News regarding the dangers of GMOs and biotech, and the advantages of organic sustainable agriculture.
ANH-USA tested common breakfast foods for the presence of glyphosate, the toxic herbicide. Here’s what we found. Action Alert! By now it has become common knowledge that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup—the most common weed killer in the world—poses many grave threats to human health and has been classified as a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization. We also know that glyphosate is increasingly prevalent, turning up in blood, urine, and even breast milk. To dig deeper—to see just how pervasive glyphosate is in our food system—we tested twenty-four popular breakfast foods and ingredients, including items such as flour, corn flakes, bagels, yogurt, potatoes, organic eggs, and coffee creamers.
Of all the fresh fruits and vegetables available for sale in the United States, sweet, sun-kissed strawberries are the most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, according to EWG’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. This year, for the first time strawberries top EWG’s Dirty Dozen list of produce with the highest amount of pesticide, even after you’ve washed them. Other dirty produce includes peaches, nectarines and apples – previously No. 1 for five years running.
You'll soon know whether many of the packaged foods you buy contain ingredients derived from genetically modified plants, such as soybeans and corn. Over the past week or so, big companies including General Mills, Mars and Kellogg have announced plans to label such products – even though they still don't think it's a good idea. The reason, in a word, is Vermont. The tiny state has boxed big food companies into a corner. Two years ago, the state passed legislation requiring mandatory labeling. The Grocery Manufacturers Association has fought back against the law, both in court and in Congress, but so far it's been unsuccessful. And since food companies can't create different packaging just for Vermont, it appears that the tiniest of states has created a labeling standard that will go into effect nationwide.
"When independent, government scientists produce research that threatens corporate agribusinesses, the USDA — according to at least 10 government scientists — censors the results, waters down the findings and punishes the researchers." Jonathan Lundgren is one of these 10 scientists. The other 9 have all chosen to remain anonymous for fear of even more reprisals. In the first week of November 2015, Jonathan Lundgren, who spent the last 11 years working as an entomologist at the USDA, filed a whistleblower complaint against the agency, claiming he'd suffered retaliation after speaking out about research showing that neonicotinoids had adverse effects on bees.
A new study carried out by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Germany has found that 99.6% of the German population has been contaminated by the herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the world's most widely used herbicides, such as Roundup. This study follows another study released in February (2016) that found glyphosate in each of Germany's 14 most popular beers.
Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is recognized as the world’s most widely used weed killer. What is not so well known is that farmers also use glyphosate on crops such as wheat, oats, edible beans and other crops right before harvest, raising concerns that the herbicide could get into food products. According to Tom Ehrhardt, co-owner of Minnesota-based Albert Lea Seeds, sourcing grains not desiccated with glyphosate prior to harvest is a challenge. “I have talked with millers of conventionally produced grain and they all agree it’s very difficult to source oats, wheat, flax and triticale, which have not been sprayed with glyphosate prior to harvest,” he said. “It’s a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell policy’ in the industry.” “Can you imagine the public’s response if they knew that glyphosate is being sprayed on the oats in their Cheerios only weeks before it is manufactured?” Ehrhardt asked.
Americans are more likely than Europeans to be exposed to Monsanto’s glyphosate weed killer. That’s in large part because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s calculations to determine allowable levels of glyphosate use are much more lax than the European Union’s. And American growers spray a lot of glyphosate. As Dr. Charles Benbrook points out in his paper, Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops made it possible for growers to spray glyphosate more often – and almost up to harvest time. That leaves more of the weed killer’s residues on the crops. Moreover, ever since genetically engineered crops came on the market and drove up the use of Roundup, the EPA has been ratcheting up the allowable levels of glyphosate residue for certain crops.
Mexico’s unique and treasured native corn varieties could be under threat as Monsanto, the world’s largest seed producer, vies to plant genetically modified (GMO) corn in the country. In August 2015, a Mexican judged overturned a September 2013 ban on GMO corn, thus opening more business opportunities for Monsanto and other agribusinesses pending favorable later court decisions. Monsanto even announced in October 2015 that it was seeking to double its sales in the country over the next five years. The GMO corn ban remains pending a ruling on the appeal, but a final decision could end up in Mexico’s supreme court.
Russia has dealt a huge blow to U.S. farmers, after banning all imports of U.S. soybeans and corn due to microbial and GMO contamination, the country’s food safety regulator Rosselkhoznadzor announced earlier in February.
Iowa State University researchers are moving ahead with a long-delayed project in which a dozen students will be paid to eat one genetically modified banana each. Earlier this week, activists delivered petitions calling on the project’s halt to university officials and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is funding the project. The activists said more than 57,000 people signed the petition. “ISU students are being asked to be the first to consume a product of unknown safety,” the activists said in a prepared statement. “The study is not being conducted in a transparent manner, and concerned ISU community members have not been able to receive answers about the research design, risks, nature of the informed consent given by the subjects and the generalizability of the study.” The trial is expected to take place sometime this year.