Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Weed Killer

Escalating the weed wars

OpinionEditorialsU.S. Department of AgricultureEnvironmental Politics

The way to deal with so-called superweeds isn't by escalating the arms race against them
Monsanto is developing a new generation of herbicide-resistant crops able to withstand a third weed killer.

When crops were first introduced that had been engineered to withstand the herbicide glyphosate — better known by the trade name Roundup — the agricultural industry said it would confer a terrific environmental advantage. Glyphosate is a relatively benign herbicide, after all, and the industry claimed it would be able to use less of it to get rid of weeds, without harming the corn or soy.

At first, farmers did spray less glyphosate. But resistant versions of the weeds soon cropped up. That meant heavier, repeated spraying, which in turn meant more resistant weeds.
No problem, agribusiness said. We'll just make new crops genetically engineered to resist other herbicides.
But that's not a solution. Just as the nation must stop overusing antibiotics if it hopes to slow the emergence of resistant infections, it must do the same with herbicides and genetically modified crops. The way to deal with so-called superweeds isn't by escalating the arms race against them.

A new generation of herbicide-resistant crops is wending its way through the federal approval process. A division of Dow Chemical recently won the approval of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for corn and soy that have been bioengineered to withstand spraying with both glyphosate and 2,4-D, a more toxic weed-killer that some critics say is dangerous to the environment and to people. Why both? About 18 weeds have developed resistance to 2,4-D over the more than 50 years it has been in use. So the idea is to use both herbicides, with each one eradicating the weeds that the other one can't.

But first, the Environmental Protection Agency would have to approve the special blending of the two herbicides developed by Dow. Called Enlist Duo, the mix has been formulated not to drift over large areas as 2,4-D commonly does. It would thus reduce the risk of killing crops miles away. According to USDA estimates, the introduction of the new crops would mean the spraying of five to 13 times as much 2,4-D by the year 2020.
Meanwhile, Monsanto, the developer of Roundup Ready corn, is developing its own new generation of herbicide-resistant crops able to withstand a third weed killer.

The USDA considers only whether the genetically engineered seeds represent a hazard to other crops; the EPA is responsible for overseeing the safety of herbicides used in agriculture. No agency looks at the bigger policy question of whether the nation is embarking on a potentially dangerous path toward creating ever-more-resistant weeds and spraying them and crops with larger and larger doses of stronger herbicides. That question should be answered before the country escalates the war out in the fields.


Monday, September 29, 2014


'Failed Policy' That Threatens Farmers: Watchdog

USDA says genetically engineered wheat discovered on Montana farm
"Coexistence between genetically engineered and non-genetically engineered crops is a failed policy that fundamentally cannot work," stated Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for Center for Food Safety. (Photo:  luke chan/flickr/cc)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday revealed that it was opening an investigation into the appearance of unapproved genetically engineered wheat in Montana.
It marks the second time the USDA is issuing notice of a discovery of rogue genetically engineered (or GMO) wheat. There is no commercially-approved GMO wheat.
According to a statement issued by the USDA, the discovery of the Roundup-resistant GMO wheat was made in July at Montana State University’s Southern Agricultural Research Center (SARC) in Huntley, Montana. That location was the site of Monsanto-led GMO wheat trials, approved by the USDA, from 2000 to 2003.
The agency stated that the GMO wheat found at the Montana site is different from the rogue GMO wheat spotted in 2013 on an 80-acre Oregon farm which was not the site of trial tests. That discovery sparked international backlash, with Japan and South Korea suspending some imports of U.S. wheat and the European Union calling for more testing of U.S. wheat. It also sparked a class action lawsuit by U.S. wheat farmers against Monsanto, charging that the GMO wheat finding caused them economic damage.
In the same announcement issued Friday, the USDA states that it is ending the investigation into the Oregon GMO wheat discovery, stating that it "appears to be an isolated incident," and that the Oregon wheat is "significantly different" from the Montana wheat.
It states that there is no evidence that there is now GMO wheat in commerce and that it is unclear how the GMO wheat ended up on the Oregon farm.
Watchdog group Center for Food Safety, however, charges that the new discovery poses a threat to farmers and should be a call to stop open-air field trials.
"Once again, USDA and the biotech industry have put farmers and the food supply at risk," Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for Center for Food Safety, said in a statement. "Coexistence between genetically engineered and non-genetically engineered crops is a failed policy that fundamentally cannot work. Genetic contamination is a serious threat to farmers across the country."
"USDA cannot keep treating these as isolated incidents; contamination is the inevitable outcome of GMO crop technology," he added. "USDA should, at a minimum, immediately place a moratorium on open-air field testing of genetically engineered crops."

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Tell President Obama to stop the new 2,4-D and Roundup crops. Click here.
As you may know, the USDA made the crazy and  horrific decision to allow Agent Orange crops to be planted. These corn and soy plants produced by Dow Chemical Company are engineered to be sprayed with 2,4-D herbicide, a component of Agent Orange. Exposure to the chemical 2,4-D is linked to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, thyroid & reproductive problems, Parkinson’s disease and neurological damage.
The EPA has yet to approve crops that are tolerant to both Roundup and 2,4-D, known as “Enlist Duo,” and Dr. Oz had the brilliant idea of using Obama's petition site to get his attention in this last ditch attempt effort to protect the population. In an unprecedented move, he announced on TV that he is starting this petition and urged Americans to sign asking Obama to block this approval.

To-date, there are 48,487 signatures already and when it reaches 100,000, Obama is forced to replay. Let's make it a million!

We should be outraged at this decision made by the USDA and should block these crops. Furthermore, this petition appropriately puts the President in the center of the controversy, as it is his FDA, USDA and EPA agencies that are allowing this very dangerous precedent. Ultimately he is in charge. Let’s' demand that he do the right thing.

Irrespective of how you feel about Dr. Oz's positions in other areas, this is could prove to be the brilliant stroke needed to protect us all. I hope you will sign along with me.

Safe Eating Begins with Informed Eating,

Jeffrey Smith and the small but mighty IRT team!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Dr Oz: Risky new GMO pesticide Enlist Duo; alcoholism after weight loss surgery

Dr. Mehmet Oz discussed a dangerous new GMO pesticide and warned against alcoholism among people who get gastric bypass weight loss surgery on the Sept. 22 episode of the Dr. Oz Show.

Dr. Oz said the Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of approving Enlist Duo, a new pesticide that has been linked to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and cancer.

The Department of Agriculture recently approved Dow Chemical's "Enlist" corn and soybean seeds for commercial cultivation.

Dow's Enlist seeds are GMOs (genetically modified organisms), which are genetically engineered seeds that have been bred to be more resistant to insects and cheaper to produce.

There have been no studies tracking the long-term health risks of consuming GMOs, and some research has linked them to cancer, birth defects, accelerated aging, infertility and resistance to antibiotics.

In conjunction with its Enlist GMO corn and soybean seeds, Dow Chemical has produced Enlist Duo, a new pesticide that is stronger than the previous generation. It became necessary because weeds quickly adapted to the previous generation of pesticides, necessitating a stronger version.

The only problem is that pesticides have been linked to developmental delays and ADHD in children, as well as to birth defects, miscarriage, metabolic distress and cancer.

Boy Reversed Autism Six Weeks After Adopting Organic Diet
Dr. Oz said about 75 percent of our current food supply contains GMOs that are sprayed with 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides every year. But Dow and other chemical companies would like to spray an additional 70 to 170 million pounds of pesticides on crops.

That would exponentially compound the chemical exposure consumers get from their fruits and vegetables (which people eat because they think it's good for their health).

Dr. Oz's guest was Zen Honeycutt, founder of Moms Across America, who was shocked to discover that both GMOs and non-GMOs are being treated with pesticides. Honeycutt said her family switched to organic foods and immediately improved their health.

Amazingly, Zen said she reversed her son’s autism symptoms just six weeks after switching to an organic diet. Honeycutt was alarmed after lab tests revealed her son's urine contained eight times the level of the pesticide Glyphosate compared to Europeans who do not consume GMOs or pesticide-sprayed foods.

Dr. Oz and Moms Across America encouraged viewers to sign a Take Action petition to pressure the White House to stop the EPA from approving the Enlist Duo pesticide. Only 100,000 signatures is needed to get a reply.

Study: Alcoholism Doubled In Gastric Bypass Patients
On a separate segment, Dr. Oz discussed the alarming epidemic of alcoholism among people who get gastric bypass weight loss surgery. Dr. Oz's guest was Susan Jones, who's now five years sober after becoming an alcoholic shortly after getting gastric bypass.

Jones said her drinking quickly spiraled out of control shortly after her bariatric procedure. Susan went to rehab to treat her alcoholism and discovered that three other rehab patients had also gotten gastric bypass surgery before becoming alcoholics.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that gastric bypass could double a patient's risk of developing alcohol addiction compared with patients who get less drastic weight loss surgeries. Doctors said this is because gastric bypass increases the rate of alcohol absorption, making it more addictive.

Psychiatrist and addiction specialist Dr. Reef Karim explained that the effects of alcohol are almost instant for gastric bypass patients. He added that some patients may be replacing their food addiction with alcohol addiction. “We’re seeing a possible transfer of that addiction from food to alcohol,” said Karim.
Dr. Oz said the best way to prevent alcohol addiction is for bariatric surgeons to inform their patients of the risk of altered alcohol metabolism before their surgeries. Meanwhile, patients should be mindful of their alcohol consumption after their surgeries.

Source:  http://www.examiner.com/article/dr-oz-talks-new-gmo-pesticide-and-gastric-bypass-weight-loss-surgery

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Published on

The Corporations in Your Diet

"Scholars and activists—like Raj Patel, Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, Walden Bello, Alice Waters and Vandana Shiva—have illustrated the growing power of large corporations in the global food system and the negative consequences this dynamic has for our health, wallets, environment and political system." (Image: captcreate)
“Native advertising” has recently emerged as an important financing strategy for news publications in print and online. Recognizing that traditional Internet and print advertising is no longer very effective in motivating consumer demand, and that media fortunes depend on advertising revenues, the media and corporate advertisers have joined forces to combine journalism with advertising in the context of a single news story. What appears to be a traditional piece of news is actually an article sponsored by a corporate entity, designed to increase interest in that corporation’s products or services.  John Oliver’s funny and arresting coverage of this issue is definitely worth watching. Among the most noteworthy recent examples of native advertising are The Atlantic’s coverage of scientology (an article on scientology sponsored by the Church of Scientology) and The New York Times’ coverage of the plight of women in prison (an article sponsored by the Netflix show Orange is the New Black).

In addition to its appalling implications for democratic debate and freedom of information, native advertising has huge implications for our health and wellbeing. How we eat, what we consider to be nutritious, and the food products we buy at the grocery store are influenced by the merger of advertising and news reports on health and nutrition. Scholars and activists—like Raj Patel, Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, Walden Bello, Alice Waters and Vandana Shiva—have illustrated the growing power of large corporations in the global food system and the negative consequences this dynamic has for our health, wallets, environment and political system. Against this backdrop, native advertising shows how corporate power extends into our most intimate and personal decisions and behaviors.

Take for instance this recent article from the Huffington Post, sponsored by the Whole Grain Council. The article notes that September is “Whole Grains Month”, a time to celebrate “amaranth, barley, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, sorghum, spelt, teff, triticale and other whole grain wonders”. The article details the extensive nutritional benefits of a diet full of whole grains: “Really, though, everyone wins with whole grains. They're complex carbs for good energy, and offer a host of vitamins, minerals and nutrients refined wheat products lose in processing.” The author notes that she “loves the Whole Grains Council and the traditional nourishing whole foods of the world they advocate.*” Note the asterisk  at the end of this sentence—it appears in the original and refers to the following statement at the end of the article: “I  was not compensated for this post but as one of the Whole Grains Council's Make the Switch bloggers, I received a few whole grain goodies to sample, for which I say thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.”

What the article doesn’t mention is that the Whole Grains Council—which misleadingly calls to mind some beneficent organization of moms and grandmas intent on ensuring that you eat well—is actually a trade association of the various corporations that dominate national and international trade and processing of cereal grains. Its founding membership includes multinational giants Frito Lay, General Mills, Hain Celestial Group, and Snyder’s of Hanover. While whole grains may indeed have a role to play in fostering good nutrition (this is a much debated issue despite all the hype), what is certain is that these companies reap large financial benefits from convincing us that whole grains are good for our health.

Elsewhere in the food system, Andrew Kimbrell—executive director of the Center for Food Safety—reports that the forum to which he was invited to discuss genetically modified foods was actually wholly sponsored by Monsanto, having been engineered to look “authoritative” and “journalistic”. Meanwhile, on Web MD, a conversation with a pharmacist about weight loss is sponsored by Walmart Pharmacy, where one could presumably purchase all of the wonderful weight loss cures (from diet pills to acai berry supplements) recommended by the pharmacist.

Big companies that don’t care about your well-being make lots of money propagating nutritional and dietary advice that tries to get you to purchase their products. In this context, native advertising is hugely problematic because it purposefully conceals the corporate interests that lie behind media reporting on diet and nutrition, preventing consumers from making independent and educated decisions about their health and well-being.
Sasha Breger Bush is an Assistant Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at the University of Colorado Denver. Her first book, Derivatives and Development, was published in 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan. Sasha can be reached at sasha.breger@ucdenver.edu .

Friday, September 19, 2014


Resources for Taking Action on GMO Foods

Make your voice part of the conversation about GMO foods with this list of web and print resources.
By Jeremy Gruber
September 2014

You can contribute to the conversation about GMO foods by getting involved with organizations in your area, paying attention to your food-buying habits and reading more about the subject.

Photo by Fotolia/monticellllo

Unlabeled GMO Sugars in Common Foods
FDA won't require companies to specify
whether or not they use GM sugars in food.

The Public Doesn't Want What's for Dinner
A recent survey revealed that Americans are largely unaware of the presence of genetically engineere...

Millions Oppose Approval of Genetically Engineered Salmon
Nearly 2 million people sent comments opposing genetically engineered salmon to the Food and Drug Ad...

Whole Foods Submits Products for Non-GMO Verification  Whole Foods Market commits to verifying it products as free of genetically modified organisms. Natur...

Sheldon Krimsky and Jeremy Gruber have compiled the best, most thought-provoking essays on genetically modified food by leading scientists, science writers and public health advocates in The GMO Deception (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014), offering a comprehensive look at the social, political and ethical implications of food-based biotechnology. The following excerpt comes from the Resources section of the book.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The GMO Deception.

What You Can Do about GMO Foods

The presence of risk and the absence of reward have left many consumers wary of GMOs. These consumers are not only supportive of more studies and risk assessments for GMO foods, they are also demanding to know which foods have GMO ingredients before they choose what to feed themselves and their families.

Such consumers have many options at their disposal. In the following article you will find our “Seven Steps to Take Action on Genetically Modified Foods,” a list of organizational resources and suggested readings to learn even more about the subject.

Seven Steps to Take Action on Genetically Modified Foods

1. Eat fresh and organic ingredients or processed foods that have been identified as non-GMO. Though a few items of fresh produce may be genetically modified, most GMO ingredients are found in non-organic processed food, particularly ones containing corn or soy. Look for the USDA Organic seal and buy organic. The National Organic Program Standards prohibit use of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs), defined in the rules as “excluded methods.” You can also identify products without GMO ingredients through the Center for Food Safety’s True Food Shopper’s Guide and the NON-GMO Project’s certification system. Some milk producers stipulate on the packaging that they are BGH-free. BGH (or bovine growth hormone) is a protein made with genetic engineering techniques and injected into cows to increase their milk production. Careful consumers can avoid BGH milk by buying organic or reading the labels for BGH-free milk.

2. Call the manufacturer of your favorite foods. Ask if they contain GMOs, and let them know that the answer will determine your food shopping choices.

3. Tell your member of Congress and the USDA to stop all open-air field trials of GMO crops. GMO crops have been found to contaminate non-GMO crops including organic crops. Stronger regulation is required to ensure that such contamination is investigated to determine its prevalence and to make sure it does not continue. Until then, the USDA at the very least should immediately place a moratorium on open-air field testing of genetically engineered crops.

4. Tell the FDA to require labeling of GMO foods. More than sixty countries have already enacted laws banning or mandating the labeling of GMOs. The EU has been labeling GMOs since 1998, and China and Saudi Arabia have been doing so since 2002. And in July 2011, Codex Alimentarius, the intergovernmental food commission, recognized the right of all nations to label GMO foods. The Center for Food Safety has filed a formal legal petition with the FDA demanding that the agency require the labeling of GMO foods and is spearheading a drive with the Just Label It Campaign to direct one million comments to the FDA in support of the petition. Send your comments to the FDA and President Obama in support of mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods to:

96 Percent of Americans Believe GMOs Should Be Labeled  
The vast majority of Americans believe labeling GMOs is necessary and ethical.

The Public Doesn't Want What's for Dinner   A recent survey revealed that Americans are largely unaware of the presence of genetically engineere...

Republication of Seralini Study Exposes Roundup     A study links Roundup herbicide and genetically modified maize to a wide range of health maladies, i...

The Fight to Require Labeling of GM Foods: Prop 37 Puts Political Fuel Behind the American Food Movement Michael Pollan’s New York Times editorial, “Vote for the Dinner Party,” explains why California’s Pr...

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Outreach and Information Center
5100 Paint Branch Parkway HFS-009
College Park, MD 20740-3835
Toll-Free Information Line:

5. Support your local state GMO food labeling efforts. To fill the void in the absence of a federal GMO food labeling law, groups in thirty-seven states and Washington, D.C. have begun campaigns to mandate GMO food labeling in their state. Twenty-five states have introduced legislation and bills requiring GMO food labeling (this legislation has only been approved in Connecticut and Maine), but will only come into force if other states, including a neighboring state, pass labeling requirements. The Right to Know website maintains a map of state campaigns.

6. Support only non-GMO seeds by participating in the Council for Responsible Genetics’ Safe Seed Program. The Safe Seed Program helps to connect non-GMO seed sellers, distributors, and traders to the growing market of concerned gardeners and agricultural consumers. The Safe Seed Pledge allows businesses and individuals to declare that they “do not knowingly buy, sell or trade genetically engineered seeds,” thus assuring consumers of their commitment. CRG formally recognizes commercial vendors through the Safe Seed Resource List. Sellers are encouraged to advertise the Pledge to consumers through seed catalogs and package labels. So far, more than a hundred commercial seed sellers have joined this growing movement for agricultural sustainability. You can also save seeds yourself and participate in seed swapping through local seed exchanges.

7. Join the Campaign to Stop GMO Fish. The FDA is very close to approving genetically-engineered salmon, the first genetically-engineered animal that would be allowed into the food supply. The agency has stated it will not require such salmon to be labeled as such, making it indistinguishable from non-GE salmon in the marketplace. The Center for Food Safety is leading a campaign against this approval.

Organizations   There are a number of organizations working on GMO food issues from a variety of angles. All offer a wealth of educational materials, opportunities to get involved, and other resources to help consumers understand the health, ecological, and agricultural issues surrounding GMOs.

1. Agra Watch     AgraWatch is a grassroots, membership-based organization in Seattle that works for a just local and global economy. CAGJ has three programs: Food Justice Project, AGRA Watch, and Trade Justice.   agrawatch@seattleglobaljustice.org

2. Center for Food Safety    Center for Food Safety (CFS) is a national non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization working to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture.
660 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, #302
Washington DC 20003
Phone: 202-547-9359

3. Consumers Union    Consumers Union is the policy and action division of Consumer Reports. They work with activists to pass consumer protection laws in states and in Congress. They criticize corporations that do wrong by their customers, and encourage companies that are heading in the right direction.
101 Truman Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10703-1057
Phone: 914-378-2000

4. Council for Responsible Genetics   The Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG) serves the public interest and fosters public debate about the social, ethical, and environmental implications of genetic technologies.
5 Upland Road, Suite 3
Cambridge, MA 02140
Phone: 617-868-0870

New York Office:
30 Broad Street, 30th Fl.
New York, NY 10004
Phone: 212-361-6360

5. Earth Open Source   Earth Open Source is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to assuring the sustainability, security, and safety of the global food system.
2nd Floor 145-157, St John Street
London EC1V 4PY, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 203 286 7156

6. European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility   The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) brings together independent scientific expertise to develop public-good knowledge for the critical assessment of existing and emerging technologies.
Marienstrasse 19/20
D-10017 Berlin
Phone: +49 (0)30-21234056

7. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations   Achieving food security for all is at the heart of FAO’s efforts to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. Their mandate is to improve nutrition, increase agricultural productivity, raise the standard of living in rural populations, and contribute to global economic growth.
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome, Italy
Phone:(+39) 06 57051

8. Food Democracy Now!    Food Democracy Now! is a grassroots movement of more than 650,000 farmers and citizens dedicated to building a sustainable food system that protects the natural environment, sustains farmers, and nourishes families.  info@fooddemocracynow.org

9. Food Policy Research Center   The Food Policy Research Center (FPRC) examines the impact of the political, technical, environmental, economic, and cultural forces that have an impact on what is eaten, illuminating the science behind food issues and policies from an interdisciplinary perspective. Their goal is to arm lawmakers, consumers, and industry representatives with scientifically sound information about how we grow, process, package, distribute, and prepare what we eat.
6004A Campus Delivery Code
1354 Eckles Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
Phone: 612-624-6772

10. Food & Water Watch  Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water, and fish we consume is safe, accessible, and sustainably produced, and educates about the importance of keeping the global commons under public control.
1616 P Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-683-2500

11. GeneWatch UK   GeneWatch UK is a not-for-profit policy research and public interest group. They investigate how genetic science and technologies will impact our food, health, agriculture, environment, and society.
60 Lightwood Road Buxton Derbyshire
SK17 7BB
Phone: +44 (0)1298 24300

12. GMO Free USA   GMO Free USA’s mission is to harness education, advocacy, and bold action to foster consumer rejection of genetically modified organisms until they are proven safe.

13. GM Watch    GMWatch is an independent organization that seeks to counter the enormous corporate political power and propaganda of the biotech industry and its supporters.
26 Pottergate
Norwich Norfolk