Archive for the ‘Monsanto’ Tag

19 Different Studies Link GMO Foods to Organ Damage

GM ingredients are currently a frighteningly common thing to find in processed foods. As I noted in my recent blog Quick Facts About GMOs, genetically modified ingredients can currently be found in as much as 80% of all packaged foods in the United States.

We should be outraged about this! 80% is the vast majority, and the really scary and sad thing is that these products are not labeled in any way to let you know that they contain GM ingredients. There is not a law mandating that such a label must be used. And the reason is that lawmakers still continue to argue that there is not enough evidence that GMOs are harmful to humans in order to warrant that they be specifically be identified.

Now, I recently came across some information that I hope will change this. An article at organic authority.com has stated that 19 different animal-based studies suggest a link between the consumption of GMOs and organ damage. 19! Really, how many more studies could it possibly take to prove the danger of GMOs?

According to the article, a new report that was published in the March 1, 2011 issue of Environmental Sciences Europe has revealed a connection between genetically modified foods and significant risk of developing organ disruptions, particularly in the liver and kidneys.

A number of male rats that were fed Monsanto’s MON863 corn developed smaller kidneys with significant inflammation among other markers of disruptive kidney filtration and function problems. Some animals experienced changes in metabolic rates in the liver. Female genital cancers increased in the second generation, and some of the animals who were fed genetically modified organisms had altered body weights in at least one gender, which is considered to be a very strong predictor of side effects displaying in various organs related to toxins in the diet.

One of the most significant parts of this study, in my opinion, is this documentation that the rats passed illnesses on to their babies, even though their babies were not the ones to eat the GM food. This means that even if GM foods are made illegal in the near future, we have already been eating them and are already at risk of passing genetic alterations and/or illnesses on to our children.

Should we all be mad about this? YES! We should all be very, very angry about this. It is important for all of us to continue to take a stand against Monsanto, and a stand against GM crops.

For more information, please visit the following resources:

Millions Against Monsanto

Say No To GMOs

Petition against Monsanto

Quick Facts About GMOs

Did you know…

-The process of genetically modifying foods is an entirely man-created process. GMOs do not occur within nature, or by means of traditional cross breeding. “Hybrid” and GMO are not the same thing. GM bears no resemblance to traditional plant breeding methods.

– Most GM crops have been engineered to withstand higher applications of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. For example, Monsanto has engineered crops that can withstand high doses of their chemical weed killer called RoundUp. This means that an entire field can be sprayed with large amount of RoundUp and everything in it will die except for the GM crop.

-Currently there is no law dictating that food products containing GMOs must be labeled as such.

-According to the FDA, 93% of soy, 78% of cotton, and 63% of corn is currently genetically modified.

-Approximately 80% of all packaged foods in U.S. grocery stores contain GMOs.

-Only one study has ever been published on the direct effects of humans eating GM foods. It was never followed up.

-Animal studies have revealed that mice that have been fed a variety of GM foods have experienced a range of health ailments, ranging from stomach ulcerations to allergic reactions to dysfunctional immune systems.

-Advocates of GMOs claim that they are just as safe to eat as “normal” crops. This is an unfounded statement, because no long term tests have been conducted to study the effects of GMO ingestion. Thousands of people could be ill and dying- it’s just not being studied or documented.

-In 2001, a killer mouse virus was accidentally created during a genetic engineering experiment. Genetic engineering can result in the creation of dangerous new viruses and bacteria.

-Genetic engineering is an imprecise practice. It is impossible to accurately guide the insertion of a new gene. This can lead to unpredictable results.

-Presently, certified organic foods are the only ones that you can rest assured are not GM foods. However, even organic foods can be contaminated by pollen drift from GM crops. This is why we must continue the fight against the production and use of GM crops!

GMO Foods Are On the Rise

Yesterday evening I read a statistic that frightened me. I was reading a publication called Taste for Life, which stated that as much as 93% of all soy that is produced in the United States has been genetically engineered. 93%. That is so close to 100% that I find it terrifying and appalling.

Just as of January 2011, we have even more reason to be concerned about GMOs. This year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has given the green light for the production of genetically modified alfalfa. It seems that they now wish to ignore all of the possible harmful effects to both human health and the environment that were previously documented.

See, you may think of alfalfa as just those hairy looking little sprouts that you see on the salad bar every now and then. But alfalfa is something a lot bigger than that within the world of agriculture. This is because in the United States, alfalfa is primarily used for cattle feed. Is is the fourth largest field crop in the U.S, behind corn, soybeans, and wheat. 20 million acres are planted with alfalfa in the U.S. each year.

The national leader in GMO technology, Monsanto, has engineered a type of alfalfa that can resist its chemical weed killer Roundup. And yes, now this GMO alfalfa may soon be planted all over the country. I mean this quite literally, because currently alfalfa is grown is almost every single state.

 Why are GMOs bad?

As far as environmental concerns go, this is big. Little research has been done about how genetically modified organisms affect our delicate ecosystem. However, we do definitely know that they have the ability to spread in the wild. GMO canola plants have spread like crazy over the last few years. And the laws surrounding GMOs are utterly ridiculous. Did you know, for example, that is GMO seeds from Farmer #1’s field blow over to Farmer #2’s field, then Farmer #2 can be sued for theft? It’s true. Dangers to the environment aside, it’s pretty messed up that this is what GMOs (and Monsanto) are doing to the farming industry.

As far as human health concerns go, well we don’t really know how GMOs affect us because adequate human health testing has not been done on them. In mice, a diet including GM foods caused stomach ulcerations, allergic reactions, enlarged livers, and disturbances to their immune systems and their internal organs. In humans, the same is possible, but we really don’t even know how high the risk is, or how bad these health problems may be. You know what is a scary way to find out, though? By introducing GMOs into our diet by way of conventional dairy and meat products, which is exactly what will happen as soon as cows are fed GMO alfalfa.

Fortunately, the Center for Food Safety has announced its plans to file a lawsuit that will fight the USDA’s decision to deregulate GMO alfalfa. Their lawsuit is definitely one that is worthy of our utmost support. We must continue to fight to keep GMOs out of our food.

For more information on stopping the spread of GMOS please visit nongmoproject.org and saynotogmos.org.

One last thought to ponder on GMOs… Research has shown that when foods grown using genetically modified organisms are placed in the wild, wild animals do not eat them. Don’t you think we have something to learn from this?

A Lettuce By Any Other Name…

If you garden using conventional seeds, then you’ve probably experienced this problem that is described so eloquently here by Jerri Cook in Countryside. When choosing seeds from a catalog, you pick a lovely red leaf variety called Sheep’s Tongue in catalog A. A few days later, you see another red leaf variety in catalog B called Camel’s Tongue. You order this one, since you love experimenting with different types of vegetables, and you want your lettuce crop to last all summer. However, when you plant and begin to harvest your two types of lettuce, you notice that they grow, look, and taste exactly the same.  What’s up with that?

Well, here’s what probably happened. If catalog A has trademarked the name Sheep’s Tongue, then catalog B cannot call it the same thing. They can sell the exact same seeds, they simply have to call it a different name. So you, unknowingly, can buy and plant 2 sets of the exact same seeds. There’s not any way for us to detect that they are the same thing until we harvest our lettuce. Kind of tricky, right? If there are two of the exact same types of seed in two different companies, then obviously the original origin of the seeds is not one of these companies. This is confusing, I know, but unfortunately this is only the tip of the iceberg. 

No matter which conventional mail order catalog you choose to order your seeds, you are going to get the same ones. Catalog A, B, C, D, E, F, and so forth are likely all owned by the same parent company. The American nursery trade is a $39.6 billion a year industry. And Monsanto is now estimated to control between 85 and 90 percent of the U.S. nursery market, including fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide markets. 85 to 90 percent! They hold over 11 thousand seed patents. So even though Sheep’s Tongue Lettuce and Camel’s Tongue Lettuce are called 2 different things and came from 2 different retailers, the truth of the matter is that they probably both came from Monsanto.

Even worse, in my opinion, is a little 3-letter abbreviation that you may see listed next to seed selections in seed catalogs. PVP stands for Plant Variety Protection. When you see this, it means that is is actually ILLEGAL for you to save seeds from this plant variety for propagation purposes.

This is the part that really steams me. How is it right for a company to force you to continuously purchase seeds from them? This FORCES you, if you wish to grow PVP varieties, to purchase seeds year after year instead of simply saving them from your harvest. How can you put a patent on a seed or plant? How can you force farmers to live a life that is dependent on the whim of a gigantic corporation? How can you prevent someone from living a sustainable lifestyle, where it is possible and logical to buy seeds only once? How is this happening in the U.S??

Regardless of these questions, the fact of the matter is that this IS happening in the United States right now. Many companies, such as Greenpeace, have spoken out against Monsanto, claiming, “Monsanto-no food shall be grown that we don’t own.” Monsanto rakes in BILLIONS of dollars every year from across the globe with its plant, seed, and chemical technology.

The next step in Monsanto technology is the introduction of chemicals that will allow farmers to control the genetic traits of their plants. So for example, if your tomato plants begin to develop powdery mildew, you can purchase a chemical that, when applied to your tomato plants, will kick on their powdery mildew resistance gene. Of course, both the plants and the chemicals are all owned by Monsanto. I know it sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, but it’s not. To learn more about it, just Google “Monsanto Traitor technology.” It will seriously blow your mind.

How can you avoid this evil monopoly that is Monsanto? You must buy heirloom seeds from a reputable source. Don’t purchase plants or seeds from your local garden store. And don’t purchase conventional seeds from mail order catalogs or internet sites. Plant heirloom seeds, save seeds from your harvest, and plant again the next year. Find other people in your community who are like-minded and hold an annual heirloom seed swap. This is an excellent way to be introduced to new varieties of fruits and vegetables, and increase the diversity of your own seed supply. Don’t bow down to Monsanto. As long as you have the right to purchase and plant heirloom seeds that are not controlled by this evil giant, you should exercise that right.