Archive for September, 2008

The Biotech Facade

Auto Date Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

When genetically engineered (GE) food was commercially introduced in 1994, it was touted as a solution to some of the world’s food problems. However, the promised advantages have never been realized. GE crops do not benefit consumers, do not feed the world, do not help the environment, and are not rigorously regulated – despite myths propagated by the multi-billion dollar biotechnology industry and its many front groups.

Food prices are soaring, people continue to go hungry, and the use of pesticides with GE crops is escalating. The Center for Food Safety coined GE crops “biotech snake oil: a quack cure for hunger” and said the tremendous hype surrounding biotechnology has obscured the facts. 

In 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture admitted “currently available [genetically modified] GM crops do not increase yield potential.” In 2004 a UN report acknowledged that “GM crops can have reduced yields” and in April 2008 another published UN report, the work of more than 400 international scientists, concluded that genetically engineered crops “will not play a substantial role in addressing the key problems of climate change, biodiversity loss, hunger, and poverty.”

More critically, GE food has never been proven safe for human consumption. Independent scientific evidence has shown that human health effects of eating GE food can include toxic and allergic reactions, antibiotic resistance, immune suppression, and other serious illnesses. 

Aided and abetted by the U.S. government, biotech corporations benefit, yet we bear the health risks. The biotech industry often claims that the safety of GE products has been certified through a rigorous approval process but as far as U.S. regulatory agencies are concerned, if a biotech company says its products are safe, that is enough for approval.

Our food is being genetically altered so that a few multinational (and chemical) corporations can gain control over farmers and the global food supply. These same corporations, responsible for Agent Orange, PCBs, and DDT, have repeatedly done business at the expense of public health. And for more than a decade, they have been reprogramming, patenting, and owning an alarming amount of the world’s food supply—without public debate.

With so many pressing issues that affect us today, nothing is more personal than the food we eat.  Even though there has been a media blackout effort regarding GE food and its risks, particularly in the United States, we are seeing a shift.  A growing global movement is rejecting GE food and is returning to sustainable and organic food. 

This is a profound time of responsibility not to rely on industry-influenced governmental agencies to protect us.  The time to embrace conscious living and to move beyond corporate-political spin is now.  We can make a difference.

Learn which foods have been genetically engineered and make other choices. Call food manufacturers and tell them you don’t want it. Get informed and tell your friends and family about GE food and the risks. We have to act today to protect our health, our environment, and future generations.

Change will only occur with an awakening of the people.

By Beth H. Harrison, PhD, author of four-time award-winning Shedding Light on Genetically Engineered Food, exploring why and how you have been kept in the dark about GE foods and the risks, why these foods continue to go unlabeled, and what foods to avoid and how to take action. 

www.TheTruthAboutGMOs.com

www.TheTruthAboutGMOs.com/blog 

The Beautiful Truth: the film

Auto Date Saturday, September 6th, 2008

The Beautiful Truth

Scheduled for release in New York City on November 14, 2008, The Beautiful Truth is a film documentary by award-winning producer Steve Kroschel.  This film highlights the link between health, diet, and environment.  I am honored to appear in the film, which features interviews with the researchers and physicians in the fields of food additives, genetically engineered food, mercury and fluoride toxicity, and how they related to the Gerson Therapy  From California-based distribution company Cinema Libre: 

Garrett is a 15-year old boy living in the Alaskan wilderness with a menagerie of orphaned animals. Growing up close with nature has given him a deep understanding of nutritional needs required by diet sensitive animals on the reserve.

Unfortunately, the untimely and tragic death of his mother sent him into a downward spiral and he was at risk of flunking out of school. This led to his father’s decision to to home-school Garrett. His first assignment was to study a controversial book written by Dr. Max Gerson, in which he claimed more than 50 years ago that diet could, and did, cure cancer.In The Beautiful Truth, Garrett goes on a mission to determine whether or not Dr. Gerson’s therapy is a legitimate, alternative cure.  After numerous interviews with doctors, researchers, skeptics, members of Gerson’s family and cancer patients themselves, it became abundantly clear that a cure for virtually all cancers and chronic diseases does exist — and has existed for over 80 years! Garrett’s mission now is to tell the world.

For those of you that are home-schooling parents or know others who are, please pass this information on or post it to your email newsgroups.

For more information about the film click here:   TBT Press Notes

www.TheTruthAboutGMOs.com

Thanks to Ken Roseboro and The Organic & Non-GMO Report

Auto Date Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Thank you to Ken Roseboro for mentioning my winning 1st place (gold) for 2008 of Independent Publisher (IPPY) Awards for Outstanding Book of the Year—Most Progressive Health Book for Shedding Light on Genetically Engineered Food.  “GM food book wins award” was in the June-July 2008 issue of The Organic & Non-GMO Report. 

www.TheTruthAboutGMOs.com

 

Monsanto’s sale of rBGH a major milestone

Auto Date Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Monsanto’s announcement that it is selling the controversial genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, rBGH, is hailed as a major milestone in an effort to remove the product from the food supply.  According to Rick North, Campaign for Safe Food program director, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. “This is a strong indication that Monsanto is finding this embattled hormone more trouble than it’s worth.  rBGH [Posilac] is proving to be an embarrassment to Monsanto.”  Monsanto entered into an agreement to sell rBGH to drug manufacturer Eli Lilly and Company for $300 million.   Over the past few years, increasing numbers of dairy processors and major retailers have banned the use of rBGH in their dairy products:  Wal-Mart, Costco, Kroger, Safeway stores in the Northwest, and Publix Super Markets.  Most of the milk sold by Dean Foods, the nation’s largest milk processor and distributor is rBGH-free. Starbucks and Chipotle Mexican Grill have also said no to rBGH milk.  Kraft Foods even recently started promoting a cheese product as rBGH-free.  Monsanto has been fighting a losing battle to force food manufacturers to remove rBGH-free labels from dairy products.  The company tried to get the FDA and Federal Trade Commission to make these labels illegal.  Monsanto lobbied state governments to pass bills banning the labels, but had little success. While the FDA asserts the product is safe, many other governments, scientists, and consumer groups disagree.  Milk from cows injected with rBGH contains high levels of insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormone that has been linked to prostate and colon cancer. Based on independent scientific evidence, Canada, 28 European member states, Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Japan have all banned the use and import of rBGH milk and dairy products.  Samuel Epstein, M.D., professor of environmental medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, said: 

rBGH poses an even greater risk to human health than ever considered. The FDA and Monsanto have a lot to answer for. Given the cancer risks and other health concerns, why is rBGH milk still on the market?

The good news is that consumers’ rejection of rBGH has forced Monsanto to abandon this dangerous drug.  We are making a difference.   However, this doesn’t mean that Posilac is going away yet.  Eli Lilly said it is ready to take on the task of promoting Posilac as a farming tool that can boost milk supplies for a world hungry for more dairy products.  Now they will continue the corporate spin. Let’s continue to buy rBGH-free dairy products.  Don’t financially support Eli Lilly and their decision to continue polluting the milk supply with this dangerous drug. www.TheTruthAboutGMOs.com

Kucinich introduces comprehensive regulatory framework for GMOs

Auto Date Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced three bills designed to protect consumers, defend farmers’ rights, and increase food safety. The bills collectively create a comprehensive framework to regulate GMOs. Kucinich said:

We have a responsibility to put the public health and the environment before profits.  These bills spell out common sense precautions.

•H.R. 6636, The Genetically Engineered Food Right To Know Act, would require mandatory labeling of all foods that contain or are produced with GM material. • H.R. 6635, The Genetically Engineered Safety Act, would require that GE foods follow a food safety review process to prevent contamination of food supplies by pharmaceutical and industrial crops. This Act would also require that the FDA screen all GE foods to ensure they are safe for human consumption. • H.R. 6637, The Genetically Engineered Farmer Protection Act, places liability from the impacts of GM crops on the biotechnology companies that created the GMOs, and protects farmers from lawsuits by biotechnology companies.

Source: September 2008 The Organic & Non-GMO Report

www.TheTruthAboutGMOs.com
Beth Harrison, author of award-winning Shedding Light on Genetically Engineered Food

California legislature passes bill protecting farmers against Monsanto lawsuits

Auto Date Saturday, September 6th, 2008

More good news from the US. This is a major step forward, considering California is the 8th largest economy in the world.A landmark piece of legislation protecting California‘s farmers from devastating lawsuits was passed through both legislative houses at the end of August.  Bill AB 541 is headed to the Governor’s desk for signature.  AB 541 is the first bill passed by the California legislature that brings much-needed regulation to genetically engineered crops.

AB 541 enacts protections against lawsuits brought against California farmers who have not been able to prevent the inevitable – the drift of GE pollen or seed onto their land and the subsequent contamination of their non-GE crops. Currently, farmers with crops that become contaminated by patented seeds or pollen have been the target of harassing lawsuits brought by biotech patent holders, particularly Monsanto. The bill also establishes a mandatory crop sampling protocol to prevent biotech companies that are investigating alleged violations from sampling crops without the explicit permission of farmers.

A copy of the bill can be downloaded at: www.leginfo.ca.gov  

www.TheTruthAboutGMOs.com

 

Mounting scientific evidence of uncertainty, risk, and dangers of GM

Auto Date Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Peter Melchette, director of the UK’s Soil Association, said in his article “Don’t believe the GM apologists” in The Independent on August 21:

Twenty years ago, GM promised unbelievable wonders – fruit that would never freeze, crops needing no fertilizer or sprays and food with vitamins and medicines engineered in. All food would soon be GM. Geneticists would engineer anything we wanted, taking a gene from a fish here, a pig there, adding a bacteria gene and maybe a bit of a virus.

The greatest coup by the GM companies, and their greatest scientific fraud, was to ensure no GM food had to be tested for safety. GM maize could have added virus and antibiotic resistance genes, and a gene that makes it express an insecticide in every leaf, stem and root – but to the US government it looks and grows like maize, so it is safe to eat. GM crops face mounting scientific evidence of uncertainty, risk and danger. But now, because of rising food prices, the GM industry’s claim that GM is needed to feed the world is suddenly newsworthy again. However, a key reason for soaring food prices – higher oil costs leading to higher fertilizer prices – also presents a massive threat to GM crops. All current and planned GM crops depend on artificial, oil-based fertilizer to grow, and all need to be treated with pesticides to survive.

Experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) say there is no evidence that currently available genetically engineered crops strengthen drought tolerance or reduce fertilizer use. Nor do they increase crop yields.  According to Margaret Mellon, director of UCS’s Food and Environment Program in June/July issue of The Organic & Non-GMO Report: 

Increased energy prices, harsh weather, and trade policies are largely to blame for the recent spike in food prices, none of which have much to do with crop breeding technologies.  The biotech industry’s claims about genetically altered crops are perennially overstated. In truth, agricultural biotechnology has almost nothing to offer to the world food crisis in the short term. Let’s be clear: There are no crops on the market today genetically engineered to directly maximize yields.  There are no crops on the market engineered to resist drought. And there are no crops on the market engineered to reduce fertilizer use. Not one.

In 2006, the USDA admitted that “currently available GM crops do not increase yield potential,” a point already made by a 2004 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report which acknowledged that “GM crops can have reduced yields”. A recently published UN report, the work of more than 400 international scientists, concluded that GM crops do not have much to offer.www.TheTruthAboutGMOs.com

Prince Charles warns of environmental disaster with GMOs

Auto Date Saturday, September 6th, 2008

And if they think it’s somehow going to work because they are going to have one form of clever genetic engineering after another, then again count me out, because that will be guaranteed to cause the biggest disaster environmentally of all time.  —Prince Charles, speaking about the risks of genetically engineered foods.

Great Britain’s Prince Charles recently warned that companies developing genetically modified crops risk creating the biggest environmental disaster of all time.  In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the Prince of Wales strongly denounced the development of GM crops, accusing biotech companies of conducting a “gigantic experiment I think with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong.”

 Prince Charles also said that relying on “gigantic corporations” to mass produce food would result in “absolute disaster.”  He continued:

That would be the absolute destruction of everything…and the classic way of ensuring there is no food in the future.  What we should be talking about is food security not food production—that is what matters and that is what people will not understand.  If they think this is the way to go….we [will] end up with millions of small farmers all over the world being driven off their land into unsustainable, unmanageable, degraded and dysfunctional conurbations of  unmentionable awfulness.

Prince Charles, who has an organic farm on his Highgrove estate, argued for more sustainable agriculture methods.

It’s not going backwards. It is actually recognizing that we are with nature, not against it. We have gone working against nature for too long.

Prince Charles’ comments come at a critical time, as there is intense pressure to develop more GM crops because of the world food crisis, despite the fact that GM crops have not been shown to produce more food.  Source: The Daily Telegraph as quoted in The Organic & Non-GMO Report  www.TheTruthAboutGMOs.com