Tag Archive | "Grass"

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Where’s The Outcry To Stop GMO Grass Seed?

Posted on 18 August 2011 by admin

Announced by the United States Department Agriculture back on the afternoon of July 1 — when most people were shopping for beer and burgers for the long holiday weekend — the word that the government was allowing Scotts Miracle Gro to further contaminate our lawns SHOULD HAVE BEEN front-page news. The story about the world’s largest retailer of legal lawn poisons being handed a license to sell even more Roundup SHOULD HAVE been the top story for whomever was filling in for Brian Williams that night.

Instead, the year’s most shocking environmental story was relegated to the blogosphere and, to his credit, Andrew Pollack at the New York Times.

THE BACKGROUND

It might sound like hyperbole to put this story ahead of, say, the epic drought, or the decline of the oceans or this year’s earlier bombshell that the federal government was going to allow genetically modified alfalfa. Certainly all those issues are having more impact today and tomorrow. But what about next year and beyond when Miracle Gro will be allowed to sell Roundup Ready lawn grass — unless we all stand up and do something about it?

This “Miracle GMO” lawn seed story has been unfolding for more than a decade, ever since Scotts Miracle Gro revealed its plans to test its new genetically modified creeping bentgrass in Oregon in 2001. Despite the protests of the environmental community back then, Scotts was allowed to plant test GMO seed, which then predictably escaped the confines of the trial farms and cross-pollinated with other related grasses in the wild. Since pollen from grasses typically rides the wind from plant to plant, this kind of “gene flow” is unavoidable.

The government had the good sense five years ago to block Scotts’ creeping bentgrass experiment gone amok, and even fined the company several hundred thousand dollars for letting the untamable cow out of the proverbial barn. Astory out late last year showed that the government is still spending lots of time and money running from ditch to ditch in the Pacific Northwest to dig up Scotts’ runaway grass.

Back then, in November of 2010, however, Scotts sounded strangely undaunted by the government’s slap on the wrist — as if the chemical giant knew something we didn’t. This year, on July 1, the end game was revealed: the bullish company had convinced the impotent matadors at the USDA to wave the towel, step aside and let the mutant cash cow rush past.

Make no mistake, this deal for Scotts is potentially huge. Whereas bentgrass is grown on golf course greens and a few home lawns in the Northwest, Kentucky bluegrass is grown virtually everywhere in the temperate climates of North America. North of the line that runs from DC in the East to San Francisco in the West, bluegrass is the predominant species on our soccer and football fields, on our home lawns and, in fact, in many farmer’s fields where livestock graze. In the view of Jim Hagedorn, the CEO at Miracle Gro, all that bluegrass will be his one day, to be sprayed several times a year by the toxic weed-killer known as Roundup — which is already his to sell, by the way, given his long-standing retail agreement with the manufacturer, Monsanto.

WHY THIS IS SO BAD . . .

Entire books have been written about the concerns related to genetically modified plants, but this GMO lawn issue essentially boils down to two major factors: 1) undoubtedly more spraying of Roundup, which has been linked to everything from cancer to birth defects and beyond; and 2) the modified bluegrass will most assuredly escape lawns and soccer fields and jump to fields where animals forage. The USDA’s secretary of agriculture, Tom Vilsack, admitted as much in a letter he wrote to Scotts essentially asking the company to self-regulate its latest product.

This comes from the man in charge of protecting our food supply:

“The USDA recognizes that if this GE variety were to be commercially released, producers wishing to grow non-GE Kentucky bluegrass will likely have concerns related to gene flow between the GE variety and non-GE Kentucky bluegrass. Exporters of Kentucky bluegrass seed, growers of non-GE Kentucky bluegrass seed, and those involved in the use of non-GE Kentucky bluegrass in pastures will likely have concerns about the loss of their ability to meet contractual obligations.

“USDA therefore strongly encourages Scotts to discuss these concerns with various stakeholders during these early stages of research and development of this GE Kentucky bluegrass variety and thereby develop appropriate and effective stewardship measures to minimize commingling and gene flow between GE and non-GE Kentucky bluegrass.”

Minimize commingling? That statement is simply beyond absurd. You’d have to build a wall as far and as high as the wind itself can blow if you want to stop genetically modified bluegrass from contaminating the bluegrass that’s growing all around us. Even if you would never even think of spraying Roundup on your own lawn when this mutant bluegrass inevitably shows up, you simply must understand that we’re setting ourselves up for the day when all of our animals are foraging on genetically modified material. The health implications of this — for the animals and for us — are predicted to be catastrophic by many scientists.

THE LEGAL ISSUES

Scotts deftly got around the existing laws that regulate genetic modification of plants and animals with clever legal maneuvering. Operating under The Federal Plant Pest Act of 1957, the USDA has had the power to restrict the introduction of organisms that might harm plants. It had used this power to regulate GMO crops until this July 1 announcement. The reasoning is that most GMO crops qualify as “plant pests” because the DNA from natural plant pathogens and microbial material — such as bacteria and fungi — had been the primary source of material used in the genetic engineering of various plants up to now.

Since Scotts had genetically engineered its bluegrass using genes taken from rice, corn and the Arabidopsis plant, from the mustard family, the company asked the USDA that its new GMO grass not be considered a plant pest under this 54-year-old law. The agency, shockingly or not, agreed.

The USDA’s other jurisdiction in this matter concerns invasive weeds. In other words, if a plant such as purple loosestrife or asiatic bittersweet shows that it roguishly moves where it’s unwanted, the USDA can play sheriff and place the plant on its Most Unwanted list. Folks can’t thereafter legally plant the stuff.

But since Scotts’ new mutant bluegrass hasn’t yet proven itself to be a weed, and existing bluegrass is not considered a weed, the USDA acquiesced to the position that it had no jurisdiction over Scotts’ new product.

To those of us in the environmental community, this is the same kind of legal wrangling that let O.J. and a certain mother walk free. It doesn’t, in other words, pass the common sense test. Scotts’ genetically modified Kentucky bluegrass will cross-pollinate with existing Kentucky bluegrass — there’s no way it won’t — but because of a legal loophole our government can’t, or won’t, do anything about it.

But that’s under existing laws. What about a new law that bans the genetic modification of plants that are wind pollinated? Can we get a politician to propose it? What about a law that bans the genetic modification of perennial plants that come back year after year? That could score some political points. Genetic modification of annual plants like corn, soy and canola at least leaves open the possibility that we can put the cow back in barn. We could conceivably eliminate these annual crops when enough consensus evolves that these crops are bad. But in the case of perennial grasses like alfalfa and bluegrass, there’s no turning back — EVER.

We need to put our government to its best use and implore our Congressional leaders to do something about it. Immediately.

WHAT WE NEED TO DO

In this world of social media, the possibilities are almost endless. You can write Letters to the Editor, letters for your elected officials, or start your own blog. I did manage to find a Facebook page that’s taking dead aim at this issue, but as of this writing it has a whopping 28 “Likes:” http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Scotts-Miracle-Gmo-Products/234083576622986.

Another strategy would be to call Scotts and demand the company put an end to this nonsense. There’s no way in hell that Jim Hagedorn would ever voluntarily walk away from a dollar, but you can get the satisfaction of making your voice heard. Here’s the Scotts Miracle Gro number: 888-270-3714.

Then there’s Thomas Vilsack and Barack Obama. All of this potential tragedy has happened on their watch. Don’t stand for it: http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5450.

Source: safelawns.org

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Obama Tells Farmer No Need to Worry About Over-Regulation of Agriculture

Posted on 18 August 2011 by admin

Obama Tells Farmer No Need to Worry About Government Over-Regulation of Agriculture

Thursday, August 18, 2011 – by Mike Adams

Mike Adams

(NaturalNews) During a town hall meeting yesterday, when an Illinois farmer told President Obama he was concerned about upcoming regulations regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act and would rather be farming than “filling out forms and permits,” Obama had choice words to offer in reply: “Don’t always believe what you hear.”

For once, Obama has told the truth. “Don’t always believe what you hear” should be the rally cry for all the farmers, raw dairy producers and consumers harmed by government actions taking place under the Obama administration – actions which can only be called war against the People and crimes against nature.

It was Obama’s USDA, for example, that approved genetically modified alfalfa to be openly planted everywhere, thereby contaminating non-GMO alfalfa crops with DNA pollution that’s impossible to remove from the harvest. This is the same USDA that also recently said it would do nothing to halt the release of GMO yard grass seeds into the marketplace.

Because of that decision, by the Spring of 2012, we could see genetically engineered lawns spouting up in neighborhoods all across America, where they will be frequently sprayed with toxic Roundup herbicide chemicals.

It was under President Obama that the FDA masterminded the recent armed raids on American raw dairy farmers by bringing a SWAT team to an L.A. food distribution center. There, under the watchful eye of federal government thugs, agents proceeded to pour all the milk down the drain, then seize and destroy tens of thousands of dollars worth of cheese, watermelons, mangos and other valuable food.

Obama, of course, could have stopped this outrageous incarceration of raw dairy farmers at any time but he stood back and said nothing. Perhaps he was too busy going on vacation to take any meaningful action to try to protect American farmers from gun-toting government tyrants.

It was under Obama’s watch that Michigan gardener Julie Bass was threatened with 93 days of jail time for growing tomatoes in her own front yard. While this wasn’t a federal case (it was drummed up by local tyrants who run the city of Oak Park), Obama could have easily intervened with a national message about “the freedom to garden.”

Where was Michelle Obama on this point in particular? The president’s wife can grow a garden on the White House lawn, but a mom in Oak Park Michigan can’t do the same on her own private property? Insane.

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Rawesome Foods Raid – SWAT Poured Out RAW Milk!

Posted on 03 August 2011 by admin

Rawesome Foods raid!

Cops poured out the milk!

(2683 views) Uploaded 8/6/2011 12:42:04 PM by HealthRanger

http://www.naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=C39F34B67FDA804B2D94CD9BBA3F0A0A

Video Information

From the Rawesome Foods raid in Venice, California, this video is from the day of the raid and reveals how the government terrorists poured all the raw milk down the drain! Video courtesy of RealFoodRights.com

Video Keywords: food    health freedom    tyranny    raw milk    raw dairy    food freedom    rawesome foods   government raids

 

Health Ranger: ‘FDA fights organic farmers’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbE3SfvuL1g

 

 

(Rawesome Foods Raid) What Happened – by an employee


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjmYOoa14XY

Rawesome Raid August 3, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI1gvPmA_c8

 

Massive public protest announced against government-sponsored terrorism of Rawesome Foods in California

(NaturalNews) As promised, a massive public protest is now being announced to give the members of the public an opportunity to voice their outrage against today’s arrest of three raw foods advocates who are all being charged with conspiracy.

The protest will be held at the LA County Courthouse located at:
210 West Temple, Division 30
Los Angeles

Arrive there at 7:45 am to join the protest, which needs to be in full swing early, because the court hearing for James is scheduled at 8:30.

Please keep your protests non-violent in nature and bring your signs, shirts and more. LA newspapers and media have already indicated they will be on scene. NaturalNews video journalists will also be on the scene filming whatever goes down. Videos will be posted on www.NaturalNews.TV

Bring your own cameras, too, and record your own photos and videos. Please post on NaturalNews.TV and we will likely link to your video in upcoming coverage of this event.

We apologize for the very short notice of this public protest, but we are publishing details about this story as quickly as we can. The story is breaking big and has already reached millions of listeners on the Alex Jones Show (www.InfoWars.com) and millions of readers through the Drudge Report (www.DrudgeReport.com), which has linked to NaturalNews as the breaking news source for this story.

Once the mainstream media starts covering this story, they will twist it around and LIE about it as they always do. NPR already did a hatchet job on this group following a previous raid. Only independent media (like NaturalNews) can be trusted to bring you the honest story on this without some corporate or government agenda.

There are already misinformed accusations that Rawesome Foods was not licensed as a retail business. But that’s incorrect information: Rawesome Foods is a private buying club and not a retail business that’s open to the general public. People can’t just walk in off the street and shop there like a regular grocery store. Thus, Rawesome does not have to be licensed like a regular grocery store. They are a private buyer’s club.

What went down in Venice, California today was clearly an act of government-sponsored terrorism against innocent citizens who are only “guilty” of selling healthful foods that are in huge demand by happy, healthy members (customers). That the selling of healthful raw milk cannot even be tolerated by the thuggish, corrupt government criminals who run the state of California (and the federal government) today is a powerful statement of just how much freedom we’ve already lost… and how hard we’re all going to have to fight back against tyranny to restore our basic food freedoms.

Watch NaturalNews for more developments on this story, and thank you for spreading the word about this latest assault on food freedom in America.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033223_Rawesome_Foods_public_protest.html

 

“Rawesome” Raw Milk Farm Raided…Again

Rawesome Foods Co-Op

It has been reported this morning (August 3rd, 2011), that raw milk farm “Rawesome” in Venice, California has been raided once again by members of the SWAT team. With guns drawn, two of the owners arrested, and over $10,000 worth of raw milk dumped out, the freedoms of Americans are diminishing. There is, however, something we can do about it.

Rawesome Raid – Based on Public Health?

The excuse given for these absurd raids (that honestly casts embarrassment over the police force) is that raw milk is a health threat that causes listeria, e. coli disease and death. This certainly can be true for raw milk — but only if you are drinking raw milk from animals that are being raised in inhumane and poor conditions.

The actual excuse for the arrests and the raids have not yet been officially stated. Stay tuned for that news.

Clean, fresh raw milk from grass fed, free ranging animals, however, does not need to be pasteurized. Milk you purchase from a traditional grocery store does require pasteurization, as the farmers who raise these cows raise them in poor, dirty and sanitation conditions. Pasteurization is the answer for man’s dirty mistakes! Nature does not need to be cleaned, and man does not know more than nature.

Raw Milk Proven Safer than Other Commonly Sold Foods

Recent data from researcher Dr. Ted Beals, M.D., shows that between 1999 through 2010 illnesses resulting in raw milk consumption totaled to around462, which is about 42 illnesses per year. Out of the 47.8 million food borne illnesses each year from foods such as raw meat (which is readily available at every grocery store), peanut butter and spinach, it is very curious as to why raw milk is targeted so violently.

Up to 2011, it is estimated that close to 10 million individuals drink raw milk as its popularity rises. More and more individuals are starting to realize and wake up to the fact that are rights as citizens, when it comes to what we consume or inject in our bodies, are slowly being taken away.

We are supposed to be free. We are supposed to be able to make informed decisions on our health. With the majority of the population overweight, diabetic and prediabetic, shouldn’t we focus more attention on the foods that are actually threatening the health of the American population? Shouldn’t we be performing raids on sugary cereals that surpress immune function and accelerate cancer growth, learning disorders and blood sugar instability?

Read Natural News’ article on the illegal actions of the SWAT members and the raid.

http://thehealthyadvocate.com/2011/08/03/rawesome-raw-milk-farm-raided-again/

 

Breaking news: Multi-agency armed raid hits Rawesome Foods, Healthy Family Farms for selling raw milk and cheese

(NaturalNews) This is a NaturalNews exclusive breaking new report. Please credit NaturalNews.com. A multi-agency SWAT-style armed raid was conducted this morning by helmet-wearing, gun-carrying enforcement agents from the LA County Sheriff’s Office, the FDA, the Dept. of Agriculture and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).

This story is now being followed and widely reported on InfoWars (www.InfoWars.com) and the Drudge Report (www.DrudgeReport.com). See updates below…

Rawesome Foods, a private buying club offering wholesome, natural raw milk and raw cheese products (among other wholesome foods) is founded by James Stewart, a pioneer in bringing wholesome raw foods directly to consumers through a buying club. James was followed from his private residence by law enforcement, and when he entered his store, the raid was launched.

Law enforcement demanded that all customers (members) of the store vacate the premises, then they demanded to know how much cash James had at the store. When James explained the amount of cash he had at the store — which is used to purchase product for selling there — agents demanded to know why he had such an amount of cash and where it came from.

James was handcuffed, was never read his rights and was stuffed into an unmarked car. While agents said they would leave behind a warrant, no one has yet had any opportunity to even see if such a warrant exists or if it is a complete warrant.

Law enforcement then proceeded to destroy the inventory of the story by pouring the milk down the drain and / or confiscating raw cheese and fresh produce for destruction. Video now posted at NaturalNews.TV: http://www.naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=A…

Note to NaturalNews readers: We believe this was an ILLEGAL raid being conducted mob-style by government thugs who respect no law and no rights. This is an all-out war by the government against people who try to promote healthy raw and living foods.

James is now being held at the Pacific division police department at Centinela and Culver in Los Angeles. He is being held at $123,000 bail with no possibility of using bail bonds. Law enforcement has demanded that if he comes up with the money to cover bail, he must disclose to them all the sources of that money. (This is an illegal demand!)

Massive public protests are needed to teach these criminal law enforcement agencies that they cannot illegally arrest and persecute individuals merely for buying and selling raw milk and cheese. We are organizing a public protest day in cooperation with James. Please watch NaturalNews for an announcement of that. Story is developing…

Right now, James needs help raising money with his legal defense needs. Our non-profit Consumer Wellness Center is currently serving as the collection point for donations. You may donate right now at www.ConsumerWellness.org (100% of the donations go directly to James’ legal defense needs, the Consumer Wellness Center keeps nothing).

See this video of James Stewart talking about his farm:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foKg…

Story on InfoWars.com:

http://www.infowars.com/raw-food-ra…

Here’s background on Healthy Family Farms which was also targeted in the raid:

Healthy Family Farms in Santa Paula, California:

“Healthy Family Farms is a sustainable, pasture-based farming operation. We raise all our livestock on pasture. We raise all of our animals from birth. We do not feed any of our animals soy, choosing instead to feed animals as they are designed to be fed. This results in healthy, sturdy animals needing no hormones, antibiotics, or other artificial “enhancements.” We harvest our animals humanely by hand before they are delivered to the farmers markets. We never freeze our products. In addition to farmer’s markets sales, we have an active CSA, which offers discounts to our valued members.”

Watch NaturalNews.com for more breaking news on this story. We are fed up with these illegal mob-style raids against the raw foods community! It is time to protest and fight back against tyranny!

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033220_Rawesome_Foods_armed_raids.html

 

Rawesome Foods founder to be prosecuted under special environmental crimes unit in LA

(NaturalNews) Details are still sketchy on this, as we’re breaking this news straight from the front lines in the aftermath of the government raid on Rawesome Foods in Venice, California (http://www.naturalnews.com/033220_R…), but NaturalNews is now being told that the LA County District Attorney will not be prosecuting James Stewart and the other “conspirators” who were arrested yesterday for selling raw milk. Instead, a special “environmental crimes” prosecutor will reportedly be prosecuting the case, which now consists of 13 criminal charges, some of which are felony crimes.

NaturalNews has not yet learned the name of this special environmental prosecutor, but the explanation smacks of the new environmental police who have been promoted through various propaganda outlets as being upstanding protect-the-Earth cops who arrest people for burning too much gas or using non-recyclable cups to drink beverages.

The issue of environmental police has been covered extensively by Alex Jones at InfoWars.com, where he refers to them as eco fascists. See this page to read more about how propaganda ads are being used to get people comfortable with the idea that “environmental crimes” should result in police slamming your face into the ground and handcuffing you:

http://www.infowars.com/audis-eco-f…

The videos on that page have been disabled, but here’s an alternate link of the green police Superbowl Ad:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq58

(Astonishing ad. You MUST watch it.)

The real aim of the green police agenda

Far from being a campaign merely to protect the Earth (which would be great if it were true), the new “green police” agenda is now being used as a way to terrorize innocent Americans as we’re seeing right now with Rawesome Foods. What’s especially frustrating about all this is that some of the Al Gore followers who largely supported the idea of the green police are, in fact, the very same people who are now being targeted for advocating raw milk. They had been misled, sadly.

You see, eco fascism was never really about protecting the planet and promoting sustainable living. It was always about enslaving the population, destroying health freedom, and mandating total corporate conformity at gunpoint. That’s the lesson we’re now learning from the Rawesome Foods raids, where LA County Sheriffs literally poured thousands of dollars worth of wholesome raw milk down the drain and arrested the buying club owner who will be prosecuted as by a special environmental prosecutor.

For the record, I’m a huge advocate of green living, renewable energy, and green consumer practices — but NOT at the cost of surrendering our Constitutional freedoms to a group of government badge-wearing eco terrorists who raid our raw milk clubs and charge people with conspiracy crimes for “mislabeling cheese.” I believe in solar power, I raise my own chickens and grow a portion of my own food NOT because Al Gore told me to, but because it just makes common sense in today’s unpredictable world to be prepared for food supply disruptions and power grid failures.

I try to minimize my eco-footprint on the planet not because some bureaucracy forces me to, but because I want to support the long-term continuation of sustainable life on our planet. Yes, I’m “green” in my daily practices, and at the same time I’m strongly invested in the powerful ideas of liberty and freedom for individuals. “Green” should never mean we have to mean we give up our freedoms. Forcing people to “go green” at the end of a gun isn’t acceptable. It must be done through education and awareness.

Green cops are no better than regular corrupt cops

It’s very clear to me that much of the political talk about saving the planet and going green was really just a campaign to encourage people to surrender their freedoms to yet another tyrannical enforcement bureaucracy that will abuse its power just like every other government agency abuses its power. “Green police” is just another excuse to put tens of thousands of new badge-wearing power trippers on the streets who will terrorize innocent citizens.

And that’s really, really sad, because I think the core idea of “going green” in our day-to-day lives is extremely valuable and valid. We should stop pouring toxic chemicals down the drain. We should collect rainwater and drink that instead of drinking toxic city water. And for that matter, our own government should stop dumping toxic fluoride chemicals into the water supply in the first place!

Meanwhile, the real environmental threats to our planet — such as the Fukushima meltdowns, the toxic chemicals produced by Big Pharma, and the DNA contamination of our planet with GMOs — remains totally ignored. That’s how this game always works: The big corporate criminals run free while the little people are persecuted in the name of “green.”

How insane is it, really, that this raw milk and cheese buyer’s club is now being prosecuted by the very same people who were given power by the green police movement?

All I can say is, beware of creating new police in any form, because when you create police, military or political forces that have power of your lives, they will ALWAYS abuse that power. Eventually, every bureaucracy or institution becomes totally corrupted by corporate influence, and then it no longer serves the people but the corporatocracy that really runs the show.

Notice that all the wealthy elite who pay no corporate taxes and fly around in private jets aren’t being targeted for arrest by the green police? There’s a reason for that. The whole campaign is designed to muzzle the little guy and remind the slaves that they’re really just slaves.

Pay attention, SLAVE. Drink your dead pasteurized milk, take your psychotropic drugs, gulp down your fluoridated water and shut the hell up. You’re under the control of the new eco fascists now, and it’s no longer just talk. It’s all coming to a farm near you.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033233_green_police_environmental_crimes.html

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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.

Visit the Mercola Video Library

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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Coming in 2012: GMO Front Lawns and Mass Spraying of Neighborhoods and Playgrounds with RoundUp

Posted on 17 June 2011 by admin

(NaturalNews) Thanks to a recent admission by the USDA that it does not have the regulatory framework to even regulate GMOs, the world of biotech is set to unleash a tidal wave of genetically modified seeds upon the United States. This is the upshot of Scotts Miracle-Gro challenging the USDA over its GMO grass seeds, to which the USDA threw in the towel and essentially announced it can’t technically regulate many GMOs at all.

Welcome to the new world order of GMO self regulation, where the companies that produce the GMO seeds now get to regulate their own behavior! (http://motherjones.com/tom-philpott…)

Scotts Miracle-Gro is now moving full speed ahead on its GMO yard grass product, which could theoretically be introduced into the marketplace as early as 2012. This is a home consumer yard grass seed which, of course, resists glyphosate (RoundUp), and its introduction into the marketplace would almost certainly result in millions of homeowners across America planting these seeds in their yard and then spraying RoundUp across their entire lawn as a “treatment” for eliminating weeds.

RoundUp, in other words, may be coming soon to a neighborhood near you. And it’s not just the lawns, either: This combination of Scotts GMO grass and RoundUp chemicals could be used on playgrounds, schoolyards, community centers and parks. Once this goes into production, there will be virtually no place your family can go in America that isn’t contaminated with genetically modified grass seeds and toxic glyphosate chemicals.

A whole new wave of superweeds

The upshot of all this is not merely the astonishing lack of regulation now being admitted by the USDA (which always sided with the biotech industry anyway, so what’s new?), but the cause-and-effect results we may soon see. We could be looking at awave of superweeds spreading across America.

These superweeds will be the baddest, toughest and most chemically-resistant weeds our world has ever seen. They develop as mutant derivatives of the mass spraying of RoundUp chemicals across lawns. In much the same way thatsuperbugsdevelop in the presence of widespread antibiotics abusesuperweeds, develop in the presence of widespread glyphosate abuse (http://www.businessinsider.com/gene…).

And of course once these superweeds take over America’s sidewalks, driveways and lawns, there will be cries for newer, stronger chemical products to kill those superweeds, too. And who will come to the rescue? Monsanto, of course… the very same company that produces RoundUp and thereby contributed to the problem in the first place.

Let the boycott of Scott’s Miracle Grow begin!

Join NaturalNews in boycotting Scotts products beginning today. We will maintain this boycott until Scotts announces it will no longer pursue GMO seeds. Remember: GMO Kentucky bluegrass willcross-pollinatewith other grasses in the wild, leading towidespread GMO contamination of lawns across our nation!

Join us in sending complaints to Scotts about their pursuit of GMOs. Click here to send Scotts an email.

Then call them by phone at 888-270-3714 (during normal business hours). When you call, let them know you are strongly opposed to their pursuit of GMO Kentucky bluegrass and that you will stop buying all Scotts / Miracle-Gro products from here forward unless Scotts announces it will back away from GMOs.

You may alsomail them a letterby sending it to:
Scotts Help Center
14111 Scottslawn Rd.
Marysville, OH 43041

Why this matters

Please join us in this protest against Scotts Miracle-Gro. And to once again summarizewhythis action is important, remember these simple truths:

• Unleashing genetically modified Kentucky bluegrass in America, to be used across neighborhood lawns and playgrounds, will result in the mass genetic contamination of other types of grasses.

• There is absolutelyno scientific evidenceshowing GMO Kentucky bluegrass to be safe for neighborhoods or the environment. The USDA simply refuses to regulate it.

• Scotts Miracle-Gro isextremely irresponsiblein pursuing such a product, and the company could be guilty ofcrimes against natureif it unleashes these products into the wild.

• If this GMO grass is planted on lawns across America, it will spur the widespread use of Roundup herbicide(made by Monsanto), which will devastate the soils and contaminate the streams and rivers downstream. We are talking about potentially dumpingtens of millions of gallonsof RoundUp into the environment while boosting the profits of Monsanto!

• If Scotts Miracle-Gro pursues this genetically modified lawn seed, it will instantly place itself on the list of thetop 10 most evil companiesin North America, earning it widespread criticism, condemnation and boycotts from consumers (who, for the most part, have a positive image of Scott’s right now). Many gardeners who currently use Scotts Miracle-Gro products will boycott them instead. Gardeners love the natural world, remember. And they do not like to see companies unleashing GMOs across that natural world.

• NaturalNews will continue to track and publicize Scotts’ actions regarding GMO grass seed, and if the company insists in introducing this product, we will work with people like Jeffrey Smith (www.ResponsibleTechnology.org) to organize massive protests against such irresponsible business practices.

Spread the word. Boycott Scotts Miracle-Gro. This company is on the verge of releasing GMO seeds across outfront lawns and neighborhoods– a move that would soon be followed by the mass-spraying of RoundUp pesticides by all your ignorant neighbors who know nothing of the dangers of GMOs and glyphosate.

Please share this story and help get the word out. Scotts Miracle-Gro must go. Just Say No to GMOs (www.NaturalNews.com/music).

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/033022_Scotts_Miracle-Gro_GMO_seeds.html#ixzz1auiWyTbN

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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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Coming to a Sausage Near You – “Enviropig” – First GMO Pig Made for Human Consumption

Posted on 06 October 2010 by admin

We’ve been hearing about the dangers of genetically modified plants for some time, but a team of scientists at Canada’s University of Guelph have created what they have named the “Enviropig,” and they hope that its progeny will become the sausage in your next McMuffin. Enviropig looks, acts, and walks like a Yorkshire pig, but the scientists say it’s ‘greener’ in that it has less pollutants in its manure.

A pig’s manure is high in phytates, a form of phosphorus found in corn and other kinds of hog feed. The Enviropig was created by using a strain of E. coli bacteria and mouse genes to add an enzyme to pig saliva called phytase — which breaks down phytates, the pollutant in question. Phytates gather in the environment and cause ecological changes downstream such as algae blooms and pH changes in the soil.

Richard Moccia, Professor of Animal Science and Associate VP of Research at the University of Guelph, believes the animal is safe. “We have done extensive testing on the various internal organs and different meat cuts from the Enviropig, looked at the nutritional content and the amount of protein and fat and minerals and other things contained in the pig. They’re identical to a normal Yorkshire pig,” he says. “Certainly one of the goals of the technology is to produce a pig which could be consumed by humans and enter the food chain.

No one has consumed any Enviropig meat as of yet, even though it’s been around for over a decade. The University tested the animal for nearly ten years before applying for approval from the FDA and the Canadian Health Products and Food Branch. They expect to receive formal acceptance from the FDA in the next few years.

Larisa Rudenko of the FDA’s Animal Biotechnology Interdisciplinary Group knows of the public’s worries. “I think people are particularly concerned about genetic engineering right now,” she says, “and what I can tell the American public is that the FDA has a very rigorous process for assessing the safety of food from such animals, and that no food from a genetically engineered animal will go on the market unless the FDA has demonstrated that it’s safe.

The Director of the Center for Food Safety, Andrew Kimbrell, argues, “It’s a completely novel cell invasion technology where we are crossing the boundaries of nature as no other generation has before. And the question is whether that is safe, whether that is something that we should be doing ethically; those are very serious questions that we as a society need to be asking.” The Center for Food Safety believes that rather than change the pig, we should change our methods of pig farming.

According to some scientists, this is strictly because corn is not fully digestible in a pig’s stomach. The sensible way to eliminate high-phytate pig ‘byproducts’ is to feed the pigs what they’ve evolved to eat. Bill Jones of Buffalo Creek Farm said, “It made sense to allow a pig to eat a natural diet consisting mostly of things that people could not or would not eat, rather than feed it corn…What we have found is that if pigs are allowed to forage for natural food in the forest no antibiotics are necessary. The pigs don’t get sick…Pigs are omnivorous. They will eat grass and other leafy greens. They dig for roots and insects. In the Autumn they eat acorns and other nuts, and fruits such as persimmons.

The University of Guelph attacked the problem from the…ahem…other end. Moccia said that the Enviropig “is a technology to try to reduce the amount of phosphorous that leaves a pig farm. And if you can do that, you can also then reduce and control the amount of phosphorous that gets into the aquatic ecosystem. So really what we’re doing is using the genetic technologies in the pig to try to solve a phosphorous overloading problem into both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Translation: rather than feed the pig (and ourselves!) the food Nature created it to eat, we consider it a better investment to spend pennies on corn, and hundreds of thousands of dollars on the pig itself. At some point, the US government’s corn subsidy will, in fact, destroy the world, but until then, it’s certainly leading to some interesting innovations.

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GMO Seeds and Sugar Beets by Monsanto

Posted on 03 September 2010 by admin

India Monsanto farmer in a fieldIndia is in the midst of a flood of suicides among farmers. A new feature film written and directed by Anusha Rizwi and produced by Bollywood megastar Aamir Khan, called Peepli Live, takes a look at this grim topic.

The vast majority of people in India still farm for a living, but are caught between deep debt and the erratic nature of seasonal change.

Indian farmers are pressured into mortgaging their farms to purchase genetically modified seeds, pesticides, and fertilizer from American companies like Monsanto.

According to AlterNet:

“Since GM seeds are patented by Monsanto, their repeated use each year requires constant licensing fees that keep farmers impoverished. One bad yield due to drought or other reasons, plunges farmers so deep into debt that they resort to suicide. One study estimates that 150,000 farmers have killed themselves in the past ten years.”

Meanwhile, in the U.S., District Judge Jeffrey White, a federal judge in California, has banned the planting of genetically modified Roundup Ready sugar beets created by Monsanto. The beets are engineered to withstand Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

White said he was “troubled by maintaining the status quo that consists of 95 percent of sugar beets being genetically engineered while [the USDA] conducts the environmental review that should have occurred before the sugar beets were deregulated.”

The ban does not affect crops already planted and harvested for sugar.

The St. Louis Business Journal reports:

“Environmental groups … filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in January 2008 to challenge the deregulation of Roundup Ready sugar beets by the USDA … Opponents say the beets promote superweeds, weeds that cannot easily be killed because they have developed a tolerance to weed killer. They also raise concerns about the contamination of conventional and organic crops.”

 

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
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I believe genetically modified plants and foods are one of the most significant  threats against humanity and life on this planet, for a number of reasons.

Biotechnology has changed the face of farming as we know it, and with each passing year, we move further away from the ancient farming practice of saving the best seeds for replanting the following season – a method that is both inexpensive and proven successful for optimal crop quality.

Now, the increased use of genetically modified seeds that must be purchased anew each year are starting to take its toll. A mere 15 years into commercial GM seed use, we’re now seeing GM crops contaminating conventional and organic crops; different GM varieties combining with each other in the wild, creating unintended GM hybrids; and farmers driven to desperate acts due to financial devastation.

Genetic Engineering May Sterilize Nature. Then What?

Consider this: Monsanto’s “suicide gene” has not only been inserted into certain food crops, rendering them sterile in order to force farmers to buy new seeds. This technology is now spreading to other industries, such as forestry.

Scientific American reported on this in January. Two paper industry giants are planning to replace the native pine in the forests of southwestern US with genetically engineered, sterile, eucalyptus. By making the trees unable to reproduce naturally, they propose there’s no need to worry about the GM eucalyptus turning into an invasive species…

Really?

Earlier this week I wrote about two GM varieties of canola spreading into the wild, and cross-breeding with each other, creating a third hybrid that is resistant to not one but two herbicides. Science has already discovered that the genome is more “intelligent” than previously thought, and by planting non-native trees that have been gene spliced to reduce proliferation does NOT make me rest easy.

On the contrary. I believe there are plenty of indications that the introduction of sterile plants of various kinds may allow this genetic ability to “turn off” reproductive capability to spread into other parts of nature, in ways that none of us can predict.

For an eye opening look at the genetic engineering now overtaking the forestry industry, I highly recommend watching the documentary film “A Silent Forest,” available in full on MEFEEDiA.com.

How are GM Crops Provoking Farmers to Commit Suicide?

According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, more than 182,900 Indian farmers took their own lives between 1997 and 2007. It estimates 46 Indian farmers commit suicide every day. That equates to roughly one suicide every 30 minutes!

Some will argue that natural events are to blame, such as lack of rain, but crop failures have occurred before, and it didn’t push thousands of farmers to end their lives by drinking pesticide.

No, the increased desperation can be traced directly back to the use of patented, and therefore expensive, seeds, and the unconscionable tactics of Monsanto.

Monsanto has been ruthless in their drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops. Over the past decade, millions of Indian farmers have been promised radically increased harvests and income if they switch from their traditional age tested farming methods to genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton seeds.

So, they borrow money to buy GM seeds, which need certain pesticides that were previously unnecessary, which requires even more money. When rain fall is sparse, the GM crops actually fare far worse than traditional crops – a fact that these farmers oftentimes don’t learn until it’s too late and they’re standing there with failed crops, spiraling debts, and no income.

And by next season, they have to do it all over again because the GM seeds cannot be saved and replanted. They must be purchased again.

In addition, GM crops have spawned:

  • Bt resistant pests
  • New pests
  • Superweeds

For example, the evolution of Bt resistant bollworms worldwide have now been confirmed and documented, and what used to be minor pests are now becoming major problems – such as mirid bugs, which have increased 12-fold since 1997 in China, and can be directly linked to the scale of China’s Bt cotton cultivation.

In addition, the promise that GM crops would reduce pesticide/herbicide use has turned out to be entirely false.

The use of Roundup herbicide has increased dramatically since the GM Roundup Ready crops were introduced. In the first 13 years, American farmers sprayed an additional 383 million pounds of herbicide due to these herbicide-tolerant crops. And now the repeated exposures have given Mother Nature all she needs to stage her comeback in the form of devastating superweeds.

Since 1996, when GM crops were first introduced, at least nine species of U.S. weeds have developed resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, which means farmers must use additional herbicides, some of them even more toxic than Roundup.

In the end, we’re left with all of the downsides and none of the intended benefits.

Bollywood Brings Indian Farmers’ Plight to the Big Screen

AlterNet.com reports on a new Indian film called Peepli Live that grapples with this topic:

“The story is set in an Indian village named Peepli where one young debt-burdened farmer named Natha is talked into taking his own life after he learns that his family will be financially compensated through a government program created to alleviate the loss of farmers taking their own lives.”

The film features Bollywood megastar Aamir Khan. An interview with him about the film and the plight of Indian farmers can be found here.

Hopefully this film is successful in raising awareness about the destructive power of this technology.

US Judge Halts Deregulation of Roundup Ready Sugar Beets – For Now…

Meanwhile, the US has been granted a temporary reprieve from yet another GM food.

The U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, a federal judge in California, recently banned the planting of Monsanto’s GM Roundup-resistant sugar beets. The ruling, which can be read here, does not affect any crop that has already been planted or harvested, however, so GM sugar will still reach the market place.

The GM sugar beet is called Genuity, and was introduced during the 2008-2009 season.

Although considered a victory, the judge’s ruling did not grant plaintiffs’ motion for a permanent injunction against GM sugar beet plantings.

The St Louis Business Journal recently reported:

“White ruled in September 2009 that the USDA will have to complete an Environmental Impact Statement for the sugar beets. The USDA has estimated that an EIS may be ready by 2012.

Monsanto has said in court papers that revoking regulators’ approval of sugar beets would cost the biotech giant and its customers approximately $2 billion in 2011 and 2012.”

Roundup Residue Causes Cell Damage

The increasing use of Roundup on crops engineered to survive being doused in the herbicide has its own set of health consequences.

Residues of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide found in GM food and feed has been linked to cell damage and even death, even at very low levels. Researchers have also found it causes membrane and DNA damage, and inhibits cell respiration.

So not only are you exposed to foods that contain built-in toxins, you’re also consuming larger amounts of toxic residues on the food, for the simple fact that more is now being used.

Pesticide and herbicide residues are very difficult to remove from grains, fruits and vegetables. Even meticulous washing cannot get rid of it all.

What Can You Do to Affect Change?

Did you know that genetically modified foods are so prevalent in the US that if you randomly pick an item off your grocery store’s shelves, you have a 75 percent chance of picking a food with GM ingredients?

It’s true. At least seven out of every 10 food items have been genetically modified, and there’s more to come.

The potential health ramifications of these world-wide experiments with our food supply are frightening to say the least. If you care about the health and future of your family, I strongly urge you to refuse to participate in this destructive trend.

How?

It’s actually simpler than you might think… By buying only non-GM foods.

Must-Have Guide to NON-GMO Foods

The True Food Shopping Guide is a great tool for helping you determine which brands and products contain GM ingredients. It lists 20 different food categories that include everything from baby food to chocolate.

Additionally, here are four simple steps to decrease your consumption of GM foods as much as possible:

  • Reduce or eliminate processed foods in your diet. The fact that 75 percent of processed foods contain GM ingredients is only one of the many reasons to stick to a whole foods diet.
  • Read produce and food labels. Conventionally raised soybeans and corn make up the largest portion of genetically modified crops. Ingredients made from these foods include high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn flour and meal, dextrin, starch, soy sauce, margarine, and tofu.
  • Buy organic produce. By definition, food that is certified organic must be free from all GM organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Additionally, grass-fed beef will not have been fed GM corn feed.
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Fluoride from Municipal Water Supplies is Toxic to Fish

Posted on 09 August 2010 by admin

Water Fluoridation Impacts the Environment

Fluoride pollution from aluminum smelters has long been known to cause problems such as damage to plants and risk to livestock grazing grasses exposed to the chemical. But there are not many highly publicized studies that look at the ecological impact of fluoridating municipal water supplies. Past research, however, shows that the practice hailed by the CDC as one of the greatest public health advances of the 20th century for humans may be causing damage to the environment.

An excerpt from a research review by Edward Groth III, a former staff member of the Environmental Studies Board of the National Research Council, sets the stage:

“To date, except for instances of gross spillage of fluoride into the air or water, fluoride has received relatively little attention as a contaminant of the ecosystem. In the case of water pollution especially, there have been many other pollutants which have been present in massive amounts, and which have had a very significant impact. It is easy to understand how a pollutant like fluoride, which is usually present at fairly low levels, and which has more subtle, insidious effects, when it has effects at all, has been given relatively low priority, both in terms of research attention and regulatory control. It is possible that fluoride may have had some adverse effects on aquatic life, but that such damage has been masked by the far more severe effects of untreated sewage, industrial effluents, pesticides, and other major pollutants. As controls on these more easily recognized pollution problems are becoming more effective and widespread, attention can turn to less prominent pollutants such as fluoride, whose impacts may be more easily detected as water quality improves in respect to other parameters.”

At the Source

Ninety percent of artificially fluoridated water supplies in the U.S. do not purchase pharmaceutical grade fluoride but instead purchase fluosilicic acid, a waste product mainly of the phosphate fertilizer industry.

The fluosilicic acid is extracted from wet scrubbers, according to Michael Connett, Research Director of the Fluoride Action Network, an international coalition of scientists, medical professionals, environmentalists, and others working for fluoride awareness. Connett describes wet scrubbers as pollution management tools that were devised to capture the fluoride gases produced during phosphate fertilizer production. The designated hazardous waste, which is too toxic to be dumped in rivers or soil, is recovered from the scrubbers, packaged unrefined, and sent out to municipalities across the U.S. ready to be applied to local drinking water.

In a Canadian Broadcasting Company piece from 1967 called “Air of Death,” the severe toxicity of the waste from the fertilizer industry and the need for pollution control is clear.

“Farmers noticed it first… Something mysterious burned the peppers, burned the fruit, dwarfed and shriveled the grains, damaged everything that grew. Something in the air destroyed the crops. Anyone could see it… They noticed it first in 1961. Again in ‘62. Worse each year. Plants that didn’t burn, were dwarfed. Grain yields cut in half…Finally, a greater disaster revealed the source of the trouble. A plume from a silver stack, once the symbol of Dunville’s progress, spreading for miles around poison – fluorine. It was identified by veterinarians. There was no doubt. What happened to the cattle was unmistakable, and it broke the farmers’ hearts. Fluorosis – swollen joints, falling teeth, pain until cattle lie down and die. Hundreds of them. The cause – fluorine poisoning from the air.”

Following incidents such as the one detailed above, the phosphate fertilizer industry has drastically cleaned up in large part due to stringent Environmental Protection Agency regulations. And large amounts of fluoride are no longer finding their way into our air, water, and soil. Much smaller amounts of fluoride from the phosphate fertilizer industry, however, are still finding their way into the environment and stricter limits on these lower levels of the waste have yet to be set.

Industrial Waste in the Water

The risk to the environment from fluoride comes as the sewage effluent from municipalities enters rivers and streams after processing.

Groth, who has a PhD in biological sciences, says aside from some waste still coming from industry, another significant source of fluoride water pollution is domestic sewage.

In his 1975 review of the environmental impact of fluoride Groth explained that most of the fluoridated water used in urban areas is returned through sewage systems to the aquatic environment. Groth described a number of studies that related environmental fluoride concentrations to specific sources. One such study measured tributaries of the East Gallatin River above the town of Bozeman, Montana, as containing 0.1 ppm (parts per million) fluoride or less, while the river below the city’s sewage outfall (the only fluoride source in the area) was found to have concentrations of 0.3 to 0.8 ppm. This clearly illustrates that fluoride added to municipal water supplies finds its way to our rivers through our sewage systems and raises background levels of the chemical.

Groth also mentions a study of fluoride input to Narragansett Bay, in Rhode Island, which showed that “36 percent of the fluoride entering the bay was due to fluoridation of water supplies in five communities on rivers feeding into the estuary. In midsummer, pollution from these sources was enough to double the fluoride content of the rivers.”

Fluoridated Fish

In a 1994 research review, Impact of Artificial Fluoridation on Salmon Species in the Northwest USA and British Columbia, Canada, researchers Richard G. Foulkes and Anne C. Anderson reviewed the literature to find that concentrations of fluoride lower than 1.5 ppm, the level “permissible” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has both lethal and adverse effects on salmon.

The EPA allowed a “permissible level” of 1.5 ppm for fluoride discharged into fresh water. But the researchers suggest a level of 0.2 ppm is required to remove the risk to aquatic species. British Columbia’s “recommended guideline” is actually 0.2 ppm, but it does not have legislation to back it up.

The research review covers a field study, which demonstrated that relatively low level fluoride contamination from an aluminum smelter 1.6 km above the John Day Dam caused inhibition of migration in the salmon, which led to high salmon loss at on the Columbia River from 1982-1986. In 1982, the average daily discharge of fluoride caused a fluoride concentration of 0.5 ppm at the dam and a migration time of more than 150 hours leading to a 55% loss of the salmon. In 1983, the concentration was reduced to 0.17 ppm and the migration time to less than 28 hours with a loss of 11%. In 1985, the concentration was 0.2 ppm with a salmon loss of 5%. This study clearly shows that even lower levels of fluoride, the same levels that are discharged from artificial fluoridation of municipal water supplies, can cause a large loss of the salmon population

Other studies reviewed by Foulkes and Anderson support the findings that fluoride levels below 1.5 ppm have lethal and other adverse effects on aquatic species. One study shows delayed hatching of rainbow trout at 1.5 ppm; another shows brown mussels died at 1.4 ppm; yet another shows that levels below 0.1 ppm were lethal to the water flea.

The researchers argue that these studies provide evidence that the “safe” level of fluoride in the fresh water habitat of salmon species is not 1.5 ppm but, 0.2 ppm. They also make the point that the decline in salmon stocks, especially Chinook and Coho, is a major economic problem for both commercial and sport fisheries and that fluoride pollution, even at relatively low levels, plays a role in this problem. The researchers argue that “until evidence to the contrary based on impartially, conducted field studies, is available, the “critical level” of fluoride, in fresh water, to protect salmon species in the US Northwest and British Columbia, should be 0.2 ppm.”  They say this would require, among other actions, the cessation of deliberate metering of fluoride waste into community water supplies.

source: DC Bureau

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GMO Salmon Near FDA Approval – Public’s Input Not Wanted

Posted on 03 July 2010 by admin

GMO Salmon Near FDA Approval—Public’s Input Not Wanted

This is a Call to Action! The only thing that can stop this travesty is a massive public outcry.

by Heidi Stevenson

3 July 2010

Salmon on ice

 

As the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) nears approval for the first genetically engineered salmon, the public’s views on the issue are not wanted. These genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will be the first animals approved for food, but the FDA is treating them like veterinary drugs, so the approval process is not open to the public and none of the documentation is available for inspection.

The modified fish, called AquAdvantage® by their developer, AquaBounty Technologies, grow to market size very quickly. AquaBounty claims the fish can be ready for sale in 16-18 months instead of the usual 3 years for standard farmed salmon.

If you want to skip the article and go straight to how you can take action, click here.

What We Know…

AquaBounty implanted two genes into the genetically engineered salmon. One is a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon of the Pacific Ocean, and the other is a gene from the pout fish that turns the growth hormone gene on. These keep salmon from turning their growth hormones off when it’s cold, so they continue to grow.

The FDA’s approval process requires submission of seven data sets. The first five have been approved. AquaBounty believes the last two sets are close to approval.

Even more revealing, though, is that the FDA has been discussing whether to require labeling of the GMO salmon—which sounds very much like they’ve already decided to approve AquaBounty’s salmon. As it now stands, the FDA does not require any other GMO food to be labeled, unless it’s significantly different from its natural counterpart or contains an allergen that the natural form doesn’t. There’s a belief that the public is “confused” by being informed.

AquaBounty’s CEO, Ronald L. Stotish, tries to create the image that their purpose is to benefit humanity. He has said that the GM fish would help grow food for the world with fewer resources. Of course, it ignores the massive amount of food the fish will need to grow so fast, the land required to provide the feed for the fish, transportation for getting feed to the fish, and the use of land that might grow vegetables or grass to graze animals for far less efficient food production in the fish. With so little basis in reality on this point, it’s difficult to believe any of AquaBounty’s statements about safety, health, or environmental standards.

…And What We Don’t Know

The method used to transfer genes is not being provided to the public. If a virus was used as a vector to transfer the genes, then the potential for inducing cancer in people who eat the salmon exists. The FDA does not seem to believe that we have the right to know what gene-transfer technique is used.

Gene Transfer?

Gut bacteria, present in everyone and necessary for life, are known to exchange genes. A study by the UK’s Food Standards Agency has shown that horizontal gene transfer can occur with a single serving of food. Is this possible with AquAdvantage salmon? We don’t know, and the FDA asks us to trust them that they’ll make the right decision.

Allergens?

Do the transferred genes produce new proteins that could be allergenic in some people? Again, we have only the word of the corporation that hopes to profit from the sale that a deadly allergen isn’t created by their product.

Nutritional Quality?

The nutritional quality and taste of the GM salmon is supposedly indistinguishable from natural Atlantic salmon. That’s what AquaBounty says—but the fact is that these are not the same as wild fish. They are less mature than the fish normally eaten now. Why should we believe their claims…especially since the FDA won’t show us any documentation to back them up?

Fish Suffer?

Do the fish suffer from abnormally rapid growth? Do they suffer from their altered anatomy? We don’t know. AquaBounty, of course, says they don’t. The FDA doesn’t believe we have the right to know.

There is one fact that we do know about these fish. They’ll be factory-farmed. Fish raised in such conditions generally suffer horribly in extremely crowded conditions eating toxic food, which is then transferred to us when eaten. For years, farmed salmon have been known to be dangerously infested with dioxins, PCBs, and toxaphene, which are known as carcinogens, and several other dangerous chemicals.

Fish Sterile & Unable to Escape?

AquaBounty claims that the fish are sterile females and that they cannot escape from the fish farms. There are two clear problems with these claims. The first is the assumption that the techniques used to make the fish sterile will last. Genetic alterations have been known to reverse, so we don’t know if these salmon would necessarily be unable to breed. The claim that they can’t escape from the farms because they aren’t located near the ocean is belied by the fact that AquaBounty does not intend to raise the fish themselves. Their plan is to sell eggs to fish farms. Are we to believe that they won’t sell to a farmer because he’s located by the ocean?

We do know that farmed fish are already escaping into the wild with devastating effects on the wild salmon. Should we believe the promises of AquaBounty that their fish cannot escape and, if they do, that they cannot breed?

Peter Melcher of the UK’s Soil Association, says

Once you have bombarded an animal with other genes, the DNA is unstable, and there is no guarantee these fish will remain sterile. It poses far too great a risk to wild salmon. A fish that grows so quickly is also likely to lose some of the nutritional benefits. There is no such thing as a free salmon lunch and we will pay the price.

 

What we do know about these fish is terrible. What we don’t know could be even worse. But the FDA doesn’t think we have the right to know, and AquaBounty is only telling us what they want us to hear.

Who Runs AquaBounty?

When trying to understand the nature of a corporation and its focus, it helps to look at who is on its board of directors. In AquaBounty’s case, it’s very revealing.

Richard J. Clothier is the Non-Executive Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Nominations and Corporate Governance Committee. His career has put him at the head of agribusiness corporations, including Robinson plc, which makes packaging for supermarket products, and Spearhead International Ltd, which operates factory farms in several countries. Before that, he was a CEO with Dalgety plc, a now-defunct manufacturer of products sold by supermarkets. He retired recently as Group Chief Executive of PGI Group plc, an agribusiness firm involved in tea, flower, and produce production in Africa.

Other key figures with AquaBounty are former officers and executives of major multinational corporations, investment firms, medical device manufacturers, and pharmaceuticals. Stotish, the President and CEO, was previously an officer with a pharmaceutical firm involved in genetic manipulation. Elliot Entis, a board member, specializes in commercial and regulatory issues of biotech food introduction. Another board and audit committee member, Richard Huber, was a chairman and president of the giant health insurer, Aetna.

The collection of men at the helm of AquaBounty is remarkable for their connections with the worst sort of Agribusiness, Big Pharma, and multinational corporations. These are men who are practiced at the art of making money at any cost to the public and environment. It seems that they’ve found the perfect vehicle for their sort of expertise in AquaBounty.

The FDA’s “Public Meeting”

The FDA will probably hold a “public meeting” of an advisory committee in early fall, supposedly for obtaining public input. It’s a standard procedure before final approval of a drug. Limited information, consisting of material, picked by the FDA, that supports the product, is given to the public. It promises to be no more than a show. Gregory Jaffe, biotechnology project director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says that the public is not given adequate time to analyze the data provided.

Take Action!

Belying the true status of GM salmon in the FDA, a government official has stated anonymously, “It’s going to be a P. R. issue.” Let’s hope so!

Here’s what you can do:

Go to this page provided by the Organic Consumers Association. It will help you send a letter to President Obama and Margaret A. Hamburg, Commissioner of the FDA. A sample letter is provided, which you may alter if you wish. The Organic Consumers Association will deliver the message for you. It’s quick and easy.

 

Let’s stop Frankenfish!

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