Archive | September, 2010

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What’s in Your Honey?

Posted on 30 September 2010 by admin

What’s in your Honey?

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Issue: Sep 30, 2010

Ayurveda prescribes it for a range of ailments. People eat it for rejuvenation and boosting immunity. An Indian homemaker’s kitchen shelf is incomplete without a jar of this amber liquid. But without quality and safety controls, this gift of nature has been contaminated. CSE laboratory tests find high levels of antibiotics in well-known brands of honey sold in the market. Chandra Bhushan reports on the findings. Savvy Soumya Misra trails beekeepers across four states and finds honey is being produced with the help of antibiotics and pesticides; Arnab Pratim Dutta looks at the thriving business of honey laundering

Universally, honey is believed to be a natural product. Regulations across the world say as much. TheCodex Alimentarius Commission is a global body set up jointly by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop food standards for international trade; it defines honey as “the natural sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of plants or from secretions of living parts of plants or excretions of plant-sucking insects on the living parts of plants, which the bees collect, transform by combining with specific substances of their own, deposit, dehydrate, store and leave in the honeycomb to ripen and mature”.

This definition of honey is now threatened. In several countries, the beekeeping industry uses antibiotics to control outbreaks of diseases in honeybees, and as growth promoters to increase production. And these antibiotics are finding their way into that spoonful which reaches the house-holder’s table. So what is the world doing about it?

INTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS

Codex: Honey is an internationally traded commodity. Codex has set down standards for the quality of the honey which is traded. But it has nothing to say on the presence of antibiotics in honey.

European Union: EU regulates honey under the Council Directive 2001/110/EC. The standard for antibiotics in food (referred to as Maximum Residue Limits or MRLs) is listed in Regulation (EU) No 37/2010—it stipulates that each antibiotic must have an MRL before it can be used on a food-producing species. But there are no MRLs for antibiotics in honey, which means EU does not allow the use of antibiotics for treatment of honeybees.

But EU member states do import honey. For regulating residues of antibiotics in this imported honey, the bloc has set what are called RPAs, or ‘Reference Points for Action’. RPAs are residue concentrations which are technically feasible to detect by food control laboratories. When antibiotics are detected by a laboratory, the member state is obliged to reject the consignment. Till date, RPAs have been established in honey for substances such as chloramphenicol and nitrofurans. EU has also set a provisional MRL of 25 parts per billion (ppb) for oxytetracycline in honey.

USA: In the US, MRLs for antibiotics in food are set by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), and listed in Title 21, Part 556 (21 CFR 556). There are no limits for antibiotics in honey.

What does this mean? Are all kinds of antibiotics, in any amount, permitted in honey? Or are antibiotics ‘unauthorised’ substances in honey and therefore, ‘illegal’?

Regulators in the EU and the US opine that they are ‘unauthorised’ and therefore ‘illegal’, unless there is a standard regulating their levels. This is the reason why EU banned Indian honey from entering its shores—it was found contaminated with high amounts of antibiotics.

Which brings us to the honey consumed within India. Does it have any safety standards? Are there any regulations governing the presence of antibiotics in honey?

INDIAN REGULATIONS

In India, honey is currently regulated under three legislations:

 

    • The voluntary Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) norm for extracted honey under IS4941:1994. Brands wishing to obtain the ISI mark will have to follow it.

 

All three define honey as a “natural product” and lay down standards for its composition and quality (like sucrose content, total reducing sugars and moisture content)—but there are no standards for antibiotics in honey.

Does this mean that antibiotics in honey are ‘unauthorised’ and therefore, ‘illegal’, in India as well?

Indian regulators believe if there are no standards, they can’t regulate. But this perception undergoes a sea change when it comes to honey for export. Indian regulators take great care to ensure the honey exported from the country is safe. For this, an elaborate system of monitoring (called Residue Monitoring Plan or RMP) has been put in place, and the Exports Inspection Council (EIC), under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industries, has been entrusted with the task of checking exports.

EIC standards: The EIC has set antibiotic standards for honey which is exported. This is referred to as ‘Level of Action (LOA)’—the limit beyond which a sample is deemed non-compliant and rejected for exports. These LOAs have been set for some antibiotics (see table: ‘Doomed by definition’).

None of this, however, applies to honey sold in the domestic market. There are hardly any reports on antibiotic contamination of honey consumed within the country. India also imports honey, but there is no standard to check its quality either. Having come up against this regulatory black hole, CSE’s Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML) decided to probe just how much antibiotic-laden is the honey sold in the domestic market. By testing some of the best known and most commonly ingested brands. A report.

no standard

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Italy court FINES Farmer for Growing GMO Corn

Posted on 28 September 2010 by admin

(Reuters) – An Italian court has imposed a 25,000 euro ($33,670) fine on a farmer for illegally growing genetically modified maize and ordered him to destroy the crop, but the farmer said on Tuesday he would appeal the decision.

Italy has banned cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops pending approval of rules on co-existence of GM and traditional crops. Public opinion in the country is strongly opposed to GM organisms, which are seen as less healthy.

A judge in the town of Pordenone issued the ruling after a scientific confirmation that Monsanto’s MON 810 maize had been cultivated on a plot of land in the north-eastern region of Friuli Venezia Giulia and had contaminated some nearby fields, although within accepted levels in the European Union.

The decision, announced both by supporters of GM crops and by fierce opponents at Italy’s Greenpeace, comes as a Europe-wide debate on GM cultivation heats up.

Many of the European Union’s largest governments reiterated on Monday their opposition to proposals to let EU states decide for themselves whether to grow or ban GM Crops.

Giorgio Fidenato, chairman of pro-GMO association Agricoltori Federati who planted the GM maize to speed up approval of GM crop cultivation in Italy, said he would fight the decision and prove he had done nothing wrong.

“I have planted maize on my property and, therefore, my actions were fully legitimate and legal,” Fidenato said in an audio interview available on the web site of pro-GM movement Movimento Liberatorio (www.movimentoliberatorio.it)

“The true legal battle starts now,” Fidenato said, adding that his lawyers have 15 days to appeal the ruling.

But Greenpeace activists said cultivation of GM maize in the Pordenone province had breached a law, which could carry a punishment of up to three years in jail or a fine of up to 51,700 euros.

“Finally, legality is brought back to Friuli,” said Greenpeace anti-GMO activist Federica Ferrario.

Italy’s regional agriculture chiefs, who were expected to meet on Thursday to give their opinions on a draft of co-existence rules, have postponed the meeting, and the new date is yet to be announced.

($1=.7426 Euro)

(Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova and Massimiliano Di Giorgio, editing by Jane Baird)

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I have a right to know about GMOs

Posted on 27 September 2010 by admin

As a human being, an American, I have a right to know what is in the food I consume! As far back as time humans have generally known what their diet consisted of. Early humans just picked it right from the vine, tree, or ground and new that it had nutritional value because it satiated their hunger and gave them energy. Even as far back as a hundred years ago general nutritional value was known of the food you ate. Most people back then even knew where it came from and who grew it and where! Today most of us do not know where our food was grown, what was put on it (i.e. pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, mutant genes, etc!), how it was delivered, or processed. While I understand the FDA’s stance that too much information may confuse most consumers, identifying a genetically modified product would not be confusing. The product has either been genetically modified or it hasn’t (GMO or not GMO) pretty simple! While most consumers are aware that the vast majority of processed foods has been made with plant and vegetables that are heavily treated with insecticides and fertilizers many are not aware that they are also using GMO corn, soy, and canola. They have a right to know! Most consumers are aware that their meat has been treated with hormones and vaccines, many are not aware how much or to what extent. They have a right to know!

The FDA nor the Government has the right to keep such general information from any consumer. They do not have the right to decide if that information is pertinent to me and my decision to buy and consume it. Only I have the right to decide that. The idea that they have decided that the GMO products such as corn, soy, canola, and now possibly salmon are the same as the non GMO products. Their science may say that but I have a right to know what it is I am eating and to deny me the knowledge of the fact that the product has been genetically modified is denying me the right to decide if that is what I want to consume. As it is now, I do not consume processed foods, I do not eat fish or seafood at all. I buy my meat from a source where I know what went into it and what nutritional value I will get from it. Europe has refused our GMO grains. Haitians burned thousands of pounds of donated grains from US farm corporations because they were GMO grains. They were starving and yet they refused the grains! As a United States citizen and a human I demand that the FDA and our Government tell the truth! Tell consumers what is a GMO and what is not. What are they afraid of, that people won’t buy it if it is marked as GMO? Maybe that will happen maybe not, but the people shall decide not the Government.

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Whole Foods DUMPS Silk Soy

Posted on 25 September 2010 by admin

Whole Foods dumps Silk Soy.

Silk, started by one of Boulder, Colorado’s natural products titans, Steve Demos, and now owned and controlled by mega-corp Dean Foods, was just dealt what must come as a pretty big blow–they’ve been cleaved from their strongest customer base–the conscious consumers who built Silk, back when it was owned by Mr. Demos, into a major player and first real alternative to milk.

For more, click here or here or here or here. Or here.

Excerpt via Planet Green:

The Cornucopia Institute claimed victory against the largest soymilk producer in the country this week, after a landmark deal with Whole Foods:

“Saying that its relationship with Dean Foods had ‘chilled,’ Whole Foods indicated it was bringing in a new branded organic soymilk partner, Earth Balance…’Dean Foods has been roundly criticized for taking the organic out of Silk, and now the marketplace and consumers are passing their judgment,’ said Mark Kastel, Cornucopia’s senior farm policy analyst. ‘They took what once was a pioneering 100% organic brand, before they acquired the company in 2003, and cheapened the product at the expense of American farmers and consumers. Now they are paying a price for their naked profiteering,’ Kastel added.”

In addition, Whole Foods wants Earth Balance’s soymilk products to be made strictly from soybeans grown in the U.S. That stipulation likely comes as a direct response to Silk’s initial shift–even before it gave up on organic–away from domestic soybeans when it started sourcing (organic, at first) from China. …for the rest, click here.

Excerpt via elephriend Alica Wallace of Boulder Daily Camera:

Move comes in wake of WhiteWave shifting Silk away from certified organic soybeansFourteen years ago, a burgeoning Boulder company — WhiteWave Inc. — was responsible for launching Silk soymilk, a brand that is now the category leader.

So when Whole Foods Market wanted to boost its organic soymilk options a year after Dean Foods’ WhiteWave Foods shifted most of its Silk products away from certified organic soybeans, the Austin, Texas, grocer turned to a burgeoning Boulder County firm — one stocked with former White Wave employees.

Whole Foods this week announced an agreement with Longmont-based Earth Balance under which the natural foods division of New Jersey-based spreads company Smart Balance Inc. would launch its line of organic soymilks at Whole Foods stores nationwide…for the rest, click here.

I’ll leave you with a remarkable, though tangential factoid:

“The NY Times reports that Silk spent $29.1 million on advertising in major media last year.”

Key Update: via the good folks at at Silk Soy:

[Dear Waylon]

Just wanted to chime in quickly regarding your [article]. We appreciate your level of objectivity, and the fact that you allowed us to answer your questions in the video. However some of the other articles you link to are a bit misleading, and the headline is inaccurate.

Silk actually hasn’t been kicked out of Whole Foods. They have limited our distribution in a few regions, but there are still a large number of stores carrying our Organic and Natural products.

[editor's note: this represents a hugely important point--one that contradicts all the other articles I'd read, some of which are linked/referenced below.]

And while we are now offering the Natural soymilk options, we’re still the leading organic provider out there. Just to add a little context, we sell three times as much organic soymilk than all of our competitors combined. Which means we support more organic soybean acres than anyone else in the U.S. as well.

[editor's note: For now: getting even partially booted out of Whole Foods will change that balance significantly--an article I read estimated that a Silk Soy rival, Earth Balance, will nearly double in revenues overnight.]

[editor's note: love it. So no Silk beans from South America, China?]

After a few of the stories you link to hit, we offered up some additional facts via our blog, which you can see here and here…

…We appreciate your willingness to hear and feature our side of the story, journalists like you keep companies like us honest. Hopefully we can continue to work together and keep the dialogue going.

Every bean we source, organic and natural, is done so domestically. We do not source any beans (or other ingredients) from China. Soon, you’ll be able to see where those beans come from down to the county, as we’re poised to launch a new online tracking tool to add more transparency to our sourcing operations.

JB
WhiteWave Foods

~

Whole Foods cuts Dean Foods’ “natural” Silk Soy milk–instead goes with organic brands.

~

Last year, Silk Soy–while continuing to offer a somewhat higher-priced organic option–pushed the majority of its soy milk to “natural” (the beans still weren’t genetically modified [GMO], which is great).

It was a blow to the green movement–and one that changed Silk, overnight, from the world’s largest organic brand into, well, not.

Recently, I interviewed my friends at the Dean Foods-owned White Wave/Silk Soy about their decision to go “natural.” To their credit, they were open about the up- and downsides.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/waylon-lewis/whole-foods-dumps-silk-so_b_739278.html?ir=Food

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Is the Frankenfish a GMO or What?

Posted on 24 September 2010 by admin

I read the article about the so-called frankenfish on La Figa this evening and it seems that there is quite a bit of confusion about what this so-called frankenfish really is. Some of that confusion is naturally occuring because the FDA is hearing the application for approval of this beastie under its “veterinary drug” classification. Yes, you heard that right.

The fact is that this thing is so new and so unprecedented that there is really no actual mechanism for any approval or process or anything so the FDA has just pulled something out of the air and it is moving forward. The veterinary drug process has very short public comment periods and limited or confidential evidence streams – all of which are very problematic when you consider just what this little beastie is.

So….just what is it? Well, it IS a GMO. Not like a plant, which has a virus inserted with a desired new foreign piece of DNA, although it does have that. The frankenfish has foreign DNA from the ocean pout – a kind of eel that grows very fast.

It also has a few other interesting characteristics. In order to produce this fish, they first take non fertilized eggs and put them under some pressure which forces them to split their DNA. The eggs are then fertilized resulting in what is called triplody – in other words they now have 3 sets of DNA instead of the usual 2. Since all the eggs have 2 sets from the mother all the offspring are female and sterile. This is how they guarantee that the offspring will not contaminate the wild fish. (At least they hope so anyway).

There is more tinkering with importing DNA from wild chinook salmon and more eggs and pressure and pout DNA and stuff and you eventually wind up with the end result.

Frankenfish have diplody (two full sets of DNA instead of one) and they contain extra DNA from Chinook salmon and ocean pout in addition to their original Atlantic salmon DNA. So…they really are GMO. Just not like plants. Much, much worse.

Some people are allergic to salmon. The testing for the allergens in normal salmon were so poorly done as to be worthless, but the few results there were indicated that these salmon are almost 14 times as likely to cause allergies than regular Atlantic salmon.

But they are perfectly safe. They are just regular fish after all.

Not.

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BASF admits mistake in Swedish GMO potato sowings

Posted on 24 September 2010 by admin

* Approved and non-approved GMO potatoes cultivated together

* BASF will separate test and commercial plantings

* German, Czech GMO potato plantings unaffected

(Adds EU Commission comment, paras 13-17)

HAMBURG, Sept 24 (Reuters) – German chemicals group BASF on Friday said it had made a mistake in cultivating a type of potato with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in Sweden, which do not have European Union approval.

On Sept. 6 European Union authorities asked BASF to explain how unapproved GMO potatoes of a new variety called new Amadea, undergoing research cultivation, were found growing in Sweden in a field of Amflora potatoes — a GMO potato that was approved for commercial production in the EU in March.

“The mix-up occurred because Amadea and Amflora plants were in close proximity to each other at our facilities,” Peter Eckes, president of BASF Plant Science in a statement.

“We regret this very much. To prevent such mistakes in the future, we will ensure complete separation of the production systems for Amadea and Amflora.”

An analysis had identified the temporary cultivation of Amadea and Amflora plants in the same physical space in the early seed propagation stage as the cause for the intermingling, BASF said.

BASF said it will discard the harvests from all the affected potato fields in northern Sweden, which involves about 16 hectares.

A BASF spokeswoman added that human error was the reason for the intermingling.

GMO seeds will in future also undergo molecular analysis at an early stage before initial plantings, the BASF statement said.

“The Amflora potatoes being cultivated in fields in Germany and the Czech Republic came from different seed lots which have always been cultivated separately from Amadea seed lots,” it said.

It added: “There is no indication of the presence of Amadea potatoes in these seed lots. Subject to the decisions of the national authorities, the harvest from the Czech Republic is planned to be used for starch extraction whereas the harvest from Germany is intended for seed production.”

Amflora is not used for human food.

The EU Commission wanted to evaluate additional information before making a decision on the use of the remaining seed lots in Sweden, the statement said.

BASF Plant Science said it had already provided the requested information.

A European Commission spokesman said on Friday the origin of the contamination was “clearly human error.”

The EU Commission was in favour of destroying the 15 hectares of potatoes involved, he said.

“This decision needs to be taken by the Swedish authorities,” he said. “It is the responsibility and competence in the area of management of territory and what grows on your territory lies with the member state, so Sweden must take the decision to destroy these crops from the 15 hectares, and Sweden will be taking a decision in the coming weeks.”

There was also concern about other batches of GMO potatoes, which are also in Sweden, he said.

“Again the Swedish authorities are competent and we would like them to continue their enquiries on this issue,” the spokesman added.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan, additional reporting by Charlie Dunmore in Brussels; Editing by Alison Birrane)

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Kucinich urges FDA to delay decision on genetically modified salmon

Posted on 20 September 2010 by admin

Rep. Dennis Kucinich this month is urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to delay a verdict on whether to allow genetically engineered (GE) salmon to hit the market.

The Ohio Democrat, who chairs the House Oversight Committee’s domestic policy subpanel, says the current process simply doesn’t allow enough time for the public to weigh in.

“Given the magnitude of interest and concern expressed by the public on issues of food safety, food labeling and the environmental impact of GE animals, it is clear that serious and irreversible damage will result if public comment is curtailed,” Kucinich wrote earlier this month to FDA Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein.

The FDA is meeting Monday and Tuesday to decide whether a Massachusetts-based company should be permitted to sell its genetically modified Atlantic salmon, which grows about twice as fast as its wild cousin. If approved, it would be the first genetically modified animal allowed to be sold as food.

The agency is also weighing whether to force the company to label its salmon as genetically engineered.

Kucinich is sponsor of legislation requiring consumer-friendly labeling when food has been genetically modified.

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FDA CoverUp on GMO Salmon

Posted on 20 September 2010 by admin

Last week we were alarmed to learn that officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intentionally withheld a damning report from the public that provided conclusive evidence that GMO salmon pose a serious threat to endangered Atlantic salmon if accidentally released into the wild. It is appalling that a federal agency would knowingly hide information from the American public on something as important as our food safety.

Join us in telling the FDA to reject GMO salmon and demand that all transgenic food animals are labeled. Act today, there’s no telling what else AquaBounty and the FDA are also hiding!

ACTION! http://fdn.actionkit.com/cms/sign/urgent_gmo_salmon

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S 510 and Codex Alimentarius – the removal of nutrition

Posted on 20 September 2010 by admin

by A. Goodwin

S 510 includes passages that would force harmonization with Codex Alimentarius. It is a name most people do not know and one that the media has not exposed though its consequences to human health would be extreme. Codex threatens the lives of millions through limiting access to adequate supplementation.

From an open letter by Dr. Matthias Rath, a renowned cardiologist, sent to Helmut Kohl, the German chancellor and one time pharmaceutical lobbyist who introduced Codex to the world.

This “Codex” Commission is overwhelmingly composed of representatives of German and international pharmaceutical corporations, and its aim is to set world-wide guidelines for vitamins, amino acids, minerals and other dietary supplements. Spearheaded by the German pharmaceutical corporations, this Codex Commission plans to ban, on a world wide scale, any health statements in relation to vitamins, be it preventive or therapeutic. Moreover, the only vitamin formulas which would still be available would have to meet the arbitrary restrictions of the Codex Commission. The nations that do not comply with these restrictions are faced with economic sanctions.

These plans of the pharmaceutical corporations and the Codex Commission are in direct opposition to the overwhelming importance of vitamins and other essential nutrients for human health and, in particular, for preventing cardiovascular disease. …

With this background, the attack of the Codex Commission is a desperate act by pharmaceutical companies to protect their world-wide drug market against naturally effective and much more affordable vitamins. Particularly disturbing is the spearheading role of the German pharmaceutical corporations within the Codex Commission. Once before in this century, a German pharmaceutical and chemical corporation, I.G. Farben, became responsible for the deaths of millions of people and consequently, was dismantled in 1946 by the Nuremberg Tribunal and split into Bayer, BASF and Hoechst. With the current plans of the German pharmaceutical companies, the predictable dimension of the unnecessary and premature death of millions of people is unavoidable. If the Codex Commission is allowed to obstruct the eradication of heart disease by restricting access to nutritional supplements, more than 12 million people world-wide will continue to die every year from premature heart attacks and strokes. Within the next generation alone, this would result in over 300 million premature deaths, more than in all the wars of mankind together.

 

Codex for the US began on December 31, 2009. There have been five bills so far this year to remove access to supplements, if one adds S 3767 introduced by Senators Leahy, Klobuchar, and Franken on September 13th.

How dangerous are supplements that they are subject to FDA armed raids?

The Hazardous-Nutritional-Supplements -Target of FDA Police Raids:

Annual Deaths From:

FDA-Approved Drugs (1)…….60,000 – 140,000

Food Contamination (2)………………………9,100

Aspirin (3)………………………………………………90

All vitamins (4). …………………………………….. 0

Uncontaminated amino acids (4)………………0

Commercial herbs (4)……………………………… 0

 

Why is this happening? The logic is inescapable - illness is worth money and health is worth $0. The FDA would be in charge of whatever agency is set up under S 510 (and S 3767) which would destroy availability of adequate nutrition. The dark history of the FDA’s work to cut off knowledge of and access to all treatments for cancer not coming from the pharmaceutical industry is extensive but mostly unknown. The current FDA, pleading it doesn’t have enough power to stop food contamination, finds power when it comes to stopping gentle cancer treatments and safe treatments for pain, and loses it again when it comes to drugs causing thousands of heart attacks ordeaths and is silent on common pharmaceutical industry pain medications which routinely kill.

The value of supplements is abundantly clear to the pharmaceutical industry. When they were the main support for Germany during WWII, it was “A crime punishable by death to spread information in regard to nutrition in Norway, Belgium, Holland, and all other conquered countries.” - D.T. Quigley, MD, Fellow American College of Surgeons, in The National Malnutrition

Today, the FDA is involved in an on-going, unconstitutional effort to stop information about theeffectiveness of supplements, especially those which offeralternatives to H1N1 vaccines. The FDA has been and is increasing its removal of freedoms around speech, and health (as relates to food and vaccines/drugs), and now, just as they hope to control vast power over food and remove supplements, has gone so far as to assert in court that there is no fundamental right to one’s bodily and physical health. (Is this a necessary legal accompaniment to the devastation that Codex would cause, and to forcing people into exposure to pharmaceutical industry’s vaccines which have become increasingly unsafe?)

 

The removal of rights is the focus of

this video on Codex: “We Become Silent – The Last Days of Health Freedom” with Dame Judy Dench.

 

While people may sense that the consequences of the removal of nutritional supplements would be serious, it is possible to see in advance what would result from Codex-compelled vitamin and minerals deficiencies. In viewing the list, however, it is important to realize that those born or already sick with diseases and certain groups such as children, pregnant women and the elderly would be impacted first, given their greatly elevated requirement for nutritional supplementation. And hyper-supplementation to actually treat diseases would be available. Adults who do not fall into those categories would became ill from lack of adequate nutrition, at which point they would join the ranks of the ill and their own nutritional requirements to sustain lives would go up.

This following list is brief, not including hundreds herbs or any of the specially combined nutritional formulations, including those with absolute evidence of their effectiveness, and the absence of which

 

Vitamin D

http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(09)00440-9/fulltext

From the American Journal of Medicine:

“Adequate vitamin D status is necessary and beneficial for health, although deficiency plagues much of the world’s population. In addition to reducing the risk for bone disease, vitamin D plays a role in reduction of falls, as well as decreases in painautoimmune diseasescancerheart disease, mortality, and cognitive function. On the basis of this emerging understanding, improving patients’ vitamin D status has become an essential aspect of primary care. Although some have suggested increased sun exposure to increase serum vitamin D levels, this has the potential to induce photoaging and skin cancer, especially in patients at risk for these conditions.Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency can be both corrected and prevented safely through supplementation.”

 

Vitamin A deficiency

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_A_deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency is a lack of vitamin A in humans. It is common in developing countries but rarely seen in developed countries. Night blindness is one of the first signs of vitamin A deficiency.Xerophthalmia and complete blindness can also occur since Vitamin A has a major role in phototransduction. Approximately 250,000 to 500,000 malnourished children in the developing world go blind each year from a deficiency of vitamin A, approximately half of which die within a year of becoming blind. The United Nations Special Session on Children in 2002 set the elimination of vitamin A deficiency by 2010. The prevalence of night blindness due to vitamin A deficiency is also high among pregnant women in many developing countries. Vitamin A deficiency also contributes to maternal mortalityand other poor outcomes in pregnancy and lactation.[1][2][3][4]

Vitamin A deficiency also diminishes the ability to fight infections. In countries where children are not immunized, infectious disease likemeasles have higher fatality rates. As elucidated by Dr. Alfred Sommer, even mild, subclinical deficiency can also be a problem, as itmay increase children’s risk of developing respiratory and diarrheal infections, decrease growth rate, slow bone development, and decrease likelihood of survival from serious illness.

Alfred (Al) Sommer‘s research on vitamin A in the 1970s and 1980s revealed that dosing severely vitamin A deficient children with an inexpensive, large dose vitamin A capsule twice a year reduces child mortality by as much as 34 percent.[1] The World Bank and, recently, the Copenhagen Consensus list vitamin A supplementation as one of the most cost-effective health interventions in the world.[2][3]

 

Vitamin B deficiency

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B_vitamins#B_vitamin_deficiency

Vitamin Name Deficiency effects
Vitamin B1 thiamine Deficiency causes beriberi. Symptoms of this disease of the nervous system include weight loss, emotional disturbances, Wernicke’s encephalopathy (impaired sensory perception), weakness and pain in the limbs, periods ofirregular heartbeat, and edema (swelling of bodily tissues). Heart failure and death may occur in advanced cases. Chronic thiamine deficiency can also cause Korsakoff’s syndrome, an irreversible psychosis characterized by amnesia and confabulation

 

Vitamin B2 riboflavin Deficiency causes ariboflavinosis. Symptoms may include cheilosis (cracks in the lips), high sensitivity to sunlight, angular cheilitis,glossitis (inflammation of the tongue),seborrheic dermatitis or pseudo-syphilis(particularly affecting the scrotum or labia majora and the mouth), pharyngitis (sore throat), hyperemia, and edema of thepharyngeal and oral mucosa.
Vitamin B3 niacin Deficiency, along with a deficiency oftryptophan causes pellagra. Symptoms include aggression, dermatitisinsomnia,weakness, mental confusion, and diarrhea. In advanced cases, pellagra may lead todementia and death (the 3(+1) Ds: dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and death). 

Pellagra is a vitamin deficiency disease most commonly caused by a chronic lack of niacin(vitamin B3) in the diet. It can be caused by decreased intake of niacin or tryptophan[1], and possibly by excessive intake of leucine.[2]It may also result from alterations in protein metabolism in disorders such as carcinoid syndrome. A deficiency of the amino acidlysine can lead to a deficiency of niacin as well, meaning that another potential cause of pellagra is lysine deficiency.[3]

Vitamin B5 pantothenic acid Deficiency can result in acne and paresthesia, although it is uncommon.
Vitamin B6 pyridoxine Deficiency may lead to microcytic anemia(because pyridoxyl phosphate is the cofactor for heme synthesis), depression, dermatitis, high blood pressure (hypertension), water retention, and elevated levels ofhomocysteine.
Vitamin B7 biotin Deficiency does not typically cause symptoms in adults but may lead to impaired growth and neurological disorders in infants. Multiple carboxylase deficiency, an inborn error of metabolism, can lead to biotin deficiency even when dietary biotin intake is normal. 

Initial symptoms of biotin deficiency include:

  1. Dry skin
  2. Seborrheic dermatitis
  3. Fungal infections
  4. Rashes including red, patchy ones near the mouth (erythematous periorofacial macular rash)
  5. Fine and brittle hair
  6. Hair loss or total baldness (alopecia)

If left untreated, neurological symptoms can develop, including:

  1. Mild depression, which may progress to profound lassitude and, eventually, tosomnolence
  2. Changes in mental status
  3. Generalized muscular pains (myalgias)
  4. Hyperesthesias and paresthesias
Vitamin B9 folic acid Deficiency results in a macrocytic anemia, and elevated levels of homocysteine. Deficiency in pregnant women can lead to birth defects. Supplementation is often recommended during pregnancy. Researchers have shown that folic acid might also slow the insidious effects of age on the brain.
Vitamin B12 cobalamin Deficiency results in a macrocytic anemia, elevated homocysteineperipheral neuropathy, memory loss and other cognitive deficits. It is most likely to occur among elderly people, as absorption through the gut declines with age; the autoimmune disease pernicious anemia is another common cause. It can also cause symptoms of mania and psychosis. In rare extreme cases, paralysis can result. 

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency is a reduction invitamin B12 from inadequate dietary intake or impaired absorption. The condition is commonly asymptomatic, but can also present as anemia characterized by enlarged blood corpuscles with characteristic changes in neutrophils, known as megaloblastic anemia.

In serious cases deficiency can potentially cause severe and irreversible damage to the nervous system, including subacute combined degeneration of spinal cord.

The anemia is thought to be due to problems in DNA synthesis, specifically in the synthesis of thymine, which is dependent on products of the MTR reaction. Other blood cell types such as white blood cells and platelets are often also low. Bone marrow examination may showmegaloblastic hemopoiesisThe anemia responds completely to vitamin B12; theneurological symptoms (if any) respond partly or completely, depending on prior severity and duration.

 


 

Vitamin C deficiency

Symptoms and Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency

It takes several months of low amounts of vitamin C to lead to the symptoms of scurvy. The classic symptoms are bleeding gums, scaly skin, loose teeth, fatigue, increased risk of infection, and poor wound healing. Children and infants with an ascorbic acid deficiency usually have poor bone growth and anemia.

http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org/NHC/cardiovascular_disease/lecture/stanford_speech.htm

This animation (requires RealVideoPlayer) shows the connection between cardiovascular disease and the sailor’s disease scurvy. As opposed to animals, the human body cannot synthesize vitamin C. Ascorbate deficiency results in two distinct morphological changes of the vascular wall: Impaired vascular stability due to decreased collagen synthesis and loss of the endothelial barrier function.
The sailors of earlier centuries died within a few months from hemorrhagic blood loss due to lack of endogenous ascorbate synthesis combined with a vitamin deficient diet aboard. When the Indians gave those sailors tea from tree barks and other vitamin rich nutrition, blood loss was stopped and the vascular wall healed naturally.Today, everyone gets some vitamin C and open scurvy is rare. But almost everyone suffers from chronic vitamin deficiency. Over decades, micro lesions develop in the vascular wall, especially in areas of high mechanical stress such as the coronary arteries.

Vitamin E deficiency

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_E_deficiency

Vitamin E deficiency causes neurological problems due to poor nerve conduction. These include neuromuscular problems such as spinocerebellar ataxia andmyopathies.[1] Deficiency can also cause anemia, due to oxidative damage to red blood cells.

Vitamin E deficiency is rare in humans and is almost never caused by a poor diet.[1]Instead, there are three specific situations when a vitamin E deficiency is likely to occur. It is seen in persons who cannot absorb dietary fat, has been found in premature, very low birth weight infants (birth weights less than 1500 grams, or 3.5 pounds), and is seen in individuals with rare disorders of fat metabolism.[2]

Individuals who cannot absorb fat may require a vitamin E supplement because some dietary fat is needed for the absorption of vitamin E from the gastrointestinal tract. Anyone diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, individuals who have had part or all of their stomach removed, and individuals with malabsorptive problems such as Crohn’s diseaseliver disease or pancreatic insufficiency may not absorb fat and should discuss the need for supplemental vitamin E with their physician. People who cannot absorb fat often pass greasy stools or have chronic diarrhea and bloating.

Very low birth weight infants may be deficient in vitamin E. A neonatologist, apediatrician specializing in the care of newborns, typically evaluates the nutritional needs of premature infants.

Abetalipoproteinemia is a rare inherited disorder of fat metabolism that results in poor absorption of dietary fat and vitamin E.[3] The vitamin E deficiency associated with this disease causes problems such as poor transmission of nerve impulses, muscle weakness, and degeneration of the retina that can cause blindness.Individuals with abetalipoproteinemia may be prescribed special vitamin E supplements by a physician to treat this disorder. In addition, there is a rare genetic condition termed isolated vitamin E deficiency or ataxia with isolated with vitamin E deficiency, caused by mutations in the gene for the tocopherol transfer protein.[4] These individuals have an extremely poor capacity to absorb vitamin E and develop neurological complications that are reversed by high doses of vitamin E.

 

Vitamin K deficiency

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_K

Vitamin K is a group of lipophilichydrophobic vitaminsthat are needed for the posttranslational modification of certain proteins, mostly required for blood coagulation but also involved in metabolism pathways in bone and other tissue.

 

Symptoms of Vitamin K DeficienciesVitamin K is known to be needed to coagulate blood and to maintain proper bone density. It plays a key role in proper development of the fetus. Deficiencies of vitamin K have been linked to:

Heavy menstrual bleeding*
Gastrointestinal bleeding
Hematuria (blood in the urine)
Nosebleeds
Eye hemorrhages
Anemia
Gum bleeding
Prolonged clotting times
Hematomas
Hemorrhaging
Ovarian Hemorrhaging
Easy bruising
Purpura
Osteopenia
Osteoporosis
Fractures
Hypercalciuria
Liver Cancer
Calcification of soft tissue, especially heart valves (See my section on Calcium Deposits for more on this topic).
Birth defects linked directly to vitamin K deficiencies include:

Underdevelopment of the nose, mouth and mid face
Shortened fingers
Cupped ears
Flat nasal bridges

The following birth defects have been linked to anticonvulsant drugs, which block vitamin K:

Epicanthal folds
Flat nasal bridge
Short noses
Variety of craniofacial abnormalities
Neural tube defects
Mental retardation
Learning disabilities
Long, thin overlapping fingers
Hypertelorism
Upslanting palpebral fissures
Microcephaly
Cardiac abnormalities
Distal digit hypoplasia (shortened pinkie fingers)
Growth deficiency

 

Iron deficiency

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_deficiency_(medicine)

 

Iron deficiency (sideropenia or hypoferremia) is one of the most commonly known forms of nutritional deficiencies. In the human bodyiron is present in all cellsand has several vital functions—as a carrier of oxygen to the tissues from the lungs in the form of hemoglobin, as a transport medium for electrons within the cells in the form of cytochromes, and as an integral part of enzymereactions in various tissues. Too little iron can interfere with these vital functions and lead to morbidity anddeath.

The direct consequence of iron deficiency is iron deficiency anemia. Groups that are most prone to developing this disease are children and pre-menopausal women.

 

 

Boron deficiency

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boron_deficiency_(medicine)

Boron deficiency is a pathology which may occur inanimals due to a lack of boron. A report given by E. Wayne Johnson et al. at the 2005 Alan D. Leman Swine Conference[1] suggests that boron deficiency producesosteochondrosis in swine that is correctable by addition of 50 ppm of boron to the diet. The amount of boron required by animals and humans is not yet well established.

According to some natural therapy researchers,[2] topsoilused over long periods of time for agriculture become boron-deficient to some extent, and humans eating produce from boron-rich soils have reduced incidence ofarthritis and osteoporosis.

 

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FDN/is_4_9/ai_n9479460/

Deficiency States

Information on boron deficiency in humans is minimal; however, it appears a deficiency in boron impacts mineral metabolism, cognitive function, steroid hormone and vitamin levels, and bone integrity. (20) Boron-deficient diets have resulted in embryological defects in some but not all animals (e.g., not in rodents), pointing to a possible role in reproduction and/or development. Limited growthis also commonly noted in boron-depleted animals, (17,21) while boron-deficient chicks present increased insulin secretion. (19,22)

Clinical Applications Anemia

Boron supplementation to subjects who had previously followed a dietary regimen deficient in boron resulted in increases in blood hemoglobin concentrations, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, and decreases in hematocrit, red cell count and platelet count. (23)

Osteo- and Rheumatoid Arthritis

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 20 subjects with osteoarthritis, half of the subjects receiving a daily supplement containing 6 mg boron noted subjective improvement in their condition. (24)

Clinical commentary suggests children with juvenile arthritis (Still’s disease) improve with boron supplementation (6-9 mg daily). (25)

Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis might experience an aggravation of symptoms (Herxheimer response) for 1-3 weeks, but generally notice improvement within four weeks of beginning boron supplementation (6-9 mg daily). (25)

Cognitive Function

Collectively, data indicate that boron might play a role in human brain function, alertness, and cognitive performance. In humans, low boron intake compared to high boron intake was associated with poor short- and long-term memory, eye-hand coordination, and manual dexterity. (26) Boron deficiency has also been associated with decreased brain electrical activity similar to brainwave patterns observed in nonspecific malnutrition. (27)

 

Selenium Deficiency

http://www.suite101.com/content/selenium-deficiency-a10750

Selenium deficiency is thought to contribute toautoimmune disease by making the body more susceptible to nutritional and biochemical stresses as well as infectious diseases. Three diseases caused directly by selenium deficiency include Keshan Disease, which causes an enlarged heart, Kashin-Beck Disease, which causes osteoarthropathy, and Myxedematous Endemic Cretinism, a form of hypothyroidism which results in mental retardation.

  • Fatigue
  • Miscarriage
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Lack of mental dexterity

However, there are diseases that can be caused by this deficiency as well and they include Keshan disease and Kashin-Beck disease.

Keshan disease is viral disease and mostly affects children. It is caused by a deficient amount of selenium present in the body. The main symptom of this condition is myocardial necrosis, which leads to the weakening of the heart and a general weakness of the heart muscle. Keshan disease can also make a personmuch more susceptible to developing other illnesses.

Kashin-Beck disease occurs when the body is deficient of both selenium and iodine. The symptoms this can then present include the degeneration of cartilage.

So, what exactly causes a selenium deficiency in the first place? Eating food that is grown in soil lacking this nutrient is thought to be the primary cause. Also, people suffering from intestinal disorders that make the absorption of selenium next to impossible are at an elevated risk for developing this deficiency.

Treatment usually consists of taking selenium supplements until the body’s levels have returned to normal. However, supplements may always be necessary if absorption is a problem.

 

Melatonin deficiency

http://www.prevention.com/cda/vendorarticle/melatonin/HN2883002/health/vitamin.encyclopedia/0/0/symptoms.of.deficiency

Adults with insomnia have been shown to have lower melatonin levels.4 Frequent travelers and shift workers are also likely to benefit from melatonin for the resynchronization of their sleep schedules,5 though a melatonin “deficiency” as such does not exist for these people. Patients with heart disease have been reported to have low melatonin levels, but whether this abnormality increases the risk of heart disease or whether heart disease leads to the low melatonin level is not yet known.6 People with schizophrenia were found to have low melatonin output and experienced significantly improved sleep following melatonin replacement supplementation.7

http://www.restorativemedicine.com/books/fundamentals-of-naturopathic-endocrinology/professionals/pineal-disorders/melatonin-deficiency-and-excess

Adeficient production of melatonin can result in anxiety and mood disorders, lowered basal body temperature insomnia, elevated estrogen/progesterone ratio, and immune suppression associated with cancer.

 

Magnesium deficiency

http://www.ctds.info/5_13_magnesium.html

The diets of all Americans are likely to be deficient……..Even a mild deficiency causes sensitiveness to noise, nervousness, irritability, mental depression, confusion, twitching, trembling, apprehension, insomnia, muscle weakness and cramps in the toes, feet, legs, or fingers.

Magnesium (Mg) is a trace mineral that is known to be required for several hundred different functions in the body. A significant portion of the symptoms of many chronic disorders are identical to symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Studies show many people in the U.S. today do not consume the daily recommended amounts of Mg. A lack of this important nutrient may be a major factor in many common health problems in industrialized countries. Common conditions such as mitral valve prolapse, migraines, attention deficit disorder, fibromyalgia, asthma and allergies have all been linked to a Mg deficiency. Perhaps not coincidentally, these conditions also tend to occur in clusters together within the same individual. A magnesium deficiency as a root cause would provide a logical explanation of why some people suffer from a constellation of these types of problems.Many of the following conditions commonly occur in conjunction with each other and all have been linked to a Mg deficiency.

Contents:

  • Allergies, Chemical Sensitivities
  • Anxiety and Psychiatric Disorders
  • Aorta Strength
  • Asthma
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Calcification of Soft Tissue Including Heart Valve
  • Diabetes
  • Also see:
    Magnesium – Part Two - Covers the links between magnesium deficiency and diverse conditions such asfibromyalgia, hearing loss, migraines, menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), mitral valve prolapse, muscle cramps, nystagmus, osteoporosis, pectus excavatum, TMJ and more.
What is the percentage of Americans with inadequate intakes of Mg from food based on estimated average requirements?56%

 

 

Calcium deficiency

http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/c/calcium_deficiency/symptoms.htm#symptom_list

Calcium is the most abundant mineral found in the human body. The majority (99%) is stored in the bones and teeth; the rest is stored in muscle tissue and blood. In addition to bone building and remodeling, calcium is also responsible for muscle contraction, central nervous function and hormone secretion. Calcium deficiency is of major concern in the United States. An estimated 44-87% of Americans don’t get enough

Symptoms of Calcium deficiency

The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources forCalcium deficiency includes the 23 symptoms listed below:

 

Symptoms of Hypocalcaemia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocalcaemia#Symptoms

Petechia which appear as one-off spots, then later become rashes.

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced a gradual but potentially far-reaching effort to reduce the amount of salt Americans consume in a bid to combat high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes and other health problems that have soared to near-epidemic proportions.

 

Based on what evidence?

http://www.saltinstitute.org/Issues-in-focus/Food-salt-health/Salt-and-cardiovascular-health

1985. A ten-year study of nearly 8,000 Hawaiian Japanese men concluded: “No relation was found between salt intake and the incidence of stroke.”

1995. An eight-year study of a New York City hypertensive population stratified for sodium intake levels found those on low-salt diets had more than four times as many heart attacks as those on normal-sodium diets – the exact opposite of what the “salt hypothesis” would have predicted.

1997. An analysis by NHLBI’s Dr. Cutler of the first six years’ data from the MRFIT database documented no health outcomes benefits of lower-sodium diets.

1997. A ten-year follow-up study to the huge Scottish Heart Health Study found no improved health outcomes for those on low-salt diets.

1998. An analysis of the health outcomes over twenty years from those in the massive US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I) documented a 20% greater incidence of heart attacks among those on low-salt diets compared to normal-salt diets

1998. A health outcomes study in Finland, reported to the American Heart Association that no health benefits could be identified and concluded “…our results do not support the recommendations for entire populations to reduce dietary sodium intake to prevent coronary heart disease.”

1999. A further analysis of the MRFIT database, this time using fourteen years’ data, confirmed no improved health benefit from low-sodium diets. Its author conceded that there is “no relationship observed between dietary sodium and mortality.”

1999. A study of Americans found that less sodium-dense diets did reduce the cardiovascular mortality of one population sub-set, overweight men – the article reporting the findings did not explain why this obese group actually consumed less sodium than normal-weight individuals in the study.

2001. A Finnish study reported an increase in cardiovascular events for obese men (but not women or normal-weight individuals of either gender) – the article, however, failed to adjust for potassium intake levels which many researchers consider a key associated variable.

2002. In September, 2002, the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration produced the latest and highest-quality meta-analysis of clinical trials. It was published in the British Medical Journal and confirmed earlier meta-analyses’ conclusions that significant salt reduction would lead to very small blood pressure changes in sensitive populations and no health benefits.

2003. In June 2003, Dutch researchers using a massive database in Rotterdam concluded that “variations in dietary sodium and potassium within the range commonly observed in Westernized societies have no material effect on the occurrence of cardiovascular events and mortality at old age.”

2004. In July 2004, the first “outcomes” study identifying a population risk appeared in Stroke magazine. Researchers found that in a Japanese population, “low” sodium intakes (about 20% above Americans’ average intake) had one-third the incidence of fatal strokes of those consuming twice as much sodium as Americans.

2006. A March 2006 analysis of the federal NHANES II database in The American Journal of Medicine found a 37% higher cardiovascular mortality rate for low-sodium dieters

2007. A February 2007 reported in the International Journal of Epidemiology studied 40,547 Japanese over seven years and found “the Japanese dietary pattern was associated with a decreased risk of CVD mortality, despite its relation to sodium intake and hypertension.”

2007. An April 2007 article in the British Medical Journal found a 25% lower risk of CV events in a group which years earlier had achieved significant sodium reduction during two clinical trials (TOHP I and TOHP II).

2007. An October 2007 analysis of a large Dutch database published in the European Journal of Epidemiology documented no benefit of low-salt diets in reducing stroke or heart attack incidence nor lowering death rates.

2008. A May 2008 examination of NHANES II (the largest US federal database of nutrition and health) published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine confirmed two earlier studies of earlier NHANES surveys that there is no health benefit (CVD or all-cause mortality) for those on low-sodium diets.

 

Salt deficiencyhttp://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/salt.htm

Both sea salt and rock salt were well known to the ancient Greeks who noted that eating salty food affected basic body functions such as digestion and excretion (urine and stools). This led to salt being used medically. The healing methods of Hippocrates (460 BC) especially made frequent use of salt. Hippocrates mentions inhalation of steam from salt-water. We know today that the antiinflammatory effects of inhaled salt provide relief from respiratory symptoms (c). Thus, 2000 years ago, Greek medicine had already discovered topical use of salt for skin lesions, drinking salty or mineralized waters for digestive troubles and inhaling salt for respiratory diseases.

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FDA rules won’t require labeling of genetically modified salmon

Posted on 18 September 2010 by admin

The Washington Post

By Lyndsey Layton

September 18, 2010

 

www.washingtonpost.com

 

 

As the Food and Drug Administration considers whether to approve genetically modified salmon, one thing seems certain: Shoppers staring at fillets in the seafood department will find it tough to pick out the conventional fish from the one created with genes from another species.

Despite a growing public demand for more information about how food is produced, that won’t happen with the salmon because of idiosyncracies embedded in federal regulations.

The FDA says it cannot require a label on the genetically modified food once it determines that the altered fish is not “materially” different from other salmon – something agency scientists have said is true.

Perhaps more surprising, conventional food makers say the FDA has made it difficult for them to boast that their products do not contain genetically modified ingredients.

The labeling question has emerged as the FDA determines whether to approve the fish, an Atlantic salmon known as AquAdvantage that grows twice as fast as its natural counterpart. The decision carries great weight because, while genetically modified agriculture has been permitted for years and engineered crops are widely used in processed foods, this would be the first modified animal allowed for human consumption in the United States.The AquAdvantage salmon has been given a gene from the ocean pout, an eel-like fish, and a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon.

‘The public wants to know’

Consumer advocates say they worry about labeling for genetically engineered beef, pork and other fish, which are lining up behind the salmon for federal approval.

“The public wants to know and the public has a right to know,” said Marion Nestle, a professor in the Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health Department at New York University. “I think the agency has discretion, but it’s under enormous political pressure to approve [the salmon] without labeling.”

The debate will be taken up this week, with an advisory committee meeting Sunday and Monday on whether to allow the modified fish, and a separate panel meeting Tuesday on whether the fish should be labeled. The panels will offer recommendations to the FDA commissioner, who will decide both matters.

The biotechnology industry is opposed to mandatory labeling, saying it will only bewilder a public that is not well informed about genetic engineering.

“Extra labeling only confuses the consumer,” said David Edwards, director of animal biotechnology at the Biotechnology Industry Organization. “It differentiates products that are not different. As we stick more labels on products that don’t really tell us anything more, it makes it harder for consumers to make their choices.”

The FDA defends its approach, saying it is simply following the law, which prohibits misleading labels on food. And the fact that a food, in this case salmon, is produced through a different process, is not sufficient to require a label.

The controversy comes at a time when Americans seem to want to know more about their food – where it is grown, how it is produced and what it contains. Books criticizing industrial agriculture have become bestsellers, farmers markets are expanding and organic food is among the fastest-growing segments of the food industry.

The FDA itself is part of a new effort to improve nutrition information on processed foods.

In the European Union and Japan, it is nearly impossible to find genetically modified foods, largely because laws require labeling, said William K. Hallman, director of the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers University. “No one wants to carry products with such a label,” he said. “The food companies figure that consumers won’t buy it.”

There is nothing to stop salmon producers or food makers in the United States from voluntarily labeling their products as genetically engineered – except a fear of rejection in the marketplace, Hallman said. “I don’t know of a single company that does that,” he said.

The FDA maintains it can only require labeling if a genetically engineered food is somehow different from the conventional version – if it has an unusual texture, taste, nutritional component or allergen, for example.

Although some consumer advocates maintain there are important differences, the agency’s scientists have already said they see no “biologically relevant” variations between the AquAdvantage salmon and traditional salmon.

Consumers could be certain of getting the non-modified version if they bought salmon labeled as “wild,” but most salmon consumed in this country is farmed.

Ever since the FDA approved the first genetically altered material for use in food in 1992, when Monsanto developed a synthetic hormone injected into cows to increase milk production, the agency has held that it cannot require food producers to label products as genetically engineered.

In the intervening years, the use of genetically engineered crops has skyrocketed; 93 percent of this year’s soybean crop is genetically engineered, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Byproducts of those crops – soy lecithin, for example – are found in thousands of processed foods from chocolate bars to breakfast cereal; none is labeled as containing genetically modified ingredients.

No ‘Hormone Free’ either

The labeling matter is further complicated because the FDA has maintained a tough stance for food makers who don’t use genetically engineered ingredients and want to promote their products as an alternative. The agency allows manufacturers to label their products as not genetically engineered as long as those labels are accurate and do not imply that the products are therefore more healthful.

The agency warned the dairy industry in 1994 that it could not use “Hormone Free” labeling on milk from cows that are not given engineered hormones, because all milk contains some hormones.

It has sent a flurry of enforcement letters to food makers, including B&G Foods, which was told it could not use the phrase “GMO-free” on its Polaner All Fruit strawberry spread label because GMO refers to genetically modified organisms and strawberries are produce, not organisms.

It told the maker of Spectrum Canola Oil that it could not use a label that included a red circle with a line through it and the words “GMO,” saying the symbol suggested that there was something wrong with genetically engineered food.

“This to me raises questions about whose interest the FDA is protecting,” said Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), who has introduced legislation that would require labeling for genetically engineered food. “They are clearly protecting industry and not the public.”

One state with a sizable salmon fishing industry – Alaska – passed a law in 2005 that requires labeling of any genetically engineered fish sold there.

“One side of the argument says let’s give consumers sovereignty over their food choices,” Hallman said. “The other says we’ve done the science on this and it’s no different, so if we put a label on it, we’re implying it’s somehow risky and that’s like government imposed false advertising.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/18/AR2010091803520.html?referrer=emailarticle

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