Should We Label GMO Foods?

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A hundred years ago, pretty much all of the food Americans ate was essentially organic and local – and not surprisingly, much more nutritious. But with the advent of Big Agra and industrialized food production, we moved towards a food supply heavily modified for higher yields and higher profits. First came pesticides, which U.S. farmers began using just after World War II. Then came genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The first genetically modified food crop was introduced in 1994, and since then, the introduction of new GMO crops has accelerated at an alarming rate.

Throughout these changes, very little consideration has been given to food labeling, and by and large, consumers have had no idea to what extent the food they buy is contaminated with pesticides or genetically modified. Ironically enough, we now label normal food as “organic” to separate it from pesticide-laden, genetically modified food, which requires no labeling at all.

Call me silly, but shouldn’t it be exactly the opposite? Shouldn’t organic foods be the norm, and adulterated foods have labeling requirements? For example, how would you feel about a box of cereal labeled as “GMO Corn Flakes” sitting on the shelf at your local grocery store? Would you buy an apple with a sticker that said “Grown using pesticides”? Maybe, but probably not. The fact is, 86% of the corn grown in this country has been genetically modified, so unless that box of cereal is labeled “non-GMO,” chance are, it’s full of GMOs. And according to the Pesticide Action Network’s What’s On My Food? Guide, multiple pesticides are found in the majority of conventionally grown apples. But you certainly won’t see any of these things on a label.

At the very least, consumers deserve to have the necessary tools to make an informed decision when shopping for food. Thomas Jefferson once said, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” So why is the government making policies that keep vital, potentially life-saving information out of the hands of its citizens.

Recent polls indicate that the overwhelming majority of Americans think GMO foods should be labeled. By some estimates, over 75% of all processed foods sold in the U.S. contain a GMO ingredient. Most frequently these ingredients are corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, sugar, beef or dairy. And despite what Big Agra would like us to believe, there it absolutely no proof that long-term consumption of GMOs is safe. I am quite certain that in coming years, more and more consumers will also want to know exactly what pesticides are being applied to their food as well.

So why won’t the USDA mandate that all food containing GMOs be labeled as such? Well, the short answer is that the U.S. government’s current stance (which happens to be identical to Big Agra’s stance) on GMO foods is that they do not “differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.” I beg to differ! And, if GMOs are truly as harmless as they say, what’s the harm in labeling them? The same can be said of pesticides and other chemicals.

Now, I don’t really mean to demonize the food industry. Despite the feelings of repulsion I have towards Big Agra companies like Monsanto, I realize that the initial intentions behind the industrial farming practices I so often rail against were, in fact, good. Years ago, the American food system and economy were very different. Hunger and malnutrition were widespread. Then, the agriculture industry learned that they could increase crop yields and make food more affordable for all, simply by applying certain chemicals to crops as part of the growing process, which at the time, seemed like a reasonably safe thing to do. Long-term, not so much. Our problem now, as evidenced by growing rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, is an overabundance of low-quality, high-chemical food.

Would changing the way we label foods containing pesticides or GMOs help to change people’s eating habits? The government seems to think labeling works, when it comes to getting people to select “healthier” foods based on their nutrient content, or to avoid things like cigarettes, which have been proven to be harmful.  So it stands to reason that clear labels on foods containing potentially harmful substances would effectively deter consumers from purchasing them. Alas, the government seems more interested in protecting Big Agra’s profits than in the health of its citizens.

I also appreciate the fact that the USDA has set standards for organic labeling, though the enforcement of these standards clearly needs some work. Organic labeling enables consumers to make purchasing decisions that, at the very least, minimize their exposure to harmful chemicals, and encourages food producers and manufacturers to clean up their acts. Consumer demand for clean, organic food is growing, and so is demand for honest labeling — particularly, of GMO foods, for which there are currently no labeling standards whatsoever.

If buying all of your food organic is not feasible for you, there are many simple choices you can make to minimize your consumption of foods containing chemical toxins and GMOs. We may be a long way off from having the way food is labeled changed altogether, so in the meantime, I encourage you to use the following resources to help guide your food shopping decisions:

1) The Organic Consumers Association’s Non-GMO Shopping Guide

2) The Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

3) The Pesticide Action Network’s What’s On My Food? guide

How would you change the way foods are labeled? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.


Josh Corn Joshua Corn – Editor-in-Chief
Josh is a health freedom advocate and veteran of the natural health industry. He has been actively involved in the natural health movement for over 15 years, and has been dedicated to the promotion of health, vitality, longevity and natural living throughout his career. Josh has successfully overcome several personal health challenges through natural means, and believes that sharing information can empower people to take control of their health so they can solve their own problems and live life to its fullest potential. Josh is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Live in the Now. Additionally he serves as CEO of Stop Aging Now, a company that has been formulating premium dietary supplements since 1995. Josh is currently working on his first book about natural health, and is gearing up to launch the Live in the Now radio show. In addition to his work in the natural health field, Josh is an avid outdoorsman, animal lover and enjoys “living in the now” with his wife and two sons.


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26 responses to “Should We Label GMO Foods?”

  1. Question about labeling and GM in general.  What is a GMO?

    Does it have genes from another organism (BT Corn), does it have a herbicide tolerance trait (LL or RR Corn), does it have herbicide tolerance bred into it without altering the gene artificially (Clearlfield corn), is it conventionally bred to have different traits (fusarium resistant wheat), or has it been bred over thousands of years in order to have its current look (maize or wheat)?

    A decision will have to be made on how much ‘genetic modification’ makes a plant GMO.  

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s long past time to learn the truth about GMOs! Still, better late than never. 

      I first learned about the dangers when a good friend of mine became the first researcher in history to return a grant from the NIH. Dr. John Fagan, a top cancer researcher and Professor of Molecular Biology forfeited over 1.6 million because of his concerns that his DNA research might have led to dangerous applications in genetic engineering with extremely damaging consequences for humanity.Since then many independent researchers have exposed the GMO myths propagated by the biotech industry. To catch up on all this, the best place to start is this web site—http://www.ResponsibleTechnology.org
      Also, here are 3 excellent articles:

      http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/04/27/19-studies-link-gmo-foods-to-organ-disruption.aspx

      http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_1860.cfm

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/youre-appointing-who-plea_b_243810.html

      • According to your first link, GMO are only considered such if DNA from a different organism is inserted into its DNA.  This means that glyphosate tolerant plants are not GMO by this definition.  They are only a modification of their own DNA.  The enzyme that is usually susceptible to glyphosate is modified so that the glyphosate does not bind to it.  This allows the plant to live.  These mutations are actually found in nature (there is a type of turfgrass that has been bred to be tolerant of glyphosate without any genetic modification).

        With the advent of glyphosate tolerant weeds that have become tolerant because of multiple applications of glyphosate without any other herbicides, I wonder sometimes if Monsanto had used that route in developing RR crops there would not be the fear of GM crops.

        Clearfield tolerant crops were developed in this way and are not considered GM.

        • Anonymous says:

          Trouble is, glyphosate has horrible effects on people, animals, and the earth itself.
           This Could Threaten the Future of Food – Destroying the Entire Food Chain…

          Posted By Dr. Mercola
           

          Roundup, Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide, is causing Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a serious plant disease, in many fields. Study after study shows that glyphosate is contributing not only to the huge increase in SDS, but also to the outbreak of numerous other diseases.
          Glyphosate is the world’s bestselling weed killer; it was patented by Monsanto for use in their Roundup brand, which became more popular when they introduced “Roundup Ready” crops — genetically modified (GM) plants that can withstand applications of normally deadly Roundup. 
          But the herbicide doesn’t destroy plants directly; instead, it creates a unique perfect storm of conditions that activates disease-causing organisms in the soil, while at the same time wiping out plant defenses against those diseases.
          The Institute for Responsible Technology reports:
          “By weakening plants and promoting disease, glyphosate opens the door for lots of problems in the field. According to Don [Huber, a plant pathologist], ‘There are more than 40 diseases of crop plants that are reported to increase with the use of glyphosate …’ 
          Some of the fungi promoted by glyphosate produce dangerous toxins that can end up in food and feed … They’ve ‘been linked to the plague epidemics’ of medieval Europe, ‘large-scale human toxicosis in Eastern Europe,’ esophageal cancer in southern Africa and parts of China, joint diseases in Asia and southern Africa, and a blood disorder in Russia.”
          Sources:
            Institute for Responsible Technology January 14, 2011
           

           

          Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

           

           

          More than:

          75 percent of soybeans

          65 percent of cotton

          10 percent of corn grown in the United States

          … contain the genetically modified (GM) Roundup Ready gene, which allows farmers to spray Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide directly onto their fields, killing weeds without harming the crops … theoretically.
          However, this convenience comes at a steep price, as evidence shows that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is actually devastating crops and human and animal health around the world, even when the exposure is restricted to residues leftover in the soil.
          “The Perfect Storm” for Plant Devastation
          Glyphosate is the world’s bestselling weed killer, and it’s found in more than 30 percent of all herbicides. While Roundup Ready crops can withstand the toxin because of GM genetic material from viruses and bacteria, the weed killer is thought to be contributing to Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a deadly plant disease that causes plants to turn yellow and die.
          As reported by GM expert Jeffrey Smith, numerous studies have linked glyphosate to increases in SDS, including in crops that have never been sprayed with the herbicide but were planted in a field that received an application the previous season.
          As Smith points out:
          “The herbicide doesn’t destroy plants directly. It rather cooks up a unique perfect storm of conditions that revs up disease-causing organisms in the soil, and at the same time wipes out plant defenses against those diseases. The mechanisms are well-documented but rarely cited.”
          In fact, Roundup herbicide weakens plants and promotes disease in a number of ways, including:

          Acting as a chelator of vital nutrients, depriving plants of the nutrients necessary for healthy plant function

          Destroying beneficial soil organisms 

          that suppress disease-causing organisms and help plants absorb nutrients

          Interfering with photosynthesis, reducing water use efficiency, shortening root systems and causing plants to release sugars, which changes soil pH

          Stunting and weakening plant growth

          Promoting disease-causing organisms in soil, which then overtake the weakened crops

          So the glyphosate in Roundup is not only weakening plants, it’s changing the makeup of soil and boosting the number of disease-causing organisms, a deadly recipe for crops around the globe.
          As Don Huber, a plant pathologist at Purdue University, stated:
          “There are more than 40 diseases of crop plants that are reported to increase with the use of glyphosate, and that number keeps growing as people recognize the association between glyphosate and disease.”
          As the use of Roundup has increased, so too has the prevalence of potentially devastating plant diseases, which could threaten future food crops and the food chain that depends on them.
          Dangers for People and Animals Too
          It’s not only plant life that’s threatened by the use of Roundup — human and animal toxins are created too. As Smith reported, glyphosate promotes the formation of certain types of fungi that are dangerous to people and contaminate food and animal feed. One such fungi, the Fusarium fungus, has been linked to plague epidemics, cancer, infertility and animal diseases.
          Residues of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide found in GM food and feed have also been linked to cell damage and even death, even at very low levels. Researchers have also found it causes membrane and DNA damage, and inhibits cell respiration.
          It’s also possible that glyphosate is significantly altering the nutrient content of our food, through its chelating mechanism, leading to widespread mineral deficiencies in animals and humans. Smith writes:
          “The same nutrients that glyphosate chelates and deprives plants are also vital for human and animal health. These include iron, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, boron, and others. Deficiencies of these elements in our diets, alone or in combination, are known to interfere with vital enzyme systems and cause a long list of disorders and diseases …
          Glyphosate-induced mineral deficiencies can easily go unidentified and untreated. Even when laboratory tests are done, they can sometimes detect adequate mineral levels, but miss the fact that glyphosate has already rendered them unusable.
          Glyphosate can tie up minerals for years and years, essentially removing them from the pool of nutrients available for plants, animals, and humans. If we combine the more than 135 million pounds of glyphosate-based herbicides applied in the US in 2010 with total applications over the past 30 years, we may have already eliminated millions of pounds of nutrients from our food supply.”
          Roundup in the Environment
          Monsanto long used the slogans, “It’s Safer than Mowing,” “Biodegradable,” and “Environmentally Friendly” to describe Roundup — until the real effects of this toxic herbicide were revealed and they were forced to discontinue their deceptive advertising.
          The truth is Monsanto’s own tests showed that only 2 percent of the herbicide broke down after 28 days, which means it readily persists in the environment. Glyphosate is actually the most commonly reported cause of pesticide illness among landscape maintenance workers in California. Additionally:

          The surfactant ingredient in Roundup is more acutely toxic than glyphosate itself, and the combination of the two is even more toxic.

          Glyphosate is suspected of causing genetic damage.

          Glyphosate is acutely toxic to fish and birds and can kill beneficial insects and soil organisms that maintain ecological balance.

          Laboratory studies have identified adverse effects of glyphosate-containing products in all standard categories of toxicological testing.

          In one animal study, rats given 1,000 mg/kg of glyphosate resulted in a 50 percent mortality rate, and skeletal alterations were observed in over 57 percent of fetuses!
          And just so you understand, GM crops that are resistant to Roundup are the most widely sold GM varieties. So if you eat GM foods, there is a very good chance those foods contain Roundup residues — and possibly hefty amounts of them.
          According to Smith, by 2004 farmers used an estimated 86 percent more herbicide on GM soy fields compared to non-GM. Higher levels of herbicide residue in this GM soy might cause health problems, and many symptoms identified in one UK soy allergy study are also related to glyphosate exposure.
          The allergy study identified irritable bowel syndrome, digestion problems, chronic fatigue, headaches, lethargy, and skin complaints including acne and eczema, all related to soy consumption.
          Symptoms of glyphosate exposure include nausea, headaches, lethargy, skin rashes, and burning or itchy skin. It is also possible that glyphosate’s breakdown product AMPA, which accumulates in GM soybeans after each spray, might contribute to allergies.
          Again, the use of Roundup herbicide has increased dramatically since the GM Roundup Ready crops were introduced. In the first 13 years, American farmers sprayed an additional 383 million pounds of herbicide due to these herbicide-tolerant crops. And now the repeated exposures have given Mother Nature all she needs to stage her comeback in the form of devastating superweeds.
          How Can You Avoid Roundup and Roundup Ready Crops?
          Did you know that genetically modified foods are so prevalent in the United States that if you randomly pick an item off your grocery store’s shelves, you have a 75 percent chance of picking a food with GM ingredients?
          It’s true. At least seven out of every 10 processed food items have been genetically modified, and there’s more to come.
          The potential health ramifications of these world-wide experiments with our food supply are frightening to say the least. If you care about the health and future of your family, I strongly urge you to refuse to participate in this destructive trend.
          How?
          It’s actually simpler than you might think… By buying only non-GM foods.
          The True Food Shopping Guide is a great tool for helping you determine which brands and products contain GM ingredients. It lists 20 different food categories that include everything from baby food to chocolate.
          Additionally, here are four simple steps to decrease your consumption of GM foods as much as possible:

          Reduce or eliminate processed foods in your diet. The fact that 75 percent of processed foods contain GM ingredients is only one of the many reasons to stick to a whole foods diet.

          Read produce and food labels. Conventionally raised soybeans and corn make up the largest portion of genetically modified crops. Ingredients made from these foods include high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn flour and meal, dextrin, starch, soy sauce, margarine, and tofu.

          Buy organic produce. By definition, food that is certified organic 

          must be free from all GM organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Additionally, grass-fed beef 

          will not have been fed GM corn feed.

          You can also get involved in helping to defeat GM crops at the regulatory level. Right now the USDA is considering the approval of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa, which would lead to the application of millions more pounds of Roundup herbicide each year.
          You can urge U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to NOT approve Roundup Ready alfalfa, which would lead to the addition of more Roundup on U.S. fields and in our food, by using this action form from the Institute for Responsible Technology

          Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds

          By WILLIAM NEUMAN and ANDREW POLLACK
          The New York Times, May 3, 2010

          Straight to the Source

          DYERSBURG, Tenn. — For 15 years, Eddie Anderson, a farmer, has been a strict adherent of no-till agriculture, an environmentally friendly technique that all but eliminates plowing to curb erosion and the harmful runoff of fertilizers and pesticides.
          But not this year.
          On a recent afternoon here, Mr. Anderson watched as tractors crisscrossed a rolling field — plowing and mixing herbicides into the soil to kill weeds where soybeans will soon be planted.
          Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers’ near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds.
          To fight them, Mr. Anderson and farmers throughout the East, Midwest and South are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing.
          “We’re back to where we were 20 years ago,” said Mr. Anderson, who will plow about one-third of his 3,000 acres of soybean fields this spring, more than he has in years. “We’re trying to find out what works.”
          Farm experts say that such efforts could lead to higher food prices, lower crop yields, rising farm costs and more pollution of land and water.
          “It is the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen,” said Andrew Wargo III, the president of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts.

          • Dr. Mercola is widely discredited in the scientific community.

          • StopGMO108 says:

            Only by the “scientists” bought and paid for by big pharma. Mercola is only telling the truth and the truth is a real threat to all those selling poisons, and to those in charge of the FDA and USDA who collude with them. 

            The FDA is merely an agent of the drug companies that support them. They won’t approve anything unless it makes these companies money. 

            The thing that bugs me is that people think the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is protecting them — it isn’t. What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks its doing are as different as night and day.”  -former FDA Commissioner, Dr. Herbert Ley.—————FDA scientists complain to Obama of ‘corruption’By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR  Jan 8, 2009WASHINGTON (AP)  In an unusually blunt letter, a group of federal scientists is complaining to the Obama transition team of widespread managerial misconduct in a division of the Food and Drug Administration.”The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the scientific review process for medical devices at the FDA has been corrupted and distorted by current FDA managers, thereby placing the American people at risk,” said the letter, dated Wednesday and written on the agency’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health letterhead.The center is responsible for medical devices ranging from stents and breast implants to MRIs and other imaging machinery. The concerns of the nine scientists who wrote to the transition team echo some of the complaints from the FDA’s drug review division a few years ago during the safety debacle involving the painkiller Vioxx.The FDA declined to publicly respond to the letter, but said it is working to address the concerns.In their letter the FDA dissidents alleged that agency managers use intimidation to squelch scientific debate, leading to the approval of medical devices whose effectiveness is questionable and which may not be entirely safe.”Managers with incompatible, discordant and irrelevant scientific and clinical expertise in devices…have ignored serious safety and effectiveness concerns of FDA experts,” the letter said. “Managers have ordered, intimidated and coerced FDA experts to modify scientific evaluations, conclusions and recommendations in violation of the laws, rules and regulations, and to accept clinical and technical data that is not scientifically valid.”A copy of the letter, with the names of the scientists redacted, was provided to The Associated Press by a congressional official.”Currently, there is an atmosphere at FDA in which the honest employee fears the dishonest employee, and not the other way around,” the scientists wrote.FDA spokeswoman Judy Leon said in response: “We have been working very closely with members of the transition team and any concerns or questions they have on any issue, we will address directly with the team. Separately, the agency is actively engaged in a process to explore the staff members’ concerns and take appropriate action.”Senior Democratic and Republican lawmakers are urging Obama to appoint a commissioner who will shake up the FDA and restore the confidence of its working-level scientists and medical experts. But industry officials fear that approval of new drugs and devices could be delayed by endless scientific disputes  which is the agency’s reputation.The FDA dissidents have previously taken their concerns to Congress and found support from lawmakers in the House.In the letter the group singled out mammography computer-aided detection devices as an example of a technology that should not have gone forward. The devices were supposed to improve breast cancer detection, but instead studies showed they were associated with false alarms that led to unnecessary breast biopsies.Since 2006, FDA experts have recommended five times against approving the devices without better clinical evidence, the letter said. In March of last year, a panel of outside advisers supported some of the concerns of the FDA’s in-house scientists. Nonetheless, FDA managers overruled the objections and ordered approval.Top FDA managers “committed the most outrageous misconduct by ordering, coercing and intimidating FDA physicians and scientists to recommend approval, and then retaliating when the physicians and scientists refused to go along,” the letter said.A spokeswoman said the Obama transition team had no comment.———-FDA & FTC TARGET NATURAL PRODUCT COMPANIESCompanies barred from sharing customers’ positive experience of their products    This past month, the FDA and FTC brought charges against 5 natural product companies, alleging that these companies have made improper claims about their natural dietary supplements.  As most of you know, dietary supplement makers cannot legally claim that their products “cure” anything.  The FDA and FTC give only drug companies permission to do that.      The twist in two of the cases is that the FDA and FTC are cracking down not just on claims, but also on the use of testimonials.  These two “testimonial” cases involve Rhode Island company Daniel Chapter One and New Mexico-based Native Essence Herb Company.  The FDA and FTC are seeking hefty fines and other sanctions in part because these companies posted letters from satisfied customers on their websites.  None of the customers claim outright to have been cured by the products, although the customers did share their personal experience of medical conditions that objectively disappeared after use of the products.  Are such testimonials medical claims?  How far can a ban against testimonials go?  Can the government ban consumers from sharing their personal health care experiences with one another in any forum?    Citizens For Health Chairman of the Board Jim Turner, who represents Daniel Chapter One, is concerned.  The FTC and FDA attack against his client “fails to distinguish between cynical con men who intentionally cheat vulnerable people, and persons of conviction who work diligently to comply with the law in their effort to help people.”  You can read the full text of Turner’s important analysis of this case here: http://www.dc1pages.com/dc1freedom/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46&Itemid=71——————-FDA advisers tied to industryBy Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY More than half of the experts hired to advise the government on the safety and effectiveness of medicine have financial relationships with the pharmaceutical companies that will be helped or hurt by their decisions, a USA TODAY study found.These experts are hired to advise the Food and Drug Administration on which medicines should be approved for sale, what the warning labels should say and how studies of drugs should be designed. The experts are supposed to be independent, but USA TODAY found that 54% of the time, they have a direct financial interest in the drug or topic they are asked to evaluate. These conflicts include helping a pharmaceutical company develop a medicine, then serving on an FDA advisory committee that judges the drug.The conflicts typically include stock ownership, consulting fees or research grants. Federal law generally prohibits the FDA from using experts with financial conflicts of interest, but the FDA has waived the restriction more than 800 times since 1998. These pharmaceutical experts, about 300 on 18 advisory committees, make decisions that affect the health of millions of Americans and billions of dollars in drugs sales. With few exceptions, the FDA follows the committees’ advice. The FDA reveals when financial conflicts exist, but it has kept details secret since 1992, so it is not possible to determine the amount of money or the drug company involved. A USA TODAY analysis of financial conflicts at 159 FDA advisory committee meetings from Jan. 1, 1998, through last June 30 found:At 92% of the meetings, at least one member had a financial conflict of interest. At 55% of meetings, half or more of the FDA advisers had conflicts of interest.Conflicts were most frequent at the 57 meetings when broader issues were discussed: 92% of members had conflicts.At the 102 meetings dealing with the fate of a specific drug, 33% of the experts had a financial conflict. “The best experts for the FDA are often the best experts to consult with industry,” says FDA senior associate commissioner Linda Suydam, who is in charge of waiving conflict-of-interest restrictions. But Larry Sasich of Public Citizen , an advocacy group, says, “The industry has more influence on the process than people realize.” 

        • Anonymous says:

          NaturalNews.com
          June 22 2011
          Biotech quick fix for superweeds could lead to ‘super superweeds’by Jonathan Benson, staff writer (NaturalNews) Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And that is exactly how the biotechnology industry and government agencies are trying to handle the escalating “superweed” epidemic.According to a recent report out of Washington University (WU) in St. Louis, Mo., the chemical industry’s answer to genetically-modified (GM) induced superweeds is to now tamper with the genetics of the superweeds themselves, which may appear to provide a quick fix, but will eventually spur an even worse breed of “super superweeds.”Superweeds, of course, are the byproduct of genetically-engineered (GE) crops that have been programmed to resist certain pesticides and herbicides. Use of these chemicals has increased as a result, and the weeds they were designed to kill have over time developed a resistance to them as well, having mutated into what we now know as superweeds.But instead of recognizing the problem as having stemmed from GE technology in the first place, purveyors of GMOs are now looking at ways to genetically modify superweeds. This insane notion will most likely not even work, but even worse is the fact that it is sure to exacerbate the problem even further to the point that there will eventually be no way to control ever-mutating stocks of “Frankenweeds.”WU researchers have basically identified the mechanism behind the ability of horseweed, a type of superweed, to resist Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, also known as glyphosate. And by playing around with varying temperatures and times of application, the scientists determined that in certain weather and under certain conditions, they were able to successfully mitigate the superweed.But this method of reactionary problem solving does not address the root cause of the issue, and in fact only makes it worse. GMOs and the pesticides they require to grow are spawning unnatural superweeds that are slowly destroying the whole of agriculture. And ironically, coming up with a quick fix such as tampering with the genetics of the superweeds themselves is a recipe for epic disaster in the long run.

  2. Jerry says:

    While GMO’s are a big problem, they are just a symptom of the problems with food in the United States.  When Europeans first came to America, the natives showed the newcomers how to plant a fish under each corn stalk to make it grow.  These hardy newcomers  quickly learned not to plant crops over and over on the same ground (They had plenty of land so they just slashed and burned a new area every few years).  They also  learned  to save the “best” seeds for the next years crops (Best usually meant the ones from the most tasty plants).  This continued until the early 1900’s  then things began to change.

    We discovered that by processing oil and natural gas then spreading it on the ground we could make plants grow faster.  We funded agricultural research with the intent of helping the farmers produce more.  This research focused on seeds that grew faster and with less fertilizer.  We developed a breed of cow that gave a larger volume of milk.  We developed another breed of cow that grew faster and fatter with less feed, and so on.

    We discovered that spraying chemicals on the ground killed the weeds cheeper than the hoe and that large machines could plant and harvest cheeper than farm labour as long as the farm was large. The end result was large farms planting the same crop every year on the same ground, a single strain of genetically modified seed for each crop and large feed lots feeding cattle corn, soybeans, distillers mash, and other less savory stuff instead of grass.

    While this did produce more food with less inputs just as the research showed, what was lost in this progress was nutrition.  I find no studies looking for ways to grow more nutritious food. The entire farm improvement process was and is focused on more output with less input and a secondary focus on long shelf life.  Looking back that was a big mistake in terms of human lives.

    We now have tomatoes that are tasteless but have a long shelf life so it can be shipped around the world.  We have beef that is abundant, but taste very similar to the box it came in. (As it turns out taste is a rough guide to nutrition content.) So while we have food in abundance and we are consuming more and more, our bodies are starving for nutrients that are no longer in the food because they are no longer in the soil.  Add to this the fact that the plants grow so fast and without predators they do not manufacture the chemicals they use to protect themselves and we need for good nutrition.

    So while it would be great if GMO foods were labeled as such, the GMO is only the most obvious part of the problem.  Unfortunately, such labeling it is not going to happen.  Everyone knows that the day the GMO label goes on, the food producers in our country will be out of business and people will be rioting in the streets because they have no food. You noted in the article that 95% of the people want labels.  Why? So they can avoid the “frankenfoods”. This is why the GMO foods are not labeled now and why getting the GMO label on cans and boxes will be all but impossible.

    What we really need is a way to label food based on it’s nutrition content or taste.  The current labels are based on old data which were averages and guesses.  They do not reflect the nutrition content of the actual food you are purchasing.  Further, they do not take into account how or where the food was grown which makes them mostly worthless, but most people believe they are the truth.  Now if I could only decide on what nutrition meant perhaps I could offer a plan to measure it.  Since I have found that impossible, I am willing to settle for taste.  

    How do we mark foods that taste better than other foods?  In earlier times we had tea tasters and catsup monitors.  Companies from liquor bottlers to ice cream makers use tasters to evaluate their products so perhaps we need to assign a taste score between 1 and 100 to each product.  This when you purchase a tomato with a taste score of 20 you know it will taste like wet cardboard and when you get beef with a taste score of 92 you know it will be mouth watering good.

    Modern agriculture is run by smart people and with the taste system in place, they will stop trying to grow more for less and start growing food that taste good.  While that may not improve our bodies, but it will make our meals much more pleasant.  I really hate paying for a steak and having it taste like the box it came in.

    • Jerry, Interesting you bring up GMO and nutrition, because there is a nutritious GM rice that has been developed but blocked by Greenpeace and other organizations because it is GM.

      http://www.goldenrice.org/

      • Jerry says:

        Andy – 

        While I have considerable concerns about the safety of GM foods, my real problem is not usually talked about. 

        Historically, there have been many varieties of each crop grown.  The beans that grow well in Canada may not grow well in Iowa so the farmers in Iowa used a different variety.  This process is so well known that many countries place seeds in seed banks so they will have their variety available if a disaster or war wipes out the entire crop.

        With GM foods, we have so far created a single “Best” cultivar of corn, beets, squash, soybeans, alfalfa, cotton, and a few other.  This has reached the ultimate in soybeans where I am told that over 90% of the entire US crop is this one cultivar.  The sugar beet growers were very concerned and predicting dire shortages when the judge prevented them from planting the GM crop.

        Consider what would happen if there is a blight, insect, or other disease that only affects this cultivar.  The entire crop would be devastated in a few years.  Where, for example, are all the American Chestnut Trees.  They were wiped out by blight. Chinese Chestnut trees were unaffected.  So you can see that this kind of thing happens.

        On the other hand, I have great concerns about allowing a single company own the seeds for my food.  

        What would happen if Monsanto decided to raise the price of the seeds by 100 fold in one year because they were not making their stock market prediction.  Would the farmers still plant at that price?  I don’t know, but I sure don’t want to find out.

        I find it amazing that allowing one company to provide us telephone service was deemed unreasonable so judge Green broke up AT&T yet we have no problem allowing one company to own our food supply.

        I am not sure how all this will play out, but so far  do not like what I see.

         – Jerry

        • I am posting a link to North Dakota’s soybean trials.  You will see multiple public varieties (of which non are herbicide tolerant).  The only seed company owned by Monsanto on the list is Asgrow.  The others are other companies -from multinational corporations to local seed companies that develop their own varieties.  Some of these varieties have greater resistance to pests, while other have higher yields, and still others have the ability to yield well in difficult soil conditions.  There is no basis for the idea that 90% of soybeans are a single cultivar.

          Keep in mind that this is just for one state.  There are longer (and shorter) season soybean varieties that are not listed in the ND data.  There is also another herbicide tolerant variety of soybean, known as liberty link beans.  They use a different herbicide than roundup as well.  In fact, the company that owns Liberty Link (Bayer) is actually a larger company than Monsanto.   Why is Monsanto always the bad guy???

          http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/rowcrops/a843.pdf

  3. […] Posted by Matt & Bethany Hall Should We Label GMO Foods? | Natural Health News | Natural Health Resources | Live in the Now by Sto…. […]

  4. Vgriese says:

    It’s imperative that the chemical treatment or content of all foods should be on the label in order that
    the purchaser would know what they must avoid since many nowadays are on medications whichcould easily conflict with what is being put in or on most foods.  In addition, these foods can kill or
    afflict many with long-term sicknesses.

  5. Dorotea (DR. DK CINQUEMANI) says:

    IF WE CANNOT PREVENT THE MARKETING OF  GMO FOODS, THEN AT THE VERY LEAST THEY MUST BE CLEARLY AND FULLY LABELED!

      DR. D. K. CINQUEMANI

  6. I’m not reading all of this.

    Does any of it make him an expert on plant genetics?

    • Anonymous says:

      The last two articles I posted were not from Mercola. 

      And no, he’s not an expert on plant genetics but he is an MD and he’s studied the effects of GMOs on the body. His sources include experts in the field. You seem to have made up your mind so I can only wish you good luck surviving a GMO diet. You’ll need it.

    • Anonymous says:

      What kind of experts are in control of the FDA? 
      If you actually read what I posted you’d know that over half of the FDA’s own scientists are in rebellion and have petitioned President Obama to remove the corruption there.

      The former FDA Commissioner, Dr. Herbert Ley said this about the FDA—”The thing that bugs me is that people think the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is protecting them — it isn’t. What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks its doing are as different as night and day.”  

  7. anonymous says:

    If the majority of corn is GMO, then why is corn listed as #2 on the Best 15 list of the EWG.  True, it may be pesticide-free, but is it GMO free?

    • Jerry says:

      The biggest pest for corn is the ear worm.  The GMO corn has been modified to create it’s own pesticide that kills the corn ear worm so there is no need to spray it with any thing.  If you are old enough to remember the corm from the 60’s had worms in the end of many ears when laying on the grocers shelves.  If you look now, there are no worms.

      While I do not know the EWG methodology, I suspect that since the pesticide is inside the corn kernels it will not be found when the surface is tested and since it is not one of the standard sprayed pesticide it will not be noticed when it is tested.  Thus you have a no pesticide GMO corn.

  8. anonymous says:

    If the majority of corn is GMO, then why is corn listed as #2 on the Best 15 list of the EWG.  True, it may be pesticide-free, but is it GMO free?

  9. Jerry says:

    Andy – 

    Thanks for the link.  It is clear that there are indeed many varieties of soybean available in North Dakota and as you noted, many other states as well.  This is as it always has been.  The question I raised was: “what is being planted year after year?”  If you look at the document above the document you cited, specifically:

    http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/rowcrops/a250w.htm

    you will find the statement: “The most popular example currently of a transgenic soybean is resistance to a non-selective (glyphosate) herbicide. These transgenic soybeans are referred to as Roundup Ready soybeans and will be planted on an estimated 70 percent of North Dakota soybean acres in 2003”

    Thus in 2003 there was only one cultivar in 70 percent of the plantings.  All the reading I do says that percentage has only increased with time.  So, perhaps the number is not 90,  perhaps its only 75, or 80, but he principle is the same in my mind, no crop variety equals food instability.

    As to why Monsanto is the bad guy, they are the poster boy of bad actors for the following reasons.

    1 – They have the largest market share so if they change their ways, a large part of the problem would be solved.  In addition, others would follow their lead if they were to change because of their size.  

    2 –  In my mind it is a really bad idea to allow a single company to own all the seeds or my food.  When the Bell System grew to this level Judge Green took them apart and that was not even a necessity.  Why do we allow one company to own our food?

    3 – They are the ones that are in the news in a bad way over and over.  You never hear about Bayer suing a farmer that has had their organic crops destroyed by pollen drift.  You never hear about a Bayer’s lawyer working at the FDA just long enough to to approve  rBHT then leaving to become a vice-president of the company making the stuff.  This list goes on, but you get the idea.

    3 – They lie.  First they labeled RoundUp as a “green” product that left the soil in a few months,  when it was discovered it stayed in the soil for up to two years they were required to removed the label.  On their website and their advertisements they claim that RoundUp ready crops are the most tested crops ever.  Then they take many pages to explain that because they are not different from regular crops, no testing is/was needed.  Finally, when you look at the contracts the farmers have to sign to get the seed, the farmers are specifically prohibited from providing seeds to private testing groups. Thus in fact there has been no feed testing of the crops in animals nor any testing of their crops in humans other than the unregulated experiment in which many people are unwittingly participating.  

    As far as actual test, the only test I have heard about was a test done by the University of Georgia comparing BT cotton to regular cotton over several growing seasons in several parts of the State of Georgia.  Their conclusion from the summaries I could find was that the farmers made more profit on standard cotton. I wonder why I can not find the actual report so I can read it for myself?

    Has Bayer or others done similar acts, I suspect so, but they have not yet made the news the way Monsanto has so they are hardly ever talked about.  In general I find it hard to discuss the actions of alley cats in the window when there is an elephant running loose in the room.

  10. […] without the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Consumers worry about untested and unlabeled genetically modified food ingredients in common supermarket items. Genetically engineered […]

  11. […] CEO, Rod Smith, is passionate about healthy living, “clean” organic food, fighting for labeling of GMO foods and eliminating the “organic food deserts” that exist in many parts of the country. His […]

  12. […] the known (and unknown) dangers of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), labeling of foods containing GMOs is not currently required in the U.S., which means that many Americans unwittingly consume GMOs […]

  13. […] the known (and unknown) dangers of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), labeling of foods containing GMOs is not currently required in the U.S., which means that many Americans unwittingly consume GMOs […]

  14. […] organic movement in recent memory has made it more important to understand what went into your food and where it came from. If the authors of Label It Now: What You Need to Know About Genetically Engineered Foods had their […]