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)

GMO Damage in Pigs….How about in You?

World Exclusive: Evidence of GMO Harm in Pig Study

Pig stomachs gmo feed

June 11, 2013 in Sustainable Agriculture, by Admin Share with

A groundbreaking new study [1] shows that pigs were harmed by the consumption of feed containing genetically modified (GM) crops.

Press release from Sustainable Pulse (sustainablepulse.com) and GMWatch (gmwatch.org)

GM-fed females had on average a 25% heavier uterus than non-GM-fed females, a possible indicator of disease that requires further investigation. Also, the level of severe inflammation in stomachs was markedly higher in pigs fed on the GM diet. The research results were striking and statistically significant.

Find a clear summary of the study here

Find the full paper here

Lead researcher Dr Judy Carman, adjunct associate professor at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia,[2] said: “Our findings are noteworthy for several reasons. First, we found these results in real on-farm conditions, not in a laboratory, but with the added benefit of strict scientific controls that are not normally present on farms.

Find all the background on this study and on Dr. Judy Carman here: www.gmojudycarman.org

“Second, we used pigs. Pigs with these health problems end up in our food supply. We eat them.

“Third, pigs have a similar digestive system to people, so we need to investigate if people are also getting digestive problems from eating GM crops.

“Fourth, we found these adverse effects when we fed the animals a mixture of crops containing three GM genes and the GM proteins that these genes produce. Yet no food regulator anywhere in the world requires a safety assessment for the possible toxic effects of mixtures. Regulators simply assume that they can’t happen.

“Our results provide clear evidence that regulators need to safety assess GM crops containing mixtures of GM genes, regardless of whether those genes occur in the one GM plant or in a mixture of GM plants eaten in the same meal, even if regulators have already assessed GM plants containing single GM genes in the mixture.”

The new study lends scientific credibility to anecdotal evidence from farmers and veterinarians, who have for some years reported reproductive and digestive problems in pigs fed on a diet containing GM soy and corn.[3]

Iowa-based farmer and crop and livestock advisor Howard Vlieger, one of the coordinators of the study, said: “For as long as GM crops have been in the feed supply, we have seen increasing digestive and reproductive problems in animals. Now it is scientifically documented.

“In my experience, farmers have found increased production costs and escalating antibiotic use when feeding GM crops. In some operations, the livestock death loss is high, and there are unexplained problems including spontaneous abortions, deformities of new-born animals, and an overall listlessness and lack of contentment in the animals.

“In some cases, animals eating GM crops are very aggressive. This is not surprising, given the scale of stomach irritation and inflammation now documented. I have seen no financial benefit to farmers who feed GM crops to their animals.”

Gill Rowlands, a farmer based in Pembrokeshire, Wales who is also a member of the campaign group GM-Free Cymru, said: “This is an animal welfare issue. Responsible farmers and consumers alike do not want animals to suffer. We call for the rapid phase-out of all GMOs from animal feed supplies.”

Claire Robinson of the campaign group GMWatch said: “Several UK supermarkets recently abandoned their GM-free animal feed policies, citing lack of availability of non-GM feed. We call on the public to visit the new citizens’ action website gmoaction.org, where they can quickly and easily send an email to the supermarkets asking them to ensure their suppliers secure certified GM-free animal feed. This will mean placing advance orders for GM-free soy from countries like Brazil.

Study details

The research was conducted by collaborating investigators from two continents and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Organic Systems. The feeding study lasted more than five months, the normal commercial lifespan for a pig, and was conducted in the US. The pigs were slaughtered at the usual slaughter age of over 5 months, after eating the diets for their entire commercial lifespan.

168 newly-weaned pigs in a commercial piggery were fed either a typical diet incorporating GM soy and corn, or else (in the control group) an equivalent non-GM diet. The pigs were reared under identical housing and feeding conditions. They were slaughtered over 5 months later, at the usual slaughter age, after eating the diets for their entire commercial lifespan. They were then autopsied by qualified veterinarians who worked “blind” – they were not informed which pigs were fed on the GM diet and which were from the control group.

The GMO feed mix was a commonly used mix. The GM and non-GM diets contained the same amount of soy and corn, except that the GM diet contained a mixture of three GM genes and their protein products, while the control (non-GM) diet had equivalent non-GM ingredients. Of the three GM proteins in the GM diet, one made a crop resistant to being sprayed with the herbicide Roundup, while two were insecticides.

Contact:

Claire Robinson, GMWatch, UK: claire@gmwatch.org To phone within UK: 0752 753 6923. To phone outside UK: +44 752 753 6923

Dr Judy Carman, Adelaide, Australia

Email: judycarman@ozemail.com.au

Mr Howard Vlieger, Maurice, Iowa

Email: studentofthesoil@mtcnet.net

 

Notes

1. Judy A. Carman, Howard R. Vlieger, Larry J. Ver Steeg, Verlyn E. Sneller, Garth W. Robinson, Catherine A. Clinch-Jones, Julie I. Haynes, John W. Edwards (2013). A long-term toxicology study on pigs fed a combined genetically modified (GM) soy and  GM maize diet. Journal of Organic Systems 8 (1): 38-54. Open access full text: www.organic-systems.org/journal/81/8106.pdf

2. Dr Judy Carman, BSc (Hons) PhD MPH MPHAA; Epidemiologist and Biochemist; Director, Institute of Health and Environmental Research, Adelaide, Australia; Adjunct Associate Professor, Health and the Environment, School of the Environment, Adelaide, Australia

3. For example:

www.responsibletechnology.org/posts/wp-ontent/uploads/2012/04/Soydamage1.pdf

www.i-sis.org.uk/GM_Soy_Linked_to_Illnesses_in_Farm_Pigs.php

Farmer interviews in the 2012 film, Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives, directed by Jeffrey Smith

Trade Agreement with Europe May Force Them Into GMO’s

As I’ve said entirely too many times, the focus of the “free trade” agreements is to bring the entire globe under similar rule and to make us all equally poor. Europeans are now getting a bit miffed at this harmonization and standardization. But I’ve been hacked off about it for years!

At any rate, the new agreement, when finalized, will allow GMO’s without current impediments into the EU. Here is an article about it:

At the end of June, the European Union and the US will officially launch negotiations for a new free trade agreement known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The plan is to create the world’s largest free trade area, ‘protect’ investment and harmonize regulation. While appealing to big business, the trade treaty poses a serious threat for citizens on both sides of the Atlantic, as it could weaken labour, social, environmental and consumer protection standards. One of the greatest risks includes US negotiators using the trade deal to push for the EU to open its plates and fields up to GM crops.

Everything is on the table

The negotiation agenda is very broad. According to theleaked EU draft mandate it is likely to include “goods and services as well as rules on trade and investment related issues with particular focus on removing unnecessary regulatory barriers”, with the aim of promoting “the untapped potential of a truly transatlantic market place”. Basically, this means tackling what the Office of the United States Trade Representative understands as “technical barriers for trade”, among them EU restrictions on GMOs. (see pp. 61).

One of the core part of the negotiations is that both the EU and US should recognize their respective rules and regulations, which in practice could reduce regulation to the lowest common denominator. The official language talks of “mutual recognition” of standards or so-called reduction of non-tariff barriers. However, for the EU, that could mean accepting US standards in many areas, including food and agriculture, which are lower than the EU’s.

US officials state it quite clearly every time they have the opportunity: all so-called barriers to trade, including highly controversial regulations such as those protecting agriculture, food or data privacy are in their sights. Even the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, made it clear that any agreement must also reduce EU restrictions on genetically modified crops, chlorinated chickens and hormone-treated beef.

A unique opportunity for big business

The negotiations are so broad that groups lobbying on the subject range from Toyota and General Motors to thepharmaceutical industry and IBM; not to mention the Chamber of Commerce of the US, one of the most powerful corporate lobby groups in the US. Indeed, Business Europe, the main organization representing employers in Europe, launched their own strategy on an EU-US economic and trade partnershipin early 2012, and their suggestions have been widely included in the draft EU mandate. Regarding agriculture, their demands include an “ambitious liberalisation of agricultural trade barriers with as few exceptions as possible”. Similarly, food lobby group Food and Drink Europe, representing the largest food companies (Unilever, Kraft, Nestlé, etc.), welcomed the negotiations, one of their key demands being the facilitation of the low level presence of unapproved genetically modified crops. This is a long-standing industry agenda also supported by feed and grain trading giants including Cargill, Bunge, ADM, and the big farmers’ lobby COPA-COGECA. Meanwhile, the biotech industry on both sides of the Atlantic offers its “support and assistance as the EU and the US government look to enhance their trade relationship”.

No doubt this trade deal is an unique opportunity to achieve through closed and non-transparent negotiations what hasn’t been possible so far in a transparent and democratic way. Tactics used to convince Europe to introduce GMOs have even included involving US diplomacy, as revealed by a recent report from Food and Water Europe. The TTIP offers the perfect vehicle to bypass overwhelming opposition to GMOs by EU citizens, as confirmed in every European opinion poll.

According to a professional lobbyist, “EU-US trade negotiations will offer many US firms a second chance to get their interests implemented effectively in Europe. Thanks to this process numerous sectors that have been fighting for change for decades could see their fortunes turn around within a short period of time.” And of course, “US seed companies that for a decade have been struggling to break the deadlock over the authorization for the cultivation of their [GM] seeds now will be presented with the ultimate opportunity to change the entire process to suit their needs.”

Time to raise citizens’ voices – take action

The European Parliament will vote 23rd of May on a resolution over the EU mandate for the negotiation of the TTIP. Corporate Europe Observatory and Friends of the Earth Europe have launched a joint campaign, Stop the Crop, to prevent the introduction of more GMOs into Europe’s food and farming. We ask you to tell MEPs that EU citizens won’t accept the introduction of GMOs through the back door. Public concerns must be debated openly and transparently!

NOTE: The European Parliament already voted. You can read about the results here

Next steps

After the European Parliament vote, the European Council is expected to endorse the EU mandate to negotiate the TTIP in the Foreign Affairs Council dedicated to Trade on the 18th June. The negotiations could be formally launched on the sidelines of the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland by mid June, and are intended to be finalised by the autumn of 2014.

Yet Another Perversion

It is only a matter of time before they destroy everything good under the sun.

Del Monte, one of the world's largest growers and distributors of the popular tropical pineapple fruit, has developed a genetically modified pineapple that's currently being grown in Costa Rica, one of the top pineapple-producing countries. It has just received approval by the USDA for eventual sale in the U.S.Called "Rosé", representatives for Del Monte say the GMO fruit is still in a testing phase: "The USDA’s decision does not mean that Rosé is in commercial distribution; it is in a testing phase. Del Monte intends to continue to test Rosé and will communicate more details when appropriate,” Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing in North America for Del Monte said in a statement, adding that, “Del Monte Fresh Produce has a very active research and development program designed to explore new varieties and new agricultural techniques. The results of these research projects may or may not lead to commercialization depending on many factors including regulatory approvals by the relevant governmental authorities where and when applicable.”According to the website, The Packer, Del Monte submitted its requests for approval from the USDA's APHIS division (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) in July of 2012, and the agency quietly gave its approval of Rosé in January of this year, but a formal public response was only made in late April.Del Monte's request for approval describes the GMO Rosé variety as having "rose-colored flesh", which the company says comes from the addition of genes from "edible plant species, pineapple and tangerine" genetically modified to change the color of the pineapple.A "food safety consultation" must be completed with the FDA before the pineapples can be imported to the U.S. The Packer reports that as of April 26th, the agency's list of approved consultations did not show any results connected with Del Monte's Rosé.http://www.naturallysavvy.com/natural-and-organic/del-monte-s-gmo-pineapple-approved-in-the-u-s

Del Monte, one of the world’s largest growers and distributors of the popular tropical pineapple fruit, has developed a genetically modified pineapple that’s currently being grown in Costa Rica, one of the top pineapple-producing countries. It has just received approval by the USDA for eventual sale in the U.S.

Called “Rosé”, representatives for Del Monte say the GMO fruit is still in a testing phase: “The USDA’s decision does not mean that Rosé is in commercial distribution; it is in a testing phase. Del Monte intends to continue to test Rosé and will communicate more details when appropriate,” Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing in North America for Del Monte said in a statement, adding that, “Del Monte Fresh Produce has a very active research and development program designed to explore new varieties and new agricultural techniques. The results of these research projects may or may not lead to commercialization depending on many factors including regulatory approvals by the relevant governmental authorities where and when applicable.”

According to the website, The Packer, Del Monte submitted its requests for approval from the USDA’s APHIS division (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) in July of 2012, and the agency quietly gave its approval of Rosé in January of this year, but a formal public response was only made in late April.

Del Monte’s request for approval describes the GMO Rosé variety as having “rose-colored flesh”, which the company says comes from the addition of genes from “edible plant species, pineapple and tangerine” genetically modified to change the color of the pineapple.

A “food safety consultation” must be completed with the FDA before the pineapples can be imported to the U.S. The Packer reports that as of April 26th, the agency’s list of approved consultations did not show any results connected with Del Monte’s Rosé.

http://www.naturallysavvy.com/natural-and-organic/del-monte-s-gmo-pineapple-approved-in-the-u-s

New Study Shows “Leukemogenic” Properties of the Bt toxin

This is a redux on yet another study proving the inherent danger of the genetically modified food supply. With all of the proof behind the dangers of consumption of these aberrations, the only thing I can recommend is that every one grow everything they can and we must plant in defiance of the destruction of decency and integrity in our food. Please, do NOT feed your children this stuff!!! Here is the article:

A new study, yet to receive any media attention, reveals the “leukemogenic” properties of the Bt toxin biopesticides engineered into the vast majority of GMO food crops already within the US food supply.

Last September, the causal link between cancer and genetically modified food was confirmed in a French study, the first independent long-term animal feeding study not commissioned by the biotech corporations themselves. The disturbing details can be found here: New Study Finds GM Corn and Roundup Causes Cancer In Rats

Now, a new study published in the Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases indicates that the biopesticides engineered into GM crops known as Bacillus Thuringensis (Bt) or Cry-toxins, may also contribute to blood abnormalities from anemia to hematological malignancies (blood cancers) such as leukemia.[i]

A group of scientists from the Department of Genetics and Morphology, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Brasilia, Brasilia/DF, Brazil set out to test the purported human and environmental biosafety of GM crops, looking particularly at the role that the Bt toxin found within virtually all GM food crops plays on non-target or non-insect animal species.

The research was spurred by the Brazilian Collegiate Board of Directors of the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), who advocated in 2005 for evaluations of toxicity and pathogenicity of microbiological control agents such as Bt toxins, given that little is known about their toxicological potential in non-target organisms, including humans.

While Bacillus Thurigensis spore-crystals have been used since the late 1960’s in agriculture as a foliar insecticide, it was only after the advent of recombinant DNA biotechnology that these toxin-producing genes (known as delta endotoxins) were first inserted into the plants themselves and released into commercial production in the mid-90’s, making their presence in the US food supply and the bodies of exposed populations ubiquitous.

What the new study revealed is that various binary combinations and doses of Bt toxins are capable of targeting mammalian cells, particularly the erythroid (red blood cell) lineage, resulting in red blood cell changes indicative of significant damage, such as anemia. In addition, the study found that Bt toxins suppressed bone marrow proliferation creating abnormal lymphocyte patterns consistent with some types of leukemia.

The researchers also found that one of the prevailing myths about the selective toxicity of Bt to insects, the target species, no longer holds true:

It has been reported that Cry toxins exert their toxicity when activated at alkaline pH of the digestive tract of susceptible larvae, and, because the physiology of the mammalian digestive system does not allow their activation, and no known specific receptors in mammalian  intestinal cells have been reported, the toxicity these MCAs to mammals  would negligible [8,22,23]. However, our study demonstrated that Bt spore-crystals genetically modified to express individually Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2A induced hematotoxicity, particularly to the erythroid lineage. This finding corroborates literature that demonstrated that alkali-solubilized  Bt spore-crystals caused in vitro hemolysis in cell lines of rat, mouse, sheep, horse, and human erythrocytes and suggested that the plasma membrane of susceptible cells (erythrocytes, in this case) may be the primary target for these toxins [33]

The study also found:

1) That Cry toxins are capable of exerting their adverse effects when suspended in distilled water, not requiring alkalinization via insect physiology to become activated as formerly believed.

2) That a dose of Cry1Ab as low as 27 mg/kg, their lowest tested dose, was capable of inducing hypochromic anemia in mice – the very toxin has been detected in blood of non-pregnant women, pregnant women and their fetuses in Canada, supposedly exposed through diet.

3) Whereas past reports have found that Bt toxins are generally nontoxic and do not bioaccumulate in fatty tissue or persist in the environment, the new study demonstrated that all Cry toxins tested had a more pronounced effect from 72 hours of exposure onwards, indicating the opposite is true.

4) That high-dose Cry toxin doses caused blood changes indicative of bone marrow damage (damage to “hematopoietic stem cell or bone marrow stroma”).

The authors noted their results “demonstrate leukemogenic activity for other spore-crystals not yet reported in the literature.”

They concluded:

[R]esults showed that the Bt spore-crystals genetically modified to express individually Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2A can cause some hematological risks to vertebrates,increasing their toxic effects with long-term exposure. Taking into account the increased risk of human and animal exposures to significant levels of these toxins, especially through diet, our results suggest that further studies are required to clarify the mechanism involved in the hematotoxicity found in mice, and to establish the toxicological risks to non-target organisms, especially mammals, before concluding that these microbiological control agents are safe for mammals.

Did you get that? Their conclusion is that it is premature to consider GM toxins to be safe in mammals. Billions have already been exposed to Bt toxins, in combination with glyphosate-based herbicide formulations such as Roundup, and yet, most biotech research scientists and industry regulators still claim they are unequivocally safe.  This has much to do with the well-known relationship that biotech corporations like Monsanto have with so-called ‘check book’ science firms who are basically paid to obfuscate adverse health outcomes of their products, such as the GMO-Cancer link. [see: Monsanto-Funded Science Denies Emerging Roundup Cancer Link]

Consider also that the question of combined toxicity of Cry toxins and glyphosate-based residues within plants have not been sufficiently explored, and that glyphosate exposure has already been linked to non-Hodgkins lymphoma and hairy cell leukemia in the biomedical literature.[ii]

The reality is that we no longer have time to wait around for additional research to accumulate on the adverse health effects of GMOs, especially considering the biotech industry has far more capital to infuse into their own faux research on the topic.

Some, in fact, argue that we should not be waiting around for the corrupt legislative process to compel manufacturers to label GMOs, rather, we should be fighting to BAN THEM NOW, advocating for the precautionary principle before its too late.

In the meantime, you can join the growing movement to March Against Monsanto, occurring world wide on May 25th, as a way of expressing your desire for real change, as well as vote with your forks, the only immediately effective tool we have against biological and environmental gene-ocide articulated by the dominant GMO-based food system.

(from GeenMedInfo)

Why??? Glow in the Dark Sheep, and Dogs and Cats Oh My

I guess I need to create a new category for posts. It will be called Daily Atrocities. Just because something can be done, does not mean that it should be done, but it seems scientists, politicians, and corporations funding these entities, have never heard that old adage. Or if they have heard it, they dismissed it as archaic nonsense.

It strikes me that nearly every form of mammalian genetic modification involves what is scripturally an unclean animal in one way or another. Inserting human genes into goats and cows, eel fish into salmon (I know, that isn’t a mammal), mice into pigs, jelly fish into pigs and cats and dogs and sheep. Sheesh.  If this is considered the future of farming, I have to find a different name for what it is I want to do.

I’m not against technology, but this stuff is almost convincing me to become a Luddite.

Scientists in Uruguay Genetically Engineer Sheep to Glow Under UV Light

by , 05/01/13

irauy, glowing sheep, bioengineer, genetically modified, uruguay

When you can’t sleep and need to count sheep to drift off, try wrapping your brain one of these eerie glowing lambs from South America. Scientists from the Animal Reproduction Institute of Uruguay (IRAUy) have genetically engineered nine animals to light up under UV light by incorporating a gene from the Aequorea victoria jellyfish. The research is intended to help easily identify genetically modified processes in animals.

irauy, glowing sheep, bioengineer, genetically modified, uruguay

IRAUy, connected to the Genetically Modified Animals Unit of the Pasteur Institute, has raised a flock of nine “brilliant lambs” that they have engineered to glow green under ultra-violet light. While most animal engineering is occupied with modifying organisms to produce compounds useful to humans through their milk, such as growth hormone or insulin, the project was intended to solely refine methods of manipulation.

“We did not use a protein of medical interest or to help with a particular medicine because we wanted to fine-tune the technique. We used the green protein because the color is easily identifiable in the sheep’s tissues,” Alejo Menchaca, the head of the research team told the South Atlantic News Agency. “Our focus is generating knowledge, make it public so the scientific community can be informed and help in the long run march to generate tools so humans can live better, but we’re not out in the market to sell technology.”

The project raises a myriad of ethical questions, ranging from whether or not jellyfish genetics belong in a grazing mammal, to what the long-term implications of altering an established genome will affect the well-being of both animals and humans. The team at IRAUy insists that the sheep behave normally and are closely monitored. Yet, despite appearing to function without incident, the full consequences of furthering such research has yet to be seen. The scientists hope to trigger the interest of the pharmaceutical industry, opening up a new avenue of debate as to the safety and moral ramifications of engineering animals to produce substances intended for human health.

Read more: Scientists in Uruguay Genetically Engineer Sheep to Glow Under UV Light | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Jellyfish Genes Make Glow-in-the-Dark Cats

By David Biello | September 12, 2011 |  Comments10


First there were glow-in-the-dark fish, then rats, rabbits, insects, even pigs. And, now, researchers have inserted the jellyfish genes that make fluorescent proteins into Felis catus, or the common household cat.

glowing-kitten-next-to-regular-cat

The goal was just to make sure that the researchers could successfully insert novel genes into the cats. Past efforts at cloning and injecting DNA into fertilized cat embryos, among other genetic modification techniques, had failed. But the good doctors at the Mayo Clinic and Yamaguchi University in Japan succeeded by injecting a lentivirus bearing the novel genetics directly into unfertilized cat eggs. (Human immunodeficiency viruses 1 and 2 (HIV-1 and HIV-2), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) are all lentiviruses, named for their slow incubation period.)

glowing-catThe result is visible to the naked eye (under blue light).

The goal is to use genetically modified cats as a better proxy for human diseases. After all, FIV plagues cats in much the same way that HIV plagues people. For that reason, cats can serve as useful animal models for learning more about the human version of the disease. The researchers, or their colleagues, plan to continue manipulating the cat genome to test potential gene therapies for HIV and other potential cures for AIDS.

But it’s also only a matter of time until a night-glowing cat (say goodbye to nightlights and tripping over the cat!) becomes a breed and joins the GloFish at the pet store.

A little Monsanto History

This is an excellent article by Jill Richardson. Hope anyone with any questions about Monsanto’s desires actually reads it.

By Jill Richardson, AlterNet | Report

Monsanto researchers in Stonington, Ill., are working to develop new soybean varieties that will be tolerant to agricultural herbicide and have greater yields in July 2006. (Photo: Monsanto via The New York Times) Monsanto researchers in Stonington, Ill., are working to develop new soybean varieties that will be tolerant to agricultural herbicide and have greater yields in July 2006. (Photo: Monsanto via The New York Times) Monsanto controls our food, poisons our land, and influences all three branches of government.

This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org.

Forty percent of the crops grown in the United States contain their genes. They produce the world’s top selling herbicide. Several of their factories are now toxic Superfund sites. They spend millions lobbying the government each year. It’s time we take a closer look at who’s controlling our food, poisoning our land, and influencing all three branches of government. To do that, the watchdog group Food and Water Watch recently published a corporate profile of Monsanto.

Patty Lovera, Food and Water Watch assistant director, says they decided to focus on Monsanto because they felt a need to “put together a piece where people can see all of the aspects of this company.”

“It really strikes us when we talk about how clear it is that this is a chemical company that wanted to expand its reach,” she says. “A chemical company that started buying up seed companies.” She feels it’s important “for food activists to understand all of the ties between the seeds and the chemicals.”

Monsanto the Chemical Company

Monsanto was founded as a chemical company in 1901, named for the maiden name of its founder’s wife. Its first product was the artificial sweetener saccharin. The company’s own telling of its history emphasizes its agricultural products, skipping forward from its founding to 1945, when it began manufacturing agrochemicals like the herbicide 2,4-D.

Prior to its entry into the agricultural market, Monsanto produced some harmless – even beneficial! – products like aspirin. It also made plastics, synthetic rubber, caffeine, and vanillin, an artificial vanilla flavoring. On the not-so-harmless side, it began producing toxic PCBs in the 1930s.

According to the new report, a whopping 99 percent of all PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, used in the U.S. were produced at a single Monsanto plant in Sauget, IL. The plant churned out toxic PCBs from the 1930s until they were banned in 1976. Used as coolants and lubricants in electronics, PCBs are carcinogenic and harmful to the liver, endocrine system, immune system, reproductive system, developmental system, skin, eye, and brain.

Even after the initial 1982 cleanup of this plant, Sauget is still home to two Superfund sites. (A Superfund site is defined by the EPA as “an uncontrolled or abandoned place where hazardous waste is located, possibly affecting local ecosystems or people.”) This is just one of several Monsanto facilities that became Superfund sites.

Monsanto’s Shift to Agriculture

Despite its modern-day emphasis on agriculture, Monsanto did not even create an agricultural division within the company until 1960. It soon began churning out new pesticides, each colorfully named under a rugged Western theme: Lasso, Roundup, Warrant, Lariat, Bullet, Harness, etc.

(full article here)

Transparency on Proposed Constitutional Amendment HJR 11 and 7 in Missouri

Here is the chronological order of the conversation between Jason Smith, Republican for US Congress and current State Rep and Speaker Pro Tem in the Missouri House, and myself regarding HJR 11 and 7, the proposed Missouri Constitutional Amendment to “protect” agriculture.

This is transparency, folks. This issue will affect every single person who eats in this State, and it is entirely too important for both urban and rural Citizens to understand what is happening with this proposal.

I received a return phone call from Chief of Staff Ryan Hart after nearly two weeks awaiting a response from Smith’s office on concerns with this legislation. He sent me an attachment of the perfected bill on March 13th:

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring therein:

            That at the next general election to be held in the state of Missouri, on Tuesday next following the first Monday in November, 2014, or at a special election to be called by the governor for that purpose, there is hereby submitted to the qualified voters of this state, for adoption or rejection, the following amendment to article I of the Constitution of the state of Missouri:

            Section A. Article I, Constitution of Missouri, is amended by adding one new section, to be known as section 35, to read as follows:

            Section 35. That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No state law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and modern and traditional livestock production and ranching practices, unless enacted by the General Assembly.

            Section B. Pursuant to Chapter 116, RSMo, and other applicable constitutional provisions and laws of this state allowing the General Assembly to adopt ballot language for the submission of a joint resolution to the voters of this state, the official ballot title of the amendment proposed in Section A shall be as follows:

            “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure:

            •          That the right of Missouri citizens to employ modern farming and ranching practices and equipment shall not be infringed”.

and I responded on March 14th:

Hello Ryan,

 Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you. Kidding season has a way of making things crazy around here!

 I understand that the desire is to make things better and to ensure that agriculture remains viable in Missouri. To truly ensure viability, we must stop the continued contraction of agricultural market access, and the ability of farmers to profit from their labor must be secured. There are several studies on consolidation that have been done Hendricks and Heffernan from Missouri U. It truly crosses all sectors of agriculture, both crops and animal agriculture. As it stands, the language in HJR 7 and 11 wouldn’t address that at all, and, unfortunately, would lead to further the spread of patented life forms, both animal and plant that will do even more damage to independent agriculture.

 Below is a proposal that would truly enhance the viability of Missouri agriculture and increase the economic freedom in rural areas and therefore help local economies to prosper and not ship their money straight out of the community to China via Walmart. Please let me know your thoughts on this. As I said, I have spoken with several property rights, agriculture, and economic freedom advocates, and a few legislators about this and rec’d very positive feedback.

 Section 35. That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in direct trade with consumers [modern farming and ranching practices] shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural [technology and modern livestock production and ranching]practices that secure independent family farm’s ability to save seed, preserve livestock bloodlines, or impede their access to market.

Section B. Pursuant to Chapter 116, RSMo, and other applicable constitutional provisions and laws of this state allowing the General Assembly to adopt ballot language for the 3 submission of a joint resolution to the voters of this state, the official ballot title of the amendment proposed in Section A shall be as follows: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure: 

• That the right of Missouri citizens to employ modern farming and ranching practices and equipment that insure the continuance of diversified small farms shall not be infringed”.

 Thank you!

 Doreen Hannes

Then, on March 25th, Jason Smith responded to my March 14th email:

Dear Ms. Hannes,

Thank you for your email expressing your concern and taking the time to break down the bill, it is great to hear from such an informed citizen. HJR’s 11 and 7 are meant to protect agriculture in all forms, whether it is a small organic family farm or a large operation. The main goal of these resolutions is to make sure that our state’s largely diversified agriculture industry is protected from out-of-state interest groups that attempt to cause nothing but burden and harm.

The resolutions have also been amended to give more power to the county government. I am a firm believer in smaller government and have always found that the best solutions to a problem come from someone close to the problem. The following amendment was offered by Representative Reiboldt during the perfection of the bill. The amendment changed lines four through seven to read as follows.

No state law shall

5 be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural

6 technology and modern and traditional livestock production and ranching practices, unless

7 enacted by the General Assembly.”

These changes in this amendment take the power for the state government to place restrictions on agriculture and give that authority to the counties. This allows farmers to be able to talk to their county commissioners instead of 163 representatives from all corners of the state of Missouri.

I would also like to point out that in line six; the resolutions provide protection for “modern and traditional” practices. This will protect your right, as a small family farmer, to always be able to use the practices that you prefer on your own operation.

I hope that this answers all of your questions and addresses your concerns. If you have any more questions about HJR’s 11 and 7, or Representative Reibolt’s amendment, please feel free to email them to me. I always enjoy hearing from and helping my constituents.

Sincerely, 

Jason Smith

Speaker Pro Tem

And, since I was busy and honestly rather angered by the response, I waited to respond until I wasn’t caught up in the moment as it were and responded this morning, March 28th….

Dear Jason,

 I was aware of the amendment and the perfected language, and to be completely honest with you, it cannot possibly do what you claim it will do. I’ll explain why I see it as I do.

 First of all, a Constitutional Amendment should be an inviolable right. To claim that no “state law” shall be enacted which infringes upon this “right” “unless” it is enacted by the General Assembly, seems an insult to the intelligence of the citizens of the state. ALL state law is enacted by the General Assembly. 

 Also, the County Commissioners don’t actually have the authority to enact “law” within the county. They can do resolutions, and approve of initiatives and go against initiatives, approve or disapprove planning and zoning issues, but they are largely involved with managing the infrastructure and financing of the county’s needs and overseeing the administration of the county. But they cannot make “law” with criminal repercussions for the violation of any law they pass. 

 Should this pass as a Constitutional amendment, the County that would constrain an aspect addressed in this Amendment would be in violation of the Missouri Constitution, and they would therefore be sued by an aggrieved party for violating the “rights” of a party interested in asserting their right to use “agricultural technology” within the confines of a County that was opposed to a particular technology.

 If you want to help farmers and ranchers to actually profit from their labor and remain viable, the way to truly help them is to cut the red tape between farmers and their consumers. There are plenty of studies that illustrate how destructive vertical integration and corporate farms are to both communities and independent agriculture. 

 If the verbiage you currently have as perfected language is what you are comfortable with and believe will meet your desired goals, then I must go completely against it and activate people against the language and against any progression of this proposal. The very last thing that we, as citizens of Missouri need, is to bless the biotech industries and corporate factory farms with the right to further consolidate. 

 I’d hoped that there was a chance to work with you to change the language from protecting the biotech industry which is deeply destructive to both consumers and farmers, but that doesn’t appear to be possible. 

 Thank you,

Doreen Hannes 

“We must genetically engineer babies….”

It’s amazing to me that there isn’t a wholesale aversion to the idea being espoused by many in the field of genetics that we truly SHOULD genetically engineer babies for “the good of us all”….

Next Newer Entries