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An Oregon Researcher stopped a German company from introducing a GM bacteria that could have killed all green plants on Planet Earth. No Kidding. Came within two weeks of releasing it Read More.
 
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Genetically Modified Foods (GM)

We have to include a conversation about the 'Genetically Modified' foods. What is meant by GMO ('genetically modified organism' or just GM or GE for 'genetically engineered')? If this is new to you, you are in for a surprise. Modern science has learned not only how to read the DNA of organisms, they have also learned how to modify it. Is it a good thing or a threat to us? Well, this Frankenfood is in the grocery and on your food shelf. And it has been in the US since 1996.

DNA is the basic instructions in your cells. These instructions tell each cell what it is to be. It also tells the cells what the organism is to be. Cancer occurs when the DNA in a cell is attacked by free radicals causing the cells to be different than they are suppose to be. Change the DNA and you make a new cell and possibly a new organism or give an organism different characteristics.

Imagine taking the DNA that causes a firefly to glow and putting it in a tobacco plant. You get a glowing tobacco plant. Cute trick, huh? Or how about putting the DNA of a bacteria into soybean plants to make them resistant to certain pests. Or crops that produce sterile seeds that will not sprout the next season. Or corn that produces its own insecticide. 

We have all seen what happens when you introduce a new organism to an area it never existed before in.

The companies that make this stuff got the FDA to not require GMO labels on your food. You don't even know what food you are eating has GMO products in it. (You would be shocked to know how prevalent GMO foods are in the US marketplace, click here to see a list.)

"Treat the Earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." - American Indian Proverb

DNA manipulation has the promise of great things. We could make crops resistant to insects and diseases. We could change cows so that their milk contains better nutrients, plants with wider range of nutrition. Tomatoes that can be shipped across country with cells walls do not breakdown so they stay firm to the market place. Rabbits that glow in the dark. Bacteria that survives the GM plants and kills bees. Diseases we need new names for.

“With the exception of climate change, genetically modified crops are the most serious political and environmental question under debate at the current time.” - Michael Meacher MP, Former Environment Minister United Kingdom.

There is only one problem with playing GOD. These new organisms are not natural. Nature has spent millions of years finding a balance. Whether we like it or not there is a harmony in nature. If nature wanted a tobacco plant that would glow in the dark, it would already exist. For whatever reason Western civilization doesn't respect what GOD and nature have put together. We are not content to accept our responsibility as caretakers of the planet Earth and its flora and fauna. We have to change it. We have done a fine job so far. The air is not good to breath. The water is polluted. Our foods are the cause of our disease. We introduce thousands of new chemicals into our environment each year. We are pushing our planet towards global warming which could be the beginning of the end. Now we want to modify the basic DNA of plants and animals to create new life forms.

Winston Churchill: “Science should be on tap, not on top.”

What is the price we could pay for the promise of bigger, better and faster genetically modified plants and animals? Is it worth that cost? We don't even know what that cost is or could be. There is minimal research being done on this. And much of the research that is being done is by the companies like Monsanto who have a vested interest in making sure their products are given the FDA blessing if the FDA is even looking at it. This has the potential of being a huge catastrophe even a threat to our very survival. And we may not know until it is too late. Boycott GMO products!!! Do it for your children and grandchildren.

60-70% of food products in US grocery stores are already genetically modified or contain GM substances. (2)
Read "So what's wrong with GMOs?" as given by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho in a plenary lecture to the People's Health Assembly 2, 17-22 July 2005, Cuenca, Ecuador. Click here

No one knows what the long term effects could be of this. How can we even consider this path without concern about what could happen? It was once said that science itself is not evil, it is how this science is used. But we have proven over and over again that we cannot keep the genie in the bottle once we know how to let it out. And there are powerful companies that are more interested in profits than the well being and possible survival of mankind. Don't worry, be happy. What you don't know won't hurt you, right?

bulletThere is no requirement in the US to label GMO foods as such. You could be eating GMO foods right now and not know it. (Take a look at the list, click here.) You could be eating a product that now contains a protein you have an allergy to that was never there before and you won't know it until you eat it.
bulletNo one know what the possible long term effects are to humans that consume GM products. There is reason to believe that GM soybeans (60% of the soybeans produced in the US are GM.) are hazardous to our health. Many countries like Japan will no longer import our soybeans.
bulletDr. Arpad Pusztai was commissioned by the German government to evaluate a Monsanto study concerning any toxicities in MON863 corn in light of Monsanto pushing to get the ok to export their GM seeds to Europe. Pusztai's report stated, "..this imperfectly designed and executed (Monsanto) study revealed a huge list of significant differences between the various biologically meaningful parameters of rats fed GM maize diets and the proper controls.." "..the study strongly indicates that feeding rats on diets containing significant amounts of MON 863 corn can potentially be detrimental to the health of these animals and may cause major lesions in important organs (kidneys, liver, etc.), interfere with the function of their immune system (lymphocyte, WBC, granulocyte counts) and change their metabolism (glucose)…"(5) Monsanto still got the ok for MON863 Corn to be feed to animals and allowed into the food.
bullet"Why Do Cattle Die Eating Bt Cotton Plants Only In The Telengana Region Of Andhra Pradesh In India? " read the headlines in AgiBioWorld article. This is the same article that says MON863 corn did not cause the toxicity in rats feed it. Bt Cotton has a gene added to from a bacterium bacillus thurigiensis to American cotton to poison bollworms, pests to the cotton plant. Earlier about 120 sheep died on eating Bt cotton leaves in 11 Mandals of Warangal and Khammam districts (in India), last year. (4)
bulletMonsanto plans to produce GM seeds for food crops. These seeds not only have what some consider good attributes over the natural varieties, but the plants produce sterile seeds that WILL NOT GROW the next crop season. So if you want to raise that plant again next season you have to purchase seeds from Monsanto.  At face value you could say what a great marketing gimmick. Sure guarantees profits to that company. Well, how about all the people in third world countries that depend on getting seeds for the next season from the current crops? Those seeds will not grow crops. Worse than that, there is strong evidence of cross contamination between GMO crops and non-GMO crops. That is why this was proposed in the first place to keep GM and contaminated non-GM crops from reproducing and making the issue worse. Read How Monsanto's mind was changed to get the real picture of this craziness.
bulletThere is reason to believe bees are being killed off from the GMO crops they have been exposed to. (If you didn't know this 50-90% of the honey bees are gone in North America.) More than 100 plants are pollinated by bees. This has huge, wide spread implications if bees do not pollinate plants. Many plants depend on insects, like bees, to travel between them to pollinate. No pollination, no fruit, no plants. (Click here for more information - Bee Colony Collapse Disorder - Where is it Heading?)
bulletProducts of apiculture are especially exposed to the GMO issue since honey bees will not stop collecting at the border of a GMO field. Pollen and nectar of GMO crop are as attractive as conventional crops to bees. One question arising is: are active substances from transgenic plants harmful to the insects especially the honey bees? (15)
bulletUS Food and Drug Administration had data since the early 1990s showing that rats fed GM tomatoes with antisense gene to delay ripening developed small holes in their stomach (7)
bulletMonarch butterfly larva die from eating GMO plants. Remember when butterflies were abundant? How many did you see last year?
bulletAn Italian researcher found that mice fed on GM soya experienced a slowdown in cellular metabolism and modifications in liver and pancreas.
bulletA study, in Australia, showed that genes from a bean introduced into a pea created a protein that caused such serious inflammation of lung tissue in mice that the research was halted.
bulletA Russian scientist, found that an astonishing 55 per cent of the offspring of rats fed on GM soya died within three weeks of birth compared with only 9 per cent in the control group.
bulletBetween 2001 and 2002, twelve dairy cows died on a farm in Hesse, Germany, after eating Syngenta’s Bt176 GM maize, and others in the herd had to be slaughtered on account of mysterious illnesses [21]. Todate, there has been no detailed autopsy reports available, even though the company claims the deaths and illnesses were unrelated to Bt176. Nevertheless the Spanish Food Safety Authority has just withdrawn authorisation for Bt176 cultivation in Spain [22] after it had occupied almost all of the 20 000 hectares of GM maize grown in Spain since 1998 [23]. The decision was taken following an EFSA recommendation that GMOs containing antibiotic resistance marker genes such as that found in Bt 176, be restricted to field trials. (9)
bulletGrape seeds are the source of a powerful antioxidant. When you eat grapes you should also eat the seeds for your health. If there are any seeds.
bulletAllergies: By inserting foreign DNA into common foods, without adequate safety testing, the biotech industry is introducing possible new food allergens (1)
bulletAntibiotic Resistance: The rise of diseases that are resistant to treatment with common antibiotics is already a serious medical concern. Doctors warn that the current use of antibiotic resistant genes in GM crops may add to this risk (1)
bulletArpad Pusztai and colleagues found that GM potatoes with snowdrop lectin adversely affected every organ system of young rats, and the stomach and small intestine lining grew up to twice the thickness of controls (10) Scientists in Egypt found similar results in the gastrointestinal tract of mice fed GM potato with Bt toxin (11)
bulletGM insect resistant crops could create superbugs who will build up a tolerance to a fundamental pest control tool used by organic farmers; the loss of this tool would be devastating to the safest, most environmentally friendly food production we have. (1) A whole new crop of resistant insects.
bulletAventis (now Bayer) found 100% increase in deaths of broiler chickens fed glufosinate-tolerant GM maize T25 compared to controls (8)
bulletOther studies have shown that GM crops can cross-pollinate with related weeds, resulting in "superweeds" that become difficult to control. Canadian canola growers have found weeds in their fields resistant to Round-Up and Liberty herbicides, forcing the growers to use more potent & toxic herbicides. (1)
bulletBiological Pollution: Unlike chemicals that are released into the environment, genetically engineered organisms are living things that will reproduce and spread uncontrollably and at will, with little possibility of containment or clean-up. (1)
bulletInternational scientists, including those from the United States, have praised Zimbabwe and Zambia for rejecting genetically-modified food donations from the West to feed scores of their rural folk facing drought-induced food shortages.
By standing firm against GMOs, said the scientists, the two governments avoided manipulation and deception, which could have resulted in their vulnerable poor being used as guinea pigs. (13)
bulletCorporate Hijack of Sustainable Agriculture Backfired to Moratorium on GMOs -  The IUCN (World Conservation Union) World Conservation Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, voted overwhelmingly for a moratorium on further environmental releases of GMOs “until this can be demonstrated to be safe for biodiversity, human and animal health beyond reasonable doubt ”. (14)
bulletMore than 60 million hectare of GMO crops are being cultivated in the world with increasing tendency. It is mainly corn, soy beans and cotton.
bullet'Transgenic instability' is a key safety issue. A GM variety that has changed its identity since characterized by the company, invalidates any safety tests or assessments that may have been done. It also makes it impossible to identify the GM variety for post-release monitoring, for implementing remedial action in case of harm and for assigning liability. (6) Which makes that product illegal in Europe. Some GM products do not stay the same. The next generation plant is different the prior generation therefore any tests given on the first generation do not apply to the second generation.

There is a powerful movement in other parts of the world to stop US imports of GMO products. Groups in Europe are organizing to create GMO Free-Europe. The European Parliament is voting soon on a measure to keep ALL GMO products out of foods in Europe. We Americans blindly go along thinking the FDA & USDA will keep bad things out of food. Wrong. They are tools of the big corporations.

You won't find "genetically engineered" on the label of any products containing GE ingredients in the US. The FDA cooperated with the companies who don't want you to know that their products are an experiment unique in human history, an experiment that doctors and scientists around the world are warning may not be safe. (1) NON-GMO products do say so on the packaging. Read the labels of your food.

"While scientific progress on molecular biology has a great potential to increase our understanding of nature and provide new medical tools, it should not be used as justification to turn the environment into a giant genetic experiment by commercial interests. The biodiversity and environmental integrity of the world's food supply is too important to our survival to be put at risk." - Greenpeace

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"Let's go eat some genetically modified food for lunch." - President Bush, in private remarks at the White House to visiting European leaders.

Golden Rice - GM Rice

There is an interesting argument over "Golden Rice", a GM rice that has the gene modified to increase its content of Vitamin A. The supporters tout how this super rice could prevent blindness in thousands of people in developing countries. What is the truth? The truth is not a shortage of good food, but lack of distribution to poor countries. This PDF from Greenpeace not only discusses the reality vs. fiction on this product, but it also shows what producers and supporters of these GM products do to get acceptance of their products. Click here for PDF - "Golden Rice - Fact or Fiction"

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Greenpeace is demanding the complete and immediate withdrawal of Monsanto's MON 863 maize from the global market and is calling on governments to undertake an urgent reassessment of all other authorized GE products and a strict review of current testing methods.

"This is the final nail in the coffin for the credibility of the current authorization system for GE products. Now it's known that a system designed to protect human and animal health has approved a high-risk product despite clear evidence of its dangers, we need to start 'strip-searching' all GE products on the market, and immediately abort this flawed approval procedure," said Christoph Then, Genetic Engineer campaigner, Greenpeace International.

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If the Honey Bees Die...

Albert Einstein made the statement "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years left to live." He was speaking in regard to the symbiotic relationship of all life on the planet. All part of a huge interconnected ecosystem, each element playing a role dependant on many other elements all working in concert creating the symphony of life. Should any part of the global body suffer, so does the whole body."

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"
 

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Links:

bullet Michael Meacher: To know the truth about GM, ask the Canadians - Minister of the Environment UK 1996-2003 (PDF copy to download.)
bullet Michael Meacher: GM: why I think it matters - another to the point article from a past Minister of the Environment UK (PDF copy to download)
bullet
Michael Meacher - Are GM Crops Safe? (PDF copy to download)
bullet How Monsanto's mind was changed - In spring the US giant was sure its GM technology was unbeatable. Then one man convinced the organization that the game was up. This is worth reading. Monsanto was dead set on introducing seeds that produce sterile seeds that won't grow the next season. This is the story of how it was stopped at least temporarily. (PDFcopy to download)
bullet Am I eating genetically engineered foods? - From Cornell University. The answer is yes. Read this page to know how you are getting exposed to GM foods and what isn't GM.
bullet So what's wrong with GMOs? - Dr. Mae-Wan Ho told the People's Health Assembly that GM is proving bad for health because it goes against the grain of the new genetics science (PDFcopy to download)
bullet Troubled Times Amid Commercial Success for Roundup Ready Soybeans - The argument for creating GMO soybeans was to cut down on the amount of weed killer needed. Apparently that isn't what is happening. In fact more is required. Read this.
bullet Be careful about certifying in writing that crops are free of GMOs - University of Minnesota Extension cautioning farmers about certifying their crops are GM free even if they are using Non-GMO seeds.
bullet GMO Free Europe - Europe is organizing to keep GMO products out of Europe.
bullet Say no to genetic engineering - Greenpeace supports slowing down this race towards GMO products
bullet Bee Colony Collapse Disorder - Where is it Heading?
bullet Biotechnology Will Feed the World" and Other Myths by Karen Charman
bullet Myths and Realities of Genetically Engineered foods - True Food Now!
bulletThe True Food Network - The Grassroots network for food safety Force Feeding Genetically Engineered Foods by Karen Charman
bullet Force Feeding Genetically Engineered Foods by Karen Charman
bullet SERIOUS FLAWS IN A CONFERENCE ON MORAL IMPERATIVE OF BIOTECHNOLOGY - a good conversation over the answer to hunger around the world is not biotechnology it is distribution of the surplus that exists as given in response to the US Embassy's presentation to the Pope's in 2004. - (Greenpeace) (Dr.) Roland Lesseps, S.J., Senior Researcher and Instructor, Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre, Lusaka, Zambia (rl@uudial.zm)
(Dr.) Peter Henriot, S.J., Director, Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, Lusaka, Zambia (phenriot@zamnet.zm)(3)
bullet Food Standards Australia & New Zealand - Update:  MON863 corn safety assessment
bullet When it comes to GM food, some say ignorance is bliss - the February 2007 Idaho Observer - the National Health Federation (Crop producing nations do not want food marked as such, the rest of the world wants to know what they are eating. Read this)

Links to places you can find out what you can do:

bulletKeep Nature Natural -http://www.keepnatural.org/
bulletThe Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods - http://www.thecampaign.org
bulletGenetically Engineered Food Alert - http://www.gefoodalert.org
bulletFriends of the Earth - http://www.foe.org/
bulletOrganic Consumers Association - http://www.purefood.org/
bulletGreenpeace - http://www.greenpeace.org
bulletCenter for Food Safety - www.centerforfoodsafety.org

Footnotes:

bullet(1) True Food Now.com - http://www.truefoodnow.org/home_whatis.html
bullet(2) Ohio State University - http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5058.html
bullet(3) Greenpeace at  Greenpeace.org
bullet(4) AgriBioWorld.com - March 15, 2007 - click here
bullet(5) MON88017 Another MON863? - The Independent Science Panel
bullet(6) GM Food & Feed Not Fit for "Man or Beast" - the Institute of Science in Society
bullet(7) Pusztai A, Bardocz S and Ewen SWB. Genetically modified foods: Potential human health effects. In Food Safety: Contaminants and Toxins, (J P F D'Mello ed.), Scottish Agricultural College, Edinburgh, CAB International, 2003
bullet(8) Novotny E. Animals avoid GM food, for good reasons. Science in Society 2004, 21, 9-11.
bullet(9) Ho MW and Burcher S. Cows ate GM maize and died. Science in Society 2004, 21, 4-6.; and
 Ho MW. Syngenta's Spanish Trojan horse. Science in Society 2004, 21, 8.
bullet(10) Pusztai A, Bardocz S and Ewen SWB. Genetically modified foods: Potential human health effects. In Food Safety: Contaminants and Toxins, (J P F D'Mello ed.), Scottish Agricultural College, Edinburgh, CAB International, 2003.
bullet(11) Fares NH and El-Sayed AK. Fine structural changes in the ileum of mice fed on dendotoxin-treated potatoes and transgenic potatoes. Natural Toxins, 1998, 6, 219-33; also "Bt is toxic" by Joe Cummins and Mae-Wan Ho, ISIS News 7/8, February 2001, ISSN: 1474-1547 (print), ISSN: 1474-1814 (online) www.i-sis.org.uk
bullet(12) Greenpeace paper on "The MON863 case -a chronicle of systematic deception"
bullet(13) Zim, Zambia Stance On GMO Food Hailed Wisdom Mdzungairi - The Herald (Harare), October 11, 2005 http://allafrica.com/stories/200510110710.html Summary article found at The Independent Science Panel - GM Press Watch
bullet(14) Corporate Hijack of Sustainable Agriculture Backfired to Moratorium on GMOs - The Independent Science Panel
bullet(15) GMO (genetically modified organisms) Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Research Station ALP - Confederation Switzerland
 
 

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