Tag Archives: Monsanto

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4 Ways to Avoid GMOs in the Foods You Buy

www.mypicshares.com
The extreme conditions in our food supply today call for the application of conscientious awareness and purchasing habits on behalf of the consumer public. Avoiding GMOs is not necessarily easy, but to ensure good health and a clean environment, it’s an absolutely necessity.

Given what’s at stake with regard to current contamination issues of the food supply from the presence of GMOs, I want to focus on ways to make finding sustainable foods as easy as possible, and promoting these buying habits which support more local farmers and producers who use sustainable methods in their food growing practices.

Many farmers have realized the importance of sustainable methods in farming. There are some wonderful organic and sustainable farmers who take careful stewardship of our land. Many farmers and food growers have challenges becoming certified organic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask around and find out which ones are certified organic or who are using “organic practices”.

What’s wrong with GMOs?

GMOs are some of the most common substances now in our food supply. These organisms have been shown to promote the spread of pathogenic bacteria not only in the soil in farming environments, but in our digestive tracts as well. This spread of bacteria has contributed greatly to the degradation of our soil and crop yields, as well as health issues: digestive disorders, autism, cancer, reproductive issues, and auto-immune disorders.

From the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM): “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. Their conclusion: “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation,” from recognized scientific criteria. “The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.”

Children are especially vulnerable since their bodies are growing and developing, and they are susceptible to the many impacts of eating foods with GMOs in them – liver damage, food allergies, and others. Jeffery Smith from The Institute for Responsible Technology and author of Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, explains why babies and children are more susceptible to the effects of these harmful organisms. “Children consume a large amount of products that may be genetically engineered. They eat a higher percentage of corn in their diet compared to adults, and allergic children often rely on corn as a source of protein.”

Dr. Donald Huber, PhD., professor of plant biology (formerly of Purdue University) is trained in microbiology, plant physiology and pathology, and has a background in genetics. He is a seasoned expert in soil-born diseases and host-parasite relationships, and has researched, written, and spoken about the dangers of GMOs to our environment and our bodies.

Please watch Part I of this informative video interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola interviewing Dr. Huber:

Part II

4 Ways to Avoid GMOs in your food:

Now that you understand the inherent dangers in these organisms, let’s go over 4 ways we as consumers can send powerful messages to farmers and companies using these organisms to produce food.  That means we not only have to educate ourselves, but be mindful about where we put our dollars in buying food and other products that could contain GMOs. Practicing what we preach is critical.

1.  If you must shop at a store, always research where the food or product you want to buy comes from.

This can be tricky to navigate because so much of what is sold in stores is highly processed and suspect, making this the least preferred way to avoid GMOs. If you have no local farmers nearby from which to purchase food, download the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, prepared by the Institute for Responsible Technology.  Get in the habit of asking store employees questions.  If they don’t have the answer, ask the store manager. If he or she doesn’t have the answer, contact the company personally. Many companies which sell products in stores are not sustainable and do used GMO-sourced ingredients.

Never assume a product is GMO-free because it says “natural” or that the meat is not from a feedlot because it says “free-range”. Many of these labels are meaningless and there are no laws in place requiring those terms to be backed by anything.

Buy as many organic products as your budget allows, but be aware that due to loosening of FDA regulations and requirements, organic products are now commonly made with ingredients you might not want or are trying to avoid, so read labels whenever you buy. One example is the sweetener neotame (developed by Monsanto), a chemical derivative of aspartame. Highly concentrated, this neurotoxic sweetener is 7,000-13,000 times sweeter than sugar. According to Dr. Mercola: “In 1998, Monsanto applied for FDA approval for neotame, “based on the aspartame formula” with one critical addition: 3-dimethylbutyl, which just happens to be listed on the EPA’s most hazardous chemical list.“ It often doesn’t appear on the label at all, or can sometimes be listed as some other ingredient that is unrecognizable.

If something doesn’t seem right about a product you’ve been buying for a period of time, make inquiries again because sometimes things change.

2.  Avoid chain/commercial store shopping as much as possible, and keep to smaller, independent health food stores and co-operatives.

Last month, I wrote a post discussing 8 reasons I won’t shop at Whole Foods Market  when they come to Boise, ID where I live. My friend Sarah Pope, author of  The Healthy Home Economist also wrote a similar post about this topic, and why she won’t be shopping at Whole Foods, which will be opening in her area soon.

Both of us feel strongly about avoiding corporate chains that claim to sell local, sustainable foods because we understand how sketchy marketing claims can be and how powerful the lobbying interests of big corporations like Monsanto are to get GMOs in the food supply. In both of our areas, there is really no reason to shop at Whole Foods. In Boise, ID where I live, we have a wonderful health food store here called The Boise Co-op, which has been in our community for decades and heavily supports local sustainable and organic farmers and food growers, as well as merchants who produce other safe, local products.

In Boise, people complain that the Co-op is too expensive. But Whole Foods won’t be any cheaper and there is no guarantee that the products you buy which might be labeled as “natural” (as one example, their 365 line) are free from GMOs, that their meats are 100% grassfed (the USDA only requires that the labeled meat be from animals that are 30% grassfed), or that their products are actually local.  This is one of my biggest gripes about labeling and marketing. Just because it says “all-natural” doesn’t mean it is, and large corporations like Whole Foods are in the habit of letting you assume something is non-GMO just because the label says “natural”.

There are certainly GMO products in other stores besides Whole Foods, so don’t worry, I’m not being naive. But why switch to a large corporation which is putting farmers and other local companies out of business, when you can support your local farmers by buying direct or by shopping at the businesses that stock the same products and you can actually find out whether these farmers use practices you can trust?  Even though Whole Foods has signs everywhere saying they carry local products, the reality is, these stores ship in products from all over the country and the world – such as from China. They stock much less local food product than bigger name products shipped in from who knows where. And, it’s guaranteed they stock a lot of GMO products.

3. Buy from local farmers and ask questions about how your food is produced.

Because labeling laws are so permissive and we really can’t trust big corporations at all, the single most powerful way to make a statement about GMOs and to assure your food is clean and sustainable is to buy from local farmers. You have complete control this way, and can keep looking until you find what you want.  If you decide to settle for something that’s less than what you are looking for because you are just guessing or you haven’t really made an inquiry, you get what you get.

I don’t live in Amish farmer country, but we do have a fantastic community of farmers that produce sustainable food here in the Boise area. I’ve managed to find several good sources of raw milk that are grass-fed. In our area, grass-feeding year round is not always possible. At least I know that these raw milk farmers feed either grass or non-GMO alfalfa hay since I’ve personally talked to them about it. These producers are not organic, so they are not “perfect”, but they are good in many other  ways as they do use “organic” practices.

In our climate, it’s difficult to have cows on pasture all year round. However, there is one farm, Saint John’s Organic Farm, in Emmett, ID which does keep their cows on pasture all during the year, and they are grass-fed and organic. During the winter months, they supplement with non-GMO, organic, alfalfa hay.

4. Learn all you can about GMOs and what to expect, and share with those you know and love.

Spread the word to people around you. Get involved in your own community to help keep local, sustainable farmers in business.

In Europe, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, France, Germany, Greece, and  Luxemborg have put a ban on GMOs. To get GMOs removed from the U.S., the first and most important thing to do is change your buying habits, and get in the habit of avoiding them everywhere you go.

Next, put pressure on legislators to vote for legislation requiring labeling on all GMO products. New technologies, marketing campaigns, and other emerging activities which can easily fool consumers are always on the horizon. Don’t be fooled!

From The Institute for Responsible Technology site:

“By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply.”

Truer words were never spoken. We as consumers have POWER to take back our food supply and put our health in our own hands. Are we up for the challenge? Are we dedicated to protecting our food freedom, our health, and our future? I am, and I hope you are too!

If we don’t take back our food supply, who will? If we don’t do it now, then when? The time is now, and the situation is fervent. So please, I humbly ask you to reconsider the impact these organisms have on our health, our planet, and the future of our children.  Let’s get serious and change our buying habits for a healthy future.

More information: 

Busting myths about GMOs

Institute for Responsible Technology
for more information and for the GMO Shopping guide, which can help you avoid GMOs both in the commercial marketplace and otherwise.

Millions Against Monsanto Campaign (project of Organic Consumer’s Association). Find out how you can become involved and stop bio-terrorist bullies like Monsanto from spreading their poison seed across the earth.

The Non-GMO project - non-profit multi-stakeholder collaboration committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices.

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Real Food Toxin Alert!

Busting Myths About GMOs (Genetically-Modified Foods)

www.mypicshares.com

The cost of food is skyrocketing, and it is affecting not just people shopping at grocery stores, but those all over the world in third-world countries as well. In the midst of all the news about rising food prices, companies like Monsanto are using their P.R. muscle to convince everyone that genetically-modified foods will be our solution to “feed the world”.

Both the food industry and the FDA continue to make claims that genetically modified (GM) foods are safe to consume, have undergone proper testing, and are essential to feed a growing planet. All of these claims are false. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a radical alteration to the way we produce and consume food. The majority of genetically-modified substances are unregulated ingredients, and those can be identified in 60-70% of the foods grown in the U.S.

It is the intent of the food industry and the FDA to convince consumers that these substances have been approved through thorough long-term testing and studies. However, there exists absolutely no real testing standards or requirements. “Research” supporting their claims about the safety of these substances comes from the companies themselves. Monsanto emphatically claims through their own “non-biased” testing that GM foods are safe, and the type of testing done is intended to avoid revealing the inherent problems of these foods. Read more about the non-existent regulation or testing on Dr. Mercola’s site.

Our food buying habits have a tremendous impact on our food system. The more we support sustainable farmers, the more we will send a message to those producing foods that are not sustainable that we don’t want these substances in our food supply.

Watch this important video interview with Dr. Don M. Huber, Professor and plant pathologist from Purdue University, discussing the discovery of a pathogenic bacteria in GM crops which poses a threat to plant, animal, & human health


Ten commonly forwarded myths or ideologies about genetically-modified foods and the truth about their impact on the planet*:

1. GMO foods won’t solve the food crisis.

A 2008 World Food Bank report concluded that increased biofuel production is the major cause of the increase in food prices. GM giant Monsanto has been at the heart of lobbying for biofuels (crops grown for fuel rather than food) – while profiting enormously from the resulting food crisis and using it as a PR opportunity to promote GM foods!

“The climate crisis was used to boost biofuels, helping to create the food crisis: and now the food crisis is being used to revive the fortunes of the GM industry,” writes Daniel Howden, Africa correspondent of The Independent.

Professor Denis Murphy, head of biotechnology at the University of Glamorgan in Wales, had this to say about the issue: “The cynic in me thinks that they’re just using the current food crisis and the fuel crisis as a springboard to push GM crops back on to the public agenda. I understand why they’re doing it, but the danger is that if they’re making these claims about GM crops solving the problem of drought or feeding the world, that’s B.S.”

2.  Genetically-modified crops do not produce yield potential.

Despite the promises, GM has not increased the yield potential of any commercialized crops. In fact, studies show that the most widely grown GM crop, GM soya, has suffered reduced yields.

A report that analyzed nearly two decades worth of peer-reviewed research on the yield of the primary GM food/feed crops, soybeans and corn (maize), reveals that despite 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase crop yields in the U.S. EPA and U.S. FDA biotech specialist Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman, concludes that when it comes to yield, “Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down.”

“Let’s be clear,” he wrote in 2008. “As of this year, there are currently no commercialized GM crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly, there are no GM crops on the market that were engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil. Not one.”

3. GM crops increase pesticide use.

Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that in the States, GM crops have produced an overall increase, not decrease, in pesticide use compared to conventional crops.

“The promise was that you could use less chemicals and produce a greater yield,” writes Bill Christison, president of the U.S. National Family Farm Coalition. “But let me tell you, none of this is true.”

4.  There are better ways to feed the world.

A major UN/World-Bank sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists and endorsed by 58 countries concluded that GM crops have little to offer global agriculture and the challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change, because better alternatives are available. In particular, the report championed “agroecological” farming as the sustainable way forward for developing countries.

5.  Other farm technologies are more successful than GM farming.

Integrated Pest Management and other innovative low-input or organic methods of controlling pests and boosting yields have proven highly effective, particularly in the developing world. Other plant breeding techonlogies, such as Marker Assisted Selection (non-GMO mapping), are widely expected to boost global agricultural productivity more effectively and safely than GM.

“The quiet revolution is happening in gene mapping, helping us to understand crops better,” writes Professor John Snape, head of the department of crop genetics at the John Innes Center. “That is up and running and could have a far greater impact on agriculture [thah GM].”

6. Genetically-modified foods have not been shown to be safe to eat.

Genetic modification is a crude and imprecise way of incorporating foreign genetic material (e.g. from viruses and bacteria) into crops, with unpredictable consequences. The resulting GM foods have undergone little rigorous and no long-term safety testing, but some animal feeding tests have shown worrisome health effects. Only one study has been published on the direct effects on humans of eating a GM food. It found unexpected effects on gut bacteria, but was never followed up. (Fore more information on the effects of GM food on health, visit Seeds of Deception).

Advocates claim that Americans have eaten GM foods for years with no ill-effects. But these foods are unlabeled in the U.S. and no one has monitored the consequences. With other novel foods like trans fats, it has taken decades to realize that they have caused millions of premature deaths. “We are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences,” writes Dr. Suzanne Wuerthele, a toxicologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

7. Stealth GMOs are used in animal feed – without consumers’ consent.

Meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals raised on the millions of tons of GM feed imported into Europe do not have to be labeled. Some studies show that, contrary to GM and food industry claims, animals raised on GM feed are different from those raised on non-GM feed. Other studies show that if GM crops are fed to animals, GM material can appear in the resulting products and that the animals’ health can be affected. Eating “stealth GMOs” may affect the health of consumers.

8. GM crops are long-term economic disaster for farmers.

A 2009 report showed that GM seed prices in America have increased dramatically, compared to non-GM and organic seeds, cutting average farm incomes for U.S. farmers growing GM crops. The report concluded, “At the present time there is a massive disconnect between the sometimes lofty rhetoric from those championing biotechnology as the proven path toward global food security and what is actually happening on farms in the U.S. that have grown dependent on GM seeds and are now dealing with the consequences.”

9. GM and non-GM cannot coexist.

GM contamination of conventional and organic food is increasing. An unapproved GM rice that was grown for only one year in field trials was found to have extensively contaminated the U.S. rice supply and seed stocks. In Canada, the organic canola industry has been destroyed by contamination from GM canola. In Spain, a study found that GM maize “has caused a drastic reduction in organic cultivations of this grain and is making their co-existence practically impossible.”
The time has come to choose between GM-based and a non-GM based world food supply.

“If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell, and consume GM foods, soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free from GM.” Roger Levett, a specialist in sustainable development, writes. “It’s a one-way choice, like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia, once it’s made, it can’t be reversed.”

10. We can’t trust GM companies.

The big biotech firms pushing their GM foods have a terrible history of toxic contamination and public deception. GM is attractive to them because it gives them patents that allow monopoly control over the world’s food supply. They have taken to harassing and intimidating small farmers for the “crime” of saving patented seed or “stealing” patented genes – even if those seeds got into the farmer’s fields by accidental contamination by wind or insects.

Tom Wiley, a North Dakota farmer, explained the situation in a 2004 news story: “Farmers are being sued for having GMOs on their property that they did not buy, do not want, will not use, and cannot sell.”

*Source: GM Watch

These companies could still make profits by producing biofuel crops that are not harmful to the entire planet, and are sustainably-produced. The Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance believes GMOs should be avoided in producing biofuel, and that if they are used they should be labeled. And this article from Renewable Energy World discusses how possible it is to produce non-GMO algae for producing biofuels as well. Ban GM Foods has many examples of non-GM successes in technology that do not involve the use of GM which clearly has many uncertainties and risks.

For more information:

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund site and learn about the lawsuit over Monsanto seed.

Monsanto GM Corn Causing Organ Failure in Rats

The World According to Monsanto – ground-breaking film by French film maker Marie Monique Robin about the hostile takeover Monsanto has executed over the agricultural world.

Non-GMO Shopping Guide