Showing posts with label Monsanto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Monsanto. Show all posts

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Large Pig Study Reveals Significant Inflammatory Response to Genetically Engineered Foods

Top: Lesser cornstalk borer larvae extensively...
Top: Lesser cornstalk borer larvae extensively damaged the leaves of this unprotected peanut plant. (Image Number K8664-2)-Photo by Herb Pilcher. Bottom: After only a few bites of peanut leaves of this genetically engineered plant (containing the genes of the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacteria), this lesser cornstalk borer larva crawled off the leaf and died. (Image Number K8664-1)-Photo by Herb Pilcher. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Click HERE to watch the full interview! 

By Dr. Mercola
If you're like me, you've probably been asked by many of your friends and relatives why you believe genetically engineered (GE) foods are unsafe. Dr. Judy Carman, one of the few researchers in the world who has carefully and independently evaluated this question, can help you provide answers to your friends and family.
Dr. Carman has degrees in both epidemiology and medicine, specifically in the field of nutritional biochemistry in metabolic regulation in relation to cancer, and her research into GE foods provides compelling evidence for avoiding such foods if you value your health, and want to protect the health of your children as they grow older.
Her background involves both cancer research, and work as a senior epidemiologist in Australian government, investigating outbreaks of disease. She's currently an adjunct associate professor at Flinders University in South Australia, as well as the director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research (IHER).

Independent GMO Researchers Face Many Challenging Hurdles

As one of the few researchers looking into the effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Dr. Carman is no stranger to the many challenges that this kind of research entails. The biotechnology industry has devised a rather clever and sophisticated control system that largely prevents independent research of their products.
"Yes, there are a number of problems for anyone doing research," she 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."
Besides the hurdle of obtaining the GE seeds in question, protected as they are by rigid patent laws, researchers who venture into GMO research must also be prepared to survive the personal and professional discrediting and abuse that comes with the territory.
Truly, anyone who does this kind of research must be close to sainthood, as those who reveal negative findings are figuratively speaking "tarred and feathered" for their efforts. Most must endure being personally attacked and vilified, and many have had their entire career stripped from them in the process.
In the last six years, Dr. Carman has survived six different attempts to have her removed from her various university positions, for example. As she notes later in this interview, she was largely "protected" by the fact that she knew this going into the research, and chose to stop receiving a salary and getting paid for her work.
Funding is another major barrier, of course. Because most of the agricultural universities—the ones that would conduct these studies—obtain their funding from the very companies that make the seeds, they're not interested in research that might jeopardize this lucrative relationship with the industry. In Dr. Carman's case, her team was fortunate enough to obtain the funding for their research from the government of Western Australia.

Why Industry Safety Assessments Rarely Reveal the Truth

Most pigs raised in American piggeries are fed a GE diet these days; typically, a mixture of GE soy and corn. Howard Vlieger, who is the second co-author of the study, had noticed differences in pigs fed a GE diet compared to those given non-GE feed, and he was one of the primary instigators of the investigation. Dr. Carman explains what got them started:
"The two main things he was seeing was an increase in intestinal problems in pigs fed GM feed, particularly an increase in stomach inflammation. He was also seeing things such as a thinning of intestinal walls, and hemorrhagic bowel disease, where a pig can... bleed out from its bowel within 15 or so minutes.
The other thing he was seeing was a reduced ability to conceive in the sows (female pigs) and higher rates of miscarriage in female pigs fed GM crops. [In] communities in the United States that still use boars to inseminate their sows... he was also seeing a reduction in the number of piglets born."
They decided to take a proper look at these phenomena. Dr. Carman has been an outspoken critic of the protocols used by the genetically modified food industry for their safety assessments, so she was careful about the design of her own study. Generally, industry safety protocols fall into two main camps:
  1. What the industry calls a "safety assessment" is really nothing more than an animal production study, Dr. Carman notes. Using significant numbers of animals, they feed some the GE crop, and another group gets non-GE feed.
  2. But the outcomes industry researchers look for are typically irrelevant to human health. These studies are basically done to reassure primary livestock producers that if you feed this GM feed to your animals, they will live long enough to get to market and produce a good yield.
  3. The second type of studies done are animal studies to determine if a product is going to harm human health. These are quite rare within the GE industry. Here, a very small number of animals are typically used, who are then given GE feed. Sometimes, however, they may not even feed the animals with the GE crop in question. Instead, they might just use the "active ingredient" or in this case the particular plant protein that has been inserted into the plant.
  4. For example, a small number of animals might receive a GE protein, and the effects of a singular dose are then noted over the course of seven to 14 days. If the animal (usually a rat) doesn't die, all is presumed to be well. Crazy as it seems, this is sometimes the main safety assessment performed by the industry. Even more remarkable, sometimes, the protein tested doesn't even come from the actual GE plant, but rather from the bacteria they genetically engineer to produce what they hope is the same protein. As Dr. Carman notes, this kind of testing is not going to reveal the long-term health outcomes associated with eating the GE food over the course of years, or an entire lifetime.

In Search of Statistical Significance

Dr. Carman's team decided to use pigs instead of rats. Adverse effects have already been observed in pigs raised on GE feed, and the digestive organs in pigs are very similar to those in humans. They also decided to feed them long enough for adverse effects to actually be found.  As soon as the piglets were weaned, they were randomly assigned to receive either GE or non-GE feed, and they were fed the same feed for their entire commercial lifespan, which is about five months.
At that point, the now fully mature (and very large) animals were slaughtered according to industry standards. All personnel involved in the study were blinded, including the veterinarians who performed the autopsies at the end of the study, meaning no one knew beforehand which animals were receiving which feed. Two years ago, the first-ever lifetime animal feeding studyinvolving GE corn revealed major health problems, including massive mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and early death. That study, led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, also attempted to separate out the effects of glyphosate.
To do so, some rats were given GE corn that had not been sprayed with glyphosate, while others were given conventional GE corn that had been sprayed. Yet another group received glyphosate in water, but no GE feed. All suffered serious health consequences, although the combination of glyphosate and GE corn was the worst.
"In my view, he needed to have more animals to be able to find statistical significance," Dr. Carman says. "That's what we did in the pig study. We made sure that we had large numbers of pigs, so that if there was anything biologically significant happening, we would pick it up in the statistics. We had 168 just-weaned pigs. We split them into two groups: one fed GM feed and the other fed non-GM feed. We had 84 pigs per group. That made quite a lot of difference. We were able to do some more elaborate statistics and actually hunt down some hypotheses within the statistics that we used." 

Pig Study Reveals Significant Stomach Inflammation

The sad reality though is that pigs are not just fed one GE crop at a time. As mentioned earlier, they're fed combinations of GE crops, typically GE soy and corn. Dr. Carman used Roundup-ready soy – designed to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup, so that the herbicide will only kill surrounding weeds—along with a couple of different GE corn varieties. "We were in effect feeding three GM genes and their protein products to these pigs at the same time," she explains.
This was also done in order to simulate the diet of a typical American who, just like pigs raised in a conventional piggery, will eat a variety of different GE corn crops, not just one specific one at a time.Besides the fact that there are different kinds of GE crops, such as Roundup Ready and Bt, more than 37 percent of the GE crops grown in the US are "stacked" gene crops, meaning they're not just resistant to Roundup, they also have one or two Bt genes in it. So eating foods that have two or more genetically modified genes in it is pretty standard in terms of what you'll find in the typical American diet.
"These pigs were eating the Roundup-ready gene, its protein product, two Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins, and the proteins from the two Bt genes, which are designed to produce insecticidal proteins. I suspect that the reason why we got such strong stomach inflammation was the interaction between the proteins that the animals were eating," she says.
At the end of the study, Dr. Carman's team discovered a significant increase in stomach inflammation in the pigs fed a GE diet. Overall, inflammation levels were 2.6 times higher in GE-fed pigs than those fed a non-GE diet, and male pigs fared worse than the females. While sows were 2.2 times more likely to have severe stomach inflammation on a GE diet, male pigs were four times more likely to get severe stomach inflammation.
"And when I say 'severe,' I'm talking about a stomach that is swollen and cherry red in color over almost the entire surface of the stomach. This is not the sort of stomach that you or I would want to have at all," she says.
To see the results for yourself, visit The uterus was also 25 percent heavier in sows fed GE feed. Both of these findings were biologically and statistically significant. In their paper, Dr. Carman discuss the disease states this kind of uterine enlargement might represent.
"The two main things that we were looking at here and the two main things that Howard Vlieger flagged as a problem—as things that he was seeing in livestock, particularly in pigs—were both things we found statistical significance for: (1) digestive health problems, particularly inflammation in the stomach, and also (2) reproductive issues. In this case, we've found this increased uterus weight," she says.  

Can We Put the Genie Back in the Bottle?

I sincerely believe that if you expose people to genetically engineered foods for a long enough time, we're going to see dramatic increases in disease. My own efforts are all geared toward reducing the number of people affected. And my recommendation is clear: avoid GE foods, and for as long as such foods are not required to be labeled, avoid them by purchasing organic foods. Without labeling, that's the only real workaround at your disposal.
As noted by Dr. Carman, the chemical technology industry is NOT doing a good enough job ensuring safety before putting their genetically altered products into the food system. Unfortunately, hundreds of millions have already been exposed. And without knowing it, they've fed GE foods of highly questionable safety to their children, day in and day out, perhaps for years already.
Have GE crops contributed to the increased chronic disease burden in the US, especially in children? While the industry says "no way," I believe the evidence suggests otherwise. We have to remember that humans live around 80 years, and this gigantic GE food experiment only began in earnest less than 20 years old ago—even less if you start counting from when GMOs became really prevalent in processed foods. Hence, we may be decades away from tabulating the human casualties. This is why long-term safety studies on animals are so critical, as rats and pigs have far shorter lifespans than humans.

Silencing Scientific Dissent

Dr. Carman's research, as well as Seralini's, really suggests we need to exercise the precautionary principle and avoid these foods. Needless to say, however, the chemical technology companies that created these crops are in the business of protecting and expanding business, not voluntarily shutting themselves down, and they've proven they're willing to go to great lengths to protect profits. Ruining a researcher's reputation and livelihood is nothing in the big scheme of things to a multinational giant like Monsanto.
The Corbett Report above discusses some of the less-than-honorable methods used by industry to silence dissenters—especially scientists whose research doesn't jibe with preconceived industry decisions. The list of victims—researchers who published research detrimental to the industry's bottom line—is long, and growing.
As mentioned earlier, the findings from Séralini's lifetime feeding study, which was published in Elsevier's peer-reviewed journalFood and Chemical Toxicology, were an absolute bombshell. The study was, and still is, among the best evidence of the toxic effects of GE foods. Of utmost importance, Séralini's study showed that the major onslaught of diseases really set in during the 13th month of the experiment, strongly suggesting that industry-funded studies have simply been too short for problems to be detected. Consider this: if 24 months of a rat's life equates to about 80 years of your child's, the 13-month mark would be somewhere in your child's early to mid-40s.
The industry immediately went on the offensive. Then, in what appears to have been a last ditch effort to get rid of this stubbornly incriminating study, the publisher (Elsevier) simply retracted it, for no other reason than its findings were deemed to beinconclusive. The thing is, inconclusiveness of findings is not a valid ground for retraction1... Elsevier's actions caused a major backlash, and has undoubtedly opened more than a few eyes to the reality of censorship of "unwanted" research. Even the National Institutes for Health (NIH) scolded Elsevier in an editorial2 titled: "Inconclusive Findings: Now You See Them, Now You Don't!"

Harassment, Par for the Course

Another poster child for researchers harassed to their wits' end is Tyrone Hayes,3 whose Atrazine research turned his life into a paranoid nightmare. Rachael Aviv told his story in a February 10 article in The New Yorker.4 In the late 1990s, Hayes conducted experiments on the herbicide for its maker, Syngenta. As reported by Aviv:
"...when Hayes discovered that Atrazine might impede the sexual development of frogs, his dealings with Syngenta became strained, and, in November, 2000, he ended his relationship with the company. Hayes continued studying Atrazine on his own, and soon he became convinced that Syngenta representatives were following him to conferences around the world. He worried that the company was orchestrating a campaign to destroy his reputation."
Two years ago, his work on Atrazine provided the scientific basis for two class-action lawsuits brought against Syngenta by 23 US municipalities, accusing the chemical technology company of contaminating drinking water and "concealing Atrazine's true dangerous nature." Documents unearthed during these legal proceedings revealed that Hayes' suspicions were true—Syngenta had indeed been studying him as deeply as he'd been studying their toxic herbicide for the past 15 years.
What follows reaches a level of creepy that no one should ever have to endure—least of all a scientist who's working to learn and share the truth about a widely used agricultural chemical that has the power to affect all of us, and our ecology. Aviv writes:
"Syngenta's public-relations team had drafted a list of four goals. The first was 'discredit Hayes.' In a spiral-bound notebook, Syngenta's communications manager, Sherry Ford, who referred to Hayes by his initials, wrote that the company could 'prevent citing of TH data by revealing him as noncredible...' Syngenta looked for ways to 'exploit Hayes' faults/problems.' 'If TH involved in scandal, enviros will drop him,' Ford wrote. She observed that Hayes 'grew up in world (S.C.) that wouldn't accept him,' 'needs adulation,' 'doesn't sleep,' was 'scarred for life.' She wrote, 'What's motivating Hayes?—basic question.'"

Who Will You Listen to: Big Money, or a Researcher Working Next to Free?

Indeed, what could possibly motivate anyone to undertake work that is bound to alienate them from their peers, smear their personal and professional reputation, and perhaps even ruin their financial future? In Dr. Carman's case, it was a passion for the truth. And a deep concern for her fellow man—your children and unborn grandchildren included. She is a magnificent role model for all of us as she sacrificed her income and endured professional abuse for the sake of the truth.
She was savvy enough to understand the risks of such an undertaking. She knew that people in this field tend to be fired from their jobs once they publish negative findings. Publicly shamed and out of work, many of these scientists are prevented from doing any further research. To circumvent this possibility, Dr. Carman took some proactive steps to ensure that backlash wouldn't force her to discontinue her work.
"Early on, it became obvious that there was really no money. You couldn't go to a funding organization and ask for money to be able to do research in this area. I was concerned about the possibility of bad health effects occurring in people. I decided that I needed to go looking. I needed to do some proper animal studies to see if there were any adverse effects occurring in animals that might translate into people.
I realized I needed to leave paid employment to be able to do it. I'm actually unfunded in this work. At the age of 45, I had enough investment income to be able to do work on this area basically for free, and on very little money. I've been poor now for quite a few years. But it became imperative for me to look; I had a burning question about whether it was safe for people to eat GMO's or not...
Most people would probably choose to look after their families [rather] than to continue on with the research. Not only is it very hard to get money to be able to do the research, but you have to be able to survive the abuse you get afterwards, and the threats to your livelihood afterwards. In fact, a lot of people who work in this area are people who are retired from paid employment, because once again, they can't be threatened with losing their livelihood."

Follow the Money...

Ever since the introduction of genetically engineered seeds about 20 years ago, the market for these chemical-dependent crops have spawned a multibillion dollar industry. Funding for the development of more varieties of GE crop varieties has come primarily from the privately-owned pesticide industry itself.  Over the last 15 years, conflicts of interest within science have exponentially increased, and at this point, it's blatantly obvious that financial conflicts of interest play a major role when it comes to what research is done; what gets published, and what doesn't.
Virtually all of the research done on GMOs is performed by the industry itself or scientists funded by them either directly or indirectly through grants to the agricultural universities. The results, therefore, are predictable. Few are those who have both the right qualifications and the willingness to "bear the cross," as it were, that seems to come standard when you're investigating GMOs as an independent researcher.
My sincere gratitude goes to Dr. Carman for her personal sacrifices to get this all-important work done. Without such research, we'd remain clueless as to what these foods might be doing to us in the long term. With it, we can make far more educated guesses about the real ramifications of this massive, unannounced human experiment, and decide for ourselves if we really want to partake in it or not. My recommendation? Avoid it, as best as you can.

Vote with Your Pocketbook, Every Day

The food companies on the left of this graphic spent tens of millions of dollars in the last two labeling campaigns—in California and Washington State–to prevent you from knowing what’s in your food. You can even the score by switching to the brands on the right; all of whom stood behind the I-522 Right to Know campaign. Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference. By boycotting GMA member Traitor Brands, you can help level the playing field, and help take back control of our food supply.
I-522 poster
I encourage you to continue educating yourself about genetically engineered foods, and to share what you’ve learned with family and friends. Remember, unless a food is certified organic, you can assume it contains GMO ingredients if it contains sugar from sugar beets, soy, or corn, or any of their derivatives.
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Vermont Passes GMO Labeling Bill

Soybeans in a plantation
Soybeans in a plantation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Dr. Mercola
In a recent article titled "Monsanto GM Soy is Scarier than You Think," Mother Jones1 went into some of the details surrounding our genetically engineered (GE) food supply.
Soybeans are the second-largest food crop grown in the US, and more than 90 percent of it is genetically engineered. Some have been modified to withstand the herbicide Roundup (i.e. Roundup-Ready soy), while other varieties have been designed to produce its own pesticide, courtesy of the Bt gene (so-called Bt soy).
As noted in the featured article, organic soy production is miniscule, accounting for less than one percent of the total acreage devoted to soy in the US. The rest is conventionally grown non-GE soy.
Even if you don't buy soy products such as tofu or soy milk, you're undoubtedly consuming plenty of soy if you're eating any processed foods and/or meats from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). A large portion of the GE soy grown actually ends up in your meat, as soy is a staple of conventional livestock feed. Much of the rest ends up as vegetable oil.
According to the US Soy Board, soybean oil accounts for more than 60 percent of all the vegetable oil consumed in the US—most of which is used in processed foods and fast food preparation. As noted in the featured article:2
"Given soy's centrality to our food and agriculture systems, the findings of a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Food Chemistry3 are worth pondering.
The authors found that Monsanto's ubiquitous Roundup Ready soybeans... contain more herbicide residues than their non-GMO counterparts. The team also found that the GM beans are nutritionally inferior."

New Research Questions Quality and Safety of GE Soybeans

Three varieties of Iowa-grown soybeans were investigated in this study:4
  1. Roundup Ready soybeans
  2. Non-GE, conventional soybeans grown using Roundup herbicide
  3. Organic soybeans, grown without agricultural chemicals
All of the Roundup Ready soybean samples were found to contain residues of glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Roundup, along with its amino acid metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA).
On average, GE soy contained 11.9 parts per million (ppm) of glyphosate. The highest residue level found was 20.1 ppm. Meanwhile, no residues of either kind were found in the conventional non-GE and organic varieties.
In terms of nutrition, organic soybeans contained slightly higher levels of protein and lower levels of omega-6, compared to both conventionally-grown non-GE and GE soy. Similar results were found in a 2012 nutritional analysis of GE corn, which was found to contain 13 ppm of glyphosate, compared to zero in non-GMO corn.
It may be worth noting that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actually raised the allowable levels of glyphosate56 in oilseed crops such as soy, from 20 ppm to 40 ppm just last summer. It also raised the levels of permissible glyphosate contamination in other foods—many of which were raised to 15-25 times previous levels!

Why Glyphosate Contamination Matters

Nearly one BILLION pounds of Roundup are used each year for conventional crop production around the globe, but genetically engineered (GE) crops see some of the heaviest use. This is especially true for Roundup Ready crops, which are designed to withstand otherwise lethal doses of this chemical.
The issue of glyphosate contamination is well worth considering if you value your health. Recent research suggests glyphosate may in fact be an instrumental driver of many chronic diseases, and in my view, avoiding glyphosate is a major reason for buying organic, in and of itself.
Labeling GMOs could help you select products that are less likely to have heavy contamination, although you'd also avoid many other hazardous chemicals used in conventional farming by opting for products labeled 100% organic.
It's important to understand that these glyphosate residues CANNOT be washed off, as the chemical is actively integrated into every cell in the plant. Dr. Don Huber, who is one of the most prominent scientific experts in plant toxicology, firmly believes glyphosate is FAR more toxic and dangerous than DDT. A number of other studies have raised serious questions about the safety of glyphosate, including but not limited to the following:
  • Research published in the International Journal of Toxicology7 in January revealed that glyphosate-based formulations like Roundup pose a threat to human health through cytotoxicity and oxidative effects. Such formulations were also found to be lethal to human liver cells
  • A 2012 study8 found that 3 ppm of Roundup in water induced morphological changes in frogs
  • A German study9 on poultry, published in 2013, showed that glyphosate tends to be more harmful to beneficial gut bacteria like Lactobacillus, while pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella entritidi tend to be largely resistant to the chemical. Subsequently, the microbial balance tends to shift toward pathogenic overgrowth when exposed to glyphosate, and can predispose the animal to botulism

Victory! Vermont Passes First Effective GMO-Labeling Bill

On April 16, 2014, the Vermont Senate passed the first no-strings-attached GMO labeling bill (H.112) by an overwhelming margin—28-2. The bill sailed through a House/Senate conference committee and was approved by the House of Representatives on April 23. 

Governor Shumlin has already indicated he will be signing the bill into law—which will require any genetically engineered food sold in Vermont to be labeled by July 1, 2016.10 Food served in restaurants, alcohol, meat, and dairy products would be exempt from labeling however. Foods containing GMO ingredients would also not be allowed to be labeled "natural."
"I am proud of Vermont for being the first state in the nation to ensure that Vermonters will know what is in their food,"Governor Shumlin said in a statement. "The Legislature has spoken loud and clear through its passage of this bill. I wholeheartedly agree with them and look forward to signing this bill into law."
This is truly an historical moment that will likely reverberate across the US in coming years. As noted by Ronnie Cummins in a recent Huffington Post article:11
"Strictly speaking, Vermont's H.112 applies only to Vermont. But it will have the same impact on the marketplace as a federal law. Because national food and beverage companies and supermarkets will not likely risk the ire of their customers by admitting that many of the foods and brands they are selling in Vermont are genetically engineered, and deceptively labeled as 'natural' or 'all natural' while simultaneously trying to conceal this fact in the other 49 states and North American markets. As a seed executive for Monsanto admitted 20 years ago, 'If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.'"
The Burlington Free Press12 recently ran an excellent article on how the Vermont GMO labeling bill was won. I would highly encourage you to read it in its entirety, to get a real-world view of just how effective a grassroots campaign can be. It really boils down to letting your representatives know what you want. Despite the threat of a lawsuit from food manufacturers, Vermont legislators realized that their constituents were serious about wanting GMOs labeled. And they voted accordingly. Indeed, the chemical technology and food industry knows this, which is why they've fought tooth and nail to stop any and all GMO labeling efforts in the US. They've even threatened to sue any state that passes a labeling law—a threat taken seriously by Vermont.

Vermont Braces for Legal Challenge

Vermont Senate agreed to establish a state defense fund to pay for legal costs associated with defending the law against any legal challenge by the food industry, which will undoubtedly be spearheaded by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). It's unlikely that the industry would win such a legal challenge, however. As reported by the Burlington Free Press:13
"Rep. Teo Zagar, D-Barnard, told House members that... changes the Senate made will help the state prevail in court. 'This bill has been re-engineered to be more resistant to legal challenge,' he said."
As you may recall, after getting caught laundering money and narrowly defeating the Washington labeling campaign, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) sued the state of Washington, arguing they should be allowed to hide their donors—which is a direct violation of state campaign disclosure laws—in order to "speak with one voice" for the interests of the food industry.14 I subsequently named the GMA "the most evil corporation on the planet," considering the fact that it consists primarily of pesticide producers and junk food manufacturers who are hell-bent on violating some of your most basic rights, just to protect their own profits.
The GMA was initially forced to reveal their donors, but has since removed their online membership list—again hiding their members to prevent consumer awareness of who is behind this radical front group. You can find the cached members list on web.archive.org15 however. Not surprisingly, Pepsi, Coke, and Nestle—top purveyors of chronic ill health—were the top funders trying to hide their identity during the Washington State GMO labeling campaign.
There's no doubt that the GMA—at the behest of its members—is trying to end the right of consumers, and control US food policy to ensure that subsidized, genetically engineered and chemical-dependent, highly processed junk food remains the status quo. Think about it: the primary GE crops are corn, soy, and sugar beets. And the primary ingredients in processed food are high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats), and refined sugar. Add in all the pesticides and hazardous fertilizers used in this chemical agriculture system, and you have the perfect formula for death, disease, and environmental destruction. This is the business model the GMA is protecting—at your expense.

Oregon Up Next

The next major GMO labeling initiative will take place in Oregon, which will come up for vote this fall. Jackson County, OR, is also considering a proposal to ban GE crops from being grown altogether. According to an April 17 report in the Statesman Journal,16 supporters of the measure, which includes more than 100 local health professionals, have raised just over $180,000, while opponents have collected nearly $857,000. According to the article:
"Jackson County voters only get one chance to consider the issue. In September, the Oregon legislature passed a bill prohibiting local jurisdictions from regulating genetically modified crops and seeds. Jackson County's measure was exempt from the legislation because it already had qualified for the May 20 ballot...
'The out-of-state chemical companies flooding the county with money to try to defeat 15-119 are doing it for one reason: genetically engineered crops mean they sell more herbicides that end up in our county and our bodies. They sell a product that puts our health at risk and they just want to sell more of it,' said Dr. Matt Sheehan. 'Measure 15-119 makes good sense from a public health perspective and that's why I'm voting yes,' said Dr. Lanita Witt, who is also co-owner of Willow-Witt Ranch. 'Why would we want crops that put our family farmers at risk while significantly increasing the herbicides in our food, water and kids?'"

Chemical Technology Industry Counters by Trying to BAN GMO Labeling

Besides Oregon, there are no less than 66 active bills and ballot initiatives in 27 different states, aimed at getting GE foods labeled. The GMA is trying to make an end run to head off this avalanche by cooking up legislation that would effectively BAN individual states from passing their own food labeling laws. As recently reported by Reuters,17 Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo has introduced a bill that would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and nullify all state efforts to label GE foods.
"The bill, dubbed the 'Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act'... is aimed at overriding bills in about two dozen states that would require foods made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled as such," Reuters reports.18 "The bill specifically prohibits any mandatory labeling of foods developed using bioengineering... Makers of biotech crops and many large food manufacturers have fought mandatory labeling, arguing that genetically modified crops are not materially different and pose no safety risk. They say labeling would mislead consumers. Pompeo reiterated those claims, stating that GMOs are safe and 'equally healthy' and no labeling is needed." [Emphasis mine]

Ridiculous Example of How Far a Company Will Go to Silence Dissent

General Mills, one of the large junk food manufacture members of the GMA, recently showed just how far the industry is willing to go to restrict your rights to object to their disease-promoting and inaccurately advertised wares. On April 17, the New York Times19 reported that General Mills was amending its legal policies so that if you interacted with the company, you would have to forfeit your right to sue them, and agree to submit any future legal complaint to "informal negotiation" or arbitration20 General Mills spokesman Mike Siemienas told the New York Times how the new policy would work:
"For example, should an individual subscribe to one of our publications or download coupons, these terms would apply."
Although Siemienas insisted that simply "liking" their Facebook page, for example, would not prevent a consumer from suing them, Julia Duncan, director of federal programs at the American Association for Justice (a trade group for trial lawyers) noted that the terms were so vague and "so exceptionally broad that it may be possible anything you purchase from them would be held to this clause." Imagine that! The news quickly spread on online communities like Facebook and Twitter, where many expressed disgust and distrust over General Mills' new terms. Mere days later, the company announced it was retracting the controversial changes to its terms of use. In an update, the New York Times21 wrote:
"'Because our terms and intentions were widely misunderstood, causing concerns among our consumers, we've decided to change them back to what they were,' Mike Siemienas, a company spokesman, wrote in the email. 'As a result, the recently updated legal terms are being removed from our websites, and we are announcing today that we have reverted back to our prior legal terms, which contain no mention of arbitration.'"

Take a Stand Against Industry Bullying

As you can see, we really cannot afford to let our guard down for even a moment, lest our rights be stripped away from us by greedy corporations that couldn't care less about public health or consumer rights. Vermont isn't the only state that has had to muster up a backbone to face a potential legal challenge by the chemical technology industry, which really does not want the food industry to be forced to give up on GE ingredients.
Rhode Island and Florida have also introduced GMO labeling laws this year, which would open them up to such industry bullying tactics. No matter where GMO labeling laws are considered, you can be sure of one thing—GMA lobbyists will be present, spewing falsehoods and threatening lawmakers. The Organic Consumers Association has created an Action Page where you can voice your opinions with the lawmakers in your state. Please tell them to stand firm; ignore the threats from the food industry, and do what's right for the people they were elected to represent.

Vote with Your Pocketbook, Every Day

Remember, the food companies on the left of this graphic spent tens of millions of dollars in the last two labeling campaigns—in California and Washington State—to prevent you from knowing what's in your food. You can even the score by switching to the brands on the right; all of whom stood behind the I-522 Right to Know campaign. Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference.
I-522 poster
As always, I encourage you to continue educating yourself about genetically engineered foods, and to share what you've learned with family and friends. Remember, unless a food is certified organic, you can assume it contains GMO ingredients if it contains sugar from sugar beet, soy, or corn, or any of their derivatives.

If you buy processed food, opt for products bearing the USDA 100% Organic label, as organics do not permit GMOs. You can also print out and use the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology. Share it with your friends and family, and post it to your social networks. Alternatively, download their free iPhone application, available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications. For more in-depth information, I highly recommend reading the following two books, authored by Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology:
For timely updates, join the Non-GMO Project on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter. Please, do your homework. Together, we have the power to stop the chemical technology industry from destroying our food supply, the future of our children, and the earth as a whole. All we need is about five percent of American shoppers to simply stop buying genetically engineered foods, and the food industry would have to reconsider their source of ingredients—regardless of whether the products bear an actual GMO label or not.

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