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Activism Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food Toxin Alert!

Stanford Study on Organics: Manipulating Consumers into Buying GMO Products

www.mypicshares.com
This last week news reports have flooded the print, online, and on-air worlds from various outlets about the recent study conducted at Stanford University on the nutritional content of organic versus conventional food.

The study was “an extensive examination of four decades of research” comparing organic and conventional foods which found that on average, fruits and vegetables from organic sources were no more nutritious than their conventional counterparts.

In other words, they weren’t uncovering any new information. It was simply a review of past research.

Yes, these studies have been done before. And, these findings have been more than adequately countered before by various sources.

So before you decide that organic food is just an over-priced product that you shouldn’t bother wasting your money on, let’s examine why results of this study were inconclusive, too narrow, and left out valuable information that you should be aware of.

Conflicting studies

In a 2011 study, a team led by Dr. Kirsten Brandt of the Human Nutrition Research Center of Newcastle University in the UK looked at much of the same literature as researchers in the Stanford study. These findings were published in Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences and discovered something quite opposite: organic crops yielded an increase of approximately 12 to 16 percent more nutrients than conventional.

Mother Earth News featured an article about this in 2009 about The Organic Center’s reasons for why organic foods is superior nutritionally to conventional food. Here are some of the reasons:

“The FSA [Food Standards Agency] review included studies over a 50-year period: January 1958 through February 2008. The TOC team included studies published since 1980. Most studies published before 1980 were found flawed for purposes of comparing the nutrient content of today’s conventional and organic crops.

Most of the older studies used plant varieties no longer in use, and did not measure or report total phenolics or antioxidant capacity (since these nutrients were just being discovered). The older studies used analytical methods that are now considered inferior, compared to modern methods.”

The Rodale Institute has published some very extensive studies and documentation showing just how organic foods are better for our health, and how sustainable farming is not only a viable way to feed the planet, but is much safer and sustainable.

In a scientific paper, professor of agriculture at Washington State University and former chief scientist at The Organic Center, Charles Benbrook, PhD, reviewed the Stanford study and much of the associate literature, found the results misleading:

“The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more  nutritious than conventional foods.” And: “Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic resistant bacteria.”

He also stated that several well-designed previous U.S. studies revealed that organic crops consistently showed higher concentrations of antioxidants and vitamins than conventional. In crops such as strawberries, grapes, apples, tomatoes, milk, grains, and carrots, organic produce has 10 to 30 percent higher levels of various nutrients, including antioxidants, Vitamin C,  and phenolic acids in most studies.

Here are some additional sources talking about why organic food is nutritionally superior:

Tender Grassfed Meat’s Stanley Fishman: When organic tests no better, check the soil, and the bias

Why organic is better (never mind the study), New York Times

Organic food vs. conventional: What the Stanford study missed, Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth

Professor Adam Carey, BSc, MB, BChir, MA, MRCOG, NTCC:

 Why organics are not only about the nutritional content of food:

  • Organic foods do not have chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, which are used in commercial and industrial farming and are linked to causing health issues such as birth defects, cancer, endocrine disruption and neurological disorders for humans and the ecology. Health effects of pesticides and other chemicals are cumulative in the human body, even if the levels of these chemicals falls below what is considered acceptable by the EPA.
  • Organic foods cannot contain hormones or antibiotics used in conventionally-raised animals and birds, which are also linked to health issues such as disease-resistant bacteria and hormonal and endocrine disruption in human beings and animals. The Stanford Study did note that there was an increased risk of consuming antibiotic-resistant bacteria – 33% higher than from organic pork and chicken.
  • Organic foods cannot be produced or grown with GMOs (genetically modified foods), found to cause many health issues.
  • Organic foods are grown in ways that use traditional farming methods that cultivate and enrich the soil, whereas commercial farming methods with chemicals only further erode and deplete minerals and good bacteria from the soil. Soil is the foundation of life. If the soil is dead, so will be the food.

Funding for the study

Who is funding these studies done by Stanford?  One source claims that that “no outside funding” was used to avoid the “perception of bias”. I read in various other news reports that the researchers made the same claim.  The Stanford School of Medicine site claims this as well:  ”The authors received no external funding for this study.”

But wording is very important. If you visit the Stanford Center for Health Policy web site, you can see that The Stanford Center for Health Policy has the following statement:

“The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) relies on support from its friends, as well as from national and international foundations and corporations, for the funding of the Institute’s research, teaching and outreach activities.”

The Center for Health Policy is a subsidiary of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI).

So I ask once again, who’s funding this study? Don’t you agree that it would be very educational to learn the identity of these friends, national and international foundations and corporations funding the research of FSI and its subsidiary, the Stanford Center for Health Policy?

Let’s find out. According to FSI’s 2011 Annual Report (page 38, .pdf), you can see the following sponsors:

  • Agricultural giant Cargill
  • British Petroleum (BP)
  • The Bill & Malinda Gates Foundation (heavily invested in both Cargill and big-agri giant Monsanto)
  • The Ford Foundation
  • Google
  • Goldman Sachs
  • The Smith Richardson Foundation
  • Other corporate-financier, Fortune 500, and special interest organizations and corporations

All of these companies and interests are well-known supporters of Big Agricultural interests, biotechnology, and some are well-known opponents to the Proposition 37, GMO labeling initiative going on in CA which will be voted on this November.

So when Stanford claims “no outside funding” was obtained for studies coming out of this branch of their school, that is an outright lie.

The fact is, most universities do not operate independently and are not without outside donators and interests.  Like most other universities, there was actually outside funding, from a large list of sources.

We all know, even science is not without bias and the results of this study were undoubtedly affected by those who donated.

After learning this, do you still hold Stanford Medical School in high esteem?

There has also been leakage that one of the main authors of this study has been found to have ties to the Tobacco Industry: Dr. Ingram Olkin, one of the same researchers who allowed lies to be told to the public that cigarettes were not harmful to human health.

The GMO factor

Stanford also failed to take into account the negative effects of GMOs on the foods we eat when comparing organic to conventional.  Conventional foods are highly contaminated with GMOs – corn, soy, canola oil, cottonseed oil, sugar, a lot of dairy products which contain rBGH bovine growth hormone, and now some zucchini and squash, and papaya.

Organic are now also contaminated due to the issues of cross-pollination from insect, wind, and other natural means of spreading seed.  And yet, Monsanto claims that co-existence of GMO with non-GMO seed is not only possible, but not a problem for anything or anyone.

At the same time, Monsanto has repeatedly engaged in lawsuits against farmers for patent infringement whose crops were cross-pollinated by Monsanto seed that they had no knowledge of and didn’t want. Monsanto has put farmers out of business and ruined their livelihoods over something that, according to them, wasn’t even supposed to be a problem!

Monsanto also maintains that there is no reason to prove the safety of GMOs, and that they are “substantially equivalent” to their non-GMO counterparts. The company doesn’t believe it has a responsibility to prove its product is safe, and refers to its statement of “substantial equivalence” to say that the product is no different than its non-GMO counterpart.

Sounds a lot like the Stanford study results, doesn’t it? There’s no difference between GMO and non-GMO seed, and there’s no difference between conventional and organic food. They must think the consumer public are all complete idiots!

From Monsanto’s web site:

“Substantial equivalence, more technically, means that the range of concentrations for components of the GM crop falls within the typical range for the non-GM counterpart.”

“There is no need to test the safety of DNA introduced into GM crops. DNA (and resulting RNA) is present in almost all foods–the only exceptions being highly refined materials like oil or sugar from which all cell material has been removed. Thus, DNA is non-toxic and the presence of DNA, in and of itself, presents no hazard.

When a new protein (not normally found in that plant or in other commonly consumed foods) is introduced into a plant, the safety of that protein does need to be addressed. It is standard practice to use animals to test any introduced proteins. Animal testing requires very high doses of the test substance be given. These levels are, by design, many times higher than those which people would actually consume. In GM crops and foods derived from them, introduced proteins are usually present only in minute amounts. Because the levels of protein are so low, it is impossible to test high doses by feeding crops directly to animals. Instead, a purified version of the introduced protein is used in animal studies.”

These statements are ludicrous because even if the “range of concentrations for components of the GMO crop falls within the typical range for the non-GM counterpart” those elements of the GM crop are not the same as what occurs in nature.

Any thinking scientist would disagree with this since GMOs are created with an unnatural process to begin with which extracts foreign DNA and bacteria and inserts it into the seed in a laboratory. If Monsanto is confident their seeds are safe, why don’t they want labels on the products they produce?

GMO seeds are lacking in nutrition and also contain pesticides to eliminate insects on the crop such as corn or soy. This causes the digestive tract of the insect to explode when eaten. If it does this to insects, what is it doing to us?  There are no third-party studies in existence that examine the long term effect of consuming these organisms on human beings.

These statements, studies and other efforts are a way to confuse consumers and get them on the side of conventional, commercial farming and to support an anti-labeling initiative against Prop 37.  Monsanto produces the chemical herbicide Roundup. They also produced DDT and Agent Orange. We were told the last two were safe for many years. The chief funders for the anti-labeling campaign are the same ones who told us these toxic chemicals were safe.  So much for that promise.

By coincidence, the initiative to label GMO foods is coming this fall to the state of CA. Voting yes on Prop 37 would make it mandatory to label GMO foods as it is currently in many European, Asian, and other countries around the world. 

There is great opposition to this initiative. Monsanto and many large corporations are spending millions and millions of dollars to make sure labeling doesn’t happen and that consumers remain in the dark, and don’t understand how their food is produced.

In my local area there is an activist group called GMO-Free Idaho.  Jenny Easley and Leslie Stoddard, founders of the group,  have been very active over the last year doing presentations, organizing potlucks, rallies, and events to raise awareness about the issues of GMOs in our food supply.

This weekend GMO-Free Idaho featured an event to show the film The Future of Food, which highlights the issues both farmers and consumers face as a result of the increasing deregulation of GMOs in our agricultural sector and food supply.  The people involved in the sustainable food community here in my area understand what’s at stake, and we want this initiative to go through.

Voting Yes on Prop 37 means you support labeling on GMO foods which has already been implemented in the U.K. and other European countries, Russia, China, and Japan. We can’t trust big food companies to be truthful about their products. We need labeling to increase consumer awareness.

Videos/interviews:

Future of Food movie trailer, an eye-opening look at what’s really happening with GMO foods, the crooked politics and bad science behind it, and how you can make a difference

Health dangers of genetically modified foodsJeffery Smith, Institute of Responsible Technology

Watch this video of a 12-year old girl pleading with consumers to think twice about GMOs in our food and environment

GMO-Free Idaho – Fighting for our right to know what’s in our food! Interview on Chew on This, Radio Boise

Watch my interview with Kevin Brown on the Liberation Wellness site about the dangers of GMOs and the labeling initiative in CA that will be voted on this November. 

More information about GMOs:

4 ways to avoid GMOs in the foods you buy

Busting Myths about GMOs

Institute for Responsible Technology

Photo credit: Wakeup World

 

 

Activism Healthy Living Real Food Toxin Alert!

Right to Know Rally & Rebuttal to ID Senator Mike Crapo re: Labeling GMO Foods

www.mypicshares.com
On Wednesday, July 18th in downtown Boise, ID, in front of Senator Mike Crapo’s office, citizens gathered for a rally organized by GMO-Free Idaho to protest the fact that our senators are not hearing our concerns about  mandatory labeling for GMO foods in our state. The photos in this post are all from the rally. I was part of this group and I felt like we made an impact on the awareness of people in our area.

Currently, 14 European countries have banned GMO foods, and did so over a decade ago without any government assistance.  It makes you think that with enough consumer education and grass-roots efforts, we could create enough resistance that food companies would have to discontinue their toxic practices.

Read why the majority of Americans want labeling for GM foods.

There is growing doubt in world communities about the safety and usage of GMO seeds and pesticides as is evidenced by various examples of communities rejecting GMO seeds such as Haiti who burned them, French, Spanish, and Indian citizens destroyed GMO fields and burned Bt cotton, Uganda and other locations which have rejected seed altogether.  There are also increasing numbers of allies in the real food community who question it.

www.mypicshares.com

In addition to various countries who have banned the usage of GMO substances in the food supply, other countries are requiring labeling, as India has recently done.

Jeffery Smith of The Institute for Responsible Technology has spent a great deal of time and effort educating and spreading the word. There is a Seeds of Doubt Conference happening on October 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA, where he and other notable and respected speakers and professionals in attendance.

Here is Senator Mike Crapo’s response to our protest in downtown Boise yesterday:

“I understand the concerns expressed by many who oppose genetically engineering food products and seek mandatory labeling for foods containing GE ingredients. However, I am also aware of the many benefits provided by GE crops, including increased yields and nutrition and reduced pesticides and herbicides used in the environment. The only vote in the United States Senate to date requiring mandatory labeling for these food products, an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, was defeated by a vote of 73-26.

The United States has one of the safest and most abundant food supplies in the world.  Consumer safety and a robust agricultural sector need not be mutually exclusive.  GE food products are a relatively new development in commercial food production, and I agree that it is important that we continue to study and monitor this new technology that has already demonstrated positive benefits.”

The truth is, I’ve sent letters to both of these senators and others in the past, and the answers given here are no different than anything I’ve heard them say to me in “personal” reply. Clearly they don’t have anything intelligent to respond back, because the same responses continually get recycled over and over again.

Here is my rebuttal to Senator Mike Crapo’s statement:

Increased yields

Increased yields are not happening with GMO foods. From the Natural News site, Eco-farming outperforms GMOs at increasing crop yields and growing more food, based on a new report showing that sustainable farming can double food production in 10 years.

From the article, eco-farming  ”allows the People to freely grow and harvest their own food, and take advantage of what nature freely offers them in order to do so. Within the GMO paradigm, however, farmers are controlled by companies like Monsanto that sell them self-destructing “Frankenseeds.” These seeds require heavy pesticide applications in order to grow, and represent an unsustainable system that has devastated the livelihoods of thousands of farmers while failing to deliver on its promises.”

The Institute for Responsible Technology has also published referenced information on this fallacy. From the report:

“Field tests of Bt corn showed that they took longer to reach maturity and produced up to 12% lower yields than non-GM counterparts. In spite of these and other studies, the biotech industry continues to claim that GMOs are the answer to higher yields. Two reports have conclusively contradicted these claims.”

Read the Rodale Institute’s document on why GMO farming is simply a band-aid approach to fix long-term issues with short term solutions. There is also an in-depth discussion to the importance of a food system that can regenerate itself, and how the key to successful farming is healthy soil – which GMO farming destroys.

Better nutrition

Mr. Crapo claims there are increased nutritional benefits. The “benefits” of GM foods have also not been proven. In fact, quite the opposite has occurred.  Nutrition is supposed to fortify and support health. There are many connections to disease and health issues from eating GM foods: allergies, liver disease, infertility, digestive issues and cancer just to name a few. To my knowledge, there has never been any valid studies done to show that GM foods contain increased nutrition.

Superweeds

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Mr. Crapo claims there are reduced pesticides and herbicides with GMOs.  There has been a widespread emergence of superweeds previously not in existence which are heavily resistant to most herbicides. This becomes a widespread problem for farmers and other citizens. These are invasive and difficult to remove. Then, stronger and more toxic herbicides must be used to do the same job that less toxic products were once able to control.

The cycle continues as more and more virulent superweeds are created. This is similar to the overuse of antibiotics in farming environments which cause resistant bacteria.  These plants are replacing non-resistant weeds as well as are spreading resistant genes to other plants through cross-pollination.

The safety of our food system and food recalls

To say that the U.S. food supply is one of the safest in the world is to completely turn a blind eye to all the issues that are continually coming forth in media and health outlet reports. Food recalls are a normal occurrence now, and if you look on any given day you will find a large recall that has recently occurred. There are very few publicly-traded companies who have not had a product appear on recall lists.  Despite the many regulations and laws in place to “protect” consumers, our food supply continues to be riddled with pathogenic bacteria & undesirable substances which are making people sick and killing them.

You would think consumers, politicians, health officials, food producers, and others would make connections between industrial farming practices and the filth found in factory and commercial farming environments. Instead, the logic is that more regulations, fees, and laws need to be imposed. This gives license to big agriculture players who are more than able to get around the confines of the law and afford fines associated with breaking the law, but the government doesn’t shut them down. Instead, they simply continue with unsafe production and “farming” practices. Many of these products have GM ingredients.

If you look at food recall lists, you won’t find truly sustainable, small-scale farmers’ and food growers’ products on them, nor even hear reports about them in the news. Although smaller and sustainable farmers tend to use use healthier practices and safe farming methods that work in harmony with nature, these individuals have been the target of government raids and shut downs, and are being rendered unable to continue producing the safe, healthy food that U.S. citizens are now demanding due to the visibility of insidious problems in the commercial food sector.

The health dangers of glyphosate and pathogenic bacteria found in GMO seeds

Glyphosate, the active ingredient used in Monsato’s flagship product RoundUp, has been found in human urine samples of city dwellers. Doesn’t this say something about just how widespread this substance has become?

The toxicity of glyphosate has been widely documented.

Here are just a few more of those documentations:

Dr. Donald Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University, has written and spoken out about the introduction of pathogenic bacteria into our soil from foreign DNA  inserted into seeds in the laboratory, and why it adversely affects not only the soil, but those consuming it, and describes how it takes up residency in our digestive tracts.

Watch Dr. Huber’s interview with Dr. Mercola:

I could give many more examples of issues with GMOs,  but it is particularly noteworthy to mention that recently, genetic engineers discovered and spoke up about the health hazards of consuming these substances.

One of the report’s authors, Dr. Michael Antoniou of King’s College London School of Medicine in the UK, uses genetic engineering for medical applications but strongly cautions against its use in the development of crops for human food and animal feed:

“GM crops are promoted on the basis of ambitious claims – that they are safe to eat, environmentally beneficial, increase yields, reduce reliance on pesticides, and can help solve world hunger.”

“I felt what was needed was a collation of the evidence that addresses the technology from a scientific point of view.

“Research studies show that genetically modified crops have harmful effects on laboratory animals in feeding trials and on the environment during cultivation. They have increased the use of pesticides and have failed to increase yields. Our report concludes that there are safer and more effective alternatives to meeting the world’s food needs.”

Testing and the “safety” of GMOs

Mr. Crapo indicated that it is “important that we continue to study and monitor this new technology that has already demonstrated positive benefits.” Sure, let’s study it and prove the “positive benefits”, as long as Monsanto is paying to have those studies done (which is all that has ever been done to date), we’ll always receive the result that GMOs are safe to use.

Too bad that outcome has a strong industry bias.

He says, “we should continue to study and monitor this new technology”.  The FDA has not made requirements for mandatory safety testing of GM crops, and does not even assess the safety of GM crops but only “deregulates” them, based only on assurances from biotech companies like Monsanto that they are “substantially equivalent” to their non-GM counterparts.

There is no amount of “un-biased” or third-party scientific testing or research that will ever prove to me that GMOs are a safe and effective way to produce food.  Not now. Not after all the  overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Here is Senator Risch’s statement (another Idaho senator):

“There are federal laws already in place to make certain our food is safe. There was no need to add this amendment, and in fact, it was rejected in bipartisan fashion with 73 “no” votes when it came up for consideration.”

Here is my rebuttal to Senator Risch’s statement:

Yes, the measure failed 26-73 votes. Here’s how the voting record came out.

Too bad many of those senators receive payments from Monsanto and other seed companies. Here is a list of those receiving financial support from Monsanto.

After looking at this data, it should be pretty clear that these politicians have reasons for their voting record.

The bottom line is: there is clear evidence that GMOs are a threat to our health, environment, and future.

Big companies and government do not have our health or best interests in mind, and are motivated by profits.

This is  a citizen’s call to action!

  • Learn all you can about how GMOs affect us. At least 80 percent of processed foods contain them, and even some foods on the shelves that appear to be “whole foods”.
  • Tell everyone you know by making this post go viral. Let your congressmen and women and local communities know you won’t stand for not knowing what’s in your food supply!

More information: 

GMO-Free Idaho

Organic Consumers’ Association – Millions Against Monsanto

Busting myths about GMOs (genetically-modified foods)

4 ways to avoid GMOs in the foods you buy

Mom-turned activist launches national movement to boycott GMO foods

The Institute for Responsible Technology

1 in 4 meat packages tainted with pathogenic bacteria

Industrial meat & pink slime = more recalls, drug resistance

Photo credit, GMO-Free Idaho