By Dr. Mercola
Monsanto and other biotech companies claim genetically modified (GM) crops have no impact on the environment and are perfectly safe to eat.
Federal departments in charge of food safety in the US and Canada have not conducted tests to affirm this alleged “safety,” but rather have taken the industry-conducted research at face value, allowing millions of acres of GM crops to overtake farmland.
These foods, largely in the form of GM corn and soy (although there are other GM crops, too, like sugar beets, papaya and crookneck squash), can now be found in the majority of processed foods in the US.
In other words, if you eat processed foods, you’re already eating them… and these crops are already being freely planted in the environment. But what if it turns out that Monsanto was wrong, and the GM crops aren’t actually safe…
This is precisely what a number of scientists have been warning of for years, and the latest to sound the alarm is Dr. Mae-Wan Ho of the Institute for Science in Society, who has concluded that, by their very nature, there is no way GMOs (genetically modified organisms) can be safe.
The Greatest Danger of Genetic Modification
According to Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, genetic modification interferes fundamentally with the natural genetic modifications that organisms undergo in order to survive. Under natural circumstances, this is done in real time as “an exquisitely precise molecular dance of life.”
Genetic engineering, which assumes that one protein determines one particular trait, such as herbicide tolerance or insect resistance, and can easily be swapped out with another, with no other effects, is dangerously simplistic or, as Dr. Mae-Wan Ho says, “an illusion.”
An organism’s genome is not static but fluid, and its biological functions are interconnected with its environment and vice versa, such that trying to control genetic changes via artificial modification is a dangerous game. Dr. Ho explained:
“The rationale and impetus for genetic engineering and genetic modification is the ‘central dogma’ of molecular biology that assumes DNA (deoxyribose nucleic acid) carries all the instructions for making an organism.
Individual ‘genetic messages’ in DNA faithfully copied into RNA (ribosenucleic acid), is then translated into a protein via a genetic code; the protein determining a particular trait, such as herbicide tolerance, or insect resistance; one gene, one character. If it were really as simple as that, genetic modification would work perfectly. Unfortunately this simplistic picture is an illusion.
Instead of linear causal chains leading from DNA to RNA to protein and downstream biological functions, complex feed-forward and feed-back cycles interconnect organism and environment at all levels to mark and change RNA and DNA down the generations … Organisms work by intercommunication at every level, and not by control.
… In order to survive, the organism needs to engage in natural genetic modification in real time, an exquisitely precise molecular dance of life in which RNA and DNA respond to, and participate fully in ‘downstream’ biological functions.
That is why organisms and ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the crude, artificial GM RNA and DNA created by human genetic engineers. It is also why genetic modification can probably never be safe. More importantly, the human organism shapes its own development and evolutionary future; that is why we must take responsible action to ban all environmental releases of GMOs now.”
Natural Genetic Modification is Different From Artificial Genetic Modification
Similar to the way artificial immunity acquired by vaccination is assumed to be the same thing as natural immunity acquired by contracting and recovering from an illness, genetic modification is often thought to be the same, whether it’s done in a lab or by nature. But as we’ve seen with immunity, there are actually very important differences, and these, too, are highlighted by Dr. Ho. Compared with natural genetic modification, artificial genetic modification is inherently hazardous because it lacks the precision of the natural process, while enabling genes to be transferred between species that would never have been exchanged otherwise.
“There is, therefore, nothing natural about artificial genetic modification done in the lab,” Dr. Ho stated.
Contrasting natural and artificial genetic modification:1
Natural Genetic Modification Artificial Genetic Modification Precisely negotiated by the organism as a whole Crude, imprecise, unpredictable uncontrollable Takes place at the right place & time without damaging the genome Forced into cells with no control over where & in what forms the artificial constructs land with much collateral damage to the genome Appropriate to the organism as a whole in relation to its environment Aggressive promoters force foreign genes to be expressed out of context
GM DNA Is Transferring to Humans and the Environment
Another problem with genetic modification has to do with the fact that GM plants and animals are created using horizontal gene transfer (also called horizontal inheritance), as contrasted with vertical gene transfer, which is the mechanism in natural reproduction. Vertical gene transfer, or vertical inheritance, is the transmission of genes from the parent generation to offspring via sexual or asexual reproduction, i.e., breeding a male and female from one species.
By contrast, horizontal gene transfer involves injecting a gene from one species into a completely different species, which yields unexpected and often unpredictable results. Proponents of GM assume they can apply the principles of vertical inheritance to horizontal inheritance, but this assumption, too, is flawed, and now it’s been confirmed that GM genes can transfer to humans and the environment. Dr. Ho stated:
“It is now clear that horizontal transfer of GM DNA does happen, and very often. Evidence dating from the early 1990s indicates that ingested DNA in food and feed can indeed survive the digestive tract, and pass through the intestinal wall to enter the bloodstream. The digestive tract is a hotspot for horizontal gene transfer to and between bacteria and other microorganisms.
… Higher organisms including human beings are even more susceptible to horizontal gene transfer than bacteria, because unlike bacteria, which require sequence homology (similarity) for incorporation into the genome, higher organisms do not.
… What are the dangers of GM DNA from horizontal gene transfer? Horizontal transfer of DNA into the genome of cells per se is harmful, but there are extra dangers from the genes or genetic signals in the GM DNA, and also from the vector used in delivering the transgene(s). GM DNA jumping into genomes cause ‘insertion mutagenesis’ that can lead to cancer, or activate dormant viruses that cause diseases. GM DNA often contains antibiotic resistance genes that can spread to pathogenic bacteria and make infections untreatable · Horizontal transfer and recombination of GM DNA is a main route for creating new viruses & bacteria that cause diseases”
Another Potentially Devastating GM Impact… Loss of Bees?
For several years now, scientists have been struggling to determine why bee colonies across the world are disappearing, and one theory is that it's being caused by genetically modified crops—either as a result of the crops themselves or the pesticides and herbicides applied on them, such as the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup. In one German study,2 when bees were released in a genetically modified rapeseed crop, then fed the pollen to younger bees, scientists discovered the bacteria in the guts of the young ones mirrored the same genetic traits as ones found in the GE crop, indicating that horizontal gene transfer had occurred.
If it is proven that GM crops are causing bee die-offs, it could turn out to be one of the worst GM effects yet. New research from Emory University researchers found that wildflowers produce one-third fewer seeds when even one bumblebee species is removed from the area.3 As bee die-offs continue, it’s clear that this could easily be one of the greatest threats to humans in the decades to come. The researchers concluded:
“Our results suggest that ongoing pollinator declines may have more serious negative implications for plant communities than is currently assumed.”
10 GM Myths That Monsanto Wants You to Believe
Monsanto is the world leader in GM crops, and their Web site would have you believe that they are the answer to world hunger. Thanks to their heavy PR campaign, if you’ve been primarily a reader of the mainstream press, you’ve probably been misled into thinking GM crops are, in fact, the greatest thing since sliced bread, that they provide better yields of equal or better quality food, pest and weed resistance, reduced reliance on pesticides, and more... But thankfully, the truth is unfolding and the tide is finally beginning to turn.
The Organic Prepper4 recently highlighted 10 GM myths that Monsanto wants you to believe … but which are actually far from the truth.
Myth #1: No one has ever proven that GMOs are harmful to people
The truth is that studies of GM food have shown tumors, premature death, organ failure, gastric lesions, liver damage, kidney damage, allergic reactions, and more.
Myth #2: GM crops are the only way to solve world hunger
The reality is that GM farming practices are not sustainable, which virtually guarantees future crop collapses and subsequent famine. Nor are farmers able to save their seeds due to patent infringement and poor fertility in the seeds. Sustainable agricultural practices are the answer to world hunger.
Myth #3: GM crops need less pesticide spraying
The truth is that after the first couple of years, the use of pesticides and herbicides on GM crops has increased dramatically.
Myth #4: GM technology is comparable to the cross-breeding that our ancestors did to create hardier versions of heritage crops
Cross pollination of different varieties of the same plant (what our ancestors did) is low-tech and can occur naturally. Genetic modification of seeds is done in a lab and often crosses different biological kingdoms, such as crossing a bacteria with a plant the unintended adverse effects of which may be incalculably large and impossible to ascertain before they are released into the biosphere.
Myth #5: If the FDA and the USDA allow them, they must be safe
Monsanto has close ties with the US government, such that, despite the obvious conflict of interest, Monsanto executives have been given policy-making positions in Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations.
Myth #6: There is no nutritional difference between GM food and non-GM food
A 2012 nutritional analysis of GM versus non-GM corn showed shocking differences in nutritional content. Non-GM corn contains 437 times more calcium, 56 times more magnesium, and 7 times more manganese than GM corn. GM corn was also found to contain 13 ppm of glyphosate, a pesticide so toxic that it may be carcinogenic in the parts-per-trillion range, compared to zero in non-GM corn.
Myth #7: GMOs are impossible to avoid
GM ingredients are found in more than 70 percent of processed foods, but you can largely avoid them by avoiding these processed foods. By switching to whole foods like vegetables, fruits, grass-fed meats and other basic staples, you can control the GM foods in your diet.
Myth #8: Monsanto has our best interests in mind
Monsanto has spent over half a million dollars on hiring a firm to help ‘protect the Monsanto brand name’ from activists. There is speculation that they have placed trolls on anti-GM Web sites, hidden posts from social media, and even possibly hacked researchers computers days before they were set to release a damaging study. There’s even speculation that the US government is spying on anti-Monsanto activists.
Myth #9: GMOs are not harmful to the environment
On the Hawaiian island of Molokai, where a nearly 2,000-acre test facility for Monsanto sits, air and water quality are horrendous and there are reports of deaths, infertility, uncontrolled cross-pollination, bloody skin rashes, asthma and pesticide contamination in the groundwater.
Myth #10: GMOs are here to stay
Biotech wants you to believe that GM crops are here to stay, but a war is being waged against GMOs, and the resistance is gaining significant ground. By sharing information like this, we can fight back against biotech and the poisons they’re releasing into our environment.
GE Trees May Be Even More Damaging to the Environment than GE Foods
Analysis Identifies Shocking Problems with Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered Corn
By Dr. Mercola
The true toxicity of glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup—is becoming increasingly clear as study after study is published demonstrating its devastating effects. In June, groundbreaking research was published detailing a newfound mechanism of harm for Roundup.
This was immediately followed by tests showing that people in 18 countries across Europe have glyphosate in their bodies,1 while yet another study revealed that the chemical has estrogenic properties and drives breast cancer proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range.2
This finding might help explain why rats fed Monsanto’s maize developed massive breast tumors in the first-ever lifetime feeding study published last year. Other recently published studies demonstrate glyphosate’s toxicity to cell lines, aquatic life, food animals, and humans.
Glyphosate Toxicity Underestimated, Study Concludes
One such study, published in the journal Ecotoxicology,3 found that glyphosate is toxic to water fleas (Daphnia magna) at minuscule levels that are well within the levels expected to be found in the environment.
According to regulators, glyphosate is thought to be practically nontoxic to aquatic invertebrates. The water flea is a widely accepted model for environmental toxicity, so this study throws serious doubt on glyphosate’s classification as environmentally safe. According to the study:
“To test the acute effects of both glyphosate and a commercial formulation of Roundup (hereafter Roundup), we conducted a series of exposure experiments with different clones and age-classes of D. magna.... Roundup showed slightly lower acute toxicity than glyphosate IPA alone... However, in chronic toxicity tests spanning the whole life-cycle, Roundup was more toxic.
...Significant reduction of juvenile size was observed even in the lowest test concentrations of 0.05 mg a.i./l, for both glyphosate and Roundup. At 0.45 mg a.i./l, growth, fecundity and abortion rate was affected, but only in animals exposed to Roundup.
At 1.35 and 4.05 mg a.i./l of both glyphosate and Roundup, significant negative effects were seen on most tested parameters, including mortality. D. magna was adversely affected by a near 100% abortion rate of eggs and embryonic stages at 1.35 mg a.i./l of Roundup.
The results indicate that aquatic invertebrate ecology can be adversely affected by relevant ambient concentrations of this major herbicide. We conclude that glyphosate and Roundup toxicity to aquatic invertebrates have been underestimated and that current European Commission and US EPA toxicity classification of these chemicals need to be revised.”
Herbicide Formulations Far More Toxic Than Glyphosate Alone
An article published on Greenmedinfo.com4 last year reviewed several interesting studies relating to the profound toxicity of Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup:
“Back in Feb. of 2012, the journal Archives of Toxicology5 published a shocking study showing that Roundup is toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications.
This effect could not have been anticipated from the known toxicological effects of glyphosate alone. The likely explanation is that the surfactant polyoxyethyleneamine within Roundup dramatically enhances the absorption of glyphosate into exposed human cells and tissue,” Sayer Ji writes.
“If this is true, it speaks to a fundamental problem associated with toxicological risk assessments of agrichemicals (and novel manmade chemicals in general), namely, these assessments do not take into account the reality of synergistic toxicologies, i.e. the amplification of harm associated with multiple chemical exposures occurring simultaneously.”
'Inert' Ingredients Does NOT Mean They Are Inactive...
Similarly, another study published that year in the journal Toxicology6, 7 revealed that inert ingredients such as solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other added substances are anything but “inactive.” They in fact contribute to toxicity in a synergistic manner, and ethoxylated adjuvants in glyphosate-based herbicides were found to be "active principles of human cell toxicity."
(On a side note, an “ethoxylated” compound is a chemical that has been produced using the carcinogen ethylene oxide.8 The ethoxylation process also produces the carcinogenic byproduct 1,4-dioxane. It’s also worth noting here that the term “inert ingredient” does NOT actually mean that it is biologically or toxicologically harmless! When you see “inert” or “inactive ingredients” listed on the label of a pesticide or herbicide, it only means that those ingredients will not harm pests or weeds. This is how federal law classifies “inert” pesticide ingredients.)9
The study found that liver, embryonic and placental cell lines exposed to various herbicide formulations for 24 hours at doses as low as 1 part per million (ppm), had adverse effects.10 According to the authors:11
“Here we demonstrate that all formulations are more toxic than glyphosate, and we separated experimentally three groups of formulations differentially toxic according to their concentrations in ethoxylated adjuvants. Among them, POE-15 clearly appears to be the most toxic principle against human cells, even if others are not excluded. It begins to be active with negative dose-dependent effects on cellular respiration and membrane integrity between 1 and 3ppm, at environmental/occupational doses. We demonstrate in addition that POE-15 induces necrosis when its first micellization process occurs, by contrast to glyphosate which is known to promote endocrine disrupting effects after entering cells.
Altogether, these results challenge the establishment of guidance values such as the acceptable daily intake of glyphosate, when these are mostly based on a long term in vivo test of glyphosate alone. Since pesticides are always used with adjuvants that could change their toxicity, the necessity to assess their whole formulations as mixtures becomes obvious. This challenges the concept of active principle of pesticides for non-target species.” [Emphasis mine]
Perhaps most disturbing of all, the researchers claim that cell damage and even cell death can occur at the residual levels found on Roundup-treated crops, as well as lawns and gardens where Roundup is applied for weed control. They also suspect that:12
“Roundup might cause pregnancy problems by interfering with hormone production, possibly leading to abnormal fetal development, low birth weights or miscarriages.”
Birth Malformation Skyrocketing in Agricultural Centers of Argentina
Indeed, miscarriages, fertility problems and abnormal fetal development are all problems that are skyrocketing in Argentina, where many are exposed to massive spraying of herbicides. More than 18 million hectares in Argentina are covered by genetically engineered soy, on which more than 300 million liters of pesticides are sprayed. In the village of Malvinas Argentinas, which is surrounded by soy plantations, the rate of miscarriage is 100 times the national average, courtesy of glyphosate.
According to Dr. Medardo Vasquez, a neonatal specialist at the Children’s Hospital in Cordoba, featured in the documentary film People and Power — Argentina: The Bad Seeds:
“I see new-born infants, many of whom are malformed. I have to tell parents that their children are dying because of these agricultural methods. In some areas in Argentina the primary cause of death for children less than one year old is malformations.”
But even if you don’t live in an agricultural area where you might be exposed to Roundup directly, you’re still getting it through your diet if you’re eating non-organic foods. A report given to MomsAcrossAmerica13 by an employee of De Dell Seed Company (Canada's only non-GM corn seed company) shows that GM corn contains as much as 13 ppm of glyphosate, compared to zero in non-GM corn.
The EPA standard for glyphosate in American water supplies is 0.7 ppm. In Europe, the maximum allowable level in water is 0.2 ppm. Organ damage in animals has occurred at levels as low as 0.1 ppm, and in the study on cell lines discussed above, liver, embryonic and placental cell lines were adversely affected at doses as low as 1 ppm. The fact that genetically modified corn can contain as much as 13 ppm of glyphosate has staggering implications for Americans who eat an average of 193 pounds of genetically engineered foods each year!14
Glyphosate Predisposes Cattle to Botulism
A German study15 published earlier this year looked at glyphosate’s role in the rise of toxic botulism in cattle. This used to be extremely rare, but the incidence has become increasingly common over the past 10-15 years. Normal intestinal microflora is essential for keeping Clostridium botulinum and other pathogens in check, and researchers are now finding that the beneficial gut bacteria in both animals and humans is very sensitive to residual glyphosate levels. This has been discussed previously by both Dr. Don Huber and Dr. Stephanie Seneff.
In this study, the researchers explain that certain intestinal bacteria produce bacteriocines that are specifically directed against C. botulinum, as well as other dangerous pathogens. According to the authors, lactic acid producing bacteria that help defend against Clostridium pathogens are destroyed by glyphosate, suggesting that the rise in C. botulinum associated diseases may be due to glyphosate-tainted animal feed.
The Overlooked Component of Toxicity in Humans
As for its effects on humans, the Samsel - Seneff study published in June suggests that glyphosate may actually be the most important factor in the development of a wide variety of chronic diseases, specifically because your gut bacteria are a key component of glyphosate’s mechanism of harm. Monsanto has steadfastly claimed that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans because the mechanism of action it uses (which allows it to kill weeds), called the shikimate pathway, is absent in all animals. However, the shikimate pathway IS present in bacteria, and that’s the key to understanding how it causes such widespread systemic harm in both humans and animals.
The bacteria in your body outnumber your cells by 10 to 1. For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate!
Glyphosate causes extreme disruption of the microbe’s function and lifecycle. What’s worse, glyphosate preferentially affects beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to overgrow and take over. At that point, your body also has to contend with the toxins produced by the pathogens. Once the chronic inflammation sets in, you’re well on your way toward chronic and potentially debilitating disease...
The answer, of course, is to avoid processed foods of all kinds, as they’re virtually guaranteed to contain genetically engineered ingredients, and center your diet around whole, organic foods as toxic pesticides are not permitted in organic farming. Supporting GMO labeling is also important if you value your health, and that of your family and friends, in order to be able to make informed shopping decisions.
By Dr. Mercola
If you’ve been primarily a reader of the mainstream press, you’ve probably been misled into thinking genetically engineered (GE) crops are the greatest thing since sliced bread, that they provide better yields of equal or better quality food, pest and weed resistance, reduced reliance on pesticides, and more... But thankfully, the truth is unfolding and the tide is finally beginning to turn.
I have long warned against GE crops, pointing out the risks associated with their consumption, and the falsehoods presented about their safety. Now, the mainstream press is finally joining in.
The Fox News report above does a remarkably good job of questioning the logic behind, if not safety of, GE foods and genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—from crops with built-in pesticides, to salmon designed to grow abnormally large and fast.
I’m very pleased that Fox News pointed out the fact that potential health hazards cannot be averted simply by avoiding the GE crop in question. Animals raised on GE-grain feed will in turn produce GMO-tainted meat, milk, and eggs, for example, thereby affecting the vast majority of the food supply.
Fox News even reported the disturbing findings from feeding studies showing intestinal damage in animals fed Bt corn, and the potential links to food allergies, antibiotic exposure, and increased exposure to pesticides.
Let’s Get GMO’s Labeled!
Even though Prop 37 in California last November just missed passing, it generated enormous amounts of exposure on this issue, far more than what was spent on the campaign. That exposure will be the catalyst to our eventual victory.
In the past few weeks, Connecticut and Maine have passed GMO-labeling bills, and 20 other states have pending legislation to label genetically engineered foods. So, now is the time to put the pedal to the metal and get labeling across the country—something 64 other countries already have.
I hope you will join us in this effort. In November, Washington State will vote on GMO labeling. Please help us win this key GMO labeling battle and continue to build momentum for GMO labeling in other states by making a donation to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA).
If they raise $150,000 by July 27, I will match the donation1.
Is Monsanto Losing the Press?
Statistics showing skyrocketing increases in pesticide use due to resistance is just one problem that demonstrates the abject failure of GE crops. In a recent Mother Jones article2, Tom Philpott lists some mainstream reporters that have come down hard on Monsanto and their biotech allies in recent weeks, most of them highlighting the growing pest and weed resistance these crops have produced.
For example, NPR’s agriculture reporter Dan Charles recently reported3 on the high increase in pesticide use following the failure of Monsanto’s Bt corn, engineered to contain the bug-killing gene of the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis—which essentially turns the corn plant into a pesticide itself. Ian Berry writing for the Wall Street Journal4 has also reported on the “comeback” of pesticides, as “Mother Nature outwits genetically modified seeds.”
The following graph, from the Food and Water Watch dramatic report titled: Superweeds: How Biotech Crops Bolster the Pesticide Industry5, published earlier this month, illustrates the dramatic increase of pesticide use as resistance began taking hold in the early 2000’s. According to their report, use of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), a broadleaf herbicide and the active ingredient in the infamous Agent Orange (another Monsanto disaster), has also more than doubled since 20026.
There are other signs of progress as well. The restaurant chain Chipotle, for example, now lists GE ingredients used in their meals on their web site. This victory was achieved by the blogger and food activist Vani Hari, who has investigated the products sold by a number of major restaurants and food companies, including Chipotle, Starbucks, Subway and Kraft.
Whole Foods has also promised to label GMOs sold in their stores within the next five years. This long lead time is required primarily because of their meat products, which is an enormously long and complex chain to certify. Despite the five-year deadline, this announcement is incredibly encouraging and represents a major sign that all the efforts most of you put into the California Proposition 37 campaign have paid off. We may have lost that battle but this, and other, signs strongly suggest we are winning the war.
Then there’s the GE wheat debacle, which has raised questions about accountability and sparked alarm among Washington traders. When the blame started shifting too heavily onto Monsanto (where it rightly belongs), the company concocted one of the weirdest conspiracy theories out there7. The company basically wants you to believe that some anti-GMO saboteur collected and saved GE wheat seeds from their test plots a decade ago, and then sprinkled them in an Oregon wheat field as an act of sabotage... Yeah, right.
Pest and Weed Resistance Is Flourishing
After years of assurance that genetically engineered crops are the answer to pesky pest problems, corn rootworm is now turning into a nightmare for farmers and biotech companies alike, as the insects are developing resistance to the Bt gene in the crop that is designed to kill them. It didn’t take all that long for the bugs to develop their defenses and render the genetic manipulation useless either—only about 10 years from the introduction of Bt crops.
This is particularly tragic as very simple measures like the incorporation of biochar and the regular application of compost teas are far superior to GMO technology and also increase the soil vitality, rather than decimate it like GM crops do.
Last year, 22 of America’s top experts on corn pests urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action "with a sense of some urgency8.” They also urged seed companies to stop routinely inserting anti-rootworm genes into their corn lines to prevent devastating losses. The economic impact could be huge. Billions of dollars are at stake as Bt-stacked corn varieties account for 71 percent of all corn grown in the US9 as of 2013—up nearly 20 percent from 2012.
“It appears that farmers have gotten part of the message: Biotechnology alone will not solve their rootworm problems,” DanCharles writes. “But instead of shifting away from those corn hybrids, or from corn altogether, many are doubling down on insect-fighting technology, deploying more chemical pesticides than before.
Companies like Syngenta or AMVAC Chemical that sell soil insecticides for use in corn fields are reporting huge increases in sales: 50 or even 100 percent over the past two years... As a result, [the farmers] may just keep growing corn, fighting rootworms with insecticides — and there's a possibility that those chemicals will eventually stop working, too.” [Emphasis mine]
Similarly, the evolution of Bt resistant bollworms—a larvae that attacks cotton plants—has been confirmed and documented10, and what used to be minor pests are now becoming major problems, such as mirid bugs, which have increased 12-fold since 1997 in China, and can be directly linked to the scale of China’s Bt cotton cultivation. Since 1996, when GE crops were first introduced, at least nine species of American weed varieties have also developed resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, which again means farmers using genetically engineered Roundup Ready seeds must use additional herbicides—some of which are even more toxic than Roundup. In the end, we’re left with all of the downsides and none of the intended benefits.
Monsanto’s Long and Checkered Past (and Present)
There are so many incidents of questionable and outright criminal behavior on the part of Monsanto and its various branches and subsidiaries. If you are interested in this issue, I would strongly encourage you to visit the Monsanto Atrocities Page. Just a handful of examples of their checkered past and present include:
- In 1985, Monsanto bought E.G. Searle, which became a Monsanto subsidiary known as The NutraSweet Company. No long-term studies have been performed to evaluate the physiological effects of aspartame, yet you’re led to believe it is absolutely safe. This deception is both willful and negligent—and perhaps even criminal—and goes all the way back to the time before its highly contested approval.
The 1974 FDA task force set up to examine aspartame and G.D.Searle stated that "we have uncovered serious deficiencies in Searle’s operations and practices, which undermine the basis for reliance on Searle's integrity in conducting high quality animal research to accurately determine the toxic potential of its products." The task force report concluded with the recommendation that G.D. Searle should face a Grand Jury "to identify more particularly the nature of the violations, and to identify all those responsible." That never happened, and the aspartame deception continues to this day under the management of Monsanto.
- In 2002, Monsanto was found guilty of secretly discharging PCB-laden toxic waste into an Alabama creek, and dumping millions of pounds of PCBs into open-pit landfills for decades after PCBs were banned in the US for being a possible carcinogen11.
- In 2007, the South African Advertising Standards Authority found Monsanto guilty of lying12 when advertising that “no negative reactions to genetically modified food have been reported.” Two years later, Monsanto was again found guilty of false advertising, this time by France's highest court, for claims that Roundup is biodegradable and leaves "the soil clean." They long used the slogans, "It's Safer than Mowing," "Biodegradable," and "Environmentally Friendly" to describe their product—until the real effects of this toxic herbicide were revealed and they were forced to discontinue their deceptive advertising.
The French court noted that Roundup's main ingredient, glyphosate, is in fact dangerous for the environment and toxic for aquatic organisms. More recent research also implicates glyphosate—which is used on all genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops—as a major driver of most chronic disease, including cancer and infertility, and most Europeans now have detectable levels in their bodies, indicating excessive exposure through food.
- Last year, India's National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), a government agency, sued Monsanto and their collaborators, the Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company; slapping biopiracy charges against them. In short, the biotech giant did not get prior approval to use locally occurring breeds of eggplant for the purposes of genetic modification, and in so doing violated the country's Biological Diversity Act (BDA), enacted in 2002.
The case marks the first time a government has accused Monsanto of biopiracy, and the results could set an important precedent for the future of the food supply.
Previously, Monsanto has also been found guilty of bribery to bypass Indonesian law requiring an environmental assessment review for its genetically engineered cotton.
- According to one EPA scientist13, Monsanto doctored studies and covered-up dioxin contamination of a wide range of its products, including the herbicide used in Agent Orange. She concluded that the company’s behavior constituted “a long pattern of fraud.”
Other questionable tactics include hiring fake “pro-GMO” food demonstrators to counteract anti-biotech protesters, revealed as far back as 1999, by the New York Times14. The company has also admitted to hiring the services of Blackwater in 2008 and 200915 for nondisclosed types of intelligence gathering and infiltration “to keep track of “public disclosure” of its opponents16.” And let’s not forget about its extensive history of intimidating and suing small farmers for patent infringement after its GE seeds spread wildly into surrounding farmers’ fields, contaminating their conventional crops. Or how their Bt cotton has spawned a tsunami of suicides among India’s cotton farmers.
You Deserve the Right to Know and Mandatory Labeling of GMOs Is Your Best Chance
Mandatory labeling may be the only way to stop the proliferation of genetically engineered foods in the US. Monsanto and other biotech companies spend huge amounts of money lobbying the US government each year to ensure favorable legislation that allows GE foods to proliferate unchecked and unchallenged. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, Monsanto spent $1.4 million on lobbying the federal government -- a drop from a year earlier, when they spent $2.5 million during the same quarter.
Yet these lobbying expenses pale in comparison to the amount Monsanto spent to defeat California’s Prop. 37—more than $8 million, according to RightToKnow.org17. Blowing half a decade’s worth of lobbying funds on one single anti-labeling campaign should tell you just how “willing” they are to let you know which foods contain their wares... Their efforts of persuasion are undoubtedly made infinitely easier by the fact that an ever growing list of former Monsanto employees are now in positions of power within the federal government...
Glyphosate Drives Breast Cancer Proliferation, Study Warns
Front Groups Exposed—50 Industry Groups Form a New Alliance to Manipulate Public Opinion About Junk Food, GMOs, and Harmful Additives
By Dr. Mercola
The Monsanto Investigation Part 1―the Bayer Investigation
Monsanto and Bayer Crop Science have entered into a series of licensing agreements for technologies in the field of plant biotechnology. Monsanto will provide Bayer with a royalty-bearing license to Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield and Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Xtend technology in soybeans in the U.S. and Canada, as well as a royalty-bearing license to Intacta RR2 PRO in soybeans in Brazil with an option to a royalty-bearing license in other Latin-American countries in the future. Under the agreements, Bayer will grant Monsanto license to evaluate enabling technologies for corn rootworm control and herbicide tolerance as options for Monsanto’s future pipeline development work.
Aspartame & Monsanto―the Monsanto Investigation Part 2
It’s in just about everything: you know it as NutraSweet. From drugs to foods to beverages, aspartame is in just about everything, and it’s making a lot of people sick, even if they don’t realize that’s the reason. Dozens of web pages warn against the dangers of aspartame, which became a Monsanto product in 1985 when Monsanto bought G.D. Searle and created a separate subsidiary to sell NutraSweet and Equal. According to the Monsanto website, in 2000 the company sold its interests in NutraSweet to J.W. Childs and Equal to Merisant.
Diacetyl & Monsanto―The Monsanto Investigation Part 3
A dangerous chemical found in butter flavoring such as that used in microwave popcorn has sickened and killed hundreds of factory workers around the country. It also has been linked to Alzheimer’s. The government has known about this over a decade, but nothing’s been done to regulate it, even though hundreds of lawsuits are connected with it. While ConAgra produced the chemical (diacetyl), the company has strong ties to Monsanto: in 1999 they teamed up to market Monsanto’s genetically-modified corn. What most people don’t realize is that Monsanto acquired the patent for the diacetyl-making process in 1948.
GMOs Investigated―The Monsanto Investigation Part 4
Don Huber, a noted plant scientist who spent much of his career at Purdue University, sent a letter to the USDA informing the agency that he’d discovered a mysterious new disease-causing organism in Monsanto’s (MON) genetically engineered Roundup Ready corn and soybeans. Now Huber has written a follow-up letter to USDA, presenting an even worse picture of the damage he claims Monsanto’s herbicide chemical glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) is doing to both plants and the animals who eat them. Huber’s issue is not with genetic engineering per se, but with the huge amounts of glyphosate being used on GE crops. According to Huber, glyphosate effectively “gives a plant AIDS,” weakening its defenses and making it more susceptible to pathogens. Glyphosate also prevents plants from absorbing vital nutrients, particularly the mineral manganese.
Children & Animals―The Monsanto Investigation Part 5
Autism among children is skyrocketing, and behaviors observed with rats, pigs, and cattle fed genetically modified (GM) foods are very similar, experts say. These experts believe that GM foods, including soy infant formulas, should be removed from children’s diets. Bt toxin, Roundup, BGH… Scotts acquired the Ortho and Roundup brand from Monsanto Chevron in 1999. On January 27, 2012, Scotts Miracle-Gro agreed to plead guilty in federal court and pay $4.5 million in fines for selling 73 million units of bird seed coated with pesticide known to be deadly to birds and fish. Some veterinarians are reporting that animals are getting sick on genetically engineered corn and soybeans, and possibly glyphosate residue. Birth defects, endocrine changes, and infertility are also connected with GMO products.
George Bush & Monsanto―The Monsanto Investigation Part 6
The connections between Monsanto and both Bush administrations are clear. Bush Sr. appointed Clarence Thomas, a Monsanto attorney, to the Supreme Court. Attorney General John Ashcroft was the top recipient of Monsanto contributions. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was president of Searle Pharmaceuticals, which Monsanto acquired. And the list goes on.
RBGH & FDA Corruption―The Monsanto Investigation Part 7
Conflicts of interest within the FDA abound over the FDA’s pro-rBGH activities. rBGH was first developed by Monsanto to increase milk production in dairy cows. It failed to gain approval in Europe but the US FDA approved it. It was later discovered that Monsanto altered documents and actual studies to make rBGH look safe. According to Jeffrey Smith, the world’s leading consumer advocate promoting non-GMO choices, hormone-treated cows can develop birth defects, reproductive disorders, udder infection, and a slew of other medical problems. When some disgruntled FDA employees wrote an anonymous letter to Congress saying that the whole rBGH process was embroiled in fraud and conflict of interest―such as having Dr. Margaret Miller work for FDA after working for Monsanto researching rBGH. In October 2008, Monsanto sold its rBGH business to Eli Lilly and Company.
PCBs & Pollution―The Monsanto Investigation Part 8
Monsanto responded to adverse reactions from its toxic chemical PCBs by claiming they were “singularly free of difficulties.” But internal files obtained from a lawsuit revealed that this was a cover-up that lasted decades. Company memos referred to liver disease, skin problems, and even deaths in workers associated with exposure to its PCBs. Monsanto’s medical department wanted to prohibit employees from eating at the factory because research showed that PCBs were toxic materials by ingestion or inhalation. And the US Navy refused the product because in their safety study, all exposed animals died. Until it stopped production in 1977, Monsanto was the source of 99 percent of PCBs used by US industry. PCB production was banned by Congress in 1979 and by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001.
Political Corruption & rBGH―The Monsanto Investigation Part 9
Michael Taylor was an assistant to the FDA commissioner before he left to work for a law firm on gaining FDA approval of Monsanto’s artificial growth hormone in the 1980s. Taylor then became deputy commissioner of the FDA from 1991 to 1994. He was re-appointed to the FDA in August 2009 by President Barack Obama. Dr. Michael A. Friedman was a deputy commissioner of the FDA before he was hired as a senior vice president of Monsanto. And the revolving doors and political conflicts of interest continue with numerous other names and positions.
UN & Agenda 21―The Monsanto Investigation Part 10
In February 2013 Monsanto announced that it had officially joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a group of powerful interests including major banks and Big Oil backing the United Nations’ “Agenda 21” scheme for so-called “sustainable development.” In 2012 a UN report said that 90 percent of water and fish samples from aquatic environments are contaminated by pesticides. Many people claim the UN is pushing Agenda 21 to create a global dictatorship through a one-world government in the name of protecting the environment.
The Bilderberg Connection & Monsanto ― The Monsanto Investigation Part 11
Dixoins are highly toxic unwanted byproducts of certain industrial operations including the manufacture of some pesticides. There was evidence that Monsanto had falsified scientific studies on the carcinogenicity of dioxin, but the EPA failed to investigate it. Some of the allegations included: Monsanto failed to notify and lied to its workers about the presence and danger of dioxin at its chlorophenol plant; Monsanto lied to EPA that it had no knowledge that its plant effluent contained dioxin; that Lysol―which is recommended for cleaning babies’ toys―was contaminated with dioxin with Monsanto’s knowledge; and that Monsanto did not tell the manufacturer of Lysol for fear of losing its business, as well as other allegations.
The Bilderberg Group holds “by invitation only” annual meetings of the world’s rich and powerful. Monsanto’s CEO Robert Shapiro from 1995-2000 was a member the Bilderberg group.
March against Monsanto―the Monsanto Investigation Part 12
Citizens around the world are beginning to realize that genetically engineered foods could be promoting disease, environmental destruction, and death, and are organizing to get GMOs either more tightly regulated, or at the least, labeled so people can make a choice as to whether they want to consume them. What’s alarming is that it’s become obvious that plants and animals are sick too, including bees. In 2012 it was announced that three new studies linked bee decline to Bayer’s pesticide. Bayer has an agreement to work together with Monsanto and its specialty Roundup Ready products.
Acetaldehyde & Monsanto―the Monsanto Investigation Part 13
Acetaldehyde is a possible cancer-causing compound that occurs naturally in alcoholic beverages and many foods such as bananas and yogurt. It may also be added to fruit-flavored foods. Acetaldehyde and benzaldehyde are used as solvents in air fresheners, but they also are easily volatilized at room temperature and pressure, and both have proven to be a health risk to humans through inhalation. Monsanto has a patent on the process for recovering acetaldehyde. The Wacker process or the Hoechst-Wacker process originally referred to the oxidation of ethylene to acetaldehyde by oxygen in water in the presence of a tetrachloropalladate catalyst. The same basic reaction is currently used to produce aldehydes and ketones from a number of alkenes with the Monsanto process for producing acetic acid.
By Dr. Mercola
Monsanto has really done it this time.
As recently reported by CNBC1 and other media outlets,2, 3 an unapproved strain of genetically engineered (GE) wheat has been found growing on a farm in Oregon. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the anomaly on May 29.
As it turns out, the Roundup Ready (i.e. glyphosate-resistant) strain of wheat was developed by Monsanto and field tested in 16 different states between 1998 and 2005.
Plans to bring it to market were abandoned King amendment is due to opposition against genetically engineered wheat. Many countries importing US wheat do not permit GE ingredients in their food, or require such foods to be labeled.
About 50 percent of the wheat grown in the US is exported. The finding of illegal GE wheat contamination may dramatically alter this ratio however.
Japan and Korea has already suspended orders of US wheat4 in response to the findings. The EU has ordered member states to test imported wheat for contamination.
The economic impact to wheat farmers could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Washington and Kansas wheat farmers have already filed lawsuits against Monsanto due to the immediate harm this disaster has created.
The effects will not be limited to wheat, as importing countries question what other genetic experiments may have escaped the lab and contaminated natural varieties. Monsanto has clearly stated they will leverage the fact they followed government protocol and therefore cannot be held accountable for this mess. The biotech industry is also defending Monsanto, suggesting 'activists' must have set them up.
The biotech industry has so strongly infiltrated and influenced the government agriculture and 'health' agencies they should be considered subsidiaries.
How Did Unapproved GE Wheat Survive More than a Decade After Last Field Trial?
Monsanto and other biotech companies have repeatedly promised that their creations will not escape its intended confines. Today, after hundreds of farmers have been sued for patent infringement after Monsanto’s patented seeds were found growing where they weren’t supposed to, we know how ridiculous such assertions are.
The present situation is even more disturbing, as it shows that field trials alone might have the potential to cause permanent cross-contamination. During a seven-year period, between 1998 and 2005, field tests were conducted in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming.5
Monsanto resumed field trials of Roundup Ready wheat last year, planting 150 acres in Hawaii. Furthermore, according to a report by Bloomberg:6
“Another permit allows Monsanto to test wheat with multiple traits, including Roundup tolerance, on 300 acres in North Dakota this year. Monsanto said May 29 in a statement that it ended its program to develop Roundup Ready wheat nearly a decade before the USDA announced this week that the experimental crop was discovered growing on an Oregon farm. The Roundup Ready wheat in the new field trials is 'an entirely different event' than the escaped crop reported by the USDA, Monsanto said.
'This research is still in the very early phases and at least a decade away from commercial approval,' Lee Quarles, a Monsanto spokesman, said in an e-mail response to questions today. 'The Roundup Ready wheat project that is the subject of the USDA report was previously discontinued.'”
So, by their own admission, Monsanto agrees that the presence of GE wheat in Oregon is not due to any recent activity on their part, but must be the result of escaped wheat going back to field tests well over a decade ago! I wonder if they even realize how significant such an admission is as it seems to be proof positive that they have no control over what happens to their products. No GE wheat seed was ever permitted to be sold, and the last field trial in Oregon was in 2001. As to how the farmer made the discovery in the first place, NPR7 reports:
“About a month ago, a farmer in eastern Oregon noticed some wheat plants growing where he didn’t expect them, and they didn’t die when he sprayed them with Roundup. The farmer sent samples of these curious plants to Carol Mallory-Smith, a scientist at Oregon State University who has investigated other cases in which genetically engineered crops spread beyond their approved boundaries. She found that this wheat was, in fact, genetically engineered. She passed samples on to the US Department of Agriculture, which confirmed her results.”
Good Going Monsanto... US Wheat Exports Now at Risk
In 2006, traces of unapproved genetically engineered rice were discovered in the American rice harvest. This led to several countries banning US grown rice and exporters lost millions of dollars as a result. Bayer CropScience, the company responsible for developing and field testing the GE rice ended up agreeing to pay $750 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by 11,000 American rice farmers.
The export market for wheat is far larger than that for rice, and while Steve Mercer with the US Wheat Associates has gone on record saying that “there’s no indication” that wheat exports will be affected in a similar fashion, his statements appear to have been premature. As mentioned earlier, Japan—frequently the top export customer of US wheat—has already canceled orders of white wheat originating in the Pacific Northwest8 and other importers are keeping a close eye on the matter. Japan also canceled orders on some feed-grade wheat.
According to Mercer, the GE wheat issue is confined to “a few isolated plants growing in eastern Oregon.” Or is it?
The day after the USDA’s announcement, the organic food blogger and activist Vani, aka Foodbabe, reported9 that one of her British readers had sent her a photo of the label on a Kraft Mac & Cheese box imported from the US, and in addition to informing buyers of the presence of artificial colors linked to attention disorders in children, the label clearly states that it’s made with genetically modified wheat.
Now... since GE wheat is not, and never was, approved for commercial planting in the US, how could Kraft’s Mac & Cheese, manufactured in the US, be made with GE wheat? Vani notes: “It is uncertain at this time who places this label on products once they are imported into the UK. And this is something I am still investigating.” Lynne Galia, a spokesperson for Kraft Foods, released the following10 statement to MSN News:
"Genetically engineered (GE) wheat is not available for commercial use. We do not use genetically engineered wheat in KRAFT Mac & Cheese or any other Kraft product. So anyone who is saying or implying there is GE wheat in KRAFT Mac & Cheese or any other Kraft product is wrong. In addition, we don’t export Mac & Cheese to the UK and have no authorized distributor there. The company that has applied this sticker is not authorized by Kraft to sell our products. They are not a customer of Kraft. They are getting the product from someone else and reselling our product in the UK. We’re continuing to investigate, but because we are not dealing with authorized distributors of our products, we may not get to the bottom of this issue anytime soon."
Make no mistake about it. The USDA recognizes what a major problem this could be for the US economy. As much as 90 percent of wheat grown in Oregon is sent overseas,11 and in 2011, the state’s wheat crop sold for $492 million. According to US Wheat Associates, US wheat exports totaled $8.1 billion in 2012. 12
Many if not most countries do not permit GE wheat (along with many other genetically engineered crops), so this contamination is going to have massive implications for wheat growers. All the while, Monsanto just shrugs and says they don’t know how their product escaped their well-controlled labs, and the USDA and FDA backs Monsanto up by pretending to know there are absolutely no potential safety issues involved. Truly, the situation is unacceptable.
As Worldwide Activism Against Monsanto Increases, US Government Shields Big Biotech
May 25 saw activists rallying against Monsanto in 36 countries across the globe. In Europe, activists are concerned that the company is trying to overturn EU disclosure laws, and many in the US hit the streets to voice their opinion about the "Monsanto Protection Act" that was silently slipped into the 2013 Federal Appropriations Bill. This is an act that gives biotech immunity from federal prosecution for planting illegally approved GE crops.
Mainstream media took little notice of this global phenomenon. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that just two days prior to the worldwide protests, US senators overwhelmingly voted against the right of states to pass their own GMO labeling laws.13 Best to keep news of Monsanto’s poor image at bay while legislators are hard at work protecting the beast’s rights to continue its wanton slaughter of human rights.
Protecting State Rights Is Not an Option—It’s a MUST!
Preserving state rights to label genetically engineered foods is absolutely imperative at this juncture. It’s the ONLY way to preserve the constitution and protect ourselves from a corrupt, fascist government controlled by industrial lobbying interests.
Now, the Congressional House Agricultural Committee readies to vote on an amendment to the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, which would lend support to a potential nullification of states’ rights to label GMOs. The amendment in question, the King Amendment No. 71 (Protect Interstate Commerce Act), introduced by Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) and adopted during the House Agriculture Committee’s markup of H.R. 1947, is guised as a bill to protect interstate commerce by barring states from imposing their own animal-welfare standards on “agricultural products” brought in from other states.
However, the provision is so broad and “agricultural products” defined in such sweeping terms that it could also prevent a wide variety of state laws from being enforced, including preventing states from enforcing GMO labeling requirements.
This is because the act would bar a state from imposing its own laws on foods brought in from another state—in order to protect interstate commerce, see? Take Maine as an example. While Maine may have a law calling for foods containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled when sold in Maine, this law would be null and void if the food in question comes from a state that does not have such a law... As Wayne Pacelle with the Humane Society recently wrote:14
“King’s goal is to overturn every voter-approved animal welfare ballot measure relating to agriculture – Prop 2 in California (banning extreme confinement crates for pigs, veal calves, and laying hens), Prop 6 in California (forbidding the sale of horses for slaughter for human consumption), Prop 204 in Arizona (banning veal and gestation crates), and Amendment 10 in Florida (outlawing gestation crates). The amendment could also nullify six other state bans on gestation crates, horse slaughter bans in a half-dozen other states, the comprehensive animal welfare standards adopted by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, and a raft of anti-downer laws and other animal protection laws designed to shield farm animals from abuse and extreme confinement.
But the reach of his amendment goes further. It seeks to nullify every state, county, or local law that creates any standard or condition relating to an agricultural production activity – so we’d have no state laws for agricultural facilities relating to worker rights, animal welfare, environmental protection, or public health. It’s hard to overstate how sweeping and far-reaching the King amendment is.”
Tell Your Congressman to REJECT the King Amendment!
A call to action has been issued by the Organic Consumers Association:15
“The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) today called on all members of Congress to reject the King Amendment and any other amendments or riders to the 2013 Farm Bill that would take away states' rights to enact laws requiring the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The OCA also launched a national petition asking consumers to tell their Congress members that if they pass a Farm Bill with the King Amendment, or other similar riders or amendments, their constituents will vote - or throw - them out of office.
'If the King Amendment survives, and is included in the 2013 Farm Bill, it will wipe out more than 150 state laws governing agriculture, food and food safety,' said Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the OCA. 'The biotech industry knows that it's only a matter of time before Washington State, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and other states pass GMO labeling laws. Rather than fight this battle in every state, Monsanto is trying to manipulate Congress to pass a Farm Bill that will wipe out citizens' rights to state laws intended to protect their health and safety.'"
Will Congress Grant Biotech Companies Immunity from Federal Law?
Analysis Identifies Shocking Problems with Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered Corn