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Friday, December 30, 2011

Geneticall​y Modified Mosquitoes to be Released in the US for the First Time

Mike Barrett
Activist Post

December 23, 2011

To those of you who have been eager to hear the latest news concerning the potential release of genetically modified mosquitoes – here it is.

It turns out that the genetically modified mosquitoes could be released into the U.S. environment as early as January of 2012.

A private firm plans to initiate the release of the GE mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. Florida will be the first beta testing grounds to determine whether or not the mosquitoes lead to detrimental environmental and genetic impact. Residents in this area will also be subjected — without choice — to these genetically manipulated insects, unless the private firm decides to seek permission.

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes -- An Unknown Dangerous Experiment

Thefirst mosquito release took place in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean in 2009. On Sunday, October 27, the release wasdiscussed in a scientific paper by the journal of Nature Biotechnology with thereport concluding the release's success.

A second trial occurred in 2010, where 6,000 mosquitoes were released in Malaysia forfurther experiments. The mosquitoes are genetically modified with a genedesigned to kill them unless given an antibiotic known as tetracycline. Offspring of the GM mosquitoes will receive this same lethal gene which will kill the offspring before it can ever reach adulthood. As more genetically modified mosquitoes mate with wild mosquitoes, the idea is that more and more offspring will be produced with the lethal gene, thereby reducing the mosquito population.

Of course the risks these mosquitoes pose both on the environment, as well as the health of allliving creatures are highly unknown, leaving everyone with many more questions than answers. We have already seen how terribly genetic modification can threaten the environment and human health, yet people are still movingtoward a genetically modified world.

With the release of genetically modified insects could come the downfall of both local and global ecosystems as well as negative consequences concerning the food chain. There is simply no way of knowing what could happen by replacing the naturally born life forms onplanet earth with genetically modified creations.

Some questions that still remain unanswered:

Will Oxitec, the creator of the insects, need to acquire the free and informed consent of residents in Key West for the release of the GM mosquitoes? With the previous release of the mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands there was no public consultation taken on potential risks and informed consent was not given from locals.

With 0.5 percent of the released insects being female (the gender which bites humans), what happens to humans if bitten by the female mosquitoes?

What could happen to the ecosystem and local food chain with the major decrease in the Aedes aegypti mosquito population?

Who will regulate the release, and who will be responsible in the event of complications – to any degree?

If Florida and the US approves Oxitec’s planned release of these genetically modified mosquitoes, we will become that much closer to future genetic modification of living creatures as well as the potential collapse of environmental and humanhealth.

Luckily, judging by the widespread opposition of genetically modified foods, it is likely that this experiment won’t turn into a reality without a fight.

GMO Crops Continually Banned Around the World in Display of Health Freedom

Colorado’s Boulder County was the latest health freedom hotspot to stand up against Monsanto and genetically modified produce, with Boulder County advisory committees announcing plans to phase out GMO crops on open space in pursuit of sustainable and ethical farming practices. The county joins a long list of other political bodies that have banned, condemned, and even uprooted GMO crops across the globe.

Both the Food and Agriculture Policy Council and the Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee of Boulder Country voted 5-4 to phase out GMOs in an economically viable way. The transition proves that it is possible to be environmentally conscious, preserve the health of citizens, and still maintain economic stability.

Genetically modified corn has been growing on around 16,000 acres of cropland owned by the county for around a decade. In 2009, public concern over the consequences of GMO crops sparked public debate within the county. Citizens demanded that GMO crops be banned after 6 local farmers asked permission to plant sugar beets that were engineered to resist the herbicide Roundup.

Nations Starting to Ban and Uproot GMO Crops

Hungary has gained international recognition for their bold stand against biotech giant Monsanto, destroying all Monsanto corn fields littered with GMO crops. The nation destroyed 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds, which are banned in the country. Many of the farmers were actually shocked to find they were using GMO seeds, which are resulting in extreme environmental consequence.

Peru has also taken a stand for health freedom, passing a monumental 10 year ban on genetically modified foods. Amazingly, Peru’s Plenary Session of the Congress made the decision despite previous governmental pushes for GM legalization. The known and unknown dangers of GMO crops seem to supersede even executive-level governmental directives.

Anibal Huerta, President of Peru’s Agrarian Commission, said the ban was needed to prevent the ”danger that can arise from the use of biotechnology.”

When the people demand anti-GMO action from the government, they are oftentimes forced to listen.

“There is an increasing consensus among consumers that they want safe, local, organic fresh food and that they want the environment and wildlife to be protected,” wrote Walter Pengue from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, in a recent statement concerning GMOs in South America. “South American countries must proceed with a broader evaluation of their original agricultural policies and practices using the precautionary principle.”

Political displays of defiance against Monsanto and genetically modified foods is the best method of combating their existence. As more political bodies worldwide begin to take a stand against GMOs, Monsanto will be forced to retreat from the food supply.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monsanto Corn May Be Failing to Kill Bugs, EPA Says

By Jack Kaskey - Dec 2, 2011 4:31 PM ET .

Monsanto Co. (MON) corn that’s genetically engineered to kill insects may be losing its effectiveness against rootworms in four states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

Rootworms in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska are suspected of developing tolerance to the plants’ insecticide, based on documented cases of severe crop damage and reports from entomologists, the EPA said in a memo dated Nov. 22 and posted Nov. 30 on a government website. Monsanto’s program for monitoring suspected cases of resistance is “inadequate,” the EPA said.

“Resistance is suspected in at least some portions of four states in which ‘unexpected damage’ reports originated,” the EPA said in the memo, which reviewed damage reports.

The insects, which begin life as root-chewing grubs before developing into adult beetles, are among the most destructive corn pests, costing U.S. farmers about $1 billion a year in damages and chemical pesticides, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Monsanto fell 3.8 percent to $70.42 at the close in New York, the tenth-biggest (SPX) decline among companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

“The stock is always going to be susceptible to headline risk as it pertains to the effectiveness of their products,” Mark Demos, a portfolio manager who helps oversee $18 billion at Fifth Third Asset Management in Minneapolis, said by telephone. “They are leading the charge in biotech, so it’s bad for the whole industry.”

Introduced in 2003

Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, introduced its rootworm-killing corn technology in 2003. The modified corn was planted on more than 37 million acres this year, Lee Quarles, a spokesman for St. Louis-based Monsanto, said yesterday. Monsanto isn’t having resistance issues with seeds engineered to kill corn borers and other pests that live above ground. Corn is Monsanto’s largest business, accounting for 41 percent of its $11.8 billion of sales in the fiscal year ended Aug. 31.

An Iowa State University study said in July that some rootworms have evolved resistance to an insect-killing protein derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, a natural insecticide engineered into Monsanto corn. Entomologists in Illinois and other Midwestern states are studying possible resistance where the insects devour roots of Monsanto’s Bt corn.

‘Stay Ahead’

Monsanto continues to believe there’s no scientific confirmation of resistance to its Bt corn, Quarles said by telephone. Still, Monsanto takes the EPA report “seriously” and is increasing efforts to teach farmers how to respond to unexpected damage in their fields, he said.

Less than 0.2 percent of the acres planted with Monsanto’s Bt corn were affected by unexpected rootworm damage this year, Quarles said. Farmers with root damage in their fields should consider changing practices to “stay ahead of this insect,” Monsanto said in a statement. That could include rotating corn with soybeans or using a product such as Monsanto’s SmartStax corn, which kills rootworms with two types of Bt, the company said.

The EPA report “does throw a harsher light on the longer- term efficacy of the trait,” Chris Shaw, a New York-based analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co., said today by telephone. The development of SmartStax shows Monsanto knows it can’t rely on a single gene to address farmers’ problems, he said.

No Refuge

The agency said in the memo that SmartStax could lose its effectiveness if it’s planted in fields where bugs have developed a tolerance to Monsanto’s Bt gene, known as CRY3bB1. That’s because SmartStax’s effectiveness is predicated on both types of Bt working as designed. SmartStax corn produces the second type of Bt, called Cry34/35, with a gene licensed from Dow Chemical Co. (DOW)

To deter resistance to all types of Bt corn, the EPA requires farmers who use the modified crop to also plant corn that doesn’t produce the pesticide. The agency reasons that bugs in the so-called refuge that are not exposed to the toxin will mate with any resistant rootworms, creating a new generation of insects that are once again susceptible to the insecticide.

Some corn farmers don’t appear to be planting the required refuges in Minnesota, where moderate to severe rootworm damage is spreading and occurred for a third straight year in 2011, according to the EPA.

Remedial Action

The EPA’s decision earlier this week to extend the registration of SmartStax, which was originally approved in 2009, shows that the resistance concern “isn’t significantly important,” Mark Gulley, a New York-based analyst at Ticonderoga Securities, said in a phone interview today.

Monsanto should enact a remedial action plan in fields where resistance to its Bt insecticide is suspected, the EPA said. That includes having growers use conventional pesticide to kill adult rootworm beetles late in the season and alternate pest control methods in the following season.

Monsanto tested rootworms for resistance in Nebraska, Illinois and Iowa and should expand the monitoring to Colorado, Minnesota, South Dakota and western Wisconsin because questions about the performance of Bt corn extends to all seven states, the EPA said in the memo.

Monsanto’s most advanced resistance problem is with crops engineered to tolerate its Roundup herbicide. Weeds that are no longer killed by Roundup have invaded 14 million acres of U.S. cotton, soybean and corn, according to Syngenta AG (SYNN), a Swiss chemical maker. A Dow Chemical Co. study this year found as many as 20 million acres of corn and soybeans may be infested.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in Houston at jkaskey@bloomberg.net

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Frito-Lay Sued for Labeling its GMO-Filled Snacks as “All Natural

By Rady Ananda, Food Freedom

Less than a year after Frito-Lay announced plans to make half their products without “any artificial or synthetic ingredients,” the $13 billion company was sued last week in federal court for fraudulently marketing the snacks that contain genetically modified ingredients.

Somehow, “artificial” and “synthetic” doesn’t include “genetically modified” in Frito’s mind.

In its April 2011 “Seed-to-Shelf” disclosure campaign, Frito-Lay promised to inform consumers about each individual snack’s ingredients, even setting up an app for smartphone users to swipe the product’s barcode and read about it. Ann Mukherjee, Frito-Lay’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, gushed:

“What better way to share the story behind Frito-Lay snacks than by giving consumers a look inside our Flavor Kitchen to see first-hand the all natural ingredients and real foods that inspire the products we make?”

Real foods? All natural? Even Monsanto defines genetically modified organisms as unnatural, which the lawsuit quoted:

“Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) – Plants or animals that have had their genetic makeup altered to exhibit traits that are not naturally theirs.”

The World Health Organization agrees, defining GMOs as “organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.”

The lawsuit names only one plaintiff, Julie Gengo of Richmond, California, but includes all those who purchased Frito’s products which bear the “ALL NATURAL” label. Last August, the law firm Milberg LLP invited potential litigants to contact them.

Though Gengo holds a BS in Electrical Engineering, she earns a living as an independent marketer for such organizations as Berkeley Playhouse/Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, Vital Systems, Bay Area Green Tours, Oxfam America and Slow Money Northern California. She describes herself as “an ongoing environmental, and healthy foods advocate.”

In early 2009, she wrote Genetically Modified (GM) Foods – Another Reason to Buy Organic, warning people that Frito-Lay uses GMOs. According to the complaint, since 2007, she regularly bought the company’s Tostitos and Sun Chips believing they were “all natural” as indicated in advertising and on the package.

On Dec. 20, Frito’s “Naturally Delicious” webpage still boasts:

“All Frito-Lay snack chips made with natural ingredients start with all-natural corn or potatoes and healthier oils. For our flavored LAY’S®, TOSTITOS® and SUNCHIPS® products, we are using all natural seasonings that don’t have artificial or synthetic ingredients.”

But because they contain GMOs from genetically modified corn and genetically modified soy, in five separate counts, plaintiff charges Frito-Lay with fraud, deception, unfair competition and false warrants under several laws including the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

Based in New York City and specializing in class-action lawsuits on behalf of investors and consumers, Milberg LLP also has offices in Los Angeles, Tampa and Detroit. Founded in 1965, the firm now employs about 75 attorneys.

After two successful class action suits against military contractors Raytheon and General Electric, in 2006 Milberg was the target of a criminal probe by the US Dept of Justice. The firm and some of its partners were indicted on 20 criminal counts including bribery, racketeering and fraud. The DOJ press release alleges the firm participated “in a scheme in which several individuals were paid millions of dollars in secret kickbacks in exchange for serving as named plaintiffs in more than 150 class-action and shareholder derivative-action lawsuits.”

Four of Milberg LLP’s partners served time in prison, and the firm paid $75 million in fines before the DOJ dropped the matter, reports Wikipedia.

Frito-Lay North America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PepsiCo, Inc. Though Pepsi uses genetically modified sweeteners (high fructose corn syrup) in its soft drinks, it does not label them for U.S. consumers, adhering to the US regulator policy of hiding GMOs from the public.

In 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration proposed rules banning GMO labels. Despite government policy of keeping GMO food ingredients secret from the public, citizens are advancing toward requiring full disclosure.
■House Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) recently introduced H.R. 3553, the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act and H.R. 3554, The Genetically Engineered Safety Act, which would prohibit the open-air cultivation of genetically engineered pharmaceutical and industrial crops.
■The Frito-Lay lawsuit was initiated in California where a GMO-label law has been proposed for vote in the November 2012 election.
■In Ohio, a district court overturned the ban on labeling milk as free from artificial hormones last year. The FDA approves the genetically modified additive, which has been linked to cancer and lower milk quality. Developed by Monsanto, rBGH is banned in Canada, the European Union, Japan and Australia.

I have to admit I still enjoy a bag of Fritos every now and then, a victim of high school euphoric recall when we would smoke a bowl and then eat Fritos, washing them down with cold chocolate milk. (What a body rush.) Still, I want the packages labeled. A better snack is hand-made eggrolls, with completely organic ingredients and sauce. You can find that recipe in Cooking Close to Home. I even found a package of eggroll wraps (at Whole Foods Market) that advised the product was made without GMOs. Na na na to the FDA.

Under Industry Pressure, USDA Works to Speed Approval of Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Crops

Monday 12 December 2011

by: Mike Ludwig

Monsanto researchers in Stonington, Illinois, working to develop new soybean varieties that will be tolerant to agricultural herbicide and have greater yields in July 2006. (Photo: Monsanto via The New York Times)

For years, biotech agriculture opponents have accused regulators of working too closely with big biotech firms when deregulating genetically engineered (GE) crops. Now, their worst fears could be coming true: under a new two-year pilot program at the USDA, regulators are training the world's biggest biotech firms, including Monsanto, BASF and Syngenta, to conduct environmental reviews of their own transgenic seed products as part of the government's deregulation process.

This would eliminate a critical level of oversight for the production of GE crops. Regulators are also testing new cost-sharing agreements that allow biotech firms to help pay private contractors to prepare mandatory environmental statements on GE plants the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering deregulating.

The USDA launched the pilot project in April and, in November, the USDA announced vague plans to "streamline" the deregulation petition process for GE organisms. A USDA spokesperson said the streamlining effort is not part of the pilot project, but both efforts appear to address a backlog of pending GE crop deregulation petitions that has angered big biotech firms seeking to rollout new products.

Documents obtained by Truthout under a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request reveal that biotech companies, lawmakers and industry groups have put mounting pressure on the USDA in recent years to speed up the petition process, limit environmental impact assessments and approve more GE crops. One group went as far as sending USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack a timeline of GE soybean development that reads like a deregulation wish list. [Click here and here to download and read some of the documents released to Truthout.]

The pilot program is named the NEPA Pilot Project, after the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which mandates that agencies prepare statements on the potential environmental impacts of proposed actions by the federal government, such as deregulating transgenic plants. On July 14, USDA officials held a training workshop to help representatives from biotech firms (see a full list here) to understand the NEPA process and prepare Environmental Reports on biotech products they have petitioned the USDA to deregulate.

Regulators can now independently review the Environmental Reports and can use them to prepare their own legally mandated reviews, instead of simply reviewing the company's petitions for deregulation. The pilot project aims to speed up the deregulation process by allowing petitioning companies to do some of the legwork and help pay contractors to prepare regulatory documents and, for its part, the USDA has kept the pilot fairly transparent. A list of 22 biotech seeds that could be reviewed under the pilot program includes Monsanto drought-tolerant corn, a "non-browning" apple, freeze tolerant eucalyptus trees and several crops engineered to tolerate the controversial herbicides glyphosate and 2,4 D.

Activists say biotech firms like Monsanto are concerned only with profit and routinely supply regulators with one-sided information on the risks their GE seeds - and the pesticides sprayed on and produced by them - pose to consumers, animals and the agricultural environment. (The Natural Society recently declared Monsanto the worst company of 2011.) Bill Freese, a policy expert with the Center for Food Safety (CFS), told Truthout that the NEPA pilot gives already powerful biotech companies too much influence over the review process.

"It's the equivalent of letting BP do their own Environmental Assessment of a new rig," Freese said.

Monsanto Goes to Court

Freese and the Center for Food Safety have been on the frontlines of the battle to reform the USDA's regulatory approval process for GE crops. The group was a plaintiff in recent lawsuits challenging the deregulation - which basically means approval for planting without oversight - of Monsanto's patented alfalfa and sugar beets that are genetically engineered to tolerate glyphosate-based Roundup herbicide. Farmers can spray entire fields of Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" crops with Roundup to kill unwanted weeds while sparing the GE crops, but in recent years, some weeds have developed a tolerance to glyphosate, Roundup's active ingredient. The cases kept the crops out of America's fields for years and prompted biotech companies to put heavy pressure on top USDA officials to streamline and speed up the deregulation process, practically setting the stage for the NEPA pilot underway today.

Under NEPA, agencies like the USDA must prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) to determine if the proposed action, such as deregulating a transgenic organism, would have an impact on the environment. If some type of significant impact is likely, the agency must then prepare a more in-depth Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to explore potential impacts and alternative actions. NEPA requires an EIS for actions "significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." Preparing a full impact statement for a biotech plant implies the government does not think GE crops are safe and the biotech industry has routinely butted heads with environmentalists while attempting to convince regulators and consumers otherwise. In the Monsanto beets and alfalfa cases, the CFS and other plaintiffs argued that the USDA should have prepared an EIS, not just a simple EA, before deregulating both Monsanto crops.

Fight corporate influence by keeping independent media strong! Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution to Truthout.

In the alfalfa case, the CFS and its co-plaintiffs claimed the crop could have significant impacts by crossbreeding and contaminating conventional and organic alfalfa with transgenes. They also argued the crop would increase the use of herbicides and promote the spread of herbicide-tolerant weeds known as "super weeds." A federal district court agreed and vacated the USDA's original approval, halting plantings across the country. Monsanto challenged the decision and the alfalfa case landed in the Supreme Court in 2010. The high court overturned an injunction preventing farmers from planting the alfalfa, but also ordered the USDA to prepare an EIS and issue another deregulation decision. The sugar beet case ended in similar fashion and the USDA recently released a draft EIS on the crop, which is expected to be deregulated in early 2012.

Monsanto won the right to sell its GE alfalfa seed in February 2011, but the lengthy and expensive legal battle captured the attention of food lovers and agriculturalists across the country. Americans debated the potential dangers of GE crops and the merits of the regulatory system that is supposed to protect farmers and consumers. As documents unearthed by a Truthout FOIA request reveal, the biotech industry did not sit idly by as activists challenged the regulatory status quo.

Mounting Pressure

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is a powerful group that represents dozens of biotech companies such as Monsanto, BASF and Bayer, and has spent more than $67 million lobbying Congress since 2000. In April 2010, BIO sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack as the Monsanto alfalfa case made its way through the courts. BIO warned Vilsack that the American biotech agriculture industry could be crippled if the legal precedents required the USDA to prepare an EIS for every GE crop up for deregulation:


With 19 deregulation petitions pending with more on the way, requiring an EIS for each product would amount to a de facto moratorium on commercialization and would send an unprecedented message that USDA believes that these products do have an environmental impact, when in fact most do not. Any suggestion by USDA that biotechnology plants as a category are likely to cause significant adverse effects on the quality of the human environment (i.e., require an EIS) would make approvals by other trading partners virtually impossible ...

BIO claimed that such a policy would be an "over-reaction to the current judicial decisions" and would threaten America's economic dominance in the agricultural biotechnology market. Such a policy, BIO representatives stated, would send a message to European countries that American regulators believe GE crops impact the environment, making approvals of GE crops by the European Union "virtually impossible" and allowing "Brazil and China to surpass the United States as world leaders in biotechnology." BIO also claimed that more rigorous assessments would "undercut" positions consistently take by the Obama and Bush administrations on the safety of biotech agriculture.

Vilsack received similar letters requesting the USDA continue relying on EAs instead of EISs to deregulate GE crops from the Americas Soybean Association and the American Seed Trade Association. Both groups worried that an increase in oversight - precipitated by the more in-depth impact evaluation - could back up approvals for years. The soybean association included in its letter a pipeline chart of 25 GE soybean varieties it "expected" to be approved for commercialization within a decade.

A policy requiring an EIS for every GE seed is exactly what critics of Monsanto and the rest of the industry have spent years fighting for. Unlike the industry, they believe the herbicides that blanket GE crops and the potential for transgenic contamination are potential threats to the agricultural environment and human health.

Vilsack wrote a steady-handed reply to each trade group, reassuring them that the NEPA policy would not change and the USDA would continue preparing an EA for new GE seeds and an EIS only when necessary. Vilsack also wrote that he was "pleased" to recently meet with biotech industry representatives and "discuss improving the efficiency of the biotechnology regulatory process." Such improvements, he wrote, are "directly related" to the USDA's "objective of ensuring the United State leads the world in sustainable crop production and biotech crop exports." He took the opportunity to announce that the USDA would reorganize the Biotechnology Regulatory Services agency and create a new NEPA team "dedicated to creating high quality and defensible documents to better inform our regulatory decisions." This new NEPA team would go on to develop the NEPA Pilot Project and begin streamlining the approval process.

To Freese, it appears that Vilsack used to the word "defensible" in reference to legal challenges like the ones his group made to Monsanto alfalfa and sugar beets. "Their whole focus is on 'defensible' Environmental Assessments," Freese said after reading the letters. "From our perspective, that's the wrong goal ... it presumes the crop is going to be approved."

Freese said the correspondence between Vilsack and the industry groups highlights the need for a culture change at the USDA. Regulators should be concerned about the safety of new GE products, not ensuring American exports compete with Brazil and China.

"It should be all about doing good assessments and making sure the crops that are approved are safe," Freese said.

A USDA spokesperson declined to comment when asked if the agency would like to respond to criticisms of the NEPA Pilot Project and said updates on the project will be made available online.

Watchdogs like Freese know that regulators already work closely with the industry and the NEPA Pilot Project could simply make their work more efficient. Regulators already rely heavily on data provided by private contractors and by biotech companies to prepare EAs. During the Monsanto alfalfa case, internal emails between regulators and Monsanto officials surfaced and revealed the company worked closely with regulators to edit its original petition to deregulate the alfalfa. One regulator even accepted Monsanto's help in conducting the USDA's original EA of the GE alfalfa before it was initially approved in 2005.

Genetically engineered and modified crops continue to cause controversy across the globe, but in America they are a fact of life. The Obama and Bush administrations have actively promoted biotech agriculture both at home and abroad. Countries like China, Argentina and Brazil have also embraced biotech agriculture. Regulators in European countries - including crucial trade partners like France and Spain - have been much more cautious and, in some cases, even hostile toward the industry. GE crops are banned in Hungary and Peru, and earlier this year officials in Hungary destroyed 1,000 acres of corn containing Monsanto transgenes. The US, however, continues to allow big biotech companies to cultivate considerable power and influence and, as the letters uncovered by FOIA reveal, top regulators are ready to meet their demands.

"The USDA regards its own regulatory system as a rubber stamp," Freese said after reading the letters. "At least at the upper levels, there's always been this presumption that [GE crops] must be approved."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Occupy GMOs: Protesters Block Access to Manufacturing Plant Filled with Animal 'Frankenfeed'

Tired of the quiet import and use of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in the animal food supply throughout Europe, a group of protesters in France has decided to make a statement by blockading the entrances of the Glon Sanders animal feed plant in Saint-Gerard, Morbihan, France. The company's more than 200 employees have been unable to come to work for some time now, which means that production has stopped at the plant, and its offices remain empty.

Most of Europe is staunchly opposed to GMOs in general, which is why they are hardly ever sold there, and why they must be properly labeled if they are. But GMOs have been furtively making their way into the European food supply via animal feed, which is often laced with GM soy, corn, and other contaminated ingredients thanks to labeling loopholes that permit "non-GMO" livestock to consume GM feed.

So to push authorities in France to take a stand against this deceitful practice, a group of concerned individuals decided to storm the Glon Sanders factory, which they reportedly felt was the perfect place to make their voices heard.

"Sanders, a subsidiary of Sofiproteol chaired by Xavier Beulin (also president of the FNSEA), is a strategic location to make an act of denial of the use of GMOs in agriculture, particularly in animal feed," said the group in a translated quote from Maville.com, a French paper.

Both the cultivation and consumption of GM soy are linked to a host of environmental and human health problems. The cultivation of GM soy involves dousing plants in millions of tons of toxic Roundup, also known a glyphosate, which causes various diseases in plants, as well as serious health problems in humans (http://www.naturalnews.com/Roundup.html). And consumption of GM soy itself is linked to causing gastrointestinal problems, heart disease, chronic fatigue, thyroid disorders, and reproductive problems (http://www.naturalnews.com/GM_soy.html).

A documentary produced in Germany explains how GM soy is covertly making its way into Europe via animal feed, and why this loophole is a significant threat to the European food supply. It also explains how the cultivation of GM soy around the world is destroying both the environment and human health. You can watch a clip from that documentary here:(http://www.naturalnews.com/GM_soy.html).

Sources for the article:
http://www.toxicsoy.org/toxicsoy/news/Artikelen/2011/11/17_Animal_feed_factory_in_Britany_France_blocked.html

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/034196_GMOs_protests.html#ixzz1eGHeZu7A

Sunday, October 23, 2011

GMO-Free Florida: The Momentum is Rolling!

Posted on 7:13 pm October 19, 2011
by Trish Sheldon

With co-leaders Mel and Atiya, I facilitate the Action Group for ‘GMO Free Florida’ and the ‘Millions Against Monsanto, Florida Chapter’.

We are working on multiple fronts:

- looking into several Florida (local and state) labeling initiatives and networking with our newly active Non-GMO groups across Florida;
- doing Outreach, Leafleting, Speaking, Film Screenings, Petition Signing, Letters to our Constituents and Direct Action.
- I also take clients shopping to show them how to ‘really’ read labels, advise on what to buy or avoid, and I speak at Mommy & Me groups.

Coming from California, I have been an advocate for the organic movement since the mid 80s. I knew that industrial farming was one of the largest polluters of our planet, I knew that organics were great because of the pesticide issues, however at that time I really didn’t know much about the “Gene Revolution”. My activism journey started about 3 years ago, when I read an article on GM crops. I couldn’t believe more people were not interested in what was happening to our food supply. I started talking with my friends and family about the issue. Some were very receptive, others thought I was crazy. Then I began blogging and sharing information with my friends on Facebook. That is when I first learned about Jeffrey Smith and IRT, and many other great organizations on the GMO battlefront.

Two years ago, I read a petition from Greenpeace on GM rice. I was so mad. I started talking with grocery chains and restaurant managers about the issue, and meanwhile my core of foodie activists was growing, until last year when we organized our first rally. We joined efforts with people in Tampa, and we had two rallies in Florida. We were determined to do something! It was the OCA’s ‘Rally for the Right to know’ and 35 people showed up. From organizing that rally, I met my “partners in crime” Atiya, Mel and Dr. Lynn, all instrumental in bringing momentum to this local movement. (Dr. Mercola just happened by and he took some footage of the rally!).

This year, it seemed out of our hands–it went big! We posted on walls, emailed, blasted out our event to all our favorite Facebook pages –within a week, The Robert Scott Bell Show contacted me. Eventually we connected with one of the best organic markets in South Florida, BM Organics, where we held our meetings. Some great bands performed, including mine. Sponsors and speakers poured in; we even tried to fly in Jeffrey Smith but he was already booked somewhere else – however, we were able to patch him in via the Robert Scott Bell Show.

On World Food Day, I’ve seen more participation than ever: nine separate rallies across Florida! And 100 rallies nationwide, making this the biggest single day of action for labeling GE foods in U.S. History! And the culmination was the Right2Know March from NY to DC. Environmental groups are talking about GMO’s and the media are now more receptive to interviewing and reporting such rallies, as we saw with the Broward and Palm Beach New Times, Sun Sentinel, and WLRN!

Our next action is to bring together multiple groups on Saturday, October 22nd at 1:30pm in Miami, where we will “crash” the SEJ, a meeting of over 700 journalists who cover environmental news. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we are working very quickly to get as many people together as possible to support this rally. Also, Occupy Ft. Lauderdale and Miami will meet us in peaceful protest.

For more info, see
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=241569719225607
Just say NO to GMOs!
Tricia (Trish) Sheldon can be reached at tristessa88@gmail.com
and at 
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=197496120313661

GMO Free Idaho: World Food Day and How We are Moving Forward

Posted on 7:10 pm October 19, 2011
by Jenny Easley

We had a great event on World Food Day, with 50 to 60 people attending notwithstanding pouring rain. Two news channels showed up as a result of our press release, and the event was featured the following evening. We suspect the station managers are not aware of the hornet’s nest they kicked by doing so – Monsanto, Forage, American Crystal Sugar and Syngenta are strong forces here in Idaho.

Our first guest speaker was Phil Geertson, a local alfalfa seed farmer who is currently the lead plaintiff in a suit against USDA and Monsanto. His case has been taken up by the Center for Food Safety. Phil spoke about the cross contamination of alfalfa and how it has severely impacted our seed exports. He also spoke about a study he paid for, during the first deregulation, to test feral alfalfa seed from three different counties in Oregon and Idaho: 9 out of 10 samples of feral alfalfa were positive for the GMO gene.

The second guest speaker, Dr. Peter Cohen, works in internal medicine at St. Luke’s Regional Hospital in Boise, Idaho. He talked about the health consequences of consuming GMOs. He cited the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and Dr. Pusztai, referring to what animal studies tell us in reference to human health. He recommends a GMO-free diet to his patients to whom he gives the “pay now or pay later” talk.

 Local farmers offered samples of their meat and crops. We held a silent auction with local food producers and restaurants specializing in local and organic foods which yielded significant donations. The support from this community has been amazing!

 We formed a strategic committee to move forward.

Our goals are:
1. Continue to increase awareness. Our activities include: free presentations on GMOs including to our local democratic party (We want our candidates to be aware of this issue!); promoting local eating and “get to know your farmer” events;
2. Raise funds so that we can test the feral alfalfa again within the next month, in time for Phil’s next Supreme Court appearance in December.
3. We want to fund testing on milk contaminated by with glyphosate, the chemical ingredient of the Roundup herbicide sprayed on GM Roundup Ready crops. The time between spraying alfalfa with Roundup and harvesting the alfalfa can be as short as five days. Glyphosate does not degrade in that time and this hay is being fed to cattle. We suspect the milk from these dairy cattle will contain glyphosate.
4. We want to pursue the option of a ballot measure for Idaho to obtain mandatory labeling on GMOs following California’s lead.

Friends, any support you can lend us to help us move ahead would be greatly appreciated. We have a very motivated core group of individuals who are ready to join. I want to lead them in the most effective way possible.

Note: Jenny Easley can be contacted at ureachus@msn.com

Widely Used Herbicide Commonly Found in Rain and Streams in the Mississippi River Basin

Technical Announcement:

Released: 8/29/2011 8:19:35 AM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192

Paul Capel
Phone: (612) 625-3082

Kara Capelli
Phone: (571) 420-9408

Glyphosate, also known by its tradename Roundup, is commonly found in rain and rivers in agricultural areas in the Mississippi River watershed, according to two new USGS studies released this month.

Glyphosate is used in almost all agricultural and urban areas of the United States. The greatest glyphosate use is in the Mississippi River basin, where most applications are for weed control on genetically-modified corn, soybeans and cotton. Overall, agricultural use of glyphosate has increased from less than 11,000 tons in 1992 to more than 88,000 tons in 2007.

"Though glyphosate is the mostly widely used herbicide in the world, we know very little about its long term effects to the environment," says Paul Capel, USGS chemist and an author on this study. "This study is one of the first to document the consistent occurrence of this chemical in streams, rain and air throughout the growing season. This is crucial information for understanding where management efforts for this chemical would best be focused."

In these studies, Glyphosate was frequently detected in surface waters, rain and air in areas where it is heavily used in the basin. The consistent occurrence of glyphosate in streams and air indicates its transport from its point of use into the broader environment.

Additionally, glyphosate persists in streams throughout the growing season in Iowa and Mississippi, but is generally not observed during other times of the year. The degradation product of glyphosate, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), which has a longer environmental lifetime, was also frequently detected in streams and rain.

Detailed results of this glyphosate research are available in "Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphere," published in volume 30 of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and in "Fate and transport of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid in surface waters of agricultural basins," published online in Pest Management Science. Copies of the reports are available from the journals or from Paul Capel (capel@usgs.gov).

Research on the transport of glyphosate was conducted as part of the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. The NAWQA program provides an understanding of water-quality conditions, whether conditions are getting better or worse over time, and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions. Additional information on the NAWQA program can be found online.

Monsanto Biotech Corn Not Killing Pests, Research Finds

Monsanto is sued over fatal cornfield accident

Scientists sounded the alarm years ago, but now their predictions appear to be an encroaching reality: Monsanto's biotech corn is showing signs, they say, that it no longer repels the pests it is engineered to kill.

Last month, researchers from Iowa State University published a study showing that the western corn rootworm — a major crop pest and yield-reducer — is surviving after ingesting an insecticidal toxin produced by the corn plants. A University of Illinois professor says he believes the same thing could be happening in fields in northwestern Illinois.

The problem, if it spreads, could mean that farmers will lose a critical tool in managing pests — and the Creve Coeur-based biotech and seed giant could lose ground on a profitable technology.

The corn, which Monsanto launched in 2003, is engineered to produce a protein, known as Cry3Bb1, derived from a bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. The rootworms ingest the roots of this "Bt corn," as it's referred to in the industry, and the protein is fatal.

But the Iowa team determined that in some fields with heavy populations of rootworm the Bt corn was not killing the rootworm. The study, the scientists said, is the first report of resistance to the toxin in the field, but more are probably on the way, some scientists believe.

"I think there is the potential for more problems to surface," said Mike Gray, an entomologist with the University of Illinois who is studying rootworm damage in northwestern Illinois fields. "These Bt hybrids are grown very widely."

However, Monsanto said that the problem did not amount to "resistance" and added that it was confined to as little as 10,000 acres in certain "hot spots."

"Our Cry3Bb1 protein is effective, and we don't have any demonstrated field resistance," said Dusty Post, who heads Monsanto's corn technology efforts. "We do have some performance inquiries in those counties where there's a high level of insect pressure, but it's no greater now than it's been."

Still, Post said, "We do take this very seriously. The durability of the technology is not only important to the company, it's important to farmers."

Monsanto first launched a Bt corn in the 1990s that was engineered to kill the European corn borer. Its corn rootworm variety hit the market in 2003 and was widely embraced by corn growers who were spending $1 billion a year on rootworm pesticides.

Like its predecessors, the variety was approved by regulators, including the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency gave the green light to the corn only if farmers agreed to certain growing conditions, among them the requirement to plant non-Bt "refuge" corn on 20 percent of their Bt corn acres.

This, the agency maintained, would limit potential resistance to the protein by, in effect, ensuring that the insects can multiply and dilute the resistance genes in their offspring.

But scientists sitting on a scientific review board before the approval later complained that the agency ignored their recommendations and caved to the company's demands for a 20 percent refuge.

They said farmers should instead have been required to plant 50 percent non-Bt corn.

The failure to listen to the review board, critics say, is largely responsible for the evidence of growing resistance.

'Everybody was fudging'

Critics also point out that monitoring farms for compliance with the refuge requirements has been lax and even nonexistent.

"Everybody was fudging, and no one was looking," said Brett Lorenzen, of the Environmental Working Group, another group that monitors agriculture. "It's been a major concern."

Making things worse, critics say, was the boom in demand for corn-based ethanol and high corn prices, which have lured farmers into growing practices that encourage resistance. Before Bt-corn, farmers would rotate crops to discourage the rootworm from reproducing. But the new variety meant they didn't have to.

"Continual corn planting favors buildup of bigger, more damaging rootworm populations over years," explained Bill Freese, of the Center for Food Safety, a Washington-based advocacy group that has been highly critical of genetically engineered crops. "Monsanto's Bt corn helped make more corn-on-corn possible, by freeing farmers from the need to rotate to combat this pest. But as we now see, that 'solution' was short-lived."

Corn rootworm has proved, historically, to be adept at evolving, and scientists have said it was only a matter of time before it evolved to resist the protein in Bt corn.

"When you ratchet up the selection pressure, using the same practice over and over again, eventually the western corn rootworm has a way of evolving," Gray said. "It's not surprising."

Monsanto, however, released its SmartStax corn last year, which contains two proteins to combat rootworm. The EPA ruled that farmers who plant that variety need to create only a 5-percent refuge because the two proteins mean the rootworm will be less prone to resistance.

That has some entomologists worried, given the speedy evolution of resistance over the past several years to the Cry3Bb1 protein.

"The EPA is going to have to think this over very carefully," Gray said.

Copyright 2011 STLtoday.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/article_48721bc6-38cb-5cf0-aae1-2b1a7e85cea5.html#ixzz1bdBHlc2w

Monsanto Corn Falls to Illinois Bugs as Investigation Widens

By Jack Kaskey - Sep 2, 2011 5:07 PM ET .

Monsanto Co .’s insect-killing corn is falling over in northwestern Illinois fields, a sign that rootworms outside of Iowa may have developed resistance to the genetically modified crop, according to one scientist. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Monsanto Co. (MON)’s insect-killing corn is toppling over in northwestern Illinois fields, a sign that rootworms outside of Iowa may have developed resistance to the genetically modified crop, according to one scientist.

Michael Gray, an agricultural entomologist at the University of Illinois in Urbana, said he’s studying whether western corn rootworms collected last month in Henry and Whiteside counties are resistant to an insect-killing protein derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, a natural insecticide engineered into Monsanto corn.

The insects were collected in two fields where corn had toppled after roots were eaten by rootworms, Gray said today. Planting Bt corn year after year increases the odds that the bugs will develop resistance to the insecticide, he said. While the symptoms parallel bug resistance that’s been confirmed in Iowa, analysis of the Illinois insects won’t be complete until next year, he said.

“Whatever is the cause, it is generating a lot of concern.” Gray said in a telephone interview. “I wouldn’t say at this point it’s just an isolated field here or there.”

Monsanto takes reports like Gray’s “seriously” and follows up on all accounts of unexpected damage and other performance questions, said Lee Quarles, a spokesman for the St. Louis-based company. Monsanto’s monitoring hasn’t found rootworm resistance to its Bt corn and the product is performing well on more than 99 percent of acres planted, he said.

Preliminary Findings

Monsanto dropped $3.13, or 4.5 percent, to $65.80 as of 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have fallen 5.5 percent this year.

Gray detailed his preliminary findings last week in the university’s Pest Management and Crop Development Bulletin. He said he’s since been contacted by more farmers whose Bt corn is succumbing to corn rootworms.

“It’s very, very significant damage,” Gray said. “Producers buy these Bt hybrids to protect their root systems, so it understandably makes them not very happy.”

In July, Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann reported the first rootworms confirmed as being Bt-resistant, which he found in four of the state’s cornfields.

Gray advised growers with performance problems to rotate corn crops with soybeans and to plant corn with a different type of Bt technology.

Monsanto’s SmartStax corn introduced last year is engineered to produce a second Bt insecticide that, when used with crop rotation and a refuge of non-Bt corn, will extend the usefulness of the insect-fighting technology, Quarles said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in Houston at jkaskey@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net.

Hundreds Rally in Washington to Demand GMO Labeling

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of people from around the United States rallied in front of the White House on Sunday, urging the government to require compulsory labeling of food made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

"Most Americans agree they have a right to know what is in the food they put in their own and their children's bodies, but current federal policy favors the pesticide industry and hides the facts," said Katherine DiMatteo of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements.

"It's time to reset U.S. policy on GMOs," added DiMatteo, who serves as a coordinator of the event.

GMOs have caused a lot of issues, but "the government is not doing everything that they should be doing to contain these issues," Kim Mendoza, a demonstrator from Washington D.C., told Xinhua.

The rally marked the end of a 16-day, 504-km march from the United Nations in New York City to the White House in Washington D.C., which DiMatteo said was "an unprecedented effort to win genuine transparency on genetically engineered foods."

The United States is the world's largest commercial grower of GMO crops, and more than 70 percent of its processed food contain genetically engineered or biotech ingredients.

Labeling of genetically modified food, whose safety remains controversial, is voluntary in the United States. In most cases, food producers use the labels to declare that the product is not genetically-modified.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

World Food Day - Oct. 16, 2011

From: Organic Consumers Association [mailto:ronniecummins@organicconsumers.org]
Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2011 7:48 PM

World Food Day is Here!

World Food Day has finally arrived! This Sunday, October 16 is slated to be the biggest day of action for labels on Genetically Engineered Foods in US history! Our loyal members and intrepid food activists have planned over 100 events nationwide. Our goal is that after October 16th, 2011 everyone in the nation will know and understand the health risks and environmental hazards of GMOs.

But in order to get the media, our legislators, and the Biotech industry to heed our call for labeling, we need numbers! We need everyone out in the street supporting your local events. Can you lend your voice to protect our food supply? Will you be there on October 16th?

Here is the list of events we currently have in your area. We realize that some event information is missing. If you have questions or would like to help with specific events, please contact the event organizers listed for each event.

LOS ANGELES, CA - Oct 16th, 12-4pm
Westwood Federal Building 11000 Wilshire Boulevard, organized by Stacey Hall, cahealthyliving@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=156793347733610

LOS ANGELES/WESTCHESTER, CA - Oct 16th, 2-4:30pm
The Future of Food screening and potluck at the Community Hall of Holy Nativity 6700 West 83rd Street, Westchester, organized by Margaret Whalen, gigglesloud@yahoo.com
www.EnviroChangeMakers.org

PLEASANTON, CA - Oct 16th, 12pm
Rally location changed to the Federal Building in San Francisco, organized by Ashley Ramirez
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=282025305144609

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Oct 16th, 12-4pm
Rally with music at the San Francisco Federal Building 90 7th Street on the corner of Mission St. and 7th, organized by Laura Babbitt, RightToKnowSFRally@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=242522782452892

SAN FRANCISCO to SACRAMENTO, CA - Oct 14th, 9am
Critical mass bike ride from San Francisco to Sacramento to deliver "The Global Citizens Report on the State of GMOs to Gov. Brown, departing from the corner of 24th at Mission at the BART Station at 9am, organized by Miguel Robles, miguel@biosafetyalliance.org
http://www.biosafetyalliance.org

SACRAMENTO, CA - Oct 16th, 10-3pm
Rally at the Capitol Mall in Sacramento
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=221215157915562

SAN DIEGO, CA - Oct 16th, 11am-3pm
Rally at the Horton Plaza Shopping Center, 324 Horton Plaza, meet at the corner of 4th and Broadway, organized by Sheri Fogerty, mom@momsforsafefood.org
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=144580705634452

SANTA CRUZ, CA - Oct 16th,1-3pm
Rally: Meet at the Clocktower - bring signs & friends!, organized by GMO free Santa Cruz
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=250900624939617

SANTA ROSA, CA - Oct 16th, 3-5pm
Informational Festivities and a March demonstration downtown, Julliard Park, 227 Santa Rosa Avenue, (across from Luther Burbank Garden), organized by Renee Mitchell, NoGMOSonomaCounty@ymail.com
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=247031288676395

More events are being organized every day, so if you don't see an event in your area, please check the overall list of events posted here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_23862.cfm

Thanks again to everyone who worked so hard to make this day come together. And thanks in advance to everyone who will take to the street this Saturday and Sunday (and after)!

**Remember to take pictures and videos of your event that you can later upload to our Virtual Rally for the Right to Know (http://www.flickr.com/groups/right2knowaboutgmos/pool/) Flickr photo album.***

Thanks Again,
The Millions Against Monsanto Campaign Staff, OCA

Monday, October 3, 2011

Death Blow to GMOs?

California Ballot Initiative Calls for Mandatory Labeling of All Genetically Engineered Foods

(NaturalNews) In what is perhaps the most significant breaking news we've heard on the GMO front in a long time, an effort has just been announced in California that seeks to gather enough signatures to put an historical initiative on the ballot which would require the labeling of GMOs in foods.

I interviewed Ronnie Cummins from the Organic Consumers Association (www.OrganicConsumers.org), who is a key leader in advocating mandatory GMO labeling. His organization is playing a significant role in helping to get this initiative on the ballot in California.

This is the pathway to victory against GMOs! With this initiative on the ballot, we have a very achievable strategy to deal a death blow to GMOs and restore sanity and integrity to our seeds and food crops.

Listen to the full interview with Ronnie Cummins on SoundCloud:
http://snd.sc/qPBFJk

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033763_GMOs_California_ballot_initiative.html#ixzz1ZjS20SpU

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs

Posted on 3:39 pm August 25, 2011

1. GMOs are unhealthy.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.

Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk.

The American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association are among many medical groups that condemn the use of GM bovine growth hormone, because the milk from treated cows has more of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)―which is linked to cancer.

2. GMOs contaminate―forever.
GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

3. GMOs increase herbicide use.
Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―they deadly weed killer. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide.

Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

4. Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects.
By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

5. Government oversight is dangerously lax.
Most of the health and environmental risks of GMOs are ignored by governments’ superficial regulations and safety assessments. The reason for this tragedy is largely political. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, doesn’t require a single safety study, does not mandate labeling of GMOs, and allows companies to put their GM foods onto the market without even notifying the agency. Their justification was the claim that they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different. But this was a lie. Secret agency memos made public by a lawsuit show that the overwhelming consensus even among the FDA’s own scientists was that GMOs can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. They urged long-term safety studies. But the White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and the agency official in charge of policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, later their vice president. He’s now the US Food Safety Czar.

6. The biotech industry uses “tobacco science” to claim product safety.
Biotech companies like Monsanto told us that Agent Orange, PCBs, and DDT were safe. They are now using the same type of superficial, rigged research to try and convince us that GMOs are safe. Independent scientists, however, have caught the spin-masters red-handed, demonstrating without doubt how industry-funded research is designed to avoid finding problems, and how adverse findings are distorted or denied.

7. Independent research and reporting is attacked and suppressed.
Scientists who discover problems with GMOs have been attacked, gagged, fired, threatened, and denied funding. The journal Nature acknowledged that a “large block of scientists . . . denigrate research by other legitimate scientists in a knee-jerk, partisan, emotional way that is not helpful in advancing knowledge.” Attempts by media to expose problems are also often censored.

8. GMOs harm the environment.
GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.

9. GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.
Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report, authored by more than 400 scientists and backed by 58 governments, stated that GM crop yields were “highly variable” and in some cases, “yields declined.” The report noted, “Assessment of the technology lags behind its development, information is anecdotal and contradictory, and uncertainty about possible benefits and damage is unavoidable.” They determined that the current GMOs have nothing to offer the goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitating social and environmental sustainability.
On the contrary, GMOs divert money and resources that would otherwise be spent on more safe, reliable, and appropriate technologies.

10. By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply.
Because GMOs give no consumer benefits, if even a small percentage of us start rejecting brands that contain them, GM ingredients will become a marketing liability. Food companies will kick them out. In Europe, for example, the tipping point was achieved in 1999, just after a high profile GMO safety scandal hit the papers and alerted citizens to the potential dangers. In the US, a consumer rebellion against GM bovine growth hormone has also reached a tipping point, kicked the cow drug out of dairy products by Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Dannon, Yoplait, and most of America’s dairies.

The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to achieve a tipping point against GMOs in the US. The number of non-GMO shoppers needed is probably just 5% of the population. The key is to educate consumers about the documented health dangers and provide a Non-GMO Shopping Guide to make avoiding GMOs much easier.

Please choose healthier non-GMO brands, tell others about GMOs so they can do the same, and join the Non-GMO Tipping Point Network (http://action.responsibletechnology.org/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=2925). Together we can quickly reclaim a non-GMO food supply.

Dow Takes on Monsanto With New Biotech Soybean

Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:12pm GMT
(Corrects spelling of Amazon's Kindle bookreader in paragraph 9)
By Carey Gillam

INDIANAPOLIS, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Dow AgroSciences, a unit of chemical conglomerate Dow Chemical (DOW.N: Quote) is launching a genetically altered soybean seed aimed as a direct assault on the dominance of global seed leader Monsanto Co (MON.N: Quote).

Dow submitted a regulatory package on Friday seeking government approval for a glyphosate-tolerant soybean that the company says would be the "first-ever, three-gene," herbicide-tolerant soybean.

The new soybean will be tolerant of a new Dow AgroSciences herbicide that combines glyphosate, glufosinate and 2,4-D so farmers can spray the weedkiller on fields without harming the crop.

"This is our most important project ever," said Dow AgroSciences CEO Antonio Galindez said in an interview with Reuters. "It is big."

Dow is dubbing the system "Enlist" and sees it as a replacement for Monsanto's wildly popular Roundup Ready system that accounts for over 90 percent of U.S. soybean acreage and also has a foothold over the vast majority of corn planted in the United States.

After Monsanto introduced its first Roundup Ready soybean in 1996, farmers embraced the system because it made killing weeds easier. But since then, glyphosate use over Roundup Ready soybeans, corn, cotton and other crops has grown so heavy that several species of crop-choking weeds have become resistant to glyphosate-based Roundup and those weeds are spreading rapidly through North and South America.

Dow's Enlist system combines glyphosate and two other herbicides in a way that Dow's research has shown kills the weeds that no longer respond to glyphosate, while still knocking out those that do.

Farmers would need to buy not only the new herbicide but also the Dow seeds to gain the benefit.

"We call Enlist our Amazon Kindle," said Galindez, referring to the electronic book reader released in 2007 that has helped spur a decline in sales of traditional books from bookstores.

"It is bringing the next level of technology to the market," said Galindez.

Pending regulatory approval the soybean trait package is expected to be available by 2015.

Dow AgroSciences has been quietly inviting farmers and seed companies to a "show farm" outside its headquarters in Indianapolis to demonstrate the results of comparative testing of Enlist versus Roundup.

Experts estimate glyphosate-resistant weeds have infested close to 11 million acres. It is common for weeds to develop resistance to herbicides. At least 130 types of weeds have developed levels of herbicide resistance in more than 40 U.S. states, more than found in any other country, according to weed scientists.

Enlist follows Dow AgroSciences launch in 2010 of SmartStax, an insect protection-trait and herbicide-resistance technology for corn developed under a cross-licensing agreement between Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto.

Galindez said Enlist will build on SmartStax and hopefully help Dow AgroSciences gain significant market share.

The release is part of an ongoing alliance between Dow AgroSciences and M.S. Technologies, a trait and technology provider. (carey.gillam@thomsonreuters.com; + 1 913-663-2658; Editing by Alden Bentley)

Monsanto Launching its First Biotech Sweet Corn

Thu Aug 4, 2011 5:55pm GMT
By Carey Gillam

ST. LOUIS, Mo., Aug 4 (Reuters) - Monsanto Co. is preparing to launch a genetically altered sweet corn, marking the global seed company's first commercial combination of its biotechnology with a consumer-oriented vegetable product.

The sweet corn seed, which will be available to farmers this fall, has been genetically altered to tolerate treatment of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, and to fight off insects that might attack the plants, said Consuelo Madere, Monsanto vice president of the company's global vegetable business.

The "triple-stack" sweet corn is aimed at the fresh market, a relatively small market sector with total U.S. plantings of about 250,000 acres, said Madere. She declined to say how large of a launch the company was making, only to say it would be "very, very small."

Though this is Monsanto's first biotech vegetable launch, Madere said other companies have already brought genetically altered vegetables to market and she did not anticipate significant consumer backlash.

"This is our first launch. We think it is a good product and we'll work to make sure we educate folks to the benefits," she said.

Monsanto's vegetable unit is anchored by Seminis, which it acquired in 2005, and is distinct from Monsanto's mammoth seed business for field crops like corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. For the most recent quarter, vegetable seed sales totaled $216 million out of more than $2.6 billion in total seed and genomic sales.

Since buying Seminis, Monsanto has been expanding its holdings in the vegetable seed arena. Still, while Monsanto is known for its expertise in plant biotechnology, the vegetable unit has only a few genetically altered products in its pipeline because non-biotech breeding techniques are more cost-effective than biotech for vegetable seeds, said Madere. (Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Alden Bentley)

Expert: GMOs to Blame for Problems in Plants, Animals

Thursday, August 11,2011
By Jefferson Dodge

One of the experts set to testify at Wednesday’s long-awaited meeting about the county’s policy for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on open space says scientists are seeing new, alarming patterns in plants and animals due to increased use of the herbicide Roundup.

Michael McNeill is an agronomist who owns Ag Advisory Ltd. in Algona, Iowa. He received his Ph.D. in quantitative genetics and plant pathology from Iowa State University in 1969 and has been a crop consultant since 1983. He was among three experts invited by county officials to testify at the Aug. 10 meeting of the Cropland Policy Advisory Group (CPAG).

CPAG, which has been meeting since February, serves as a sounding board for the county’s parks and open space staff as they develop a new cropland policy on matters like what may be grown on county land. The group has only touched briefly on the hot-button GMO issue in its past meetings; the Aug. 10 meeting was devoted entirely to the subject.

McNeill told Boulder Weekly before the meeting that he and his colleagues in the industry are seeing serious, negative effects produced by the use of glyphosate, which is the primary ingredient in Roundup weed killer. (Monsanto, the company that makes Roundup, has generated controversy by genetically altering crops to make them resistant to the herbicide.)

McNeill says that in the Midwest and other areas of the country, such as Louisiana and Mississippi, weeds like water hemp, giant ragweed, lamb’s quarter and velvet weed have become Roundup resistant through natural selection, due to a particular genetic mutation that survived the poison and therefore reproduced successfully and wildly.

The problem is, farmers’ natural reaction has been to simply apply more Roundup to their crops, which is having deleterious impacts, McNeill says.

“Used judiciously, it can be a useful product, but as with anything, if you abuse it, it can have negative effects,” he says.

McNeill explains that glyphosate is a chelating agent, which means it clamps onto molecules that are valuable to a plant, like iron, calcium, manganese and zinc.

“When you spray glyphosate on a plant, it’s like giving it AIDS,” he says.

The farmers’ increased use of Roundup is actually harming their crops, according to McNeill, because it is killing micronutrients in the soil that they need, a development that has been documented in several scientific papers by the nation’s leading experts in the field. For example, he says, harmful fungi and parasites like fusarium, phytopthora and pythium are on the rise as a result of the poison, while beneficial fungi and other organisms that help plants reduce minerals to a usable state are on the decline.

He explains that the overuse of glyphosate means that oxidizing agents are on the rise, creating oxides that plants can’t use, leading to lower yields and higher susceptibility to disease.

McNeill acknowledges that Monsanto could simply find a new chemical that kills the newly resistant weeds, but the weeds will simply find a way around it again.

“It’s mother nature’s plant breeding program,” he says. “It’s very widespread, and it’s a serious problem.”

McNeill says the situation is causing “sudden death syndrome” in soybeans, which means they are dying at increased rates when they go into their reproductive phase. He adds that corn is showing a higher incidence of Goss’s wilt, which has been a problem in Colorado since the early 1970s, and

studies show that glyphosate causes a rise in both diseases.

And the problems are not limited to plants, it’s extending to the animals that eat them, according to McNeill.

He says he and his colleagues are seeing a higher incidence of infertility and early-term abortion in cattle and hogs that are fed on GMO crops. He adds that poultry fed on the suspect crops have been exhibiting reduced fertility rates.

McNeill, who works with universities, the federal government and private companies, says his advice to his farmer clients is to rotate chemicals — or don’t use them at all. While it is more labor-intensive, organic farmers usually cut their weeds as an alternative to herbicides. He says he consults for about 160,000 acres of conventional farmland and 5,000 to 6,000 acres of organically farmed land.

“My clients are my farmers, and I want what’s best for them,” he says. “And my clients are the consumers who consume the farmers products, and I want what’s best for them.”

McNeill compares the Roundup situation to the way science eventually caught up to another poison: Just as DDT was initially hailed as a miracle pesticide and later banned, researchers are beginning to discover serious problems with glyphosate.

“Some issues are starting to arise with technologies that probably needed more research before we started using them,” he says. “It’s a moving target.”

The other two experts invited to the CPAG meeting, Kent Davis of Crop Quest and Phillip Westra of Colorado State University, did not return calls by press time.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Many GMOs are Virtually Unregulated Due to Technicalities in Current Federal Law

The continual onslaught of new genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) is a major environmental and human health concern, as not a single approved GMO currently in use has ever been proven, without a doubt, to be safe -- and none of the newest GMOs have been proven safe, either.

But what few people realize is that federal law governing GMOs is so minimal and vague that biotechnology and chemical companies are literally declaring that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has no legal right to regulate their products, and the agency is complying.

The recent "approval" of genetically-engineered (GE) Kentucky bluegrass, for instance, was not really an approval at all, at least not in the way most people think it was.

The USDA's decision in the matter was made by The Scott's Miracle-Gro Company, which is responsible for "frankengrass."

The imitation turf is not included under the USDA regulatory umbrella. In other words, the USDA agreed that GMO grass is not within its regulatory jurisdiction.

USDA regulatory authority over GMOs stops at restricting organisms and noxious weeds that 'might harm plants'
Just before the busy and distracting Independence Day weekend in the US, the USDA made its announcement about Roundup Ready GM Kentucky bluegrass, declaring that it does not fall under the agency's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) biotechnology authority for regulation.

This is a key statement that many in the natural health and living community recognize as opening wide the floodgates for the unregulated introduction of any and all that come down the pipeline in the future.

The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) has stated that the USDA's stated hands-off approach to GMOs is sobering, because it signifies the agency's intention to avoid any further involvement in the regulation of GMOs.

And the agency's stated reasons for this are based on claims that current federal law does not permit the agency to be involved in this process unless a proposed GMO threatens to become a "plant pest" or a "noxious weed," two classifications that the agency has determined to not apply to GM Kentucky bluegrass.

The Plant Pest Act, which is a piece of legislation introduced in 1957 to protect US agriculture against damaging, outlines the extent of these two provisions. GMOs that incorporate DNA material from harmful organisms technically fall under the "plant pest" category because they contain components of pests that are deemed harmful to plants, which has given the USDA limited authority to regulate them.

But the "noxious weed" category is more ambiguous in that its definition can be either very broadly or very narrowly defined, depending on the USDA's preference in handling the matter. And the agency appears to have exempted most or all GMOs from this category, having decided with GM bluegrass that it does not have the potential for becoming a "noxious weed," which concurs with the petitions filed by Scott's Miracle-Gro.

GMOs are covered by Plant Pest Act, USDA simply distorting law to shield frankencrops from regulation

Despite claims made by the USDA that GM Kentucky bluegrass is exempt from federal law because it allegedly does not have the potential to "cause significant enough impact to warrant regulation," ANH believes otherwise. Because GM grass will be planted in parks, greenbelts, sports fields, and lawns, it will, in fact, have a widespread presence that threatens to contaminate the environment, including food crops, with GMOs.

Because it is already known that pollen and other materials from GMOs easily spreads to nearby fields and other areas, the USDA's claim that there is no threat posed by GM Kentucky bluegrass is a flat-out lie. Grass, in general, is also capable of spreading its own seed and becoming unmanageable, which renders it having the potential to become a "noxious weed" as well.

The USDA is trying to deny these crucial facts, but the world is watching as it essentially hands over the whole of US agriculture to biotechnology and chemical companies. And efforts to correct the USDA's surrender to these powerful industries are underway, as groups like ANH are continuing to combat the apparent deregulation of GMOs.

NaturalNews recently announced a boycott of The Scott's Miracle-Gro Company that we hope will hit the company where it counts -- in their pocketbook. This is not the final answer to the GMO problem, of course, but it will help increase awareness about GMOs, and spur momentum to get them better regulated and potentially even eliminated:

You can also directly contact the USDA's Biotechnology Regulatory Services division yourself to express outrage over its deregulation of GM Kentucky bluegrass by:

Phone:
Michael Gregoire, USDA APHIS Deputy Administrator
(301) 734-7324

Email:
biotechquery@aphis.usda.gov

Mail:
USDA APHIS BRS
4700 River Road, Unit 147
Riverdale, MD 20737

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033346_GMOs_regulation.html#ixzz1VJ8qVOYy

Monday, August 15, 2011

How To Avoid GMOs

Genetically modified organisms (GMO`s) have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetically engineering techniques. This technology is thought to increase food yields and create super foods that grow larger and are more resilient to pests. Despite mounting evidence, the FDA and food industry continue to say GM foods are safe, well tested and necessary to feed a world dying of starvation. After many years of research on risk/benefit of GMO products, it is now quite obvious that they pose an extremely significant hazard for the entire world. There are critical steps a consumer can take to avoid consuming GMO foods.

One of the most popular genetic crop modifications makes plants immune to herbicides. In particular, the company called Monsanto has made a whole line of `RoundUp Ready` crops that are resistant to the RoundUp herbicide. However, the natural world is far superior than man`s attempt to manipulate and control nature.

Fields that have been sprayed with RoundUp for multiple years are now seeing super weeds that are impervious to RoundUP and grow up to six to seven feet tall. Andrew Kimbrell has been the Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety since 1997. He says that we now have 10-20 million acres of these super weeds that you cannot kill.

The RoundUp herbicide is also a powerful toxin for human consumption. GM products are highly sprayed with such herbicides and many strong pesticides. These toxins cause serious damage within the human body.

Unlike many other countries, GMO containing foods are still unlabeled here in America. However, according to a recent survey, if they were labeled, 53% of participants said they would not eat them. Currently 60-70% of our food in the US is genetically modified. Children`s foods are the number one GMO containing products.

Many processed foods contain 90-100% GM ingredients. Most all non-organic breads and other baked goods contain GM ingredients. Most non-organic chocolate, sweets, candy, gum, etc. contain GM ingredients. Most non-organically raised animal (meat, dairy, eggs) products contain GM ingredients. These animals are typically fed a diet that is 90+ percent GMO. Most non-organic beverages (beer, wine, soft drinks, juices) contain GM ingredients.

In May of 2009, The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) sent out a press release that called for an immediate moratorium on GM foods. They asked physicians to educate their patients and provide educational material about the health risks associated with GM foods. They proposed that physicians consider the role of GM foods in their patients` disease processes.

In their position paper, the AAEM sites several animal studies that indicate extreme health risks associated with GM foods. Some of the health risks include infertility, immune dysfunction, allergic reactions, accelerated aging, insulin dysregulation, organ malfunction and digestive dysfunction.

The AAEM quoted in their paper: `There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation, as defined by recognized scientific criteria. The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.`

How To Avoid Purchasing GMO Foods:

1.Buy organic as much as possible
2.Buy foods labeled `Non-GMO`
3.Avoid non-organic products containing corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, peanut, alfalfa, safflower, tomatoes, zucchini, crookneck squash, sugar cane, beats, peppers & papayas.
4.Avoid GMO offspring products such as high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, soy lecithin, soy protein, etc.
5.Avoid non-organic dairy products and all other commercialized animal products.
6.Grow your own food products or purchase them from local farmers, who do not use GM seeds and products in their farms.
7.Use a non-GMO shopping guide.

[Editor`s Note: NaturalNews is strongly against the use of all forms of animal testing. We fully support implementation of humane medical experimentation that promotes the health and wellbeing of all living creatures.]

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033321_GMOs_avoid.html#ixzz1V90adGxl

Friday, August 12, 2011

Monsanto Preys on Popularity of Omega-3s by Developing GMO Soybean That Produces Fake Fish Oil

(NaturalNews) Leave it to Monsanto to take a good thing and corrupt it for financial gain. According to a recent report in Forbes, the multinational biotechnology-slash-agriculture-manipulating monolith has developed a new genetically-modified (GM) soybean that artificially produces stearidonic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid -- and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to approve the "frankenbean" sometime this year.

Monsanto appears to be introducing the omega-3 enhanced GM soybean oil, called Soymega or "stearidonic acid soybean oil" (SDA oil), at a craftily strategic time when much of the world is still reeling from the Fukushima Daiichi mega-disaster, which left ocean waters ridden with radioactive isotopes. And since omega-3s just happen to be most readily found in fatty ocean fish, the perpetual fear over radioactive and other poisons that may be lurking in such fish could drive many to embrace Monsanto's fake fish oil instead.

According to an FDA letter responding to Monsanto's request to have SDA oil approved for use as a food additive and acknowledged as being "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS), the FDA noted that Monsanto intends to use its omega-3-enhanced oil in a variety of food applications. These include baked goods, breakfast cereals, fish products, frozen dairy desserts, cheeses, grains and pastas, gravies, nuts, poultry, fruit juices, processed vegetable products, and soups -- yes, basically every processed food product in existence.

Monsanto created its GM soybean oil by injecting two specific enzymes into soybean genes. One came from Primula juliae, a type of flower, and the other from Neurospora crass, a type of red mold that grows on bread. As a result, the beans produce SDA oil and gamma-linolenic acid, two compounds not normally found in soybeans.

In its original request letter, Monsanto claims that its company-funded trials prove that SDA oil is safe for animal and human consumption, and that "no toxicologically significant effects were observed." However, the data does not specifically highlight the long-term effects of the oil in animals or in humans -- it merely alleges that nothing bad was observed during the 16-week trial period, which is hardly enough reassurance that the product is undeniably safe for consumption.

Nevertheless, the FDA has already granted Soymega GRAS status, which means that the agency acknowledges Monsanto's safety claims, and essentially has no problems with or objections to them. And if the FDA grants full approval for Soymega, you can expect to see it turning up in all sorts of consumer food products.

Have all the ocean disasters in recent years been a catalyst for forcing people over to artificial, patented varieties of omega-3s?
Between BP's "Deepwater Horizon" oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, and the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in March 2011, many of the world's oceans, and corresponding fish stocks, have been severely tainted. Add in perpetual mercury poisoning and other pollution that has been afflicting ocean life for many decades, and seafood appears less and less enticing as a safe and healthy source of omega-3s.

Enter Monsanto. By positing its omega-3 GM soybean variety as a safer, healthier alternative to natural seafood and sea-based fish oils, the company stands to gain an incredible amount of profit while ultimately steering public preference away from natural sources of omega-3s, and towards its own patented varieties of omega-3s.

The same Forbes article that announced the advent of Monsanto's Soymega also mentions that sea-based fish oils can be contaminated with toxins, and also suggests that fish-derived omega-3s are responsible for depleting fish stocks and damaging the environment. Do you see where this is all going?

It is all too convenient that as omega-3s become more popular than ever, Monsanto, in conjunction with the FDA and the mainstream media, is coordinating a leveraged attack against natural sources of omega-3s in order to brainwash the public into accepting its "safer" variety. And by getting SDA oil laced throughout the food supply, the public will ultimately have little choice in avoiding it., and will probably just accept it as beneficial.

Monsanto is clearly dead set on capturing the omega-3 market through its new soybean oil. After all, soybean oil has become a staple in most American processed foods, and by "enriching" everything from breads and cereals to vegetable dishes and quick dinners with Soymega, the general public will be less prone to purchase fish for its health benefits. And the end result will be more control of the food supply handed over to Monsanto, and less availability of natural omega-3s on the market.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033305_GMO_soybeans_fish_oil.html#ixzz1UrLEnEwy

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

GMOs Failing Across America - Farmer to Farmer Film Reveals Disastrous Failure

Monday, August 08, 2011 by PF Louis

(NaturalNews) The mainstream media reports almost nothing about the downside of GMO farming. Only the propaganda of creating more agricultural abundance cheaply is broadcasted. A short video documentary "Farmer to Farmer: The Truth about GM Crops" offers a glimpse into the undisclosed downside reality of GMO farming.

Documentary Essence

Michael Hart has been a commercial farmer in Cornwall, England for thirty years. He is not an organic farmer, but he is a proponent of agricultural diversity from family farms. He wants the EU to avoid the GMO seed/herbicide trap.

His recently produced short documentary focuses on American farmers, who have bought into the biotech industry's propaganda of higher yields with less overhead. The farmers he interviewed underscore the same theme: Monsanto has trapped them into a financial system of patented seeds and herbicides that have resulted in faltering crop yields with higher operating expenses.

Major Points Discussed in the Video

Monsanto sells its Roundup herbicide specifically for its Roundup Ready GM seeds. It's part of a rigidly enforced deal. The deal is sold with the promise that one post emergence pass (spraying after plants emerge) of Roundup will be sufficient for high crop yields of Monsanto's patented Roundup Ready GMO seeds.

At first this appeared to be the case. But within a short time, Roundup resistant weeds began sprouting. Different combinations of tank mixed herbicides had to be contrived and purchased in addition to Monsanto's contractually required Roundup herbicide. Monsanto even sold tank mixed herbicides as well.

Not only did one pass not work, but farmers also attested to different combinations of herbicides with several passes, which included pre-emergence and post emergence spraying to manage their crops. The new weeds had become a plague. And GMO crop production wound up demanding even more pesticide applications than non-GMO commercial farming.

Because the biotech industry now funds most agricultural university research, the farmers are concerned about the lack of attention toward developing better pesticides that would minimize spraying. When the composite chemical tank pesticides don't do the job, Monsanto advises farmers to pull weeds by hand. Many crop fields are well over a thousand acres!

GMO farmers are contractually barred from saving seeds for future crop planting. This violates a centuries old custom. They have to buy new GMO seeds from Monsanto for every new crop planting. A non-GMO farmer can save seeds to raise new crops. Even if GMO seeds are cheaper, in the long run the non-GMO farmer saves money since he's able to use seeds saved from prior plantings many times over.

Even so, prices for non-GMO seeds have increased substantially as public (not patented) seeds are being crowded out of the market with Monsanto's government granted ability to patent seeds that are not genetically modified. Farmers hire professional seed cleaners to clean and sort their saved seeds. Monsanto harasses seed cleaners to ensure they are not mixing Monsanto's patented seeds with farmers' saved seeds.

American farmers realize the co-existence of non-GMO fields with GMO fields is impossible. They've had to learn the hard way that cross pollination and seeds carried by wind and migrating birds contaminate their non-GMO fields. And Monsanto uses patent law to prosecute farmers, who have been unwittingly contaminated by nearby GM fields belonging to other farmers. This type of intimidation forces non-GMO farmers out of business.

Conclusion

Michael Hart has vowed to promote GMO resistance to EU farmers. Beyond Hart's mission, health freedom activists, who are concerned about GMO threat to human health, should consider including disgruntled GMO and non-GMO commercial farmers in an international coalition of GMO resistance.

You can view the Farmer to Farmer video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEX654gN3c4&feature=player_embedded

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033264_farmers_GMOs.html#ixzz1UYz6Cx6x

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Court Rules Organic Farmers Can Sue Conventional, GMO Farmers Whose Pesticides 'Trespass' and Contaminate Their Fields

Wednesday, August 03, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Purveyors of conventional and genetically-modified (GM) crops -- and the pesticides and herbicides that accompany them -- are finally getting a taste of their own legal medicine. Minnesota's Star Tribune has reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that a large organic farm surrounded by chemical-laden conventional farms can seek damages for lost crops, as well as lost profits, caused by the illegal trespassing of pesticides and herbicides on its property.

Oluf and Debra Johnson's 1,500-acre organic farm in Stearns County, Minn., has repeatedly been contaminated by nearby conventional and GMO farms since the couple started it in the 1990s. A local pesticide cooperative known as Paynesville Farmers Union (PFU), which is near the farm, has been cited at least four times for violating pesticide laws, and inadvertently causing damage to the Johnson's farm.

The first time it was realized that pesticides had drifted onto the Johnson's farm in 1998, PFU apologized, but did not agree to pay for damages. As anyone with an understanding of organic practices knows, even a small bit of contamination can result in having to plow under that season's crops, forget profits, and even lose the ability to grow organic crops in the same field for at least a couple years.

The Johnson's let the first incident slide. But after the second, third, and fourth times, they decided that enough was enough. Following the second pesticide drift in 2002, the Johnson's filed a complaint with the Minnesota Agriculture Department, which eventually ruled that PFU had illegally sprayed chemicals on windy days, which led to contamination of the Johnson's organic crops.

PFU settled with the Johnson's out of court, and the Johnson's agreed to sell their tainted products as non-organics for a lower price, and pull the fields from production for three years in order to bring them back up to organic standards. But PFU's inconsiderate spraying habits continued, with numerous additional incidents occurring in 2005, 2007, and 2008, according to the Star Tribune.

After enduring much hardship, the Johnson's finally ended up suing PFU in 2009 for negligence and trespass, only to receive denial from the district court that received the case. But after appealing, the Johnson's received favor from the Appeals Court, which ruled that particulate matter, including pesticides, herbicides, and even GM particulates, that contaminates nearby fields is, in fact, considered illegal trespass, and is subject to the same laws concerning other forms of trespass.

In a similar case, a California-based organic farm recently won a $1 million lawsuit filed against a conventional farm whose pesticides spread through fog from several miles away, and contaminated its fields. Jacobs Farm / Del Cobo's entire season's herb crop had to be discarded as a result, and the court that presided over the case acknowledged and agreed that the polluters must be held responsible.

Precedent has now been set for organic farmers to sue biotechnology companies whose GMOs contaminate their crops.

The stunning victories of both the Johnson's and Jacob's Farm / Del Cobo against their chemical-polluting neighbors is huge, in that it represents a new set legal precedent for holding conventional, factory farming operations responsible for the damage their systems cause to other farms. And with this new precedent set, many more organic farmers, for instance, can now begin suing GMO farmers for both chemical and genetic pollution that drifts onto their farms.

Many NaturalNews readers will recall the numerous incidents involving lawsuits filed by Monsanto against non-GMO farms whose crops were inadvertently contaminated by GM material. In many of these cases, the defendants ended up becoming bankrupted by Monsanto, even though Monsanto's patented materials were the trespassers at fault.

Be sure to check out the extensive and very informative report compiled by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) entitled Monsanto vs. U.S. Farmers for a complete history of Monsanto's war against traditional American agriculture.

But it appears that the tables are now turning. Instead of Monsanto winning against organic farmers, organic farmers can now achieve victory against Monsanto. In other words, farmers being infringed upon by the drifting of GM material into their fields now have a legal leg to stand on in the pursuit of justice against Monsanto and the other biotechnology giants whose "frankencrops" are responsible for causing widespread contamination of the American food supply.

Genetic traits are highly transmissible, whether it be through pollen transfer or seed spread, and organic and non-GMO farmers have every right to seek damages for illegal trespassing when such transmission takes place. It is expected that many more organic farms will step up and begin seeking justice and compensation for damage caused by crop chemicals, GM materials, and other harmful invaders.

For too long, Monsanto has been getting away with suing farmers whose crops have become contaminated by Monsanto's patented genetic traits and chemical materials, and winning. Thankfully, the justice system seems to now recognize the severe error in this, and is now beginning to rightfully hold polluters and trespassers responsible. Monsanto, your days are numbered.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033216_GMO_contamination_lawsuits.html#ixzz1TyxgJuhC