By Dr. Mercola
There's a widespread belief in the U.S. that animals raised on organic farms are treated more humanely than animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). This may be true in some cases, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) organic standards do not address animal welfare.
Despite this, a survey conducted for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) found 68 percent of those surveyed expected animals raised on organic farms "have access to outdoor pasture and fresh air throughout the day."
Another 67 percent believed "[organically raised] animals have significantly more space to move than on non-organic farms."1
These beliefs, however, are often not the reality on organic farms, especially large organic farms that are owned by major food corporations and operate similarly to conventional CAFOs (making them essentially organic CAFOs).
USDA Proposed Rule on Organic Animal Welfare Falls Flat
In April 2016, the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued a proposed rule to amend organic livestock and poultry practices to provide for the animals' welfare. As reported by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the changes proposed by the USDA include:2
✓ Distinct welfare provisions are provided for mammalian and avian livestock
✓ Outdoor access for poultry cannot have a solid roof overhead
✓ Outdoor space requirements for poultry must be less than 2.25 pounds of hen per square foot of outdoor space
✓ Outdoor space must have 50 percent soil cover
✓ Indoor space requirements for poultry must be less than 2.25 pounds of hen per square foot of indoor space (allowances up to 4.5 pounds per square foot are made for pasture based and aviary style production systems)
✓ Further clarity on justifications for confinement indoors for livestock and poultry
✓ Further clarity on physical alterations that are allowed and prohibited
✓ Proposed implementation timeline following the issuance of a final rule: one year for all new organic operations; three years for new livestock housing construction; five years for all certified operations to be in full compliance
While some of the changes are a step in the right direction, others favor industrial livestock production (CAFOs) and will essentially legalize organic CAFOs for producing eggs and poultry.
The Cornucopia Institute, which engages in educational activities supporting sustainable and organic agriculture, noted, for instance, that:3
- Porches should not be considered outdoor access in poultry operations
- Birds need a minimum of 5 square feet each outdoors
- Vegetation should be required in all outdoor areas for poultry
- One of the dairy proposals allows cows to defecate and urinate on bedding, which jeopardizes animal health and conflicts with the requirement to keep animals clean
Glaring Issues With USDA's Organic Animal Welfare Proposal
The public comment period on the USDA's draft rule ended on July 13, 2016, with organic supporters like The Cornucopia Institute calling it a "giveaway to factory farm interests masquerading as organic." They continued:4
"Cornucopia policy experts and scientists claim that the options presented in the USDA's draft rule could confine birds to as little as  square foot indoors and only require farms to provide  square feet of 'pasture' outdoors, half of which could be covered with concrete."
"At best, the USDA proposal delays enforcement for five to seven years allowing continued factory farm confinement production," said Mark A. Kastel, senior farm policy analyst at the Cornucopia Institute.5 Kastel continued to Mercola.com:
"If corporate agribusiness, and a friendly USDA, succeed in blurring the lines, consumers won't be able to tell if their organic food is coming from a factory farm or a family farm that truly subscribes to organic practices.
Besides for many people who want to make sure livestock are treated respectfully, unless we have good enforcement, it becomes near impossible to differentiate between the phony-baloney organic brands and [the] ones that offer enhanced nutrition, like elevated omega-3 levels, that people expect when animals are provided access to pasture."
Industry Groups Balk at Looking Out for Animal Welfare
The organic industry is a mixed bag made up of small farms raising food the right way and large CAFOs that have gotten into the organic market and sell an organic line.
One of the scenarios that prompted to USDA's draft proposal in the first place was the fact that millions of chickens could be raised in squalid conditions on a CAFO, yet still labeled as organic.6
The reality is that corporate interests want to raise food in industrial CAFO settings yet still get a piece of the organic pie by labeling the questionably raised foods organic.
So far, they've been getting away with it, and they don't want that to change. In comments filed under the USDA's draft organic rule, for instance:
• The National Cattlemen's Beef Association argued the USDA doesn't have authority to put animal welfare standards in place under the organic program, and said the rule implies organically raised food is superior to conventionally and "vilifies conventionally raised livestock."7
• Cal-Maine Foods, the largest U.S. egg producer, Rose Acre Farms and Herbruck Poultry argued that the proposed requirements would be nearly impossible for big organic egg producers to comply.
They even went so far as to say the proposals could potentially jeopardize bird and human health.8
• The National Chicken Council (NCC), which represents Tyson, Perdue and other large poultry producers, also took issue with the proposed organic rule, specifically the suggestion that porches do not qualify as organic access.
The poultry giant claimed allowing birds outdoors could risk bird health and food safety while increasing costs for organic producers.9
So, basically, they want Americans to believe that keeping birds cooped up in close quarters is a better way to prevent disease than giving them access to fresh air and sunlight — an argument that defies commonsense and reason.
In short, organic CAFOs want to continue to raise animals in confinement and oppose measures that would require provisions that let farm animals be farm animals (like scratching around freely in the dirt, feeling the sun on their backs and foraging for their native diets).
North Carolina CAFO Waste Pits Are Environmental Disasters
If there were any question that raising animals in CAFOs is a disaster for all parties involved (except, maybe, for those raking in the profits), you need only look to North Carolina, where residents are reeling from the effects of living near hog CAFOs.
Every year, 15,000 Olympic pools' worth of waste come from North Carolina's CAFOs — the hog CAFOs alone, according to an analysis of maps and data of the state's CAFOs by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). According to EWG:10
"A new analysis by EWG and Waterkeeper Alliance shows that wet waste, primarily from pigs, in North Carolina's industrial agricultural operations produce almost 10 billion gallons of fecal waste yearly, enough to fill more than 15,000 Olympic-size swimming pools … Nestled near the Atlantic coast, these counties are beset with numerous air and water quality problems."
In addition, poultry operations in the state produce more than 2 million tons of dry animal waste annually. The wet animal waste is often applied to croplands as "fertilizer" or dumped into waste lagoons. The open pits allow pathogenic microbes and chemicals to enter the air and waterways. Of the state's more than 4,100 waste pits, EWG found that:
- 37 were located within one-half mile of a school
- 288 within one-half mile of a church
- 136 within one-half mile of a public water well
- 170 within the state's 100-year floodplain
This isn't a problem unique to North Carolina; unfortunately, it's a familiar scene in many U.S. CAFO states. Alex Formuzis, senior vice president, communications and strategic campaigns for the EWG, wrote of the reality of living near a CAFO:11
"The smell from the manure and ammonia plume dangling above your property is so strong it often triggers vomiting, nause[a] and lung and eye irritation. The tap water could very well contain traces of the offending and dangerous swine waste, too, forcing you to buy and drink bottled water.
The waste saturates your property and builds up along the exterior of the house, attracting droves of flies, mosquitos, rats and snakes. Depression sets in as you and your family face the fact you've become prisoners in your own home.
A home you own, pay taxes on, and had hoped would be a safe and comfortable place to live, raise a family and grow old in. This is a slice of the American dream turned into a nightmare, courtesy of the industrial swine operation that borders your property.
Welcome to life alongside a factory farm. This is the reality of [residents of North Carolina] and tens of thousands of other Americans in this state, Iowa, Indiana, Colorado, Missouri and beyond."
TTIP May Also Stand in the Way of Increased Access to Healthier, Humanely Raised Food
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade agreement between the U.S. and Europe that's supported by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), which represents major U.S. meat and poultry producers. According to a report from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), which promotes sustainable food, farming and trade systems, TTIP would result in a corporate meat takeover and policy that favors industry over the public interest.
Provisions in TTIP would allow the global meat industry's global power to grow. They use the example of transnational meat corporations such as JBS and Smithfield, which they say "could be newly empowered to challenge regulations that hurt their bottom line …"12 According to IATP:13
"The U.S. simply lacks essential rules that should curb the meat industry's wors[t] practices that cost taxpayers millions in environmental and public health costs … With TTIP, the EU industry will also ensure that pending decisions on critical issues such as cloning and glyphosate are made with trade 'competitiveness' in mind and not the public interest.
A TTIP deal would basically hand over Europe's animal farming sector on a silver platter to transnational meat corporations — through tariffs and quota expansions, but definitively through the sweeping de-regulatory changes the industry hopes to win through the accord."
How to Find Truly Humanely Raised Food
At this point, it's very difficult to tell from food labels alone whether the food you buy has been raised humanely or not. Even an organic label does not give you the whole picture. Unfortunately, unless you do a lot of research, it may be nearly impossible to sort the good from the bad.
That's where The Cornucopia Institute's organic egg report and scorecard, which took six years to produce, is invaluable. The scorecard is designed to help consumers and wholesale buyers identify truly exemplary organic brands in the supermarket coolers. It ranks 136 egg producers according to 28 organic criteria to help you find truly healthy, humanely-raised eggs.14 According to the Cornucopia Institute:
"'Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture' will empower consumers and wholesale buyers who want to invest their food dollars to protect hard-working family farmers that are in danger of being forced off the land by a landslide of eggs from factory farms ...
[As] consumers have become concerned about the humane treatment of animals, and are also seeking out eggs that are superior in flavor and nutrition, a number of national marketers have found success in distributing 'pasture'-produced eggs.
'There is a fair bit of overreach and the exploitation of this term is well covered in our report,' Kastel explained. 'The organic egg scorecard enables concerned consumers to select authentic brands delivering the very best quality eggs regardless of the hyperbole on the label' ..."
When shopping for food, it's important to be informed regarding where that food was produced. This becomes possible when you shop at farmers markets, natural food co-ops and directly from the farm, if possible. If you take advantage of the farm-fresh sustainability that's becoming more prevalent as people take control of what they're consuming, you'll realize many benefits.
You'll know where the foods you and your family eat come from, ensure optimal nutrition and protect the health of future generations. Also remember that some local foods are grown using organic standards and humanely, even though they might not be certified organic. One of the benefits of getting your food straight from the farm via the resources below is that you can often meet the farmer and ask about animal welfare before you buy:
- Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
- Farmers Markets — A national listing of farmers markets.
- Local Harvest —This website will help you find farmers markets, family farms and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats and many other goodies.
- Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals — The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
- Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) — CISA is dedicated to sustaining agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
- FoodRoutes — The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSAs and markets near you.
The True Costs of Industrial Agriculture
Factory Farming and Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)
By Dr. Mercola
In 2014, 90-year-old World War II veteran Arnold Abbott was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for feeding the homeless. The city had recently passed a controversial ordinance that restricts where charitable groups can feed the homeless on public property.
The ordinance was described as a way to control the area's growing homeless population. Abbott, however, had no plans of stopping his altruistic acts. After being arrested on November 2, 2014 — along with two pastors — police cited him again on November 6, 2014.
Mayor Jack Seiler defended the arrest and told Abbott to secure an indoor location instead. In response, Abbott said no indoor venues to feed the homeless were available, and he intended to continue with his mission outside until the mayor found him a suitable location indoors.1
Meanwhile, by last year at least five lawsuits had been filed against Fort Lauderdale, alleging that the law is unconstitutional.2 The case of Abbott versus Fort Lauderdale may seem like an extreme example, but it is, unfortunately, not unique.
More Than 70 US Cities Have Attempted to Ban Food Sharing
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, citywide restrictions on food sharing are growing in the U.S. More than 70 cities have passed or attempted to pass laws that make feeding the homeless a criminal offense.3
The legislation works in a number of ways. For instance, some cities require permits be obtained (for a fee) before food may be distributed on public property.
Other legislation restricts food sharing on the grounds of food safety, requiring organizations sharing food to comply with overly strict food-safety regulations, such as only preparing food in approved locations or serving only pre-packaged meals. Mother Jones reported in 2014:
"When the issue of food safety was raised during a court hearing on Myrtle Beach, South Carolina's food-sharing law, the legal director of the state's ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] chapter pointed out that similar restrictions weren't being levied against family reunions in parks, for instance, and that it had never received a single report of homeless people getting sick from the food.
A Utah state representative said the same thing about Salt Lake City's food-sharing law."
Food-Sharing Bans Attempt to Move the Problem of Homelessness Elsewhere
In some cases, community members may force the food-sharing organization to relocate or stop operating in order to make the location "less attractive" for homeless people. According to a National Coalition for the Homeless report:4
"The final, and most difficult to measure, method to restrict food-sharing with people experiencing homelessness is through community actions driven by the principle of 'Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY).'
In most cases, business- and home-owners [sic] who do not want people experiencing homelessness to be attracted to their communities, place tremendous pressure, and sometimes even harass, the organization responsible for the food-sharing program to cease or relocate their programs."
The National Coalition for the Homeless believes, however, that simply stopping food sharing will not make homeless people disappear — nor will sharing food encourage people to be homeless.
Instead, they cite lack of affordable housing and job opportunities, mental health problems, addiction and physical disabilities as top reasons that perpetuate homelessness.
Is it Illegal to Buy a Meal From Your Neighbor?
The issue of food sharing stretches far beyond feeding the homeless. What if, for instance, you were ill, too busy or simply did not want to cook meals for yourself and your family?
And what if a neighbor loved cooking and wanted to cook meals for you regularly, which you would purchase for an agreed-upon fee and pick up at their doorstep at an agreed-upon time?
Such is the premise behind California food-startup company Josephine, which "connects you to friends and neighbors making home cooked meals."
Thousands of people have joined and raved about not only the meals they've picked up but also the sense of community — some even called it family — that the simple act of picking up home-cooked meals has brought them. There are others, too. Fast Company reported:5
"Feastly and EatWith facilitate pop-up dinners in people's homes. Mytable, MealSurfers and Umi Kitchen deliver meals from home chefs' kitchens.
Homemade, a similar concept, acts like a Shopify for food, providing software to enable anyone to sell their empanadas or jerk chicken dish from their apartment. Even Etsy has a fairly extensive homemade food inventory."
You may be wondering if sharing food in this way is legal. In many areas, technically it's not.
In order to sell food, many states require that it be prepared in a "commercial kitchen," which must contain nonabsorbent (i.e., stainless steel) countertops, two sinks (one for washing and preparing food and one, with three compartments, for washing dishes), and other requirements that would be impractical and undesirable in a typical home kitchen.
Many start-up companies begin their operations and forge ahead anyway. In Josephine's case, the company was eventually presented with a wave of cease-and-desist letters from various government officials — but not before it sponsored a bill that would have removed the commercial kitchen requirement from the California Retail Code, essentially making it legal to sell food cooked at home.
The bill was immediately opposed and pulled, however, and it remains to be seen whether Josephine will ultimately survive. Still, the company, and other start-ups like it, is clearly fulfilling a void for home-cooked meals in many people's lives.
Why Cottage Food Laws Don't Cut It
You may be wondering how people can "get away" with selling homemade goods at farmer's markets and craft fairs. This is because most states have "cottage food" laws that allow certain home-cooked foods to be sold publically on a limited basis.
The foods permitted to be sold are typically limited to "non-potentially hazardous" items, such as baked goods, dried fruits, jams, jellies and popcorn. There is some variance by state, such as in Wyoming, where most home-cooked food can be sold, and Wisconsin, where not even baked goods can be sold.6
In addition, the operations are typically limited by how much they can earn each year. In Illinois, for instance, the Cottage Food Law limits sales from homemade products to $36,000 per year or less.7
The person selling the product must also be registered with the state and must obtain an Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certificate — so there are still plenty of regulatory hurdles to cross, even when selling your homemade goods is "legal."
Police Raids to Confiscate Raw Milk Continue
The war against raw milk in the U.S. is an assault to food freedom and should strike a nerve with anyone who believes it is his or her own right (and not the government's) to choose what to eat and drink.
In recent months in Texas, for instance, at least two police raids have occurred to break up raw milk sales. In one case, about 50 people picking up raw milk from a farmer in a church parking lot in Katy, Texas, were stopped by police.8
In another instance, inspectors from the Austin Health Department and the Texas Department of State Health Services stopped people in the private driveway of an Austin, Texas home. The people were picking up raw milk they had already purchased, and the health officials said they could not have it.
These raids occurred despite the operations being LEGAL; in Texas, people can purchase raw milk from farms or have someone pick it up for them. The police and health department raids occurred, seemingly, because the customers hired a courier to deliver the legally purchased milk to them.9
Even Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van), Chairman House Pensions, sent a letter to the Attorney General's Office defending the raw-milk consumers and calling the health officials' actions "harassment of the farmer, the couriers and the customers."
"Not one illness has been reported, no pathogens have been found in this farmers [sic] milk, and there is absolutely no health basis for this action," he wrote.10
Meanwhile, Big Dairy, including the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), Dairy Farmers of America, and Land O'Lakes, has been accused of combining to form Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) and engaging in a price-fixing plot to inflate milk prices. CWT reportedly was involved in slaughtering half a million young cows in order to reduce milk supply and inflate prices, which resulted in more than $9.5 billion in profits.11
In contrast, many small raw milk farmers are struggling to survive. In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board sets price points and, as a result, small farmers may have to sell their milk at a loss. Ray Kuzma, a Pennsylvania farmer who sells raw milk produced by his 200 Holstein cattle, receives $15 for 100 pounds of raw milk — an $8 loss compared to the cost of milk production. At that price, he's losing at least $10,000 a month.12
The Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2011, sponsored by Progressive Agriculture Cooperative, is an old senate bill that could help struggling farmers like Kuzma if it's reintroduced, as it would set a national average to price milk based on the farmer's cost.13
The Right to Food
The right to food is included in the 1948 U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food."14 Yet, in the developed world this right to food increasingly means the right to food that comes from industrial food conglomerates as opposed to food from the origin of your choosing.
Government officials have crossed the line in telling people what types of food they can and can't eat — from attempting to shut down home cooks interested in selling their meals to making the sale of raw milk illegal across state lines and arresting those attempting to share food with the homeless.
The system is set up to protect industrialized, centralized food production and distribution, while efforts to decentralize food are kept strictly under wraps. Even small farmers attempting to offer grass-fed beef are met with hurdles unbeknownst to many Americans.
PRIME Act Would Help Support Food Freedom
All U.S. farmers must use USDA-approved slaughterhouses, and laws place special restrictions on grass-fed slaughtering. If a grass-fed rancher doesn't have access to a slaughterhouse, he cannot stay in business.
This shrewd strategy effectively maintains the status quo of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), because grass-fed ranchers are often forced to ship their cattle hundreds of miles for "processing" — a move that's both costly and stressful. Large slaughterhouses can also refuse smaller jobs, as they — just like CAFOs — operate on economy of scale.
Basically, there may be plenty of demand for grass-fed beef, and plenty of supply, but USDA rules and regulations prevent the American-bred supply from ever reaching the customer. Across the U.S., smaller slaughterhouses catering to grass-fed ranchers have been closing up shop, pushed out by larger processors, adding to the shortage of processing facilities to choose from.
So while every human has the right to food, in the U.S. rules and regulations may make it difficult, impossible or even illegal to purchase and consume the food of your choosing. Fortunately, there is some small farm-friendly legislation in the works, including the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act (S. 2651), introduced by Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) earlier this year.
Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced an identical bill, H.R. 3187, in the House of Representatives last summer. If passed, the PRIME Act would allow states to permit sale of meat processed locally, thereby making it easier for small farms and ranches to serve their consumers. I encourage you to call your senators and urge them to support the PRIME Act.
Measures such as this support a decentralized, locally based food system, which is key for securing your right to food freedom, including fresh, naturally raised food. At an individual level, you can support your local food producers by frequenting farmer's markets, local farms and even testing out food-sharing opportunities.
Regarding the PRIME Act, you can find your senators' contact information by clicking the button below or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Members of Congress Drink Raw Milk in Support of Food Freedom
Documentary Reveals Shocking Extent of Government-Big Business Collusion to Eradicate Freedom of Choice
By Dr. Mercola
In the video above, Funny or Die pokes fun at Monsanto's "feeding the world" message by highlighting some of the most obvious features of genetically engineered (GE) foods, such as the unnatural crossing of genetic material between plant and animal kingdoms, the use of toxic chemicals and Monsanto's ever-expanding monopoly.
"I own everything!" Mama Monsanto exclaims, and that's pretty close to the truth. Monsanto has gobbled up seed companies, chemical competitors and even research institutions investigating the impact of pesticides on bee die-offs.
Not to mention the influence the company wields over the U.S. government. It sure seems to "own" that too.
Why the US Government Refuses to Turn on Monsanto
Many have pondered how Monsanto managed to rise to such a powerful position with respect to its influence over the U.S. government, and I think journalist Abby Martin may have pin-pointed the source of this obnoxious loyalty in her recent video report, "America's Monster" (below).
In it, she details Monsanto's history as an American "war horse," which began with its involvement in the Manhattan Project and the creation of the atomic bomb. Monsanto's contributions to the U.S. war machine continued during the Vietnam War, when the company became a leading producer of Agent Orange.
These war contributions appear to have cemented a long-lasting and loyal relationship between the U.S. government and Monsanto that continues to this day, to the detriment of the American people.
Sixty-four other nations have been labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for years. Here in the U.S., Monsanto's influence runs so deep, we just became the first country in the world to UNLABEL GMOs, as President Obama will soon sign a bill that nullifies Vermont's GMO labeling law, which just went into effect July 1.
Throughout its entire history, which began with the foundation of Monsanto Chemical Works in 1901, Monsanto has specialized in the production of toxic chemicals. Despite attempts to shed its destructive image, Monsanto has utterly failed to do so, for the simple fact that it never actually changed its basic modus operandi.
Nor did it actually change its direction from purveyor of toxins to a life-giving agricultural company. Its focus remains producing and selling toxins. It simply discovered it could sell more chemicals, and ensure ever-increasing profits, by producing GE seeds with herbicide-resistant properties.
Voluntary 'Smart Label' Preempts State and Consumer Rights
Earlier this month, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking Democrat Debbie Stabenow announced they'd reached a deal1 to create a national labeling standard for GMOs using voluntary "Smart Labels" (so-called QR codes2) rather than clear labeling.
This despite the fact that polls show 88 percent of Americans have said they do NOT want to be forced into using a smartphone app to find this important information.
The bill, S. 2609, which amends the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 with a national bioengineered food disclosure standard,3,4 is now more or less a done deal. On July 14, the U.S. House passed the bill, 306 to 117, and President Obama has already indicated he will sign it.5
The legislation will supersede and nullify Vermont's GMO labeling requirement, which took effect mere weeks ago.
It will also bar any other state from enacting GMO labeling requirements that differ from the national standard, and delays the disclosure requirement another two years; three years for smaller food companies.
What's worse, the new legislation changes and significantly narrows the definition of bioengineering, as applied under this law only, such that the newest biotech methods are exempt from the disclosure standards.
As a result, most GE food products currently on the market will end up being excluded anyway.
With the passing of this bill, the U.S. "war horse" Monsanto won again. Your elected representatives sold you out to the highest bidder. Senator Jeff Merkley has even stated that the bill was "written by and for Monsanto." As reported by Sputnik International:6
"Markley explained that because of loopholes in the legislation, Monsanto-made products 'would not be covered by it, because the definition excludes them.'"
Monsanto Benefits From Farm and Biofuel Subsidies
I recently discussed how government-subsidized commodities such as corn, soy and wheat contribute to the obesity and disease epidemics in the U.S.7,8,9 The Western processed food diet is chockfull of refined added sugars and unhealthy vegetable oils, which are cheap as a result of farm subsidies.
However, as much as 65 percent of the 94.1 million acres of corn grown in the U.S. actually doesn't enter the food system at all.10 It's used to produce ethanol fuel.
In a 2009 speech, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said that "energy reform is a strategic imperative,"11 calling for the deployment of "the Great Green Fleet ... composed of nuclear ships, surface combatants equipped with hybrid electric alternative power systems running biofuel and aircraft flying only [on] biofuels."
Mabus had put down 2016 as the deadline for this naval energy reform, but it didn't come to pass. As noted by Vice News:12
"[C]ongressional Republicans ... have blocked the Navy from spending more on a gallon of biofuel than it does on a gallon of regular diesel.
Since it costs more to turn seeds, weeds or beef trimmings into usable fuel than it does to extract fossil fuels from the ground and refine them, it's all but impossible for the fleet to use substantial amounts of biofuels with crude oil prices are as low as they currently are."
Part of the problem is the low production of biofuel, which drives up the price. According to a 2015 report13 by the World Resources Institute (WRI), in order to meet just 20 percent of the global energy demand by 2050, using plant-based biofuels, we would have to DOUBLE the global annual harvest of plant material "in all its forms."
This makes the "quest for bioenergy at a meaningful scale ... both unrealistic and unsustainable," according to the report. Despite such bleak prognoses, the Biodiesel Tax Incentive Reform and Extension Act of 201614 would provide a $1.00 subsidy for each gallon of biodiesel produced during the taxable year.
In short, not only are your tax dollars continuing the expansion of corn for the production of biofuel, which is "unrealistic and unsustainable" to begin with, government subsidies are also used to grow crops that are primary contributors to obesity and ill health — and both of these schemes end up benefiting Monsanto, since the vast majority of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.
'The Dumbest Guys in the Room'
"I am now convinced the GMO industry has managed to hire the worst public relations strategists in human history. By supporting a deeply flawed GMO labeling bill in the U.S. Congress ... the industry is about to open a Pandora's Box of PR nightmares for years to come," he writes.
"The anti-GMO groups will likely put out lists of the worst labeling violators and lists of their products containing GMOs. And, of course, there will be lists based on those enigmatic QR codes. Perhaps those codes will become the equivalent of the skull and crossbones feared by one GMO executive.17"
Cobb likely predicts the future here, as I believe the QR code will become exactly that — the mark of products and brands that are trying to make a mint from deception by making it as difficult as possible for you to find out the truth about their ingredients. The QR code will become known as the Mark of Monsanto, and shoppers will be able to simply assume admission of guilt when they see it, without ever taking the time to rummage through entire websites filled with extraneous information and advertising.
Forbes contributor Nancy Fink Huehnergarth has made similar observations,18 noting that "Big Food may be shooting itself in the foot again," as the QR code will make it appear they have something to hide.
"Food/drink packaging already has an ingredient label and nutrition facts panel. How simple would it be to mandate that all food packaging add a few words or a universal symbol to communicate the inclusion of GMO ingredients?" she says.
Why Eat GMOs When They Have No Health Advantages?
Cobb makes another great point when he says:
"[T]he industry's business and public relations strategists are the same ones who made a colossal marketing error — while believing they had achieved a regulatory coup — when they steamrolled the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into ruling that GMOs are 'substantially equivalent' to their non-GMO counterparts and therefore require no testing ...
The reason this strategy has turned out to be a colossal marketing error is that as the attacks on GMOs have mounted ... the industry finds itself unable to pivot and point to any advantages that GMO foods have for consumers over non-GMO foods ...
After all, GMO foods are said to be 'substantially equivalent.' That means that the industry cannot give consumers any reasons to prefer GMO foods over their non-GMO counterparts ... So far genetic engineering has focused on creating plants [that] produce insecticides internally — not a pleasant thought for those eating them — and which are immune to herbicides made by, you guessed it, the companies producing the GMO seeds."
Chemical Residues — A Major Reason to Avoid GMOs
Indeed, if GMOs are substantially equivalent to conventional crops in terms of nutritional value yet contain higher amounts of pesticides, why eat them? After all, the idea that pesticides are a boon to health is a tough sell.
As you may have noticed, with the exception of DDT, which was marketed as "good for you," pesticides do not have health claims. And arguments defending the presence of pesticides on food always focus on the notion that the amount present is low enough that it will not produce adverse effects.
However, health statistics tell a different story, and the reason why the "trace defense" doesn't hold water is because it's not just about minor traces of chemicals on certain foods items.
Unless you eat organic foods and use "organic everything," you're exposed to pesticides from most foods, plus the chemicals used in the processing, plus chemicals to add flavor, texture and preservation power, plus chemicals found in the packaging and in the cashier's receipt, plus the chemicals found in just about every product you put on your body every day, including the clothes you wear, and the furniture you sit on. There are even chemicals in the air you breathe and the water you drink.
We are barraged with toxins at every turn, and they all ADD UP. That is the problem. And, unfortunately, food appears to be a major source, so avoiding chemicals in your diet can go a long way toward preserving your health. With that in mind, herbicide-resistant and pesticide-producing food crops are an incredibly foolish idea that contributes absolutely nothing to the health and wellbeing of the global community.
US Right to Know Blows Lid Off Another Monsanto Scheme to Tarnish Organics
Since transparent GMO labeling is not going to happen in the U.S. anytime soon, your options become quite straight forward: Buy organic and/or locally-grown food you can verify being non-GMO. This has always been the best option; just not the least expensive or most convenient. Not surprisingly, in addition to defending the quality and safety of its GE products, Monsanto has also tried to cast doubt on organic ethics and value, in order to curb consumer preference for organics.
Emails obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) reveal Monsanto colluded with an organization of "independent" academics to mislead the public into thinking they were being duped by the organic industry. The Huffington Post recently ran an article19 revealing this story. It's well worth reading in its entirety.
USRTK is a nonprofit organization that pursues truth and transparency in the U.S. food system. In 2014, Academics Review, a nonprofit organization composed of "independent academic experts in agriculture and food sciences" issued a 30-page report claiming organic shoppers were over-paying for organics due to deceptive industry marketing practices.
The report, which was "endorsed by an international panel of independent agricultural science, food science, economic and legal experts from respected international institutions" gained traction in the trade press with headlines such as "Organics Exposed!" and "Organic Industry Booming by Deceiving Customers."
The press release announcing the report even hammers home the point of independence by stating that "Academics Review has no conflicts-of-interest associated with this publication, and all associated costs ... were paid for using our general funds without any specific donor influence or direction." Alas, emails obtained by USRTK tell a different story.
Academics Review — Just Another False Front Group for Monsanto
Monsanto not only helped raise funds for Academics Review, Monsanto executives also "collaborated on strategy and even discussed plans to hide industry funding," The Huffington Post writes, adding:
"Monsanto's motives in attacking the organic industry are obvious: Monsanto's seeds and chemicals are banned from use in organic farming, and a large part of Monsanto's messaging is that its products are superior to organics as tools to boost global food production."
One of the co-founders of Academics Review was Bruce Chassy, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Illinois. In March of this year, an investigation by Chicago WBEZ news20 discovered Monsanto paid the now retired Chassy more than $57,000 over two years for travel, writing and speaking expenses, yet Chassy never disclosed his financial ties to the company on state and university conflict-of-interest disclosure forms.
Between 2005 and 2015, Monsanto gave at least $5.1 million to University of Illinois employees and programs — all of it undisclosed, as it was funneled via the University of Illinois Foundation, which is exempt from public scrutiny and disclosure.21
Chassy also lobbied federal officials on Monsanto's behalf to prevent further regulations on GMOs. Chassy claims he did this of his own volition, but emails22 show Monsanto's Eric Sachs urged Chassy to get involved. The correspondence also reveals this was in fact part of an industry lobbying effort, "with academics out in front," basically pretending to be acting independently — just like the Academics Review.
FOIA-recovered emails show Chassy was very eager to attack the organic industry but needed money. Jay Byrne, former head of communications at Monsanto, agreed to help, indicating he would discuss "options for taking the Academic Review project ... forward" by meeting with Val Giddings, former vice president of the biotech industry trade association BIO.
Eric Sachs, who handles Monsanto's public relations, also emailed Chassy discussing funding possibilities for Academics Review while "keeping Monsanto in the background." Unfortunately, mainstream media outlets are often tightly reined in by corporate bias, which prevents the truth to become as widely known as it should. As noted in The Huffington Post:
"Despite the revelations in emails and the disclosure of Chassy's financial ties to Monsanto, the Academics Review website and its report attacking the organic industry are still posted online with all the descriptions claiming independence. And Chassy still enjoys press coverage as an 'independent' expert on GMOs. In May 2016, two separate Associated Press stories quoted Chassy on that topic. Neither story mentioned Chassy's now-public financial ties to Monsanto."
Taxpayer Money Used to Promote Biotech Propaganda
New Book Sets Record Straight on GMO Myths and Truths
By Dr. Mercola
Swiss scientists recently found an element in pomegranates with promising potential to slow the effects of aging. The breakthrough catapulted pomegranates into superfood status and earned the focus of at least one biotech company eager to take advantage of the data.
The journal Nature Medicine reported the findings submitted by researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL). They discovered that a compound called urolithin A bumped up the running endurance of aged mice by an average of 42 percent.
Urolithin A is a metabolite naturally produced by your body when compounds called ellagitannins, found in pomegranates, break down bacteria in your gut.
Not surprisingly, the team at EPFL is working with biotech company Amazentis to produce a nutritional supplement, which they hope will increase people's stamina and muscle strength, even in the aging process. Amazentis co-founder, neuroscience professor and EPFL president, Dr. Patrick Aebischer, said:
"We believe our research, uncovering the health benefits of urolithin A, holds promise in reversing muscle ageing [sic]. It's a completely natural substance, and its effect is powerful and measurable."1
How Do Pomegranates Break Bacteria Down in Your Gut to Slow Aging?
When you eat a pomegranate, urolithin A is produced naturally when it's digested by gut bacteria. Tests aren't yet conclusive, but studies on rodents and nematodes (non-parasitic roundworms called Caenorhabditis elegans, or C. elegans), which both exhibited the metabolite, are said to be promising for humans.
Studies over many years have extolled the age-fighting properties of pomegranates, but there was no evidence to prove it. In spite of the hype that made the claim a little dubious, scientists decided to try further evaluation. Medical News Today explained:
"As we age, an important process that our cells rely on for energy slows down and begins to malfunction. This process — called 'mitophagy' — recycles worn-out mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside cells that make the chemical units of energy that fuel their work.
If worn-out mitochondria are not recycled, they and their decomposing components build up inside cells, eventually causing problems in many tissues, including muscle, which gradually becomes weaker."2
Clinical evidence reveals that when this "old" mitochondria builds up, it can become toxic and even trigger age-related diseases such as Parkinson's. Further, genetic mutations in the Parkinson's gene, called Fbxo7, prevent the mitophagy or elimination of worn-out mitochondria.3
Only the Urolithin A Molecule Can Kick-Start a Lagging Mitophagy Process
When the process of mitophagy begins getting sluggish, urolithin A is the only substance that can relaunch the clean-up process, Aebischer revealed.
Nematodes were the first subjects in urolithin A testing because they're multicellular, have several things in common with human cells, and develop from a fertilized egg. Further, when C. elegans roundworms are just 8 to 10 days old, they're considered old, so the researchers found them to be the perfect test specimen.
The scientists' next step was to test with mice, which netted the same if not better results, with an extra bit of information: Mice as old as 2 years of age ran 42 percent better than mice the same age that hadn't been subject to the compound.
More tests showed that young rats exposed to urolithin A exhibited enhanced capacity for exercise.
Scientists: Eating Pomegranates May Not Help You
While some people might hear about the EPFL studies for themselves and figure eating pomegranates might net at least some of the anti-aging and strength-bolstering benefits the animals found, scientists say because of the number of steps in its natural production process and the fact that the amount of urolithin A people produce varies widely, it's not quite that simple.
The ellagitannin precursor molecule in pomegranates mixes with water in your gut and breaks down into ellagic acid via bacteria to manufacture the urolithin A compound. You need certain gut bacteria to accomplish this, they say, not just the pomegranate.
The amount of bacteria varies from person to person and is sometimes nonexistent. If your gut bacteria don't produce urolithin A, it's probable that you won't reflect the mitochondria-recycling benefits exhibited in the study.
Urolithin A is currently under observation in human trials to deliver "finely calibrated doses" of the compound. EPFL's Laboratory of Integrative Systems Physiology
Professor Dr. Johan Auwerk explained:
"The fact that it works in two evolutionary distant species, it makes us very hopeful that it will also work in humans. That's the ultimate goal of our research.
Our work showed for the first time the importance of 'mitophagy' in the aging process, and in addition we provided a compound contained in the natural product pomegranate that could activate mitophagy and hence curb age-related disease as frailty, sarcopenia (muscle loss due to aging) or metabolic diseases linked with aging."5
If the human test results duplicate the other studies, it will indicate that urolithin A has the capacity to slow muscle aging in humans. The initial clinical trial on humans is anticipated by 2017.
Pomegranates Are Packed With Powerful Health Potential
Pomegranates are technically a berry, mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament, and are one of the most popular fruits in many areas of the world.
Cut into a pomegranate and you'll find a bitter "pith" — not unlike that found in an orange — and about 600 small, juice-filled seed sacs called arils containing a crunchy, edible seed. To get the most of these bite-sized "jewels," cut off the crown of the fruit, cut it into sections, and roll the arils out in a bowl of water with your fingers.
Pomegranates are highly prized for their free radical-zapping antioxidants. While both red wine and green tea contain high amounts, one study found commercial pomegranate juice to have three times more antioxidant activity.
However, eating whole fruits is better since fiber moderates the amount of potentially damaging fructose.
Additionally, the presence of the tannin punicalagin indicates that more than just the arils are used in commercial juice, and that the pith can be used for juicing, as well.6 According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry:
"This shows that pomegranate industrial processing extracts some of the hydrolyzable tannins present in the fruit rind. This could account for the higher antioxidant activity of commercial juices compared to the experimental ones.
In addition, anthocyanins, ellagic acid derivatives and hydrolyzable tannins were detected and quantified in the pomegranate juices."7
Tests in the same study showed that extracts from the entire fruit exerted more antioxidant activity than just the arils. The aforementioned ellagitannin contains even more compounds such as punicalagins and punicalins, which account for about half of this fruit's antioxidant ability.
So if you're planning to juice pomegranates at home, be sure to include the beneficial rind.
Another study took a comprehensive view of pomegranates in relation to their antioxidants, free-radical-scavenging capacity, total oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and other factors in comparison with seven other fruit juices, including blueberry, orange and açaí, plus red wines and several teas, including green tea.
The study found that pomegranate juice "had the greatest antioxidant potency composite index among the beverages tested and was at least 20 percent greater than any of the other beverages tested."8
Antioxidants can decrease your risk of oxidative stress that exposes you to several serious diseases and chronic inflammation. One study said antioxidants may help delay the progression of Alzheimer's9 and the rapid deterioration of your tissues and organs.
In addition, tannins, anthocyanins and ellagic acid are important polyphenols in pomegranates that help with arthritis pain. They also contain vitamins C and K, folate, and the minerals potassium, copper and manganese.10 Together, these micronutrients help protect your cells against reactive oxygen species (ROS), cell damage and, yes, aging.
Disease-Fighting Power of Pomegranates
Pomegranate compounds can improve erectile dysfunction,11 and also squelch cancer cell proliferation and even bring about apoptosis, or cell death. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC)12 noted that "in laboratory tests, pomegranate shows antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties." In regard to osteoarthritis, UMMC noted:
"Flavonols (a kind of antioxidant) similar to the ones found in pomegranate fruit have been suggested as treatments for osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage in joints wears down and causes pain and stiffness. Researchers believe flavonols can help block inflammation that contributes to the destruction of cartilage.
… In test tubes, pomegranate extract blocked the production of an enzyme that destroys cartilage in the body. In one review of the scientific literature, researchers concluded that all of the studies reported positive effects of pomegranate juice or extract on osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis."
✓ Cancer prevention14
✓ HIV 16
✓ Atherosclerosis17 (hardening of the arteries)
✓ Coronary heart disease18
"Two … studies suggest that pomegranate juice may help fight prostate cancer. In one study, scientists grew cells from highly aggressive cases of human prostate cancer in tissue cultures. Pomegranate fruit extracts slowed the growth of the cultured cancer cells and promoted cell death.
The researchers then implanted the cancer cells in mice. A group of mice that received water laced with pomegranate juice developed significantly smaller tumors than the untreated animals. In a preliminary study of men with prostate cancer, pomegranate juice lengthened patients' PSA doubling time (the longer the doubling time, the slower the tumor is growing) from 15 months before treatment to 54 months on the juice."
The same review discussed the benefits pomegranates may have on heart disease via its ability to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage. Pomegranate juice also decreased carotid artery thickness20 and improved cardiac blood flow, but it may also interfere with some medications.
Astaxanthin for Heart Health and Chronic Pain
Neurologist Speaks Out About the Importance of Gut Health for Prevention and Treatment of “Incurable” Neurological Disorders
By Dr. Mercola
You might be wondering what cassava is before you think to ask what it might be good for, but in light of its amazing properties, this rather sweet, starchy and nut-flavored tuber may become a staple in your pantry.
Cassava (Manihot esculenta), also known as manioc or yuca (not yucca), belongs to the spurge family of plants called Euphorbiaceae. It most likely originated in South American forest regions, but it's also grown very inexpensively in parts of Asia, Africa and the Southern U.S. For centuries, it's been a food mainstay for millions.
Hong Kong's Centre for Food Safety says cassava contains more than one form of cyanogenic glycosides — sweet and bitter:
"Different varieties of cassava are generally classified into two main types: sweet cassava and bitter cassava. Sweet cassava roots contain less than 50 mg per kilogram hydrogen cyanide on fresh weight basis, whereas that of the bitter variety may contain up to 400 mg per kilogram."1
Cassava is a perennial, usually grown in tropical climates, very simply propagated by using a cut portion of the stem. The roots, often compared to large yams, can weigh several pounds. They have tough, scaly and brown skin and starchy, white "meat" inside, but care must be taken in harvest because the shelf life is only a few days.
Purchase cassava roots (or flour) at large groceries, and store them at room temperature for a week. They can then be peeled and boiled, baked or fried, cooked and dried for later use, or fermented.
The leaves are also used for food and contain 100 times more protein than the root, but both must be cooked and the water discarded.2
The Odd and Advantageous Benefits of Cassava
While cassava roots are close to what we know as white potatoes, cassava contains almost twice the calories, and may be the highest-calorie tuber known. One cup of boiled cassava contains 330 calories, 78 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein and 4 grams each of fiber and sugar.3
Being naturally gluten-free, cassava is extremely useful for celiac patients and others trying to avoid gluten. One aspect of cassava is that it's one of several root foods defined by the Philippines' Department of Science and Technology as having a low glycemic index (GI) and therefore good for diabetics.
"GI is a classification of food based on the blood glucose response to a food relative to a standard glucose solution. Low glycemic foods control the release of glucose into the bloodstream at a steady and sustained rate, keeping the body's metabolic processes and energy levels balanced.
People with low glycemic diets or [who] eat low glycemic foods are said to have lower risk of getting coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
These food items that have low GI would benefit those who are already suffering from diabetes, since these would help in the proper control and management of blood sugar."4
As a low-GI food, eating cassava can also help improve physical endurance because blood glucose levels are moderated instead of dropping when insulin is produced.
Low-GI foods also may help control triglyceride and other lipid levels in your blood. Cassava has even been called a "weight loss wonder food" due to its ability to decrease appetite and decrease fat storage in fat cells.5
B-complex vitamins contained in cassava include folate, thiamin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and riboflavin (vitamin B2). The root also includes a number of minerals that perform important functions throughout your body:
✓ Iron helps form the two proteins responsible for transporting oxygen to your tissues
✓ Zinc helps your immune system fight bacteria and aids cell growth and division
✓ Calcium helps form strong bones and teeth
✓ Magnesium optimizes mitochondrial function and helps regulate blood sugar
✓ Potassium synthesizes proteins and helps break down carbohydrates
✓ Manganese is vital for connective tissue and sex hormones, and repairing joints
Cassava also contains saponins that can ease inflammation, break down organic body wastes like uric acid, cleanse mineral deposits from your joints and help balance your gut flora.
Tapioca: Starch From the Cassava Root
If you've ever had tapioca, you've had a form of cassava, as tapioca is the starchy liquid extracted from the root; cassava is the ground root itself. The content is essentially pure carbohydrates, with negligible fiber, protein or nutrients. In fact, one study called tapioca "nutritionally inferior."6
One cup of dry pearl tapioca contains 544 calories, 135 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of sugar. There are virtually no vitamins to speak of, other than a small amount of folate and pantothenic acid, but the same amount yields 13 percent of the recommended daily value in iron and 8 percent of the manganese.7
Moisture is removed from the root either by evaporation or squeezing it out after being ground, leaving a fine, white powder. Dried, it's often sold as flour or pressed into flakes or "pearls," which should be boiled before you eat them; 1 part dry pearls to 8 parts water is a good ratio.
The product usually resembles small, translucent and gel-like balls with a leathery consistency that expand when moisture is added. Especially as a need for gluten-free options have emerged into the mainstream diet, tapioca is one of the best alternatives to wheat and other grains.
While tapioca starch provides energy with very little nutritional value, it's gluten-free, which is worth its weight in gold to a growing number of people who are allergic or sensitive to gluten.8 It also has several uses in place of flour for both cooking and baking:
- Tapioca makes a popular type of pudding made up of chewy, mildly sweet "pearls," as well as bubble tea, an Asian concoction usually served cold.
- Gluten- and grain-free bread made from tapioca is sometimes combined with other flours such as coconut flour or almond meal to improve the nutrition.
- As a thickener, tapioca is excellent for bulking up the consistency of soups or stews, and it's essentially flavorless.
- Flatbread made from tapioca is most often found in developing countries because it's inexpensive and very versatile.
- Added to burgers and dough, tapioca is a binder that can improve the texture and moisture content in foods without becoming soggy.
Cassava: A Digestive-Resistant Starch
The Healthy Home Economist calls resistant starch "the healthiest starch for your gut:"
"Resistant starch is a type of starch that does not break down (it literally "resists" digestion), instead of being absorbed as glucose like most starches.
Instead, resistant starch travels through the small intestine to the colon where it is turned into beneficial, energy-boosting, inflammation-squashing and short-chain fatty acids by intestinal bacteria.
The main reason why resistant starch is so beneficial is that it feeds the friendly bacteria in your colon, turns them into important short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate (known to help reduce inflammation) and is extremely helpful in cases of autoimmunity, IBS, colitis and allergies."9
According to Authority Nutrition:
"Most of the carbohydrates in the diet are starches. Starches are long chains of glucose that are found in grains, potatoes and various foods. But not all of the starch we eat gets digested. Sometimes a small part of it passes through the digestive tract unchanged. In other words, it is resistant to digestion."10
Resistant starch can be very beneficial. As it feeds beneficial gut bacteria, it can reduce inflammation as well as harmful bacteria.11
It may also lower your blood glucose level after meals,12 improve insulin sensitivity,13 help manage metabolic syndrome14 and possibly help you eat less.15 The four different types of resistant starches include:16
- Type 1, found in grains, seeds and legumes, resists digestion because it's bound by fibrous cell walls.
- Type 2 is indigestible starchy foods such as green bananas and raw potatoes which, when heated, makes them digestible.
- Type 3 is created when a starchy food is cooked, then cooled, turning some digestible starches, such as rice and white beans, into resistant starch through retrogradation.17
- Type 4 is a man-made substance using a chemical process and is not healthy for you.
Other Uses for Cassava
Cassava is also known for many additional benefits, according to StyleCraze:18
✓ Cassava made into a simple paste with water and used as a peel or scrub smoothes, brightens and hydrates your skin.
✓ As a mask, wash your face first with warm water, smooth on a paste using water and honey, dry completely and rinse well with cold water.
✓ Cassava roots and leaves can be made into a paste to nourish and soften your hair and remedy hair loss. Twice a week, apply coconut or olive oil, then cassava paste, wait one hour and rinse.
✓ Traditionally, the roots and leaves were used to boost immunity, energy and brain function, heal wounds, de-worm, soothe headaches and fevers, aid digestion and rheumatoid conditions, lower blood pressure and balance stress levels.
Precautions Regarding Cassava
Cassava roots contain the toxic compound linamarin, which converts to hydrogen cyanide. Improper cooking of cassava root is associated with cyanide poisoning, which can cause symptoms of vomiting, nausea, dizziness, stomach pains, headache, irreversible paralysis from a disease called konzo19 and even death. Nutrition and You noted:
"Cassava should never be eaten raw as the root composes [sic] small quantities of cyanogenic glycosides, especially hydroxycyanic acid. Cyanide compounds interfere with cellular metabolism by inhibiting the cytochrome-oxidase enzyme inside the human body."20
However, if the cassava are peeled and cooked, toxic substances are removed. It should be noted that the tapioca you buy at the store or prepare from a package does not contain harmful cyanide levels, so it's perfectly safe to eat.
*Mercola.com follows journalistic industry standards by using the Associated Press (AP) writing style. For consistency's sake, we sometimes change quoted text from other printed sources to reflect AP style, or to indicate that the usage is the exact language of the quoted text. Those changes and indications will appear in brackets within the text.
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