Monthly Archives: October 2012

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Real Food Toxin Alert!

What GMOs and Fund-Raising for Disease Have in Common

www.mypicshares.com

Before the clock runs out on this month’s breast cancer and GMO awareness, I’d like to point out some facts that may not be obvious to some consumers.

No doubt you’ve seen the pink ribbons all over food labels in the grocery store or on fast food products like KFC.  These labels are easy to spot on packages, cups, cans, boxes, and other containers of many foods and beverages.

But there’s something else to notice too – a majority of these foods bearing the pink ribbon for cancer awareness are full of harmful, toxic ingredients. Don’t believe me? Just pick up one of these food products and have a look.

Not only are many of these ingredients indecipherable and dangerous, many of them are also from genetically-modified substances. This means they originated from a laboratory where abominations of nature take place on a regular basis: the genetic material of one species is extracted in a laboratory setting and inserted into another to achieve desired traits such as resistance to pesticides or to produce some other entirely different outcome than the organisms would normally be able to achieve – such as inserting spider genes into goats to produce silk. These are also known as transgenic organisms.

Doesn’t this seem like a contradiction?

There are many others besides food corporations such as companies and organizations who sponsor the pink ribbon campaign and donate a portion of the money to “curing cancer” – automotive, entertainment, department stores, clothing companies, jewelry companies, personal care product manufacturers, sporting goods, and the list goes on.

There are many organizations, universities, health authorities, and other entities that are undermining citizens’ rights to correct health information. Recently, Stanford University conducted a faulty study showing there is virtually no difference between conventional and organic foods. This study is false and doesn’t take into account the vast amount of toxins and chemicals used in commercial farming, all of which have been proven to affect nutritional quality and integrity of  the foods grown this way, as well as the soil which is the foundation of all life on this planet.

Where does Stanford get their funding for their research? As always, follow the money. Many of their sponsors are big agricultural companies and others which have a  vested interest in nullifying the importance of eating real, organic foods.

This is yet more evidence of big corporations trying to strong arm consumers into buying their toxic products and not supporting the organic and sustainable industries.

Here’s an idea: Instead of recommendations about getting mammograms and exposing women to more 1,000 times more radiation than what you can get in a chest x-ray, what if medical and health authorities provided some guidance about what could really make a difference in cancer and other disease rates – such as removing personal care chemical, and other products from households and places of business?

And, what if doctors and clinicians gave their patients sound advice about diet? To remove all sources of chemically-laden foods and beverages, and replace with real, healthy food from organic or organic-practicing sources? I ask, wouldn’t this be a more intelligent way of combating this terrible disease that is considered number …on the list of causes of death?

Incidentally, these preventative measures we are told to use actually cause cancer. Yes, you read that right. Read about how chemotherapy and radiation contribute to an increase risk in cancer. Mammograms are also linked to an increase in cancer as well since they use radiation, and radiation is cumulative in the body. Studies from Cornell University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory show how exposure to radiation actually triggers modifications in the micro-environment of the cell, which has a profound impact on future cancer development.

From Dr. Lenoard Coldwell’s site, describing how these procedures contribute to an increased cancer risk:

“The reason is that signals from a cell’s microenvironment, altered by radiation exposure, can cause a cell’s phenotype (made up of all its biochemical and physical characteristics) to change by regulating or de-regulating the way a cell uses its genes. The result can be a cell that not only becomes pre-cancerous but that passes this pre-malignant condition on to future cells.”

Cancer and GMOs

The French rat study

In September of this year, a study conducted in France revealed that rats fed GM corn developed massive tumors.  Both GM corn and Monsanto’s flagship product Roundup were implicated in this study, and scientists discovered that rats exposed to even the smallest amounts of these substances showed serious kidney and liver damage, and also experienced development of mammary tumors, which occurred as early as four months in males, and seven months of age in the females.

Dr. Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist from King’s College London  and member of CRIIGEN, the independent scientific council said, “This research shows an extraordinary number of tumours developing earlier and more aggressively – particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts.”

Bovine growth hormone rGBH

The connection between cancer and GMOs is not new. From the Institute for Responsible Technology:

“Milk from rBGH-treated cows has much higher levels of IGF-1, a hormone considered to be a high risk factor for breast, prostate, colon, lung, and other cancers. IGF-1 levels in milk from treated cows with rBGH can be up to 10 times higher. Studies suggest that pre-menopausal women below 50 years old with high levels of IGF-1 are seven times more likely to develop breast cancer. Men are four times more likely to develop prostate cancer. IGF-1 is implicated in lung and colon cancer.”

 Countless other studies exist showing the link between GMOs and cancer, and other disorders:

In the last 5 or so years, I have come to realize that these companies whose products bearing the pink ribbon and organizations promoting breast cancer awareness and other causes do so because it is a genius marketing tool which sells more products.

These companies play into the emotions of people and rely on the fact that breast cancer awareness and “prevention” such as getting a mammogram are high profile ideas and activities. And this awareness causes women everywhere to live in fear that they too will develop cancer in the future, and should take an “active” role in doing what they can to prevent something happening to them or someone they know and love.

This phenomenon is known as “pink-washing“. Like many marketing schemes, it is designed for one purpose and one alone: to make money.

Corrupt fundraising organizations

Susan G. Komen, perhaps the most well-known organization conducting fund-raising for breast cancer research has shown its colors time and time again. SGK has relentlessly been caught in case after case of fraud and misrepresenting themselves to promote awareness and a cure for cancer.

This organization that is widely heralded as a pillar in the health community does not spend one dime or campaign effort, by the way, on addressing changes in diet to eliminate toxins from our diets and lifestyles to help reduce our cancer risk.

They have denied ties to pharmaceutical companies and industry leaders such as AstraZeneca – who makes regular donations of  educational grants to Komen, and to companies like G.E. - of which they own stock – who are leaders in manufacturing cancer drugs and mammography devices for “early cancer detection.”

Read The British Medical Journal’s article How a charity oversells mammography, and for a very thorough examination of how SGK spends their money, Butter Believer’s post, I will not be pink-washed: Why I won’t support Susan G. Komen for the cure.

This report from Bloomberg discusses how people who were asked to spend time doing various activities to promote various disease “cures” learned that the money they helped to raise didn’t actually go where it was intended, and felt betrayed.

In another example, from 1999 to 2011, InfoCision was hired by The American Cancer Society to gather funds to cure cancer. By 2010, $5.3 million was raised How much of that went to cancer research? None! Tax filings show that it all went to InfoCision, and the society experienced a loss for that year. Not only did they keep the entire sum, but also raked in $113,006 in fees from the society.

So the truth is, a very small portion of what is spent on these products actually goes to Susan G. Komen or other organizations claiming to raise money for breast cancer. ABC News revealed that Campbell’s Soup gave just 3.5 cents from the sale of each can of soup.  In Yoplait’s pink ribbon campaign, you would have to eat 3 cups of yogurt daily for 4 months in order to raise just $36 to fight breast cancer. Money raised to go to money-hungry, powerful corporations who are day in and day out collecting money to line their own bank accounts….meanwhile, the cure for cancer remains mysteriously absent.

What can you do to counteract big agriculture, biotech, and support sustainability?

  • Please support Proposition 37, California Right to Know campaign that will be voted on next week in the election and which would require mandatory labeling on GM foods in the marketplace. At least 23 other states are planning to introduce initiatives for this measure in the near future. Please keep a watch out for this coming to your own state.
  • Don’t buy processed, packaged foods and other products, and support your local sustainable farmers who do things right!
  • Ask your farmers questions when you buy food about safe farming practices.

www.mypicshares.com

Want to read more about how fundraising for disease doesn’t actually find a cure?

Does fundraising for disease pay off?

Is cheap food really cheap? The hidden costs of industrial food

Is reactive medicine cheaper than prevention?

Green Living Healthy Living Toxin Alert!

Why Labeling GMOs in Our Food Supply Needs to Happen

www.mypicshares.com

On November 6th in the state of CA, voters will be able to choose whether mandatory labeling should be instituted on products containing genetically-modified (GM) foods.

Transparency in our food system is something we haven’t had in many decades. Big agricultural and chemical companies have seen to it that  consumers are kept in the dark about the products and foods they eat. The knowledge of how our food is produced is something we had some years ago, and must get back.

Since the Industrial Revolution, our food system has become more and more tainted with chemicals, additives, and preservatives that seek to improve the bottom line for food companies – profit.

There are plenty of laws in our government that were created for the food system to “keep it safe”. Our food authorities, government and politicians call our food system the “safest in the world”. And yet food recalls are numerous and only increasing, and food related illness continues to surface with alarming frequency.  What isn’t accounted for is the actual safety of the food we eat.

And our commercial food system is far from safe.

We have witnessed food system safety becoming more complex and full of regulations, but these are not protective of our health or the environment. Food safety laws are issued by a government that protects corporations while neglecting the consumer and the small, sustainable farmers who do things right.

This is because our government is bought and paid for by the most powerful corporations, and regardless of how many laws they break or health they destroy, they continue on, reckless and unchecked. They make money while our population becomes sicker and sicker.

Here are a list of some of the usual arguments from the No on Proposition 37 side of the debate and proponents of GMO technology, and the reasons why these arguments don’t hold water:

Opponent claim #1:

No credible medical or scientific sources agree that GMOs are inherently dangerous

Except these organizations:

  • American Academy of Environmental Medicine
  • American Medical Students Association
  • California Nurses Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility, California chapters
There are plenty of other medical and scientific experts who have found these substances to be dangerous to our health:

Source for those names not linked, Institute for Responsible Technology

Watch Genetic Roulette for more information on the dangers of GMOs (available to watch for FREE online through October 31st, 2012). 

Opponent claim #2:

Cost of labeling would be too high on all fronts

The idea that the cost of labeling would be too high is simply untrue.  According to Alliance for Natural Health, Joanna Shepherd-Bailey, PhD, tenured law professor from Emory University School of Law prepared a report which showed that labeling GM foods would most likely not increase the cost for the consumer. Labeling has not increased costs in the 50+ other countries where labeling is mandatory, so why should it be any different here?

Also, labeling changes are made on a regular basis, and no one seems to be objecting to that activity raising costs for the consumer. It will take 18 months for this measure to be instituted in the state of CA, so by that time, labels will likely have changed anyway.

It has also been said that it would produce more litigation from consumers who want to sue for possible damages from consuming these foods. This is ironic considering that in various states where labeling has been discussed, Vermont for example, the industrial food industry has actually threatened the state with litigation if the decision to label GM foods was made (other states have received similar threats).

In her report, Joanna Shepherd-Bailey showed why this claim is also untrue. From Alliance for Natural Health:

“Shepherd-Bailey shows that this is also false. She estimates that the cost to the state will be negligible: the annual costs for processing and hearing cases should be less than $50,000. And while there will be administrative costs to the state as its Department of Health begins to implement certain provisions of the law, her analysis found that these administrative costs will be less than $1 million—that is, less than 1 cent for each person living in the state of California—causing the department’s expenditures to increase by no more than 0.03% and total state expenditures to increase by just 0.0008%. That one cent is all it will cost for critical health information to be made available to the many consumers who want to know what is in the food they feed their families.”

Opponent claim #3:

Labeling is unnecessary because GMOs are safe (so says Monsanto, et al)

Monsanto uses the statement of “substantial equivalence” (created by former Monsanto lawyer, Michael Taylor, who is currently head of the FDA) to reason why these seeds are really no different than the non-GMO variety. Monsanto performs “assessements” on animals and plants which they claim allegedly have shown how GMOs are essentially the same as their non-GMO counterparts. To this date, no valid long-term health studies or safety testing has been done to examine toxicity, antibiotic resistance, and functional characteristics.

So then, why does Monsanto sue farmers when their seeds blow over or are transported into neighboring, non-GMO fields, and why do they have patent laws on these seeds? And why do they not allow farmers to “seed save”? These are all contradictions that many consumers may not catch, but they are very important and show the lies and deception of Monsanto and other seed companies quite well.

The company producing a product for the consumer market says that it is perfectly safe. But that’s biased…really, what else would they be expected to say? They aren’t going to admit that perhaps there are some problems, testing needs to be done, or that people are getting sick from consuming GM foods.

Have you noticed that most entities, organizations, and companies who oppose Proposition 37 and labeling have a vested interest in keeping labels off of food: it’s called making profits. 

Here is a partial list of commercial companies and the money they’ve donated to defeat Proposition 37:

  • Monsanto $7,100,500.00
  • E.I. DuPont $4,900,000.00
  • BASF Plant science $2,000,000.00
  • Bayer $2,000,000.00
  • Dow $2,000,000.00
  • SYNGENTA CORPORATION $2,000,000.00
  • PepsiCo $1,716,300.00
  • Nestle $1,169,400.00
  • Coca Cola $1,164,400.00
  • ConAgra Foods $1,076,700.00
  • General Mills $908,200.00
  • Del Monte $674,100.00
  • Kellogg’s $632,500.00
  • Kraft $551,148.25
  • H.J. Heinz $500,000.00
  • Hershey $395,100.00
  • J.M. Smucker $388,000.00
  • Mars $376,650.00
  • Council for Biotechnology Information $375,000.00
  • Grocery Manufacturers Assoc. $375,000.00
  • Hormel Foods $374,300.00
  • Bumble Bee Foods $368,500.00
  • Ocean Spray $362,100.00
  • Sara Lee $343,600.00
  • Bimbo Bakeries $338,300.00
  • Pinnacle Foods $266,100.00
  • Dean Foods $253,950.00
  • Biotechnology Industry Organization $252,000.00
  • Campbell’s Soup $250,000.00
  • McCormick. $248,200.00
  • Smithfield $228,991.85
  • Cargill $226,846.30
  • Rich Products $225,537.15
  • Abbott Nutrition $187,600.00
  • Dole Packaged Foods $171,261.61
  • Knouse Foods $135,831.53
  • WM. Wrigley Jr. $120,798.99
  • Sunny Delight $96,952.57
  • Bunge North America $83,239.32
  • Land O’Lakes $80,835.48
  • Hero North America $79,073.93
  • Solae $61,207.43
  • California Grocers Assoc. $56,000.00
  • Mccain Foods $52,295.63
  • Flowers Foods $46,685.32
  • Welch Foods $44,248.45
  • Godiva Chocolates $41,787.83
  • Starlite Media $41,785.00
  • Clement Pappas & Co. $32,493.78
  • Clorox $32,114.83
  • Tree Top $29,338.65
  • C. H. Guenther & Son $24,189.18
  • Faribault Foods $21,162.30
  • Morton Salt $20,957.42
  • Reily Foods $13,214.52
  • Goya De Puerto Rico, Inc. $11,350.69
  • Inventure Foods $11,343.80
  • Bruce Foods $10,196.38
  • Coca Cola Enterprises $10,000.00
  • Sargento $7,185.27
  • Idahoan Foods $7,181.81
  • Goya Great Lakes $6,829.65
  • Croplife American $5,000.00
  • El Super (Bodega Latina Group) $5,000.00
  • Hirzel Canning $4,709.14
  • Bristol Farms $2,500.00
  • Holiday Quality Foods/Sav More Foods $2,500.00
  • California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corp. $2,050.00
  • House Autry Mills $1,077.27
  • Four K Farms $1,000.00
  • JMR Farms $1,000.00
  • Tri_Cal $1,000.00
  • Nutricion Fundamental $500.00
  • Kellog Company $250.00
  • Richelieu Foods $165.80

Here is a partial list of “Natural” and “Organic” brands that also oppose Proposition 37:

  • Horizon
  • Silk
  • R.W. Knudsen (subsidiary of Smuckers)
  • Santa Cruz Organic
  • Kashi
  • Larabar (subsidiary of General Mills)
  • Alexia
  • Cascadian Farm
  • Odwalla
  • Honest Tea (subsidiary of Coca Cola)
  • Horizon Organic (subsidiary of Dean Foods)
Please look for alternatives to these brand names who are trying to defeat Proposition 37 and our right to know what’s in our food.

Better yet, buy your foods from local, sustainable farmers that avoid GMOs altogether. This way, you have complete control over what’s in your food, instead of letting a company decide that for you.

If Monsanto is so certain these products are safe, why wouldn’t they be proud to issue labels on them? All this, from the company which brought you Agent Orange and DDT many years ago…and claimed they were “safe”.

Now, they are producing our food.

Opponent claim #4:

No real studies have been done to disprove the safety of GM foods

Proponents of GMOs argue that there have been no “real” studies conducted which show GMOs are unsafe.

But there have been some very important studies done to show the damage GMOs do to health. A decade long feeding study of rats conducted in Norway found that when these animals were fed genetically-altered Bt corn, they became fatter and consumed more. They were also much less able to digest proteins because of changes sustained in their intestines. Researchers also found that the rats experienced modifications to their immune systems.

Recently, there was also a study conducted in France on rats which were fed a lifetime diet of GM corn or were exposed to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship product, Roundup), showed the development of massive tumors and sustained organ damage.

Doctors and practitioners are reporting the improvement or disappearance of health issues when their patients stop eating GMOs.  There have also been links made between food allergies and GMOs.

The argument that farmers have been hybridizing plants for centuries and those have been perfectly safe is also used. What’s not acknowledged by proponents of genetic technology is that there is a vast difference between hybridization of crops and purposefully inserting genes from one organism into another in a laboratory…and have also been engineered to resist the applications of toxic pesticides to the crops. Neither of those activities could ever, by any stretch of the imagination, be termed as safe or natural. 

The many lies of the chemical and big agricultural industries

There are many myths about GMOs that are propagated by the industry. As an example, did you know that the herbicides are actually causing the birth of superweeds that cannot be killed with previously used amounts of herbicides? Did you know that the corn crops are now susceptible to the pests they are engineered to resist – the rootworm? Not so different than the situation with the overuse of antibiotics, the continued use of herbicides and pesticides that are causing resistance in weeds and pests will only worsen as time goes on. Does that sound safe to you?

Read about the other myths of GMOs such as the fact that they are supposed to feed the world, increase higher crop yields, and others.  Here’s a report by Dr. Vandana Shiva showing why these claims made by the chemical industry are untrue.

It’s also important to know that the opposition might be slapped with a criminal charge relating to their use of an official-looking FDA-approval seal on a direct mail piece,  stating that the FDA expressed the view that a labeling policy such as the CA labeling measure is “inherently misleading”.

Legal advisors to the campaign have commented that not only is the No on Proposition 37 committee’s use of the FDA’s seal a violation of federal criminal law, but it is also unlawful for any agency such as the FDA to show a preference on campaign propositions.

This is not the first fabrication by the opposition. Read about what they did with Stanford University where they misrepresented the school with an ad and also The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. There is also the report which came out in September from Stanford University claiming that organic is no better than conventional foods, funded by big agriculture and biotech sources. This move is a clear manipulation by the industries to convince consumers to avoid buying organics in favor of conventional and GM foods.

The bottom line is, labeling is a threat to these chemical companies’ livelihood: companies and organizations who have already thrown over $35 million dollars at anti-Proposition 37 marketing, ads, and opposition to defeat the consumers’ right to know about the food they are eating.  And they will stop at nothing, including telling far-fetched lies about why this initiative is bogus.

How you can make a difference:

The situation with our food system is dire. We need your help to change the future of our food, health, and planet.

  • Please support the California Right to Know labeling initiative. If you live in CA, please vote YES on Proposition 37.
  • If you live in another state, please watch for upcoming legislation in your state for this same measure. Currently, 23 other states are positioning themselves to adopt similar measures after the election occurs in CA.
  • Help by educating others. Share this post with everyone you know.
  • Avoid buying processed foods, the majority of which contain GMOs (yes, even products labeled “organic” and “natural” foods)
  • Buy from local, sustainable farmers who use safe, traditional farming practices and ask questions when you buy
  • Read 4 ways to avoid GMOs in the foods you buy
  • Visit the Institute for Responsible Technology, Millions Against Monsanto for more information

I live in Idaho, which is one of the states that is planning a labeling initiative for the future. I’ve already spent a great deal of time educating the public about this issue. You can be sure I’ll be there on the front lines when our initiative comes in 2014.