Follow by Email

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

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monsanto-Spawned Superweeds Growing Three Inches Daily, Destroying Farm Equipment

Monday, August 01, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The proliferation of superweeds -- weeds that have mutated to develop resistance to popular herbicides like Monsanto's Roundup formula -- continues to rise. But the individual plants' overall size and strength is also increasing. According to a series of new studies published in the journal Weed Science, farmers are having more trouble than ever dealing with out-of-control superweeds in their fields, some of which grow up to three inches a day in size, and are so strong and thick that they are destroying farm equipment.

The studies reveal that there are currently at least 21 different weed species known to be resistant to Roundup, also known generically as glyphosate. These species include ragweed, pigweed, horseweed, waterhemp, and ryegrass. Since 2007, the total acreage of farmland known to be infested with superweeds has also jumped more than 450 percent, from 2.4 million acres to 11 million acres, which means that the problem is only going to get exponentially worse.

"Super-strains of plants like pigweed -- which grows three inches a day and is tough enough to damage farm machinery -- have emerged, which may dramatically reduce the options for farmers to control them," writes Fast Company in a recent piece on the issue. "The alternatives are usually more dangerous chemicals or plowing and mulching fields, undermining many of the environmental benefits biotech crops are supposed to offer. It's 'the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen,' claims Andrew Wargo III, president of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts."

And yet for years Monsanto has denied, at least in part, that Roundup is the cause of superweeds, alleging also that widespread concern about the issue is overblown. Though it now admits that Roundup may actually be culprit in spawning superweeds (you think?), Monsanto is trying to somehow spin the situation in a positive light. Back in 2010, for instance, a writer for Monsanto's public relations blog actually claimed that using too little Roundup might be a cause of superweeds (http://www.monsantoblog.com/2010/05...).

Herbicide resistance is not limited to just Roundup

Genetically-modified (GM) crops, which are the primary target of herbicide applications like Roundup, are currently planted in roughly 200,000 square miles of American farmland. Their very existence requires repeated applications of herbicides and pesticides, including Roundup. But some of the same superweeds that have developed resistance to Roundup -- but that used to at least respond to other herbicides, or combinations of herbicides -- have now developed resistance to these alternative eradication methods as well.

A recent report in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (SLPD) explains that farmers are quickly running out of options for controlling the superweed problem, as many superweeds are now resistant to three or four other herbicides, and counting, besides Roundup. Superweeds with massive stems up to four inches thick are devastating fields, and farmers are becoming desperate for solutions (http://www.stltoday.com/business/lo...).

"It's rather ironic that we were sold glyphosate as an alternative to these older pesticides, and now farmers are using them again," said Brett Lorenzen, a legal analyst with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), to SLPD concerning farmers trying anything and everything to get rid of superweeds. "But that's part of the pattern of the pesticide industry."

The same report explains that, in order to get rid of the monstrous superweeds, farmers are having to hire laborers to hack down the behemoth plants by hand, which together with trying all sorts of other pesticides and herbicides, is costing farmers more time and money than if they had never planted GM crops in the first place.

Superweeds are spreading their traits to plants everywhere
Shuffling around pesticides and herbicides, and manually chopping down weeds, however, will not ultimately solve the superweed problem. No matter how many chemical applications conventional and GM crop farmers apply, superweeds just continue to get stronger and more pervasive. And they are becoming so strong that not only are they squelching all non-resistant weeds from existence, but they are also spreading resistant genes to other plants.

"Pollen can transfer the resistant trait; that's the problem," said Kevin Bradley, a weed scientists from the University of Missouri, to SLPD. "There's not much we can do about pollen flying through the air, and that's why we see such rapid spread of resistance."

The USDA, of course, continues to allow the introduction of new GMOs like alfalfa, sugar beets, and now even Kentucky bluegrass, because it does not view GMOs any differently than normal crops (http://motherjones.com/environment/...). The agency has refused to hold GMOs to a higher standard as it should, and instead has reneged any responsibility for properly regulating "frankencrops" -- and thus the world is being overrun by superweeds.

The only way it is possible to get rid of superweeds, if such a task is even still possible, is to end the cultivation of GM crops for good. In order to accomplish this, every GM field would have to be uprooted, tilled, and burned, and the whole of mainstream agriculture would have to embrace a system of chemical-free polyculture that naturally encourages proper soil health and microbial diversity, two factors that eliminate the need for using the herbicides and pesticides that have played a major factor in the superweed problem.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033195_superweeds_farm_equipment.html#ixzz1TpEnBPzD