Category Archives: Monsanto

Real developments in the fight against GMOs and how YOU can get involved!

Last month, FoodFacts.com posted a blog focused on a study from France that suggested a link between GMO corn and cancer in rats. Since that time, many different organizations have tried to debunk the study, while others have come to its defense. It seems, however, that the study itself has raised tremendous concerns around the world from countries who commonly import corn from the United States.

It appears that a few weeks back, the Russian government has suspended all imports and the use of GMO corn in products in their country.

In addition to this sizeable statement from Russia, the French government has asked all European authorities to follow suit and take whatever steps are needed to protect the population. They are currently considering an emergency suspension of all imports of genetically modified corn to the entire European Union.

This would certainly be a blow to the United States economy (which is already fairly stressed at this juncture). While every nation in the European Union already requires labeling of foods containing GMOs, and many of these countries have banned the planting of GM crops, Europe is still an importer of genetically engineered corn. There has been some information that actually indicates that our own government has been discussing some form of retaliation against Europe to use genetically modified seeds and suspending corn imports. This would signify the American governments intent to engage in a pretty hostile trade war against the nations involved in these bans and suspensions.

The United States is currently the major political and agricultural force behind genetically modified foods. While this is undisputable, it’s also true that 91% of our population supports GMO labeling and that more than half would choose non-GMO foods if they are able to see them clearly stated on labels. GMO manufacturers like Monsanto are vehemently opposed to this labeling fearing that consumers would sink a ship that they’ve built, marketed and profited from.

This election day, Proposition 37 is on the California ballot. It states simply that manufacturers will be required to label GMOs on any product on grocery store shelves in their state. It is understood that the act of passing this proposition in California will lead to other similar propositions nationwide. The biotech industry is spending many millions of dollars to fight the proposition. It isn’t working though – recent polls in California show that over two thirds of the population in the Golden State intend to vote to pass Proposition 37.

This isn’t simply California’s fight, though. It’s an issue that affects every American consumer – and, obviously based on Russia and the European Union’s response to the recent study linking GMOs to cancer, consumers around the world as well. The Food Revolution Network has partnered with Care2, the Institute with Responsible Technology and other organizations has put together a national petition aimed at the Congress of the United States to act and mandate effective labeling of GMO foods. The petition makes it clear to lawmakers that their responsibility is to stand with the consumers they represent and not the interests of industry.

FoodFacts.com is putting this in front of our community so that you can get involved and make a difference in this tremendous issue facing our population, our government, and populations around the world.

You can find out more about the petition here AND sign it: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/448/913/868/?z00m=20411632 And you can read more about the entire issue here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/gmo-california-vote_b_1955563.html

Stay informed. Stay active. Make a difference.

Cancer concerns emerge around Monsanto’s herbicide and it’s genetically modified corn

While the food industry remains insistent that genetically modified foods pose no risk to the health of the population, FoodFacts.com has consistently found current information from credible sources that are finding more and more links to GMOs and health problems. And this latest piece of news is very eye-opening.

A study was recently published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal which was conducted at the University of Caen in France. This important research explored the connection between GMO crops sprayed with Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide and cancer.
The researchers fed rats food that contains NK603 which is one of the corn seeds that is impervious to Monsanto’s powerful pesticide, as well as water containing small amounts of the pesticide itself. Both male and female rats were affected adversely to the diet, with half of the males and 70% of the females dying prematurely. They developed mammary tumors as well as liver and kidney damage. The rats in the control group that were fed a different diet had a completely different outcome. Within that group, 20% of the males and 30% of the females were recorded as dying prematurely. The difference was very significant. It is important to note that the amount of the pesticides included in the rats’ diets was at the level considered “safe.”

As the only industrialized nation not maintaining a policy on the labeling of genetically modified foods, this information is especially important here in the U.S. With the important voting on Proposition 37 in California looming in the not-to-distant future, information like this will certainly play and important part in voters’ decisions on this controversial issue.

Monsanto has been a leading financial contributor in the battle to defeat Proposition 37. As you would expect their response to the study out of France was simply that the study’s findings were not substantial. Some of the reasons given were that since GMO crops and the pesticide itself have been used for a long length of time and that there has been no decline in the health of the population consuming them.

FoodFacts.com will continue to share current information regarding the findings of studies focusing on the effects of GMOs on our health and well being. In the meantime, we invite you to read more:

http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Safe-levels-of-Monsanto-herbicide-and-GM-crop-linked-to-cancer
http://www.organicauthority.com/blog/organic/monsantos-roundup-pesticide-causes-cancer-in-study/#s.abyti4puaayaa

Monsanto’s push to block the labeling of genetically modified ingredients

FoodFacts.com has been reporting quite consistently on GMOs because we understand the concerns our community has expressed in this regard. Today, we visited the Monsanto blog and found some very interesting information we wanted to share with you.

Proposition 37 will be coming up for vote in the state of California this coming November. If voted in, the proposition will require manufacturers clearly label genetically modified items on their products ingredient lists. As you might imagine there are many voices in the food industry trying to sway consumer opinions regarding Proposition 37, and, of course, Monsanto is at the top of that list.

Their blog expresses their support for No on 37: Coalition Against the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme. That’s a coalition of California farmers, food producers, grocers and retailers that have joined forces to oppose Proposition 37. They refer to the labeling of GM ingredients as a “warning label” … FoodFacts.com understands it differently. GM ingredient labeling is information consumers are currently denied and therefore, are not making food choices based on all the available product information. We have fairly clear labeling of other ingredients and nutritional information that allow grocery shoppers to understand whether or not a particular food product fits their dietary requirements. So we’re not quite sure how labeling GM ingredients qualifies as a “warning”.

From the Monsanto blog: “Consumers have broad food choices today, but could be denied these choices if Prop 37 prevails … Interestingly, the main proponents of Proposition 37 are special interest groups and individuals opposed to food biotechnology who are not necessarily engaged in the production of our nation’s food supply. They are gearing up a campaign of misinformation.” This also confuses us. Labeling in no way denies consumers food choices. It simply allows them to make more educated decisions about the foods they purchase.

More from the blog: “Hundreds of organic or certified non-GM products are available for consumers who prefer these products. This approach offers choices for all consumers and does so without the risk of confusing consumers who are satisfied with the products they know, trust and can afford.” While it’s true there are a wide variety of organic/certified non-GM products out there, the quantity of those available products pales in comparison to the non-organic/non-GM products stocked on grocery shelves.

“Leading proponents of Proposition 37 blatantly describe foods containing GM ingredients as untested and unsafe. This is simply untrue. Beneath their right to know slogan is a deceptive marketing campaign aimed at stigmatizing modern food production. While we respect that some people may choose to avoid GM ingredients, it is wrong to mislead and scare people about the safety of their food choices. The California proposal would serve the purposes of a few special interest groups at the expense of the majority of consumers.” Monsanto seems to believe that because there have only been links found between health and safety concerns of GM ingredients that there really aren’t any. Those links, in their opinion, need further investigation in order to warrant any action.

Sadly, FoodFacts.com found the language used in the blog fairly similar to the rhetoric regularly used in politics worldwide. It is peppered with phrases designed to sway the opinions of readers to their side of the argument. We know this argument will heat up in the months to come as November is right around the corner. And in addition, we’re sure that other states will base similar propositions off of the results of the Proposition 37 ballot in California. Please read more here: http://monsantoblog.com/2012/08/14/taking-a-stand-proposition-37-the-california-labeling-proposal/

Some consumers willing to pay more for GMO foods

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Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

According to a recent study done by researcher Wallace Huffman at Iowa State University, research shows that some consumers will pay up to 25% more for genetically modified foods. For the few of you that may not know, genetic modification is basically carrying genes from one organism into another to create a new hybrid product. This became popular within the last 2 decades, and we’re still not quite sure if there are any long-term health implications involved. However, it’s still being done by major biotechnology companies, and apparently some people are willing to pay extra bucks for it.

Why are some willing to pay more money? There has been a lot of hype surrounding antioxidants, and some vitamins and minerals. We too recognize that these nutrients can provide an abundance of health benefits, and we suggest getting them from natural sources. However, some fruits and vegetables now undergo intragenic modification (modified within own species, rather than from other species) to take antioxidant properties from other plants, and insert them into new ones. This means that some produce that once lacked a certain vitamin or antioxidant, now has the ability to carry different nutrients.

Some farmers and home-gardeners try accomplishing this through cross-breeding, however this can be very difficult to do with many plants. This is when genetic modification came into play, eliminating the difficulties with cross-breeding.
However, many are still skeptic about purchasing any genetically modified product. Again, we’re not exactly sure of any long-term effects or health implications that this process may cause, because it is still fairly new.

Few studies using animals as subjects have suggested genetic modification to cause renal damage, progressive tumor growth, certain types of cancers, and cardiovascular issues. However, these studies have been for the most part small in sample size and brushed off by government agencies.

“The basic idea is that when consumers saw that the intragenic produce had elevated healthful attributes, they were willing to pay more for them,” said Huffman.

What do you think? Would you be more at comfort knowing a genetically modified product was modified with a plant within its own species rather than a plant outside of its species? Or is genetic modification still lacking evidence for you to trust it at all?

Are we Inhaling Monsanto’s “Roundup”?

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Brought to you by Foodfacts.com

(Reuters) – Significant levels of the world’s most-used herbicide have been detected in air and water samples from two U.S. farm states, government scientists said on Wednesday, in groundbreaking research on the active ingredient in Monsanto Co’s Roundup.

“It is out there in significant levels. It is out there consistently,” said Paul Capel, environmental chemist and head of the agricultural chemicals team at the U.S. Geological Survey Office, part of the U.S. Department of Interior.

Capel said more tests were needed to determine how harmful the chemical, glyphosate, might be to people and animals.

The study comes on the heels of several others released recently that raise concerns about the rise of resistant “super weeds,” and other unintended consequences of Roundup on soil and animals.

Capel said glyphosate, the key ingredient in “Roundup” herbicide, was found in every stream sample examined in Mississippi in a two-year period and in most air samples taken. Tests were also done in Iowa.

“So people are exposed to it through inhalation,” said Capel.

The research did not look at the impact of the glyphosate in the air and water; the purpose was purely to determine exposure.

More research is needed, Capel said, to analyze the implications.

It is difficult and costly to test for the presence of glyphosate, a popular herbicide used around the world to control weeds on farm fields, golf courses and in residential yards. As a result, little research has been done on the implications for waterways and the air, according to Capel.

“This study is one of the first to document the consistent occurrence of this chemical in streams, rain and air throughout the growing season,” said Capel. “It is used so heavily and studied so little.”

Capel said researchers looked at samples from Mississippi, a key agricultural area for corn, soybeans, cotton and rice. Many farmers of those crops use large quantities of glyphosate when growing to combat weeds. Researchers also took samples from areas in Iowa.

Monsanto Co. introduced glyphosate to the world in 1974 branded as Roundup, and has made billions of dollars over the years from Roundup herbicides as well as from the “Roundup Ready” corn, soybeans and cotton the company has genetically engineered to survive dousings of glyphosate.

Most of the corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the United States are part of the Roundup Ready system.

The USGS said more than 88,0000 tons of glyphosate were used in the United States in 2007, up from 11,000 tons in 1992. The big increase in usage has spurred concerns on many fronts, most recently from farmers and environmentalists noting the rise of “super weeds” that are resistant to Roundup.

Fast-growing, glyphosate-resistant weeds are choking out crops in some areas, and some scientists say research shows harmful effects of glyphosate products on soil organisms, on plants, and on certain animals.

The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing the registration for glyphosate and the data gathered by the U.S. Geological Survey has been submitted to the EPA, said Capel.

The EPA has set a deadline of 2015 for determining if glyphosate should continue to be sold or in some way limited. The EPA is working closely with regulators in Canada as they also assess the ongoing safety and effectiveness of the herbicide.

Monsanto spokeswoman Kelli Powers said the company was reviewing the study. The EPA had no immediate comment on the study.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by David Gregorio)

A new genetically modified soybean

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Foodfacts.com recently came across an article which we found interesting pertaining to soybeans. Soybean oil has received some negative attention for including trans fats, which as we all know, has been linked to cardiovascular disease. The soybean industry took a hard hit with the limited amount of soybean oil sales and came up with a new solution, genetic modification. Check out the article below to learn more!

The soybean industry is seeking government approval of a genetically modified soybean it says will produce oil lower in saturated fat, offer consumers a healthier alternative to foods containing trans fats and increase demand for growers’ crops.

Demand for soybean oil has dropped sharply since 2005, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began requiring labels to list levels of trans fats, which have been linked to coronary heart disease. Vegetable oil does not naturally contain trans fats, but when hydrogen is added to make it suitable for use in the food industry, trans fats are created.

Agribusiness giant Monsanto Co. says oil from its new soybean will meet manufacturers’ requirements for baking and shelf life without hydrogenation, resulting in food that’s free of trans fats as well as lower in saturated fat.

The FDA approved the new bean, called Vistive Gold, earlier this year, and Monsanto and several state and national soybean groups are now seeking approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service said in an email to The Associated Press that it has no timeline for making a decision.

U.S. farmers harvested more than 3.3 billion bushels of soybeans valued at nearly $39 billion in 2010. But the Iowa Soybean Association said in a letter to APHIS the industry’s share of the food oil market dropped from 83 percent to 68 percent after the FDA enacted the labeling requirements. Iowa grows more soybeans than any other state.

“We believe because of the trans-fat labeling, 4.6 billion pounds of edible soybean oil was not used for food over a three-year period,” said Bob Callanan, a spokesman for the American Soybean Association. The oil was turned into biodiesel instead, and farmers got less money for their soybeans, he said.

Industry officials believe Vistive Gold could command as much as 60 cents more per bushel than other soybeans, raising a farmer’s income by thousands of dollars.

Jim Andrew, who grows 625 acres of conventional soybeans near Jefferson, Iowa, said he hopes Vistive Gold soybeans also will reduce consumers’ fears about biotech crops by providing a direct health benefit. Most genetically modified crops so far have been engineered to fight pests and increase harvests, benefiting farmers.

“I think it’s a case where we’re trying to modify crops to address specific needs to make other industries more efficient and healthier,” Andrew said.

St. Louis-based Monsanto introduced a first generation of the bean, called Vistive, in 2005 to reduce or eliminate trans fats in response to the labeling requirements. Vistive Gold retains those qualities and offers lower levels of saturated fat and higher levels of healthier monounsaturated fats.

Joe Cornelius, a Monsanto project manager who has worked on the Vistive soybeans for 15 years, said Vistive Gold could make a real difference in efforts to produce healthier foods. As an example, he said it could produce French fries with more than 60 percent less saturated fat.

“I don’t think we can say fried food will ever be a health food, but you can improve the nutritional profile of that food,” Cornelius said.

But Bill Freese, a science policy analyst with the Center for Food Safety, said Vistive Gold and other engineered crops don’t face rigorous enough testing. No animal feeding trials were conducted on the new soybean to see what would happen when it was consumed, he said.

And, the FDA approved it based on the agency’s review of a similar soybean produced by another company, not an actual review of Vistive Gold, he said, adding, “That struck me as very odd.”

Without proper scrutiny, genetically modified crops have a “high potential for harmful and unintended consequences,” such as increased toxicity that could make someone sick or decreased nutritional content, he said.

“Not every genetically modified crop is going to be dangerous,” Freese said. “The bottom line is we need to have a really stringent regulatory system, which we currently don’t have.”

Monsanto said it tested Vistive Gold extensively and found it to be safe. A notice posted on the APHIS website in June said its assessment of Vistive Gold indicated the bean wasn’t a risk to other plants.

Walter Fehr, an Iowa State University agronomist involved in soybean breeding research, said he thinks the federal government has a stringent and effective procedure for reviewing genetically modified crops and he saw no reason to question the soybean’s safety.

“People use different methodologies for different things, and scientists are very aware of potential negative side effects,” Fehr said.

(The Sacramento Bee)

Monsanto corn finds competition in rootworms

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Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

Widely grown corn plants that Monsanto Co. genetically modified to thwart a voracious bug are falling prey to that very pest in a few Iowa fields, the first time a major Midwest scourge has developed resistance to a genetically modified crop.

The discovery raises concerns that the way some farmers are using biotech crops could spawn superbugs.

Iowa State University entomologist Aaron Gassmann’s discovery that western corn rootworms in four northeast Iowa fields have evolved to resist the natural pesticide made by Monsanto’s corn plant could encourage some farmers to switch to insect-proof seeds sold by competitors of the St. Louis crop biotechnology giant, and to return to spraying harsher synthetic insecticides on their fields.

“These are isolated cases, and it isn’t clear how widespread the problem will become,” said Dr. Gassmann in an interview. “But it is an early warning that management practices need to change.”

The finding adds fuel to the race among crop biotechnology rivals to locate the next generation of genes that can protect plants from insects. Scientists at Monsanto and Syngenta AG of Basel, Switzerland, are already researching how to use a medical breakthrough called RNA interference to, among other things, make crops deadly for insects to eat. If this works, a bug munching on such a plant could ingest genetic code that turns off one of its essential genes.

Monsanto said its rootworm-resistant corn seed lines are working as it expected “on more than 99% of the acres planted with this technology” and that it is too early to know what the Iowa State University study means for farmers.

The discovery comes amid a debate about whether the genetically modified crops that now saturate the Farm Belt are changing how some farmers operate in undesirable ways.

These insect-proof and herbicide-resistant crops make farming so much easier that many growers rely heavily on the technology, violating a basic tenet of pest management, which warns that using one method year after year gives more opportunity for pests to adapt.

Monsanto is already at the center of this issue because of its success since the 1990s marketing seeds that grow into crops that can survive exposure to its Roundup herbicide, a glyphosate-based chemical known for its ability to kill almost anything green.

These seeds made it so convenient for farmers to spray Roundup that many farmers stopped using other weedkillers. As a result, say many scientists, superweeds immune to Roundup have spread to millions of acres in more than 20 states in the South and Midwest.

Monsanto became the first company to sell rootworm-resistant biotech corn to farmers in 2003. The seed contains a gene from a common soil microorganism called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, from which crop biotechnology has been used to mine several genes for making insecticidal proteins.

One of the genes Monsanto developed makes a crystalline protein called Cry3Bb1. It rips apart the gut of the rootworm but is harmless to mammals, birds and most beneficial insects. Competitors, which use other Bt genes to attack the rootworm, estimate that roughly one-third of the corn grown in the U.S. carries Monsanto’s Cry3Bb1 gene.

Monsanto said it generated world-wide sales of $4.26 billion from corn seed and biotechnology traits, about 40% of its overall sales, in its last full year.

Until insecticide-producing corn plants arrived, Midwest farmers typically tried to keep pests like the corn borer and the rootworm in check by changing what they grew in a field each year, often rotating between corn and soybeans. That way, the offspring of corn-loving insects would starve the next year.

Some farmers began to plant corn in the same field year after year. The financial incentive to grow corn has increased in recent years in part because the ethanol-fuel industry’s exploding appetite for corn has helped to lift prices to very profitable levels for growers.

According to Dr. Gassmann, the Iowa fields in which he found rootworms resistant to the Cry3Bb1 toxin had been producing Monsanto’s Bt-expressing corn continuously for at least three years. Dr. Gassmann collected rootworm beetles from four Iowa cornfields with plant damage in 2009. Their larvae were then fed corn containing Monsanto’s Cry3Bb1 toxin. They had a survival rate three times that of control larvae that ate the same corn.

Dr. Gassmann found that Monsanto’s Bt toxin still had some lethal impact on the larvae from the problem Iowa fields, and that the bugs were still highly susceptible to a rootworm-resistant corn plant from a competitor that uses a different Bt toxin, called Cry34/35Ab1.

Scientists in other Farm Belt states are also looking for signs that Monsanto’s Bt corn might be losing its effectiveness. Mike Gray, a University of Illinois entomologist, said he is studying rootworm beetles he collected in northwest Illinois earlier this month from fields where Monsanto’s Bt-expressing corn had suffered extensive rootworm damage.

The government requires that farmers who plant the genetically modified corn take certain steps aimed at preventing insects from developing resistance. Farmers are told to create a refuge for the bugs by planting non-modified corn in part of their fields. The refuge, which can be as much as 20% of a farmer’s field, is supposed to reduce the chances that two toxin-resistant bugs mate and pass along that trait to their offspring.

Dr. Gray said the confirmation of toxin-resistant rootworms in Iowa could force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revisit its policy of allowing the size of these insect refuges to shrink to as little as 5% of a cornfield as crop biotechnology companies begin to sell seed for corn plants that can make two different rootworm-killing toxins.

Part of what has attracted some farmers to Monsanto’s new SmartStax corn line is that it allows them to plant a smaller refuge. But one of the two anti-rootworm toxins in that variety is the Cry3Bb1 protein at the center of Dr. Gassmann’s study.

The EPA said it is too early to comment on any implications arising from Dr. Gassmann’s paper.

(Wall Street Journal)

Tear-Free Onions?

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Foodfacts.com is eager to provide news on everything food-related. We recently discovered a slightly dated article on tear-free onions being created by Monsanto and had to share. We haven’t heard too much about this topic, so we figure this may be new to a few of our followers also. Check it out!

ever-mild
St. Louis-based Monsanto has a plan to make sweet-onion farmers weep.

The seed company last week unveiled a tearless onion that it’s dubbed the “EverMild,” modeled after the famous Vidalia sweet onion from Georgia.

It’s far from the biotech firm’s first foray into produce, but company officials say it marks a new approach to vegetable science: a way of looking at it from a foodie’s perspective.

“Our focus has been more on what makes something a successful product for growers, things like [crop] yield or disease resistance,” explains Monsanto spokeswoman Danielle Stuart. “We’re looking at things with a more consumer-focused point of view now, at things that are more interesting to the consumer’s sensory experience.”
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Monsanto vice president David Stark envisions grape tomatoes as sweet as Skittles, honeydew melons with a creamy, sugary finish and onions that exude sweetness — whether blended into sorbet or paired with peanut butter. “The onion is just the first step in coming up with fruits and vegetables that taste phenomenal,” notes Stark.

Such overtures sound alarm bells in the head of Randy Wood, an owner of Sappington Farmers’ Market, a south-county purveyor of local and organic foods. Wood and other advocates of small-scale farming have long touted how much better — and sweeter — so-called sustainable foods taste because of minimal man-made intervention.

“Typically, organic and biodynamic methods of farming increase the fructose levels in fruits and vegetables,” says Wood. “For the sweetness to be achieved in a fashion other than through a natural process is concerning. But I’ll take the bait and say somebody has to educate me on the process by which they’re doing this.”

Monsanto says the onion is neither organic nor genetically modified. It took more than twelve years of cross-pollinating different plant breeds, and complex computer models, to arrive at the right proprietary blend of sweetness.

“The trait is a little bit tricky to develop because you can’t just eat onion after onion,” explains Scott Hendricks, a Monsanto breeder based in Madison, Wisconsin. “We can sample a few, but pretty soon you’ve ruined your palate for the rest of the day. So, we do rely on a lab screening technique that we’ve come up with to tell us which onions would match this profile.”

The first commercial batch of EverMilds — some 700,000 pounds — was raised by a farmer in Washington, home to another sweet onion, the Walla Walla. The EverMild is being rolled out only in St. Louis-area Schnucks this year, but Monsanto has no intentions of selling the seed to local farmers.

The EverMild is a “long-day” onion that grows best in a more northern climate. It is harvested in September and sold through March, thus positioned as a winter stand-in for the Vidalia, which is only available from April to September.
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Like the Vidalia, which, according to state and federal trademarks, can only carry the Vidalia label if grown in a thirteen-county region of Georgia, the trademarked EverMild will have its own intellectual property protections.

Hendricks, the Monsanto breeder, says farmers using EverMild seeds must conform to growing conditions set out by Monsanto, and samples from every yield must be tested and approved for sweetness in order to carry the EverMild label.

Wendy Brannen, executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee and marketer for Vidalia growers, barely flinches at the prospect of competition. “We’ll always have companies that will try to emulate us, and you know what they say about imitation being the highest form of flattery,” says Brannen.

“We always welcome the competition, but a lot of this really is tried and true farming practice. We have a lot of third-generation farmers who’ve been doing this for a while and really know what they’re doing. I feel really secure.”

Monsanto is trying to seize on the fashionable concept of counting “food miles,” the environmental cost of delivering food from farm to fork. Company officials suggest consumers will feel better about buying a winter onion from a U.S. farmer than one shipped up from, say, South America.

It’s a bittersweet notion for hardcore foodies. “When the asparagus that you’ve been dreaming about for two or three months comes in, and the tender peas, the morels, when those first spring offerings arrive, they come with an excitement and a joy that, if you’ve had asparagus year-round, or tomatoes year-round, you lose,” observes Julie Ridlon, a caterer, personal chef and founder of several local farmers’ markets.

“But,” adds Ridlon, “we all need onions through the winter. It’d be great if the onions could be grown in Missouri, and if they can’t be, well, Washington’s better than Peru.”
(Science Daily News)

Monsanto Sweet Corn: Coming to Consumer Produce Aisles

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Fresh sweet corn is one of the best things about this time of year. But watch out! Big Agra giant, Monsanto, has just announced that it will introduce GMO fresh sweet corn to the U.S. consumer market beginning this Fall.
Genetically modified ingredients, courtesy of Monsanto, are present in many of the processed foods found on grocery store shelves in the U.S., but this is the first time that Monsanto has plans to take fresh GMO produce from the farm straight to the produce aisle. And if it sells, you can bet that there will be plenty more GMO produce to come.

The idea of Monsanto-branded GMO corn might be less than appealing to you, but don’t count on being able to distinguish it from non-GMO corn if you shop at a typical grocery store. Monsanto has no plans to label the corn as such. As a Monsanto representative told the LA Times, “We think it is a good product. It’s up to us to make sure we help tell people about the benefits….given how sweet corn is normally sold — by the ear, in larger bins in produce sections of the market — it’s not really something that can be easily branded.”

This means that if you’re concerned about the potential dangers of consuming GMOs, buying organic corn (or corn grown by a farmer who can personally attest to the fact that they are not using Monsanto seed) may soon be the only way to be sure that you are avoiding the new Monsanto GMO corn. Unfortunately, there is still the threat of cross contamination, but unless you’re ready to give up eating fresh corn altogether (maybe not the worst idea), organic is your safest bet for avoiding GMOs.

(LA Times)

Research shows NEGATIVE effects in mammals consuming GMOs

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Most “foodies” and concerned Foodfacts.com followers are familiar with the underlying fear of genetic modification (GM) in the worldwide food supply. Why does this subject frighten most? We barely know the effects that this type of engineering may have on our health and well-being. Most crops are much more complicated than a simple seed blooming into a root or flower. Instead, most seeds now have DNA and genomes crossed, or linked, to resist this one pesticide, but absorb this herbicide, and not to produce seeds, etc! Also, because there is not yet a labeling requirement for GMO products, we’re not quite sure what is and isn’t modified. We have little to no control over biotechnology, which leaves us vulnerable.

It is our understanding that different varieties of crops by genetic engineering became available starting in 1996. Currently, about 70 percent of corn, 96 percent of soy, and 80 percent of canola in the US is genetically modified. Unsurprisingly, the also US accounts for two-thirds of all GM crops. Other major players in the biotechnology game are Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and China.

Many people eat GM products, whether they know it or not. Sadly, a large portion of people would recognize the name “Britney Spears” before they recognized a GM company; which they potentially give business to everyday. However, this is because Monsanto and other major biotechnology companies pay to stay out of mainstream media. With their massive revenue and control over most agriculture processes, they are able to persuade government lobbyists to keep them under the radar.

Surprisingly, we’ve come across one study published in 2009 from the International Journal of Biological Sciences shining a negative light on genetic engineering. The interesting part, the trials were done by Monsanto. The European government was able to obtain the raw data to have it scrutinized and further evaluated. Three French scientists conducted a research paper using this data to examine the effects of genetically modified corn on general mammalian health. Three types of commercialized corn were given to rats over a 14 week period. During this time, urine and serum samples were collected to determine and compare physiological effects that occurred.

Researchers found the following results to be possibly associated with glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup; which are highly toxic at very low concentrations to human embryonic kidney cells, and other organs of the body.

- Renal leakage
- Weakened heart muscles
- Diminished liver function
- Elevated triglycerides
- Increased spleen, adrenal gland, heart and kidney weight
… to name a few.

Check out this study and let us know what you think!

http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm