Tag Archives: GMO

Grape Nuts Goes “NON-GMO PROJECT VERIFIED”

30 Dec

I noticed that there was a new label on Grape-Nuts yesterday that included the Non-GMO verified seal. The cereal was on sale too, which suggests that there was little to no impact to the cost of production, even with the creation of a new label. It seems interesting that the food industry fights so hard about re-labeling when it comes to the mention of GMO, but in this case, an existing product that may have always been close to GMO free goes into a new label without any fanfare!

By comparing the previous label to the new label, you can see what is different. Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D were removed. It appears that none of the other ingredients were changed. It is possible they swapped out some GMO for Non-GMO, but that seems like it would be too much work.

This is all good news to Grape-Nut lovers. With a little organic milk, you have a pretty healthy breakfast. Now… does this mean that the Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D that were in the product contain GMOs?

Corn – The #1 Subsidized Crop in America

10 Sep

A naturally occurring source of high protein is now a nutritionally deficient, inedible, bio-engineered product for commercial use only. The genetically modified corn in the US is used to produce ethanol (40%), high fructose corn syrup, and animal feed. The animal feed is primarily used as feed for cattle (to generate protein) who cannot survive on such a diet without the use of antibiotics. The high fructose corn syrup is used as a food additive in breadscereals, breakfast barslunch meatsyogurtssoft drinkssoups, and condiments. In King Corn, two college students followed the progress of field corn they raised on an Iowa farm from the field to the table.


The transition from simple farming in the 1950’s to the industrial production today did not occur overnight. Any changes will take time to implement. It is clear that America has been sold, and is buying cheap food. The consequence of cheap food is exhibited in the increased rates of obesity and diabetes. Below are two studies on the effects genetically modified corn on laboratory rats. (USA leads the world in biotech crops with approximately a 90% adoption rate across all biotech crops. – ISAAA Publication)

Three different genetically modified corns were used to compare their effects of on mammalian health” :

“Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs…. Our analysis highlights that the kidneys and liver as particularly important on which to focus such research as there was a clear negative impact on the function of these organs in rats consuming GM maize varieties for just 90 days.”

Excerpted from “Long-term Toxicity of a Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-Tolerant Genetically Modified Maize“:

This is the first long-term peer reviewed toxicity study into the health impact of a GM tolerant maize crop and the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup. The research shows that consuming even relatively low levels of the commercial NK603 Roundup tolerant GM maize or of the herbicide, Roundup, can result in greatly increased levels of mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and premature death in laboratory rats.

Between the genetically modified corn seeds through the commercialization of the product itself a fresh look at corn is in order.

Consumer Awareness of Genetically Modified Foods

3 Sep

There has been growth in the organic food segment and, organics cannot contain any GMOs per the USDA. Now with the push to identify GMO products with labels and non-GMO products with labels, the decision by the consumer is becoming easier.

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If GMO products were so great for the environment and our health, you’d think the industry would want to specifically identify products as GMO. The response from Monsanto is:

 “Such mandatory labeling could imply that food products containing these ingredients are somehow inferior to their conventional or organic counterparts.”

 The implication from that statement is that there is no “meaningful difference” between GMO and Organic, so per the FDA, no specific labels are required.

As the bio-engineering industry fights the labeling of GMOs, food suppliers are moving toward promoting non-GMO products. A common quote from the president of Whole Foods is that “…some of their suppliers have seen sales increases of 15 percent in foods they have labeled… (non-GMO)”.

Whole Foods business is currently 40% organic. As they drive to label GMOs in their stores, and Chipotle restaurants do the same, we should soon see in the mainstream Kroger’s and Safeway stores non-GMO products being placed directly next to their GMO counterparts. At that time, the market will determine the fate of GMO products. The consumer is in control of this issue and we are indeed reaching a tipping point.

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Biotech Seed Companies and Coca-Cola Fight Back

14 Aug

Both the soft drink industry and the GMO seed producers are laying exposed their vulnerabilities in an attempt to convince the consumer of their product benefits.

Coca-Cola is going to begin advertising their diet colas using the scientific evidence that shows that Aspartame (NutraSweet) is safe while the biotech seed companies launched a website to tout the virtues of genetically modified organisms. In both cases, the move is in response to consumers becoming more informed about the effects of messing with Mother Nature.



The Coca-Cola article just happened to occur one day before Utah researchers came out with a conclusion that what is considered a “safe” level of sugar consumption in humans, when fed to mice, had a dramatic negative affect on their health. Coca-Cola was not preparing in advance of this release, more so, was responding to the decrease in sales of sodas. Likewise, the GMO producers were responding to negative public perception and their total failure to convince the Europeans to continue to use GMO products. The seed and chemical companies are desperate to maintain their position within the US Agriculture Community.

In each case, the industry is laying exposed their greatest vulnerabilities, which are directly tied to consumer awareness. At this point in time, they have no other choice. As for the consumer, the consumer always has an alternate choice. We will see how successful these industry campaigns are in garnering customer loyalty, or not. With what many call the failure of Microsoft’s RT products recently, it is clear it takes more than multi-million-dollar ad campaigns to sell products. The products more and more need to offer real value and stand up to the scrutiny of an ever increasingly informed public.

Genetically Modified Bees to Save the Bees

29 Jul

Worldwide there are concerns about the health of bee populations. The threat to the bees is tied to neonicotinoids among other things. Monsanto in 2012, purchased Beelogic and apparently plans to genetically modify bees in order to save them from the chemicals.

In a related development, the Agriculture Department of Illinois took the bee population from a renowned naturalist who had been developing bees that naturally were resistant to RoundUp/ Glyphosate. Of particular note is that the bees were taken without a warrant or a court hearing. It is suspect that Monsanto had made the request although the State of Illinois claims they were taken due to a routine inspection that uncovered bacteria in the colonies. Terrence Ingram, the naturalist, can be seen on this YouTube video.

Terrence had his day in court, but was convicted and fined $500. The only problem was that he was unable to defend himself, by proving the bees were not infected with foulbrood, as the bees had been confiscated and (apparently) destroyed.

On another note, in Europe, Monsanto has decided to give up their push into genetically modified seeds and limit the sales of seeds in Europe to those that are not GMO. The popularity of GMO seeds was not being met with enough business success, especially with the beekeepers in Poland.

The World Food Prize and Angry Mermaid Award

21 Jun

Monsanto was awarded the World Food Prize for the development of the ability to insert foreign genes into plants. The award, here in the US, is released by the nonprofit World Food Award Foundation, whose contributions include $5M from Monsanto in 2008.

GMO products are banned in Europe. They have a different award. In Copenhagen, Monsanto was awarded the Angry Mermaid Award for many achievements, including the same ability to insert foreign genes into plants.

A YouTube video entitled Seeds of Death is an hour and 19 minute perspective on GMO products and their impact on our planet.

Knowing GMO Products

3 Jun

Genetically engineering is totally different than Natural Selection and natural breeding methods. Natural breeding is referred to as “vertical” breeding. Changes in the DNA and changes in traits are derived from the parents within the same species. The most invasive type of genetic engineering uses “horizontal” breeding techniques, only available in a laboratory. Horizontal breeding inserts genes from “other” species, randomly into another species with uncontrollable results.

A more technical distinction between the two techniques for breeding might be Cisgenesis for Vertical breeding and Transgenesis for horizontal breeding.

GMO corn is produced using Transgenesis techniques. Corn is susceptible to insects in the larvae stage. In order to kill the insects, a bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis) that is toxic to the insect larvae is inserted into the genome of the corn. This specific toxin known as Bt attacks the digestive system of the insects by breaking down the cell walls of their stomachs.

 

 
 
 

Protests Against Monsanto

27 May

Marches formed this past Saturday in 52 different countries, including 436 different cities to protest Monsanto products and their impact on the global food supply.

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And these protesters are being identified by the Monsanto CEO as “elitists”. By the way, the CEO of Monsanto, who is calling these protesters elitists pocketed $14.4M in 2012. Although the pay limit is to max out at 200% of its annual target, the Monsanto board voted to extend Mr. Grant’s pay to 265% for 2012. One might call Mr. Hugh Grant an elitist.

It appears that the Monsanto corporate objective to make money, is getting in the way of making friends. Their claim that they are solving the world’s hunger problems is questionable at best.

Currently, no human testing has been done on GMO’s and little to no testing has been published on the effects of GMO’s on animals, yet people are eating GMO’s everyday.”

Why is that so? You might ask. Since the introduction in the 1990’s, the companies that produce GMO products forbid the independent testing of their products, even on rats. One might think that something consumed globally would be worthy of making sure it was safe for “long term” human consumption. Patent laws are funny that way.

 

Monsanto’s Latest Victory

15 May

Monsanto won a settlement against a small farmer this last week in Indiana. The farmer had bought genetically modified seed, grew crops with that seed, and used the excess seed for planting in future years. The judges in a unanimous ruling said he had violated patent law, which he did. The lawsuit has also expanded the FUD factor among organic farmers. FUD is that ever successful marketing campaign that stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

The ultimate goal of Monsanto is to replace all natural seed with their “patented seeds”, genetically modified of course. And along with that, produce matching “patented” pesticides designed specifically to be sprayed on the resulting crops. And to further that effort and to maximize profits, produce seed that is incapable of generating useful seed from its crops. So, every year, every farmer in the world would have to pay Monsanto for their seed, or not be able to grow crops. That is if Monsanto achieves its goal. I encourage you to watch The World According to Monsanto.

Another tactic used to further expand its market since 1997, has been to take small farmers to court. (An official explanation from Monsanto is available online.) These farmers may simply have been trying to grow organic produce, while surrounded by fields of genetically modified crops. Seed from the GMO fields drift onto the organic land. The contaminated fields are sampled for GMO plants. Once the GMO plants are found, Monsanto sues the farmer. You can imagine the ability of a small farmer to defend from such litigation. Most farmers simply back down, or sell out.

If you think the chemical companies are not being successful in displacing mother nature, check out an article from Mother Jones. If you think that we don’t fully understand what GMO products are doing to our bodies, don’t read it.

If you want to jump on the profit margins from this world changing strategy, go long MON, DD, and DOW.

Organic Food and GMOs

6 May

Recently, California tried to pass legislation that would require food to be labeled in regard to the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). From information that is readily available, it would appear simpler to only require it when GMOs are not used. The way the industry sells the “usefulness” of GMOs, you’d think they’d want to point out to consumers those products that “do not contain GMO sources”, as a “health risk”.

Instead, the legislation did not pass. Now normally this might not be such a big deal. But now it appears that the labeling for “organic” products is being distorted to allow for GMOs in organic food. One would think that an extremely basic premise for an organic product would be one whose seed came from nature.. The USDA in particular clearly states what is required for organic labeling on their website.

Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used. (Source : http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop )

Additional information on the subject can be obtained from this article from The Alliance for Natural Health.

Does anybody know. “Are peanuts sold in the US genetically modified?” Answer may lie in a University if Florida Publication. They appear not be be genetically modified as seed appears to be readily available.