This is a follow up to my last post, Monsanto’s RoundUp “Safe to Drink” – Laugh Out Loud Video (April 2, 2015). If you haven’t been following Monsanto and its role in genetically engineering our food, you may not be aware of the lengths the company has gone to insure it gets its way in genetically engineering our food while doing untold harm to human and animal health along with the health of the soil, water, and air.
This post is a story in images about the ongoing revolving door in place between Monsanto and the US government: including the FDA, USDA & EPA (all agencies that are supposedly looking out for the country’s health and the environment), Congress, the Supreme Court, and even the White House.
Monsanto has essentially bought our government. This mutually beneficial relationship explains why efforts to regulate Monsanto or even enacting mandatory GMO labeling continually get shot down – no matter how many petitions we sign.
Perhaps this sounds like I’m a conspiracy theorist. Check it out before you decide.
SOME EXAMPLES OF HOW MONSANTO OWNS OUR GOVERNMENT – THE REVOLVING DOOR BETWEEN MONSANTO AND THE US GOVERNMENT
“Due to the vested interest that Monsanto has in controlling regulation that affects its business, it has both donated to politicians and promoted the appointment of people who work for them to positions within the American government. As of yet, Monsanto has been successful in keeping its regulatory burdens low and getting its representatives into positions within the US government. The infiltration of regulatory agencies by corporate actors that is referred to here is called the “regulatory revolving door”. Individuals who work for industry go to work for the government, make public regulations, and then return to the private sector after leaving the public service.”
In 2010 Obama appointed Michael Taylor, the previous VP for Public Policy at Monsanto and a current Monsanto lobbyist, to a high level advisory role at the Food and Drug Administration.
In 2009, as Solicitor General, Elena Kagan defended Monsanto’s right to contaminate the environment with its GM alfalfa.
In 2013, as a Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan announced the Court’s unanimous opinion supporting Monsanto’s patent rights on its herbicide resistant genetically altered Roundup Ready seed …
In 2008 Obama appointed Tim Vilsack, former Iowa governor and shill for agribusiness biotech giants like Monsanto, to be the United States Secretary of Agriculture. In early 2009, the US Senate confirmed the nomination by unanimous consent.
In 2010 Obama appointed Islam Siddiqui, lobbyist and then VP of Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America – a lobbying organization for the pesticide and biotech industries – as Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the US Trade Representative. His government job is to promote the export of American crops. His former jobs were to promote the sale of Monsanto and other pesticides and biotech crops. His government job is to promote the export of American crops, allowing Siddiqui to represent Monsanto’s interests as if they are identical to the interests of the US.
Dr Robert Beachy, an expert in plant virology and biotechnology of plants, carried out research in collaboration with Monsanto Company that led to the development of the world’s first genetically modified food crop. In 2009 Obama appointed him as first director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), whose mission is advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being.
In 2014 Putin Tells Obama: “Stop Monsanto, Or We Will” ….
For good reason, many refer to Monsanto – which began as a toxic chemical company in 1901 and then, a century later, rebranded itself as a “sustainable agriculture” company interested in helping feed the world – as “The World’s Most Evil Corporation”. To read more about Monsanto’s machinations during its devious history of profiting from the manufacture of devastatingly harmful products, see The Complete History of Monsanto, “The World’s Most Evil Corporation”. (Hanzai, 2014)
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved OVER 70,000 FOOD ADDITIVES – from artificial ingredients to genetically modified ones, and from all natural to GRAS (generally recognized as safe). The situation is even worse with cosmetics and personal care products, with virtually no regulations on chemicals. Our skin absorbs whatever we put on it so those chemicals get into our bodies, where many of them do harm. (HealthyHolisticLiving.com, 2014)
Does this alarm you?
When British researchers removed food additives from the diets of a group of hyperactive 3-year-olds, the children calmed down. When artificial food colorings and preservatives were introduced back into the children’s diets, their parents reported an increase in hyperactivity. Researchers estimate that if children were to eat additive-free, the number of them thought to have hyperactivity-related behavioral problems could be greatly reduced. (PureVolume.com, 2014)
THE US FDA’S LAX REGULATION OF FOOD ADDITIVES (AllGov.com, 2014) (Thompson, 2013)
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC) reviewed the food safety protection system managed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and concluded that Americans are consuming food laced with unsafe chemicals due to our federal government’s ongoing failure to oversee and adequately regulate food producers.
“Rules governing the chemicals that go into a tennis racket are more stringent than (rules for) the chemicals that go into our food. At least when you put a new chemical on the market, you have to notify the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). But there’s no requirement that you notify the FDA when you make a new food additive.”
– Thomas Nelter, J.D., Director of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Food Additives Project
Mr Nelter is a Chemical Engineer, an Attorney, a Healthy Homes specialist, and a Fellow of the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management.
Nelter’s project studied conflict of interest issues in food safety evaluations and found that, between 1997-2012, employees of food additive manufacturers wrote 1 of every 5 safety determinations the industry submitted to the US FDA.
Another 12% of the safety determinations were paid for by a consulting firm selected by the manufacturer. The rest of the safety reviews were conducted by expert panels chosen either by the manufacturer or by a consultant to the manufacturer.
According to an article published in the respected journal JAMA Internal Medicine, another 13% of the determinations were written by someone working for a consulting firm selected by the manufacturer and the remainder of the reviews were conducted by expert panels selected either by the manufacturer or a consultant to the manufacturer.
Hmm, this does not seem like a good way to protect the public
The Pew study employed conflict of interest criteria developed by a committee of the Institute of Medicine to analyze 451 “generally recognized as safe“, or GRAS, determinations that the food industry submitted to the US FDA over a 25 year period.
The Food Additives Amendment of 1958 authorizes MANUFACTURERS to make determinations of an additive’s safety (GRAS determinations) but doesn’t require them to notify the FDA about these determinations.
FOOD DYES, ADHD, CANCER AND ALLERGIES (Curran, 2010)
So many vibrantly colored products – I hesitate to call them foods – are available in the processed foods aisles we may not give their colors a second thought – yet we should because the FDA-approved food dyes used to achieve those colors present profound risks to our health. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) published FOOD DYES; A RAINBOW OF RISKS, a comprehensive scientific report detailing the risks from nine dyes widely used in food products. The report was compiled by Molecular Toxicologist Sarah Kobylewski and Michael Jacobson, Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
This report presents considerable evidence for risks of cancer, hyperactivity in children and allergies posed by food dyes.
THE US FOOD INDUSTRY POURS INTO OUR FOOD SUPPLY OVER 15 MILLION POUNDS OF THE NINE STUDIED DYES – PER YEAR. Three of these dyes contain known carcinogens. Four can cause serious allergic reactions. Other studies have found that seven of the nine contributed to cancer development in lab animals, including brain and testicular tumors, colon cancer, and mutations.
CSPI’s Executive Director, Michael F. Jacobson, said, “These synthetic chemicals do absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods, but trigger behavior problems in children and, possibly, cancer in anybody.”
An Associate at the National Toxicology Program, James Huff, commented, “Some dyes have caused cancers in animals, contain cancer-causing contaminants, or have been inadequately tested for cancer or other problems. Their continued use presents unnecessary risks to humans, especially young children. It’s disappointing that the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] has not addressed the toxic threat posed by food dyes.”
A letter CSPI mailed to the FDA detailed reasons for banning food dyes in the US. to protect consumers. CSPI charged that the FDA fails to enforce the law in the following ways:
Red 3 and Citrus Red 2 should be banned under the Delaney amendment, because they caused cancer in rats (some uses were banned in 1990), as should Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, which are tainted with cancer-causing contaminants.
Evidence suggests, though does not prove, that Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 40 and Yellow 6 cause cancer in animals. There is certainly not “convincing evidence” of safety.
Dyed foods should be considered adulterated under the law, because the dyes make a food “appear better or of greater value than it is” – typically by masking the absence of fruit, vegetable or other more costly ingredient.”
CSPI charged that the FDA has been aware of the health risks posed by these dyes but has not acted to protect consumers.
As of 2010, when the CSPI report was issued, over 200,000 pounds of Red 3 was added to processed food products each year, including ConAgra’s Kid Cuisine frozen meals and Betty Crocker’s Fruit Roll-Ups. (I don’t know the statistics for the years after 2010.)
If food manufacturers wish to attract consumers with food colors, they have choices other than synthetic, petroleum-based dyes: Blueberry juice concentrate, carrot juice, paprika, grape skin extract, beet juice, purple sweet potato, corn, and red cabbage are just a few of the many non-chemical dyes available – and used in other countries.
Fanta Orange Soda manufactured in Britain is colored with pumpkin and carrot extract while the US version is dyed with Red 40 and Yellow 6. Kellogg Strawberry NutriGrain Bars are colored with Red 40, Yellow 6 and Blue 1 in the US but with beetroot, annatto and paprika extract in Britain. McDonald’s Strawberry Sundaes are colored Red dye 40 in America but with strawberries in Britain.
American consumer advocacy groups have called on the FDA to enact similar policies in the this country.
A British law went into effect on July 20th 2010 requiring companies to put this notice on each dyed product sold in Europe: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”
IS OUR FDA TRULY PROTECTING US?
The images below show coloring agents used in Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars made in the US vs in Britain. In Britain, lawmakers believe potentially harmful ingredients should be banned from foods until they’re proven safe. In the US, our FDA takes the position that these ingredients can be left in until they have been proven to be harmful. From my research, it seems even when they’ve been scientifically determined to be harmful, the FDA often refuses to ban them. GMO foods are a case in point.
NINE FOOD ADDITIVES ASSOCIATED WITH HYPERACTIVITY
Here’s a list of nine food additives that could aggravate attention problems (Gardner, 2014):
BLUE NO.1: A food coloring (AKA Brilliant Blue)
Frito-Lay Sun Chips French Onion and other Frito-Lay products; some Yoplait products; some JELL-O dessert products; Fruity Cheerios; Trix; Froot-Loops; Apple Jacks; Quaker Cap’N Crunch’s Crunch Berries; some Pop-Tarts products; some Oscar Mayer Lunchables; Duncan Hines Whipped Frosting Chocolate; Edy’s ice cream products; Skittles candies; Jolly Ranchers Screaming Sours Soft & Chew Candy; Eclipse gum; Fanta Grape
Orange B: A food coloring that used to added to sausage casings
Red No.3: A food coloring (AKA Carmoisine)
Candy, cake icing, chewing gum
Sodium Benzoate: A food preservative
Fruit juice, carbonated beverages, and pickles
Sodium benzoate is found in abundance in acidic foods. It is used to retard the growth of microorganisms, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
Red No. 40: A food coloring (AKA Allura Red)
This food dye is the most widely used food dye in the US, exceeding both Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6.
Some Frito-Lay products; some Yoplait products; JELL-O Gelatin desserts; Quaker Instant Oatmeal; Trix; Froot-Loops; Apple Jacks; some Pop-Tart products; Kid Cuisine Kung Fu Panda products; Oscar Mayer Lunchables products; Hostess Twinkies; some Pillsbury rolls and frostings; some Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines frostings; and more
Yellow No.5: A food coloring (AKA Tartrazine)
Yellow No. 5 is the only food dye that has been tested by itself, not as part of a mix of food dyes. These studies found a link to hyperactivity.
It is the second most commonly used food dye in the US.
Nabisco Cheese Nips Four Cheese; Frito-Lay Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar and other Frito-Lay products; some Hunt’s Snack Pack Pudding products; Lucky Charms; Eggo waffles and other waffle products; some Pop-Tarts products; various Kraft macaroni and cheese products; Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper and other products
Yellow No.6: A food coloring (AKA Sunset Yellow)
This is the third most widely used food dye in the US.
Frito-Lay Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy and other Frito-Lay products; Betty Crocker Fruit Roll-ups; some JELL-O gelatin deserts and instant puddings; Fruity Cheerios; Trix; some Eggo waffle products; some Kid Cuisine Kung Fu Panda products; some Kraft macaroni and cheese dinners; some Betty Crocker frostings; some M&M’s and Skittles candies; Sunkist Orange Soda; Fanta Orange
COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF FDA-APPROVED DYES USED IN FOOD PRODUCTS
The Food and Health program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has made an extensive investigation into what’s in our food.
Synthetic food dyes, made from petrochemicals, are common in manufactured foods that are widely consumed by children. Strong science implicates food dyes with increased hyperactivity in children. That research led the British government to ask companies to stop using most dyes by December 2009. And beginning in July 2010 most dyed foods marketed throughout the European Union are required to bear a warning notice. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSIP) has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban most food dyes in the United States. More recently, CSPI published a report, Rainbow of Risks, that discusses risks of cancer, genetic damage, and allergic reactions due to dyes.
Use IATP’s Brain Food Selector to find the dyes in your child’s (and your) favorite foods.
Note that Citrus Red 2 is approved only for use on the skins of oranges not used in processing, but consumers are almost never told of its presence. Orange B is permitted on sausage casings, but has not been used for years.
If you’re looking for citations of scientific studies, be sure to see Appendix One on page 4 of the Smart Guide to Food Dyes (described just above) for a table of health concerns found to be caused by specific FD&C food dyes and citations of the specific research studies reporting these findings.
“The approach for your child’s overall health and nutrition is a diet that limits sugary and processed foods and is rich in fruits; vegetables; grains; and healthy fats, such as Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flaxseeds and other foods.”
Take a look at the ingredients in your toothpaste. Is triclosan on the list? If so, switching brands would be a good idea.
Triclosan is the active ingredient in many widely used antibacterial products. You probably used some – or many – of them in your own home. These products claim to kill “99.9% of germs” as if that were a good thing … and triclosan is the killer.
TRICLOSAN: A PROBLEMATIC CHEMICAL WITH ADVERSE HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS (Francis, 2014), (Kaplan, 2014), (Mercola, 2014)
Triclosan is a synthetic, broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent present in a wide variety of consumer products: toothpastes, liquid soaps, dish washing liquids, mouth washes, face washes, hand sanitizers, surgical cleaning scrubs, shaving gels, deodorants, detergents, textiles, socks, workout clothes, toys, plastic kitchenware, cutting boards, school supplies – and many more.
Triclosan was first registered as a pesticide in 1969 and is now widely used as an antimicrobial. Do you want to brush your teeth with pesticide? For that matter, do you think it’s wise to kill 99% of the useful bacterial in your mouth daily?
The label on Colgate toothpastes lists the amount of triclosan in its products as only 0.30% – which may seem very small. But because triclosan is extremely powerful at killing bacteria and other microbes, this negligible amount makes the chemical a powerfully active ingredient.
Aside from killing 99% of our useful microbes along with the harmful ones, triclosan also reacts with water to form chloroform, a possible carcinogen, and with sunlight to form dioxins, known endocrine disruptors. (Angkadjaja, 2012)
Triclosan’s chemical structure is similar to thyroid hormones and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs – toxic chemicals now banned in the US but still found in the environment). This similarity allows it to attach to thyroid hormone receptors, altering hormone regulation and possibly interfering with fetal development. Scientists have noted an increased cancer risk from triclosan exposure. And bacteria exposed to triclosan are apt to become resistant to antibiotics.
The US Food and Drug Administration acknowledges that recent research raises “valid concerns” about the safety of triclosan, which is used so widely in products that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports it is found in the urine of 75% of the population.
Is found in the blood, urine and breast milk of the average person.
Is a known hormone disrupter.
Is a culprit in creating superbugs, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
Weakens the heart muscle, impairing contractions and reducing heart function.
Weakens skeletal muscles, reducing grip strength
Washes into your sewage systems and pollutes water bodies
On top of all this, ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAP OFFERS NO PROVEN BENEFIT OVER REGULAR SOAP!
A joint project of Food & Water Watch and Beyond Pesticides has created a FACT SHEET on the dangers of triclosan. It contains a summary of nearly 60 studies into the chemical’s impact on health. From the FACT SHEET:
A growing list of household and personal care products are advertised as “antibacterial” because they contain a chemical called triclosan. While the manufacturers of these products want you to think triclosan protects you from harmful bacteria, it turns out it may be doing more harm than good.
The proliferation of triclosan in everyday consumer products is enormous. It is now found in our drinking water, in our rivers, in our bodies. Several other countries, including the members of the European Union, have banned or restricted use of the chemical. Yet we in the US continue to consume and be exposed to an onslaught of triclosan. (Layton, 2010)
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry’s name for triclosan is 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol. Triclosan is similar in its uses and mechanism of action to triclocarbon, another dangerous antibacterial chemical used in personal care products. Brand names include Digiclean, Asepso, Prevens, Virx, Derma-Glove, FresHands and Renewal. (Wikipedia, 8/24/2014)
HOW TRICLOSAN WORKS
The cells of all organisms, including bacteria, require a cell membrane to survive. The cell membrane is a critical barrier that selectively allows oxygen, nutrients, and wastes to permeate and leave the cell; it is the “edge of life, the boundary that separates the living cell from its nonliving surroundings”. Without a permeable cell membrane, a cell would simply die. For example, wastes would not be transported out of the cell, causing toxins to accumulate and poison the cell. Curiously, it is precisely this function of the cell membrane that Triclosan is engineered to immobilize….
Triclosan stops the fatty acid elongation process by inhibiting a bacterial enzyme. … By stealing active sites from the natural substrate, Triclosan systematically kills bacteria by stopping fatty acid chain growth. This, in turn, stops the growth of the cell membrane and effectively kills the cell. The process is efficient, insidious and almost perfect, and when given the opportunity, Triclosan is extremely successful.
– S. Angkadjaja, 2012. What Makes Antibacterial Soap Antibacterial? Illumin: A review of engineering in everyday life
Here are some of the triclosan-free toothpastes on the market:
Some of these brands contain fluoride and other chemicals of concern. For example, here’s Environmental Working Group’s SKIN DEEP’s analysis of Sensodyne Original Flavor Toothpaste:
At least it doesn’t contain triclosan.
Check the ingredients list on your own toothpaste. Triclosan is listed under Active Ingredients.
I personally also avoid toothpastes containing fluoride, which is a toxin – and the reason why fluoride-containing toothpastes come with a warning not to swallow it – as on the label above.
MANY BACTERIA ARE GOOD FOR US
There is much evidence showing that bacteria are not all dangerous and should not be killed willy nilly. Many strains of bacteria are in fact necessary for our health. The modern world has developed an unhealthy phobia against germs of all kinds.
Remember the Human Microbiome? A large part of it resides in our gastro-intestinal tracts. So much so that the Gut Microbiome is often referred to as our second genome. Our guts are home to several pounds of microbes responsible for keeping our immune systems strong so we can have healthy bodies and minds.
In addition to the gut microbiome, the human body also is home to other important microbiomes: On our skin; in our mouths, urogenital tracts, nasal cavities.
In fact, bacteria and other micro-organisms living in and on the human body outnumber our human cells by 10 to 1! And this is a good thing. Without these microbes, our health – perhaps our very existence – would be in serious jeopardy.
The Hygiene Hypothesis states that overly sanitizing our skins and environments is actually doing much harm and is responsible for the steep rise in auto-immune diseases, asthma, eczema and other health problems.
Human health should now “be thought of as a collective property of the human-associated microbiota” ….
Such a paradigm shift comes not a moment too soon, because as a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota with a multifronted war on bacteria and a diet notably detrimental to its well-being. Researchers now speak of an impoverished “Westernized microbiome” and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of “restoration ecology” — not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right here at home, in the human gut. (Pollan, 2013)
My recommendation is to be alarmed rather than reassured by products that promise to kill 99.9% of germs. Using these products will deprive you of many microbes necessary for your health – and the health of our planet too.
THE RIGHT WAY TO WASH YOUR HANDS
In 2005 an advisory panel told the Federal Drug Administration there was no evidence that antibacterial soaps work better than regular soap and water. (Layton, 2010)
Remember washing your hands with regular soap and warm water before antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers hit the market? Turns out using regular soap and water is actually the best way to protect your health and prevent the spread of infections and communicable illnesses. In case you’ve forgotten how to do it:
Wet your hands with warm water.
Lather up with regular soap.
Rub soapy hands together for at least 15 seconds before rinsing.
Dry hands before turning off the faucet.
Use a paper towel to turn off the water to avoid germs on the faucet.
CHECK FOR TRICLOSAN IN OTHER PRODUCTS
You might also want to check for triclosan in the ingredients list of your other personal care and household cleaning products. It’s bad stuff.
Some of the many products containing triclosan:
THE EWG’S SKIN DEEP WEBSITE AND MOBILE APP
The Environmental Working Group has collected safety data on over 69,000 products. You can either go to their SKIN DEEP website or use their mobile app.
Why the EWG established the SKIN DEEP project:
The American government doesn’t require health studies or pre-market testing of the chemicals in personal care products, even though just about everyone is exposed to them. Through Skin Deep, we put the power of information in consumers’ hands. When you know what’s in the products you bring into your home and how those chemicals may affect your health and the environment, you can make informed purchasing decisions — and help transform the marketplace. At the same time, we advocate responsible corporate and governmental policies to protect the most vulnerable among us.
What SKIN DEEP says about triclosan and triclocarban on their website:
Triclosan & Triclocarban: Antimicrobial pesticides in liquid soap (triclosan) or soap bars (triclocarban), very toxic to the aquatic environment. Often found as contaminants in people due to widespread use of antimicrobial cleaning products. Triclosan disrupts thyroid function and reproductive hormones. American Medical Association and the American Academy of Microbiology say that soap and water serves just as well to prevent spread of infections and reduce bacteria on the skin. Overuse may promote the development of bacterial resistance.
You’ve no doubt heard about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) but perhaps not understood why many countries have already banned them and why so many people in the US want foods containing them to be labeled so we can make the choice to avoid eating them.
GMO stands for GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM. GE (GENETICALLY ENGINEERED) and GM (GENETICALLY MODIFIED) are other names for the process of genetically altering foods we eat – and more.
GENETIC ENGINEERING VS HYBRIDIZATION
I want to point out that genetic modification is not at all the same as hybridization, which has been done on crops and food animals for centuries without posing serious damage to the soil, the environment and every living thing. Hybridization is the crossbreeding of two species, either naturally in the wild or intentionally in order to gain the most valuable attributes from each specie – for example, the mating of a male donkey and a female horse produces a mule, several different types of roses are deliberately crossbred to produce hybrid tea roses, the loganberry is a cross between the raspberry and blackberry. Hybridization IS NOT genetic engineering.
In contrast, genetic modification is the process of forcing genes from one species into another entirely unrelated species. Genetic engineering forcefully breaches the naturally occurring barriers between species.
SOME EXAMPLES OF GMOS
(Information from GMO-Awareness.com, 2011-2014):
Corn + DNA from soil bacteria that is naturally immune to RoundUp herbicide + e. coli bacteria + soil bacteria that causes tumors in plants (allowing the plant’s cell walls to be breached) = RoundUp Ready Corn – one of several RoundUp Ready crops engineered by Monsanto. (See A Note About Monsanto below.)
Strawberries and tomatoes injected with fish genes to protect the fruit from freezing
Goats injected with spider genes to produce milk with proteins stronger than Kevlar for use in industrial products
Salmon genetically engineered with a growth hormone that allows them to keep growing beyond their normal size
Dairy cows injected with the GE hormone rBGH (also known as rBST) to increase their milk production
Rice injected with human genes to produce pharmaceuticals
A NOTE ABOUT MONSANTO: GMO’s are the latest in this giant international company’s long list of dubious contributions to the world. Monsanto is also responsible for Agent Orange, PCBs, DDT, Dioxin, Aspartame, Saccharin, rBGH, rBST and Terminator Seeds that grow for only a single season, forcing farmers to buy Monsanto’s GE seeds every year instead of saving seeds from the prior harvest as they did for centuries. In 1997 Monsanto re-branded itself from a “chemical” company to a “bio-agricultural” company. (GMO-Awareness.com, 2011-2014)
The genes injected into GMOs can be derived from bacteria, viruses, insects, humans or other animals so GMOs are also known as transgenic organisms. Since genes operate in complex ways that are still not fully understood, genetic engineering often produces unintended and damaging consequences. (GMO-Awareness.com, 2011-2014)
THE BIG SIX PROMINENT MANUFACTURERS OF GMOS & PESTICIDES
Monsanto, the international genetic engineering giant
Pioneer Hi-Bred International (a DuPont subsidiary
Dow Agrosciences (a subsidiary of Dow Chemical)
BASF (primarily a chemical company but rapidly expanding into biotechnology
Bayer Cropscience (a subsidiary of Bayer)
Countries that grow genetically modified crops, listed by number of acres:
Countries requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods:
According to the USDA’s report for 2013, the percentages of these crops grown in the US which have been genetically modified are:
Quest brand tobacco – 100%
Soybeans – 93%
Corn – 90%
Cotton – 90%
Sugar Beets – 90%
Hawaiian papaya – more than 50%
In addition, the FDA has recently given its approval for these GMO crops:
Alfalfa – widely fed to meat and milk producing animals
Kentucky Bluegrass – even more widely fed to meat and milk producing animals. Kentucky Bluegrass is already an invasive grass in its natural state and will spread even more uncontrollably with genetically engineered resistance to RoundUp (Monsanto’s herbicide).
As of 2014, the FDA is still undecided about whether to grant approval for farmed salmon containing a growth hormone.
And here’s something that should give you pause: The Environmental Protection Agency (FDA) now regulates the RoundUp Ready corn described above (90% of all corn grown in the US) as an insecticide because it has been engineered to produce its own insect killing chemical as it grows!
So when enjoying your buttered popcorn while watching a movie, remember you’re consuming an insecticide — probably coated with a butter-flavored GMO product.
GMO crops spread with a ripple effect, a tsunami really, all through the processed foods we eat — infant formula, breads and other baked goods, tofu, catsup, tomato sauce. GM feed is given to animals who produce milk, meat and eggs — so you’re eating GMOs in your steaks, burgers, fries (potatoes and the oil they’re cooked in), ice cream, cheese, yogurt, mayonnaise, and veggie burgers (whey protein). Even non-food items often contain GMO ingredients: soaps, detergents, cosmetics, shampoo and bubble bath – products whose ingredients get absorbed through the skin, our largest organ.
In 2005, the Grocery Manufacturers of America estimated that 75% of all processed foods in the US contain at least one genetically modified ingredient. The percentage is surely higher now, nine years later.
If you’ve been following any part of the battle in the US to get mandatory GMO labels put on foods and food products containing genetically modified organisms, you already begin to grasp the political complexity of the problem. Around the world, 64 countries already enforce the consumers’ “right to know” laws for genetically modified foods. Some have gone so far as to ban the sale of GMO foods in their borders.
So far, the Food and Drug Administration has resisted GMO labeling in the US. Monsanto and other large companies in the food industry – including the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) – have poured huge sums into influencing the FDA not to label GMO-containing products and into advertising to defeat movements in several states endeavoring to establish mandatory GMO labeling within their borders.
BOYCOTT COCA COLA PRODUCTS TO LET THE COMPANY KNOW YOU DISAPPROVE ITS ONGOING FUNDING TO BLOCK GE LABELING
An email today (5/29/2014) jointly from The Center for Food Safety and The Food Revolution Network asks people to boycott all Coca Cola products:
“In 2013, Coca-Cola secretly funneled more than $1.5 million dollars through the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) in order to block an initiative that would have required the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). …. Now GMO labeling initiatives are developing in 29 states including Oregon and Vermont. We think it’s time for the company to stop fighting our right to know what’s in our food.
“We’re engaging hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to spread the word about Coca-Cola’s secret campaign contributions, and encouraging people to boycott the brands they market as healthier alternatives until they change their ways.”
Coke and the company’s other sodas are made with high fructose corn syrup and sugar. Both sweeteners are derived mostly from GE crops: corn and sugar beets. Even soda consumers trying to cut calories are getting a dose of GMOs: Aspartame, the most widely used artificial sweetener, is created from genetically modified bacteria.
In addition to its soft drinks, Coca Cola produces many drink brands marketed as “healthier alternatives” – Honest Tea, Zico Coconut Water, Odwalla, Vitamin Water, Simply Orange, Fruitopia, Minute Maid, Hi-C, Peace Tea, Naked Juice and Powerade.
You can add your name to the boycott petition here. (Food Revolution Network & Center for Food Safety, 2014)
SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH GMOS?
Genetic engineering involves combining two entirely unrelated species in a lab – species that could never cross breed in nature and thus require complex techniques to forcefully combine their genes into a single organism.
The mega biotech industry claims the FDA has “thoroughly evaluated” GM foods and found them to be safe. THIS CLAIM IS UNTRUE.
In the last 20 years NO studies have been performed in the US to test whether GMO products are safe for human consumption. NO American scientist has determined how much of the toxic herbicides and pesticides that have been genetically engineered into crops remains inside the plants when they’re eventually consumed as food. No long-term testing has been conducted to assess the impacts of these toxic substances on human health, animal health, soil health or the health of the environment as a whole. (GMO-Awareness.com, 2011-2014)
However, research conducted by scientists not on the payroll of the bio-tech companies into the safety of GMO food indicates that GE foods are not fit for consumption.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has reported that animal studies have detected serious health risks associated with GE food. These include: infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation and changes in the GI system and other major organs. The AAEM advised physicians to tell their patients to avoid genetically engineered foods.
About 20 years ago, the FDA allowed GMOs into our food supply without requiring any labeling. Prior to their decision, the FDA’s own scientists had repeatedly warned that GE foods can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects including allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems. These scientists strongly urged long-term safety studies. They were ignored.
In the intervening 20 years, independent scientific research has discovered many deleterious effects from genetically modified foods:
Thousandsof sheep, buffalo, and goats in India diedafter grazing on Bt cotton plants
Mice eating GM corn for the long term hadfewer and smaller babies
More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soydied within three weeks, and were also smaller
Testiclecells of mice and rats on a GM soy diet underwent significant changes
By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters became infertile
Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed negative immune system responses and signs of toxicity
Cooked GM soy contains as much as seven timesthe amount of aknown soy allergen as non-GMO soy
Soon after GM soy was introduced in the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50%
The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showedexcessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.
Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc.
Unlike the FDA-required safety evaluations for new pharmaceuticals, no human clinical trials of genetically engineered foods have ever been required.
Independent studies have uncovered a host of toxic effects in humans, plants and soil exposed to glyphosphate – the principal ingredients in Monsanto’s widely-used herbicide RoundUp and the chemical the majority of GMO crops have been genetically engineered to withstand. See GMO-Awareness.com: GMO Risks for more information.
While the GMO industry argues that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp, is minimally toxic to humans and other mammals, the findings of a rigorous study suggest otherwise. Glyphosate residues are found in the principal foods in our Western diet – sugar, corn, soy and wheat. These crops are almost entirely grown from GMO seeds and sprayed with Monsanto’s herbicide RoundUp. From the published abstract of the study: (Samsel & Seneff, 2013)
“… glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins. Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body. … Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. We explain the documented effects of glyphosate and its ability to induce disease, and we show that glyphosate is the “textbook example” of exogenous semiotic entropy: the disruption of homeostasis by environmental toxins.”
If you want to know more about the research, watch this informative, easy to understand interview with one of the study’s principal investigators, Stephanie Seneff, PhD, of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The video is called The Health Dangers of Roundup (glyphosate) Herbicide. (Canty, 2013)
A major finding of this research is that glyphosate has profound negative effects on the bacteria making up our gut microbiome – where most of our immune system lives. Glyphosate destroys the beneficial bacteria in our guts, causing an enormous range of diseases.
I highly recommend finding an hour to watch this interview. It will change your understanding of how what you eat affects pretty much everything going on in your body.
The genetic engineering industry has claimed for 20 years that GMOs are the only hope for feeding the ever-increasing population worldwide. They claim that GMOs “increase yield, reduce the need for pesticides, produce drought-fighting plants and contain more nutrients”. Yet they have been unable to produce any convincing evidence that these claims are true … and considerable evidence that they are far from true.
DANGEROUS GMO FEED FOR PIGS – AND THE REST OF US
Most pigs in the US are fed a mixture of genetically engineered soy and corn. Overcoming the many obstacles the industry puts in the way of doing any research on GE foods, a large, high quality research study has demonstrated that this diet produces severe inflammation in the pigs’ stomachs. The pigs’ diet that was tested simulated the diet most Americans consume daily – a variety of genetically engineered foods.
The findings: Compared with pigs fed a non-GMO diet, sows eating a typical diet of GE soy and corn were more than twice as likely to have severe stomach inflammation and male pigs were more than four times as likely to develop severe stomach inflammation.
The independent study was conducted by a respected Australian scientist, Dr Judy Carman. Dr Carman is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Flinders University in South Australia and director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, where she investigates outbreaks of disease. She also does research on nutritional biochemistry in metabolic regulation in relation to cancer.
The genetic engineering industry goes to enormous lengths to prevent any independent research that might lead to negative information about its products. First off, it has stringent patent laws in place to prevent researchers from obtaining any GMO seeds to study.
“Yes, there are a number of problems for anyone doing research,” Dr Carman notes.“They usually center around getting the money to be able to do the research… But you also need to get the materials to test. In this case, it’s the seeds from the genetically modified (GM) plants… But it’s very difficult to get GM seeds to test.
“If a farmer wants to buy seeds to plant in the field, the farmer has to sign a technology user agreement, which means [he]… is not allowed to do any research on those seeds, and is not allowed to give them to anyone else to do research on either.
“You basically have to find some way around that that’s legal – and we did, but it took us quite some time. Otherwise, you need to go to the industry to ask, ‘Pretty please, can we have some seeds?’ We did that as well. The conditions placed upon us getting those seeds were such that we couldn’t legitimately try and get the seeds from most companies.”
Funding is a major barrier to such research. Most of the agricultural universities – the ones that would conduct these studies – obtain their funding from the very companies that make the seeds so the universities aren’t willing to jeopardize their lucrative relationship with the industry. In Dr Carman’s case, her team was fortunate enough to obtain the funding for its research from the government of Western Australia.
Then there are the personal abuse and attempts at professional discrediting these mega-companies direct at anyone who does manage to obtain seed samples and study them. Many independent scientists have ended up losing their entire careers when they’ve revealed negative findings.
Dr Carman prepared herself for these attacks by electing to forgo receiving any salary for her work. She was also fortunate in that her team was able to obtain funding for their research from the West Australia government. Nonetheless, she has survived six separate attempts to have her removed from her various university positions over the last six years.
MONSANTO-US GOVERNMENT OVERLAP
Much has been written about Monsanto’s control over regulating bodies in the US government. The biotech-agrobusiness mega-giant virtually has in its pocket Congress, the White House, key appointments to the USDA and the FDA, and even a Supreme Court Justices – Clarence Thomas worked as an attorney for Monsanto for four years before being appointed to the Court. This arrangement aids the passage of Monsanto-friendly legislation and protects the company’s GE products from being adequately regulated by the USDA or FDA.
“FDA U. S. Food and Drug Administration: Promoting and Protecting Your Health
“FDA’s Role in Regulating Safety of GE Foods
“Using a science-based approach, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates foods and ingredients made from genetically engineered plants to help ensure that they are safe to eat.
“Since people have been modifying plants for thousands of years through breeding and selection, FDA uses the term “genetically engineered,” or “GE,” to distinguish plants that have been modified using modern biotechnology from those modified through traditional breeding.
“FDA regulates food from GE crops in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is responsible for protecting agriculture from pests and disease, including making sure that all new GE plant varieties pose no pest risk to other plants. EPA regulates pesticides, including those bioengineered into food crops, to make sure that pesticides are safe for human and animal consumption and do not pose unreasonable risks of harm to human health or the environment.” ( FDA, 2014)
THE BOTTOM LINE FOR YOUR OWN HEALTH
Assume foods made with sugar from sugar beets, soy, corn, or any of their derivatives contain GMO ingredients – unless they are certified as organic or are labeled as non-GMO.
I’ve written about GMOs elsewhere on this site. See also:
Much of the information in this post is derived from a useful website called GMO-Awareness.com. I urge you to check out that site – it’s chock full of interesting and useful information about the genetic engineering of our food supply that is adversely affecting our health and the health of the planet with serious long-term consequences.
Samsel, A. & Seneff, S. (2013). Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases. Entropy – special issue Biosemiotic Entropy: Disorder, Disease, and Mortality, 15:4, 1416-1463. See: http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416
Here’s an edifying and amusing short video titled The Natural Effect by onlyorganic.org. It’s done as an interview with “The False Advertising Industry” and explains clearly what’s in foods appealingly advertised as “Natural”. In fact, the “Natural” – even “All Natural” and “100% Natural” – labels are largely meaningless. (Simon, 2013)
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows foods to be labeled “Natural” when they certainly are not. According to the FDA website:
“From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances” (FDA, 2012)
BTW, the FDA website is entitled “U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Protecting and Promoting Your Health”.
In fact, only the USDA Organic Seal guarantees your food contains no Genetically Modified or Engineered Organisms, no toxic pesticides, and no growth hormones or antibiotics.
We’re all aware that the intent of manufacturers and advertisers is to sell products. We also know they present products in ways that deceive and manipulated us to buy them. This video shows how it’s done when the goal is to appeal to our desire to eat healthy food.
Reading the ingredients list on Tostitos Hint of Lime All Natural, you may think, “Yes, those ingredients certainly seem to be all natural.” But keep in mind that 95% of sugar beets, 94% of soybeans, 90% of canola grown and 88% of field corn grown in the US are genetically modified so contribute to serious inflammation in the body along with destroying the soil’s microbiome. If Tostitos were using organic foods to make this product, you can be sure they’d note that prominently on the label.