Altered Genes, Twisted Truth – The FDA’s Illegal Release of GE Food

2015-08-25

In 1998, when Steven Druker’s organization, the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, and several other plaintiffs, including 9 well-credentialed life scientists, filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Association (FDA), they had no idea what they were about to discover and uncover. The story that unfolded through the process of this lawsuit is so appalling and … continue reading …



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Posted in GMO FOOD, Health Issues, Monsanto, Politics | Leave a comment

New England Journal of Medicine on Glyphosate

Self-propelled row-crop sprayer applying pesticide to post-emergent corn –wikipedia

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not high on most physicians’ worry lists. If we think at all about biotechnology, most of us probably focus on direct threats to human health, such as prospects for converting pathogens to biologic weapons or the implications of new technologies for editing the human germline. But while those debates simmer, the application of biotechnology to agriculture has been rapid and aggressive. The vast majority of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States are now genetically engineered. Foods produced from GM crops have become ubiquitous. And unlike regulatory bodies in 64 other countries, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require labeling of GM foods.

Two recent developments are dramatically changing the GMO landscape. First, there have been sharp increases in the amounts and numbers of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops, and still further increases — the largest in a generation — are scheduled to occur in the next few years. Second, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified glyphosate, the herbicide most widely used on GM crops, as a “probable human carcinogen”1 and classified a second herbicide, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), as a “possible human carcinogen.”2

The application of genetic engineering to agriculture builds on the ancient practice of selective breeding. But unlike traditional selective breeding, genetic engineering vastly expands the range of traits that can be moved into plants and enables breeders to import DNA from virtually anywhere in the biosphere. Depending on the traits selected, genetically engineered crops can increase yields, thrive when irrigated with salty water, or produce fruits and vegetables resistant to mold and rot.

The National Academy of Sciences has twice reviewed the safety of GM crops — in 2000 and 2004.3 Those reviews, which focused almost entirely on the genetic aspects of biotechnology, concluded that GM crops pose no unique hazards to human health. They noted that genetic transformation has the potential to produce unanticipated allergens or toxins and might alter the nutritional quality of food. Both reports recommended development of new risk-assessment tools and postmarketing surveillance. Those recommendations have largely gone unheeded.

Herbicide resistance is the main characteristic that the biotechnology industry has chosen to introduce into plants. Corn and soybeans with genetically engineered tolerance to glyphosate (Roundup) were first introduced in the mid-1990s. These “Roundup-Ready” crops now account for more than 90% of the corn and soybeans planted in the United States.4 Their advantage, especially in the first years after introduction, is that they greatly simplify weed management. Farmers can spray herbicide both before and during the growing season, leaving their crops unharmed.

But widespread adoption of herbicide-resistant crops has led to overreliance on herbicides and, in particular, on glyphosate.5 In the United States, glyphosate use has increased by a factor of more than 250 — from 0.4 million kg in 1974 to 113 million kg in 2014. Global use has increased by a factor of more than 10. Not surprisingly, glyphosate-resistant weeds have emerged and are found today on nearly 100 million acres in 36 states. Fields must now be treated with multiple herbicides, including 2,4-D, a component of the Agent Orange defoliant used in the Vietnam War.

The first of the two developments that raise fresh concerns about the safety of GM crops is a 2014 decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve Enlist Duo, a new combination herbicide comprising glyphosate plus 2,4-D. Enlist Duo was formulated to combat herbicide resistance. It will be marketed in tandem with newly approved seeds genetically engineered to resist glyphosate, 2,4-D, and multiple other herbicides. The EPA anticipates that a 3-to-7-fold increase in 2,4-D use will result.

In our view, the science and the risk assessment supporting the Enlist Duo decision are flawed. The science consisted solely of toxicologic studies commissioned by the herbicide manufacturers in the 1980s and 1990s and never published, not an uncommon practice in U.S. pesticide regulation. These studies predated current knowledge of low-dose, endocrine-mediated, and epigenetic effects and were not designed to detect them. The risk assessment gave little consideration to potential health effects in infants and children, thus contravening federal pesticide law. It failed to consider ecologic impact, such as effects on the monarch butterfly and other pollinators. It considered only pure glyphosate, despite studies showing that formulated glyphosate that contains surfactants and adjuvants is more toxic than the pure compound.

The second new development is the determination by the IARC in 2015 that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen”1 and 2,4-D a “possible human carcinogen.”2 These classifications were based on comprehensive assessments of the toxicologic and epidemiologic literature that linked both herbicides to dose-related increases in malignant tumors at multiple anatomical sites in animals and linked glyphosate to an increased incidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans.

These developments suggest that GM foods and the herbicides applied to them may pose hazards to human health that were not examined in previous assessments. We believe that the time has therefore come to thoroughly reconsider all aspects of the safety of plant biotechnology. The National Academy of Sciences has convened a new committee to reassess the social, economic, environmental, and human health effects of GM crops. This development is welcome, but the committee’s report is not expected until at least 2016.

Posted in GMO FOOD, Health Issues, Monsanto, Politics | Leave a comment

Please Support the Local Community Food Rights Charter

A note from Michelle Holman about Lane County Local Food Rights:

“Let’s protect our County’s local food system from GMO contamination.

Lane County has a vibrant local food system that we need to protect.The Willamette Valley is one of the last five specialty seed-growing regions in the world for varieties such as brassicas (e.g. cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, mustard, rutabaga, etc.) that are the most susceptible to contamination by GMOs. Once contaminated, it would be virtually impossible to re-establish this industry.

You can help!
The Right to a Local Food System Charter Amendment is now in the signature gathering 
phase. We need folks to step up and gather signatures in West Lane County.
If you can help by either becoming the organizer of this effort in Florence or just want to gather signatures, please contact Michelle Holman at mholman@peak.org or Dan Wilson at 
daniel.gregory.wilson@gmail.com

Together, we will protect our precious local food system.

 
What this charter amendment will do:
 
The Right to a Local Food System of Lane County Charter Amendment will recognize county residents’ rights to a local food system, seed heritage (seed saving), and bans GMO agriculture countywide.”
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Organic Consumers/ GMO Materials Available at the Coop

ACTION ALERT From Organic Consumers Association

Don’t Do It!

Now that the House has passed H.R. 1599, the so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” we’re waiting to see who introduces a Senate version of the bill, and what that bill will look like.

But before anything can happen in the Senate, Monsanto and Big Food need to find a Democrat and a Republican willing to introduce the Senate version of H.R. 1599, or as we prefer to call it, the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act.

On the Republican side, word on the street is that Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) may step up to the plate as soon as Congress returns from its August recess—that is, unless ananti-H.R. 1599 editorial in his home state newspaper, the Bismarck Tribune, causes him to think twice.

Whether it’s Hoeven who does the deed, or another Republican, Monsanto and Big Food will still need a Senate Democrat to also cosponsor the bill. Anything less than a bipartisan effort will fail.

So who are the likely suspects on the Dem side of the aisle? We’ve identified 12 Democratic Senators who we think might be willing to carry the water for Monsanto. We need your help to convince them that going against the will of nine out of 10 voters could spell political suicide.

TAKE ACTION: Please sign the petition asking these 12 Senate Democrats to promise they won’t cosponsor a Senate version of the DARK Act!

Email us if you want to attend or organize a meeting with your Senators

Keep track of scheduled meetings

Download your DARK Act flyer

Download these DARK Act talking points

Call 202-224-3121. Ask to speak to your Senator’s staff, and let them know you want them to oppose H.R. 1599. Don’t forget to post on your Senator’s Facebook page!

TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Senator: Support Consumer and States’ Rights. Reject Rep. Pompeo’s DARK Act—H.R. 1599—and any other federal legislation that would preempt states’ rights to label GMOs!

Organic Consumers Association materials available at the Coop:

Bumper stickers:

1. Monsanto makes us sick

2. Give bees a chance: Go Organic

3. Monsanto makes us sick  –  8″X11″ signs and 2’x5′ banner, (borrow)

Flyers:

1. Are you eating Monsanto’s  GMO 

2. Monsanto’ Roundup – it’s  making us sick

3. Plight of the honeybee

For more information, go to : https://www.organicconsumers.org/

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From ECOWATCH, http://ecowatch.com/2015/07/24/house-passes-dark-act/

Many of you know   “that Legislation dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know, or DARK Act (H.R. 1599), passed the House of Representatives ….. by a vote of 275-150. The bill preempts state and local authority to label and regulate genetically engineered (GE) foods. A Senate version of this bill has not yet been introduced.

The bill, backed largely by House Republicans, codifies a voluntary labeling system approach, blocks the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from ever implementing mandatory GE food labeling and allows food companies to continue to make misleading “natural” claims for foods that contain GE ingredients.

A number of farm state Democrats joined House Republicans in passing the bill. Twelve Republicans voted against the bill citing infringement of states’ rights and local control.

“It’s outrageous that some House lawmakers voted to ignore the wishes of nine out of 10 Americans,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs for Environmental Working Group (EWG). “Today’s vote to deny Americans the right to know what’s in their food and how it’s grown was a foregone conclusion. This House was bought and paid for by corporate interests, so it’s no surprise that it passed a bill to block states and the FDA from giving consumers basic information about their food.”

More than 300 organizations, companies and food industry and social justice leaders oppose the DARK Act in the face of massive spending and lobbying by big chemical and food companies, according to EWG. Polls show a large majority of people in key states and across the country support mandatory GMO labeling.”

From ECOWATCH, http://ecowatch.com/2015/07/24/house-passes-dark-act/

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Cashier Openings 8/24 – 8/29

Monday, August 24                   10a-12p; 3p-6p

Tuesday, August 25                   10a-12p

Wednesday, August 26            10a-12p; 12p-3p; 3p-6p

Thursday, August 27                 10a-12p; 12p-3p; 3p-6p

Friday, August 28                         3p-6p

Saturday, August 29                  10a-12p; 12p-3p; 3p-6p

You can contact Rene or Laurie by clicking on their email below.

Quick Links

Rene Dobbins, Cashier Coordinator………….Email or (541) 268-6846

Laurie Stone, Cashier Trainer…………………..Email or (541) 991-2999

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How To Special Order at the Co-op

Your Co-op works to find those things we cannot immediately supply, and Special Orders are a good way to find them and  save money.  Orders usually come in  25-50 lb. bags, or cases. But there is a “split list” on the Co-op Connections board for those who want to share an order. Members are charged a 25% mark-up, and non-members, a 35% mark-up.

Ask your cashier to see the catalogues. You can write your order on the Special Order Sheet or give your information to the cashier. You will be called when the order comes in.

(A deposit is required for orders over $300.)

Orders for UNFI:

-Order Wednesday by noon for Saturday noon(ish) pick up.

Orders for Hummingbird, Cafe Mam, Cafeto, Surata, Springfield Creamery, DeCasa, Deck:

-Order Friday noon for Wednesday morning pick up.

Orders for OGC:

-Order Friday noon for Monday 1PM pick up.

-Order Monday noon for Wednesday AM pick up

-Order Tuesday noon for Friday noon (isn) pick up

Knee Deep: 

-Order Tuesday for Monday 1 PM (ish) pick-up

Local Produce:

Please call for delivery schedule

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Still Gardening?

We still have Sero Seeds at RFC! 

We are excited to now carry Sero Seeds…local, organic and biodynamic! Our display rack can be found at the front of the store. We are happy to offer these seeds at below market price: $3.30 for members and $3.65 for non-members. Visit Sero Seeds for more info.

And we have copies of the Locally Grown Guide from Willamette Farm and Food Coalition available at the storeThis publication lists local farms and producers.

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Community Rights Lane County

Community Rights For Lane County has finally won its place on the ballot.  After three years of hard work, our ballot title has been cleared, and we are ready to collect signatures to protect our right to safeguard our food.  Please join us in this effort.

We just saw this great video on the issues involved with GMOs and Monsanto’s corporate tactics and wanted to share it with you! It’s humorous, entertaining, chilling, and just 5 minutes! Check it out!

http://communityrightslanecounty.org/gmomonsanto-video/

Thanks for your support! 

Want to donate to the cause?     Click here!

Want to volunteer?     Click here!

Community Rights Lane County

communityrightslanecounty.org

Posted in Event Calendar, GMO FOOD, Health Issues, Politics, Special Interest | Leave a comment

You Can Be a working Member!

Support your Real Food Co-op by cooperating! Working Members are a vital part of our success as a co-op.  Please come in or call and find out how you can support your co-op and your community! There are lots of different opportunities. Find one that works for you. Times and days can be flexible.

Additionally, working members earn store discounts:  if you donate 3 hours in one month, you get an additional 5% off your member prices on groceries for the entire next month!  For 6 hours you receive 10% off and for 9 hours you receive 15% off…and you are part of an amazing Co-op Community!

Contact Laurie, our Working Member Coordinator, for more information.

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Roots & Shoots ~ elsan

Maize (Zea mays)~ that which sustains life ~

The Corn Belt.

Though I’ve driven across corn country dozens of times in my life, I’m still amazed and aghast by the acres and acres of cornfields growing in the states that make up the Corn Belt. A vast, monotonous landscape of a single cultivar. Rows and rows of genetically identical crops reflecting our outdated and unsustainable farming practices. As Michael Pollan stated, I still feel that the great evil of American agriculture is monoculture.

We are by far the largest producers of corn with China in second place. There are over 400,000 farms in the US growing corn on more than 91 million acres of land. Valued at 52 billion, US corn is mainly used for bio fuels (40%) and animal feed (36%). Much of the rest is exported. And as of 2014, 89% of corn grown in the US is from genetically modified seed.

Teosinte

 

Meet the wild ancestor of present-day corn. Teosinte, a bushy grass plant native to central Mexico. A scant 5-12 kernels lined up in a single file on a 5″ ear. A hard shell encloses each kernel and inside a dry, starchy food. Hardly recognizable as the great American corn-on-the-cob. Yet, for its small size, the nutritional reward was 2x more protein than today’s corn and significantly less starch.

It took several thousand years and a handful of natural key mutations to reach something we would recognize as corn. Health writer and food activist, Jo Robinson writes, Each mutation involved a single gene. These seemingly minor alterations combined to produce spectacular changes. Teosinte was transformed into a tall plant with one or two stalks, much larger ears, and a hundred or more kernels per cob-all without human interventions.

 

Well, we eventually intervened. Hundreds of generations of human selection and more recently, genetic manipulation, followed nature’s spontaneous mutations. Presto! Only 7,000 years for teosinte to become the huge, sweet corn we eat today. And sweet it is. Today corn contains about 40% sugar. We also paid a price nutritionally with lower phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Blue corn, which has been sacred to the Hopi and other southwestern American Indian nations for several thousand years, is extremely high in anthocyanin’s, giving it thirty times more antioxidant value than our modern white corn. (Jo Robinson)

About 5,000 yrs ago farmers in Mexico grew so much of a mutated variety that it became their staple crop, replacing nuts, roots, greens and even wild game. So much for diversity in their diet.

Now, comes the scary part of corn’s history. In the 1930s, plant geneticists wanting to learn more about genetics, experimented with manipulating corn genes. They exposed corn seeds to a variety of things including X-rays, UV light, toxic chemicals, and cobalt radiation. Results were weird.

 

Then in the mid-40s a bizarre series of tests were done. Unbelievably, corn seeds were blasted with an atomic bomb. Attempting to determine if large military ships could survive atomic warfare and the effects of intense radiation on plants and animals, goats, pigs and sacks of corn seeds were bombarded with radiation. (Where was the Humane Society?)

As you might guess most of the corn grew into freakish, short-lived plants. The seeds of this crazy corn were collected and stored in a central seed maize bank and were used for continued experimentation.

Thanks to a geneticist, John Laughnan, our supermarkets carry bushel baskets of super sweet varieties. As often happens, he discovered a sweeter corn by accident. Original seeds for his research were ordered from the maize bank mentioned above. This particular mutated seed, named sh2, altered genetic material enough to turn the plant into a sugar factory. Ten times sweeter than the corn of that time. Laughnan went into business. In 1961, writes Jo Robinson, Laughnan began to market the first of his supersweet corn varieties. Consumers fell head over heels for the sugary corn.

And that’s not the end of this corny story. Research continued and numerous geneticists developed sweeter and sweeter varieties. Over 90% of today’s sweet corn contains Laughnan’s sh2 mutation. How sweet it is.

 

How can you make sure you’re eating healthy, nutritious corn? Choose the most colorful varieties. And, of course, choose organic. It would be great if conventional markets carried red, blue and purple corn. Most don’t. So, look for deep yellow kernels that contain more beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin than white corn. According to Dr. Weil, Beta-carotene is considered an antioxidant and is also a precursor to vitamin A. This compound helps maintain healthy skin and also plays a vital role in eye health. Individuals who consume the necessary levels of beta-carotene can lower their risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, macular degeneration, and other age-related diseases.

 

Corn may not be readily available in colors but it is possible to find colorful cornmeal thereby providing more phytonutrients. When using yellow cornmeal look for the whole-grain kind but remember whole-grain includes the oily germ so it turns rancid faster. Store in refrigerator or freezer. Whole-grain cornmeal contains more fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, choline, and betaine. Add more nutrition to your food ~ try blue, red or purple cornmeal.

In Guatemala corn flour, sugar and water are combined to make a drink, ‘pinolate'; Costa Rica mixes corn flour and cocoa for ‘pinolillo'; Mexican atole is corn flour, water, milk and sugar.

Corn Recipes

Corn on the menu? Here are some tasty recipes for you to enjoy.

…from allrecipes.com

…from realsimple.com

…from MarthaStewart.com

…from foodnetwork.com

…from southernliving.com

…from midwestliving.com

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Eat my Chia Pet?

By Laurie Stone, C.H.N.

Stonehaven Center of Balance and Well Being 

Many people know about Chia seeds from the infamous commercial selling the “Ch-ch-ch chia” Pet in the 1980’s. What we’re discovering now is the many health benefits of Chia seeds.

The Chia seed is a member of the mint family. It was used as a source of concentrated fuel by the Aztec and Mayan cultures for centuries. It was originally grown in the Southwestern United States and Mexico between 1500-910 B.C.

Today Chia is making a comeback as a super food. It has the highest known Omega-3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic-acid, ALA) content of any other plant source. 1 tablespoon contains 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. Chia is a good source of potassium, calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.

Unlike flax seed, Chia does not need to be ground to get the full benefit of it. Because of it’s high fiber and Omega-3 content, Chia can be beneficial in improving your cardiovascular health. It can help lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.

There are many different ways you can include Chia seeds in your diet. You can add them to your smoothies, oatmeal or baked goods. You can even make Chia pudding. My family’s favorite way to enjoy Chia is in a Chia drink. It has the consistency of liquid jello. My kids love it!

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Strawberry-Lemonade Chia Drink

Yield: 1/2 gallon

1/4-1/2 cup of honey

2 cups of lukewarm water

2 tsp. of vanilla

8 tablespoons of chia seeds

2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 cups of strawberry puree (I blend frozen strawberries that have defrosted but you can use fresh ones)

2 cups of cool water

Dissolve the honey in the lukewarm water. Add the vanilla and Chia seeds and stir well. Add the lemon juice and strawberry puree, stir well.

Add the last 2 cups of cool water and let it sit so that the Chia can become ‘jello’ like. I like to let mine sit in the refrigerator overnight but it could be ready in about 30 min.

You can change out the lemon juice for any citrus juice and the strawberry puree for any other fruit puree you would like. Here are a few other ideas; Orange-pineapple, Lime-cherry and blueberry lemonade, but the possibilities are endless!

 

Posted in About Co-op, Co-op Newsletter and Weekly Articles, Health Issues, News from the Co-op, Organic products, Recipes | Leave a comment