Genetically Engineered Food - California, Hawaii
Agri-Giants Pour Big Propaganda Money into States to Defeat Laws That Would Require Labeling of Genetically Engineered "Food"
Genetically Engineered Foods, or "Frankenfoods" as I like to call them, are foods that come from plants (and perhaps animals) where genes have been inserted into the genetic material of an existing species. Usually, the genes are inserted by attaching the genes to a virus and then the cell is infected. It leads to unpredictable results, in part because genes affect many different things; everything is woven together. You can't just select one trait, insert one gene, and voila! you have a new and valuable organism. The health risks are unknown, but experiments show that they can be severe. For example, rats given genetically engineered grain developed cancerous tumors as large as their bodies. Unfortunately, genetically engineered organisms can contaminate natural organisms. So an organic farmer next to a farmer who sows genetically engineered seed will not have the ability to grow organic food for awhile. This is like a cancer that can spread throughout the world, and eventually destroy the world's food supply. In this article, I go into some details of all the problems, and why the only hope of survival for the human race and many other species is to ban GMOs and hope it's not too late (it just might be).
Proposition 37 is an initiative that, if passed, would have forced all genetically engineered foods to be labeled when sold. A few very powerful companies fought against this ballot item, and poured millions of dollars into campaigns against it. Their chief argument seems to be that it would raise food prices. Don't believe them. Food packagers change their labels all the time, and they're used to it. The only problem will be that most likely, most food packagers will stop using GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients rather than label them with what amounts to a skull and crossbones. Most people want foods labeled. Probably half the people who know something is genetically modified won't buy it. It is estimated that if even 10% of consumers refused to buy them, GMOs would be gone. This will mean that farmers will have to stop growing them because there will be no market. Some of them will have difficulty switching to non-GMO crops because the land has been contaminated. This will produce some economic problems. But between you and me and the fencepost, I will gladly take the consequences of that so I can KNOW I am not eating poisons.
This lens concentrates on the issue, describing why GMOs are poisonous, and what kind of effect they have. It will barely scratch the surface because whole books have been written about the problem.
Links later in this Lens will lead to articles that describe initiatives in a few other states that are currently being worked on. It is unfortunate we lost California, but there is still hope, and I see people slowly turning against GMO. For the first time, I am seeing GMO-certified labeling on products in health food stores. There are actually quite a few products that are seeking this label.
The photo is by Andrew Butko and is published under Creative Commons attribution and share alike. Corn is one of the major GMO crops. It is estimated that 85-90% of American corn is currently GMO.
All photos are in the public domain.
Why Genetically Modified Foods Are a Problem
and some history
One of the earliest genetically modified plants was the Rapeseed plant. It was modified through what is now regarded as a fairly primitive method: gene splitting. The result was the plant used to produce canola oil. The word "canola" is a combination of Canada (where it was first designed and grown), and "ola" for "oil." Canola oil is widely used. Even if it had not been genetically modified, it would still not be a healthy oil. The Rapeseed plant contains a poison, which was largely removed from the "designer" plant, but some people are still sensitive to it. Regardless, canola oil CANNOT be grown organically because it is a GMO to begin with. If you like to shop at Trader Joe's, PLEASE contact them on their web site and complain loudly about the use of this oil. They claim all their house brands are free of GMO. As far as I know, they are, except for their widespread use of canola oil. Canola oil is also not a healthy oil because if heated, it becomes a transfat, and because it is otherwise not healthy. Healthy oils include olive oil (should not be used for cooking), coconut oil (can be used for deep fat frying with impunity and contains beneficial oils, and has many health benefits), macadamia oil, palm oil (similar to coconut oil), and real butter, among others.
The following are commonly grown GMO crops in the United States: soybeans (90-95% GMO), corn, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, crookneck squash, Hawai'ian papaya (50% GMO), and Italian squash. Other crops are grown in other countries, but if you avoid these, you will probably not be eating very much GMO. And by the way, since most countries either prohibit GMOs or require them to be labeled, Trader Joe's is fairly easily able to avoid GMO ingredients, because many of their foods come from other countries.
I do not eat any of these foods UNLESS they are labeled USDA Organic. USDA Organic foods CANNOT contain GMOs.
GMO alfalfa has been approved. This is VERY BAD because alfalfa is a perennial plant, and eventually it will contaminate ALL alfalfa, through cross-pollination. It is also very bad, because there is absolutely NO NEED for it. Alfalfa is a very common feed for animals.
Still in the works is a demand for licensing of GMO salmon. If it is approved, enough salmon will escape into the wild that it will totally destroy the world's population of wild Atlantic salmon. The change was intended to allow them to breed fish that will grow for twice as long, but it leads to malformed skeletons in fish and other problems. The fish farm that is developing it is in Canada, and has been plagued by disease. It isn't even clear to me whether it will be possible to overcome the problems.
Genetic Modification - How It Is Currently Done
There are two major types of genetic modification in plants. One causes the plant to become resistant to herbicides such as Roundup. The other causes the plant to be able to produce its own insecticide.
The problem with the plants that are made resistant to herbicides is that farmers put a lot MORE Roundup and other herbicides on the plants, which of course means they are more poisonous to those who eat them, and because the mechanism used to incorporate this trait into the genetic material will also "infect" the weeds, which become herbicide resistant as well. The result has been what you might call "superweeds", weeds that grow so tall and thick that their main stem becomes almost like the trunk of a tree. They are very had to cut down. Millions of acres of American land have had to be abandoned for this reason.
The way in which this genetic trait is introduced into the DNA of plants is that a virus is modified to contain the new genes, and then this is shot randomly into the DNA of the plant. The virus can attach its DNA snippets anywhere in the plant's DNA, leading to unintended consequences, and because it is a virus, it can also infect weeds.
Remember when your mother told you to wash your veggies before eating? Faggedaboudit!
You can't wash off insecticides that are in the tissues of the plants.
Plants that produce their own insecticide are originally "designed" in the same way. Unfortunately, they don't only kill harmful insects, but also beneficial ones such as butterflies and bees. These plants are responsible for the new problem known as "colony collapse disorder". In this situation, bees cannot find their way back to the hive, and the hive dies. Bees that have access only to organic crops are unaffected. In addition to this problem, the virus responsible for introducing this trait remains in the plant, and when the plant is eaten, the virus invades the person's intestinal tract and causes the intestines to produce insecticide for the rest of that person's life. He produces insecticide in his own body. There is no known cure for this problem.
Other Health Problems
Through one or more studies in animals, as well as experience with people, other health problems have been uncovered.
If you are unfamiliar, do a search on "Morgellons". This is a brand new health problem. It consists of various colored threads (red, white, black, blue, etc) that grow through the skin of the victim, and cause itching, burning, and other troublesome symptoms. It has been shown that the threads are made of the same material as the viruses that are used to infect the plants. This is actually afflicting human beings. The only treatment known is colloidal silver, and the victim has to take it for the rest of his life. Ordinarily colloidal silver causes a person's skin to turn blue or grey. There is one very strong form that does not, and that's NutraSilver, available online. It is brown, so it doesn't discolor. As far as I know, it also doesn't collect in tissues.
Experiments with mice have shown that among many different problems, they can become infertile, their offspring have a 50% mortality rate (also common in other species), they can develop cancerous tumors up to 1/4 of their total body size, and many other problems. Some farm animals who were allowed to eat GMO grains also died off in massive numbers, and sometimes it killed the entire herd.
rBST, a form of hormone sometimes given to cattle allegedly to increase their growth rate and to cause higher milk production, has been shown to cause massive udder infections and other problems. rBST was genetically engineered. Because some milk producers started voluntarily labeling their milk rBST-free, in locations where this has been done, all the milk sold in the area quickly became rBST free. However, cattle are still being fed GMO grains, and kept in small confines so that disease is rampant, and they are fed antibiotics to avoid disease. Chickens and other farm animals are also subjected to this practice.
The photo of the cotton plant is in the public domain. Cottonseed oil is commonly used in prepared foods. Most cotton is currently genetically engineered.
Resources Available on Amazon And Elsewhere
Jeffrey Smith was the pioneer in alerting the world to the dangers of GMOs. These are his books. The first one well describes the problem. The second one is fairly technical. Here is Jeffrey Smith's web site: Seeds of Deception He has lots of information on how to avoid eating GMOs, and many other topics.
Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating
by Jeffrey M. Smith
This one is important for everyone. I could hardly put it down when I read it.
Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods
by Jeffrey M. Smith
This one is for the technically inclined.
Two web sites in particular have published a great deal of information on the problem of genetically engineered "foods". They are:
the web site of Dr. Mercola.
Natural News, the web site of Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.
On health topics, Mike Adams is excellent. His political views, on the other hand, require discernment. He spends too much time with Alex Jones, and Alex Jones (Infowars and PrisonPlanet) is bad news.
Both sites include information on how to support the initiatives in other states, including volunteering if you live there, and contributing if you do not. PLEASE TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THIS PROBLEM, AND IF YOU ARE IN CALIFORNIA, YOU NEED TO DO ANOTHER PROPOSITION TO TAKE THE PLACE OF THE ONE THAT FAILED..
Use search engines available on these sites for extensive information.
Other helpful sites:
More good links:
Cotton Wiki includes a section on genetically modified cotton.
More on Hawai'i:
The photo is soybean varieties. It is in the public domain.
Scroll down to the bottom of the lens for the latest information on how we are fighting against GMOs.
Still Other Health Problems
Even if a given food does not come from genetically modified plants, there are other problems. For soy, for example, the plant must be processed to make it digestible. For soy and other plants, most is done with hexane, a toxic chemical which is a by-product of petroleum refining. Many vegetarians eat a lot of soy protein. Not only is the vegetarian diet bad for you in general, with the addition of these types of foods, it is even more unhealthy. Vegetarian diets, particular vegan diets, lead to malnutrition because important nutrients cannot be obtained. This includes Vitamin B12, Omega 3 fatty acids (flaxseed oil is said to contain these, but it is probably fortified from animal sources), L-carnitine (available only from red meat, and an important nutrient to control body weight), and others. But with the addition of food which has been processed with hexane, which includes other plant foods as well, it becomes a serious problem.
There was a good article about this here:
This site shows you which vegetarian burgers are derived with hexane, and which were not.
The human being requires animal protein for health. Because vegetarians crave meat, they often eat these meat substitutes, which have been flavored with things like monosodium glutimate, a deadly neurotoxin, so that it superficially satisfies the craving. The Adventist canning company Worthington Foods has been particularly bad about this.
There are very few foods derived from soy that are truly healthy. The main one I know about is nattokinase. Soy also in general causes the production of too much estrogen. This is bad for women, but especially bad for men, who can develop obesity and "man boobs", and lose sexual ability.
The Guilty Corporations
Among the corporations who are foisting these poisons off on the world are Monsanto, Bayer, DuPont, and others. Monsanto was the producer of Agent Orange. Bayer was a company involved in producing chemicals for the extermination of people in Nazi Germany. It looks like these companies haven't learned the lessons of history.
There is a lot of conflict of interest involved with these companies and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is a very incestuous relationship: people move from one of these corporations to the FDA and back again. That is why the FDA protects these companies instead of protecting the public like it is supposed to.
I just knew not to buy Hawai'ian papaya
But it turns out it is a much bigger problem about which I had NO idea.
Originally, papaya was genetically engineered to try to avoid the destruction of the crop due to a fungus. But as soon as Hawai'i began to grow genetically engineered papaya, one of their major markets, Japan, stopped buying it. Japan will not accept any GMO "food".
Now I learn that the people of Hawai'i are concerned about the way in which other GMO crops are being planted, and because the islands are small, they will contaminate everyone's crops very soon. Hopefully, the growing consensus against GMO in Hawai'i will put a stop to this entirely.
My major concern is that GMO pollen will contaminate the ground so that farmers cannot revert back to other varieties. We have no idea how much of a problem that will be, nor do we have any idea how difficult it will be to deal with the monster weeds that have taken over millions of acres of soil on the American mainland, which still contain the virus and can contaminate other species as well.
There is talk that American farmers are planning not to grow GMO anymore, because their crop yields have dropped, and so have the markets. I hope they do this sooner rather than later, because every additional year will make recovery that much more difficult.
In the meantime, I am posting three YouTube videos about GMO in Hawai'i. The lens that talks about Hawai'ian flowers also discusses GMOs there.
Update, November 2014. Monsanto has been voted off Big Island. Yippee!
Islands at Risk Part 1
Islands at Risk Part 2
Islands at Risk Part 3
Monsanto and other companies are trying to sell their genetically modified frankencrops all over the world. Much is now known about how detrimental this is. Not only do these crops produce poorer yields than traditionally bred crops, but there are many other problems.
Take India, for example. Monsanto introduced a GE form of cotton there. Indian farmers who grow it learned that it cannot thrive with the lower amount of rainfall in the area, so they experience crop failures. Customarily, farmers in third world nations (and here India qualifies) save back seed for the following year. However, many of the GE seeds will not produce plants that will grow seed, so farmers have to buy new seed every year. This is something they cannot afford. Many farmers have mortgaged their farms to pay for seed and Roundup, and they are unable to pay because of the crop failures. The result has been that many farmers cannot support their families, and their families become destitute. The response of far too many farmers has been to commit suicide by drinking Roundup. At least 100,000 farmers have committed suicide this way, and this continues to be a problem. The leadership in India is just barely becoming aware of this problem.
There are similar scenarios in many other countries.
Most of the countries in Europe have either banned GMOs outright, or require them to be labeled. The result has been that there is not much of a problem with GMOs in Europe.
The photo of the cotton modules is in the public domain.
There are a number of videos available on YouTube that discuss these problems. Here is a four part series; the link leads to the first in the series. This is a discussion between Dr. Mercola and Jeffrey Smith.
New Dangers: Fish, Perennials
Two newer dangers of genetically modified "food" organisms are as follows:
Genetically modified alfalfa. The purpose of this is supposedly to make the alfalfa more resistant to herbicides. The problem with this claim is that it's not a problem! Alfalfa competes quite favorably. No application of herbicides is even necessary. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! However, there is a very new and real danger to GM alfalfa, and that is because alfalfa is a perennial, it will eventually contaminate ALL alfalfa in the country. This means no more organic milk, beef, or any other animal food where alfalfa is currently the main source of food. I used to buy alfalfa for my goats. I would be in serious trouble if I were trying to do that today. Where would I find alfalfa fit to feed them? DernedifIknow. The FDA has already approved this, even though there was an outcry against it.
The other problem is genetically modified salmon. This is the first of a planned line of genetically modified animals and fish. A gene that would cause salmon to grow throughout the year was added. This is supposed to result in bigger salmon in a shorter length of time. The culprit here is AquaBounty. From the beginning, they had problems. Disease got loose in their farmed salmon groups. They couldn't release any of these fish because of the danger of passing on disease. But the bigger danger is that some of these fish will accidentally be released into the wild, where it is estimated that only 60 loose fish will kill off the species in a very few generations. Release into the wild is virtually inevitable. It has also been shown that GE salmon develops skeletal defects.
Fortunately, some major chains of grocery stores (not the biggest ones yet) have pledged never to carry it (though it is a mystery to me how they plan to avoid it since the fish will probably not be labeled). This includes Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and a number of others:
More Resources - Newest Efforts to Label GMOs, Bee Colony Collapse
- Organic Consumsers Fund
The organization is collecting donations in support of the initiative in Washington State to label GMOs.
- Pesticides Definitively Linked to Bee Colony Collapse
Strong and compelling evidence that pesticides are causing bee colony collapse. GMOs drastically increase the amount of pesticides used.
- Congress takes sneaky action on your food
Other parts of the political spectrum are starting to take notice. A lengthy article with much good information.
- The globalization of GMOs: How genetic engineering is destroying the developing world
GMOs devastating other countries, particularly impoverished ones.
- Argentina-A Poster Child for the Health Hazards of GMO Crops
Argentina being destroyed by GMO roundup-ready soy, including the parks. The people are sickening. Consequences include cancer and birth defects.
- The invasion of Bt talong and other GMOs
Information from all over, concentrates on the Philippines. Up to date as of November, 2013.
- GMO Science Takes a Blow as Studies are Retracted
The carefully constructed "science" devised by big companies that sell GMO seed is coming unraveled.
Frankenfood Protection Act
aka Monsanto Protection Act
The latest news is that Monsanto managed to get a rider attached to the ongoing resolution to keep funding the government. It makes Monsanto and similar companies exempt from court oversight and the oversight of government agencies. It will allow these companies to push through a plethora of GMO frankenfoods.
It's made the bigtime news. This should get a few more people riled up. We are told that if 10% of the population refuses to buy GMO, then the industry will collapse. Probably a good 50% of the population doesn't want GMO frankenfoods in their diets. It is a matter of informing them, so that they know what to avoid. I think Monsanto is doing a very good job of making people aware of the danger, by insisting on being above the law and refusing to be accountable for the damage they are doing to the world ecosystem, and to the food supply.
(I just finished filling out an extensive survey on pollinators, and as you are probably aware, GMO plants are a threat to certain pollinators. Bee colony collapse is almost certainly due to GMO genetic insecticides in plants. Without the bees, there will be NO crops.)
Here is an article on a major news source web site about this new event:
Heads will probably roll over this. I sincerely hope so.
IT'S OUTRAGE TIME, FOLKS!
We need an IMMEDIATE suit to enjoin enforcement of this rider. It is unconstitutional, because it attacks the separation of powers, which is an integral part of the Constitution. The courts won't take kindly to being stripped of power and authority, so we have a very good chance of stopping it, if we will only act. Please contact any public interest law organizations about this one!
Two Million March against Monsanto in over 400 Cities - All over the world!
Part 2 - Did they demonstrate in your city?
New Labeling Laws
Breaking news, June, 2013
Two states have now passed laws that require GMO labeling within the state. They are Connecticut and Maine. Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end of poisoning our food, especially while defrauding us by refusing to label it.
Hey, if GMOs are so great, Monsanto et al. would WANT to label it. The fact they fight against it proves they KNOW it is harmful.