bit of radiation is good for us. According to a report citing the EPA, a bit of radiation can prevent cancer, instead of causing it.
Since our minds can be at ease now, the EPA has decided that they are no longer planning to monitor the radiation levels in our food supply. They will return to their previous practice of only monitoring random samples every three months. Yep. Really. The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States is no longer monitoring radiation levels in our food and water supplies as of April 14th. That will definitely keep them from getting those inconveniently high readings that might affect Big Agri’s prosperity. (source)
The government’s consumer protection agencies are hopelessly corrupted. The FDA, the EPA, and the USDA are all servants of Big Food, Big Pharma and Big Agri. We are on our own. The public outcry will be muffled in the mainstream media because, well, Big Food, Big Pharma, and Big Agri own them too – you need only look at the advertisers to see this.
Therefore, we have to resort to other means to spread the word. We have to be so loud and so adamant that even the sleepiest individual will have no option but to see what is going on. So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to “out” the EPA for this disastrous decision.
- Share information via social media
- Protest publicly
- Sign the petition mentioned above and persuade everyone you know to sign it too
- Contact the EPA directly and let them know your thoughts on this matter (please be civil)
- Here’s the phone number for the office of the EPA’s administrator – give him a call: (202) 564-4711
- Write letters to the editor of all of your local publications
- Make comments on message boards for the mainstream media (they’ll get deleted but a few people might read them first)
- Don’t purchase processed foods or any foods that may contain GMOs, including factory farmed meats. The animals are given GMO feed throughout the course of their entire lives
Please understand, the system is irrevocably corrupted. Only by shedding light on this corruption can we make a change. People are being lulled into compliance, all the while, feeling that there are measures in place to ensure that what they consume from the grocery store is not poison.
Food safety should not be in the hands of the highest bidder.
By Judy Morris
Regulators Discover a Hidden Viral Gene in Commercial GMO Crops
How should a regulatory agency announce they have discovered something potentially very important about the safety of products they have been approving for over twenty years?
In the course of analysis to identify potential allergens in GMO crops, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has belatedly discovered that the most common genetic regulatory sequence in commercial GMOs also encodes a significant fragment of a viral gene (Podevin and du Jardin 2012). This finding has serious ramifications for crop biotechnology and its regulation, but possibly even greater ones for consumers and farmers. This is because there are clear indications that this viral gene (called Gene VI) might not be safe for human consumption. It also may disturb the normal functioning of crops, including their natural pest resistance.
By Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Hungary torches 500 hectares of GM corn to eradicate GMOs from food supply
(NaturalNews) When it comes to protecting the public from GMOs, Hungary knows how to get the job done: set fire to the fields growing GM corn!
Although environmentalists might at first argue about the ramifications of burning so much organic matter right out in the open, the deeper truth is that genetic pollution poses a vastly more serious threat to our world, and burning GM corn is the one sure way to destroy the poisonous genetic code contained in plant tissues. In fact, I hope to see the day when the U.S. courts order the destruction of all GM corn fields across America. And I suspect that if the courts won’t rise to the occasion, the People will sooner or later find a way to get it done on their own. Think “Army of the 12 Monkeys” but with a GMO slant.
Lajos Bognar, Hungary’s Minister of Rural Development, reported this week that around 500 hectares of GM corn were ordered burned by the government. Hungary has criminalized the planting of genetically modified crops of any kind, and it has repeatedly burned thousands of hectares of illegal GM crops in years past.
GMOs are outlawed across the planet
GMOs have been banned in 27 countries, and GMOs are required to be labeled in at least 50 countries. In America, where Monsanto has deployed an insidious degree of influence over the legislature and courts, GMOs are neither illegal nor required to be labeled. In fact, 71 U.S. Senators recently voted against a measure that would have allowed states to pass their own food labeling laws.
Those Senators are now known as the Monsanto 71. The list includes Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, both senators from agricultural states (Kentucky and Texas) where Monsanto continues to exercise heavy influence over farmers.
Shockingly, most farmers who are planting GMOs have no knowledge whatsoever of what GMOs are or why people don’t want them in their food. They’ve been lied to by the biotech industry which promised them “higher yields” and “greater profits.” In reality, GM crop yields have plummeted even while giving rise to herbicide-resistant “superweeds” that now threaten many farms. With soils that have been rendered sterile with glyphosate and crop yields falling, farmers are increasingly finding themselves in dire straights.
Their only way out, of course, is to return to planting non-GMO crops. But wisdom moves very, very slowly through Texas A&M, a Monsanto stronghold and key propaganda center for pushing frankenfoods in the South.
A genetic apocalypse may devastate America’s bread basket
Hungary was wise to protect its agricultural sector from Monsanto’s imperialism. In contrast, America is incredibly foolish to sell out its food supply to destructive corporate interests that value nothing but profit.
By disallowing GMO labeling and promoting the continued commercialization of genetically modified crops (thanks, USDA!), the U.S. government is playing Russian roulette with America’s food future. One day, something the scientists didn’t anticipate will kick in, and the crimes against nature that have been committed by Monsanto will explode into a genetic apocalypse that threatens the future of life on our planet.
Remember: GMOs aren’t merely “pollution” in the classic sense. They are self-replicating pollution that may be impossible to stop. Hence the wisdom of burning GM corn fields to the ground. Fire destroys DNA and breaks down vegetable matter into its elemental constituents: carbon and mineral ash, essentially. Fields that were once dangerous are now harmless. Fire restores sanity by destroying the engineered DNA dreamed up by mad scientists working for arrogant, foolish corporations who think they’re smarter than Mother Nature and God.
Mark my words: there will come a day when Americans will wish they had burned all the GM corn fields to the ground. But by then it will be too late. The blight will be upon us, and with it comes the starvation, the suffering, the desperation and the riots. Hunger turns all family men into savages, just as greed turns all corporate men into demons.
To avoid both outcomes, we must banish GMOs now. Indict the executives of Monsanto for conspiracy to commit mass poisoning of the people. Invoke the RICO Act. Pull out the Patriot Act. Use whatever laws are on the books to put this monster away so that future generations do not have to suffer the devastating consequences of open-world genetic experiments gone awry.
If we don’t learn from Hungary, we will sooner or later be schooled by hunger.
Corporate politics is business as usual inside the United States, as I am once again shocked to report the EPA has sided with industry lobbyists over public health in approving a highly dangerous pesticide that the European Union recently decided to ban over fears of environmental devastation. Not only have neonicotinoid pesticides been linked repeatedly to mass bee deaths, also known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), but the continued use of such pesticides threatens other aspects of nature (and humans) as well.
What’s even more amazing is that the decision not only comes after the EU publicly discussed the major dangers surrounding the use of the pesticides, but after the USDA released a report surrounding the continued honeybee deaths and the related effects — a report in which they detailed pesticides to be a contributing factor. Just the impact on the honeybees alone, and we now know that these pesticides are killing aquatic life and subsequently the birds that feed upon them, amounts to a potential $200 billion in global damages per year. We’re talking about the devastation of over 100 crops, from apples to avocados and plums.
And there’s countless scientists and a large number of environmental science groups speaking out on this. The EPA has no lack of information the subject. And sure, there are other contributing factors to bee deaths, there’s no question about that. We have an environment right now being hit with Monsanto’s Roundup even in residential areas, we have chemical rain, we have insane amounts of EMF — but it’s pretty clear that neonicotinoid pesticides are at least a major contributing factor. And beyond that, they have no place in the food supply to begin with.
The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) details the EU ban that came right before the EPA acceptance of the death-linked pesticide:
“The EU vote comes after significant findings by the European Food Safety Agency that these pesticides pose an unacceptable risk to bees and their use should be restricted. Along with habitat loss and pathogens, a growing body of science points to neonicotinoid pesticides as a key factor in drastically declining bee populations.”
So why are they approving this pesticide to now pollute the United States in what potentially amounts to an even larger capacity than the EU? A move that will ultimately escalate the price of food worldwide due to the likely nature of continued bee deaths and subsequent crop impact? That’s the power of phony corporate science.
About Anthony Gucciardi: Google Plus Profile Anthony is the Editor of NaturalSociety, producer, consultant, and seeker of truth. Anthony’s work has been read by millions worldwide and is routinely featured on major alternative and mainstream news website alike, like the powerful Drudge Report, NaturalNews, Infowars, and many others. Anthony has appeared, oftentimes routinely, on programs like Russia Today (RT), The Alex Jones Show, Coast to Coast AM, and others. Anthony is also a founding member of Natural Attitude and the creator of the independent political website Storyleak
By Tom Laskawy
It’s been a good week if you enjoy a little GMO schadenfreude. The FDA has reportedly bowed to public pressure to extend the comment period on its approval of genetically engineered salmon, and Illinois, Maryland, and Iowa are the latest states to buck GMOs by introducing labeling bills into state legislature.
Even the Supreme Court has an opportunity to take Monsanto down a peg. On Feb. 19, the court will hear arguments in a patent infringement case between an Indiana farmer and Monsanto (I covered it in detail here). If Monsanto prevails, it’ll move a few more paces towards agricultural monopoly; if it loses, the company will take a couple steps back. It’s encouraging that the Supreme Court chose to hear the case over the solicitor general’s urging to dismiss it, but Monsanto could have an inside man: As in other Monsanto-related cases, former Monsanto-lawyer-turned-Supreme-Court-Justice Clarence Thomas has no plans to recuse himself.
But GMOs took the biggest punch this week from academia: Tom Philpott highlights a USDA-funded study [PDF] by University of Wisconsin scientists who found that several types of GMO seeds (including Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready varieties) actually produce a lower yield than conventional seeds. Only one seed — a corn that produces its own pesticide to combat the corn borer — offers any significant yield benefit. In other words, planting most genetically modified seeds results in less harvest per acre than planting non-genetically modified seeds.
The researchers looked at 20 years of data from test plots in Wisconsin from 1990-2010, both on research plots and on plots in participating farmers’ fields. Philpott flags a key point from the study:
Then there’s the question of so-called “stacked-trait” crops — that is, say, corn engineered to contain multiple added genes — for example, Monsanto’s “Smart Stax” product, which contains both herbicide-tolerant and pesticide-expressing genes. The authors detected what they call “gene interaction” in these crops — genes inserted into them interact with each other in ways that affect yield, often negatively. If multiple genes added to a variety didn’t interact, “the [yield] effect of stacked genes would be equal to the sum of the corresponding single gene effects,” the authors write. Instead, the stacked-trait crops were all over the map. “We found strong evidence of gene interactions among transgenic traits when they are stacked,” they write. Most of those effects were negative — i.e., yield was reduced.
This matters because stacked-trait crops are a favored approach to combat the superweeds and bugs that are part and parcel of years of GMO crops. But the more you stack, the worse your yield. The scientists also found evidence of a “yield penalty” that comes simply from the act of manipulating plant genes.
In short, the more one meddles with plant genes, the worse yields get; when you change multiple genes at once, yields drop even further. This should give pause to those who see GMO seeds as the means to address more complex problems like drought tolerance, nutritional value, or plant productivity. These are traits involving dozens, if not hundreds, of genes. This study suggests genetic manipulation of food crops at such a scale is a losing game.
A few years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a report with a similar conclusion, but this is one of the first rigorous attempts to establish through controlled experiments the yield benefit (or penalty) of GM seeds. The UW scientists do note that they determined that GM seeds do provide farmers with lower “yield risk”; essentially, that farmers are less likely to face catastrophic crop losses when using GMO seeds. But there are other conventional techniques that researchers have concluded can support yield, reduce environmental harm, and increase farmer income without having to pay big bucks to biotech companies.
Not that we should expect biotech companies to just roll over: With five such companies controlling nearly 60 percent of the global seed business, it may be impossible for farmers to find sufficient conventional seed. (Learn how the seed business became so consolidated in the Center for Food Safety’s new report “Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers.”)
But we should take what we can get. Between Supreme Court justices who may be fed up with the company’s aggressive intellectual property tactics and farmers who could get fed up with its ineffective intellectual property, Monsanto’s stumbles could mean a few sure steps forward for food growers and eaters.
Tom Laskawy is a founder and executive director of the Food & Environment Reporting Network and a contributing writer at Grist covering food and agricultural policy. His writing has also appeared in The American Prospect, Slate, The New York Times, and The New Republic. Follow him on Twitter.
By Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
(NaturalNews) A new animation film from Infomatic Films has just been launched by Natural News: “GMO A Go Go” is available for viewing now on YouTube and TV.naturalnews.com. Here are the links:
The film was created by Kirk Rutter of Infomatic Films and animated by Paul Davies. Natural News sponsored the film with a financial donation, using funds from sales of products at the Natural News Store.
Viewers are encouraged to re-post the video to your own YouTube account and help spread the word.
The video covers all the basics on GMOs, including how they’re engineered, why they kill the things that eat them, and the disastrous health effects they’ve been linked to in humans. It serves as both a reminder of the facts to those who already know about GMOs as well as a great primer for people new to the subject.
Here’s the full YouTube video:
After Firefox crashed again during the second attempt to post this great information let me try a quick post just to ensure the word gets out from the people at http://www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com/.
This may not be the motherload of all GMO info but is close to that and worth sharing this eye opening information with all you know, either personally or in the farming/ grocery/ health food/ restaurant/ activist/ networks along with local media that may look and listen.
This article originally appeared on http://www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com/
Fact-checking about GMO foods
In the last few decades many Americans have been suffering from different chronic diseases. Many factors could be contributing in the increase in chronic diseases but the most important one is indeed our diet, even more so than our lifestyle.
Many of us are so busy to hold on to our jobs, pay our monthly bills and take care of our families that we hardly even notice that we might be shopping and feeding our families with foods that don’t give us nutrients and/or are nutrition-deficient foods. While these foods give our bodies little energy to maintain its health, the even worrying prospect is when we are given toxic foods without our knowledge and foods that are genetically engineered and altered from its natural state into a DNA modified and potentially hazardous compounds.
What is genetic engineering?
In genetic engineering scientists take the gene of one specie and insert it into the DNA of another specie. For example cow genes have been inserted into Pig’s DNA in order to increase the milk production. There are two major GMO crops, the herbicide tolerant crops and the pesticide producing crops. The herbicide tolerant crops are sprayed with pesticides that won’t kill plants but kill pests and insects. However the pesticide producing crops produce their own toxic insecticides that kill pests by breaking their stomach.
Isn’t genetic engineering a dangerous interference with nature?
It took million years of evolution to do things in a certain way and not to mix and match different DNA and genes. Over these millions of years, scientists agree that even slight variation or slight mishaps could have resulted in the humans not existing on the planet. Our evolution has been a very precise and calculated phenomenon without any room for error. Now scientists and large corporations are playing god with people’s lives and that of other specie, in particular our food chain. None of these genetically modified genes and new organisms were a part of evolution and therefore we cannot predict how they will evolve and change our habitat and the food chain that we so much depend on.
There are even more alarming hazards. While inserting genes into DNA of a plant or an animal for its modification, a virus or bacteria is also inserted which is tasked to to turn on the gene. This process in creating a foreign DNA through bacteria insertion could result in mutation and changes at the cellular level which could cause many side effects that would take years to discover past its point of no return. It took million of years of evolution for our bodies to digest foods with certain DNA sequence. When our body is exposed to food with a new DNA sequence, our immune system will attack it and treats it as a foreign invader.
This is precisely why allergies are a common place now in US, and younger children are more prone to have allergies than 30 years ago. Should we assume that the biotech companies will protect us from such mutations? Will they know themselves if a mutation has gone wrong before it is too late? Have safety procedures been put in place in order to make absolutely certain that precautions are taken to protect the public? I myself am not convinced that we can rely on large corporations that have to increase their profitability ever quarter. Every few months there is an outbreak of salmonella and E. Coli bacteria in lettuce, or tomatoes, or sprouts, or chicken, or turkey or some other food product depending on where you live in the country. We have all seen and heard about these outbreaks. What is concerning to proponents of GE labeling and safety regulations and testing before human consumption is that the biotech companies have the power to manipulate the whole creating and evolution of these new GE products and make new genes without acknowledging that the new products can put the health of you and your family at risk.
Are GMOs the best way to feed the world?
We’ve been told by these multi-billion dollar biotech companies that GMO is the best technology to feed the world hunger and that isn’t simply TRUE. But, really, do you want to believe what a large “for-profit company or bank” tells you without safeguards to protect your family? How did we live all these years without GMOs? How come all of a sudden the world can’t feed itself without GMOs? Nature does a much better job than laboratory genetic engineering; it has proven to be safe over millions of years, it’s less expensive, it is sustainable, it does not radically change mutation and make people sick or deformed or damage their organs or cause cancer. This whole hypocrisy initiated by biotech companies that GMO is the BEST and the ONLY way to feed the world hunger is just preposterous since there are many long term side effects, dangerous toxins, and potentially serious health hazards associated with GMOs.
Possible Health Risks and Environmental Hazards associated with Genetically Modified Foods:
Increase in Inflammatory Bowel Disease resulting in Chronic Constipation, Crohn’s Disease and Gastroesophageal Reflux
Inflammation causes many chronic diseases. The rates of chronic diseases have been increasing drastically since GMOs were introduced to public. The figures below show increase in inflammation rate, the rate of chronic diseases such as constipation, gastroesophageal reflux, Crohn’s disease and diabetes.
So what is FDA doing about this?
The original policies of FDA in 1992 points out that GMOs aren’t any different than normal foods so no further studies are required. However a lawsuit against FDA in 1998 resulted in release of 44,000 secretive memos about GMO harms and danger.
FDA Statement of Policy – Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties
It is self-evident that these memos are indeed a total scandal on how the FDA was dishonest about GMO safety. In fact the memos showed an overwhelming concern in the scientific community about GMOs. Even FDA SCIENTISTS mentioned in their memos how GMOs were DANGEROUS. The memos describe how GMOs could result in allergy increase, malnutrition, new diseases and pathogens.
Additionally, repeated requests by FDA scientists for a full set of long term studies on GMO side effects were ignored and the ongoing studies were stopped or banned. What people want to know is, why would FDA stop or ban studies by the scientific community to research the safety of GMOs in our food supply? The fact is that, Mike Taylor the deputy Commissioner of FDA is Monsanto’s former attorney and its current VP. However right now there are no regulations about GMO foods from FDA so Monsanto has the main authority to insure that GM foods aren’t hazardous. So Monsanto is making and regulating GM foods and calls them safe. This is the company that was the producer of DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange and called them safe too at the time.
Most studies and research done on GMOs side effects have been dependent on Monsanto’s funding. However independent studies performed by concerned scientists shows the alarming side effects of GMOs.
For example the American academy of environmental medicine performed independent studies on how GM foods cause immune system disorder, infertility, allergies, accelerated aging, adverse cholesterol level and many other problems like changes in kidneys, damage to liver and gastrointestinal diseases.
Bt corn was first introduced into the market by Monsanto in mid 90s. The bacillus thuringiensis (BT) is a bacteria that is sprayed on vegetables to kill pests. Engineers inserted BT bacteria into corn and soy. So every cell in GMO soy or corn is producing toxic protein and the pests are killed by the GM plants themselves. BT toxin breaks the stomach of pests with one bite. No wonder why we are facing an epidemic of gastrointestinal problems here in US. Although EPA says that BT doesn’t harm human beings and animals, a study published in February 2012 shows that BT toxin actually kills human cells.
There has been only one study performed on human beings about side effects of GM foods. The study showed that a part of gene in Roundup ready soy was transferred into DNA of bacteria that was living inside intestine. As a result Roundup actually didn’t kill any bacteria but turned the intestine into a living pesticide factory. Some researchers even believe that if you stop eating GM foods, the GM proteins could be still alive and active inside you.
A study in Canada showed that 95% of pregnant women had the BT toxin in their blood. The researchers also found Bt toxin in the blood of 83% of unborn fetuses.
A report from the August 17 edition of the American Association for the Advance of Science’s journal Science titled, “Negative Report on GM Crops Shakes Government’s Food Agenda,” revealed that an Indian high-profile parliamentary panel, only a week before, recommended that GM crop “field trails under any garb should be discontinued forthwith,” and that further GM agricultural research should “only be done under strict containment.”[i]
Moreover, in a press conference after the report’s release, the panel’s chair, Basudeb Acharia, said in no uncertain terms: “India should not go in for GM food crops.”
According to the Science article’s author, Pallava Bagla, the panel’s recommendation is being regarded by some “as the death knell of the development of genetically modified food crops in India.” Dissenting interests, such as India’s chief of crop research, Swapan Dutta, a rice geneticist and deputy director at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, responded to the report by suggesting that if implemented, the panel’s recommendations would paralyze research and threaten India’s food security, and “hope for GM research in India is lost.”
The Indian government has been sending mixed signals about its commitment to agricultural GM technology. For instance, in 2002 the government approved Bt-toxin carrying cotton as the first GM commercial crop in India. Today, there are over 1100 Bt varieties of GM cotton, accounting for 93% of all the cotton sown in India. The prime minister of India himself, Manmohan Singh, voiced his support for GM crops in a recent interview with Science (24 Feb, p. 907), stating: “In due course of time,” he said “we must make use of genetic engineering technologies to increase the productivity of our agriculture.”
But, as the Science article points out, Singh’s own ministers are not towing the party line. For instance, in 2010, former environment minister Jairam Ramesh imposed a moratorium on the commercialization of Bt brinjal, a traditional Indian eggplant, even after the ministry’s scientific advisory panel had given the GM variety approval. Moreover, GM crop researchers in India were already having problems since 2011, because state governments refused to issue certificates that allow GM crop field trials to commence. Also, in the June issue of Science, environmental minister Jayanthi Natarajan was quoted as saying: “genetically modified foods have no place in ensuring India’s food security.”
This is the now-famous video that was censored by YouTube. It shows Whole Foods employees LYING about the GMOs being sold by the store.
Fact: Whole Foods is a massive retailer for Monsanto’s GM corn, which is found in all sorts of products on the shelves at Whole Foods. This is the same strain of genetically engineered corn that French researchers recently linked to massive cancer tumors in rats.
As of this writing, Whole Foods has offered ZERO support for Proposition 37 and has made NO effort to require GMO labeling for the products it sells.
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