By Dr. Mercola
In what could easily be classified as one of the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) worst decisions yet, a final rule released by the EPA earlier this month creates an exemption for residue tolerance levels of genetically modified (GM) Bt toxin in GM soy foods and feed.1
Essentially, the Agency has approved unlimited residues of GM Bt toxin in your food! Generally, one of the EPA's regular responsibilities is to set a tolerance, or maximum residue limit, for pesticide residues on food, which are designed to protect you from harmful levels of pesticides.
By exempting Bt toxin residues from this, it "eliminates the need to establish a maximum permissible level for residues" of this pesticide when it's incorporated into the plant. In other words, pesticide companies like Monsanto can incorporate as much as they want into your food… and that's all right with the EPA.
How Can the EPA Claim Bt Residues Are Safe?
According to the EPA, they are "reasonably certain" that no harm will result from Americans consuming copious amounts of Bt-tainted foods (while this final rule relates to soy, similar exemptions for corn, cotton, and other foods have already been approved). The Agency stated:2
"…there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, including all anticipated dietary exposures and all other exposures [including drinking water] for which there is reliable information."
However, the EPA's assurances do little to quell the fact that in 2011, doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found Bt-toxin in the blood of:3
- 93 percent of pregnant women tested
- 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies
- 67 percent of non-pregnant women
The study authors speculated that the Bt toxin was likely consumed in the normal diet of the Canadian middle class—which makes sense when you consider that GM corn is present in the vast majority of all processed foods and drinks in the form of high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, and other corn products.
They also suggested that the toxin may have come from eating meat from animals fed Bt corn, which most livestock raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are.
These shocking results also raise the frightening possibility that eating Bt corn might actually turn your intestinal flora into a sort of "living pesticide factory," essentially manufacturing Bt toxin from within your digestive system on a continuing basis through the transference of the Bt-producing gene to your gut bacteria.
What makes this all the more relevant is that Monsanto and the EPA swore that the Bt toxin produced inside the plant would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and would not have any impact at all on consumers. Turns out they were wrong…
The EPA Is Ignoring Another Crucial Fact: The Bt Toxin Is INSIDE the Plant
There is a major problem with the EPA's assertion that Bt crops are safe, and that is their decision to regard Bt toxin sprayed on plants as the same as plants genetically modified to produce Bt toxin from within. The two are not the same, nor are they equally safe, as the EPA would have you believe. As the EPA puts it:
"Bacillus thuringiensis, or simply Bt, is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that, when sprayed on plants, is toxic to certain pest insects. For years, farmers and home gardeners have used Bt as a microbial spray pesticide to control caterpillars, certain types of beetles, as well as mosquitoes and black flies."
Bt toxin has, in fact, been used in organic agriculture for decades as a natural pesticide. But this is very different from the way Bt toxin is being used in GM crops like corn and soy. As the EPA explains:
"More recently, scientists have developed techniques by which traits from the Bt bacterium, including its ability to resist pests, can be introduced into a plant. Specifically, scientists have identified the gene that produces the toxin in Bt and, through the use of biotechnology, have incorporated it into the genetic material of several plants. These Bt plants, which include corn, cotton, and potatoes, now synthesize their own bacterial protein to kill pests."
GM Bt Toxins Are Not the Same as Topically Applied Bt Spray
Because farmers have used Bt toxin from soil bacteria as a natural pesticide for many years, biotech companies (and now the EPA) have claimed that Bt toxin has a "history of safe use in agriculture."
But there's a major difference between spraying it on plants, where it biodegrades in sunlight and can be carefully washed off, and genetically altering the plant to produce it internally. As reported by Colorado State University:4
"Bt is susceptible to degradation by sunlight. Most formulations persist on foliage less than a week following application. Some of the newer strains developed for leaf beetle control become ineffective in about 24 hours."
In other words, when Bt is applied to plants topically, it degrades quickly in the sunlight – typically after one week it is broken down (and sometimes as soon as 24 hours). GM Bt crops, however, have the Bt-toxin gene built-in, so the toxin is not broken down and cannot be washed off. You simply cannot avoid consuming it.
This is concerning, because even when natural Bt toxin was fed to mice, they had tissue damage, immune responses as powerful as those to cholera toxin and even started reacting to other foods that were formerly harmless. According to Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology:
"Farm workers exposed to Bt also showed immune responses. The EPA's own expert Scientific Advisory Panel said that these mouse and farm worker studies 'suggest that Bt proteins could act as antigenic and allergenic sources.'
But the EPA ignored the warnings. They also overlooked studies showing that about 500 people in Washington state and Vancouver showed allergic and flu-like symptoms when they were exposed to the spray when it was used to kill gypsy moths."
Furthermore, the plant-produced version of the poison is thousands of times more concentrated than the spray. So if Bt genes are indeed capable of transferring horizontally to the bacteria colonizing the human digestive tract, scientists believe it could reasonably result in:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Autoimmune diseases
- Food allergies
- Childhood learning disorders
GM Toxin May Trigger Immune Responses and Create Super-Pests
There's already plenty of evidence showing that the Bt toxin produced in GM corn (and soy and cotton plants) is toxic to humans and mammals and triggers immune system responses. For example, in government-sponsored research in Italy, mice fed Monsanto's Bt corn showed a wide range of immune responses, such as:5
- Elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, which are typically associated with allergies and infections
- An increase in cytokines, which are associated with allergic and inflammatory responses. The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were found to be elevated are also higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders, from arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease to MS and cancer
- Elevated T cells (gamma delta), which are increased in people with asthma, and in children with food allergies, juvenile arthritis, and connective tissue diseases
Rats fed another of Monsanto's Bt corn varieties called MON 863, also experienced an activation of their immune systems, showing higher numbers of basophils, lymphocytes, and white blood cells.6 These can indicate possible allergies, infections, toxins, and various disease states including cancer. There were also signs of liver and kidney toxicity. Aside from the potential human health risks, the EPA is apparently also ignoring those to the environment. Reduced insecticide use has been touted as one of the significant benefits of GM crops like Bt corn. But they do not include the Bt toxin produced in every cell of GM Bt crops as part of the total human pesticide exposure (and now there will not even be any type of required upper limit).
This is arguably criminal misrepresentation! These unnaturally modified GM crops have led to resistance, both in weeds and pests, leaving farmers to struggle with an increasingly difficult situation. Now, instead of the reduction in insecticide use that has been promised, the use of insecticides is on the rise as farmers try to find some solution for these resistant pests.
A scientific advisory panel to the EPA actually urged that large refuges of non-Bt corn be required in order to help prevent resistance. They suggested that only half of a farmer's corn acres be planted with Bt corn. The EPA, as they often do, went against the advisory panel's advice and instead sided with Monsanto. They allowed Bt corn to be planted on 80 percent of their corn acreage, and, in 2011, the first report of field-evolved resistance to Bt toxin by the western corn rootworm was published,7 with resistance only set to worsen in the years ahead.
EPA Also Approved an Increase in Food Residues of Glyphosate
If there were any doubt whose side the EPA is on, last year they also raised the allowed residue limits of glyphosate in food and feed crops. Glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto's broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup – has also been linked to human and environmental harms.
According to one study, glyphosate residues, found in most commonly consumed foods in the Western diet courtesy of GM sugar, corn, soy, and wheat, "enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease."8
Despite the evidence – and the growing incidence of glyphosate-resistant weeds and pests -- the EPA concluded that "there is a reasonable certainly that no harm will result to the general population or to infants and children from aggregate exposure to glyphosate residues." Sound familiar? It's virtually the same false reassurance they issued this month upon allowing unlimited amounts of Monsanto's GM Bt toxin in your food supply.
We're Donating Our Sales Today to Help Fight the Spread of GM Crops in Jackson County, Oregon
A ballot measure to prohibit GM crops in Jackson County, Oregon has been introduced by organic farmers, who are afraid that GM sugar beets will taint their organic crops through cross-pollination. Jackson County is a major source of GM sugar beet seeds, which are used to produce a significant portion of commercial sugar beet seed used across the United States.
The measure will appear before Jackson County voters on the May primary ballot – so if you live in this area, please get out to vote. In the meantime, the sugar industry and other agribusiness giants have come out in droves to try to defeat the measure. Already, the opposition has donated tens of thousands of dollars to mount an pro-GMO campaign, including:9
- $25,000 from the Oregon Farm Bureau
- $20,000 from the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative
- $10,000 from American Crystal Sugar, Co.
- $10,000 from Sidney Sugars
To date, the organic farmers supporting the GM ban have not reported any raised money to defeat this corporate opposition – so we want to help them get started. [February 28 update: To date, GMO Free Jackson County PAC has raised $23,320 for their campaign.]
Today, we are trying to raise $15,000 through sales to donate to the campaign against GM crops in Jackson County. If you've been meaning to make a purchase, today is the day to do so to help this important campaign. If GM crops are banned in Jackson County, it could be a turning point for the US, with other regions soon following suit. You may also make a donation directly to the Vote YES on Measure 15-119 here.
And as always, I encourage you to continue educating yourself about genetically modified foods, and to share what you've learned with family and friends. Remember, unless a food is certified organic, you can assume it contains GM ingredients if it contains sugar from sugar beet, soy, or corn, or any of their derivatives.
How Genetically Engineered Foods Will Be Eradicated
Will Detection of Unapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Decimate US Economy?
By Dr. Mercola
The addictive and health-harming nature of sugar and processed food has been repeatedly confirmed through the years, and genetically engineered foods rank equally high on the list when it comes to foods that do more harm than good.
Monsanto, as most of you may already know, has long been referred to by those in the know as "the most evil company on the planet." But it has stiff competition. Before there was Monsanto, junk food companies were already hard at work influencing American politics to further their own agenda.
The processed food industry has a lot to answer for when it comes to the general health of Americans, who spend upwards of 90 percent of all their food dollars on processed convenience foods.
The latest developments in the fight for GMO labeling actually makes a strong case for giving the title of "Most Evil Organization on the Planet" to the Grocery Manufacturer's Association of America (GMA), which represents the processed food leaders, including Pepsi, Coke, Kraft, Kellogg's, and General Mills.
The Grocery Manufacturer's Association also lists Monsanto as a member, so it would make sense that the sum would be greater than the parts.
This organization is no stranger to stooping way down low to protect their members' interests—your health and human rights be damned. And that is, in my opinion, evil.
GMA Caught in Money Laundering Scheme
But before I get into the latest developments, let me backtrack for a moment. During last year's I-522 ballot campaign to label GMOs in Washington State, the GMA came up with an ingenious, and illegal, money laundering scheme to protect the identity of members who donated funds to the opposing campaign.1
Several major food companies experienced massive backlash and consumer boycotts once their contributions to the anti-labeling campaign in California (Prop. 37) in 2012 became widely known. This was a fate they all wanted to avoid, no doubt, and to prevent you from knowing which companies funded the anti-labeling campaign in Washington State, the GMA create a "brand defense" account, which paid for the campaign's propaganda without disclosing where the money came from.
This illegal move helped them defeat I-522 by a mere one percent margin. The scheme fell apart however, and the GMA was sued by Attorney General Bob Ferguson,2 who accused them of intentional money laundering and violating state campaign disclosure laws.
As a result, the identities of the companies paying to defeat I-522 were released.3 Not surprisingly it contained the usual suspects: Pepsi, Coke, General Mills, and Nestle – all primary purveyors of chronic disease.
Documents Unearthed in GMA Money Laundering Scandal Reveal Long-Term Plans to Combat GMO Labeling
Lawbreakers or not, the GMA's work continues unabated, and job number one is to keep you as uninformed about GMOs as possible. This was clearly evidenced in heavily redacted documents4 released through the Attorney General's investigation of the GMA money laundering scheme.
A previous Politico report5 revealed that a key aspect of the GMA's plan for combating GMO labeling efforts across the US included the pursuit of statutory federal preemption—a law that prevents a labeling requirement.
This is one part of a detailed, five-pronged strategic plan to keep its members from having to reveal what their foods are made of. The documents6 released through the Attorney General also reveal quite a bit about the GMA's strategic plan by what they hide. Large sections of the documents are redacted, including:
- A portion under the heading "Industry Image Efforts," which appears to be related to the GMA's plan for addressing "attackers," i.e. people and organizations working toward letting you know what's in your food
- Under the subhead "Industry Image Campaign," it is revealed that a PR firm, the name of which is redacted, "has been retained to help develop a comprehensive program for execution in 2014." The details relating to this plan are redacted
- A section redacted in its entirety is titled, "Examining Options for Conveying Information to Consumers"
- Also redacted is the name of an entity that "understands the need for continued opposition to efforts at the state level to impose mandatory labels and has directed GMA staff to continue to oppose such efforts." I for one am curious as to who this mysterious entity is that has "directed" the GMA to oppose labeling in the face of public demand for disclosure and transparency...
- Also redacted are several pages-worth relating to the Association's long-term plans to quench GMO transparency issues
GMA Now Pushing for Industry-Friendly GMO Labeling
As reported in the featured article7 and elsewhere,8 the GMA's preemptive attempts are now in full swing. As stated earlier, a major part of the GMA's plan is to prevent states from creating their own labeling laws by pushing for an industry-friendly, voluntary labeling law at the federal level.
"The push for a softer national standard on GMO labeling comes as consumer interest in biotech foods has blown up into an intense national conversation, and the food industry is clearly trying to get out ahead of a strong, vocal movement pushing strict labeling requirements in multiple states around the country," Politico writes.9 "GMA's proposal is aimed at protecting its members from having to fight a series of state labeling efforts as several states..."
On December 5, 2013, the GMA sent a letter 10 to Elizabeth Dickinson, Chief Counsel of the FDA, informing her that "GMA will be filing a Citizen Petition early in 2014 that asks FDA to issue a regulation authorizing foods containing ingredients derived from biotechnology to be labeled "natural."
According to the letter, 26 state legislatures are currently considering whether GMOs should be permitted in products bearing a "natural" label, and some 65 class action lawsuits have been filed against food manufacturers who use GMO ingredients in their "natural" products. The GMA essentially wants the FDA to settle the dispute and close the door on future lawsuits. The letter reads, in part:
"Consumers and the food industry would all benefit from uniform legal requirements and the consistent outcomes that result from federal regulations, rather than state-by-state dictates... As such, federal rulemaking is needed here so that the issue of whether foods that contain ingredients derived from biotechnology can be labeled "natural" is removed from judicial or state interpretation..."
The Center for Food Safety has previously urged the FDA to reject such petitions.11 Clearly, genetically engineered foods are far from natural. It is the very epitome of unnatural.
GMA Sues Washington State for Right to Hide Corporate Funding!
But the GMA has more dirty tricks up its sleeve. On January 13, the Washington State Office of the Attorney General announced that the GMA has countersued the state, challenging its campaign finance laws.12 Essentially, the Association is suing for the right to hide corporate campaign funds—a move that threatens the transparency of the state's elections on every issue! What's more, the GMA has also filed a civil rights complaint against the Attorney General himself, claiming that he acted unconstitutionally when he enforced the state's laws! According to the press release:
"In its counterclaim and civil rights suit, the GMA claims the following are unconstitutional as they have been applied in this case:
- Washington's law requiring the GMA to file a political committee before collecting funds from its members for specific political activity in Washington;
- Washington's law requiring the GMA to disclose the organizations who contributed to its special political fund and how much they donated; and
- Washington's law requiring the GMA to secure $10 in donations from 10 separate registered Washington voters as part of its political committee before donating to another political committee"
It would be laughable if it wasn't so serious. This is bullying at its finest. The GMA wants to send a message to any individual who thinks he has the power to stand in its way, and to any state who tries to protect the rights of its people, that it's going to cost you. Fortunately, Attorney General Ferguson is no wuss, boldly declaring:
"After breaking our state's campaign finance disclosure laws, the GMA now seeks to have them declared unconstitutional. I look forward to defending transparency in Washington elections."
A GMA document also lays out a clear-cut strategy for addressing any state that successfully implements a GMO labeling law, stating that, "The first state to implement a GMO labeling law will be sued on the constitutional grounds seen in IDFA v. Amestoy." Costly litigation is clearly part of the GMA's overall master plan to protect industry profits in the face of growing consumer awareness about the many problems inherent with genetically engineered and grossly adulterated, processed foods....
GMA Litigation Conference
The GMA also holds an annual Litigation Conference,13 where its members are taught to push for more mandatory vaccines to circumvent lawsuits against tainted CAFO products, and how to squash consumer groups seeking to rid the industry of hazardous ingredients . Here are just a couple of the presentations scheduled for the 2014 event:
- Preventing Foodborne Illness through Vaccinations. Vaccinations and inoculations can be an effective tool for preventing foodborne illness outbreaks, however employment and labor laws create a significant hurdle to this approach.
For example, Hepatitis A is the cause of numerous outbreaks every year. A simple vaccination for food service employees would greatly reduce this risk, however current labor laws prevent employers from forcing the vaccination on employees. This session will explore this and other methods for preventing foodborne illness outbreaks, and how these approaches are impacted by employment and labor laws.
- Trans Fats and Beyond: Anticipating the Next Generation of Industry Risks. The FDA's recent decision regarding GRAS status for partially-hydrogenated oils (PHO) containing trans fats may be just the tip of the iceberg if consumer groups and plaintiff's attorneys have their way. This presentation will discuss the litigation and regulatory implications of FDA's PHO decision, the increasing power and tactics of CSPI and other consumer groups, and the next generation of risks to face the food industry, such as the Pew Food Additives Project, challenges to GRAS self-affirmation, nanotechnology, pesticide residues, and involvement by state attorneys general in false labeling cases.
Junk Food Industry Has Had Full Control Over Federal Food Policy for More Than 60 Years
Pesticide producers and junk food manufacturers have been allowed to create terrifyingly ignorant policies for health, in exchange for a rather lucrative business model that benefits their own bottom lines.
The GMA has not only resorted to illegal means to further the agenda of its junk food-producing members—some 300 of them in all—the organization is also trying to muscle its way out of its legal conundrums by filing countersuits at the expense of state governments.
An article written in 1950, titled "The Battlefront for Better Nutrition,"14 clearly shows just how little has changed in the past 60 years, and how the junk food industry has had full control of our federal food policy this entire time. As you can see by the following excerpt, the corruption was already well-recognized 60 years ago, yet has been allowed to continue to flourish and grow with each passing year.
"... [T]here is a battle going on between those who are trying to promote better nutrition, and the food manufacturers who insist on making products 'worse so that they can be sold for less,' thereby eliminating the competition of more honest and self-respecting producers who would prefer to apply in business the Golden Rule...
These commercial interests have the United States Government on their side, ever since they ousted Dr. Harvey W. Wiley from his job as head of the Food & Drug Administration in 1912. The present head of the Food & Drug Division of Nutrition, Dr. Elmer M. Nelson in a special Constitutional Court in Washington... testified that: 'It is wholly unscientific to state that a well fed body is more able to resist disease than a less well-fed body. My overall opinion is that there hasn't been enough experimentation to prove dietary deficiencies make one more susceptible to disease.' (Washington Post, October 26, 1949.)
This is nothing new for Dr. Nelson. Ten years ago he, with his group of experts, testified in a similar court, that neither degenerative disease, infectious disease, nor functional disease could result from any nutritional deficiency. For all these years, he has battled for the maker of devitalized foods, tried to stem the tide of public opinion against the use of white flour, refined sugar, pasteurized milk and imitation butter by vigorous prosecution of any maker of any dietary supplement designed to abate the consequences of using such devitalized food, basing his arguments on the thesis that there were no such things as deficiency diseases.
Truly, as Dr. Wiley sadly remarked in his book The History of a Crime Against the Pure Food Law (1930) the makers of unfit foods have taken possession of Food & Drug enforcement, and have reversed the effect of the law, protecting the criminals that adulterate foods, instead of protecting the public health."
Take Control of Your Diet and Your Health
It's time we started to make real change, and we need to take that upon ourselves first and foremost.
You don't have to be a victim of corrupted food and health policy. Your diet is foundational for optimal health, and healthy eating is actually less complicated than most people think. Here's a quick and dirty summary. For a comprehensive, step-by-step program, please see my free optimized nutrition plan. If you're new to healthful living, these four basic steps alone can put you on the right path toward vastly improved health, regardless of how corrupted our government is:
- Focus on raw, fresh foods, and avoid as many processed foods as possible (for those who still have trouble understanding what "processed food" is: if it comes in a can, bottle, or package, and has a list of ingredients, it's processed)
- Avoid foods that contain fructose (check the label for ingredients like corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup.) Not only is excessive fructose consumption responsible for obesity and chronic disease, most processed fructose is made from genetically engineered corn
- Limit or eliminate grain carbohydrates, and replace them with healthful fats, such as avocados, butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, grass-fed meats and organic pastured eggs, coconuts and coconut oil, and raw nuts such as macadamia
- Replace sodas and other sweetened beverages (whether diet or regular) with clean, pure water
Vote with Your Pocketbook, Every Day
The food companies on the left of this graphic spent tens of millions of dollars in the last two labeling campaigns—in California and Washington State—to prevent you from knowing what's in your food. You can send a message right back to the GMA and its members who tried to deceive you by illegally hiding their campaign contributions by switching to the brands on the right; all of whom stood behind the I-522 Right to Know campaign. Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference.
I also encourage you to continue educating yourself about our agriculture and food policies, and to share what you've learned with family and friends.
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