GMO Labeling Initiative in Colorado

The following article actually goes beyond the scope of simply Colorado’s initiative. It’s a pretty good piece and shows the Grocery Industries opposition to any labeling effort. Frankly, if things have to be labeled that may have touched a peanut, it seems like no big deal to let people know that there are or may be GMO’s in foods.

GMO labeling effort in Colorado scores win in state Supreme Court

An effort to put a ballot initiative in front of Colorado voters regarding the labeling of genetically modified foods was allowed to proceed after the state Supreme Court dismissed a challenge by biotech and food industry outfits.

For Initiative #48 to make it on the November ballot, supporters must now gather 86,105 petition signatures and turn them into the state by early August, according to Right to Know Colorado GMO. The grassroots group, which is responsible for the initiative, is made up of local farmers, organic food retailers, consumer advocates, and citizens concerned with the “basic right to know what is in our food and what we are feeding our families.”

“We are pleased that the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of the GMO labeling ballot title, and we look forward to bringing a GMO labeling initiative before the voters of Colorado this fall,” said Larry Cooper of Right to Know.

In a filing with the state Supreme Court, the Rocky Mountain Food Industry Association’s Mary Lou Chapman challenged the ballot initiative for being misleading, according to Natural Products Insider. Chapman did not return NPI’s request for comment on the Court’s decision.

Initiative #48 would mandate that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) come with packaging that announces “Produced With Genetic Engineering” by July 1, 2016.

The only exceptions to the labeling rules would include food or drink made for animals, chewing gum, alcoholic beverages, medically-prescribed food, foods subject to labeling only for its modified processing aids or enzymes, food not packaged for retail sale that is either processed or served by a restaurant with the intention of immediate consumption, and “food consisting entirely of or from an animal that has not been genetically engineered even if the animal was fed with food that was produced through genetic engineering or any drug that was produced through genetic engineering.”

Distributors, manufacturers, and retailers that fail to properly label GMO food would be subject to the state’s misbranding statute and could face criminal prosecution, according to documents filed with the Colorado Supreme Court.

The Center for Food Safety says dozens of states are considering GMO labeling laws on some level, as there is no federal labeling standard. Polling suggests over 90 percent of Americans would prefer GMO ingredients in consumables to be labeled to some extent.

Recent ballot measures seeking a labeling mandate failed in California and Washington state, though not without major efforts by the most powerful biotech and industry players, such as Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Supporters of GMOs say adverse effects of food products which come from the manipulation of an organism’s genetic material are unproven at this point.

Yet science is also inconclusive on whether genetically engineered products cannot cause long-termharm to human health. At least, that is the consensus held by the several dozen countries which have banned or severely restricted their use worldwide.

“While risk assessments are conducted as part of GE product approval, the data are generally supplied by the company seeking approval, and GE companies use their patent rights to exercise tight control over research on their products,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said about GMOs. “In short, there is a lot we don’t know about the risks of GE – which is no reason for panic, but a good reason for caution.”

According to the US Department of Agriculture, in 2013, GMO crops were planted on about 169 million acres of land in the US — or about half of all farmland from coast to coast.

The vast majority of conventional processed foods in the US are made with genetically modified ingredients. Around 93 percent of all soybean crops planted in the US last year involved genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant (HT) variants, the USDA has acknowledged, and HT corn and HT cotton constituted about 85 and 82 percent of total acreage, respectively.

“HT crops are able to tolerate certain highly effective herbicides, such as glyphosate, allowing adopters of these varieties to control pervasive weeds more effectively,”reads an excerpt from a recent USDA report.

As those weed-killers are dumped into more and more fields containing HT crops, however, USDA experts say it could have a major, as yet uncertain impact on the environment.

Alarms surrounding the potentially irrevocable damage that GMO crops pose to the environment have been echoed by many researchers in the face of industry studies that insist GMOs are safe for humans and other living organisms.

Nassim Taleb, professor of risk engineering at New York University and author of best-sellers ‘The Black Swan’ and ‘Fooled by Randomness,’ recently said that GMOs have a very real ability to cause “an irreversible termination of life at some scale, which could be the planet.” Taleb’s thesis basically stems from the fact that GMOs come from laboratory alterations rather than natural processes, and that humans cannot understand that with each modified seed, the potential for “total ecocide” increases.

“There is no comparison between the [bottom-up] tinkering of selective breeding and the top-down engineering of taking a gene from an organism and putting it into another,” Taleb and colleagues say in a draft of their research.

“The planet took about close to zero risks of ecocide in trillions of variations over 3 billion years, otherwise we would not have been here.”

Corruption in Science? You’re Kidding!

As anyone who follows the approval of FDA and USDA “science” knows, we no longer have much at all in the way of actual science. Instead we have black balling of those who don’t tote the corporate line, and science based studies that have nothing to do with legitimate science and the scientific method we are supposed to learn in school.

The following interview by Democracy Now! has clearly exposed the issue. Check it out:

GRAS Being Challenged

Most of the time, I find Food Safety News to be off target and terrified of real food and personal choice in nourishment. The following article is an exception, but probably because it doesn’t actually have anything to do with Food Safety News and their fear mongering owner Bill Marler. At any rate, the article clearly demonstrates how corrupt FDA processes are, and hopefully the lawsuit will actually change an aspect of that corruption.

 

Lawsuit Brought Against FDA Regarding Food Additives

By Lydia Zuraw | February 21, 2014

After settling a dispute about final rule deadlines for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) earlier this week, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) has filed another lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – this time over food additives.

The suit seeks to vacate FDA’s 1997 proposed rule on substances generally recognized as safe (GRAS). The rule replaces the traditional petitioning process for a manufacturer seeking GRAS status for an additive with a “procedure whereby any person may notify FDA of a determination that a particular use of a substance is GRAS.”

CFS wants the agency to return to the traditional process by which manufacturers formally petition FDA to approve a new food additive as GRAS based on published studies.

FDA’s website acknowledges that the agency began accepting GRAS notices in 1998 even though the procedure was not yet final (and has yet to be finalized) and states that “the agency is evaluating whether each submitted notice provides a sufficient basis for a GRAS determination and whether information in the notice or otherwise available to FDA raises issues that lead the agency to question whether use of the substance is GRAS.”

But CFS claims that “FDA no longer conducts its own detailed analysis to evaluate the data” and “no longer affirms whether or not a substance’s use is GRAS at all.”

A 2010 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the subject passed similar judgment by stating, “Currently, companies may determine a substance is GRAS without FDA’s approval or knowledge.”

CFS is particularly concerned that this notification process has allowed for potentially hazardous additives to enter the food supply. Three examples named in the lawsuit are a potential human carcinogen called Volatile Oil of Mustard, an indigestible compound called Olestra that can cause adverse reactions, and a fungus-based meat substitute mycoprotein (also know as Quorn) that can cause dangerous allergic reactions.

“It has been 15 years since FDA handed authority to determine GRAS status over to the corporations it is meant to regulate,” said Andrew Kimbrell, CFS executive director. “FDA has an obligation to provide the regulatory scrutiny the public deserves.”

© Food Safety News

GMO Labeling Co-Opt

As expected, the promoters of GMO food are now beginning a broad push on the federal level to pre-empt the ability of consumers to know that they are eating stuff that was never part of creation and is more like sprinkling pesticide and herbicides on nearly everything you eat than ingesting food.

With nearly everything in our country, you can look at the corporations behind any social movement and figure out whether it is of the people, or of the corporations. People tend to want personal choice and informed consent, and corporations look at people as revenue generators and something to be exploited.

At this point in our nation’s history, it looks to me like the only thing we can do to try to provide for ourselves and our families is to grow as much of our own food as possible, and what we cannot produce we need to get from others who are growing their own food as well. We will never be able to fight Monsanto, Farm Bureau, Dupont, Bayer, Cargill, ADM, Bunge, Tyson, IBP and the banking structure in the legislature. They can give way more in the realm of political donations than we can, so the only justice we can seek must come from each other.

Here is the article from their “Coalition for Safe Affordable Food” website. Please read down to the bottom and view all their members. It’s illuminating:

Broad-Based Coalition Launched to Advocate for Congressional Action on a Federal GMO Labeling Solution
Legislation Needed to Protect Consumers by Eliminating Confusion and Advancing Food Safety

(Washington, D.C.) American farmers and representatives from a diverse group of almost thirty industry and non-governmental organizations today announced the formation of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (www.CFSAF.org) and urged Congress to quickly seek a federal solution that would establish standards for the safety and labeling of food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).

“American families deserve safe, abundant and affordable food,” said Martin Barbre, President of the National Corn Growers. “And America’s farmers rely on this proven technology to protect crops from insects, weeds and drought, enabling us to deliver on that promise and to do so through sustainable means. A federal solution on GMO labeling will bolster consumer confidence in the safety of American food by reaffirming the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) role as the nation’s foremost authority on the use and labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.”

A federal GMO labeling solution is needed that will protect consumers and ensure the safety of food ingredients made through the use of modern agricultural biotechnology:

• Eliminate Confusion: Remove the confusion and uncertainty of a 50 state patchwork of GMO safety and labeling laws and affirm the FDA as the nation’s authority for the use and labeling of genetically modified food ingredients.

• Advance Food Safety: Require the FDA to conduct a safety review of all new GMO traits before they are introduced into commerce. FDA will be empowered to mandate the labeling of GMO food ingredients if the agency determines there is a health, safety or nutrition issue with an ingredient derived from a GMO.

• Inform Consumers: The FDA will establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients so that consumers clearly understand their choices in the marketplace.

• Provide Consistency: The FDA will define the term “natural” for its use on food and beverage products so that food and beverage companies and consumers have a consistent legal framework that will guide food labels and inform consumer choice.

“Foods made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) are safe and have a number of important benefits for people and our planet,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “Our nation’s food safety and labeling laws should not be set by political campaigns or state and local legislatures, but by the FDA, the nation’s foremost food safety agency.

“GMO technology has fostered a revolution in American agriculture that has benefitted consumers in the United States and around the world. And with global population expected to grow from seven to nine billion by 2050, we will need 70% more food production to keep pace. A federal GMO labeling solution will provide a framework for the safe and continued use of technology that is essential to the future of our planet.”

Facts About GMOs (www.FactsAboutGMOs.org )
• Many of the most influential regulatory agencies and organizations that study the safety of the food supply, including the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Academy of Sciences, have found genetically modified food ingredients (GMOs) are safe and there are no negative health effects associated with their use.

• GM technology adds desirable traits from nature, without introducing anything unnatural or using chemicals, so that food is more plentiful.

• GM technology is not new. In fact, it has been around for the past 20 years, and today, 70-80% of the foods we eat in the United States, both at home and away from home, contain ingredients that have been genetically modified.

• Ingredients grown using GM technology require fewer pesticides, less water and keep production costs down. In fact, GM technology helps reduce the price of crops used for food, such as corn, soybeans and sugar beets by as much as 15-30%.

• One in eight people among the world’s growing population of seven billion do not have enough to eat, and safe and effective methods of food production, like crops produced through GM technology, can help us feed the hungry and malnourished in developing nations around the world.
###

The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food is dedicated to providing policy makers, media, consumers and all stakeholders with the facts about ingredients grown through GM technology. We are also an advocate for common sense policy solutions that will only further enhance the safety of the GM crops and protect the vital role they play in today’s modern global food supply chain. The coalition is comprised of American farmers and representatives from a diverse group of industry and non-governmental organizations.

Coalition Members

1. AACC International/ American Phytopathological Society
2. American Bakers Association
3. American Beverage Association
4. American Farm Bureau Federation
5. American Feed Industry Association
6. American Frozen Food Institute
7. American Seed Trade Association
8. American Soybean Association
9. American Sugarbeet Growers Association
10. Biotechnology Industry Organization
11. Corn Refiners Association
12. Council for Responsible Nutrition
13. Flavor & Extract Manufacturers Association
14. Global Cold Chain Alliance
15. Grocery Manufacturers Association
16. International Dairy Foods Association
17. International Franchise Association
18. National Association of Manufacturers
19. National Association of Wheat Growers
20. National Confectioners Association
21. National Corn Growers Association
22. National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
23. National Grain & Feed Association
24. National Fisheries Institute
25. National Oilseed Processors Association
26. National Restaurant Association
27. National Turkey Federation
28. North American Millers Association
29. Pet Food Institute
30. Snack Food Association
31. U.S. Beet Sugar Association

Contact: Claire Parker
Coalition for Safe Affordable Food Press Office
703-888-9395
press@cfsaf.org

 

 

 

Death by Regulation

I couldn’t possibly agree more with the author of the following article. He did a good job in going back through recent history and finding points that clearly show the insanity in which we now find ourselves regarding regulation of the simplest entrepreneurial effort.

The other day, Forbe’s, whom I take umbrage with over their continued support for GMO shill Henry Miller, did a good piece on the 1000 new businesses that sprang up in California due to the state allowing home food businesses to have a go at it without choking them to death with regulatory controls.

Less regulation is good for children and other living things…Unless of course it is lack of regulation over actual poisons like 24D.

My personal thoughts on this matter are that the regulatory system is effectively choking the spark of life out of us. It’s like replacing our inherent drive to create with the “Dao of Poo” summed up as, “Why bother?”

At any rate, here is the promised article. Hats off to the author, John Aziz!

By John Aziz | February 4, 2014
Yeah, it's tough out there kid.
Yeah, it’s tough out there kid. (Jim Weber/ZUMA Press/Corbis)
Over the last 30 years, it seems like it has gotten a little tougher for kids to start that most Norman Rockwell of ventures, the lemonade stand.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s there were a few instances of local governments shutting kids’ stands down for various reasons, although officials typically bowed to public pressure and allowed them to reopen.

In 1983, 6-year-old Ali Thorn’s lemonade stand in Belleair, Fla., was closed down after police received an anonymous complaint that her sign did not comply with city ordinances, but was quickly allowed to reopen.

In 1988, 9-year-old Max Schilling’s seven-foot high lemonade stand in Watchung, N.J., was shuttered after city officials claimed it was a permanent structure that sat too close to the street and threatened to fine him $500 a day. After a brief legal fight, Schilling’s stand was allowed to reopen.

In 1993, 12-year-old Sarah Knott and 13-year-old Margaret Johnson’s stand in Charleston, S.C., was shut down by police officers because they didn’t have a peddler’s license. However, after a public outcry, the city apologized to the girls and allowed them to continue.

More recently, though, local enforcement of lemonade stands seems to have grown stricter, or at least, more noticeable. The libertarian Freedom Center of Missouri has produced a map to show the locations of these incidents.

In 2010, 7-year-old Julie Murphy’s lemonade stand in Portland, Ore., was shuttered because she did not have a temporary restaurant permit, a license that carries a $120 fee, although that decision was later reversed with a Multnomah County chairman admitting that food inspectors may have overstepped their bounds, saying, “A 7-year-old selling lemonade isn’t the same as a grown-up selling burritos out of a cart.”

In 2011, in Midway, Ga., a lemonade stand run by Kasity Dixon, 14, Tiffany Cassin, 12, and Skylar Roberts, 10 was shuttered because they didn’t have a business license, a peddler’s permit, or a food permit, all of which would have cost them $50 a day to obtain for temporary use or $180 for the year. Despite national media attention and complaints from residents, the city wouldn’t back down.

And also in 2011, Caitlin and Abigail Mills’ girl scout cookie stand in Hazelwood, Mo., was closed for violating an ordinance banning the sale of items from a residential property. The girls’ family attempted to sue the city, but the case appears to have been dropped.

Let’s not overstate it, though. Lemonade stand-shutdowns are not reaching epidemic-like levels, and no one is going to cart off little Suzie to jail for selling cookies outside her house. That said, there is something absurd about shutting down lemonade stands, even if it’s still relatively rare.

The main risk of a tougher approach to children running food stands — and especially demanding that kids comply with costly licensing and strict city zoning laws — is that children will lose out on the entrepreneurial experience of running their first business, serving customers, and making money. If we want to have an entrepreneurial culture, where people innovate and take risks to build businesses, there has to be a certain amount of freedom and space for the young to learn these skills.

While navigating bureaucracy is definitely a useful entrepreneurial skill, expecting kids or their parents to fork out hundreds of dollars for a license to run their first business is punitive and anti-entrepreneurial. And every hour and dollar spent on inspecting or shutting down children’s lemonade stands on technicalities is an hour and dollar not spent on inspecting food safety in actual restaurants, food processing facilities, and stores — places where a lapse in food safety could expose hundreds or thousands of people to illness.

And while city zoning laws are useful for keeping heavy industry away from homes, selling lemonade or girl scout cookies is really a residential activity. Many of the world’s most famous businesses — Amazon, Apple, Disney, Google, Hewlett Packard — were started in garages. An entrepreneurial culture requires the freedom to start a business at home. If we stop businesses and businesspeople from developing, we lose the benefits that come down the road, like job creation and innovation (not that little Suzie’s lemonade stand will likely grow to rival Tropicana, but you get the point…).

The sooner cities and counties realize this, and stop wasting resources going after the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, the better.

###

Idiots Rule

As delineated in the article below, this kind of thing is happening all over. Fines for producing. If you want good food, you have to grow it or buy it directly from someone who grows it for you. You must avoid the anonymous centralized, consolidated food supply chain….IF you want real stuff anyway. We have some very interesting ties ahead with the Food Safety Modernization Act’s rules being under consideration.

At any rate, the following article covers some of the gardening atrocities occurring around the country, but there are many more not being mentioned. This is a good primer for what is coming under the International Property Maintenance Codes along with the FSMA.

Pure manure: City uproots FL couple’s 17-year-old garden

TALLAHASSEE,  Fla. – Few things in life are as benign as a home vegetable garden.

courtesy of Institute for Justice

But for the residents of Miami Shores, Fla., growing veggies can land you a fine — the type you eventually can’t afford.

That’s what happened to Hermine Ricketts and her husband, Tom Carroll. For the past 17 years they’ve grown a garden in the front yard of their modest South Florida home. The backyard, they say, doesn’t get enough sunlight.

But in May, the city put the couple’s garden, and any others like it, in their legal crosshairs.

A new zoning ordinance designed to “protect the distinctive character of the Miami Shores Village,” was enacted and specifically prohibited vegetables – not fruit, trees or even plastic flamingos – from appearing in front yards.

Shortly after, the couple received a visit from their local code enforcement officer. They were given two choices: Uproot the garden or pay a $50 per day fine to keep it.

After twice appearing before the Miami Shores Code Enforcement Board and being denied an exemption, the couple decided to dig up the garden rather than fork over $1,500 a month to the city.

Now they’re taking their case to court.

In an effort to reinstate the couple’s right to grow a few vegetables on their own property, the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian leaning legal aid group, filed a lawsuit Tuesday on their behalf.

ARI BARGIL, Institute for Justice

“We’re not suing for money,” IJ attorney Ari Bargil told Florida Watchdog. “We’re asking the court to rule that this law is unconstitutional so Hermine and Tom can plant their garden again.”

According to Bargil, the ordinance infringes on the couple’s basic right to privacy – a right the Florida Constitution recognizes more broadly than the U.S. Constitution.

“Miami Shores will have to prove that its ban promotes a compelling governmental interest and is narrowly tailored to advance that interest,” wrote Bargil in a litigation backgrounder.

For its part, the city has yet to explain any interest beyond the language of the law itself.

Similar bans have taken root in other parts of the country. Ron Finely of South Los Angeles and Adam Guerro of Memphis were found in violation of city gardening ordinances, though they eventually prevailed.

But Denise Morrison of Tulsa, Okla., wasn’t so lucky. Her edible garden was largely destroyed by local authorities while she waited for her day in court. Julie Bass of Oak Park, Mich,. faced 90-days in jail for her home-grown veggies. The charges were eventually dropped.

Such rules are usually rooted in maintaining the aesthetic value of a neighborhood. Other residents have every right to complain — though that was not the case in Miami Shores — or local authorities can make a determination themselves.

The problem, however, is when a homeowner reasonably disagrees with city officials on what is considered visually “suitable.” Throw in the productive use of growing food on one’s own property, and such restrictions can come across as arbitrary and subjective.

While the Florida case may seem to be small-potatoes to those that don’t grow and eat their own food, Bargil offers a simple warning.

“If the government can tell you what you can and can’t do in your front yard, what else can they decide is off-limits?”

GMO Summit—Listen, Learn and Spread the Word!

This weekend a tremendous opportunity to learn pretty much everything you have ever wondered about regarding Genetically Modified Organisms is taking place. This is the online GMO Summit, put on by John Robbins, and Jeffrey Smith.  Allergies, cancer, diabetes, fertility, obesity, all of these are connected to GMO’s and the science is in and decidedly clear. The myriads of effects pertaining to the consumption and exposure to both Round Up and Round Up Ready plant varieties and other types of GMO’s will be discussed in detail by a massive panel of experts including Jeffrey Smith, Thierry Vrain, Vandana Shiva, Sara Gottfried, Don Huber, Joseph Mercola, and more.

Best of all, you don’t have to spend any time traveling to take part in this GMO Summit. So you can listen and study, and take notes and even have a get together and have your own GMO Mini Summit in your own home!

Here’s some more info on it:

How does it work?

You’ll get FREE access to highly focused half-hour interviews – personally conducted by Jeffrey and me – every day for the entire 3 days of the summit. You can listen via phone (conference call), or over the Internet.

PLUS

You’ll get access to even MORE SECOND WAVE EXPERT PRESENTATIONS over the following 5 weeks. These experts will give you even more critical insights in some of the specific areas that matter most to your life.

What if you miss an interview? No problem! There are recordings, transcripts, and many other AWESOME bonus resources that will be available as part of an optional upgrade package. You can get all the specially recorded Second Wave Expert Presentations on the day the Summit starts!

Never before has there been such an informative event on GMOs, with so many world-renowned experts and activists in the field.

And never before has it been this easy to access so much cutting edge information on this crucial topic!

You’ll get…

  • Information and practical tips on eliminating GMOs from your diet.
  • The very latest answers to your burning questions.
  • Tools for talking with your family and peers about this often confusing topic.
  • Powerful and practical ideas on how to stand up to lies and intimidation from Monsanto and big agribusiness.
  • The opportunity to connect and dialogue with your peers all over the planet (more on how that works later) – without having to leave your home.
  • A healthier, more informed outlook on food and the environment!
  • Complimentary membership in the Institute for Responsible Technology and the Food Revolution Network, so you can stay connected and empowered even after the summit is over.

With so much at stake for future generations, it’s never been more important to get informed, be inspired and take action.

Please register for the GMO Mini Summit (it’s free), and then invite your friends and family to come along!

This is a great opportunity to get all the info on GMO’s from people who have done their study thoroughly. I am really looking forward to it!

GMO Cannabalism

For those who are still on the fence about whether GMO’s might be beneficial for humanity, please read the following article. Certainly, even if one is not opposed to consuming other human beings themselves, it must be clear that most people are nauseated at the idea. I certainly am. My belief is that if people actually knew about this that there may be enough consumer push back to thwart this disgusting practice. From GreenMedInfo:

Biotech's Dark Promise: Involuntary Cannabilism for All

” Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.” ~ Albert Einstein

Whereas the quote above could easily be dismissed as the ‘progress-denying’ sentiment of a disgruntled anti-GMO activist, the fact is that it came from a scientist representing the very epitome of Western rationality and accomplishment.

Perhaps Einstein was reflecting on the inevitable existential consequences of the so-called technological imperative”–whatever can be done, will be done.  Fundamentally amoral and irrational economic and political forces drive technology’s feverish pace, infusing a certain arbitrary cruelty and disequilibrium into everything it touches.

In our continual drive to ‘improve upon Nature’ in the name of much-hyped, ‘life-saving’ biotechnological innovations, the line between humane and inhumane eventually is crossed, and there seems no going back.  Biopollution from defective or dangerous GMO genes, for example, is virtually impossible to undo once unreleased into the biosphere; you can’t “recall” a defective gene like you can an automobile. Nor can we remove from our bodies the surreptitious viruses (e.g. simian virus #40 (SV40)) that contaminated millions of first-generation polio vaccines. In many ways our moral fiber suffers from the same susceptibilities. Once we have crossed a certain line – be it theft, lying, or worse, etc., – it is difficult, if not impossible to ‘go back’ and regain our innocence. Such is the human condition. And this is why we must carefully consider the medico-ethical implications of new technologies, whose developments we must first be aware of in order to guide, regulate and sometimes terminate.

The Scientific Community Moves To Embrace Embryo Cloning for Medical Purposes

For example, few are aware that the cloning of human embryos for ‘therapeutic purposes’ was made legal in the UK in January, 2001 through an amendment to the Human Embryology Act.[i]  Not long after, in August 2004, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) approved the first license for cloning human embryos in the UK.  Media reports at the time alleged the legal changes would result in the use of cloned human embryos to create “spare body parts.”

In an article published in 2000 titled, “Biotech Cannabalism,”[ii] C. Ben Mitchell, PhD reflects on the pro-cloning movement by quoting a proponent’s justification: “If you could use tissue from human embryos to save hundreds of lives, there must be a moral imperative to do it.” Mitchell disagrees, countering: “[C]reating a human being for the purposes of killing that person for another human being’s health, sounds an awfully lot like cannibalism, only worse.”

Calling Vaccines From Aborted Fetuses What They Are: Cannibalistic

Whereas cannibalism is considered by most modern societies to be the ultimate expression of uncivilized or barbaric behavior, it is intrinsic to many of the Western world’s most prized biotechnological and medical innovations. Probably the most ‘taken for granted’ example of this is the use of live, aborted fetus cell lines from induced abortions to produce vaccines. Known as diploid cell vaccines (diploid cells have two (di-) sets of chromosomes inherited from human mother and father), they are non-continuous (like cancer cells), and therefore must be continually replaced, i.e. new aborted, live fetal tissue must be harvested periodically.  A good portion of the CDC’s immunization schedule requires the use of these human fetus-originated vaccines, and these include: rubella, measles, mumps, rabies, polio, smallpox, hepatitis A, chickenpox, and herpes zoster. Additionally, so-called “abortion tainted vaccines” cultivated on transformed fetal cells (293, PER.C6) are in the developmental pipeline, including: “flu, Respiratory Syncytial and parainfluenza viruses, HIV, West Nile virus, Ebola, Marburg and Lassa, hepatitis B and C, foot and mouth disease, Japanese encephalitis, dengue, tuberculosis, anthrax, plague, tetanus and malaria.” [iii]

Unfortunately, to millions who find injecting living aborted fetal cells or their biological derivatives into their bodies, or their children’s, morally objectionable, an increasingly Draconian biomedical establishment is either pressuring, coercing or mandating this to occur, using the faulty concept of “herd immunity” and concomitant biosafety concerns to override an individual’s right to refuse them. And most are completely unaware that aborted cells are used and being injected into their bodies, because the medical ethical principle of informed consent remains just that: a principle, not practiced regularly. Furthermore, beyond the obvious moral/ /religious/philosophical reasons to reject aborted fetal cell derived vaccines, there are real health concerns associated with the introduction of this type of biological material into the human body that are largely considered taboo to discuss.

Biopharming: The End of Choice for Those Who Do Not Want to Ingest Human Proteins

Another way in which the dark specter of cannibalism is resurfacing in our lives is through biotech’s intense investment in biopharming technologies. Also known as molecular farming, biopharming involves creating “drug-producing” GMOs by inserting a gene that code for useful pharmaceuticals or biological products (e.g. antibodies, lactoferrin) into host plants, insects or animals that do not naturally express those genes.

Concerns over the unintended, adverse effects of this technology are growing, primarily because once the genes are inserted into laboratory- or field-trialed organisms, their escape into the biosphere is not just possible, but a statistical inevitability. As we have seen with GMO crops, contamination is a default business strategy for biotech stakeholders, whose GM plants pollinate (some say “biorape“) organic or wild plants rendering them also GMOs. This means that — short of using ‘terminator technology‘ which renders the plants incapable of reproduction – foolproof GM containment is impossible. Eventually we will all be exposed to these GMO plants, insects and animals in some form or other.

There is intense work being done today to create biopharmed “edible vaccines,” which contain deadly viral or bacterial vectors. Obviously, the biopollution created by inserting these genes into plants traditionally used for human consumption and which could find their way into the human food supply could cause life-threatening health problems.  But edible vaccines are only a subset of biopharmed products in the developmental pipeline. There are a broad range of human proteins being ‘pharmed’ using genetically modified animals expressing human genes as ‘bioreactors.’

Below is a small sample of biopharmed organisms in development that could at some point in the future result in the inadvertent ingestion of human proteins (technically, cannibalism):

  • GMO Bulls expressing human lactoferrin in their tissues, intended for human consumption.[iv]
  • GMO Mice expressing a human granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor under control of a goat gene (goat alpha-S1-casein gene).[v]
  • GMO Cattle milk expressing the human breastmilk proteins human α-lactalbumin (TC-LA), lactoferrin (TC-LF) or lysozyme (TC-LZ).[vi]
  • GMO Pigs designed to express human α-galactosidase.[vii]
  • GMO Chickens designed to express human urokinase-type plasminogen activator.[viii]
  • GMO Chickens designed to express human parathormone.[ix]
  • GMO Flies expressing human taste receptor genes.[x]
  • GMO Silkworm cells expressing human glycoproteins.[xi]
  • GMO Tomatoes expressing a human brain protein (humanβ-secretase).[xii]
  • GMO Tobacco expressing human erythropoietin intended to be used to treat tissue injury.[xiii]
  • GMO Tobacco expressing human interferon alpha intended for medical use.[xiv]
  • GMO Yeast expressing human Apolipoprotein A-II intended for study.[xv]
  • GMO Lettuce and chicory expressing human interferon alpha intended for medical use.[xvi]
  • GMO Rapeseed expressing human interferon alpha intended for medical use.[xvii]
  • GMO Rice expressing human serum albumin (blood protein) intended for medical purposes.[xviii]
  • GMO Rice expressing human lactoferrin intended for medical use.[xix]
  • GMO Rice expressing human CYP1A1 enzyme (found in placenta and liver) intended to help remediate pesticides in soil.[xx]
  • GMO Rice expressing human amyloidβ-peptide ‘Alzheimer‘s brain protein‘ intended as an oral vaccine producing plant.[xxi]

With biotech weaving into the web of life arbitrarily placed human genes and their biological products, cannibalism (human consumption of human proteins) will become an inevitably in the future.  The question is, will we stand for this reworking of the very molecular and genetic infrastructure of life, or pretend like it won’t also result in the genetic modification of our own bodies.


[i] BBCNews.com, Scientists given cloning go-ahead, 11 August, 2004

[ii] The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, Biotech Cannabalism, 4 April, 2000

[iii] José Luís Redondo Calderón. [Vaccines, biotechnology and their connection with induced abortion]. Cuad Bioet. 2008 May-Aug;19(66):321-53. PMID: 18611078

[iv] Jie Zhao, Jianxiang Xu, Jianwu Wang, Ning Li. Nutritional composition analysis of meat from human lactoferrin transgenic bulls.

[v] GMI-Cite:

I A Burkov, I A Serova, N R Battulin, A V Smirnov, I V Babkin, L E Andreeva, G A Dvoryanchikov, O L Serov. Expression of the human granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (hGM-CSF) gene under control of the 5′-regulatory sequence of the goat alpha-S1-casein gene with and without a MAR element in transgenic mice.

[vi] Ran Zhang, Chengdong Guo, Shunchao Sui, Tian Yu, Jianwu Wang, Ning Li. Comprehensive assessment of milk composition in transgenic cloned cattle.

[vii] J Zeyland, B Gawrońska, W Juzwa, J Jura, A Nowak, R Słomski, Z Smorąg, M Szalata, A Woźniak, D Lipiński. Transgenic pigs designed to express humanα-galactosidase to avoid humoral xenograft rejection.

[viii] Sung Ho Lee, Mukesh Kumar Gupta, Young Tae Ho, Teoan Kim, Hoon Taek Lee. Transgenic chickens expressing human urokinase-type plasminogen activator.

[ix] S H Lee, M K Gupta, D W Han, S Y Han, S J Uhm, T Kim, H T Lee. Development of transgenic chickens expressing human parathormone under the control of a ubiquitous promoter by using a retrovirus vector system.

[x] Ryota Adachi, Yuko Sasaki, Hiromi Morita, Michio Komai, Hitoshi Shirakawa, Tomoko Goto, Akira Furuyama, Kunio Isono. Behavioral analysis of Drosophila transformants expressing human taste receptor genes in the gustatory receptor neurons.

[xi] Jia-Biao Hu, Peng Zhang, Mei-Xian Wang, Fang Zhou, Yan-Shan Niu, Yun-Gen Miao. A transgenic Bm cell line of piggyBac transposon-derived targeting expression of humanized glycoproteins through N-glycosylation.

[xii] H-S Kim, J-W Youm, K-B Moon, J-H Ha, Y-H Kim, H Joung, J-H Jeon. Expression analysis of humanβ-secretase in transgenic tomato fruits.

[xiii] Farooqahmed S Kittur, Mamudou Bah, Stephanie Archer-Hartmann, Chiu-Yueh Hung, Parastoo Azadi, Mayumi Ishihara, David C Sane, Jiahua Xie. Cytoprotective Effect of Recombinant Human Erythropoietin Produced in Transgenic Tobacco Plants.

[xiv] I M Gerasymenko, L O Sakhno, M G Mazur, Y V Sheludko. Multiplex pcr assay for detection of human interferon alpha2b gene in transgenic plants.

[xv] Manman Su, Yitian Qi, Mingxing Wang, Weiqin Chang, Shuang Peng, Tianmin Xu, Dingding Wang. Expression and Purification of Recombinant Human Apolipoprotein A-II in Pichia pastoris.

[xvi] N A Matveeva, Iu I Kudriavets, A A Likhova, A M Shakhovskiĭ, N A Bezdenezhnykh, E Iu Kvasko. [Antiviral activity of extracts of transgenic cichory and lettuce plants with the human interferon alpha-2b gene].

[xvii] L O Sakhno, O Y Kvasko, Z M Olevinska, M Y Spivak, M V Kuchuk. Creation of transgenic Brassica napus L. plants expressing human alpha 2b interferon gene.

[xviii] Qing Zhang, Hui Yu, Feng-Zhen Zhang, Zhi-Cheng Shen. Expression and purification of recombinant human serum albumin from selectively terminable transgenic rice.

[xix] Chaoyang Lin, Peng Nie, Wei Lu, Qing Zhang, Jing Li, Zhicheng Shen. A selectively terminable transgenic rice line expressing human lactoferrin.

[xx] Hiroyuki Kawahigashi, Sakiko Hirose, Hideo Ohkawa, Yasunobu Ohkawa. Transgenic rice plants expressing human CYP1A1 remediate the triazine herbicides atrazine and simazine. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Nov 2;53(22):8557-64. PMID: 16248553

[xxi] Taiji Yoshida, Eiichi Kimura, Setsuo Koike, Jun Nojima, Eugene Futai, Noboru Sasagawa, Yuichiro Watanabe, Shoichi Ishiura. Transgenic rice expressing amyloidβ-peptide for oral immunization. Int J Biol Sci. 2011;7(3):301-7. Epub 2011 Mar 25. PMID: 21448341

Round Up and Aflatoxins

For those who still think Round Up (or any glyphosphate) is a good thing, try telling that to your dead livestock after a spike in aflatoxin either causes them to abort or kills them. Here’s an excellent article, and if you go to the source, there are extensive footnotes:

 

roundup aflatoxin mycotoxin1 BREAKING: Study Links Roundup Weedkiller To Overgrowth of Deadly Fungal Toxins

by Sayer Ji
GreenMedInfo.com

A new study reveals that Roundup herbicide enhances the growth of aflatoxin-producing fungi, lending an explanation for the alarming increase in fungal toxins recently discovered in U.S corn, and revealing another way in which GM farming is seriously undermining food quality.

A new study lead by Argentinean researchers and published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health titled, “Influence of herbicide glyphosate on growth and aflatoxin B1 production by Aspergillus section Flavi strains isolated from soil on in vitro assay,”[1] adds to an increasing body of research indicating that glyphosate (aka Roundup), the primary herbicide used in GM agriculture, is seriously undermining the quality of our global food supply, and may help to explain recent observations that GM corn heavy markets, such as the U.S., have a significant aflatoxin problem.[2]

Researchers from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, National University of Rio Cuarto, Cordoba, Argentina, set out to evaluate the effect of glyphosate (Roundup) on the growth of aflatoxin B1 production by strains of Aspergillus under different water availabilities on maize based medium. Aflatoxin B1, one of at least 14 different types, is a naturally occurring mycotoxin that is produced by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, two species of fungi that commonly effect cereal grains.  Known to be one of the most carcinogenic substances in existence, aflatoxin B1 is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as “Group 1, carinogenic to humans,” with an oral, rat LD50 (the dose that acutely kills 50% of a test group) of 5mg/kg – compare that to a 6.4 mg/kg LD50 for potassium cyanide, which is used in lethal injection.

The authors of the study pointed out that that little previous research has been performed on the role of glyphosate on the growth rate of aflatoxin-producing fungal species.  The researchers also described the relevance this information has to the Argentinean corn market:

“Aspergillus section Flavi and Nigri Argentina is the world’s second biggest exporter of maize (Zea mays L.), and was responsible roughly for 15 percent of the world’s maize exports in the last three years. During the harvest season 2011/2012 the maize production is expected to be of 20 million tons.  These cereal grains are colonize by several fungi communities, including mycotoxigenic species.”

Argentina’s total acreage dedicated to GM corn, while small in comparison to the U.S. majority stake in the world market, is second only to the U.S. [See figure 1]

341 gm corn2009 BREAKING: Study Links Roundup Weedkiller To Overgrowth of Deadly Fungal Toxins

Figure 1: Acreage of GM maize in million hectares/GMO-Compass.org

Also, Argentina’s GM corn share in the total GM corn acreage of their country is on par with the U.S. [see figured 2 below], indicating that their environmental and toxicological situation in regard to the food quality fallout from GM farming is likely very similar.

341 gm corn2009 ratio BREAKING: Study Links Roundup Weedkiller To Overgrowth of Deadly Fungal Toxins

Figure 2: GM maize share in the total maize acreage of a country/Source: GMO-Compass.org

Researchers Discover Roundup Enhances Growth of Aflatoxin-Producing Fungi

In brief, the researchers discovered that all six different concentrations of glyphosate tested decreased the lag phase of fungi growth proportionately to the increase in glyphosate concentrations.  In other words, the glyphosate enhanced the growth of the aflatoxin-producing Apergillus strains, and at concentrations lower than the range generally detected in Argentinean soils destined to crop production, specifically an agricultural area belonging to the province of Buenos Aires.[3]

In the author’s words:

“This study has shown that the eight Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus strains evaluated are able to grow effectively and produce AFs [aflatoxins] in natural medium with high nutrient status over a range of glyphosate concentrations under different aW [water activity] conditions.”

The figure below shows the influence of glyphosate on growth and aflatoxin B1 production:

aflatoxin glyphosate BREAKING: Study Links Roundup Weedkiller To Overgrowth of Deadly Fungal Toxins

Figure 3: Influence of glyphosate on aflatoxin

The discovery that glyphosate enhances fungal growth contradicts several previous studies, including a 2007 study performed by US Department of Agriculture researchers,[4] which did not find that glyphosate increased Aspergillus flavus growth. The authors noted that their findings are consistent with research on similar fungal strains, such as Fusarium,[5] which possesses high tolerance to applied doses of glyphosate, and Rust fungi and Blight fungi,[6] [7] which exhibit enhanced growth on glyphosate-amended media.

They noted: “[S]everal studies have demonstrated that microbial activity and/or biomass can be stimulated following application of some glyphosate formulation to field soil.” This may be explained by the fact that glyphosate-tolerant species of fungi use glyphosate as a source of ‘food,’ utilizing available phosphate or amine structures that result from its metabolic breakdown. Indeed, previous studies indicate glyphosate can be used by fungal strains as a “nutriment” and “energy substrate.”[8][9] [10]

The Toxicological Nightmare of GM Food Grows Darker

A major implication of the study is that there exists a synergism between glyphosate (Roundup) and soil-borne pathogens, which would lead to increased susceptibility to and severity of disease in glyphosate-treated plants.[11]  Not only would Roundup-ready corn contain residues of highly toxic glyphosate, its ‘inactive’ yet still highly toxic ingredients (surfactants), and metabolites (AMPA), but it would also be more likely to contain aflatoxins – taken together, represent a veritable nightmare of synergistic toxicities, whose sum harms no regulatory agency yet adequately accounts for.

The researchers conclude their paper with a cautionary note: “This situation suggests that quantitative changes could occur in these fungi population in the soil exposed to longtime action of this xenobiotic.The survival of these microorganisms, capable to adapt to different glyphosate concentration represents a toxicological risk…”

When one takes into account recent research that Roundup herbicide contributes to the suppression of beneficial lactic-acid producing gut bacteria, while enhancing some of the most deadly known to man, e.g. Clostridium botulinum (1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) would be enough to kill the entire human population), the days of casually classifying the ever-expanding numbers of anti- or non-GMO supporters and activists as alarmists, or GM food itself as “substantially equivalent” to non-GM food, are over. Those who continue to toe Biotech’s party-line, under the much maligned banner of checkbook “Science,” and in face of clear evidence against its safety, will increasingly be perceived as morally, financially and even legally liable for the damages being caused to exposed populations.

Read the full article here: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/breaking-study-links-roundup-weedkiller-overgrowth-deadly-fungal-toxins-1

British Columbia Signs Resolution Banning GMO’s

Excellent news from British Columbia! Not that anything will actually happen, but it is indeed positive that this elevates the conversation about GMO’s into the general public’s view:

UBCM can’t stomach genetically engineered foods

Municipal politicians rejected genetically engineered food by a narrow margin at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver Thursday.

The resolution, brought up by the Vancouver Island community of Metchosin, called for a resolution to ask the province to ban plants and animals produced by using genetic engineering.

According to Health Canada, genetically engineered foods are those that have been developed from a process not previously used in food or had their genes manipulated.

Teresa Lynne of the Society for a GE Free BC said the resolution being passed is in step with public views on the issue.

“We actually believe it is a grassroots effort from the bottom up that can make a difference,” she said. “We’ve had so much response from the people in B.C. backing this.”

Lynne maintains such crops haven’t been proven safe and said, despite many places fighting to label the foods for consumers, her group wanted them banned to avoid cross breeding with non-GE crops and animals.

Reg Ens of the BC Agriculture Council said the issue is “complex and emotional” and one it is watching.

“Our board has discussed it and looked at it,” he said. “We don’t have an official statement or an official statement on it because we probably have five or six different perspectives on the issue itself.”

Ens said the need for regulation is clear as technology is forever changing.

While the resolution may not make much of a difference as provincial agriculture minister Pat Pimm pointed out, such regulations are Ottawa’s responsibility.

“I will certainly share the results of the vote and summary of the debate with the federal minister, as it is the federal government’s jurisdiction to approve or deny foods for production in Canada,” Pimm said in an email.

 

(link to original by clicking title of article or this url: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/09/19/ubcm-cant-stomach-genetically-engineered-foods)

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