I tried to tell everyone….NAIS Never Went Away-it simply had a name change

The NIAA and the infamous Neil Hammerschmidt are at it again. Having an expensive meeting to figure out how to subject livestock growers to “enforcement” measures for RFID tagging of livestock. They are after the cattle, as they always have been.

Maybe they should remember the nooses on the livestock trailer with their agency name on them the last time they tried this in Colorado. If you are interested, here is the release from the fascist group, NIAA:

Exceptional Agenda Set for Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) announces an impressive agenda for the upcoming day and a half Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability which they will co–host with the US Animal Health Association (USAHA) in Denver, CO in September.

The Strategy Forum will kick off with an introduction from Dr. Tony Forshey, Board Chair, National Institute for Animal Agriculture and Dr. Boyd Parr, United States Animal Health Association.

Mr. Matt Deppe, Executive Director, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (Invited) is scheduled to moderate the Strategy Forum as first day continues with updates on the USDA Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) program and feedback on public meetings from USDA APHIS Veterinary Services Cattle Health Staff/Animal Disease Traceability Veterinarian Dr. Sunny Geiser–Novotny and Dr. Aaron Scott.

Mr. Neil Hammerschmidt, Animal Disease Traceability, Program Manager, will discuss “ADT Next Step Considerations.” After a networking lunch, a panel discussion with State Veterinarians from around the US, will examine “Enforcement Rules –Successes and Opportunities.” Dr. Nevil Speer and Dr. Justin Smith will moderate more panel discussions on “Implications for Livestock Markets ” and “Making Standards and Technology Work.”

Mr. Paul Laronde, Tag & Technology Manager, Canadian Cattle Identification Agency , will open the second day of the Strategy Forum with a review of the Canadian Traceability Forum. Mr. Randy Munger, Mobile Information & Animal Disease Traceability Veterinarian, USDA / APHIS / STAS will speak about “Using RFID to Advance Traceability.”

The final panel discussion will consider “Implications for Livestock Used for Rodeo, Fairs & Exhibitions.”

The Strategy Forum on Livestock Traceability will be held September 26 –27, 2017 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Denver–Stapleton North, Denver, Colorado. View the entire AGENDA HERE. Register HERE.

USDA and the Beef Checkoff Racket

If you are unfortunate enough to have to be on the receiving end of contributing to any of numerous “check off” programs, the problem that has been going on forever with the Beef Check off should give you cause to check into your particular check off program.

Below is a copy of an email from Organization for Competitive Markets. You can get to their website by clicking through the hyperlink in the body.

Friends,

March 31, 2017 was the USDA’s court-ordered deadline to choose transparency or secrecy in our lawsuit over records from an audit initiated in 2011 of the federal Beef Checkoff Program. It chose secrecy.

Out of a total of 12,341 pages of financial records from the audit and sought by the Organization for Competitive Markets through the Freedom of Information Act, USDA released less than 175 pages, most of which are already public tax forms. The remaining nearly 12,200 pages of checkoff-related records, however, were completely blacked out-USDA is claiming they are confidential. The bottom line is that USDA is withholding a staggering 98.5% of federal Beef Checkoff Program spending records from the cattle producers who are required to pay into the government program.

The lawsuit is part of OCM’s four-year battle on behalf of cattle producers to force the USDA to release government audit documents and financial records showing how cattle producers’ beef checkoff funds are being spent. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association-the primary spender of checkoff funds-has been fighting to keep the information hidden. USDA appears committed to helping NCBA conceal checkoff records, rather than assuring transparency for the producers it is supposed to be accountable to.

Check out our full press release for more details, and please share to help spread the word.

OCM will continue to battle for full disclosure of the audit and financial records in our effort to bring long-overdue transparency and accountability to the checkoff programs.

Thank you,
Angela Huffman
Director of Communications and Research
Organization for Competitive Markets

Monsanto Emails Show They Knowingly Colluded to Hide Glyphosate Causes Cancer

Should anyone still think that GMO’s and Round Up aren’t seriously harmful, they need to read this article and go through all the links showing the intentional obscuring and falsification of studies on this disgusting chemical.

Below is an excerpt from the article, and the link is the heading.

Emails between the EPA & Monsanto now revealed (The contents are sickening!)

We should be able to trust that the food we buy is safe, but when the people in charge of that are working to keep unsafe chemicals on the market – we have a huge problem!

Along with so many of you and fellow activists, we have been spreading the truth about GMOs and hazardous chemicals used in conjunction with them like Roundup (glyphosate). This weedkiller isn’t just used on GMOs but on 70 different food crops in the U.S. – it’s in practically everything Americans eat. So, if glyphosate is causing cancer and other diseases, I want to know about it and get it out of our food – don’t you?

Stating the obvious: Monsanto makes billions off of Roundup sales, so they don’t want anyone to question its safety. Some never-before-seen confidential documents just released in a court case against Monsanto give us a glimpse into how they are working to influence the EPA (who is in charge of determining whether they are allowed to sell Roundup anymore) and undermine any efforts to ban its use. These documents show what many of us have known and suspected for quite some time… Monsanto is manipulating scientific research and has gotten some EPA officials on their side who seem to be helping them cover-up the health dangers of Roundup so they can keep it on the market.

Keep in mind… Monsanto and the EPA both do NOT want the public to see these internal emails! Why do you think that is?

While Monsanto is being sued in California by dozens of people who claim Roundup caused their non-hodgkin’s lymphoma, Monsanto had to provide over 6 million pages of internal emails and documents to the court and attorneys, and marked the majority of them as “confidential” so they’d be hidden from the public. When the plaintiffs asked the court to make the records public, both Monsanto and the EPA objected. The judge didn’t agree with their objections and threatened to sanction Monsanto if they continued trying to seal documents and found it in the best interest of the public to release them for all of us to see,“even if Monsanto doesn’t like what they say”.

The public interest group U.S. Right To Know is publishing these documents in their entirety on their website here. This is just the beginning and more are coming out. 

Here’s what we have uncovered in these documents so far…

  • Monsanto was in private talks with a top official at the EPA, Jess Rowland, who was in charge of evaluating the cancer risk of glyphosate for the EPA. Rowland was allegedly helping them stop another federal agency from investigating whether glyphosate causes cancer and told a Monsanto employee, “If I can kill this I should get a medal”. Rowland also signed off on the mysteriously leaked and deleted EPA memo which found glyphosate “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans”, which Monsanto touted as proof the EPA finds it safe.

  • Long-term EPA toxicologist Marion Copley accused EPA’s Rowland of playing “political conniving games with the science” and making decisions based on his “bonus” in favoring pesticide makers (such as Monsanto). Dr. Copley went on to allude that other EPA staff have conflicts of interest and may be taking bribes. She asserts that Anna Lowit (still at the EPA) intimidated staff to change their findings to favor the industry. Dr. Copley also stated, “It is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer.” 

  • A Monsanto employee proposed they could “ghost-write” portions of a scientific report and then just have hired scientists “sign their names so to speak”. The EPA would later use this report evaluate the safety of glyphosate. The reason they would do this is highly unethical – to make the report appear to have been prepared by independent scientists, when in reality Monsanto wrote it! This begs the question, how often do they do this? An email suggests they ghostwrote this report presented to EPA regulators in 2000, although no Monsanto employees are listed as authors.

  • Way back in 1999, Monsanto buried the findings of their own scientist (Dr. James Parry) who found glyphosate is genotoxic and recommended further testing. Internal emails show that Monsanto employees questioned whether Parry had “ever worked with industry before”, “hoped that it didn’t cost too much” and that they should hire a different expert who would be “influential with regulators” and help them with “outreach” efforts. Ha! They only want to hire scientists who will make findings in their favor to deceive our regulators.

  • Monsanto knows other compounds in Roundup such as NNG and 1, 4 Dioxane are toxic and can cause cancer as they acknowledged this with each other in emails mentioned in court docs: “If you talk to Kerry [Liefer, an EPA employee], I wouldn’t push the NNG issue too hard — don’t want to draw attention to the toxicity of our product”.

  • In another 2015 email, a toxicologist at Monsanto hinted that Rowland would be retiring from the EPA and that he’d be useful for their “ongoing glyphosate defense”. This just further shows that Rowland was in Monsanto’s back pocket all along and is a key player in helping them achieve their mission.

They are feeding us lies and these secrets are poisoning us!

Most Americans are eating glyphosate every day… No matter how healthy we eat or how much we try to protect ourselves from it, this weedkiller is being used on most major conventional food crops and is so rampant in our environment that it is contaminating virtually all of our food. It’s been found in honey, cereals, meat, drinking water, breast milk, infant formula, chips, cookies… the list goes on. Our government agencies (FDA and EPA) know this and are allowing corporations to poison Americans for profit. It’s truly disgusting!

Monsanto is stooping to corruption to continue selling their poisons. Everything from seeking to keep their correspondence with the EPA secret, to intimidating scientists at the WHO International Agency on Cancer (IARC) who found Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate “probably carcinogenic”. A large body of peer reviewed research links glyphosate to cancer, reproductive problems, liver, kidney and skin cell damage, antibiotic-resistance, and more – but Monsanto doesn’t want the public to know the truth!

Glyphosate should be banned worldwide and consumers have the power to make this a reality. Here’s our ACTION PLAN:

  1. Choose to buy only certified organic food and products. This will hit Monsanto where it really hurts, their bottom line! Their best-selling products like Roundup and GMO seeds are banned on organic farms. If all farms were organic these products would bite the dust! This is voting with your dollars and is the most effective way to force change.
  2. Share this post with everyone you know! Expose their corruption. They should be shamed for this! Especially if you know anyone who is still eating non-organic food or using Roundup around their homes, make sure you get this information in their hands.
  3. Ask your favorite companies to test for glyphosate and get certified. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if the food you buy contains glyphosate? I have an exciting announcement! The Detox Project just launched a new “Glyphosate Residue Free Certification” program and will begin labeling products that have been tested and are free of glyphosate. I’ve partnered up with them to help spread the word – They are working with food manufacturers and grocery chains, so that soon we will see labels like this on some products – send this link to your favorite companies and ask them to go glyphosate free.

Everyone deserves to know exactly what they are eating and have access to safe, affordable food. My job will not be done until this is a reality. I’m so happy to have so many of you by my side and I know we can make this happen!

 


Senate Agrees on Dark Act

I thought this was a very good article. It seems a completely futile course of action to continue to talk to the furniture in DC, and because of that, I have not been encouraging people to continue to engage in unprofitable action. Does anyone remember that Obama promised to label GMO’s? I know some voted for the cretin on that promise. 8 years after the fact, and the only meaningful things that have happened are at the state level and in public awareness. Neither of which has had any effect on the District of Criminals regulatory or legislative actions.

Due to my desire to not send people on fruitless expeditions, one positive thing you can do is  use this Non GMO shopping guide. Other positive actions on this front include growing your own, buying from farmers that don’t use man-made chemicals and can tell you the breed of the product, and, if you live in a city or town, work to get urban farming and gardening ordinances in place. Or go guerilla grower. 🙂

Here is the best article I could find on the fed level GMO actions:

Senate Agrees on “DARK Act” GMO Labeling Bill

apples-GMO-DARK-Act-620x360-1By Derrick Broze

The U.S. Senate has announced a bipartisan deal which will prevent states from labeling genetically modified foods in favor of a federal labeling system. Here’s what you need to know…

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry agreed on a new bill aimed at labeling foods with genetically modified ingredients. The committee has been trying for several months to get a bill passed before Vermont’s labeling law goes into effect on July 1.

U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow released a statement, calling the bill “an important path forward that represents a true compromise. Since time is of the essence, we urge our colleagues to move swiftly to support this bill.” Roberts said if his colleagues do not act on the bill now Vermont’s law will cause confusion in the marketplace. The bill would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture two years to write the labeling rules.

The bipartisan proposal would immediately prohibit states and cities from passing labeling laws for genetically modified or engineered ingredients. Genetically modified or engineered seeds are engineered to have certain traits, such as resistance to herbicides. The majority of the United States’ corn and soybean crops are now GE, including a large portion that is used for animal feed.

The bill would also put the USDA in charge of establishing “a uniform national disclosure standard for human food that is or may be bioengineered.” Critics of a federal standard worry about the USDA being pressured by biotechnology companies that have a close relationship to U.S. regulatory agencies. The proposal would also require companies producing foods with GE ingredients to post a label, including text on package, a symbol, or a link to a website (QR code or similar technology). Smaller food manufacturers can use websites or telephone numbers to disclose ingredients.

In late February, Roberts introduced another bill which attempted to create a federal voluntary standard for labeling GE food. Roberts’ Senate Bill 2609, or the Biotech Labeling Solutions Act, would have blocked mandatory labeling efforts by states. In March, the bill failed to reach the 60 votes needed during a procedural vote, with 49 votes in favor and 48 votes against.

Roberts’ bill was similar to the controversial Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which passed the House in June 2015 but ultimately failed amid heavy opposition. To critics, the bill was known as the “DARK” (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act because the law was also aimed at nullifying GMO labeling measures, such as the bill passed in Vermont.

The latest bipartisan effort contains language that is identical to both of the previous bills. The bill would “amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national voluntary labeling standard for bioengineered foods.” It’s safe to say that this new bipartisan compromise is simply the latest version of the DARK Act and will likely live up to it’s name by keeping Americans in the dark regarding what is in their food.

The bipartisan proposal is supported by certain food industry groups that believe state bills like the one in Vermont will lead to increased costs for agriculture, food companies and consumers. “This bipartisan agreement ensures consumers across the nation can get clear, consistent information about their food and beverage ingredients and prevents a patchwork of confusing and costly state labeling laws,” Pamela Bailey, president of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the largest food industry lobby group, told the Associated Press.

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, said the new bill deserves the name DARK Act because it will prevent consumers from have “clear, on-package labels” as required by the Vermont law.  “But this deal from Senators Stabenow and Roberts doesn’t even come close, and would instead require consumers to have smartphones and a cellphone signal to know what they are buying,” Hauter said in a statement. “This deal seems to be designed to ensure that big food processing companies and the biotechnology industry continue to profit by misleading consumers.”

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Senator Bernie Sanders both spoke against the new measure. Shumlin criticized the two-year delay, while Sanders said he would do “everything I can” to stop the bill. Meanwhile, the Huffington Post reports that the bill “also allows companies to avoid the main thing consumers have demanded – a fast and easy way to determine if a food product they are purchasing was made using genetically engineered crops.”

The key argument seems to be that the new bill would not have as clear labels as Vermont’s law. Senator Stabenow, however, believes the opposite, claiming that the Vermont law would require GMO labeling of a cheese pizza but not a pepperoni pizza. “Throughout this process I worked to ensure that any agreement would recognize the scientific consensus that biotechnology is safe, while also making sure consumers have the right to know what is in their food,” the senator wrote.

The scientific consensus does lean towards the safety of GE foods, but that has not swayed critics and supporters of labeling. A recent report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine concluded GE foods do not pose a health or environmental risk. Critics of the report point to conflicts of interests between researchers with the National Academy of Sciences and biotechnology companies involved in the creation of GE crops.

The environmental watchdog organization Food and Water Watch released their own report, pointing to possible influence from the same organizations that stand to benefit from the growth of genetic engineering of foods. The report, Under the Influence: The National Research Council and GMOs, looks at “far-reaching ties” between the National Research Council, its parent organization the NAS, and biotechnology companies and agricultural corporations.

Americans who want to know what is in their food need to take control of their own food production and stop relying on large-scale, factory farming which increasingly relies on genetically engineered seeds. Only by taking back the power when it comes to our diets can we stop supporting the systems that are working against our health and freedom. It’s time to grow food, not lawns. It’s time to throw seed bombs everywhere. The revolution is growing and resistance is fertile.

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter.

FBI Doesn’t Want to Let You Know About Your Biometrics

As most of you know, your driver’s license puts you into a global database. It goes like this. The Dept of Motor Vehicles takes a high definition photo of you when you get or renew your license. That pic gets sent to a company called Morphos Trust. They then upload your high definition biometrically calculated (or calculatable) photo to their parent company Safran International. Then Safran sends it on to the IMF, World Bank and Interpol. They will assure that it is all innocent and won’t be used to establish a cashless society. Nice, huh?

Anyway, here is the article I was referencing above:

FBI Wants to Exempt Its Massive Biometric Database from Some Federal Privacy Rules

Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

The FBI wants to block individuals from knowing if their information is in a massive repository of biometric records, which includes fingerprints and facial scans, if the release of information would “compromise” a law enforcement investigation.

The FBI’s biometric database, known as the “Next Generation Identification System,” gathers a wide scope of information, including palm prints, fingerprints, iris scans, facial and tattoo photographs, and biographies for millions of people.

On Thursday, the Justice Department agency plans to propose the database be exempt from several provisions of the Privacy Act — legislation that requires federal agencies to share information about the records they collect with the individual subject of those records, allowing them to verify and correct them if needed.

Aside from criminals, suspects and detainees, the system includes data from people fingerprinted for jobs, licenses, military or volunteer service, background checks, security clearances, and naturalization, among other government processes.

Letting individuals view their own records, or even the accounting of those records, could compromise criminal investigations or “national security efforts,” potentially revealing a “sensitive investigative technique” or information that could help a subject “avoid detection or apprehension,” the draft posting said.

Another clause requires agencies to keep the records they collect to assure individuals any determination made about them was made fairly. Arguing for an exemption, the FBI posting claimed it is “impossible to know in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely and complete” for “authorized law enforcement purposes.”

“With time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance when new details are brought to light,” the posting said. Information contained in the database could help with “establishing patterns of activity and providing criminal lead.”

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The proposal, open for public comment for a month after it’s officially posted, would set a worrying precedent in which law enforcement has significant leeway to decide what information to collect without informing the subject, according to Jeramie Scott, a national security counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a research group advocating for digital civil liberties.

In 2014, EPIC won a lawsuit against the FBI, arguing the contracts and technical requirements supporting the Next Generation Identification database be published.

The proposal’s suggestion that data could be used to establish “patterns of activity” was particularly troubling, Scott said.

“We don’t know exactly what that means,” Scott told Nextgov in an interview. “If you have no ability to access the record the FBI has on you, even when you’re not part of an investigation or under investigation, and lo and behold inaccurate information forms a ‘pattern of activity’ that then subjects you to [be] the focus of the FBI, then that’s a problem.”

It’s unclear how many individuals are covered in the database. FBI documents obtained by privacy rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 2014 suggested the FBI’s facial recognition component was on track to contain 52 million images by 2015.

FBI did not respond to Nextgov’s request for comment.

Monsanto Announces New Poison For Your Consumption

Monsanto, arguably one of the ten most hated corporations in the world, is going to release a more deadly genetically modified strain for everyone to get sick and or die from. Sometimes I become speechless. The loathing and disgust I feel over altering things that are food and turning them into tertiary or quaternary things that can be swallowed is causing me to feel a little speechless right at the moment. Does their logo have a plant in a coffin?

Here’s an article about their recent bragging:

Monsanto announces new technology to make its GM crops more pest resistant

 The entrance sign is seen at the headquarters of Monsanto in St. Louis, Missouri © Juliette Michel
Monsanto says it has developed breakthrough technology to help make its crops more resistant to bugs and pests. The new techniques will help target insects that have developed resistance to previously genetically modified crops.

The research was conducted by scientists at Harvard University in conjunction with Monsanto. The aim was to try and speed up the process of generating proteins, which have properties that can kill pests.

The team was using PACE (phage-assisted continuous evolution) technology, which is able to eliminate insects that have grown resistant to prior agricultural solutions. The PACE method is 100 times faster than other methods in trying to identify protein with insect killing properties, according to the research team.

“Scientific breakthroughs like PACE technology are key to continue bringing solutions to farmers to help them get more out of every acre,” Tom Adams, vice president of biotechnology at Monsanto said in a press release.

“The remarkable progress that’s been made in applying PACE to agriculture biotechnology is a huge testament to the success that comes when parties work together and collaborate to advance science in a way that can bring long-term benefits to global agriculture.”

The importance of the technique means that the proteins are able to be developed at faster than the insects and pests are able to become resistant.

“It’s a breakthrough in a way we can handle resistance in the future,” Tom Malvar, the head of insect control discovery at Monsanto said, according to the Agriculture journal. “This technology is not limited to insect control. We envision this having broad applications,” he added.

In November, a report by Greenpeace slammed the genetically modified (GM) crop industry, for failing to tackle problems regarding superbugs caused by insects becoming resistant to previously genetically modified crops.

“GM crops can only increase yield by reducing losses to pests in years of high infestation, and this effect is not permanent as pesticide-producing crops lead to resistant ‘superbugs’. GM crop yields have often failed to isolate the effects of GM technology from other factors, or to compare like-for-like farms,” the report stated.

GM corn and soyabeans have given smaller yields in recent years in the US due to pests and weeds becoming resistant to weedkillers used to protect the plants.

In March, the US Department of Agriculture announced its intention to end regulation of Monsanto’s GM corn that is engineered to resist the company’s herbicide, meaning that farmers will now be able to plant the corn strains without permits.

However, the move was slammed by critics, with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, a nonprofit advocating pro-family farm policies, saying the unregulated process could lead to environmental damage.

“Without a coordinated and thorough evaluation of the full technology package, and a meaningful analysis of impacts, adding yet another new crop/herbicide package will continue adding to the existing harmful effects on herbicides on ecological systems, human health, and farmers’ livelihoods through herbicide drift and non-target crop losses; the widespread increase in herbicide-resistant weeds; and environmental and public health impacts,” the group said in a statement.

In November, protesters took to the streets in hundreds of cities around the world for the 2015 Million Mask March, which saw activists storm the doors of Monsanto in Washington, DC. In May, activists from over 400 cities spoke out against GMOs and Monsanto’s monopoly over the food supply.

Activists accuse the agricultural corporation of selling toxic chemicals, which are bad for people’s health, water supplies, vital crop pollinators and the environment in general. The giant is also criticized for its attitude towards food safety regulations and staunch opposition to GMO labeling. Small farmers blame Monsanto for monopolizing the seed market.

In January, Seattle announced its intention to sue Monsanto over allegations the company polluted the Lower Duwamish River and city drainage pipes, becoming the sixth city to file a lawsuit against the bio-tech giant.

“Long after the dangers of PCBs were widely known, Monsanto continued its practice of protecting its business interests at our expense,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said in a statement. “The City intends to hold Monsanto accountable for the damage its product wreaked on our environment.”

Surprise! Science is Broken

Finally, people are coming to the obvious conclusion that those of us who have been fighting for evidence based reality have been contending with for years. Science is no longer actually empirical nor is it unbiased. It is controlled, purchased, consumed by the ones who pay for it and used to control and even harm us (vaccines, biotech, geoengineering, food additives, carcinogens, etc). The reality is that you can buy a professorship….well, buy the chair and allow someone with the credentials to hold that spot anyway. You can definitely buy seats on research boards to determine what, if and how things are researched. It’s become politics, just like our “representatives in “government”, they act in the interest of the highest campaign contributors, not the best interest of this or future generations.

The real bummer about it is that I truly enjoy actual science. It’s great figuring out how things work and what they contain. True science is never complete, it is an ever learning process that should always be open to logical and potentially paradigm shifting viewpoints. The proof should be in the process, not something supported by letters behind one’s name, but in actual discovery and with measurable, observable, and consistent results.

At any rate, below is an article about how science is broken….Remember those Einstenian gravitational waves they supposedly discovered? Well….they had to recant. But that didn’t make the headlines because it’s not socially acceptable to show that science isn’t always right. I know the One that is always right. He doesn’t work off of theories, but fact. Sadly, science has become a religion. Just watch Ben Stein’s “Expelled” if you doubt it.

Here’s the article:

Science is broken.

That’s the thesis of a must-read article in First Things magazine, in which William A. Wilson accumulates evidence that a lot of published research is false. But that’s not even the worst part.

Advocates of the existing scientific research paradigm usually smugly declare that while some published conclusions are surely false, the scientific method has “self-correcting mechanisms” that ensure that, eventually, the truth will prevail. Unfortunately for all of us, Wilson makes a convincing argument that those self-correcting mechanisms are broken.

For starters, there’s a “replication crisis” in science. This is particularly true in the field of experimental psychology, where far too many prestigious psychology studies simply can’t be reliably replicated. But it’s not just psychology. In 2011, the pharmaceutical company Bayer looked at 67 blockbuster drug discovery research findings published in prestigious journals, and found that three-fourths of them weren’t right. Another study of cancer research found that only 11 percent of preclinical cancer research could be reproduced. Even in physics, supposedly the hardest and most reliable of all sciences, Wilson points out that “two of the most vaunted physics results of the past few years — the announced discovery of both cosmic inflation and gravitational waves at the BICEP2 experiment in Antarctica, and the supposed discovery of superluminal neutrinos at the Swiss-Italian border — have now been retracted, with far less fanfare than when they were first published.”

What explains this? In some cases, human error. Much of the research world exploded in rage and mockery when it was found out that a highly popularized finding by the economists Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhardt linking higher public debt to lower growth was due to an Excel error. Steven Levitt, of Freakonomics fame, largely built his career on a paper arguing that abortion led to lower crime rates 20 years later because the aborted babies were disproportionately future criminals. Two economists went through the painstaking work of recoding Levitt’s statistical analysis — and found a basic arithmetic error.

Then there is outright fraud. In a 2011 survey of 2,000 research psychologists, over half admitted to selectively reporting those experiments that gave the result they were after. The survey also concluded that around 10 percent of research psychologists have engaged in outright falsification of data, and more than half have engaged in “less brazen but still fraudulent behavior such as reporting that a result was statistically significant when it was not, or deciding between two different data analysis techniques after looking at the results of each and choosing the more favorable.”

Then there’s everything in between human error and outright fraud: rounding out numbers the way that looks better, checking a result less thoroughly when it comes out the way you like, and so forth.

Still, shouldn’t the mechanism of independent checking and peer review mean the wheat, eventually, will be sorted from the chaff?

Well, maybe not. There’s actually good reason to believe the exact opposite is happening.

The peer review process doesn’t work. Most observers of science guffaw at the so-called “Sokal affair,” where a physicist named Alan Sokal submitted a gibberish paper to an obscure social studies journal, which accepted it. Less famous is a similar hoodwinking of the very prestigious British Medical Journal, to which a paper with eight major errors was submitted. Not a single one of the 221 scientists who reviewed the paper caught all the errors in it, and only 30 percent of reviewers recommended that the paper be rejected. Amazingly, the reviewers who were warned that they were in a study and that the paper might have problems with it found no more flaws than the ones who were in the dark.

This is serious. In the preclinical cancer study mentioned above, the authors note that “some non-reproducible preclinical papers had spawned an entire field, with hundreds of secondary publications that expanded on elements of the original observation, but did not actually seek to confirm or falsify its fundamental basis.”

This gets into the question of the sociology of science. It’s a familiar bromide that “science advances one funeral at a time.” The greatest scientific pioneers were mavericks and weirdos. Most valuable scientific work is done by youngsters. Older scientists are more likely to be invested, both emotionally and from a career and prestige perspective, in the regnant paradigm, even though the spirit of science is the challenge of regnant paradigms.

Why, then, is our scientific process so structured as to reward the old and the prestigious? Government funding bodies and peer review bodies are inevitably staffed by the most hallowed (read: out of touch) practitioners in the field. The tenure process ensures that in order to further their careers, the youngest scientists in a given department must kowtow to their elders’ theories or run a significant professional risk. Peer review isn’t any good at keeping flawed studies out of major papers, but it can be deadly efficient at silencing heretical views.

All of this suggests that the current system isn’t just showing cracks, but is actually broken, and in need of major reform. There is very good reason to believe that much scientific research published today is false, there is no good way to sort the wheat from the chaff, and, most importantly, that the way the system is designed ensures that this will continue being the case.

As Wilson writes:

Even if self-correction does occur and theories move strictly along a lifecycle from less to more accurate, what if the unremitting flood of new, mostly false, results pours in faster? Too fast for the sclerotic, compromised truth-discerning mechanisms of science to operate? The result could be a growing body of true theories completely overwhelmed by an ever-larger thicket of baseless theories, such that the proportion of true scientific beliefs shrinks even while the absolute number of them continues to rise. Borges’ Library of Babel contained every true book that could ever be written, but it was useless because it also contained every false book, and both true and false were lost within an ocean of nonsense. [First Things]

This is a big problem, one that can’t be solved with a column. But the first step is admitting you have a problem.

Science, at heart an enterprise for mavericks, has become an enterprise for careerists. It’s time to flip the career track for science on its head. Instead of waiting until someone’s best years are behind her to award her academic freedom and prestige, abolish the PhD and grant fellowships to the best 22-year-olds, giving them the biggest budgets and the most freedoms for the first five or 10 years of their careers. Then, with only few exceptions, shift them away from research to teaching or some other harmless activity. Only then can we begin to fix Big Science.

 

DARE Removes Cannabis As A Gateway Drug

Psssst. Hey guys, guess what? The veil of fear and loathing around cannabis is getting shredded. There is just too much evidence that it is actually good for the vast majority of people coming to light. I guess I need to be more patient and remember that it took the FDA 30 years to admit that vitamin c can help fight off the common cold. Why should it be surprising that it takes almost 80 years to get any quasi-governmental acknowledgement that cannabis isn’t really a drug that drives one to prostitution and heroin?

But we still have the issue of whom we trust with our health care and decisions about what we ingest and to whom we give authority over our potential ingestion of this plant. Hemp seed alone is so amazingly beneficial it’s still a wonder that governments have gotten away with controlling it. Unfortunately, it looks like the corporate control and the “Reefer Madness” idiom we have been conditioned to accepting is still winning.

We do not need to have things that are so potentially beneficial for us (raw milk, food directly from the farmer, cannabis, sassafras) regulated and controlled by nameless faceless bureaucracies and legal systems. If we allow the powers that be to control our access to food, education, news, medicine, information(for example, the massive assault on the statement of evidenced benefits from essential oils) and the sharing of these things, then we may as well ask for permission to breathe as well. Potentially, they are already lined up for the license to breathe via the carbon tax mechanism and CO2 as a “dangerous emission”.

In my state, Missouri, we have two initiatives gathering signatures for the ballot in November. One of those (New Approach Missouri or NAM) is not changing the schedule of cannabis, thereby leaving it in the federal realm of a schedule 1 controlled substance that could cause you to lose your right to keep and bear arms should you get a prescription.  The other initiative, (Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act or MCRPA) changes that scheduling and does not allow the medical industrial complex further control over your health decisions. The problem is that the controlled and legally dangerous initiative has better organization and funding than the fully grass roots initiative. So, we are likely to get something that will only really benefit a few and keep power and money in the hands of the medical industrial complex, the state and the court system, and prevent people from helping themselves and each other.

Here is an article that pretty well reflects my opinion, and let’s us know about the issue with DARE’s policy change:

No More Pretending: D.A.R.E. Says Cannabis No Longer A Gateway Drug

I don’t smoke pot, but if I had a medical condition that warranted its use, I would use it without a doubt. I probably would not smoke it as I don’t want to inhale smoke into my lungs.  I would, however, find another way to reap all of its amazing therapeutic benefits, such as juicing, capsules, or using its potent essential oil.

I must admit that I would even risk being arrested for the sake of taking responsibility for my health. I am a mother with three children, and if using cannabis effectively allowed me to continue to be a mother… I would not refuse it.

There is far too much compounding scientific evidence  (see below) to support its therapeutic value, and besides… it is natural,  who can argue with that?

As more and more states (23 to be exact, plus DC) legalize the medicinal use of cannabis, the pressure is really on the federal government to loosen their restrictions and classification of this herb.

Humans have cultivated and used the flowering tops of the female cannabis plant, known colloquially as marijuana, since history was recorded. Archaeologists in Central Asia even found over two pounds of cannabis in a 2,700-year-old grave of a shaman. Written and pictorial evidence of cannabis use is scattered throughout numerous cultures, indicating a wide acceptance and use of the plant for thousands of years.

“The D.A.R.E. Program and Gateway Drugs”

Most recently, albeit rather quietly, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program

(D.A.R.E.), one of the biggest organized anti-drug groups in the world, erased marijuana from their list of “gateway” drugs. There was no big fanfare, no news conference, nothing. Marijuana simply disappeared off the list on their website, which still contains tobacco and alcohol.

The gateway theory basically states that people who start using “soft” substances like tobacco, alcohol and marijuana will move on to “hard” drugs like cocaine or heroin. For years, the D.A.R.E. program has been teaching that marijuana along with alcohol and tobacco are very dangerous gateway drugs. Two outta three ain’t bad, but there has been a tremendous amount of miseducation taking place. Here is what the D.A.R.E. website had to say about marijuana in 2014:

“While the drug [marijuana] is being legalized in some states for medicinal and, in some cases, recreational purposes, there are many experts who still consider it the path to a life of ruin.”

No need to look at the past, however. I celebrate, along with many others, the fact that the program has taken this step to help end marijuana propaganda that has been going on for a very long time. I am glad that they were bold enough to get off the cannabis-bashing bandwagon and acknowledge what science supports.

Less ammunition for those against legalization 

The disappearance of cannabis from the list gives those opposed to legalization of the plant a much smaller platform upon which to stand. Sorry to disarm you Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  Schultz, Democratic National Committee chair described pot as a dangerous gateway drug in an interview not too long ago. Here is what she had to say.

“I just don’t think we should legalize more mind-altering substances if we want to make it less likely that people travel down the path toward using drugs,” Schultz told The New York Times. “We have had a resurgence of drug use instead of a decline. There is a huge heroin epidemic.”

But she was actually far off course, studies show that the marijuana-gateway theory is wrong, hands down. Even the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that most people who use cannabis don’t move on to harder or more dangerous substances. Sadly enough, The Intercept reports that Schultz has been badmouthing cannabis while accepting generous campaign donations from Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco. Now that makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? 

Drug classification remains 

Although D.A.R.E. has made a courageous and historic stand by removing cannabis from their gateway list, federal prohibitions outlawing the therapeutic and recreational use of cannabis still remain. These restrictions were first imposed by Congress with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Later, the plant’s organic compounds (cannabinoids) were classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

This classification puts the plant in the same pool as heroin and states that cannabis possesses “a high potential for abuse… no currently accepted medical use… [and] a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug… under medical supervision.”

In contrast, cocaine and methamphetamine, which are illegal for recreational use, may be consumed under a doctor’s supervision and are classified as Schedule II drugs. Examples of Schedule III and IV drugs include anabolic steroids and Valium. Analgesics that contain codeine are defined by law as Schedule V drugs, the most lenient classification.

Therapeutic value

Federal lawmakers continue to use the dated drug classification as a means to defend criminalization of marijuana. However, there appears to be very little scientific basis for the categorization of the plant. As its prohibition has passed 75 years, researchers continue to study the therapeutic properties of cannabis.

There are over 20,000 published reviews and studies in scientific literature that pertain to the cannabis plant and its cannabinoids, almost one-third of these have been published in the last four years. A keyword search on PubMed Central (the U.S. government library of peer-reviewed scientific research) shows 2,100 studies alone since 2011.

Joycelyn Elders, MD, former U.S. Surgeon General, wrote the following in a March 26, 2004 article titled “Myths About Medical Marijuana,” published in the Providence Journal:

“The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS — or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”

Ray Cavanaugh, PhD, national director of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC), wrote the following in a 2002 article titled “The Plight of the Chronically Ill,” posted on the AAMC website:

“Many of the chronically ill have successfully sought relief with the use of medical cannabis, an age-old remedy that now shows real scientific efficacy. Hundreds of thousands of the sick have replaced disabling narcotics and other psychotropic medications with nontoxic and benign cannabis. The anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. Folks with spinal injuries able to give up their walkers, AIDS patients able to gain weight and keep their medications down, cancer patients finding relief from the terrible nausea of chemotherapy, chronic pain patients once again functional with their consciousness restored from narcotic lethargy, and folks once disabled from crippling psychiatric disorders and addictions, returned to sanity and society with the assistance of a nontoxic herb with remarkable healing powers.”

The American Nurses Association (ANA) wrote the following in its March 19, 2004 “Position Statement: Providing Patients Safe Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis,” posted on the ANA website:

“The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognizes that patients should have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis. Cannabis or marijuana has been used medicinally for centuries. It has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of symptoms and conditions.”

Researchers at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research announced findings from a number of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials on the medical utility of inhaled cannabis in 2010.

The studies used the FDA “gold standard” clinical trial design and reported that marijuana should be the “first line of treatment” for patients suffering from neuropathy and other serious illnesses.

Neuropathy is a type of pain associated with diabetes, cancer, spinal cord injuries, HIV/AIDS and other debilitating conditions. The trials indicated that marijuana controlled pain as well or better than available medications.

Scientists continue to study the effectiveness of cannabinoids all over the world. In Germany there have been over 37 controlled studies, with over 2,500 subjects, assessing the safety and efficacy of marijuana since 2005. In contrast, most FDA-approved drugs go through far fewer trials with less subjects but are approved for use.

ErasesCannabisGatewayDrugList_640x359The research on cannabis has shifted from studying its ability to alleviate symptoms of disease, such as nausea associated with chemotherapy, to its potential role in modifying disease. Medical marijuana has been shown to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and moderate autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Where does this leave us?

Is marijuana a gateway drug? No way. Does it have therapeutic value that we would be foolish to overlook? Most definitely. The decision of D.A.R.E. to remove marijuana from their gateway list sends a message to all engaged in the cannabis debate. As more and more forward momentum is gained and the falsities of this plant begin to fade in the light of the true evidence, there is hope for millions of people who suffer needlessly in pain when a natural and highly effective remedy exists.

Clearly, where conventional medicine has failed or needs help, alternatives such as cannabis can and are starting to fill the gap.

—Susan Patterson

Susan is the Content Director at The Alternative Daily, a Certified Health Coach, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and Master Gardener. With an extensive knowledge of whole foods and wellness, Susan has authored over 3,000 articles and numerous e-books. She presently lives in the mountains of Arizona where she enjoys hiking, biking, gardening and pursuing a healthy lifestyle with her three daughters and numerous animals.

Sources:
http://extract.suntimes.com/news/10/153/16482/dare-program-no-longer-lists-marijuana-as-gateway-drug
http://norml.org/component/zoo/category/recent-research-on-medical-marijuana
http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu
http://ireadculture.com/article-2940-convinced-of-the-cure.html

Science is Indeed For Sale- Story of a Monsanto Purchase

A few months ago, in preparation for a talk on GMO’s, I came across some information clarifying how the research and educational systems are literally up for sale. People (or corporations) can buy seats on research boards for an average of $20k. Likewise, they can sponsor professorships for a larger sum, usually in the few hundreds of thousands. So, University level science has become incredibly corrupt. The stories of scientists who have been blackballed by the controllers of research are striking, and actually quite sad. The article below covers an aspect of this issue. For those who still think that GMO’s are either needed or safe, they need to be intellectually honest and research the funding and control behind the studies that report that GMO’s -of any variety- are safe.

The source for the article is linked in the headline:

The Inside Story of How a University Professor Quietly Collaborated With Monsanto

Carey Gillam, AlterNet | Fe

Former University of Illinois food science professor Bruce Chassy is known for his academic gravitas. Now retired nearly four years, Chassy still writes and speaks often about food safety issues, identifying himself with the full weight of the decades of experience earned at the public university and as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health. Chassy tells audiences that before he retired in 2012, he worked “full time” doing research and teaching.

Many consumer and environmental groups want to see more restrictions and regulation on GMO crops. Photo credit: Stephen Melkisethian / Shutterstock
Many consumer and environmental groups want to see more restrictions and regulation on GMO crops. Photo credit: Stephen Melkisethian / Shutterstock

What Chassy doesn’t talk much about is the other work he did while at the University of Illinois—promoting the interests of Monsanto Co., which has been trying to overcome mounting public concerns about the genetically engineered (GMO) crops and chemicals the company sells. He also doesn’t talk much about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Monsanto donated to the university as Chassy was helping promote GMOs or Monsanto’s secretive role in helping Chassy set up a nonprofit group and website to criticize individuals and organizations who raise questions about GMOs.

But emails released through Freedom of Information Act requests show that Chassy was an active member of a group of U.S. academics who have been quietly collaborating with Monsanto on strategies aimed at not just promoting biotech crop products, but also rolling back regulation of these products and fending off industry critics. The emails show money flowing into the university from Monsanto as Chassy collaborated on multiple projects with Monsanto to counter public concerns about genetically modified crops (GMOs)—all while representing himself as an independent academic for a public institution.

A New York Times article by Eric Lipton published last September laid bare the campaign crafted by Monsanto and other industry players to use the credibility of prominent academics to push the industry’s political agenda. That New York Times article focused primarily on University of Florida academic Kevin Folta, chairman of the university’s Horticultural Sciences Department and Folta’s work on behalf of Monsanto. But an examination of recently released email exchanges between Monsanto and Chassy show new depths to the industry efforts.

The collaborations come at a critical juncture in the U.S. regarding GMO public policy. Mandatory GMO labeling is set to take effect in Vermont on July 1; Congress is wrestling over a federal labeling law for GMOs; and several other states are seeking their own answers to rising consumer demand for transparency about this topic.

Many consumer and environmental groups want to see more restrictions and regulation on GMO crops and the glyphosate herbicide many know as Roundup, which is used on GMOs. But the companies that market the crops and chemicals argue their products are safe and there should be less regulation, not more. Monsanto’s roughly $15 billion in annual revenue comes almost exclusively from GMO crop technology and related chemicals.

Amid the furor, the revelations about corporate collaboration with public university scientists to promote GMOs have sparked a new debate about a lack of transparency in the relationships between academics and industry.

Chassy has said he did nothing unethical or improper in his work supporting Monsanto and the biotech crop industry. “As a public-sector research scientist, it was expected … that I collaborate with and solicit the engagement of those working in my field of expertise,” Chassy said.

Still, what you find when reading through the email chains is an arrangement that allowed industry players to cloak pro-GMO messaging within a veil of independent expertise and little, if any, public disclosure of the behind-the-scenes connections.

Critical Collaborations 

  • In a November 2010 email, Monsanto chief of global scientific affairs Eric Sachs tells Chassy that Monsanto has just sent a “gift of $10,000” to the university “so the funds should be there.” He then tells Chassy he is working on a plan for Monsanto and others in the agribusiness industry to support an “academics review” website that Chassy can use to counter concerns and allegations raised by critics of GMOs. “From my perspective the problem is one of expert engagement and that could be solved by paying experts to provide responses,” Sachs wrote. “The key will be keeping Monsanto in the background so as not to harm the credibility of the information.”

  • In a separate 2010 exchange, Jay Byrne, president of the v-Fluence public relations firm and former head of corporate communications for Monsanto, tells Chassy he is trying to move the Academics Review project forward. He suggests “we work on the money (for all of us).” Byrne says that he has a list of GMO critics for Academics Review to target. He tells Chassy that the topic areas “mean money for a range of well-heeled corporations.”

  • In 2011, several emails show Chassy and Monsanto chief of global scientific affairs Eric Sachs, along with others, discussing ways to lobby the Environmental Protection Agency against expanded regulation of biotech crops.

  • In one email exchange from September 2011, Chassy suggests how the biotech crop industry might “spin” a government study that found significant levels of the chemical glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, in air and water samples.

  • In emails from 2012, Chassy and Monsanto’s Sachs and Monsanto’s John Swarthout, who leads the company’s “scientific outreach and issues management,” discuss an upcoming presentation Chassy is preparing to make in China. They discuss Monsanto’s review of and changes to, the presentation. Monsanto’s Sachs instructs Swarthout to send slide decks to Chassy as material for his presentation.

  • In April 2012, Monsanto toxicologist Bruce Hammond asks in an email if short videos can be created about the “safety of GM crops.” Chassy says that he is applying for funding from the State Department and “also seeking other sources of support” and can use university equipment to make the videos. Chassy asks Monsanto’s Hammond for a list of videos that “you think would be helpful.” Chassy tells Hammond that Byrne’s group v-fluence has helped create and edit the video scenarios.

  • In separate emails, Monsanto’s Sachs tells Chassy that Monsanto is shooting its own videos,” but says, “Obviously, independent content from the University of Illinois and supported by U.S. government agencies is the preferred approach.” Sachs tells Chassy that Monsanto is happy to help “provide guidance or approaches for additional videos.”

 

Emails About Money 

The emails also discuss money.

  • In an October 2010 email, Chassy tells colleagues at the university that Monsanto has told him it is going to make a “substantial contribution” to his biotech account at the university.

  • In an October 2011 exchange, Chassy asked Sachs about a contribution for the university foundation biotech fund. The Monsanto executive responded that he would “make a gift to the foundation right away” if it had not already been made. Chassy instructs Monsanto to mail the check to the head of the university’s department of food science and to enclose a letter saying the check is “an unrestricted grant … in support of the biotechnology outreach and education activities of Professor Bruce M. Chassy.”

  • And in April and May of 2012 Chassy asks Monsanto directly about an expected “deposit.” In one, on May 31, 2012, as he was preparing to begin his retirement on June 30, Chassy wrote Monsanto’s Sachs again asking “is there any way to find out if a check was issued to University of Illinois for me? I don’t see it in my account yet …”

  • Also in May 2012, Monsanto made a $250,000 grant to the university to help set up an agricultural communications endowed chair. That donation was just a drop in the bucket of the donations from Monsanto—at least $1.9 million in the last five years, according to the university—for agriculture-related projects.

Continued Close Ties 

The close ties between Monsanto and Chassy continued past Chassy’s retirement in June 2012 from the university. Through 2013 and 2014 Chassy frequently appeared as an “independent expert” on the GMO Answers website, a pro-GMO site funded by Monsanto and other agribusiness giants. In that role, he answered questions and concerns about GMOs.

Chassy also has continued to operate Academics Review, publishing critical articles about individuals and organizations, including the World Health Organization’s cancer experts, that report information unfavorable for the GMO crop industry. (I was the subject of at least two such attacks in 2014. Chassy objected to my presentation of both sides of the GMO safety debate in one Reuters article and objected to a second Reuters article that detailed the findings of a USDA report that found both benefits but also concerns associated with GMOs.)

When asked about its interactions with Chassy, Monsanto has said that there is nothing improper with its “engagements” with “public sector experts” and that such collaborations help educate the public on important topics. The university also has said it sees nothing wrong with the relations. A university spokeswoman said Chassy has “strong scientific credibility.” She also said that Monsanto has given the university at least $1.9 million in the last five years.

But others familiar with the issues say the lack of transparency is a problem.

“These revelations regarding the connections are very important,” George Kimbrell, senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety, said. “The basic disclosure that some academics and other ‘neutral’ commentators in the public sphere are actually paid operatives/working directly with the chemical industry rightly alarms the public, as they are being misled.”

Revelations similar to these involving University of Florida Professor Kevin Folta’s connections to Monsanto did spark a public backlash after emails showed Folta received an unrestricted $25,000 grant and told Monsanto he would “write whatever you like.” Folta said in a Jan. 18 blog that he no longer works with Monsanto because of the heated backlash.

Both Chassy and Folta have repeatedly written or been quoted in news articles that failed to disclose their connections to Monsanto and the GMO industry. In a recent example, Chassy has co-authored a series of articles that argue GMO labeling is a “disaster in waiting,” again with no disclosure of his collaboration with GMO developer Monsanto. His co-author is Jon Entine, founder of the PR firm ESG MediaMetrics, whose clients have included Monsanto, a connection Entine does not include in the article.

The revelations in the emails about Chassy, Folta and other assorted academics leave many questions about who to trust and how to trust information critical to understanding our evolving food system. With food labeling issues at the forefront of debate, it’s time for more transparency.

Lab Grown Pork….Really.

Some stories you read just make you sick to your stomach. This one hits me that way. The comments are pretty scary, too.

This Biotech Startup Promises Lab-Grown Pork Within Five Yea

This Biotech Startup Promises Lab-Grown Pork Within Five Years

The future of lab-grown meat is coming. Or at least it feels that way, based on burgeoning interest in the biotech community. One by one, companies are staking out different animal tissues to grow in vitro for human consumption. First there was beef. Then there was chicken. Now there’s pork.

San Fransisco-based startup Memphis Meats made its public debut today, with a Wall Street Journal exclusive that details the team’s ambitious plan to grow beef and pork in laboratory bioreactors—and to be the first company to bring lab-grown meat to market. Memphis Meats says it’ll be selling its animal-free products to high-end customers in three to four years. Oh, and to dissuade any lingering doubts, they’ve also just unveiled the world’s first lab-grown meatball.

Mark Post, whose stem cell burger created an international sensation in 2013, recently announced that his company, Mosa Meat, would be selling lab-grown beef in four to five years.

Lab-grown meat is one of those futuristic technologies that polarizes people, with some saying it’s going to replace animal agriculture and others insisting it’ll never be more than a novelty. Most arguments for or against lab-grown meat hinge on whether you buy the claim that we can produce animal tissue in laboratories at a far lower per capita cost than we can growing it the old fashioned way.

The resource requirements—water, energy, food, space, time—for growing a cow are fairly well-established. But the technology to grow meat in vitro is still in its infancy. And while the first stem cell burger carried a whopping $330,000 price tag, production costs are falling by the year.

Still, significant technical barriers remain. Like Mosa Meat, Memphis Meats is growing animal muscle tissue in bioreactors seeded with stem cells and nutrients. One of the key challenges here is making sure the tissue, which lacks a capillary system to transport blood, remains well-oxygenated. So far, that’s meant growing cells in extremely thin sheets.

Another issue concerns the growth medium itself. At this point, all lab-grown meat relies on fetal bovine serum, a nutrient-rich cocktail extracted from the blood of unborn calves. Not only is fetal bovine serum expensive, its use undermines one of the main arguments for lab grown meat: removing animals from the equation. When I spoke with Mark Post about his stem cell burger over the summer, he told me his lab was working to develop a plant-based substitute. Memphis Meats tells the Wall Street Journal that it, too, plans to have a plant-based alternative in the near future.

Are lab-grown meatballs, chicken wings, and pork chops going to become an ordinary sight at your local grocery store? We’ll have to wait and see. But the race to bring these future foods to our plates is clearly on.

Follow the author @themadstone

Top image via Shutterstock

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