Tag Archives: corn

Is the government helping to make America fat?

So with all the constant talk about health problems in the U.S. – obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. – we probably all think that the government works hard, if not to actually do something about it in the form of specific laws, then at least to make sure that they’re not actually supporting some of the reasons the problems are happening in the first place.

In more than a few very interesting articles FoodFacts.com read this week, we learned that, in fact, our government is actually subsidizing ingredients that are linked with (and possibly directly lead to) more than a few of our nation’s health woes.

We’re all very aware that obesity in the United States is a tremendous problem. Just how big a problem it actually is, is reflected in the fact that almost one in five kids between the ages of six and eleven are seriously overweight. That puts them at risk for heart disease, diabetes and many other serious health problems. It’s clear that the government is urging citizens to do something about these problems – mayors in cities around the countries are coming up with “creative” tax ideas to hopefully dissuade people from indulging in sugar-laden beverages which are felt to contribute to obesity.

Sadly, on the other side of the coin, our government is spending over $1.28 Billion annually to subsidize the crops farmers are growing that are used for additives in the same foods and beverages they’re trying to talk us out of consuming. Both corn and soy farmers are receiving tremendous subsidies from Congress and the Department of Agriculture … the same corn and soy used to make hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, corn starch and vegetable shortening … to name a few.

A report released by the consumer advocacy group, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund is shedding light on this government policy. $277 Billion has been spent on farm subsidies since 1995. Of that huge dollar amount, $81.7 Billion were corn subsidies and $26.3 Billion were soybean subsidies. That’s 39% of the total amount to only two crops being grown in the United States. Sadly, those are the two crops found in almost every processed food on the market, and that are most often genetically modified.

The study actually states that “our own government policy is responsible for promoting obesity-fueling empty calories,” adding that “even as nutritionists and researchers tell us to cut down on junk food in order to end the childhood obesity epidemic, federal agricultural policy is busily underwriting the problem.”

This is information that every nutritionally-conscious American needs to know and understand. FoodFacts.com will keep an eye out for any developments regarding the unusual (and senseless) decisions our government is making that are actually exacerbating the obesity epidemic they’d like to curtail.

Read more: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/07/25/Billions-in-Tax-Dollars-Subsidize-Junk-Food-Industry.aspx#page1#ixzz22K8bF4Vw

Are GMOs adding to obesity problems?

Here at Food Facts, we’re always discussing the effect of ingredients on our health and well being. We’ve always believed that the ingredient list is key to many, many issues … including weight gain. While calories are important, we don’t believe that they are the be all and end all of weight control for anyone. If a low-calorie food has a bad ingredient list, we understand that a person might actually end up hungrier and looking for more to eat. We understand that ingredients like MSG or hidden MSG ingredients are actually known to increase hunger.

With the country more focused than ever on the obesity epidemic, we feel that it’s more important than ever to pay close attention to the foods we eat and their effects. Now it appears that we may be able to add GMO ingredients to the list of those that might make you eat more and consequently gain more weight.

There’s some new research coming from the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science. Yes, it’s an animal study, but its results are certainly a cause for concern throughout the human population. It has linked GMO food products to weight gain.

The study was conducted over a 90-day period and involved both rats and salmon and was focused specifically on how these populations reacted to a diet of genetically modified foods.

The rat population was divided into two study groups. One group was fed only GMO foods and the other only non-GMO foods. The rats who were fed genetically modified corn not only got slowly fatter than the non-GMO population, they also grew considerably quicker and ate more food, more often.

The salmon population studied experienced the same results, with some extra findings. The GMO salmon population experienced more weight gain, and ate more food, more often. In addition, they developed an inability to properly digest protein and developed intestinal changes.

In both rats and salmon, there was a link between the consumption of genetically modified foods, hunger and weight gain. It’s important to remember that in both the rat and salmon populations, there was no restriction of movement (or calorie expenditure). The weight gain occurred regardless of the normal energy expenditure of either the rats or the salmon. Therefore, calories consumed vs. calories burned had nothing to do with the weight gain.

While the study concentrates on animals and fish, it does lead you to ask if it’s possible that the obesity explosion we’re experiencing in our own country and throughout the world, might just have something to do with the amount of processed foods we’re ingesting and their ingredients. Considering that corn is present in almost every processed food available, soy is a common ingredient (and mostly GMO) and canola oil is a popular and “better” oil (that’s also GMO), and that the phenomenal infiltration of these food products actually might coincide with the obesity problem, it’s definitely something we want to keep an eye on.

Food Facts wanted to make sure our community has this important information so that we can all continue to make the best choices we can for our diet and health. Read more here: http://sciencenordic.com/growing-fatter-gm-diet

The Many Faces (er..Ears?) Of Corn … nutrition facts brought to you by FoodFacts.com

According to the USDA 2010 crop production summary corn for grain production is estimated at 12.4 billion bushels.1 With so many bushels of corn sold, you’d wonder what all the corn is being used for? As it turns out, corn is a versatile crop with a wide variety of uses. The national corn growers association states that there are more than 4,200 different uses for corn products.  Corn can be used for both food and non-food products. Non-food uses can include pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, while food uses can be as transparent as high fructose corn syrup or as ambiguous as sodium erythorbate (since that same product could come from a different source like, sugar canes or beets). This FoodFacts.com blog article will focus on corn derived products and ingredients which we may not realize use corn.

NONFOOD PRODUCTS:

Antibiotics: Over 85 different types of antibiotics are produced using corn.  Penicillin is one of the antibiotics made using a corn product – corn steep liquor, as it has nutrients needed for penicillin to grow. It was formerly considered a waste material, corn steep liquor became a crucial ingredient in the large-scale production of penicillin.

Aspirin: an oxidized starch paste, which dries to a clear, adherent, continuous film, is spread in a thin layer over the aspirin.

Paper Products: Paper products use raw starch in the manufacturing process. The properties of high paste viscosity and strong gels are useful in specially coated papers. Pyrodextrins are also used for paper manufacturing for the adhesive property on remoistenable gums for postage stamps and packaging tape.

FOOD PRODUCTS:

Beer: Beer manufacturing is a process of treating malt to convert and extract the barley starch to fermentable sugars using the amyloytic enzymes present in malt followed by yeast fermentation. However, demand for lighter, less filling beer, especially in the U.S., has permitted use of more refined carbohydrate sources of two types: a) dry adjuncts, primarily dry milled corn grits, broken rice, refined corn starch, and more recently, dextrose and b) liquid adjuncts, namely corn syrups.

Citric Acid: Used as preservative, pH control, and to add a tart flavor to foods. Citric acid can be found in fruit sauces, jellies, canned goods and many other types of foods. Citric acid can be derived from fruits, however in view of the fact that the isolation of citric acid from fruits is very expensive, it is commercially produced from sugar with the help of bacteria and yeasts.  (See the 331 page list of food items that use citric acid as an ingredient: http://blog.foodfacts.com/search/index.cfm?type=ingredient&query=citricacid)

Iodized Salt: Iodine, an essential nutrient, is found in iodized salt. It was originally added to salt to prevent goiters. Corn derived dextrose is also added to iodized salt to help retain the added iodine.

Many (understatement perhaps?) products can be made from corn. It is used as food for humans and feed for animals, as well as nonfood uses in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, detergents and more. As science has a tendency to do, it will most likely find many more uses for corn.

See this poster for more products which use corn: http://www.ncga.com/uploads/useruploads/cornusesposter.pdf

http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/nass/CropProdSu//2010s/2011/CropProdSu-01-12-2011_revision.pdf
http://www.ncga.com/uploads/useruploads/woc-2011.pdf
http://www.gfo.ca/AboutUsMain/Community/ConsumerResourcesforCorn.aspx
http://herbarium.usu.edu/fungi/funfacts/penicillin.htm
http://www.food-info.net/uk/qa/qa-fi13.htm

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)

New Monsanto Facility Working on Corn Seed to Decrease Overall Growth Time

Foodfacts.com recently came across the following article regarding a breed of corn seen that will decrease cross-pollination time from 9 to 5 years. This will allow easier and more abundant production of genetically modified crops if the trial is successful. What does this mean for our food supply? There’s a great chance Monsanto and other major biotechnology companies are coming closer and closer to dominating most of our agriculture. Check out the article below!

OTHELLO — The kernels created at Monsanto’s new corn breeding facility four miles east of Othello could affect corn grown across North America.

The corn facility, which opened last month, is the beginning of the breeding process for seeds that farmers could be using within five years.

The Othello plant is the first of its kind for Monsanto in the United States because of its use of the double haploid breeding technique for corn seeds, said Brett Sowers, the global corn double haploid production lead for the global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products.

The 15,000-square-foot lab at 1485 W. Cunningham in Othello will provide a service for the company’s other research programs across the country, he said.

The double haploid breeding technique makes an inbred line of corn faster than would happen in nature, Sowers said. The technique uses a plant with only one copy of a chromosome in its cells instead of the normal two, a trait that occurs occasionally in nature, he said.

Employees in the lab will hand-select kernels to work with, Sowers said. Those kernels will be subjected to a chemical process that affects how chromosomes divide, causing the cells to double their chromosomes and create a double haploid plant.

The seedlings are then moved to the 10,000-square-foot greenhouse to recover, he said. They are later planted in an adjacent 48-acre field to grow, pollinate and produce seeds.

The created seeds will be the parents, the male and female plants, which still will need to be crossed into a combination that farmers use, he said.

They are still several years of further selection and testing away from a commercial product, Sowers said.

Corn is already planted in the field this year, Sowers said. The plants seem to be doing well so far, despite the earlier cool weather.
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The process gets to pure genetics quicker, Sowers said. What would normally take up to nine years of self-pollinating will take up to five years, which gets the new seed to farmers faster so the benefits are seen sooner.

In the seed industry, Sowers said, they are always working to create a higher yield and resistance to disease and insects. And nature is always working to overcome the resistance plants have.

That means creating a novel combination of genetics, he said.

“You are constantly looking for new or better combinations,” Sowers said.

A new seed may be used for about a decade before it is replaced with another seed, Sowers said.

Monsanto has invested about $4 million in the Othello plant since 2006, and anticipates additional improvements in the future, said Kathleen Manning, Monsanto media relations specialist.

The facility was built with room to expand by adding more office and lab space if needed, Sowers said.

Othello was chosen because of the availability of irrigation, good soil, the high yield potential and the arid environment, which means fewer insects and disease, Sowers said.

And the existing seed production facility, opened in 2003, was available to help with initial work, he said.

That facility, at 776 S. Booker Road in Othello, is where Monsanto produces and packages corn seeds for farmers to use on their fields, Manning said.

Monsanto set up a pilot for the breeding program in Othello in 2006 and a temporary facility in 2007 to work with the breeding materials.

The program was moved from Hawaii, where Monsanto was able to plant and test year-round until the company was confident it could develop the process to use on a commercial scale, he said. The breeding process already is used on wheat, canola, squash and cucumber.

With the permanent plant, Sowers said Monsanto added a fifth full-time employee. The number of seasonal employees has grown to 100 to 110 at the peak. During the winter months, the full-time employees will complete prep work for the next year and support work for other Monsanto plants, he said.

Othello City Administrator Ehman Sheldon said Othello should see some economic benefits from the new Monsanto plant with increased sales tax revenue and within the housing market.

Sheldon, who toured the facility several weeks ago, said it was fantastic.

“It’s a very promising effort by Monsanto,” he said.

(The News Tribune)

Research shows NEGATIVE effects in mammals consuming GMOs

gmo1
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

Monsanto loses two young employees

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Foodfacts.com recently came across this tragic and devastating news story involving two young teenage girls, also employees of Monsanto, that were fatally electrocuted while detasseling GM corn fields.

WHITESIDE COUNTY, Ill.—
Two detasselers are confirmed dead and eight more injured in an electrocution accident in a Whiteside County field.

Emergency crews were called to a corn field south of Tampico just before 9 a.m. Monday, July 25, 2011.

There they found four detasselers electrocuted and another six shocked.

Police say four detasselers who suffered the most-serious injuries were taken to an area hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Two were later confirmed dead, and one was flown to a Rockford hospital and listed in critical condition.

The other detasselers were first taken to a staging area at the Rock Falls Fire Department for evaluation. From there, they were either transported to an area hospital or released to a parent or guardian.

Chevy Conkling was among the 72 detasselers in the field Monday when four of their owner were electrocuted, killing 14-year-old Hannah Kendall and 14-year-old Jade Garza.

“We were just like detasseling and we heard screaming and all went down hill,” said Chevy Conkling.

Chevy, a first year detasseler himself, says he watched as Hannah, Jade and two other detasselers walked past an above ground irrigator.

“One of the girls was laying on ground and couldn’t feel her legs and she was screaming for help, then two were passed out on it,” said Conkling.

In the very early stages of the investigation, police along with Monsanto and OSHA representatives still don’t know how the teens came in contacted with the irrigator.

“Several other crew members in the area also reported feeling an electrical shock,” said Lt. Andy Henson of the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department.

“I just looked at it, touched the thing to see what was happening and it shocked me,” said Conkling.

Ranging in age from as young as 13, the detasselers are subcontracted through Monsanto.

Representatives say their detasselers are told to walk around irrigators.

“We do fairly extensive training with our contractors including not only irrigation system but heat,” said Mark Cabenaile of Monsanto.

The Sterling community now remembering Hannah and Jade, inseparable best friends who died together all too young.

“This is a tragic situation and certainly our thoughts and prayers are with family and friends and those that knew them,” said Cabenaile.

Monsanto has suspended all operations, until the investigation is complete. Monsanto employs around 1,000 people.

(Quad City Times)

Hungary Destroys Monsanto GMO Corn Fields

cornfield

Foodfacts.com urges readers to look into recent news and research concerning crops derived from genetically modified seeds. A major player in the agribusiness game, Monsanto, recently experienced a slap in the face when Hungary banned ALL GM seeds in their country this past March. When Hungary discovered some seeds made it onto their farmlands, they stood up to the task and destroyed all affected farmlands. Check out the article below.

In an effort to rid the country of Monsanto’s GMO products, Hungary has stepped up the pace. This looks like its going to be another slap in the face for Monsanto. A new regulation was introduced this March which stipulates that seeds are supposed to be checked for GMO before they are introduced to the market. Unfortunately, some GMO seeds made it to the farmers without them knowing it.
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Almost 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said. The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added.

Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary. The checks will continue despite the fact that seed traders are obliged to make sure that their products are GMO free, Bognar said.

During their investigation, controllers have found Pioneer and Monsanto products among the seeds planted.
gmocorn
The free movement of goods within the EU means that authorities will not investigate how the seeds arrived in Hungary but they will check where the goods can be found, Bognar said. Regional public radio reported that the two biggest international seed producing companies are affected in the matter and GMO seeds could have been sown on up to thousands of hectares in the country.

Most of the local farmers have complained since they just discovered they were using GMO seeds. With season already under way, it is too late to sow new seeds, so this years harvest has been lost.
And to make things even worse for the farmers, the company that distributed the seeds in Baranya county is under liquidation. Therefore, if any compensation is paid by the international seed producers, the money will be paid primarily to that company’s creditors, rather than the farmers.

(Shellee Tyler- Planetsave)

Jack and the GMO Beanstalk

beanstalk

One of the major concerns we hear each day at Foodfacts.com is the issue pertaining to GMO foods. Therefore, we work hard to find the latest information and research regarding various genetically modified foods. Here is a recent article found at HuffPost Food:

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Jack. Jack came from a hard-up family, but he considered himself a savvy, enterprising lad. To prove it, he went to the market, worked a deal and ran home to show his mother his newest acquisition. Beans.

What kind of beans? his mother asked.

Magic beans. I got them off a biotech guy.

What did they cost? she said.

Almost nothing. Just the cow.

Somewhere between pissed and heart-broken, Jack’s mother tossed the beans out the window, convinced her idiot son had given away the only thing they had of value.

Meanwhile, the beans, which, being magic and all, grew. They grew a lot, and by morning, had put out a stalk so high Jack and his mother could not see the top of it.

See, I told you they were magic, Jack said.

Yes, but what kind of magic? his mother said.

Jack kissed her forehead and said, Mom, you are so old school. Then he began climbing up the beanstalk. This took all day and most of that night. He reached the top by midnight and came to a magnificent castle so huge he could slither under the door and get inside.

He ran smack into an ogre, or rather, the ogre’s foot. He looked up and up until he could see the ogre’s face. It was not smiling.

Fee fi fo fum, the ogre said.

You probably know the rest — evil ogre in hot pursuit of Jack, who somehow escapes with the goose that lays the golden eggs.

So, what kind of magic were these beans? It depends on who’s telling the story. A biotech company like Monsanto would boast about the beans’ quick growing time, the fantastic yield — c’mon, golden eggs — painting a happily ever after scenario.

On the other hand, there’s the unintended consequences. These aren’t spoken of much, but Jack the consumer might have been duped, was almost an ogre’s midnight snack, who knows just how happy an ending it really is?

Monsanto, the folks who brought you Roundup and Agent Orange, also produces genetically modified soy and corn. Even if they deliver greater crop yield, enhanced nutrition and all the benefits Monsanto promises, there are still unknowns and unintended consequences in every color but green.

Jack and his mother had a right to know what was in those beans. So do American consumers. Studies indicate genetically modified crops pose risks to the planet, by means of contamination and dangerous loss of biodiversity. They can also pose risks to our health. Haven’t heard much about these studies? Thank Monsanto, which has flooded the market with GMO products while suppressing test findings that might be bad for business. Oh, really? Because the company just posted third-quarter income — it’s up 77 percent .

Eighty-seven percent of Americans would not knowingly consume genetically modified products. But over half of us do, because there is no GMO labeling law. Talk about unintended consequences — we aren’t being told what’s in our food and unknowingly finance a practice we’re opposed to. Meanwhile, Monsanto’s making a killing. Perhaps literally.

Glyphosate, a major player in Monsanto’s Roundup, has been linked to health risks including cancer and infertility. It’s not just killing weeds, it may be killing us, too, and it’s finally gotten the attention of the EPA.

I hope it’s gotten your attention, too. Every new threat to our health creates a greater demand for a food system that’s transparent and accountable, a system we can trust.

Unlike Jack’s magic beans, that won’t happen overnight. Until it does, eat defensively. Pass on processed products, where GMOs tend to lurk. Choose organic food or local food produced by a trustworthy source — including yourself. It’s been a record breaking year for seed-buying and first-time gardeners — over 43,000,000 American households are growing their own food. You can’t eat more locally than food you grow yourself.

Ensuring a safe food supply shouldn’t take magic. It’s our right. Cool beans.

(Huffpost Food)

One in Twelve U.S. Children May suffer from Food Allergies

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Foodfacts.com realizes that more and more children are now suffering from food allergies. Nearly 6 million U.S. children or about one in 12 kids are allergic to at least one food, with peanuts, milk and shellfish topping the list of the most common allergens, a new study finds.

Researchers conducted a nationally representative survey of the parents of more than 40,000 children. About 8 percent reported having a child who had a food allergy. Of those, about 30 percent said their child was allergic to multiple foods.

Among kids with food allergies, 25 percent were allergic to peanuts, 21 percent were allergic to milk and 17 percent had an allergy to shellfish. Those were followed by tree nuts (13 percent), eggs (nearly 10 percent), finned fish (6 percent), strawberries (5 percent), wheat (5 percent), and soy (just under 5 percent).

While the study was a snapshot of the prevalence of food allergies in America and did not track change over time, researchers said anecdotal evidence — including reports from schools and the numbers of patients coming in to allergists’ offices — suggests that the rate is rising.

“Eight percent is a pretty significant amount of kids,” said lead study author Dr. Ruchi Gupta, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University and a pediatrician at Children’s Memorial Hospital, both in Chicago. “We are seeing a lot more cases. We are seeing a lot more in schools than we used to see. It does seem that food allergy is on the rise.”

The study is published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

Allergic reactions to foods can range from mild to severe. In the survey, about 61 percent of food allergic children had a mild to moderate reaction, including swelling of the lips and face, hives, itching, flushing or an eczema flare.

The remaining 39 percent had a severe or even potentially life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis — wheezing and trouble breathing, vomiting, swelling, persistent coughing that indicates airway swelling and a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

The foods most commonly associated with a severe reaction included tree nuts and peanuts, shellfish, soy and finned fish.eatingpeanutsduringpregnancymayincreasechildrensriskoffoodallergies_2248_800211243_0_0_7052658_300

“Especially for kids with multiple food allergies, it complicates their lives and makes it really tough on these kids to avoid multiple foods to stay healthy and stay alive,” Gupta said.

Parents of children with food allergies should always carry antihistamine and an epinephrine shot (i.e., an EpiPen) with them, Gupta said. Even with those close at hand, witnessing a child having a serious food reaction can be terrifying for parents, who don’t know how bad it’s going to get and need to decide within moments whether to administer the shot and call 911.

Often, reactions happen when parents least expect them — while they’re at a family gathering or some other social event, and the child accidentally ingests something.

Dr. Susan Schuval, a pediatric allergist at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., agreed that food allergies seem to be getting more common.

“We are seeing tons and tons of food allergies. There also seems to be an increase from what we’ve seen in the past,” Schuval said.

Right now, the only treatment available to most food allergic kids is avoidance. For parents and children, that means paying close attention to labels, taking precautions when eating out, bringing along their own food when they travel or go to social events such as birthday parties. It also means educating teachers, caregivers and other parents who may have their kids over to play about using an epinephrine shot and the seriousness of the allergy.

“They need to maintain their full alertness out of the home, in the schools and in restaurants,” Schuval said.

For some children, food allergies get better over time. Previous research has found many kids outgrow allergies to milk, egg, soy and wheat. Fewer outgrow peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish allergies.

A wheat allergy is different from celiac disease, in which wheat cannot be digested properly and, over time, damages the lining of the intestines.

For more information on food allergies and how to avoid them check out blog.foodfacts.com.

Information provided by: MSN News