Friday, October 22, 2010

Genetically Modified Foods and the Monsanto Initiative

Dees Illustration
S. Paul Forrest
Activist Post

Deception, manipulation, propaganda and profit: These words have become the basis of the American corporate and political landscape without any seeming concern or guilt over their promulgation.  One company in particular, which seems to be the iconographic example of this is Monsanto; or so go the claims today by the “conspiracy crowd” in reaction to the Genetically Modified (GM) food technology and its apparent governmental backing.

In order to understand the purpose of GM foods and the reasons stated for its implementation, the powers that be will tell us we need only look at the current global environment and the necessity of solutions to provide an adequate food supply to those in need in the global community.  Farmable land and access to water, energy, and biological resources are not as plentiful in many countries as they are in many parts of America.  These shortages equate to low crop yield, which means certain death and starvation to many people around the world each year.

Unfortunately, the facts surrounding these assertions are accurate.  According to the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, “1.02 billion people are undernourished, a sizable increase from its 2006 estimate of 854 million people,” indicating a combination of insufficient food, low incomes, and inadequate distribution of food.  This is the largest number of hungry humans ever recorded in history.  Likewise, reports from numerous other international organizations and reputable scientific researchers confirm the existence of these serious food supply problems.  In the face of these realities, the U.S. Government will have us believe that we need GM foods to meet the demands of a modern world.


Arguments for the research into and implementation of GM foods claim to support the initiatives to combat these problems.  Proponents tell us that GMO foods bring higher crop yields, allow farmers to use less pesticides and fertilizers, thereby decreasing environmental impact, while allowing the growth of crops in harsh environments.  Though these all seem like ideal solutions to our present global dilemma, opponents tell us that these claims do not agree with much of the scientific research on the issue and are only creating an increased danger to consumers.

It seems that the biggest concern stemming from the GM process is generated mainly by ignorance of the process and the mounting threats that independent researchers say it poses to public health.

Currently, two particular genetically altered foods are at the forefront of the controversy.  They are the appropriately named Franken Fish (genetically altered Salmon) and Bt corn.  As far as I can tell, research has not yet been done to thoroughly examine the long-term effects of these foods; and that which has been done does not give much confidence for the consumption of these items.  So far, this research has only uncovered a string of objections for the importation of them into many countries from the United States.

To date, several countries have banned the product based on their own research findings.  The European Union has just recently done so, adding to a rising front against the questionable product despite U.S. threats of trade barriers.  The United States, despite the mounting objections and research-based proof of their dangers to human health, is still refusing to ban the genetically manipulated products.  It seems curious that our government is not heeding the warnings of so many other nations.

Studies that are conclusive to the effects of GM foods cannot be found from U.S. agencies to deem this technology safe.  The little research that has been done, independent of our government, has not pointed to a very healthy outcome.  In 2009, The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called for a moratorium on GMO Foods.  They stated that "GM foods pose a serious health risk."  Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes that "there is more than a casual association between GMO foods and adverse health effects," and that "GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health."

Another alleged advantage to this modern wonder of biological meddling has also come into question:  higher crop yields to feed the population with less acreage.  On this subject, the AAEM has stated that “over time GMO harvest yields were lower than conventional yields and required over time, more not less, highly toxic herbicidal chemicals such as glyphosate . . . with the exception of Bt corn." However, the slight yield gain for Bt corn they report was "largely due to traditional breeding improvements, and not to GMO.”

Backing up this claim, researchers at the University of Nebraska conducted controlled studies comparing the Roundup Ready soybean with non-engineered soybeans and found consistent yield decreases with the GE beans of between 5 and 10%.  Likewise, claims that Round-up Ready crops will mean less herbicide in our ground water have been debunked.

To this effect, the Alliance For Bio-Integrity writes that “farmers who plant crops that are genetically engineered to resist the herbicide Roundup are now applying more of it to their fields."   They have noted that “research conducted by the Denmark and Greenland Geological Research Institution has discovered that the Roundup used in Danish agriculture is unexpectedly polluting the ground water with its active ingredient glyphosate at five times the acceptable level."   One could easily dismiss these findings as the result of older data and the testing of emerging product rather that the product in use, but the evidence is just too abundant.

In addition to the debunking of initial claims to the benefits of this technology, the secrecy surrounding these precariously researched products seems to be only raising concerns rather than the additional crop it promises.  GM crops have been produced for over 20 years, but solid evidence of its innocuous nature is quite difficult to find.  It begs the question then: Why is GMO food being forced into our diet and why is our government so vehemently pushing it upon the global population even after it has been shown to not meet the standards by which they have promoted it?

There is a well-documented "revolving door" between Monsanto employees and officials from U.S. Government regulatory bodies.  For example, the USDA secretary Ann Veneman is a former director of Calgene (swallowed by Monsanto and now part of Pharmacia).  Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court Justice who presided over the recent case to decide whether to allow some farmers to plant Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa seeds, was once a Monsanto attorney.  These connections do not bode well for outcomes favoring the health of We the People.  Add that to the initiative to control the global market of sterile seeds and there emerges great motivation to deceive the global population.

Seemingly, as a reaction to the growing skepticism and scientific research into the adverse effects of GMO foods and the demand for these foods to be labeled so that consumers can readily identify the product, our government made the following statement:

"There is No Right to Consume or Feed Children Any Particular Food; There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health; There is No Fundamental Right to Freedom of Contract." ~ US Dept of Health & Human Services and US Food & Drug Administration, 2010.

This governmental stance on the voiced objections to GMO is not just addressed to us informed Americans, it also seems to serve as a premise by which the spread of GM Foods has become a global endeavor.  The United States, under several administrations including Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush(2) and Obama, has introduced Monsanto seed stocks into several countries including the most recently invested country of Iraq, the safety for which we have charged ourselves.

The Agribusiness Examiner has reported about this initiative: “The seeds farmers are now allowed to plant -- 'protected' crop varieties brought into Iraq by transnational corporations in the name of agricultural reconstruction -- will be the property of the corporations.  While historically the Iraqi constitution prohibited private ownership of biological resources, the new U.S. imposed patent law introduces a system of monopoly rights over seeds.”

The greatest proof to the backing of GMO by American Government comes from the actions of the Bush Administration which “had been engaged in a running fight with a bloc of African countries who, on their own initiative, sought international rules to regulate GMOs through negotiation of a Biosafety Protocol.  The Biosafety Treaty was completed despite U.S. administration attempts to undercut it.  The treaty allows the sorts of policies Europe and many African countries and now major U.S. trade partners from China to Brazil are also enacting regarding the segregation and labeling of GMOs. By launching this attack, the Bush Administration had put the interests of its agribusiness supporters over many of the values it purports to seek for the world: democracy, accountability and openness.”  The Administration, spurred on by the biotech and agribusiness industries, viewed the moratorium, as well as any regulations on tracking the origin of GM products or labeling, as “barriers to trade.”

There is a string of research findings to support the growing global concern to the dangers of GM foods.  One example is a study commissioned by the Austrian Ministry of Health, Family and Youth Affairs and The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, which has found time-related negative reproductive effects in mice fed GM maize.  Likewise, the Italian National Institute of Research on Food and Nutrition showed how GM corn caused significant immune system changes in mice, related to allergic and inflammatory responses.

Haiti also has refused the seed despite their dire need for help.  Japan, China, Germany . . . the list goes on and on.  The U.S. still refuses to take appropriate action even in light of these countries' objections to the product.  After all, when the GNP is at risk and a particular technology can offer an inventive solution to the need for renewed global dominance, choosing a rational approach and making a conscientious decision would be foolish, indeed.

In preparation for writing this article, I researched a long list of sources trying to understand the process of GM foods and GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).  Before undertaking this research, I would laugh heartily when conspiracy theorists would begin talking of governmental secrecy; plots of the illuminati undoing the freedom of the world; and the idea of people digging bunkers to prepare for the impending World’s End.  With the level of deceit coming to light with regard to Genetically Modified Foods, however, I am no longer so quick to laugh.

Unfortunately, I have decided that the naysayers of this technology are right when it comes to bigger issues of public health, destruction of smaller, organic farms and the growing monopolistic controls of the food industry currently allowed by our Government and pursued by corporations like Monsanto.  It would seem that we have lost our voices and our choices in the hands of a government run by corporations that would serve their own interests before that of its citizens.  Organic foods and supplements are currently under attack by H.R. 3590 - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and now, our commercially produced dairy, grain, and meats are being manipulated without apparent concern for the health of the consumer.

A horrific feeling now comes over me when I walk down the grocery aisle searching for food to feed my children.  As I look across the various selections, the same incessant questions keep echoing in my head:  Why are they doing this to my food and why are they not being honest about the affects of it?  I can only pray that this research has led to conclusions that are not true, and that my children will not be victims of the corporate greed and government deceit that is infecting modern America.  As I patiently wait for the truth to surface, and this current proliferation of destruction to end, I can only write and hope that people will continue awakening to the Monsanto Initiative and that, eventually, those who are paid to protect us will do so with concern for our safety rather than that of their own personal enrichment.

Recently by S. Paul Forrest:
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13 comments:

WOLF said...

GMO Foods Failed Producing Healthy Food
http://blogs.mercola.com/sites/vitalvotes/archive/2009/09/14/GMO-Foods-Have-Failed-at-Producing-Healthy-Food-for-More-People.aspx

WOLF said...

Doctors Warn Avoid Genetically Modified Food
http://www.rense.com/general86/doct.htm
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine states, “Genetically Modified foods have not been properly tested and pose a serious health risk. There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation."

Last May the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on "Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks." They called for a moratorium on GM foods, long-term independent studies, and labeling.

AAEM's position paper stated, "Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food," including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. They conclude, "There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation," as defined by recognized scientific criteria. "The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies."

WOLF said...

Genes In GM Crops Jump The Species Barrier.
http://www.voila.co.uk/News/afp/uk/000528085900.15e4xfxz.html
Research by a leading German zoologist has shown that genes used to genetically modify crops can jump the species barrier, newspapers reported here on Sunday. A three-year study by Professor Hans-Heinrich Kaatz at the University of Jena found that the gene used to modify oil-seed rape had transferred to bacteria living inside honey bees. The findings will undermine claims by the biotech industry and supporters of GM foods that genes cannot spread.

They will also increase pressure on farmers across Europe to destroy fields of oil-seed rape contaminated with GM seeds. In an interview for The Observer newspaper, Kaatz said: "I have found the herbicide-resistant genes in the rapeseed transferred across to the bacteria and yeast inside the intestines of young bees. This happened rarely, but it did happen”. Asked if his findings had implications for the bacteria inside the human gut, Kaatz replied: "Maybe, but I am not an expert on this”.

The Observer said Kaatz was reluctant to talk about his work until it is officially published and reviewed by fellow scientists. The reports come a day after Britain's Agriculture Minister Nick Brown urged farmers to destroy crops contaminated with genetically modified seeds. Up to 600 farmers in Britain are believed to have inadvertently planted more than 30,000 acres of oilseed rape contaminated with GM rape seeds, supplied by Anglo-Dutch seed company Advanta. Similar crops have been planted elsewhere in Europe, including in France, Germany and Sweden. The French and Swedish governments have already announced they are ordering the uprooting of the crops.

WOLF said...

GM Foods Should be Labeled
http://blogs.mercola.com/sites/vitalvotes/archive/2009/08/19/GM-Foods-Should-be-Labeled.aspx
The FDA’s stance is that labeling foods as GM or non-GM would be misleading because the foods are no different. Despite overwhelming evidence that the public wants to know whether foods are GM or not, GM foods do not have to be labeled in the U.S. Worse, those that are labeled non-GM have to include a disclaimer that this makes no difference.

At present, there is no way to know whether GM foods that have been approved by FDA are actually in the produce section of supermarkets. The GM industry has opposed labeling from the very beginning, no doubt because of fears that people will reject GM foods. The makers of processed foods object to labeling because practically everything they make contains GM ingredients: about 90 percent of the soybeans and 50 percent of the corn grown in America is GM.

Europeans insist on labeling GM products. For example, Hershey’s Reese’s NutRageous candy bars in the UK disclose the GM ingredients in exactly the way U.S. products disclose allergens: “Contains: Peanuts, Genetically Modified Sugar, Soya and Corn.”

Hershey is an American company. If labeling in the UK is this simple, it should be just as simple in the U.S.

WOLF’s NOTE: Dr. Laibow - Codex & GM Foods Finals Reports – Vid
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/index.php?p=728
Dispatches from Codex #8: Dr. Rima on Video about Codex in Chaos
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=726

WOLF said...

GM Crop Contamination ‘Are Set to Worsen’
Consequences of (JEW) GM Crop Contamination ‘Are Set to Worsen’
http://www.blacklistednews.com/view.asp?ID=5645
The consequences of contamination between GM crops and non-GM varieties will be much more serious with the next generation of GM crops, an influential group of US scientists has warned.

Mixing between GM and non-GM varieties has already caused serious economic losses for producers in lost sales and exports. But the consequences of mixing will be much more serious with new crops that are altered to produce pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals, the scientists argue. The crops could harm human health and be toxic to wild animals.

“What would be the impact societally, economically if for example, cornflakes were contaminated by some sort of drug or chemical? I think it would be a vast impact economically,” said Karen Perry Stillerman, senior food, and environment programme analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“I think it’s really hard to say [what impact contamination would have] because there is a variety of different drugs and chemicals that might be manufactured in plants this way,” she added. “Our perception is that some of them might be toxic, but all of them would certainly cause tremendous economic upheaval.”

WOLF said...

GM - Experiment on the Masses
Genetically Engineered Foods - An Experiment on the Masses
http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_seedsdestruction.htm
In 2003, Jeffrey Smith’s Seeds of Deception was published. It exposes the dangers of untested and unregulated genetically engineered or modified (GE/GM) foods that most people in the USA eat every day with no knowledge of the potential health risks. Efforts to inform the public have been quashed, and reliable science has been buried.

Consider what happened to the world’s leading lectins and plant genetic modification expert, UK-based Arpád Pusztai. He was vilified and fired from his research position at Scotland’s Rowett Research Institute for publishing industry-unfriendly data that he was commissioned to produce on the safety of GM foods. His Rowett Research study was the first ever independent one conducted on them anywhere. He undertook it, believing in their promise, but became alarmed by his findings.

His results were startling and have implications for humans eating genetically engineered/modified foods. Pusztai found that rats fed GM potatoes had smaller livers, hearts, testicles and brains, as well as damaged immune systems; they showed structural changes in their white blood cells, making them more vulnerable to infection and disease compared to other rats fed non-GM potatoes. It got worse. Thymus and spleen damage showed up, as did enlarged tissues, including the pancreas and intestines. There were cases of liver atrophy as well as significant proliferation of stomach and intestinal cells that could be a sign of greater future risk of cancer. Equally alarming was that all this happened after only 10 days of testing, and the changes persisted after 110 days—that’s the human equivalent of 10 years.

GM foods today saturate our diet, particularly in the USA. Over 80 per cent of all processed foods sold in supermarkets contain them. Other GM foods include grains like rice, corn and wheat; legumes like soybeans (and a range of soy products); vegetable oils; soft drinks; salad dressings; vegetables and fruits; dairy products including eggs; meat and other animal products; and even infant formula. There’s also a vast array of hidden additives and ingredients in processed foods (such as in tomato sauce, ice cream and peanut butter). They’re unrevealed to consumers because such labeling is prohibited— yet the more of these foods that we eat, the greater the potential threat to our health.

WOLF said...

GM Crops Threaten Human Fertility & Health
http://www.responsibletechnology.org/GMFree/MediaCenter/ReleaseAustrianGovernmentStudy/index.cfm
Austrian Government Study Confirms Genetically Modified (GM) Crops
Threaten Human Fertility and Health Safety

Advocates Call for Immediate Ban of All GM Foods and GM Crops:
A long-term feeding study commissioned by the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, managed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Health, Family and Youth, and carried out by Veterinary University Vienna, confirms genetically modified (GM) corn seriously affects reproductive health in mice. Non-GMO advocates, who have warned about this infertility link along with other health risks, now seek an immediate ban of all GM foods and GM crops to protect the health of humankind and the fertility of women around the world.

WOLF said...

Dr. Laibow - Codex & GM Foods Finals Reports – Vid
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/index.php?p=728
Dispatches from Codex #8: Dr. Rima on Video about Codex in Chaos
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=726
Dispatch #9 - Post-Codex Video #5 from Dr. Laibow: Propelling us into the future

Dispatches from the Codex Commission #9
Natural Solutions Foundation, Public Observer
Dispatches from Codex Commission Meeting
Dispatch No. 9 - 08 July 2008
In the Air Again…

Please take a look at this important message about the future of the Health Freedom Movement… about the great opportunity opened at the just completed annual Codex Alimentarius (World Food Code) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Laibow and Gen. Stubblebine attended and have reported events as they happened.

Here Dr. Laibow reveals the tremendous opportunity regarding truthful and not misleading labeling of GMO (genetically modified organisms) products.

Dr. Laibow’s Final Report from Codex: Agency in Chaos

Dr. Laibow and Gen. Stubbleine’s strategic assessment:

Link to Dr. Laibow’s first 3 Codex video reports:
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=720

Her 4th report:
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=723

Please support our efforts at Codex with your generous, tax deductible donations:
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/index.php?page_id=189

And to join the Health Freedom eAlert list:
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/index.php?page_id=187

Dr. Laibow’s written blogs from the Codex meeting:
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=717
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=718
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=719
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/index.php?p=721
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=722

WOLF said...

GM Foods the Problem, Not the Solution
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42480
The food crisis has prompted some looks towards genetically modified food production as a solution. That in turn has led to stronger warnings over the consequences of such food for health and the environment.

These concerns have been raised in Bonn again as more than 3,000 delegates from 147 countries met for the UN conference on biosafety. The conference has sought to ensure safe use of modern biotechnology.

Feeding the debate, scientists, farmers and environmental activists in many countries continue to warn that genetically modified agriculture presents a risk, and not a contribution, to food production.

In France, organic farmers are complaining that genetically modified (GM) plants are poisoning their plantations. Julien and Christian Veillat, two farmers who grow organic maize in the Breton locality of Villiers-en-Plaine some 400 kilometres west of Paris, say their fields have been contaminated with GM maize, even though the nearest GM crops field is 35 kilometres away.

The contamination was established during a routine analysis late in April by an organic agriculture cooperative near the Veillats' village. Following the detection, the organic maize was diverted for use as cattle fodder.

The Veillats have now filed a legal complaint against the central government in Paris. "The contamination could only have come from the GM maize," spokesperson for the local association against GM agriculture Georges Castiel told IPS. "At the organic cooperative, they control the seeds very carefully."

Jean-Pierre Margan, producer of organic wine in the Provence in the south told IPS that contamination of organic farms is a constant problem. "Particles of GMOs are transported by wind and water, and can be carried very far away, and contaminate your plantation even if you have worked hard to protect it from every risk," he said.

Serge Morin, deputy president of the local government in the province of Poitou Charentes said it is necessary that "the French state revises all procedures concerning GMOs, including the immediate stop of all open air GM plantations. In addition, all organic farmers whose plantations are contaminated should be paid indemnities."

Such instances have led renowned chefs and wine producers in France to launch a public campaign to prevent the spread of GMOs in food and beverages.

"We don't have the scientific competence to intervene in the debate on the health consequences of GMOs," they wrote in a public letter addressed to the French parliament. "But we consider that, in accordance with the precautionary principle in questions of food and health, GMOs must simply remain banned from our tables." Similar campaigns are under way in other European countries.

Several scientists and environmental activists say that apart from the health concerns, GMOs are not a solution for food scarcity either.

WOLF said...

Scientist Warning of Health Hazards of Monsanto's Herbicide Receives Threats
GRAIN: Seeds of Information, July 2009
http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_18944.cfm
“I expected a reaction but not such a violent one”

In April 2009 Andrés Carrasco, an Argentinean embryologist, gave an interview to the leading Buenos Aires newspaper Página 12, in which he described the alarming results of a research project he is leading into the impact of the herbicide glyphosate on the foetuses of amphibians. Dr Carrasco, who works in the Ministry of Science’s Conicet (National Council of Scientific and Technical Investigations), said that their results suggested that the herbicide could cause brain, intestinal and heart defects in the fetuses. Glyphosate is the herbicide used in the cultivation of Monsanto’s genetically modified soya, which now covers some 18 million hectares, about half of Argentina’s arable land. [1]

Carrasco said that the doses of herbicide used in their study were “much lower than the levels used in the fumigations”. Indeed, as some weeds have become resistant to glyphosate, many farmers are greatly increasing the concentration of the herbicide. According to Página 12, this means that, in practice, the herbicide applied in the fields is between 50 and 1,540 times stronger than that used by Carrasco. The results in the study are confirming what peasant and indigenous communities – the people most affected by the spraying – have been denouncing for over a decade. The study also has profound consequences for the USA’s anti-narcotics strategy in Colombia, because the planes spray glyphosate, reinforced with additional chemicals, on the coca fields (and the peasants living among them).

Three days after the interview, the Association of Environmental Lawyers filed a petition with the Argentine Supreme Court, calling for a ban on the use and sale of glyphosate until its impact on health and on the environment had been investigated. Five days later the Ministry of Defense banned the planting of soya in its fields. This sparked a strong reaction from the multinational biotechnology companies and their supporters. Fearful that their most famous product, a symbol of the dominant farming model, would be banned, they mounted an unprecedented attack on Carrasco, ridiculing his research and even issuing personal threats. He was accused of inventing his whole investigation, as his results have not yet been peer-reviewed and published in a prestigious scientific journal.

According to an article in the Argentine press, after news about the study broke, Dr. Carrasco was the victim of an act of intimidation, when four men arrived at his laboratory in the Faculty of Medicine and acted extremely aggressively.

Two of the men were said to be members of an agrochemical industry body but refused to give their names. The other two claimed to be a lawyer and notary. They apparently interrogated Dr. Carrasco and demanded to see details of the experiments. They left a card Basílico, Andrada & Santurio, attorneys on behalf of Felipe Alejandro Noël.

WOLF said...

Monsanto Against Millions
http://www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.cfm
If you're talking about:
Persecuting Small Family Farmers, Bovine Growth Hormone, PCBs, Agent Orange,
Poisoning the Third World, Roundup Pesticide, Water Privatization, Genetically Engineered Crops, or Farm Bankruptcies, you're talking about the Monsanto Corporation.

WOLF said...

Monsanto - A Multinational Factory of Death
http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_monsanto.htm

sforrest said...

Hey Wolf...The point has been made. I can respect your enthusiam, though. LOL!

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