News regarding the dangers of GMOs and biotech, and the advantages of organic sustainable agriculture.
Organic Milk No Longer Organic: Factory Farms Take Over Organic Dairy and Drive Small Farms Out of Business
When commercialized in the 1980s, the organic dairy movement was viewed by many farmers as opting out of a rapacious agricultural marketing system that had already driven the majority of dairy farm families off the land over the preceding two decades. Now, a quarter century later, history is repeating itself with giant “factory farms” flooding the organic dairy market with fraudulent “organic” milk and economically devastating family businesses and rural communities. According to the latest USDA records, organic milk production jumped 18.5% in 2016 alone, far eclipsing the growth in market demand. As a result, wholesale purchasers of raw organic milk have cut prices to farmers by 25-30% or more. In addition, some buyers have set quotas, mandating production cuts, further impacting cash flow. The largest organic dairy name brand, Horizon, owned by Groupe Danone of France, is terminating contracts with some farmers, at a time when there are no alternative markets available. Industry experts have called the moves by the world’s largest dairy a “death warrant” for farmers. With the glut of organic milk, and the USDA abdicating their legally-mandated oversight responsibilities, authentic organic farmers and their customers are poised to band together to take their fight to the dairy coolers of the nation’s groceries and specialty retailers.
Lab Tests Show Children are Eating Contaminated Breakfast Cereals Containing Cancer-causing Glyphosate
Popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars come with a hefty dose of the weed-killing poison in Monsanto’s Roundup, according to independent laboratory tests commissioned by EWG. These new findings come days after a California jury awarded $289 million to a school groundskeeper who claimed Roundup gave him lymphoma. EWG’s tests found glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, in all but two of 45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats. More than two thirds of the samples had glyphosate levels above what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety. About one-third of 16 samples of foods made with organically grown oats also had glyphosate, all at levels well below EWG’s health benchmark. Glyphosate may get in organic oats by drifting from nearby farm fields, or cross-contamination in a processing facility that also handles non-organic foods. Glyphosate has been linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization. The California case that ended Friday was the first of reportedly thousands of lawsuits against Monsanto. These suits have been brought by farm workers and others who allege that they developed cancer from years of exposure to Roundup.
Monsanto Loses: Jury Awards Millions to Man Dying of Cancer Due to Herbicide Glyphosate – What’s Next?
This past Friday (August 10, 2018) a jury in California awarded Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who is dying of cancer that he claims is the result of years of using the herbicide RoundUp which contains glyphosate, $39 million in damages, and another $250 million was levied against Monsanto for covering up the scientific evidence that glyphosate causes cancer. This is the first legal blow against Monsanto for its herbicide product, which is the world's most common herbicide, spread on crops all over the world. In recent years, laboratory testing on urine and mother's breast milk shows that almost the entire world's population contains glyphosate in their bodies. Health Impact News has covered this story for years now, and we published an interview with Dr. Anthony Samsel back in 2015, when he was able to obtain formerly concealed documents from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealing the toxic nature and cancer risk of the ingredients in the herbicide RoundUp, but were concealed from the public due to "trade secrets." Much of the pre-trial legal maneuvering was centered around what evidence was going to be allowed in the trial. In the end, in spite of what appeared to be at some points a biased judge, enough evidence was presented to the jury to conclude Monsanto was guilty. What's next?
Ringspot virus-resistant GM papayas are often cited as a genetic engineering success. But a new study (abstract below) reports that in China, the virus resistance in GM papaya has broken down under pressure from a new lineage of the virus. The study reports that the GM virus-resistant papaya planted in Hawaii retains its virus resistance. But this has not saved the Hawaiian papaya industry, since many countries don't want GM papaya and up to a third of the crop is thrown away because it's bruised or mis-shapen. As a result, USDA scientists have been looking at ways to make the unwanted GM papayas into biofuel. In addition, a non-GM virus-resistant papaya has been developed, suggesting that the GM version is not needed.
The California trial against Monsanto by Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former school groundskeeper, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma four years ago and claims that Monsanto hid evidence that the active ingredient in its Roundup herbicide, glyphosate, caused his cancer, is nearing the end, where a jury will decide on a verdict. One of the attorneys of the Plaintiff, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has been giving updates that are being posted on the Organic Consumers Association website. In a recent update, Mr. Kennedy reported on some of the actions of Judge Bolanos that seemed to suggest that the judge could be potentially biased in favor of Monsanto by not allowing some key evidence, some of which seems to contradict what another judge, Judge Curtis Karnow, seemed to rule was admissible in pre-trial hearings. In spite of these limitations, Mr. Kennedy feels that the trial is going their way as it is finishing up and being delivered to the jury.
Exposure to environmentally relevant doses of a glyphosate-based herbicide during pregnancy has been found not only to impair female fertility in rats, but to induce foetal growth retardation and malformations, including abnormally developed limbs, in their second-generation offspring. Argentinian researchers tested the glyphosate-based herbicide – one commonly used in Argentina – in pregnant female rats at two doses, which were added to their food. The rats were mated and dosed from the 9th day after conception until their pups were weaned. This first generation of offspring and their offspring in turn (second generation) were followed and monitored for reproductive effects. The lower dose of glyphosate tested, 2 mg/kg bw/day (2 mg per kg of bodyweight per day), was in the order of magnitude of the reference dose (RfD) of 1 mg/kg bw/day recently set for glyphosate by the US Environmental Protection Agency, based on industry's developmental toxicity studies. The "reference dose" is the dose that is supposed to be safe to ingest on a daily basis over a lifetime. The authors added that this dose is representative of the glyphosate residues found in soybean grains and is in the order of magnitude of the environmental levels detected in Argentina. The higher dose of glyphosate, 200 mg of glyphosate/kg bw/day, was selected based on the industry-declared no-observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) of 1000 mg/kg bw/day for maternal toxicity established in rats. In other words, according to industry's own tests, this dose should not have been toxic to the mothers and thus should not have harmed the foetuses. But harmful effects did occur.
For a number of years now, researchers have warned we are headed toward a post-antibiotic world — a world in which infections that used to be easily treatable become death sentences as they can no longer be touched by available drugs. As reported by NPR July 2, 2018: "A woman in Nevada dies from a bacterial infection that was resistant to 26 different antibiotics. A U.K. patient contracts a case of multidrug-resistant gonorrhea never seen before. A typhoid superbug kills hundreds in Pakistan. These stories from recent years — and many others — raise fears about the possibility of a post-antibiotic world." Despite strong warnings, about 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are still given to livestock — not to treat acute infections but as a preventive measure, and as a growth promoter. This routine low-dose administration is a most dangerous practice, as it primes bacteria for resistance.
Marjory Wildcraft, founder of The Grow Network, is offering a free online viewing of her entertaining, educational feature-length film "Raising Meat Chickens" from July 17, 2018 to July 19th. Marjory shows step-by-step how to raise up and humanely process a flock of birds over the course of four months . . . from mail-order chicks to meat in the freezer! For people who would like to take the bold step of processing their own birds but are afraid they might not have “what it takes” . . . this film will show them what is involved in the processing, and help them understand that backyard chickens are the most humane way to eat meat! This film will empower you with the detailed knowledge of exactly how to feed your family the highest quality chicken meat.
Hundreds of lawsuits against Monsanto Co by cancer survivors or families of those who died can proceed to trial, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday, finding there was sufficient evidence for a jury to hear the cases that blame the company's glyphosate-containing weed-killer for the disease. The decision by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco followed years of litigation and weeks of hearings about the controversial science surrounding the safety of the chemical glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto's top-selling weed-killer.
Antibiotic-resistant disease is a major health threat around the globe, such that illnesses once easily treatable with the drugs are now becoming deadly. The cause of the antibiotic-resistance epidemic is quite straightforward: overuse of antibiotics. “Resistant bacteria are more common in settings where antibiotics are frequently used: health care settings, the community and food animal production,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states — and the latter category is of utmost importance. The majority of antibiotics in the U.S. aren’t used in health care settings for humans; they’re used in industrial agriculture, primarily in low, steady doses for purposes of “disease prevention” (which also has the “side effect” of growth promotion, making the animals get bigger, faster). Despite this, exactly how and in what numbers antibiotics are used on U.S farms is a mystery, in large part because, as Wired put it, the data “isn’t considered an obligation owed to public health … it’s a political football.”