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Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Report Debunks 'Myth' That GMOs are Key to Feeding the World

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Study upholds value of traditional methods 'shown to actually increase food supplies and reduce the environmental impact of production'
The biotechnology industry "myth" that feeding billions of people necessitates genetically engineered agriculture has been debunked by a new report out Tuesday by the nonprofit health organization Environmental Working Group.
The report, Feeding the World Without GMOs (pdf), argues that investment in genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, has failed to expand global food security. It advocates more traditional methods "shown to actually increase food supplies and reduce the environmental impact of production."

Over the past 20 years, the report notes, global crop yields have only grown by 20 percent—despite the massive investment in biotechnology.

On the other hand, it continues, in recent decades "the dominant source of yield improvements has been traditional crossbreeding, and that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future."

As the report states, "seed companies' investment in improving yields in already high-yielding areas does little to improve food security; it mainly helps line the pockets of seed and chemical companies, large-scale growers and producers of corn ethanol."
After examining recent research on GMO crop production, the report also found:
  • Genetically modified crops—primarily corn and soybeans—have not substantially contributed to global food security and are primarily used to feed animals and cars, not people.

  • GMO crops in the US are not more productive than non-GMO crops in western Europe.

  • A recent case study in Africa found that crops that were crossbred for drought tolerance using traditional techniques improved yields 30 percent more than genetically engineered varieties.
Alternately, the report recommends a number of "common sense" strategies for expanding the global food supply, including: implementing a smarter use of fertilizers, eliminating bio-fuels, eliminating food waste, and cutting global meat consumption in half. Producing meat requires huge quantities of often-genetically modified crops such as corn and soy for animal feed.

Further, the report points out, "the narrative that GE crops will help feed the world ignores the fact that hunger is mostly the result of poverty."

About 70 percent of the world's poor are farmers, report author Emily Cassidy writes, and to raise them out of poverty requires access to basic resources such as fertilizer, water, and the infrastructure to properly store or transport crops to market—not expensive, resource-intensive GMO seeds.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Cassidy writes: "Given that creating just one genetically engineered crop variety can cost upwards of $130 million, you'd think Big Ag companies would invest in strategies that have been proven to work and less on GMOs that may not even increase crop yields. But what corporations really care about is increasing their profits, not feeding a hungry world."

Make It A Habit Label Reading





April 16, 2015


Studies show that it takes three weeks to create a new habit. Some decisions to change our habits can happen in a moment. Others develop over time. I remember when I became a vegetarian many decades ago – it was the first time I had to cook Thanksgiving dinner on my own. Wrestling with that big bird convinced me to give up meat. I didn’t even eat the meal I prepared – I just ate the sides and dessert!

Since then, my love for sushi has turned me into a committed pescatarian. I no longer have an aversion to preparing free range meats for my friends and family. My roasted organic chicken (thank you, Thomas Keller!) is very popular with my carnivorous friends. My food journey has proven that the more I know, the more I want to know. Here are some of the big lessons that have recently guided me in my quest for non-GMO foods.
Big lesson #1:

Read the label and look for the butterfly! Soy, corn, canola and sugar beets are prevalent GMOs that show up in many products, but GMOs are also hidden in these common ingredients: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrin, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from GMOs is to look for the Non-GMO Project Verified seal. Our third-party verification ensures that products are tested at the highest level for GMO avoidance. Even though I now serve meat to my friends, I personally have to be wary of beef and chicken stock, and I am highly sensitive to cross-contamination. Whether you or your loved ones have food allergies or sensitivities, one of the easiest and most critical ways to know your food is to become an avid label reader.
Big lesson #2:

Many of my biggest food decisions have transformed with additional education. I’ve learned the importance of selecting high quality, local, Non-GMO Project Verified meat, egg and dairy products whenever possible. The fact is that I eat what they eat, and I certainly do not want to eat GMOs! Since most animal feed is filled with corn, soy, cotton seed, and/or alfalfa (highly produced GMO crops), making sure these high-risk animal-derived ingredients have been Non-GMO Project Verified is absolutely necessary for me.
Big lesson #3:

I’ve always been a huge advocate for organic foods. Since working for the Project,our stringent testing has actually strengthened my preference for these products. My first choice is to look for both seals on foods that I purchase – particularly those with high-risk ingredients (soy, corn, canola, sugar beets). Shopping this way gives me confidence and a satisfaction in supporting those farmers and producers who go the extra mile.

Our annual Non-GMO Challenge is the perfect opportunity for you to make a commitment to change a habit…or two or three! Download our template, send us a photo with your pledge and share your commitment online!

(Remember to tag your photos #nongmochallenge!)

GMO Soybean Oil Causes Obesity, Diabetes, Fatty Liver

April 05, 2015 by: L.J. Devon, Staff Writer

(NaturalNews) Of all the seed oil produced in the US, 90 percent comes from soybeans. The shelf life and temperature stability of soybean oil is increased through the process of hydrogenation, which also generates unhealthy trans fats in the oil.

DuPont developed genetically modified soybean oil that has a fatty acid composition that is low in linoleic acid. Linoleic acid was thought of as the unhealthy component of the oil that causes obesity, diabetes and fatty liver in humans; however, new in-depth research has found hardly any health benefits of GM soybean oil over regular soybean oil.

When scientists at the University of California, Riverside, and UC Davis investigated the differences of the soybean oils, they found that the genetically modified soybean oil was not "healthier" at all. The reduced linoleic acid profile does not reduce diabetes, obesity and fatty liver like the industry had promised.

"While genetic modification of crops can introduce new beneficial traits into existing crops, the resulting products need to be tested for long-term health effects before making assumptions about their impact on human health," said senior investigator Frances Sladek, a professor of cell biology and neuroscience at UC Riverside.

GM soybean oil not healthier than regular soybean oil, despite industry's health claims
Genetically modified soybean oil has 0 grams of trans fat and a linoleic acid profile similar to olive oil. On the other hand, regular soybean oil contains about 55 percent linoleic acid. The scientists found out that the linoleic acid profile wasn't the difference maker. The GM soybean oil caused the same problems in studies on mice as the regular soybean oil did. The only advantage that GM soybean possessed: It didn't cause insulin resistance. However, the scientists reported that both olive oil and especially coconut oil are much healthier alternatives.

"Our previous results on mice showed that replacing some of the
fat in a diet high in saturated fats from coconut oil with soybean oil
-- to achieve a level common in the American diet -- causes
significantly more weight gain, adiposity, diabetes and insulin
resistance than in mice fed just the high-fat coconut oil diet," Sladek
said.

To conduct their study, the researchers created a parallel diet which replaced soybean oil with GM soybean oil on a gram per gram basis. They were surprised to find out that GM soybean oil induced weight gain and fatty liver just the same.

"Unidentified component" of soybean oil causes fatty liver and overall weight gain

"These results indicate that linoleic acid may contribute to insulin resistance and adiposity but that another as yet unidentified component of the soybean oil affects the liver and overall weight gain," said researcher Poonamjot Deol.

Four groups of 12 mice each were fed different diets for 24 weeks. A control group was put on a low-fat diet containing just 5 percent of daily calories from fat. The other groups were fed a diet similar to the American diet, deriving 40 percent of daily calories from fat. The groups differed according to the source of the fat they received. One ate regular soybean oil; one consumed GM soybean oil, and the other was given coconut oil. Both soybean-oil-based diets (GMO and non-GMO) produced mice with a much worse fatty liver, obesity and glucose intolerance profile than mice fed a coconut oil diet. When compared to controls, the group on soybean oil weighed 38 percent more. The group on GM soybean oil weighed 30 percent more, and the group on coconut oil only weighed 13 percent more.

"While the GM soybean oil may have fewer negative metabolic consequences than regular soybean oil, it may not necessarily be as healthy as olive oil, as has been assumed by its fatty acid composition, and it is certainly less healthy than coconut oil which is primarily saturated fat," Sladek said. "It is important to understand the metabolic effects and health impact of the GM soybean oil before it is widely adopted as a healthier alternative to regular soybean oil. It is equally important to understand the health effects of regular soybean oil, which is ubiquitous in the American diet and seems to be much more detrimental to metabolic health than saturated fat."

Sources:

http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu

Monsanto Knew of Glyphosate Cancer Link 35 Years Ago

Posted on Apr. 9, 2015 by Sustainable Pulse

According to evidence unearthed from the archives of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the United States, it has been established that Monsanto was fully aware of the potential of glyphosate to cause cancer in mammals as long ago as 1981.

Recently the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a statement in which glyphosate (the main component of Roundup herbicide) was classified as “probably carcinogenic” to humans and as “sufficiently demonstrated” for genotoxicity in animals (1). This announcement of a change to toxicity class 2A was given vast coverage in the global media, causing Monsanto to move immediately into damage limitation mode. The corporation demanded the retraction of the report, although it has not yet been published! Predictably, there was more fury from the industry-led Glyphosate Task Force (2). This Task Force also sponsored a “rebuttal” review article (3) from a team of writers with strong links with the biotechnology industry; but because of the clear bias demonstrated in this paper (which suggests that glyphosate has no carcinogenic potential in humans) it is best ignored until it has been carefully scrutinized by independent researchers (4).

With Monsanto continuing to protest that glyphosate and Roundup are effectively harmless (5) if used according to instructions, in spite of accumulating evidence to the contrary, we undertook a search through Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) records with a view to finding out what was known about glyphosate at the time of its initial registration. This followed up earlier investigations by Sustainable Pulse which highlighted a sudden change in the EPA view on toxicity in 1991. What was discovered was very revealing. There were many animal experiments (using rats, mice and dogs) designed to test the acute and chronic toxicity of glyphosate in the period 1978-1986, conducted by laboratories such as Bio/dynamics Inc for Monsanto and submitted for EPA consideration. Two of these reports relate to a three-generation reproduction study in rats (6) (7), and another is called “A Lifetime Feeding Study Of Glyphosate In Rats” (8); but like all the other older studies they were and still are treated as Trade Secrets and cannot be freely accessed for independent scrutiny. That in itself is suggestive that the studies contain data which Monsanto still does not wish to be examined by experts in the toxicology field. It is also deeply worrying that EPA acceded to the routine Monsanto requests for secrecy on the flimsiest of pretexts.

However, archived and accessible EPA Memos from the early 1980′s do give some indications as to what the rat studies contain (9). Although the studies predate the adoption of international test guidelines and GLP standards they suggest that there was significant damage to the kidneys of the rats in the 3-generational study — the incidence of tubular dilation in the kidney was higher in every treated group of rats when compared to controls. Tubular dilation and nephrosis was also accompanied by interstitial fibrosis in all test groups and in some of the lumens the researchers found amorphous material and cellular debris. Less than a third of the control rats showed signs of tubular dilation. In the rat study results, the changes in the bladder mucosa are significant because metabolites, concentrated by the kidneys, have led to hyperplasia that could be considered as a very early and necessary step in tumour initiation. EPA was worried in 1981 that these indications were sinister, and at first declined to issue a NOEL (no observed adverse effect level) — it asked for further information and additional research. In its 1982 Addendum, Monsanto presented evidence that minimised the effects and confused the data — and on that basis EPA accepted that glyphosate was unlikely to be dangerous. But Monsanto knew that scrutiny of the data in the studies would potentially threaten its commercial ambitions, and so it asked for the research documents concerned to be withheld and treated as Trade Secrets. So there was no effective independent scrutiny. Monsanto and EPA connived in keeping these documents away from unbiased expert assessment, in spite of the evidence of harm. (It is clear that EPA was thinking about carcinogenic effects — it knew in 1981 that glyphosate caused tumorigenic growth and kidney disease but dismissed the finding as “a mystery” in order to set the NOEL for the chemical and bring it to market.)

In the rat studies, the glyphosate doses fed to the test groups were 1/100 of those used in a later mouse study (9). It is unclear why these very small doses were decided upon by Monsanto and accepted by EPA, since there must be a suspicion that the studies were manipulated or designed to avoid signs of organ damage. In its 1986 Memo, EPA remarked on the very low doses, and said that no dose tested was anywhere near the “maximally tolerated dose.” Then the Oncogenicity Peer Review Committee said: “At doses close to an MTD, tumours might have been induced.” A repeat rat study was asked for. However, BioDynamics (which conducted the research for Monsanto) used data from three unrelated studies, which they conducted in house, as historical controls to create “experimental noise” and to diminish the importance of the results obtained by experiment.

In a 1983 mouse study conducted by Bio/dynamics Inc for Monsanto (10), there was a slight increase in the incidence of renal tubular adenomas (benign tumours) in males at the highest dose tested. Malignant tumours were found in the higher dose group. However, “it was the judgment of two reviewing pathologists that the renal tumors were not treatment-related”. Other effects included centrilobular hypertrophy and necrosis of hepatocytes, chronic interstitial nephritis, and proximal tubule epithelial cell basophilia and hypertrophy in females. The EPA committee determined there was a “weak oncogenic response” — so evidence was suggestive of early malignancy. The EPA Science Advisory Panel was asked for advice, and they said the data were equivocal and called for further studies in mice and rats. A further report was delivered in 1985. Part of the reason for this dithering was the prevalent but false EPA belief that all physiological effects had to be dose-related: namely, the higher the dose, the greater the effect.

Even though pre-cancerous conditions were imperfectly understood 35 years ago, and cortical adenomas in kidney were not thought dangerous at the time, the evidence from the Memos is that Monsanto, BioDynamics Inc and the EPA Committees involved were fully aware, probably before 1981, of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate when fed to mammals. In the Memos there are references to many more “secret” animal experiments and data reviews, which simply served to confuse the regulators with additional conflicting data. Thus EPA publicly accepted the safety assurances of the Monsanto Chief of Product Safety, Robert W. Street, and the status of the product was confirmed for use in the field (11). But behind the scenes, according to a later EPA memo (in 1991), its own experts knew before 1985 that glyphosate causes pancreatic, thyroid and kidney tumors.

On the EPA website (last updated 31.10.2014) reference is made to five Monsanto studies of 1980 – 1985, and it is noteworthy that these studies have not been made public in the light of current knowledge about malignant tumours and pre-cancerous conditions (12). Neither have they been revisited or reinterpreted by Monsanto and EPA, although one 1981 rat study and one 1983 mouse study are mentioned in the recent review by Greim et al (2015) (3). Following the conclusion that glyphosate was “not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity” nothing in the EPA advice about this chemical has changed since 1990. Given the recent assessment by the WHO Panel, and given the flood of scientific papers relating to health damage associated with glyphosate (13) the EPA attitude smacks of complacency and even incompetence.
Speaking for GM-Free Cymru, Dr Brian John says: “The evidence shows that by 1981 both Monsanto and the EPA were aware of malignant tumours and pre-cancerous conditions in the test animals which were fed small doses of glyphosate in the secret feeding experiments. Although concerns were expressed at the time by EPA committees, these concerns were later suppressed under the weight of conflicting evidence brought forward by Monsanto, some of it involving the inappropriate use of historical control data of dubious quality. None of these studies is available for independent examination (14). That is a scandal in itself. There has been a protracted and cynical cover-up in this matter (15). Glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen”, as now confirmed by the WHO Working Group, and no matter what protestations may now come from Monsanto and the EPA, they have been fully aware of its potential to cause cancer for at least 35 years. If they had acted in a precautionary fashion back then, instead of turning a blind eye to scientific malpractice (16), glyphosate would never have been licensed, and thousands of lives might have been saved.”

Retired Academic Pathologist Dr Stanley Ewen says: “Glyphosate has been implicated in human carcinogenesis by IARC and it is remarkable that, as early as 1981, glyphosate was noted to be associated with pre neoplastic changes in experimental mice. This finding was never revealed by the regulatory process and one might therefore expect to see human malignancy increasing on the record in the ensuing years. John Little (personal communication) has demonstrated an unexpected and alarming 56% upsurge in malignancy in England in those under 65 in the past 10 years.

\Presumably British urinary excretion of glyphosate is similar to the documented urine levels in Germany, and therefore everyone is at risk. The effect of glyphosate on endocrine tissue such as breast and prostate, or even placenta, is disruptive at least and an increased incidence of endocrine neoplasia is likely to be seen in National Statistics. The Glyphosate Task Force denies the involvement of glyphosate in human malignancy despite their knowledge of many reports of lymphomas and pituitary adenomas in experimental animals dosed with glyphosate. On the other hand, Prof. Don Huber at a recent meeting in the Palace of Westminster, has warned of severe consequences if rampant glyphosate consumption is not reined in. I feel sure that the suppression of the experimental results of 1981 has enhanced the global risk of malignancy.”

Toxico-pathologist Professor Vyvyan Howard says: “”The drive towards transparency in the testing of pharmaceuticals is gathering pace with legislation in the EU, USA and Canada being developed. All trials for licensed drugs will likely have to become available in the public domain. In my opinion the case with agrochemicals should be no different. At least with pharmaceuticals exposure is voluntary and under informed consent. There are several bio-monitoring studies which demonstrate that there is widespread exposure of human populations to glyphosate, presumably without informed consent. Given the clear level of mistrust over the licensing of this herbicide and the emerging epidemiological evidence of its negative effects there can, in my opinion, be no case whatsoever for keeping the toxicological studies, used to justify licencing, a secret. They should be put in the public domain.”

Research scientist Dr Anthony Samsel says: “Monsanto’s Trade Secret studies of glyphosate show significant incidence of cell tumors of the testes and tumorigenic growth in multiple organs and tissues. They also show significant interstitial fibrosis of the kidney including effects in particular to the Pituitary gland, mammary glands, liver, and skin. Glyphosate has significant effects to the lungs indicative of chronic respiratory disease. Glyphosate has an inverse dose response relationship, and it appears that its effects are highly pH dependent. Both Monsanto and the EPA knew of the deleterious effects of this chemical in 1980 at the conclusion of their multiple long-term assessments, but the EPA hid the results of their findings as “trade secrets.” Monsanto has been lying and covering up the truth about glyphosate’s harmful effects on public health and the environment for decades. The increases in multiple chronic diseases, seen since its introduction into the food supply, continue to rise in step with its use. Monsanto’s Roundup glyphosate based herbicides have a ubiquitous presence as residues in the food supply directly associated with its crop use. Nations must stand together against Monsanto and other chemical companies who continue to destroy the biosphere. We are all part of that biosphere and we are all connected. What affects one affects us all.”


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