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Monday, March 17, 2014

Finally, Monsanto introduces new strains of food that are NOT genetically modified

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) Monsanto is a name that is synonymous with Big Agriculture and, more importantly, genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The company's Roundup herbicide, which is used almost exclusively around the world, has been blamed for the development of resistant superweeds that are filling up farmers' fields in the U.S. and abroad.

And speaking of farmers, Monsanto is also synonymous with the term "lawsuit" -- as in the company protects its licensed seeds the way a mother and father protect a child. More than a few farmers have been hauled into court for reusing Monsanto brand seeds from one year to the next, in violation of the company's trademark.

But what Monsanto is known best for is its creation of GM foods and crops. There is hardly a hectare or acre of soybeans or corn whose seeds have not come from the GMO labs at Monsanto.

Now, however, as consumers have become increasingly leery of genetically altered food, and as some nations have even banned the growth and sale of some GM crops, Monsanto has finally developed new produce that has not been genetically modified one iota. As reported by Wired magazine recently:

Changing the agricultural game is what Monsanto does. ... So it's not particularly surprising that the company is introducing novel strains of familiar food crops, invented at Monsanto and endowed by their creators with powers and abilities far beyond what you usually see in the produce section. The lettuce is sweeter and crunchier than romaine and has the stay-fresh quality of iceberg. The peppers come in miniature, single-serving sizes to reduce leftovers. The broccoli has three times the usual amount of glucoraphanin, a compound that helps boost antioxidant levels. Stark's department, the global trade division, came up with all of them.

"Grocery stores are looking in the produce aisle for something that pops, that feels different,"Monsanto exec Kenny Avery told the magazine. "And consumers are looking for the same thing."

Crossbred, not genetically modified

If they are correct, they will know soon enough. Because Monsanto is set to introduce Frescada lettuce, BellaFina peppers, and Beneforte broccoli -- and nary a one of them has been genetically modified (also planned for introduction into U.S. supermarkets: a type of melon, a watermelon and an onion).

The Big Ag giant created all of the vegetables using a tried-and-true natural technique -- crossbreeding, which is the same "technology" that farmers have been using for hundreds of years to optimize their crops and yields.

"That doesn't mean they are low tech, exactly. Stark's division is drawing on Monsanto's accumulated scientific know-how to create vegetables that have all the advantages of genetically modified organisms without any of the Frankenfoods ick factor," Wired reported.

And as some cities and states -- and food chains like Whole Foods -- consider laws and changes in current business practices to require GMO labeling of foods, such requirements won't apply to Monsanto's new breed of "super" vegetables. That's because, despite being developed in a laboratory environment, they are nonetheless as natural as what you would find at a farmers' market. If you kept them pesticide-free and transported them less than 100 miles, you could actually label them organic. Here's how the veggies were developed:

-- Beneforte broccoli - Derived by crossbreeding commercial broccoli with a strain that grows wild in southern Italy (price will be around $2.50 a pound);

-- Bellafina bell peppers - These will be essentially bite-sized, to reduce waste. They were derived through the selective breeding of plants with smaller and smaller peppers (price estimated to be about $1.50 per three-pepper bag);

-- Melorange - This was derived by crossbreeding cantaloupe with European heritage melons containing a gene for a fruity, floral aroma (price should be around $3.00 a melon);

-- Evermild onion - This sweeter, less tear-inducing strain was developed by crossbreeding individual plants that have lower levels of pyruvate, which affects pungency, and lachrymatory factor (price should fluctuate between $0.70 and $2.00 a pound).

Simple Ways to Avoid GMO Foods

Sunday, March 16, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) Thanks to the efforts of Natural News and some other news sources, an increasing number of Americans are becoming more aware of just how damaging to the world's food system genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have become. The rise in food allergies and gluten sensitivities are evidence that GM foods have impacted the global food chain in negative and dangerous ways.

As such, millions of Americans agree that, at the very minimum, GM foods ought to carry labeling designating them as such -- just like the labeling requirements for ingredients in other foods.

Some states are beginning to get the message and are responding to demands by their citizens to require such labeling. As reported by Preventionmagazine, Connecticut and Maine are two states that are moving in that direction; also, our editor-in-chief, Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, has reported extensively on recent efforts in California to require GMO labeling [http://www.naturalnews.com].

Why it is important to require GMO labeling

So far, the federal government has resisted requiring GM foods to be labeled, no doubt in part due to intense lobbying by the food industry (as happened in the defeat of a California labeling initiative), which does not want to label GM foods, for some reason. But such resistance to labeling means that Americans who want to avoid GM foods are basically on their own to figure out what to avoid.

As reported by Prevention:

To the rescue: the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a pro-GMO-labeling environmental nonprofit, has just released a Shopper's Guide to Avoiding GE Foods to make it a little easier for people to avoidGMOs (GMO and genetically engineered, or GE, are used interchangeably to describe these crops).

The reason why it is so important to require GMO labeling is because of their potential to cause ill effects in those who consume them. Besides the fact that such crops have never been adequately tested for safety, the EWG says that GM foods are increasing the amount of herbicide-resistant weeds that no longer die when they are sprayed with Monsanto's Roundup, which the seeds were bred to resist.

As such, farmers are increasingly being forced to use more and more potent and toxic herbicides in order to compensate. Also, the widespread adoption of GM crops by American farmers has endangered organic farming due to unintended contamination of organic crops (mostly through agricultural run-off and cross-pollination, when pollen blows from a GMO farm to an organic one).

EWG "cites one estimate from the Union of Concern Scientists that the potential lost income for farmers growing organic corn may total $90 million annually, all because their crops get unknowingly contaminated by nearby GMO farmers," Prevention reported.

So, without labeling, how do you avoid GM foods? Here are some ways you can reduce your exposure:

--Stick with the organic stuff. Under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Organic Program, farmers are prohibited from planting seeds that have been genetically engineered. Also, organic foodproducers are prohibited from using ingredients that come from GM crops -- soy, corn and canola, for example. "Organic regulations also prohibit organic dairy and livestock operations from using GMO grains (again, corn and soy) to feed their animals," Prevention reported.

One thing to remember: Not all organic foods are good for everyone. As Natural News' Derek Henry reported in January, five organic foods that may damage your digestive system include wheat, soy, peanut butter, cow's milk and pork [http://www.naturalnews.com].

--Make sure you buy "Non-GMO Project Verified." The Non-GMO Project begins where organic certification ends. The project certifies products that have less than 0.9 percent GMO contamination.

--Check labels and dodge the "Factory Four." Corn, soy and sugar (the latter from GM sugar beets) and vegetable oils that are made from GM crops are the four most common GM ingredients you'll encounter in your food. Another thing to remember: About 90 percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered.