Archive | September, 2011

Tags: , , , , , ,

Mexico to Expand GMO Corn Planting-group

Posted on 19 September 2011 by admin

(Reuters) – * More than 10 permits sought again for pilot projects

* Pro-GMO group sees commercial corn planting by next year

(Reuters) – Permits to plant large extensions of genetically modified (GM) corn for the first time in Mexico are likely to be approved before the end of the year, said a company lobby group on Monday.

Monsanto , DuPont’s Pioneer seed unit and Dow Chemical’s agricultural arm have all applied to expand on tiny experimental plots of GM corn in northern Mexico, said AgroBIO, an organization that represents the biotech companies.

The group expects the government will approve more sizable pilot plots for the corn-growing state of Sinaloa by the end of October and in Tamaulipas by November with other states following soon after.

The aim is to have the first commercial planting by the end of 2012, AgroBIO’s director Alejandro Monteagudo said.

For years the revered status of corn in Mexico, widely believed to be the birthplace of the grain, has made the country hesitant to adopt transgenic maize seeds.

Tough regulations require companies first plant test plots on less than 2.5 acres (1 hectare), destroying all the corn produced.

Once the experiments show they are not harming the environment or contaminating Mexico’s native corn varieties, the law allows for a pilot phase of around 25 acres (10 hectares).

When that hoop is cleared, farmers can move on to commercial planting.

“We are not gaining anything from just staying in the experimental phase,” Monteagudo said.

Most of the eleven petitions for pilot projects were initially rejected by the government on the grounds there was a lack of sufficient information from the experiments.

AgroBIO resubmitted the claims and is waiting for a response. The Agriculture Ministry did not respond for a request for comment on the new round of permit requests.

Mexicans eat corn with nearly every meal and the grain was worshiped as a god by the region’s pre-colonial cultures.

Now one of the world’s biggest corn producers — more than 20 million tonnes on average per year — Mexico has fallen behind other agricultural powerhouses such as its neighbor the United States where genetically modified seeds are widespread.

Mexico imports around 10 million tonnes of corn every year, mostly a yellow variety from the United States used for animal feed. AgroBIO says the expensive GM seeds could increase yields in Mexico by up to 15 percent and reduce the cost of fertilizers and other inputs.

Farmers in the country’s north, where there are vast expanses of mechanized and irrigated land, say they need the seeds to be more competitive.

But the rest of Mexico’s corn is grown by small producers, many of whom use the grain to feed their families and livestock. They worry the engineered seeds will overtake indigenous corn varieties or create dependencies on international companies. (Reporting by Mica Rosenberg; editing by Miral Fahmy)

Share if you eat food or drink water!

Comments (0)

Tags: , , ,

Labels demand after shock GMO Soy-drink Tests

Posted on 16 September 2011 by admin

The Consumer Council has called for a mandatory labeling system on all pre- packaged and genetically modified food sold in Hong Kong after revealing that half the soy drinks on the market contain GM ingredients.

It detected GM ingredients in half the 50 samples tested, though some had very limited amounts that were hardly quantifiable.

Seven of the soy drinks tested with GM components are labelled “Organic” on the packaging.

A further four, three of which are manufactured in Taiwan and the other in Hong Kong, contained 0.2 to 1.1 percent of GM components.

Two of these had labels claiming “non-GMO,” meaning no genetically modified organisms in the drinks.

 

Ambrose Ho Pui-him, the council’s publicity and community relations committee vice chairman, suggests food manufacturers avoid using “non-GMO” labels since the food may be accidentally contaminated by GM components during the production process.

 

At present, there is only a voluntary labeling guideline issued by the Centre for Food Safety, but no specific law governing sales and mandatory labeling.

“It has yet to be proved that GM food is harmful to human health when compared to traditional food, and the long-term effect towards human health is still unknown,” Ho said. KELLY IP

Share if you eat food or drink water!

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Whole Foods Market Policy on Genetically Engineered Food GMOs

Posted on 15 September 2011 by admin

Genetically Engineered Foods

Our goal at Whole Foods Market is to provide informed consumer choice with regard to genetically engineered ingredients (also known as GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms). Clearly labeled products enable shoppers who want to avoid foods made with GMOs to do so. Accordingly we offer a growing array of choices in our stores by sourcing our 365 Everyday Value® food products to avoid GMOs, by supporting organic agriculture (which prohibits the use of GMOs), and by encouraging other food producers to offer non-GMO options.

NON GMO Project Verified

When developing our national store brand food products under the 365 Everyday Value® label, we work with our manufacturers to source non-GMO ingredients. In July 2009, we began working with the Non-GMO Project to verify and label our store brand food products using the nation’s first authoritative standard for Non-GMO products. All of our 365 Everyday Value® food products are enrolled in the Project, and you can find a list of verified products (both our store brands and other brands) on your local Whole Foods Market’s store web page.

The Project is a collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed breeders and consumers who have developed North America’s first independent third-party Non-GMO Product Verification Program. This program ensures that food production follows rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance, and the seal allows consumers to make informed food buying choices.

The Product Verification Program uses a process that combines on-site facility audits, document-based review and product testing to verify compliance with the standard at every level of the supply chain, from manufacturing facilities to ingredient suppliers. For a product to be verified and bear the seal, it must undergo a process through which any ingredient at high risk for GMO contamination—soy or corn, for example—has been proven to meet the standard through avoidance practices and testing.

GMOS & CERTIFIED ORGANIC PRODUCTS

USDA Organics

By law, organic products must be created only with non-GMO ingredients. Buying organic products throughout our stores is a reliable way for customers to choose non-GMO foods. Accordingly, we encourage manufacturers and producers to label organic products as not grown from genetically engineered seed.

We also encourage other manufacturers and producers to create products without GMO ingredients or processes and to have them verified and labeled as such.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/values/genetically-engineered.php

Share if you eat food or drink water!

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

FDA’s Vicious Attack on Dietary Supplements

Posted on 14 September 2011 by admin

By Dr. Mercola

S.1310: Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2011, introduced at the end of June by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) is, using Byron J. Richards’ words, “an alarming regulatory nightmare that is trying to treat vitamins as if they are drugs.”

Its stated purpose is to:

“… improve the safety of dietary supplements by amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require manufacturers of dietary supplements to register dietary supplement products with the Food and Drug Administration and to amend labeling requirements with respect to dietary supplements.”

As is typical of most diabolical laws, it initially sounds harmless enough. But there’s more. Durbin’s bill goes hand-in-hand with new FDA regulations that amend the definitions for new dietary ingredients (NDI’s), and together, they can threaten your health and freedom of choice, and further serve to strengthen the fatally flawed paradigm of health and medicine.

We’ve seen proposed legislation that sorely threatens your health and well-being before, but this time they’re really trying to hit the alternative health field, and your right to take control of your own life, hard.

It’s Not about Safety, It’s about Profits

Whose profit, you might ask?

Why, the pharmaceutical industry, of course. Vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements have a tremendously safe track record. Drugs are known to cause well over 100,000 deaths per yearwhen taken as prescribed.

For comparison, look at the latest statistics available from the U.S. National Poison Data System, which covers acute poisonings. In 2007, 1,597 people reportedly died from drugs. Meanwhile there was not one single fatality caused by a vitamin or dietary mineral supplement that year. Yet, Durbin and the FDA want you to think that they’re just acting in your best interest. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Up to this point, the FDA has had to prove a supplement unsafe in order to take action against it, but now they want the supplement industry to prove the safety of what in many cases amount to food, before they can reach the market.

Why add an extremely costly testing and approval process for compounds that are inherently safe? Well, an obvious side effect of these proposed regulations will be the elimination of small and medium sized companies, which in turn will drive up costs while at the same time reduce your access to historically safe nutritional products. The end result is that fewer people will use supplements to improve their health; driving them back into the extremely profitable fold of conventional medicine and drugs.

Byron J. Richards writes:

“The elimination of health options is required for the control of a population, while the preservation of health freedom is a leading indicator of the overall freedom within a society… [T]he control of health options is as important as the control of food and money.

… Big Pharma influences Republicans by aligning itself as a corporate conglomerate that is too big to fail, one that should be free of prudent safety regulations or reduction in grotesquely inflated prices. It fights against drug safety at every turn, while at the same time lobbying to pass laws that lock in sales or eliminate its competition.

The media plays along, as Big Pharma is a wonderful source of advertising dollars that are in no small part made possible by taxpayer funding of Big Pharma drug sales. While Big Pharma sees many aspects of the dietary supplement industry as competition, it is also the case that many pharmaceutical companies are in some aspect of the dietary supplement industry, often as raw material suppliers.

Big Pharma does not want to see the dietary supplement industry eliminated, it wants to see the small and medium sized independent businesses in the dietary supplement industry eliminated and it wants to own the industry. Their key strategy to accomplish this at this time is to lobby to pass costly laws and regulations which they can comply to and which other smaller, independent companies cannot. “

The Second Part of an Orchestrated Attack

Back in the early 1990s, the FDA threatened the availability of dietary supplements to the point that consumers staged a massive revolt, which resulted in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). The law specifically protects your access to dietary supplements by classifying them as foods, not food additives or drugs, and it grand-fathered in dietary supplements that were already in use as of 1994. Only novel ingredients introduced after October 15, 1994 are required to seek FDA approval.

Now, along with Durbin’s bill, the FDA has concocted new proposed mandates regarding the definition of a New Dietary Ingredient , known as NDI, that can be retroactively applied to products already on the market.

You can read the FDA Draft Guidance on New Dietary Ingredients (NDI’s) here. A detailed analysis of the FDA Draft Guidance is also available.

According to Richards:

“It is important to understand that this is a Durbin effort to ruin the dietary supplement industry, using both newly proposed legislation (S.1310) and retroactively redefining the DSHEA law through new FDA regulations to reflect what is being proposed in S.1310 – undermining the clear intent of the DSHEA law.

The DSHEA law intended consumers to have wide access to dietary supplements. Durbin is intent upon the opposite.” These regulations seek to change what was essentially a notification process into a costly approval process. The net effect of the regulations is to reclassify many nutritional compounds currently on the market as NDI.”

The DSHEA legislation states that:

  • the Federal Government should not take any actions to impose unreasonable regulatory barriers limiting or slowing the flow of safe products and accurate information to consumers;
  • dietary supplements are safe within a broad range of intake, and safety problems with the supplements are relatively rare;
  • and legislative action that protects the right of access of consumers to safe dietary supplements is necessary in order to promote wellness

The proposed mandates directly contradict what DSHEA sought to prevent, and the FDA is using its authority in direct violation of Congressional intent. As explained in an article by Alliance for Health, the proposed regulations turn what was clearly supposed to be a pre-market notification system into a pre-approval system, just like that of drugs. As a result, dietary supplements that have been freely available for nearly two decades can be forced off the market until they receive NDI approval. And the NDI approval process is a lengthy affair that may take months or years to complete, and cost a small fortune.

What might make an “old” ingredient “new,” under the new regulation?

The methods of production and extraction, for example… As bizarre as that sounds, the mere fact that a product is being extracted or produced by improved means compared to methods used in the past, could reclassify any grandfathered nutrient as an NDI that would now have to undergo the same type of safety testing and approval process as a drug.

Ridiculously Excessive Safety Testing Would be Required Under New Rules

If the FDA and Durbin get their way, once a supplement is taken off the market pending approval as an NDI, the manufacturer would have to conduct outrageously expensive studies using abnormally high doses—in some situations multiplied by a “safety factor” up to 2,000-times the recommended dosage on a per product basis. In fact, some of the safety thresholds are in excess of those required by pharmaceutical drugs despite studies showing supplements are FAR safer than drugs!

An estimated 106,000 hospitalized patients die each year from drugs that, by medical standards, are properly prescribed and administered, and two million more suffer serious side effects. How does the safety of supplements compare?

  • In 2001, 84.6 percent of all substances implicated in fatal poisonings were pharmaceutical drugs, according to that year’s American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) report. This compares with 0.8 percent for all dietary supplements combined, even including substances such as dinitrophenol, a dangerous (and illegal) substance banned in 1938, as well as the central nervous system stimulant Ma Huang (Ephedra).

    ONE drug alone, the anti-asthma drug theophylline, which was responsible for 15 deaths that year, amounted to 66 percent more than all the available dietary supplements combined.

  • According to CDC mortality data for 2005, prescription drugs killed more than 33,500 people that year, second only to car accidents. That same year, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 27 deaths that were associated with dietary supplements (one of which was reportedly due to Ephedra; the herbal supplement banned the year before for being too dangerous. In 2005, low-dose Ephedra was also subsequently banned).

Now, since dietary supplements are not patented drugs with outrageous profit margins, very few supplement makers will be able to afford the required safety studies, which could run in the millions of dollars per ingredient! Furthermore, the manufacturer is not the only one that would have to seek approval—every distributor that wants to use the NDI would have to file a separate NDI application.

Get Involved NOW!

Folks, this is not the time to doze off on the sidelines. Durbin’s bill and the FDA proposed mandates for NDI’s are a poorly veiled attempt to usurp your rights and health freedom. As Richards writes:

“This chess game is being played with a pathetic opening strategy based on imaginary safety problems. The gambit requires an ignorant public for its success.

It’s time to prove them wrong yet again, just like we did back in 1994. The open comment period on the FDA’s proposed guidelines expires on September 30, 2011. It’s vitally important for everyone to file a written protest and not allow them to rewrite the intent of the DSHEA law. Durbin’s bill and the FDA proposal pose a direct threat to your health and longevity, so please, step up and defend your right to continue using supplements and to gain access to new natural ingredients with demonstrated efficacy by following the steps outlined below:

  1. Write to your State Senators and tell them to beware of S.1310 and to vote NO on it.

  2. Log on to www.lef.org/lac to send a written petition to the FDA, or use the sample letter provided below. Print out this petition and add any words you choose and fax this to the FDA at the following number: (301) 443-9767
  3. Call FDA at 1-888-723-3366 and read this petition to personnel at the Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements
  4. Send a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by logging in to lef.org/FOIA to find out what pharmaceutical interests are behind these absurd proposals that will cause the cost of what supplements remain on the free market to skyrocket in price. (Sample letter is also provided below.)
  5. Send a letter to your Representative and two Senators demanding the FDA immediately withdraw their oppressive proposed guidelines pending rationale discussions with those who depend on dietary supplements to protect their health and livelihood. You can do this easily by logging into www.lef.org/lac, or use the sample letter below.

Empower yourself today. Recall how Consumers revolted back in 1994 and the result was a glorious victory over FDA tyranny!

Let your voice be heard by logging on to www.lef.org/lac today and exercising your right to petition the government against these serious violations of the law and scientific principle.

SAMPLE FDA PETITION:

PLEASE NOTE, it is best if you customize or change the letter below to state your specific concerns and beliefs as it will be better. If you are unable to then you can send the one below but it will work MUCH better if you can customize it.

TO: Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements

Food and Drug Administration

5100 Paint Branch Pkwy.HFS-009

College Park, MD 20740-3835

Telephone:1-888-723-3366

Fax: (301) 443-9767

On July 11, 2011, President Obama issued an Executive Order that requires the FDA to:

  1. Make regulatory decisions only after consideration of their costs and benefits (both quantitative and qualitative).
  2. Review significant regulations to make sure they are not excessively burdensome.
  3. Develop and release to the public a plan within 120 days under which the FDA will periodically review its existing significant regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed so as to make the agency’s regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.

I am petitioning the FDA regarding your draft guidance on New Dietary Ingredient notifications for dietary supplements (known as Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues).

I demand that you immediately disregard all the proposals you outlined and instead consider a rationale and scientific approach to regulating new dietary ingredients that will be submitted to you by the Alliance for Natural Health within the next 180 days.

Your proposed guidelines on New Dietary Ingredients will cause the price of my supplements to skyrocket and some of these life-sustaining supplements are likely to disappear altogether.

This is not acceptable, especially when there are no significant reports of adverse reactions to the supplements you plan to ban.

In as much as your threat to ban my access to new dietary ingredients is causing me great anxiety which is injurious to my health, I insist that you immediately put your proposed new rules on hold for a 180 day period so that the Alliance for Natural Health can draft guidelines that will protect me against unsafe ingredients without destroying my access to low cost effective nutrients.

Sincerely,

Name___________Address____________City___________ST____ Zip___

SAMPLE LETTER TO CONGRESS:

The Honorable ______________________, Washington, DC

In direct violation of the law, the FDA is threatening to ban my access to new dietary supplements.

The FDA defines dietary supplements as being “new” if they were introduced after October 15, 1994. That means that nutrients that I have been safely using over the course of three decades will be subject to FDA’s oppressive policies that mandate costly animal testing, which translates into forced withdrawal from the market, and higher prices for me if the supplement is ever allowed to be sold again.

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 states that:

The Federal Government should not take any actions to impose unreasonable regulatory barriers limiting or slowing the flow of safe products and accurate information to consumers.”

It says that Congress finds that:

dietary supplements are safe within a broad range of intake, and safety problems with the supplements are relatively rare.”

And it says that:

legislative action that protects the right of access of consumers to safe dietary supplements is necessary in order to promote wellness.”

This draft guidance does the exact opposite of what Congress intended. It imposes unreasonable barriers that limit and slow the flow of safe products and accurate information to consumers. I call upon Congress to:

  1. Uphold the landmark legislation it passed seventeen years ago, and to direct the FDA to revise its New Dietary Ingredient draft guidelines to reflect DSHEA’s (and Congress’s) stated values and goals.
  2. Vote against the newly introduced Dietary Supplement Labeling Act as this would give the FDA even greater arbitrary powers to remove safe dietary supplements from the market, which will a profoundly adverse impact on this nation’s health.

All of these proposals results in wasteful federal spending, while imposing a massive new “regulatory tax” on consumers and the vitamin industry.

Kindly let me know what actions you are taking in response to the urgent issues raised in this letter.

Sincerely,

Name______________Address____________City___________ST____ Zip___

SAMPLE FOIA REQUEST:

Below is a sample letter that you can use to select one or more of the 19 listed requests for records, or create your own individual request. You can then copy, edit, print, and send this to the FDA at the address on the letter. Please note that you are committing to paying a $25.00 charge if FDA agrees to respond to your request. The more records you request, the greater the FDA fees are likely to be. If you choose to file a Freedom of Information Act request, please read this letter carefully.

Date: _____________
Food and Drug Administration

Division of Freedom of Information

Office of Shared Services

Office of Public Information and Library Services

12420 Parklawn Drive

ELEM-1029

Rockville, MD 20857

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear FOIA staff:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. §552, we wish to have copies at the earliest possible time, of any and all public records in the custody of the Food and Drug Administration that relate to the “Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues” released in July 2011.

I specifically request:

  1. All records relating to the expenditure of time and money by FDA personnel (and outside consultants) in researching, drafting and promulgating the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  2. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with pharmaceutical company representatives (including lobbyists) that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  3. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with any member of Congress or Congress as a whole that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  4. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with any member of private industry that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  5. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with any scientific advisory committee, scientific advisory board, or individual scientist that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  6. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with FDA’ General Counsel’s office, or outside legal counsel that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  7. All records relating to FDA’s evaluation of safety issues relating to new dietary ingredients that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  8. All records relating to FDA’s decision to impose barriers that limit the ability of consumers to access new dietary ingredients that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  9. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with other FDA personal that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  10. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with personal from the Department of Health and Human Services that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  11. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with personal from the U.S. Treasury Department that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  12. All records relating to the cost benefit analysis performed by FDA or outside consultants that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  13. All records relating to financial estimates made by FDA personnel or outside consultants relating to the cost to the FDA of administering the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  14. All records relating to financial estimates made by FDA personnel or outside consultants relating to the cost burden of the dietary supplement industry in complying with the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  15. All records relating to what human and other resources within the FDA would be utilized to oversee and administer the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  16. All records relating to what human and other resources within the FDA would be moved or transferred from other positions within the FDA in order to oversee and administer the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  17. All records relating to communication of FDA personnel with the Department of Justice that in any way relate to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  18. All records relating to the steps taken by the FDA to ensure the Administrative Procedures Act was fully complied with as it relates to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.
  19. All records relating to the steps taken by the FDA to ensure that provisions in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 was fully adhered to as it relates to the Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.

I agree to pay any and all expenses up to $25.00 related to this request. If you anticipate that the nature or volume of the records requested is such as to require extensive use of information technology, resources, or extensive clerical or supervisory assistance by personnel of the Food and Drug Administration, and such expenses would exceed $25.00, I would appreciate being advised thereof in advance of the assembly of those records and the estimated charge in excess of $25.00, if any, for doing so.

If the FDA asserts an exemption from Public Records Act disclosure of any records falling within the scope of the above request, we request that it include in the records inspected, or otherwise make available to us as soon as possible and in no event no later than the date of the initial production of the records, a reasonable description of the nature of the records for which an exemption or exemptions are claimed and the statutory or other legal bases under any such exemption is claimed.

I would appreciate your contacting me, at ___________ at the earliest possible time to advise us of when the FDA will make the requested copies available.

Please call if you have any questions regarding this request.

Sincerely,

Share if you eat food or drink water!

Comments (2)

Tags:

Farmer Jane – Women Changing the Way We Eat

Posted on 14 September 2011 by admin

Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQwIdiN8tyM

Share if you eat food or drink water!

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Intertek launches True Source HoneyT (TSH) Certified Program in India

Posted on 12 September 2011 by admin

Intertek is a leading provider of quality and safety solutions serving a wide range of industries around the world, providing audit, inspection, testing, and quality assurance and certification options.

Intertek, who are the exclusive global partner for True Source Honey™, LLC launched the True Source Honey Certified program in India at The Hotel Eros, Nehru Place. TSH is a global initiative to certify whole chain traceability and sustainability of ethically sourced, fairly traded honey.

Honey is one of the few remaining food products that are considered natural (or without added ingredients or other refined additives that alter the composition of the product). In an effort to protect the product, True Source Honey will work with honey companies in the countries of origin and U.S. importers to set a global standard for high-quality honey. Intertek will play an integral part in helping to set this standard, by handling all of the traceability audits and inspecting the containers of honey imported into the U.S. as registered under the True Source Honey initiative.

The launch was attended by several Government Dignitaries, Diplomats and Important Industry personalities. Shree S Dave, Chairman of Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) was present as the Guest of Honor and the function was presided over by Shree Ashok Sinha, former Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries.

Intertek is a leading provider of quality and safety solutions serving a wide range of industries around the world, providing audit, inspection, testing, and quality assurance and certification options. It has a network of more than 1,000 laboratories and offices and 30,000 people in over 100 countries around the world. Mr. Rajesh Saigal, Managing Director, Intertek India said on the occasion, “Intertek is very pleased that True Source Honey chose our expertise. We look forward to applying our skill to ensure that the complete honey supply chain is protected.”

Besides Intertek, Grant Thornton, one of World’s leading audit, tax and advisory firms, has been exclusively appointed by True Source Honey, LLC (TSH) for the purpose of conducting Financial Audit for companies interested in applying for TSH certification in India. Mr. Mehra, Director, Grant Thornton India said, “The purpose of the Audit will be to determine that the honey of Indian origin only is exported as “Product of India” to the United States.”

“We are pleased to become the first True Source Honey (TSH) Certified entity in the World. As honey circumvention is a much discussed issue all over the world today, this initiative was launched to ensure that the origin of the honey that is supplied – is certified by third party auditors. We are proud to receive this certificate from True Source Honey, LLC” – said, Mr. Kejriwal, MD, Kejriwal Bee Care India (P) Ltd.

Share if you eat food or drink water!

Comments (0)

Tags: , , ,

EU Bans GMO-Contaminated Honey

Posted on 07 September 2011 by admin

EU bans GM-contaminated honey from general sale

Bavarian beekeepers forced to declare their honey as genetically modified because of contamination from nearby Monsanto crops

Honey bees sit on a honeycomb at Bad Segeberg, northern Germany

Honey bees on a honeycomb in Germany. A European court has ruled that honey which contains traces of pollen from genetically modified crops needs special authorisation before it can be sold. Photograph: Heribert Proepper/AP

The European Union’s highest court on Tuesday ruled that honey which contains trace amounts of pollen from genetically modified (GM) corn must be labelled as GM produce and undergo full safety authorisation before it can be sold as food.

In what green groups are calling a “groundbreaking” ruling, the decision could force the EU to strengthen its already near-zero tolerance policy on genetically modified organisms (GMO

Bavarian beekeepers, some 500m from a test field for a modified maize crop developed by Monsanto – one of only two GM crops authorised as safe to be cultivated in Europe - claimed their honey had been “contaminated” by pollen from the plant.

The European court of justice found in their favour, a ruling that should offer grounds for the beekeepers to claim compensation in a German court.

But the court’s finding also potentially threatens recent EU legislation, introduced in July this year, that permits traces of GMOs in animal feed without a safety review.

Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said that the ruling “would confirm that existing laws allowing traces of unauthorised GM contamination are insufficient and would need revising.”

French Green MEP José Bové, an ex-farmer well-known for his destruction of a McDonald’s franchise in the south of France and the uprooting of GM crops in Brazil, said that the only protection farmers can have is for a complete ban on GMOs in Europe. “Beekeepers are powerless to prevent the contamination of their honey by GM pollen, as farmers are for their crops, and thus powerless to prevent the tainting of the foodstuffs they produce and the integrity of their product.

“The only sure way to prevent this is by precluding the cultivation of GMOs.”

Greenpeace, describing the traces of pollen in the honey as “genetic pollution” said that Monsanto and the Bavarian state should be held liable for the beekeepers’ losses as a result of their product having to be labelled as containing GMOs.

However, agricultural specialists criticised the ruling, saying that the decision has no grounding in science.

Guy Poppy, the director of the centre for biological sciences at the University of Southampton, told the Guardian: “There is no safety issue. This honey is as safe as any other.”

The corn in question is genetically engineered to produce an insecticide that naturally occurs in the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (BT). The production of this toxin protects the maize plants from European corn borer larvae.

“The Monsanto maize is genetically modified to produce the BT protein. But this same protein actually has been regularly used for years as a spray even by organic farmers,” he added.

“The consequences of these sorts of ruling is that new methods of plant breeding, whether GM or other forms that are developed, could be thrown out of potential use, making it impossible to innovate.”

Vivian Moses, professor of biotechnology at the University of London and the chairwoman of Cropgen, an advisory group on GM foods, said: “These beekeepers believe that there is a sensitivity among consumers of the presence of GM material, that the honey containing GM loses quality. They are just protecting their economic interest.

“But scientifically this doesn’t add up to anything, as the crop has been judged as safe for human consumption.”

In response to the ruling, the European commission will in two weeks discuss the issue of GMOs and honey with EU member states.

According to Brussels, it is likely that the decision will have an impact on the honey into the EU as Europe does not itself produce sufficient quantities for the size of the market. The bloc produces 200,000 tonnes per year and must import an additional 140,000 tonnes.

Argentina and China, both GM-friendly countries and the two biggest importers of honey into the EU, are likely to be affected in particular, the commission warned.

“The honey is not dangerous. There is no health risk from honey in the EU,” insisted EU consumer protection spokesman, Frédéric Vincent, worried that shoppers might stop buying honey as a result of the news.

“It’s an important ruling from the court. I can’t say at this point whether we need to change any laws,” he added. “The contamination is done by the bees themselves. We can’t put GPS tracking on the bees.”

Share if you eat food or drink water!

Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

Honey made near Monsanto crops must get EU check, court says

Posted on 07 September 2011 by admin

Wed, 7 Sep 2011 06:05:15

Beekeepers with hives close to fields of Monsanto Co. genetically modified corn must have their honey checked by regulators before selling it in the European Union, the region’s highest court said.EU rules require prior authorization before goods containing genetically modified organisms are marketed.

Share if you eat food or drink water!

Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

GMO Honey – EU Court Puts Limits On Genetically Modified Honey

Posted on 06 September 2011 by admin

BRUSSELS — Honey that contains traces of pollen from genetically modified crops needs special authorization before it can be sold in Europe, the European Union’s top court said Tuesday, in a judgment that could have widespread consequences on the bloc’s policy on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

The ruling from the European Court of Justice came after several Bavarian beekeepers demanded compensation from their government for honey and food supplements that contained traces of pollen from genetically modified maize.

The beekeepers had their hives close to fields where the Bavarian government was growing Monsanto’s MON 810 maize for research purposes.

The EU has strict guidelines on authorizing and informing consumers about foods containing GMOs – a policy that has caused problems for producers of genetically modified seeds such as U.S.-based Monsanto Co. that are used to much laxer rules in other parts of the world.

Kelli Powers, a spokeswoman for Monsanto, said the company could not provide detailed comment on the ruling until the firm had a chance to read the entire judgment.

But Powers emphasized that the company’s engineered corn seed has been approved as safe for human consumption.

“…the safety of MON 810 is confirmed by multiple regulatory approvals, including those in the EU, and by up to 15 years of successful commercial use and consumption of MON810 corn products in the EU and around the world,” Powers said in an e-mail.

Environmental activists said Tuesday’s ruling will force the 17-country European Union to strengthen the rules even further at a time they worried the bloc was dropping its zero-tolerance policy toward GMOs.

“This is a victory for beekeepers, consumers and the movement for GMO-free agriculture in Europe,” Mute Schimpf, a food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said in a statement. “This ruling rewrites the rule book and gives legal backing to stronger measures to prevent contamination from the likes of Monsanto.”

Earlier this year, the EU approved rules to allow the import of animal feed contaminated with small traces of genetically modified crops – a move that was heavily criticized by environmental groups.

The EU and feed suppliers argued that a loosening of the ban was necessary because it was difficult to prevent minute traces of GMOs from finding their way into large shipments from overseas.

In its judgment on the honey, the Luxembourg-based court however seemed to take a stricter view.

The EU’s “authorization scheme for foodstuffs containing ingredients produced from GMOs applies irrespective of whether the pollen is introduced intentionally or adventitiously into the honey,” it said in its ruling.

The obligation to get special permission to sell the honey exists “irrespective of the proportion of genetically modified material contained in the product in question,” the court added.

___

AP Reporter Christopher Leonard in St. Louis contributed to this report.

Share if you eat food or drink water!

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ConAgra Anti-GMO Lawsuit Has Big Implications for Food Labeling

Posted on 02 September 2011 by admin

Product labeling is an area where loopholes and CSR seem to converge. It is precisely these loopholes that make it easy for companies to engage in a degree of greenwash but there is a thin line between ‘greenwash’ and ‘misleading the consumer.’  A recent lawsuit against ConAgra proves this point. The American food giant that owns several brands like Healthy Choice, Wesson, Slim Jim, & Banquet has been under attack for alleged false labeling.

The Food Safety News reports that its Wesson brand of cooking oil has been slapped with various lawsuits for claiming to be “all natural.” This deceptive marketing suit was brought against ConAgra in June by Millberg LLP. It could actually make food manufacturers think twice about bandying about the word ‘natural.’ Four Wesson varieties are implicated in the case: Canola Oil, Vegetable Oil, Corn Oil, and Best Blend, all of which have the  ”100% natural” claim on their labels.  However, the products include a number of genetically modified organisms (GMO).

The problem of course does not reside only with Wesson. There are thousands of processed food items that line grocery shelves that have the ‘natural’ label but are known to contain GMOs. 85% of US corn and 91% of soybean is genetically modified – both of these are common ingredients in processed food either by themselves or in the form of derivatives like soya lecithin, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch etc. 90% of Americans want full disclosure on their food products which may mean that every major food company needs to overhaul its labeling policies.

This is a very significant breakthrough for anti-GMO campaigners because it shows how much consumer choice actually affects companies. This is also a case for those companies and governments pushing forintroduction of GMO in their countries. India is currently in the midst of signing off on a bill that will enable the free production of GMO fruit and vegetables. This would be a potentially calamitous move due to the lack of labeling laws in India as well as the fact that the country by and large still follows a bulk-bin system of buying produce.

Con Agra might be able to wriggle its way out of the suit. Its recent disclosure report revealed that it spent $100,000 in the second quarter on lobbying government officials on agriculture programs, ethanol regulations, etc. According to the report it filed, the company lobbied the FDA, the Department of Agriculture and the Office of Management and Budget, apart from Congress. I wonder how much of this went towards GMO lobbying.

Food companies can no longer hide behind ambiguous labels like ‘natural’ because food essentially is natural! The label itself is an oxymoron. With the advent of the suit on Con Agra, it is necessary for other companies to question their methods of labeling and/or food sourcing so that they are not open to liabilities. Currently under US laws, GMOs are not required to be labelled but labeling a product ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ when it does contain GMO is misleading to the consumer. Surely that is illegal?

“ If they have to put the word ‘natural’ on a box to convince you, it probably isn’t “

- Eric Schlosser, author, Fast Food Nation

Share if you eat food or drink water!

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here