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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Are you unknowingly supporting companies that oppose GMO labeling?

November 01, 2013 by: Elisha McFarland


(NaturalNews) Many people are trying to do the right thing for their personal health and well being. They support local farms, sustainable agriculture, local CSAs and their favorite organic brands. Sadly, those of us who are buying organic foods may also be unknowingly supporting the opposition of GMO labeling.

If you want to support GMO labeling on your foods, you may consider dropping some of your favorite brands and looking for alternatives. That may be hard to hear, but did you know that Lara Bar, Cascadian Farm Organic, Food Should Taste Good and Muir Glen are owned by General Mills? Or that Burt's Bees is owned by Clorox? Or that Dagoba Organic Chocolate is owned by Hershey? You may also be surprised to learn that these companies have donated funds to oppose I-522, the Washington State GMO labeling initiative.

To see the chart of who is supporting and opposing GMO labeling for the Washington State labeling initiative click here:
http://www.myhealthmaven.com.

Your favorite organic companies are being bought out by big business. Phil Howard, Associate Professor of Michigan State University, has compiled a chart that shows the structure of the organic industry. The chart lists organic companies that have been bought out by big business. The chart also includes the year of the buyout. Needless to say, it's disheartening to see companies with high standards bought out by companies seeking the big dollar signs of the organic industry. It's even more disturbing to see that these same companies are funding opposition to GMO labeling. In reality, every time we buy the products listed on the chart, we are supporting opposition to GMO labeling.

To see the organic industry structure chart click here:
http://www.myhealthmaven.com.

What can you do?

Pass the word on; educate yourself and those you love about the hazards of GMOs. You can learn more about GMOs at the Institute for Responsible Technology's website: http://www.responsibletechnology.org.

Read the organic industry chart and see if your favorite products are listed. If they are, call or e-mail the company and tell them why you will no longer be buying their products.

It's a hard decision for many to boycott their favorite products; it's also one of best ways to be sure that your voice is heard.

About the author:
After sixteen years of struggling with MCS, Elisha has come out on the other side with a renewed zest for life and the desire to educate others about wholistic and healthy life choices. During that time she received the following degrees and designations, Doctor of Naturopathy, Master Herbalist, Diploma in Clinical Homeopathy, Bachelor of Science in Holistic Nutrition, Certified Wholistic Rejuvenist and EFT-ADV. You can visit her website at www.myhealthmaven.com.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/042742_GMO_labeling_food_companies_informed_choice.html#ixzz2la6p5kVD

WORLD’S FIRST GENETICALLY MODIFIED BABIES BORN

Oct. 17, 2013

The world’s first genetically-modified humans have been created, it was revealed last night.

The disclosure that 30 healthy babies were born after a series of experiments in the United States provoked another furious debate about ethics.

So far, two of the babies have been tested and have been found to contain genes from three ‘parents’.

Fifteen of the children were born in the past three years as a result of one experimental program at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St Barnabas in New Jersey.

The babies were born to women who had problems conceiving. Extra genes from a female donor were inserted into their eggs before they were fertilized in an attempt to enable them to conceive.

Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year- old children confirm that they have inherited DNA from three adults –two women and one man.

The fact that the children have inherited the extra genes and incorporated them into their ‘germline’ means that they will, in turn, be able to pass them on to their own offspring.

Altering the human germline – in effect tinkering with the very make-up of our species – is a technique shunned by the vast majority of the world’s scientists.

Geneticists fear that one day this method could be used to create new races of humans with extra, desired characteristics such as strength or high intelligence.

Writing in the journal Human Reproduction, the researchers, led by fertility pioneer Professor Jacques Cohen, say that this ‘is the first case of human germline genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children’.

Some experts severely criticized the experiments. Lord Winston, of the Hammersmith Hospital in West London, told the BBC yesterday: ‘Regarding the treatment of the infertile, there is no evidence that this technique is worth doing . . . I am very surprised that it was even carried out at this stage. It would certainly not be allowed in Britain.’

John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: ‘One has tremendous sympathy for couples who suffer infertility problems. But this seems to be a further illustration of the fact that the whole process of in vitro fertilisation as a means of conceiving babies leads to babies being regarded as objects on a production line.

‘It is a further and very worrying step down the wrong road for humanity.’ Professor Cohen and his colleagues diagnosed that the women were infertile because they had defects in tiny structures in their egg cells, called mitochondria.

They took eggs from donors and, using a fine needle, sucked some of the internal material – containing ‘healthy’ mitochondria – and injected it into eggs from the women wanting to conceive.

Because mitochondria contain genes, the babies resulting from the treatment have inherited DNA from both women. These genes can now be passed down the germline along the maternal line.

A spokesman for the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which regulates ‘assisted reproduction’ technology in Britain, said that it would not license the technique here because it involved altering the germline.

Jacques Cohen is regarded as a brilliant but controversial scientist who has pushed the boundaries of assisted reproduction technologies.

He developed a technique which allows infertile men to have their own children, by injecting sperm DNA straight into the egg in the lab.

Prior to this, only infertile women were able to conceive using IVF. Last year, Professor Cohen said that his expertise would allow him to clone children –a prospect treated with horror by the mainstream scientific community.

‘It would be an afternoon’s work for one of my students,’ he said, adding that he had been approached by ‘at least three’ individuals wishing to create a cloned child, but had turned down their requests.


World's First GMO Babies Born

Anti-GMO Campaigners Claim Victory as 'Monsanto Protection Act' Stripped From Senate Bill

Organizers cheer, saying the voices raised against genetically modified foods and giveaways to biotech giants were heard

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer, Sep. 25, 2013

An amendment dubbed the "Monsanto Protection Act," which currently allows large agriculture and biotech corporations to ignore court orders involving the safety of genetically modified seeds, has been stripped from Senate's spending bill that could be voted on as early as Wednesday afternoon.

Following an organized campaign against the provision in recent months, its removal was being cheered by food safety and environmental activists as a victory.

“Millions of people around the world were outraged when the bill passed originally and removing the Monsanto Protection Act from the current bill is a sign that the food movement has arrived politically. The American people are tired of Monsanto’s lies and the manipulation of our political process and we’re not backing down.” - Dave Murphy, Food Democracy Now!







The Monsanto Protection Act, otherwise known as the Farmer Assurance Provision rider, was wedged into a stop-gap budget bill that passed earlier this year and signed into law by President Obama in March.

The rider was the source of outrage by many and quickly dubbed a form of "corporate welfare" that benefited large biotechnology corporations firms such as Monsanto and Syngenta as it barred US federal courts from being able to prevent the sale or planting of GMO crops even if they failed to meet federal safety standards or were discovered to be harmful to humans or the environment.

In opposition to the law's passage, several online campaigns as well as street protests followed.

The rider was set to expire this year, but an extension of the bill was included in the House's version of the budget bill passed last week.

However, according to a statements released by the offices of Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the provision will not be extended and has now been removed from the Senate's version of the bill.

“We have all known this rider’s days were numbered,” Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety, told Politico. “But given the recent GMO contamination episodes of wheat and alfalfa in Oregon and Washington it is clear that our nation’s safeguards, in particular those of the federal courts, should not be under attack from policy riders like this.”

“This is a major victory for the food movement and all those who care about openness and transparency in their government,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now! The decision to strip the provision, he said, "is a sign that our voices can make the difference when we are effectively organized.”

According to Murphy's group, its organizing has generated more than half a million signatures in a petition delivered to Congress and the White House demanding the removal of the rider. In addition, the law's opponents logged more than 40,000 phone calls to members of congress in the last two weeks alone.

“This is what happens when people become engaged in the democratic process,” Murphy said. “Millions of people around the world were outraged when the bill passed originally and removing the Monsanto Protection Act from the current bill is a sign that the food movement has arrived politically. The American people are tired of Monsanto’s lies and the manipulation of our political process and we’re not backing down.”

"Short-term appropriations bills are not an excuse for Congress to grandfather in bad policy,”stated O’Neil. “Chairwoman Mikulski’s proposal to halt the Monsanto Protection Act, backed by Majority Leader Reid, is a welcome sea change in a political climate that all too often allows corporate earmarks to slide through must-pass legislation.”


Food Activist Slams Obama for Failure in GMO Labeling Fight

Follows new statement by group of scientists denouncing false 'consensus' on GMO safety

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer, Oct. 22, 2013

Just two weeks out from a crucial Washington state vote over the labeling of genetically modified (GM) crops or products made with genetically modified organisms (GMO), a leading food sovereignty activist is slamming President Obama for his complacency in the labeling fight.

During a recent interview with The Hill, Dave Murphy, founder and head of Food Democracy Now, recalled how in his speech during the 2007 Iowa caucuses, Candidate Obama brought the GMO labeling initiative to the forefront. The Hill writes:

Murphy was working for the Iowa Farmers Union at the time, and he organized a summit to give the presidential candidates another chance to speak about agriculture.
Reading Obama’s prepared remarks the night before, Murphy saw the section in support of labeling genetically altered foods.

“I thought, ‘This is a big staffer error,’” he said. “I couldn’t believe they were going to allow a candidate, a senator from Illinois, to go on stage and say that.”

Murphy said that, although the speech "jump-started" the GMO labeling movement, the now-President exhibits an "incredibly heartbreaking failure" to lend any support to the national debate.

Politicians including Obama frequently rely on the false assumption—propagated by the GMO industry—that there is a "scientific consensus" on the safety of GMO crops, as a means for staying out of the debate.

This criticism of Obama follows a Monday statement by a group of international scientists refuting what they say is a "misleading" and "misrepresentative" claim of scientific consensus on GMO safety.

“The claimed consensus on GMO safety does not exist,” they write. Moreover, they assert that claims made by the "GM seed developers and some scientists, commentators and journalists" encourage a "climate of complacency that could lead to a lack of regulatory and scientific rigor and appropriate caution, potentially endangering the health of humans, animals, and the environment."

This statement comes just two weeks ahead of a key vote in Washington state on legislation that requires the labeling of GMO food or products. Initiative 522 has become a national David versus Goliath battle between organic farmers, consumers and food sovereignty activists and the corporate food and biotech giants—such as Monsanto and Syngenta—who fund the opposition.

“We’re just asking for openness and transparency in the marketplace,” Murphy told The Hill.

“Prop. 37 woke people up," he said, referring to the 2012 California vote where big money defeated a labeling measure by a scant 350,000 votes. "People are waking up all over the country.”


US Farmers Continue David Vs. Goliath Battle Against Monsanto

A group is bring a challenge to patents on Monsanto's genetically engineered seed to Supreme Court.
A group of U.S. farmers is not giving up its fight against biotech giant Monsanto.

In the latest step of a two and a half year legal battle, plaintiffs in Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al v. Monsanto asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thrusday to hear their case challenging the patents on Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed.

The battle began in March 2011 when the farmers and seed companies brought a preemptive lawsuit against Monsanto to protect themselves from what they saw as unfair patent enforcement by Monsanto, whom they see as a “patent bully,” should the corporation’s genetically engineered seed contaminate the farmers’ crops. In other words, if these organic and conventional farmers are not using any Monsanto seed but their crops become contaminated (via wind, for example) with Monsanto seed, the farmers should not be slapped with a lawsuit by the corporation for patent infringement.  As we reported earlier:

Their case was dismissed in February 2012 by Federal Judge Naomi Buchwald, but attorney Dan Ravicher of the not-for-profit Public Patent Foundation [which is representing the plaintiffs] said, “The District Court erred when it denied the organic seed plaintiffs the right to seek protection from Monsanto’s patents.”

In July of 2012 the group filed an appeal to reverse the lower court’s decision…
In June of 2013, a three-judge panel at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit dealt the farmers a blow in dismissing the case.

The June ruling stated:
Because Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not ‘take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes (because, for example, some transgenic seed or pollen blew onto the grower’s land),’and appellants have not alleged any circumstances placing them beyond the scope of those assurances, we agree that there is no justiciable case or controversy,”

However, Reuters reported that “Monsanto has sued more than 100 farmers for patent infringement, winning judgments against farmers found to have made use of its seed without paying required royalties.”

“While the Court of Appeals correctly found that the farmers and seed sellers had standing to challenge Monsanto’s invalid patents, it incorrectly found that statements made by Monsanto’s lawyers during the lawsuit mooted the case,” Daniel Ravicher, Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) and lead counsel to the plaintiffs in OSGATA et al v. Monsanto, said in a statement on Thursday. “As a result, we have asked the Supreme Court to take the case and reinstate the right of the plaintiffs to seek full protection from Monsanto’s invalid transgenic seed patents.”

Jim Gerritsen, president of the lead plaintiff OSGATA and an organic seed farmer in Maine, has said, “We don’t want [Monsanto's] seed. We don’t want their gene-spliced technology. We don’t want to have to defend ourselves from aggressive assertions of patent infringement because Monsanto refuses to keep their pollution on their side of the fence.”

In a statement on Thursday, Gerritsen added, “We believe we have the right to farm and grow good food the way we choose.  We don’t think it’s fair that Monsanto can trespass onto our farm, contaminate and ruin our crops and then sue us for infringing on their patent rights.  We don’t want one penny from Monsanto. American farmers deserve their day in Court so we can prove to the world Monsanto’s genetically engineered patents are invalid and that farmers deserve protection from Monsanto’s abuse.”

This article originally was published at Common Dreams.

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