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Asian Honey, Banned in Europe, Is Flooding U.S. Grocery Shelves

Posted on 15 August 2011 by admin

Asian Honey, Banned in Europe, Is Flooding U.S. Grocery Shelves

FDA has the laws needed to keep adulterated honey off store shelves but does little, honey industry says.

BY ANDREW SCHNEIDER | AUG 15, 2011

 

A third or more of all the honey consumed in the U.S. is likely to have been smuggled in from China and may be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals.  A Food Safety News investigation has documented that millions of pounds of honey banned as unsafe in dozens of countries are being imported and sold here in record quantities.
And the flow of Chinese honey continues despite assurances from the Food and Drug Administration and other federal officials that the hundreds of millions of pounds reaching store shelves were authentic and safe following the widespread arrests and convictions of major smugglers over the last two years.
Thumbnail image for honeycomb406.jpgExperts interviewed by Food Safety Newssay some of the largest and most long-established U.S. honey packers are knowingly buying mislabeled, transshipped or possibly altered honey so they can sell it cheaper than those companies who demand safety, quality and rigorously inspected honey.
“It’s no secret that the honey smuggling is being driven by money, the desire to save a couple of pennies a pound,” said Richard Adee, who is the Washington Legislative Chairman of the American Honey Producers Association.
“These big packers are still using imported honey of uncertain safety that they know is illegal because they know their chances of getting caught are slim,” Adee said.
Food safety investigators from the European Union barred all shipments of honey from India because of the presence of lead and illegal animal antibiotics.  Further, they found an even larger amount of honey apparently had been concocted without the help of bees, made from artificial sweeteners and then extensively filtered to remove any proof of contaminants or adulteration or indications of precisely where the honey actually originated.
An examination of international and government shipping tallies, customs documents and interviews with some of North America’s top honey importers and brokers documented the rampant honey laundering and that a record amount of the Chinese honey was being purchased by major U.S. packers.
Food Safety News contacted Suebee Co-Op, the nation’s oldest and largest honey packer and seller, for a response to these allegations and to learn where it gets its honey. The co-op did not respond to repeated calls and emails for comment. Calls and emails to other major honey sellers also were unreturned.
EU Won’t Accept Honey from India
Much of this questionable honey was officially banned beginning June 2010 by the 27 countries of the European Union and others. But on this side of the ocean, the FDA checks few of the thousands of shipments arriving through 22 American ports each year.
According to FDA data, between January and June, just 24 honey shipments were stopped from entering the country. The agency declined to say how many loads are inspected and by whom.
However, during that same period, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that almost 43 million pounds of honey entered the U.S. Of that, the Department of Commerce said 37.7 million pounds came from India, the same honey that is banned in the EU because it contained animal medicine and lead and lacked the proper paperwork to prove it didn’t come from China.
“There are still millions of pounds of transshipped Chinese honey coming in the U.S. and it’s all coming now from India and Vietnam and everybody in the industry knows that,” said Elise Gagnon, president of Odem International, a worldwide trading house that specializes in bulk raw honey.
The FDA says it has regulations prohibiting foods banned in other countries from entering the U.S. However, the agency said last month that it “would not know about honey that has been banned from other countries …”
Adee called the FDA’s response “absurd.” He said the European ban against Indian honey is far from a secret.
“Why are we the dumping ground of the world for something that’s banned in all these other countries?” asked Adee, who, with 80,000 bee colonies in five states, is the country’s largest honey producer.
“We’re supposed to have the world’s safest food supply but we’re letting in boatloads of this adulterated honey that all these other countries know is contaminated and FDA does nothing.”
The food safety agency said it’s doing the best it can with existing resources and will do more when the newly passed Food Safety Modernization Act is up and running.
Where Is Our Honey Coming From?
honeypot350.jpgThe U.S. consumes about 400 million pounds of honey a year – about 1.3 pounds a person. About 35 percent is consumed in homes, restaurants and institutions. The remaining 65 percent is bought by industry for use in cereals, baked goods, sauces, beverages and hundreds of different processed foods.
However, the USDA says U.S. beekeepers can only supply about a 48 percent of what’s needed here.  The remaining 52 percent comes from 41 other countries.
Import Genius, a private shipping intelligence service, searched its databases of all U.S. Customs import data for Food Safety News and provided a telling breakdown:
- The U.S. imported 208 million pounds of honey over the past 18 months.

- About 48 million pounds came from trusted and usually reliable suppliers in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Uruguay and Mexico.

- Almost 60 percent of what was imported – 123 million pounds – came from Asian countries – traditional laundering points for Chinese honey. This included 45 million pounds from India alone.

“This should be a red flag to FDA and the federal investigators. India doesn’t have anywhere near the capacity – enough bees – to produce 45 million pounds of honey. It has to come from China,” said Adee, who also is a past president of the American Honey Producers Association.

Why Is Chinese Honey Considered Dangerous?
Chinese honeymakers began using various illegal methods to conceal the origin of their honey beginning in about 2001. That’s when the U.S. Commerce Department imposed a stiff tariff – as much as $1.20 a pound — on Chinese honey to dissuade that country from dumping its dirt-cheap product on the American market and forcing hundreds of U.S. beekeepers out of the business.
About the same time, Chinese beekeepers saw a bacterial epidemic of foulbrood disease race through their hives at wildfire speed, killing tens of millions of bees. They fought the disease with several Indian-made animal antibiotics, including chloramphenicol. Medical researchers found that children given chloramphenicol as an antibiotic are susceptible to DNA damage and carcinogenicity. Soon after, the FDA banned its presence in food.

“We need imported honey in this country.  But, what we don’t need is circumvented honey, honey that is mislabeled as to country of origin, honey that is contaminated with antibiotics or heavy metal,” said Ronald Phipps, co-chairman of the International Committee for Promotion of Honey and Health and head of the major honey brokerage firm CPNA International.
Heavy Metal Contamination
The Chinese have many state-of-the-art processing plants but their beekeepers don’t have the sophistication to match. There are tens of thousands of tiny operators spread from the Yangtze River and coastal Guangdong and Changbai to deep inland Qinghai province.  The lead contamination in some honey has been attributed to these mom-and-pop vendors who use small, unlined, lead-soldered drums to collect and store the honey before it is collected by the brokers for processing.
The amount of chloramphenicol found in honey is miniscule. Nevertheless, public health experts say it can cause a severe, even fatal reaction — aplastic anemia — in about one out of 30,000 people.
European health authorities found lead in honey bought from India in early 2010. A year later, the Indian Export Inspection Council tested 362 samples of honey being exported and reported finding lead and at least two antibiotics in almost 23 percent of the test samples.
The discovery of lead in the honey presents a more serious health threat.
“The presence of heavy metals is a totally different story, because heavy metals are accumulative, they are absorbed by organs and are retained. This is especially hazardous for children,” Phipps said.
All the bans, health concerns and criticism of Indian honey hasn’t slowed the country’s shipping of honey to the U.S. and elsewhere. In February, India’s beekeepers and its government agricultural experts said that because of weather and disease in some colonies, India’s honey crop would be late and reduced by up to 40 percent.
Yet two months later, on April 15 in Ludhiana, officials of Kashmir Apiaries Exports and Little Bee Group, India’s largest honey exporters, posed for newspaper photographers in front of “two full honey trains” carrying 180 20-foot cargo carriers with a record 8.8 million pounds of honey headed for the export ports.
“They’re clearly transshipping honey from China and I can’t believe that they are so brazen about it to put it right on the front page of a newspaper,” honey producer Adee said.

Data received by FSN from an international broker in India on Friday showed that within the last month 16 shipments – more than 688,000 pounds – of honey went from the Chinese port of Nansha in Guangzhou China to Little Bee Honey in India.  The U.S. gurus of international shipping documents – Import Genius – scanned its database and found that just last week six shipments of the honey went from Little Bee to the port of Los Angeles. The honey had the same identification numbers of the honey shipped from China.

Government investigators in the U.S. and Europe and customs brokers in India told FSN that previous successful criminal investigations had proven that the Chinese honey suppliers and their brokers are masterful at falsifying shipping documents.

Each of the shipments – whether from China or India – bore an identical FDA inspection number. However, FDA’s Division of Import Operations did not respond to requests for information on how and where it issued that FDA number.

Food Safety News left several messages for the Little Bee Group to discuss the source of their honey and how they were breaking records when the rest of India’s honey producers were months behind schedule. None of the phone messages or emails were returned.

Other major Indian honey exporters insist that India gets no honey from China. However, Liu Peng-fei and Li Hai-yan of the prestigious Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences disagree. In a scientific study of the impact the global financial crisis is having on China’s honey industry, the apiculture scientists wrote that to avoid the “punitive import tariffs” Chinese enterprises “had to export to the United States via India or Malaysia in order to avoid high tariffs…”

Why Hasn’t Smuggling Stopped?
The massive honey laundering scams that plagued the U.S. for more than a decade – the transshipment of Chinese honey to a second country before being reshipped to the U.S. — were presumably given a deathblow over the past two years.
During that period, Justice Department lawyers and Department of Homeland Security and FDA investigators launched a series of indictments and arrests of 23 German, Chinese, Taiwanese and American corporate officials and their nine international companies.
They were charged with conspiracy to smuggle more than $70 million worth of Chinese honey into the U.S. by falsely declaring that the honey originated from countries other than China. That allowed them to avoid paying stiff anti-dumping charges imposed on China.
It was an impressive series of complex busts spanning three continents, and instant fodder for a great whodunit novel. But, according to some of North America’s largest producers and importers of honey, the arrests bombed as a deterrent.
“There are still millions of pounds of transshipped Chinese honey coming into the U.S.A. and it’s all coming now from India and Vietnam. Everybody in the industry knows that,” said Odem International’s Gagnon.
How Do They Get Away With It?
When it comes to honey laundering, the crooks are always trying to stay one step ahead of the criminal investigators.

honeybarrels-inside.jpg

For example, when customs agents discovered that China usually shipped its honey in blue steel drums, the exporters quickly painted the drums green.
It took investigators a while to learn that often — while the drums were in port or en route at sea — the Chinese shuffled drum labels and phony paperwork showing country of origin as places that didn’t have an onerous anti-dumping tariff. The Russian Honey Federation blew the whistle on the Chinese relabeling millions of pounds as coming from Russia.
After that scam became known, the felons then shipped Chinese honey to countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and even Australia. There the honey was repacked, authentic local documents were issued and the honey was shipped on to the U.S. or elsewhere.
Another favorite con among Chinese brokers was to mix sugar water, malt sweeteners, corn or rice syrup, jaggery, barley malt sweetener or other additives with a bit of actual honey. In recent years, many shippers have eliminated the honey completely and just use thickened, colored, natural or chemical sweeteners labeled as honey.
However, sophisticated analysis that will match the pollen in honey to flowers from a specific geographic region is available at just two or three laboratories around the world.  There are also simpler, less expensive tests to detect the telltale presence of commercial sweeteners and other adulterants that are more readily available.
A laboratory in Bremen, Germany, founded a half century ago by German beekeepers, can accurately scan honey samples for flower pollen.   There is only one expert in the U.S. known to analyze pollen in honey to determine where it was actually grown and that would be at the Palygnology Laboratory at Texas A&M.  The lab was created and is run by Vaughn Bryant, a forensic palynologist and Professor of Anthropology.
Melissopalynology, or pollen analysis, has been used for years by geologists seeking evidence of ancient coastal areas – often sites of major oil deposits. Scientists tracing the origins of the Shroud of Turin have identified 61 different pollens on the cloth that could only have come from around Jerusalem.
Forensic scientists have used pollen identification to help solve murder, rapes, kidnapping and at least one espionage case. Now, at least in the labs in Texas and Germany, melissopalynologists use pollen to determine – with great accuracy – the geographic area where the bees foraged for the nectar.
“If they find, for example, pollen from flowers that grow in northern latitudes – like China – but it’s found in honey ostensibly produced in tropical countries – like India, Vietnam, Malaysia and the like – you know something’s rotten or illegal,” said CPNA International’s Phipps, who also produces a quarterly, international intelligence report that monitors the country-by-country supply of honey and everyone’s exports.
To avoid detection by concerned purchasers or criminal investigators, some Chinese producers in state-of-the-art processing plants pump the alleged honey, heated and under high pressure, through elaborate ceramic filters. This ultra-filtration removes or conceals all floral fingerprints and indicators of added sweeteners or contaminants.
“The Chinese have refined methods of masking their contaminated product by ultra-filtration so their honey seems perfect. But it’s not honey anymore. There’s no color.  There’s no flavor. There’s nothing.  So you take this perfect product, which could be confused with honey, and you blend it with real Indian honey,” Gagnon said.
“Everyone avoids tariffs because government agents cannot test to prove it’s from China.”

honeytesting-inside.jpgThe FDA says it has sent a letter to industry stating that the agency does not consider ultra-filtered honey to be honey.

“We have not halted any importation of honey because we have yet to detect ultra-filtered honey.  If we do detect ultra-filtered honey we will refuse entry,” said FDA press officer Tamara Ward.

“FDA is just not looking” was the answer that most honey brokers offered.  They added that the FDA doesn’t want to find it because then the agency would have to test for it, something it is incapable of doing in its existing laboratories.

Honey experts worry that new technologies will make detection of adulterants even more difficult.
At June’s conference of the Institute of Food Technologists in New Orleans, there were hundreds of Chinese vendors working in small clusters beneath bright red banners. They offered for sale almost any spice, food-processing substance or additives a food processor might want and promises of concocting anything else they could dream of. “All FDA approved,” they emphasized to potential clients.
One salesman quickly jerked back his business card when a reporter pulled out a tape recorder to capture the man’s promises offering a “nanoparticle sweetener for honey that cannot be detected.”
Does the FDA Care?
The U.S. Departments of Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have dollar and cents issues to worry about because hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes and anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese imports are circumvented by the honey laundering.
“These honey crimes are not a Republican or Democratic, Liberal or Conservative issue.  The country is being ripped off of millions and millions,” Phipps said.
Recent news releases by the border patrol and the FDA say they have developed an anti-smuggling strategy to identify and prevent smuggled foods from entering the United States and posing a threat to national security and consumer safety.
But at the field level, investigators with the two agencies and an agent with ICE’s Commercial Fraud Unit said the cooperation is more on paper then in practice and that the FDA continues to be the weak link. They say the FDA either doesn’t have the resources to properly do the job or is unwilling to commit them.
ICE and the border patrol can and do go after the honey launderers by enforcing the anti-dumping and tariff violation laws. But protecting consumers from dangerous honey, identifying it as adulterated and therefore illegal for importation, falls to the FDA. And many of its enforcement colleagues say the food safety agency doesn’t see this as a priority.
A Justice Department lawyer told Food Safety News that the FDA has all the legal authority and obligation it needs to halt the importation of tainted honey. He cited two sections of the agency’s regulations defining when food products are considered “adulterated.”
The regulations say: “Food is adulterated if it bears or contains a poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health” and “damage or inferiority has been concealed.”
Those two factors pretty much sum up the health concerns that many have with the smuggled honey. But the honey industry and Congress can’t get the FDA to even come up with a legal definition of what honey is.
Eight years ago, America’s beekeepers and some honey packers petitioned FDA to issue an official definition of honey. Their concern was how to determine whether honey is bogus if there is no official standard to measure it against. The FDA did nothing.
Last Nov. 15, senators asked the food safety agency for the same thing. Again, nothing.
On Aug. 10, two members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations tried once more.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and John Hoeven (R-ND) urged the FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to issue the official definition.
Calling the lack of regulations “a food safety concern,” Gillibrand said a national standard of identity for honey is needed “to prevent unscrupulous importers from flooding the market with misbranded honey products…”
An investigator in FDA’s import section explained the agency’s refusal to develop an official definition to FSN. “If we had an official description of honey then FDA would have to inspect everything we’re importing to ensure it’s legal. That’s the last thing we want to do,” he said, but would not allow his name to be used because he wasn’t authorized to make public statements.
How Do You Stop The Illegal Flow?
Gagnon and four other major players in the honey industry have formed a voluntary group calledTrue Source Honey.  They hope it will eventually expand into an international, industry-wide program to certify the origin and quality of honey.
“We need an origin traceability program, a professional audit of both the exporters and the packers so those buying and selling honey can ensure its authenticity and quality,” said Gagnon, who is the group’s vice chairman.
Meanwhile, it’s rumored that the feds are increasing their surveillance of the large U.S. importers and not too soon, Adee and others say.
Adee likens the honey laundering to a huge auto chop shop, where the police occasionally arrest the low-level car thieves but others pop up to continue supplying the criminal operation, which authorities never go after.
“That’s what’s happening here,” Adee explained. “ICE and the other investigators have arrested a handful of the middle men, the brokers who supply the honey packers, but haven’t gone after the big operators buying the phony foreign honey.”
Adee and others interviewed by Food Safety News say there are 12 major honey packers in the U.S. and four or five that are involved with the bulk of illegal trade.
“We know who they are,” he said. “Everyone in the industry knows. If these packers are allowed to continue buying this possibly tainted but clearly illegal smuggled honey, the importers will always find a way to get it to them.”

———-

Editor’s Note:  Andrew Schneider, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, writes for Food Safety News and The Food Watchdog.com

 

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FDA is Considering Adding Agent Orange to Your Dinner Plate

Posted on 02 July 2011 by admin

Total Video Length: 1:12:45
Download Interview TranscriptHere, Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety since 1997, and one of the United States’ leading environmental attorneys, shares his ideas about the ideal future of food.

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Dr. Mercola’s comments:

Mr. Kimbrell is one of the United States’ leading environmental attorneys, and an author of articles and books on environment, technology and society, and food issues. He’s also the Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety, which he founded in 1997 as a way to prevent genetic engineering and sewage sludge remediation from becoming acceptable practices under the organic laws.

Organics and Beyond

But the Center for Food Safety has far grander goals than simply fighting for pro-organic laws.

“[W]e call it “Organic and Beyond,” Kimbrell says.

“We do that because we have to defend the organic standards. Over the last eight years, virtually the entire government’s all three branches, from judiciary to executive to congress, were trying to undermine the organic rule. It didn’t get as much publicity as it should have…

But we don’t want just to defend the organic rule in food. We want to evolve the ethic.

While organic is great and we need to defend that, we also want to make sure that we extend it to include for instance issues of animal welfare… We want to have bio-diverse crops… We want to make sure that our farming is local, in appropriate scale. We also want to make sure that we’re socially just. Just because we’re organic it doesn’t mean that we’re treating farm workers in a socially just manner.

Those are the beyond organic aspects of the future of food that we’re really interested in, which is a humane, local, appropriate scale, biodiverse, and socially just [system].

If we can think of the organic not as the ceiling for our food in the future but as the floor and we build this house, our future food house with those other elements… then I think we really will have done something.”

Saying “No” to Some Things is Saying “Yes” to Others

As you probably know, we are inundated with tens of thousands of chemicals these days, which have never before existed on Earth—many of which are extremely toxic. Much of the rise in chronic disease can be traced back to the excessive exposure to toxins from our food, air, water supply, and many of the personal- and household products we use on a daily basis.

What led us to this point?

In a word, technology.

For all the benefits and wonders many technologies bring, there are also some profound downsides, especially when they’re introduced without proper safety testing and forethought of the long-term consequences. Nuclear energy is just one glaring recent example. But this applies to food as well, as biotech has crept in to modify nature’s bounty in all sorts of ways, and mass-producing farms have altered the way food is grown to include massive amounts of chemicals.

“[O]rganic is really amazing because organic says: we’re looking at chemicals, and fertilizers and pesticides and we’re saying no. We’re looking at genetic engineering and we’re saying no. We’re looking at irradiated foods and we’re saying no,” Kimbrell says.

“We’re saying, progress sometimes means saying no to these technologies and saying yes to a far more natural, a far more sustainable way of doing business. It’s quite a remarkable revolution, not just because of the food, but because of the consciousness.

It’s saying progress doesn’t mean more and more exploitation and manipulation of nature through technology, it means more and more integrating the human into the entire natural context and learning to live within that context.”

“We Defend what We Love”

Kimbrell’s passion for this work stems from learning to love nature through his brother, who was an avid outdoorsman. He also worked on a farm for two and a half years before going to law school, and while he loved it, he wasn’t very good at it. The farmer he worked for suggested he go to law school instead, and “see what you can do for farms and for the whole community of life that makes for a healthy farming system.”

It turned out to be good advice. Some of his first work as an environmental attorney was in defending rivers and natural areas from exploitation, which, over time “evolved into an understanding of how technologies were hurting the natural world.”

“Those two things – my love of the natural world and my work on a farm– sort of coalesced, if you will, to create my desire to use my legal skills and whatever skills we have, to accomplish the goals that we just talked about,” Kimbrell says.

Food and the Environment

As Kimbrell states in this interview, food is the most intimate relationship you have with your environment.

“I’m always amused when people say, I’m not interested in food issues, I’m interested in environmental issues. I would say, “Whoa, let’s sit down for a second to talk about that.” There is no more intimate relationship that we have with the environment than what we eat.

To me it is a great moment for everybody out there to say, ‘I’m making a choice every day—a choice that I can control to a great extent—of what I eat, what my family eats, and to a certain extent what people around me eat.

That is to me a really important moment, because in that moment, you can reflect your views on social justice, your views on animal welfare, your views on the environment, on protecting our waters, protecting our air, protecting our soil, protecting our farm communities and protecting our community health. All of that is based in that decision that we all make several times a day.”

The Dangers of Genetically Modified Foods

From Kimbrell’s perspective, as well as my own, genetically modified (GM) food is one of the biggest threats to life and health we currently face on this planet.

“It turns out that [genetic engineering] is a lot more difficult than people thought,” Kimbrell says. “There are a couple of reasons for that. For example, folks may remember the Human Genome Project. We were supposed to have about 100,000 to 140,000 genes. We only have about 20,000 genes it turns out. That’s about as many as a worm.

A kernel of corn has, any cell on that kernel has 35,000 genes… They just did the genome of wheat and it has 80,000 genes. So wheat has four times as many genes as humans.

It turns out that the biology of these crops isn’t some simple thing but extremely complex and it turns out there is a huge amount we do not know. So this idea that you can take a little piece of DNA called a gene and switch it around between plants and animals, and human and plants, and bacteria and plants, and get predictable results turn out not to be true.”

At the present time, the most prominent genetic modification of crops is the modification to make plants immune to herbicides.

Since you can spray these crops with large amounts of chemicals without killing the crop, this, in theory, should significantly reduce weed growth. However, in the years since the introduction of “RoundUp ready” corn and soy, we’ve witnessed increasingly profound downsides to these unnatural seeds, including brand new “super weeds” that are also impervious to RoundUp (glyphosate).

According to Kimbrell, we now have 10-20 million acres of these super weeds that you can’t kill. They’re the thickness of a baseball bat, and they loom six to seven feet tall!

GM Crops Demand HIGHER Levels of Toxic Herbicides and Pesticides

Additionally, what many fail to realize is the incredible increase in toxic chemicals being used on these crops, which eventually ends up in your stomach.

“[I]n the last two years we’ve sprayed 153 million more pounds of herbicide on our crops because of the corn and soy Roundup-ready crops…” Kimbrell says.

This dilemma is leading us further and further into a quagmire of increasingly toxic remedies.

“Right now, the FDA is looking to approve crops resistant to 2,4-D, which is an element in Agent Orange,” Kimbrell says. “I kid you not, Dow Chemical is doing this. Corn and soy that has been genetically engineered so you can spray as much 2,4-D (Agent Orange) on these crops as you want and it won’t kill them.

Now that Roundup is becoming less and less useful, they’re looking for newer and more toxic herbicides that they will bathe our crops in, in order to make money…

Monsanto is now coming up with Dicamba, which is extremely dangerous. It’s a volatilizing herbicide. In other words, you spray it and under certain weather conditions it’s going to go back up from the ground, re-volatilizing to a cloud and it could go a mile or two away and come back down and it will kill everything green. It’s a very toxic herbicide.”

This poses tremendous challenges for organic farmers, threatens our environment and human health everywhere, whether you happen to live in an agricultural area, or simply eat the food produced from these now highly toxic crops.

  • Where is the breaking point?
  • When will the food produced become too toxic to eat?
  • And what do we do then?

GM Foods Line the Pockets of Chemical Companies

There can be little doubt that the technology of genetically engineered crop seeds has little to do with saving the planet, and a lot to do with promoting herbicide use and increasing herbicide sales. The major purveyors of GM crop seeds also make the chemicals and herbicides to go along with those seeds.

These companies include:

Monsanto Dow Dupont
Syngenta Bayer BASF

“These are herbicide companies that have invented a way to sell a lot more of their chemicals,” Kimbrell says.

In the end, we may be over-run with superweeds that cannot be killed even by dousing it with Agent Orange, and GM crops that contaminate all its conventional and organic counterparts. That will be their legacy to our children and grandchildren…

Only Sustainable, Smaller-Scale Farming Can Successfully Feed the Planet

“I think one of the great things about the Organic and Beyond movement is that we are trying to go back and learn,” Kimbrell says. “We can use some modern technologies that help us better understand agronomy, but basically go back into a sustainable, smaller, more localized farming system.

What makes this so great is that two studies just came out of the UN, and it turns out that the way to feed the world is through small and medium sized organic and sustainable farms because they are creating a lot more food!

Right now, we have so many acres devoted to corn but you cannot live on corn alone. As a matter of fact you shouldn’t be living on much corn at all really. That’s not really food. That’s a crop. It’s a crop that’s used to feed animals, for biofuels and for fructose corn syrup and other additives.

Small medium sized farms have numerous diverse crops and animals. It’s a far more sustainable way to not produce massive crops but actual food.”

Change is an Uphill Battle that Oftentimes Requires Litigation

Unfortunately, despite the evidence showing that our current agricultural system is unsustainable, if not downright dangerous, change is hard to come by. The agricultural committees are primarily run by the agribusiness industry, which will always vote to protect their own best interests.

One effective way to slow down the madness, as it were, is through litigation. According to Kimbrell, litigation has halted the introduction of a number of genetically engineered crops, such as GM:

  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Bentgrass

Market campaigns also successfully thwarted the introduction of GM tomatoes and potatoes.

“We can vote with our dollar in the marketplace by buying organic, by buying non-GMO,” Kimbrell says. “But we can also then make sure that we use the courts as best we can to halt some of these damaging technologies while we promote this Organic and Beyond vision. And everyone can get involved.”

Current Campaigns to Eliminate GMOs

The Center for Food Safety, along with a number of other organic businesses, organic organizations, and non-governmental organizations, are now starting a campaign to demand labeling of all GM foods.  This is the most sensible strategy as over 90 percent of the public do not want GM foods and if they had a choice they would avoid Them. We don’t need legislation to outlaw GM, we just need an informed public to make the right choice.

Genetically engineered foods are required to be labeled in the 15 European Union nations, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries around the world, but not the US or Canada…

“You’re looking at a food that offers you risk and no benefits. It is true because the companies and the government have never looked at it. We don’t know the exact extent of that risk but we know the risk is there.

What rationale person would ever pick a food if it was labeled? … The GMO offers me no additional benefits, and only additional health risks. What would you choose?

No one is going to choose the GMO version. That’s why they don’t want labeling.”

Another very important aspect of labeling is traceability of health effects. This can literally become a life and death issue. This is yet another reason why the industry is fighting tooth and nail to avoid labeling, because they know that without labeling it’s virtually impossible to trace any health effects that may be associated with the GM ingredients. This releases them from liability.

During the Presidential campaign of 2008, Obama put in writing a promise to support mandatory labeling on GMOs.

It’s time to hold him to that promise!

I urge you to sign the petition for mandatory labeling, and to share it with everyone you know!

Also, if you don’t already have a copy of the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, please print one out and refer to it often. It can help you identify and avoid foods with GMOs. Also remember to look for products (including organic products) that feature the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal to be sure that at-risk ingredients have been tested for GMO content. Many health food stores will carry these products.

You can also download the free iPhone application that is available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.

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Rival Claims Over Cows That Produce Mothers’ Milk

Posted on 10 June 2011 by admin

BUENOS AIRES – Scientists in two countries looked set to lock horns Friday over who had produced the world’s first human milk … from cows.

An Argentine laboratory announced Thursday that it had created the world’s first transgenic cow, using human genes that will allow the animal to produce the equivalent of mothers’ milk.

The claim came only days after reports emerged from China saying scientists there had genetically modified dairy cows to produce human breast milk and hoped to be selling it in supermarkets within three years.

The researchers at the Agricultural University in Beijing said they had a 300-strong herd of transgenic cows, which had been bred by inserting human genes into cloned cow embryos which were then implanted into surrogate cows.

However, AFP reported that Argentina’s National Institute of Agrobusiness Technology said of their research, “The cloned cow, named Rosita ISA, is the first bovine born in the world that incorporates human genes that contain the proteins present in human milk.”

Rosita ISA was born on April 6 by caesarian because she weighed more than 99 pounds (45kg), about twice the normal weight of Jersey cows, according to the statement.

As an adult, “the cow will produce milk that is similar to humans,” the statement said.

In China, workers at the university’s dairy farm have already tasted the milk — and said it is sweeter and stronger than the bovine variety.

“It’s good,” said worker Jiang Yao, according to Sky News. “It’s better for you because it’s genetically modified.”

The scientists there said they have also produced animals that are resistant to mad cow disease, as well as beef cattle that are genetically modified to produce more nutritious meat.

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China Genetically Modifying Cows To Produce Human Breast Milk

Posted on 08 June 2011 by admin

BEIJING – Chinese scientists have genetically modified dairy cows to produce human breast milk, and hope to be selling it in supermarkets within three years.

The milk produced by the transgenic cows is identical to the human variety, with the same immune-boosting and antibacterial qualities as breast milk, scientists at China’s Agricultural University in Beijing said.

The transgenic herd of 300 was bred by inserting human genes into cloned cow embryos which were then implanted into surrogate cows. The technology used was similar to that used to produce Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned by scientists, in Scotland.

The milk is still undergoing safety tests, but with government permission it will be sold to consumers as a more nutritious dairy drink than cow’s milk.

Workers at the university’s dairy farm have already tasted the milk — and said it is sweeter and stronger than the bovine variety, according to Sky News .

“It’s good,” said worker Jiang Yao. “It’s better for you because it’s genetically modified.”

The scientists have also produced animals that are resistant to mad cow disease, as well as beef cattle that are genetically modified to produce more nutritious meat.

The director of the research project, Professor Li Ning, said Western concerns about the ethics of genetic modification are misplaced.

“There are 1.5 billion people in the world who don’t get enough to eat,” he said. “It’s our duty to develop science and technology, not to hold it back. We need to feed people first, before we consider ideals and convictions.”

UPDATE:  Argentine Scientists Claim To Have Created Herd To Produce Breast Milk

source: myfoxny.com

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Scientists Use Human Genes in Animals, So Cows Produce Human-Like Milk—Or Do They?

Posted on 03 April 2011 by admin

Don’t expect to see any human-like milk products on store shelves. That’s just a trick of redirection, hoping you won’t notice the ethical issue of patenting human genetics.

by Heidi Stevenson

3 April 2011

Calf and baby in grass

 

The latest in genetic engineering involves implanting human genes into cow embryos to produce human-like milk. You can imagine who the intended recipients are, can’t you? Just think: There’ll be no need for mommy to risk saggy breasts to feed her baby! Baby won’t know the difference between a bottle and mommy’s breast! No more guilt for not feeding babies what’s best!

Or maybe not.

Scientists in China are claiming to have produced a human-like milk by introducing a human gene into 300 Holstein cows. They’ve inserted the gene for human lysozome (HLZ), which is involved in significantly more than production of milk. It’s an organelle, which is found in most cells, that’s involved in intracellular digestion. Thus, the entire cow’s body has been turned over to production of human-like cellular digestion.

No mention is made of how this affects the cows, but it’s difficult to believe that it’s anything but harmful, likely resulting in misery for the animals. Nor does it look like the result is anything that even approaches human-like milk.

Human-Like Milk?

The authors of the study, “Characterization of Bioactive Recombinant Human Lysozyme Expressed in Milk of Cloned Transgenic Cattle”, published in PLoS, state that HLZ “increases the levels of beneficial intestinal microflora and strengthens disease resistance in infants”. This is fine, but this is the only thing that they’ve introduced into cows’ milk. They have not duplicated the nutrient composition, though their hype would have you believe that’s been done.

Professor Ning Li, the project leader, stated, “The milk tastes stronger than normal milk.” That alone clarifies the fact that the result is far removed from human milk. The single most significant taste difference between human milk and cow’s milk—or most others—is its sweetness, not its strong taste.

 

Milk is, of course, the perfect food for the offspring of the mother. It provides perfect nutrition and a natural source of antibodies to prevent disease in the young. A breast-fed baby is known to have lower risk of disease and better development.

Obviously, the physiology and diet of the mother will have a great deal to do with the quality and substance of the milk—and the simple fact is that a cow is not a human. A cow doesn’t eat the same sort of food a human does. A cow has four stomachs, instead of a human’s single stomach. A cow’s digestion process includes chewing its cud. When was the last time you saw someone chewing cud?

A cow is never going to produce human milk, even with a human gene imposed on it. A cow’s physiology is simply too different. So what is this human-like milk?

Real Purpose of the Human-Like Milk

The primary intention of the researchers can be discerned in this quote from the second paragraph of the study report:

Furthermore, some reports have shown that HLZ has anti-fungal and anti-viral activities. Moreover, changes in the HLZ concentration in serum or urine is used as a diagnostic marker for certain diseases. Also, HLZ is under study as a potentially useful material for use in food products, cosmetics (as a preservative), medicine feed, baby formula, and so on.

 

The researchers are focused primarily on using HLZ as a chemical. Cows are being genetically modified so that they will produce a chemical that they hope to use as a drug, diagnostic product, and additive to foods and cosmetics. If they can also convince the public that it’s a health food, then the profits will be even greater.

The scientists have also created cows that produce milk with the protein lactoferrin, which assists the immune system in babies. In other instances, they have increased the milk fat and changed the milk solids. However, each of these is a single change. They have not been combined.

The reality is that there has not been any milk produced by cows that comes near duplicating human milk. All that’s been done is the recreation of single human molecules in cow’s milk.

Suffering and Death of the Cows

While the scientists are claiming that their cloning and GM technologies are harmless, the fact is that their experiments have been extremely harmful to the animals. During two of them, 42 calves with human genes were born. However, 10 died shortly after birth and 6 died within six months. Only 26 survived. Most of the deaths were from gastrointestinal disease. That does not bode well for the health or comfort of the surviving animals.

The Director of GeneWatch UK stated:

We have major concerns about this research to genetically modify cows with human genes. There are major welfare issues with genetically modified animals as you get high numbers of still births.

There is a question about whether milk from these cows is going to be safe for humans and it is really hard to tell that unless you do large clinical trials like you would a drug, so there will be uncertainty about whether it could be harmful to some people.

Ethically there are issues about mass producing animals in this way.

 

Deformed calves are being brought into the world to suffer horrendously so that a few people can make profits from their anguish. And we haven’t any reason to believe that these products are safe for humans.

False Claims for the Technology

Biology Professor at the University of Nottingham, Keith Campbell, states:

Genetically modified animals and plants are not going to be harmful unless you deliberately put in a gene that is going to be poisonous. Why would anyone do that in a food? Genetically modified food, if done correctly, can provide huge benefit for consumers in terms of producing better products.

 

Of course, Mr. Campbell doesn’t offer any basis on which he makes his claims. That’s because he can’t. There are no studies to document them.

Hype and Human Genes

So why are the scientists making irrational claims for their research? The answer is in the ultimate goal: profits. By creating buzz about what they’re doing, they can bring interest to their projects, while redirecting attention away from their real goal. The scientists are working in conjunction with Beijing GenProtein Biotechnology Company. This association is so close that four of them are employees.

Everything about the project is focused on publicity. The lead researcher, Ning Li, makes claims about the experiments that are simply not justified by the results. He stated:

The modified bovine milk is a possible substitute for human milk. It fulfilled the conception of humanising the bovine milk.

 

As explained above, that claim is far from reality. When a scientist makes such claims that are unjustified by studies, it can only be explained by a desire to sell products.

Perhaps they will ultimately manage to create cows that produce a human-like milk. First, though, the only thing that makes sense is that they intend to use the human molecules produced by the cows’ milk to evade questions about patenting human genes.

While everyone’s attention is focused on the idea of producing human-like milk from cows—a feat they aren’t even close to accomplishing—they will be working away at producing patentable products based on human genes by the convenient sleight-of-hand of slipping them into cows.

Don’t expect to see any human-like milk products on store shelves. That’s nothing but a trick of redirection away from the genuine ethical issue of patenting human genetics.

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GMO Cows produce ‘Human’ Milk

Posted on 02 April 2011 by admin

Scientists have created genetically modified cattle that produce “human” milk in a bid to make cows’ milk more nutritious.

Scientists have created genetically modified cattle that produce human milk in a bid to make cows' milk more nutritious.

Researchers say they are able to create cows that produce milk containing a human protein called lysozyme Photo: PA

The scientists have successfully introduced human genes into 300 dairy cows to produce milk with the same properties as human breast milk.

Human milk contains high quantities of key nutrients that can help to boost the immune system of babies and reduce the risk of infections.

The scientists behind the research believe milk from herds of genetically modified cows could provide an alternative to human breast milk and formula milk for babies, which is often criticised as being an inferior substitute.

They hope genetically modified dairy products from herds of similar cows could be sold in supermarkets. The research has the backing of a major biotechnology company.

The work is likely to inflame opposition to GM foods. Critics of the technology and animal welfare groups reacted angrily to the research, questioning the safety of milk from genetically modified animals and its effect on the cattle’s health.

But Professor Ning Li, the scientist who led the research and director of the State Key Laboratories for AgroBiotechnology at the China Agricultural University insisted that the GM milk would be as safe to drink as milk from ordinary dairy cows.

He said: “The milk tastes stronger than normal milk.

“We aim to commercialize some research in this area in coming three years. For the “human-like milk”, 10 years or maybe more time will be required to finally pour this enhanced milk into the consumer’s cup.”

China is now leading the way in research on genetically modified food and the rules on the technology are more relaxed than those in place in Europe.

The researchers used cloning technology to introduce human genes into the DNA of Holstein dairy cows before the genetically modified embryos were implanted into surrogate cows.

Writing in the scientific peer-reviewed journal Public Library of Science One, the researchers said they were able to create cows that produced milk containing a human protein called lysozyme,

Lysozyme is an antimicrobial protein naturally found in large quantities in human breast milk. It helps to protect infants from bacterial infections during their early days of life.

They created cows that produce another protein from human milk called lactoferrin, which helps to boost the numbers of immune cells in babies. A third human milk protein called alpha-lactalbumin was also produced by the cows.

The scientists also revealed at an exhibition at the China Agricultural University that they have boosted milk fat content by around 20 per cent and have also changed the levels of milk solids, making it closer to the composition of human milk as well as having the same immune-boosting properties.

Professor Li and his colleagues, who have been working with the Beijing GenProtein Biotechnology Company, said their work has shown it was possible to “humanise” cows milk.

In all, the scientists said they have produced a herd of around 300 cows that are able to produce human-like milk.

The transgenic animals are physically identical to ordinary cows.

Writing in the journal, Professor Li said: “Our study describes transgenic cattle whose milk offers the similar nutritional benefits as human milk.

“The modified bovine milk is a possible substitute for human milk. It fulfilled the conception of humanising the bovine milk.”

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, he added the “human-like milk” would provide “much higher nutritional content”. He said they had managed to produce three generations of GM cows but for commercial production there would need to be large numbers of cows produced.

He said: “Human milk contains the ‘just right’ proportions of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins for an infant’s optimal growth and development.

“As our daily food, the cow’s milk provided us the basic source of nutrition. But the digestion and absorption problems made it not the perfect food for human being.”

The researchers also insist having antimicrobial proteins in the cows milk can also be good for the animals by helping to reduce infections of their udders.

Genetically modified food has become a highly controversial subject and currently they can only be sold in the UK and Europe if they have passed extensive safety testing.

The consumer response to GM food has also been highly negative, resulting in many supermarkets seeking to source products that are GM free.

Campaigners claim GM technology poses a threat to the environment as genes from modified plants can get into wild plant populations and weeds, while they also believe there are doubts about the safety of such foods.

Scientists insist genetically modified foods are unlikely to pose a threat to food safety and in the United States consumers have been eating genetically modified foods for more decades.

However, during two experiments by the Chinese researchers, which resulted in 42 transgenic calves being born, just 26 of the animals survived after ten died shortly after birth, most with gastrointestinal disease, and a further six died within six months of birth.

Researchers accept that the cloning technology used in genetic modification can affect the development and survival of cloned animals, although the reason why is not well understood.

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals said the organisation was “extremely concerned” about how the GM cows had been produced.

She said: “Offspring of cloned animals often suffer health and welfare problems, so this would be a grave concern.

“Why do we need this milk – what is it giving us that we haven’t already got.”

Helen Wallace, director of biotechnology monitoring group GeneWatch UK, said: “We have major concerns about this research to genetically modify cows with human genes.

“There are major welfare issues with genetically modified animals as you get high numbers of still births.

“There is a question about whether milk from these cows is going to be safe from humans and it is really hard to tell that unless you do large clinical trials like you would a drug, so there will be uncertainty about whether it could be harmful to some people.

“Ethically there are issues about mass producing animals in this way.”

Professor Keith Campbell, a biologist at the University of Nottingham works with transgenic animals, said: “Genetically modified animals and plants are not going to be harmful unless you deliberately put in a gene that is going to be poisonous. Why would anyone do that in a food?

“Genetically modified food, if done correctly, can provide huge benefit for consumers in terms of producing better products.”

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Monsanto Tries Growing New Corn Species in China

Posted on 03 November 2010 by admin

U.S.-based multinational agricultural biotechnology company Monsanto said Tuesday it will trial growing a new species of corn in Jilin Province, a major maize growing production area in northeast China.

The new corn species is high-yielding and pest-resistant, said Kevin Eblen, Monsanto’s regional leader for North Asia, adding that its comparative advantage is quality rather than cost.

Monsanto has donated 200,000 U.S. dollars to launching the “Monsanto Green Village” in Jilin, the company’s second project in China after initiating its first in Hebei Province in 2008.

The program aims to educate farmers about agricultural technology and boost recycling in the countryside.

“Via implementation of the Monsanto green village program, we hope to support more farmers and advance agricultural development in China,” said Eblen, who was upbeat that the new corn species would appear on the local market of Jilin within two years.

Monsanto’s sales in China in 2009 totaled 11.7 billion U.S. dollars.

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China Rejects U.S. Shipment Of GMO Corn

Posted on 02 November 2010 by admin

U.S. Corn Shipment Rejected by China May Go to Japan, Unipac’s Chino Says

A shipment of U.S. corn rejected by China on the grounds that it contained a genetically modified strain not approved in the country may be resold to Japan for livestock feed, Unipac Grain Ltd. said.

Japan approves all varieties of U.S. genetically modified corn that are in commercial production, Nobuyuki Chino, president of the Tokyo-based trading company, said by phone yesterday. Chino has traded grains for more than 30 years.

China rejected a 54,000 ton cargo bought by Cofco Ltd. from a Japanese trading company, two officials with direct knowledge of the matter have said. This was the first time China rejected a U.S. corn cargo, and the grain, stored in the southern port of Shenzhen since September, will probably be ordered out of the country, the officials said.

China, the world’s second-biggest corn consumer, has bought about 1.5 million tons of the U.S. grain this year, the most since about 1995, as the government sought to cool domestic prices that gained 27 percent in the past year. Futures have surged 52 percent in Chicago as drought in Russia and Ukraine and floods in Canada pushed up global grain prices.

The quarantine department’s decision to reject the cargo was reached after tests on as many as eight samples, one official said. The government may make an announcement in the next few days, one official said. They declined to be identified as they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The press office at the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine declined to comment. The Cofco press office also declined to comment.

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China Rejects USA Corn Cargo Citing GMOs

Posted on 29 October 2010 by admin

(Reuters) - China has rejected a cargo of U.S. corn after finding it contained an unsanctioned genetically modified strain, two sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.

“China only allows 11 varieties of GM corn to be imported to the country, and the cargo was found with GM material outside the 11 varieties,” said one source, who declined to be identified.

“The animal and plant quarantine department has barred it from entering China,” the source said. He said it was supplied by a Japanese trading house.

The cargo of 50,000-60,000 tonnes was shipped to a port in the China’s southern province of Guangdong in September. The problem was detected only in October, the same source said.

China’s first ever rejection of a U.S. corn cargo, if confirmed, risks deepening a trade spat with the United States and a bigger diplomatic row with Japan.

Chinese quarantine officials at Shenzhen in Guangdong, which accounted for half of the 513,000 tonnes of corn imported by China last month, declined to comment.

“If we have any information there will be an official announcement,” said an official at the local quarantine bureau.

A third corn trading source said he had heard one Japanese cargo was “in trouble” in the south of China. But he could not confirm it had been rejected.

Chinese corn imports have rocketed this year, and are expected to continue growing next year, after China’s own harvest couldn’t keep up with a boom in demand, mainly driven by production of corn-based animal feed.

It was unclear if the rejection of a cargo on GMO grounds would have a wider impact on the corn trade.

China has long used its tough rules on GMOs to keep U.S. corn out of its market, the world’s second biggest. But, struggling to keep up with demand, it gave its first safety approval to a GMO strain of corn late last year and began importing again this year, the vast majority of it from the United States.

Chinese relations with Japan have soured in recent months following the detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain by the Japanese coast guard after their boats collided near disputed islands in the East China Sea.

But the two countries’ foreign ministers met on Friday in a “very good atmosphere,” according to Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will also visit China on Saturday, stopping over on Hainan Island during a two-week Asia-Pacific trip to meet Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo.

(Reporting by Tracy Zheng, Niu Shuping and Tom Miles; editing by Simon Webb and Keiron Henderson)

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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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