News regarding the dangers of GMOs and biotech, and the advantages of organic sustainable agriculture.
Food and biotechnology companies spent $63.6 million in 2014 alone to oppose mandatory labeling of genetically modified food ingredients, or GMOs, according to a new analysis by EWG. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, for example, disclosed $5.8 million in lobbying expenditures around GMO labeling in 2014, “up sharply from $60,000 in 2013,” according to the analysis. PepsiCo nearly doubled the amount it spent, dedicating more than $4 million to the anti-labeling effort in 2014, up from 2.6 million in 2013. Other iconic companies that spent big in 2014 to deny consumers the right to know if their foods contain GMOs include Kellogg ($2.1 million), General Mills ($2.6 million) and Coca-Cola, which put up more than $9 million – the most of any food company, according to the report.
American growers sprayed 280 million pounds of glyphosate on their crops in 2012, according to U.S. Geological Survey data. That amounts to nearly a pound of glyphosate for every person in the country. The use of glyphosate on farmland has skyrocketed since the mid-1990s, when biotech companies introduced genetically engineered crop varieties (often called GMOs) that can withstand being blasted with glyphosate. Since then, agricultural use of the herbicide has increased 16-fold. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used weed killer, which according to the World Health Organization is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Roundup is an endocrine disruptor and is toxic to human cells in vitro (tested in culture dishes in the laboratory) at levels permitted in drinking water in Australia, a new study has found. This is the first study to examine the effects of glyphosate and Roundup on progesterone production by human female cells in an in vitro system that models key aspects of reproduction in women. Glyphosate alone was less toxic to human cells than glyphosate in a Roundup formulation; both glyphosate and Roundup caused chorioplacental JAr cell death which resulted in decreased progesterone levels – a form of hormone/endocrine disruption. Endocrine disruption did not precede the toxicity to cells but occurred after it. The decreases in progesterone concentrations were caused by reduced numbers of viable cells.
Texas Scientists Find Antibiotic Resistant “Super Bugs” Traveling Through the Air from Cattle Feed Lots
Phil Smith and Texas Tech University colleague Greg Mayer may have made their biggest discovery yet: DNA from antibiotic-resistant bacteria in cattle feedlots is airborne. For years, scientists have known that humans can contract antibiotic-resistant bacteria by consuming contaminated meat or water. The findings by Smith and Mayer indicate that humans could also be exposed to so-called "super bugs" or "super bacteria" traveling through the air. "This is the first test to open our eyes to the fact that we could be breathing these things," said Smith, an environmental toxicologist at Texas Tech.
U.S. consumer groups, scientists and food companies are testing substances ranging from breakfast cereal to breast milk for residues of the world's most widely used herbicide on rising concerns over its possible links to disease. The focus is on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Testing has increased in the last two years, but scientists say requests spiked after a World Health Organization research unit said last month it was classifying glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans." "The requests keep coming in," said Ben Winkler, laboratory manager at Microbe Inotech Laboratories in St. Louis. The commercial lab has received three to four requests a week to test foods and other substances for glyphosate residues. In prior years, it received only three to four requests annually, according to its records. Tests by Abraxis found glyphosate residues in 41 of 69 honey samples and in 10 of 28 soy sauces; Microbe tests detected glyphosate in three of 18 breast milk samples and in six of 40 infant formula samples.
Organic stakeholders have filed a lawsuit in federal court, maintaining that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated the federal rulemaking process when it changed established procedures for reviewing the potential hazards and need for allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances used in producing organic food. The unilateral agency action taken to adopt major policy change without a public process, the plaintiffs maintain, violates one of the foundational principles and practices of OFPA -public participation in organic policy-making.
A new study has been published looking at the effects of three widely used herbicides on disease-causing bacteria and their susceptibility to antibiotics. The three herbicides are dicamba, 2,4-D (recently approved by the U.S. EPA), and glyphosate. In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, they researches found that these popular herbicides affected the bacteria responded to antibiotics, often developing a resistance to them.
U.S. Right to Know sent letters today to the chairs and ranking members of the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committees, and to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, requesting an investigation of a possible cover up for Monsanto, and whether USDA scientists are being harassed when their work runs counter to the interests of the agrichemical industry.
Our opposition to Golden Rice and other GM crops are founded on solid arguments and actual experiences of Filipino farmers on GM crops. Filipino farmers who have been planting GM crops suffered negative income, health problems and poisoned environment.
A new bill to let food producers decide whether to label GMOs could prevent states from passing mandatory labeling laws. It’s expected to be introduced in the next few weeks—so we need to dissuade potential co-sponsors now! At the behest of the Monsantos and Cargills of the world, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) is expected to reintroduce his Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act in the next week or two. If passed, it would nullify the efforts of ten states that are currently considering bills to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods.