Monday, November 30, 2015


For Immediate Release: November 30, 2015
Kate Colwell, Friends of the Earth, (703)
Stephenie Hendricks, (415)
Should our children be genetically engineered?
Call for ban on germline genetic engineering of human beings
With the breakneck speed of recent developments in genetic engineering and synthetic biology that could be used to alter human DNA, the report examines health, regulatory, social and ethical questions.
The Center for Genetics and Society also released an open letter today, signed by more than 130 advocates and scholars, calling for a ban on heritable genetic modification of human beings.
“Genetic modification of children was recently the stuff of science fiction,” said lead author Pete Shanks, consulting researcher with the Center for Genetics and Society and author of Human Genetic Engineering: A Guide for Activists, Skeptics, and the Very Perplexed. “But now, with new technology, the fantasy could become reality. Once the process begins, there will be no going back. This is a line we must not cross.”
Dana Perls, report co-author and food and technology campaigner withFriends of the Earth explains, “History has shown us that rushing new technologies to market before we understand their impacts on people, our society and our environment can result in negative unintended consequences. We have seen this with the first generation of genetically engineered crops -- and the stakes are infinitely higher when it comes to the question of genetically engineering our children.”
Recent research in genetic engineering and synthetic biology has enabled scientists to artificially redesign life -- everything from microbes to people. Powerful new techniques for gene editing bring the prospect of redesigning humans much closer. In April 2015, researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in China reported they had used gene editing techniques to alter human embryosfor the first time in history. Those embryos were “nonviable,” and could not have been used to initiate a pregnancy, but the attempt itself is a historically significant moment.
“The controversy about germline gene editing often downplays important points, including that we have other ways to avoid transmitting serious genetic diseases to future generations,” said Center for Genetics and SocietyExecutive Director Marcy Darnovsky, PhD, who will present at the National Academies summit. “This technology will alter both human biology and human society. The scientists developing it cannot be the only ones making decisions that are so important for all of us. We need to invite discussion from thought leaders on ethics, disability rights, reproductive justice, and other points of view, to inform best practices toward regulatory oversight.”
Stuart Newman, PhD, professor of cell biology and anatomy at New York Medical College, is a developmental biologist who previously filed a preemptive U.S. patent application to prevent the construction and commercialization of human-nonhuman chimeras. He shares these concerns: “Producing genetically modified human embryos is a first step toward making quasi-humans for spare parts. This will be followed by attempts to produce disease-free and other made-to-order children, with inevitable experimental errors. This is a technological move that will benefit the health of no living person, will harm some future ones, and should be avoided at all cost.”
“These proposed applications raise social justice questions and put us at risk of reviving eugenics --controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of `desirable’ heritable characteristics,” said Emily Smith Beitiks, PhD, associate director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University. “Who gets to decide what diversity looks like and who is valued?”
“It is critical to not breach our scientific and moral integrity in the face of these rapid developments. Historically, research projects thought of as exciting research with no consideration for ethical or moral implications, were in fact egregious mistakes with unintended harmful consequences,” said Milton Reynolds, board chair of Literacy for Environmental Justice“Only after the harm had been committed — witness the Tuskegee experiments on African American men, and syphilis experiments on Guatemalans — was it clear to those researchers that scientific and moral integrity had been breached resulting in tragic consequences.”
The report puts human gene editing into the context of broader developments in synthetic biology. It examines the systemic and commercial incentives to rush newly discovered biotechnologies to market, regardless of their social utility and ahead of appropriate, transparent assessment and oversight.
The report calls for:
  • National and international prohibitions on the use of gene editing and synthetic biology to alter human embryos or gametes for reproductive purposes. This call is especially relevant in those countries, like the U.S., that have not already enacted such a prohibition. 
  • Explicit and expansive public engagement on the human applications of synthetic biology, including and going beyond safety thresholds and addressing the social and ethical concerns.
  • An ongoing, transparent, democratic process with which to evaluate and appropriately regulate new, emerging and proposed human applications of synthetic biology.
  • Increased investment in more socially just and less risky solutions to environmental, health and social problems.
For more information and to read the report and open letter:

Dana Perls
Food and Technology Policy Campaigner
FoE Bullet PointsFriends of the Earth U.S.
David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way, Ste. 240
Berkeley, CA 94704

Friday, November 20, 2015


Regulators and retailers must stop ‘next generation' GMO imports

Helen Wallace
20th November

A new wave of ‘next generation' GM crops resistant to multiple herbicides, may be approved for import into the European Union, writes Helen Wallace, even though the health impact of the herbicide combinations is unknown. Regulators and retailers must refuse to authorise these GMOs or allow their use in any part of the food chain.

It's not just a matter for regulators. Retailers and consumers also need to know that a new generation of GM crops - containing residues from blanket spraying with multiple herbicides - could be heading for the EU.
The European Commission's Standing Committee on Plants, Animals and Food met this week to consider three applications for import into the EU of genetically engineered soybeans, for use in both human food and animal feeds.
The three varieties are all resistant to the herbicide glyphosate - but each with an extra new twist of its own that adds to the danger they present.
What did the Standing Committee decide? We don't know, and we are unlikely to find out for some months. Its proceedings are conducted in secret. But the results of its deliberations could be crucial for human and animal health across the EU.
Of course we're already familiar with glyphosate-resistant GMO crops like soya and maize. Often known as 'Roundup Ready' after Monsanto's proprietary glyphosate brand, they are widely grown in North and South America, and are imported into Europe in large quantities for use in animal feed.
These 'Roundup Ready' GM crops allow farmers to blanket-spray their fields with glyphosate herbicides right through the growing season - killing weeds but allowing the crop to survive.
According to industry figures, about 85% of the GM crops planted today, by area, are tolerant to glyphosate. The main exception is insect resistant cotton (Bt cotton) planted mainly in the US, India and China.
But there's a growing problem that's undermining the efficacy of Roundup Ready crops: the emergence of glyphosate-resistant 'superweeds', which have evolved under the constant spraying of fields with the herbicide. It's already causing massive problems for farmers in the US - where about half of all farmland is thought to be affected - as well as in Brazil and Argentina.
The industry response to superweeds is to develop new 'stacked' GM crops that are tolerant to even more controversial herbicides. These include 2,4-D, dicamba and isoxaflutole - ignoring the obvious concern that harm to wildlife habitats will be exacerbated and resistance to multiple herbicides will develop in the future.
And yes, these are the 'next generation' GM crops awaiting approval for import to the European Union, which is already heavily dependent on imported RoundUp Ready soya for use in animal feed. They include:
  • Bayer soybeans resistant to glyphosate and isoxaflutole;
  • Monsanto soybeans resistant to both glyphosate and dicamba;
  • and Monsanto soybeans with two separate mechanisms of resistance to glyphosate, allowing them to be sprayed with even higher doses of the herbicide.

From the Standing Committee these applications will go to the Appeals Committee, and then on to the Commission itself.
So what's the problem? Glyphosate, and more ...
The first problem is glyphosate itself, the world's top selling herbicide. Ecologist readers will already be aware of its health risks, and that the World Health Organisation's cancer agency has classified the herbicide as probably carcinogenic to humans.
Research has shown that Roundup Ready GM soya contains high levels of glyphosate - hardly surprising after they have been blanket-sprayed with the herbicide throughout their growing period. 
The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA)'s scientific opinion, which takes the opposite view of IARC and recommends renewal of the licence to use glyphosate across the EU, has already generated considerable controversy.
However, EFSA's opinion on glyphosate is also important for what it does admit: that that there are not enough data available on the application of glyphosate to genetically modified (GM) plants resistant to the herbicide to reach conclusions on safety. As EFSA's opinion states: "In the framework of the renewal, representative uses were proposed for conventional crops only and residue trials on glyphosate tolerant GM crops were not provided."
But that's not all. The active ingredient glyphosate is not used alone in commercial weedkillers, such as Monsanto's Roundup. Instead it's combined with 'co-formulants' like surfactants, that make it stickier, more easily absorbed into the plant through its leaves, and less liable to be washed off by rain.
Some of these additives have repeatedly been shown to significantly increase toxicity. Thus the EFSA opinion states that more investigations are needed in regard to the carcinogenicity of the formulations that are applied commercially:
"In particular, it was considered that the genotoxic potential of formulations should be addressed; furthermore EFSA noted that other endpoints should be clarified, such as long-term toxicity and carcinogenicity, reproductive / developmental toxicity and endocrine disrupting potential of formulations".
And EFSA admits that some ingredients in these formulations, such as POE-tallow amine additives, can significantly increase toxicity. For example, the agency writes: "Compared to glyphosate, a higher toxicity of the POE-tallow amine was observed on all endpoints investigated."
EFSA also warns: "The genotoxicity, long-term toxicity and carcinogenicity, reproductive / developmental toxicity and endocrine disrupting potential of POE-tallow amine should be further clarified. There is no information regarding the residues in plants and livestock. Therefore, the available data are insufficient to perform a risk assessment in the area of human and animal health for the co-formulant POE-tallow amine."
This admission is important because EFSA safety tests for GM crops are usually based on applying the active ingredient glyphosate alone - not the commercial formulations.
'Next generation' GM crops: tolerant to yet more herbicides
What does all this mean for the three soybeans currently being assessed for import into Europe? The IARC has already ruled that glyphosate is a 'probable human carcinogen'. And although the EFSA does not agree with that, it does warn that the other ingredients used in glyphosate herbicides present dangers that have not yet been properly characterised.
These new soybean varieties are now going to add to the problem, by containing either isoxaflutole or dicamba (and their co-formulants) in addition to glyphosate. That, or an extra-heavy dose of glyphosate.
And you guessed it ... the EFSA has not assessed the combinatorial - synergistic or additive - effects of these herbicides and their residues together with those of glyphosate and co-formulants. Remarkably, the EFSA GMO panel did not request any feeding trials of whole soybeans of any of the three varieties up for approval.
That's why GeneWatch UK and Testbiotech have called on the European Commission and Member States to refuse to authorise these imports. They present risks to both human and animal health above and beyond those of the crops currently imported into the EU. And regulators have not got the answers to key health and safety questions.
We must all get involved in this fight
But it's not just a matter for regulators and officials. Retailers and consumers also need to know that a new generation of GM crops - containing residues from blanket spraying with multiple herbicides - could be heading for the EU.
And once imported, they may spread widely in the food chain. Most GM crops are used in animal feed - but meat, milk and eggs produced using GM animal feed are not labelled, so consumers have no way to avoid these products unless they buy organic, or shop carefully in selected stores.
GM food products, which must be labelled as containing GM ingredients, are also starting to creep into high street stores: imported soya cooking oil used in takeaways, some American sweets and sauces, and Domino's 'thin and crispy' pizza bases have all recently been identified as containing GM ingredients.
Of course we don't know the decision reached by the Commission's Standing Committee, nor do we know what view the EFSA will take, or what the Commission will ultimately decide. But given the strong observed institutional bias in favour of GMOs, we must prepare for the worst.
So ultimately it may be up to consumers and campaigners - working with the retailers that supply most of our food - to make sure these 'next-generation' GMOs are kept out of our food chain.

Dr Helen Wallace is Director of GeneWatch UK, a not-for-profit group that monitors developments in genetic technologies from a public interest, human rights, environmental protection and animal welfare perspective. GeneWatch believes people should have a voice in whether or how these technologies are used and campaigns for safeguards for people, animals and the environment. We work on all aspects of genetic technologies - from GM crops and foods to genetic testing of humans.
Open Letter: TestBiotech and GeneWatch UK Open Letter to the European Commission.


Genetically Engineered Salmon Approved for Consumption

New York Times - ‎17 hours ago‎
Federal regulators on Thursday approved a genetically engineered salmon as fit for consumption, making it the first genetically altered animal to be cleared for American supermarkets and dinner tables.

FDA approves first animal genetically engineeredfor food — a fast-growing salmon

LancasterOnline - ‎Nov 19, 2015‎
A fast-growing salmon has become the first genetically engineered animal intended for food to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

What's for dinner? Genetically engineered salmon OK'd by FDA

The Sun Chronicle - ‎13 hours ago‎
In this photo taken Sept. 20, 2010. AquaBounty CEO Ron Stotish, the company that applied with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market genetically modified salmon, speaks to reporters in Rockville, Md. The FDA on Thursday approved genetically ...

FDA Sued Over Controversial Approval of GMOSalmon

EcoWatch - ‎12 minutes ago‎
Opposition against the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of the first genetically engineered food animal, AquaBounty's GMO salmon, is fiercely mounting. The Center for Food Safety, an nonprofit organization, announced plans to sue the ...


Unconstitutional Restraints on Publishing and Weak Integrity Protections at Issue
Posted on Nov 19, 2015 | Tags: Scientific Integrity, USDA
Washington, DC — The U.S. Department of Agriculture should stop censoring scientific findings for political reasons and significantly strengthen its Scientific Integrity Policy, according to a federal lawsuit filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The suit targets official restraints on USDA scientists publishing or speaking about their findings in peer-reviewed journals, before professional societies and in other unofficial settings.
This March, PEER filed a formal rulemaking petition pressing USDA to end censorship policies and to bolster its extremely weak Scientific Integrity Policy adopted in 2013. The petition asked USDA to adopt “best practices” from other federal agencies’ integrity policies and to end politically driven suppression or alteration of studies. In a letter dated June 11, 2015, USDA Chief Scientist Catherine Wotecki wrote that the agency refused to consider the substance of the petition because scientific integrity only affected its “internal personnel rules and practices” and was therefore exempt from the public notice and comment process normally required of agency rules.
“Censorship of public agency science does not affect only scientists – it concerns the public at large as well as every entity relying upon the integrity of USDA science,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, whose organization is also representing USDA scientists alleging official harassment flowing from scientific work which upsets agribusiness “stakeholders.” “USDA cannot piously pledge its devotion to scientific integrity while at the same time rebuffing any attempts to safeguard it.”
PEER cites instances of USDA scientists ordered to retract studies, water down findings, remove their name from authorship and endure long indefinite delays in approving publication of papers that may be controversial. Media requests for interviews with scientists are either indefinitely delayed or denied. Of particular concern is a gag order barring release of any scientific work reflecting on any federal policy:
“…scientists should refrain from making statements that could be construed as being judgments of or recommendations on USDA or any other federal government policy, either intentionally or inadvertently.”
“USDA may not screen submissions to peer-reviewed journals for their political implications,” added Ruch, pointing out that USDA scientists use their agency affiliation for purposes of identification and the journal articles are not “owned” by the agency. “USDA is not entitled to its own set of facts to alter or suppress at will.”
Ironically last week, USDA announced it is now seeking public comment on how to increase public access to the results of federally-funded agricultural research. PEER is suggesting that the best way to increase public access to USDA-funded research is to stop vetting it for “sensitive” content and to allow its scientists to openly discuss findings without prior permission.
“USDA is raising a bumper crop of hypocrisy this year,” Ruch concluded, noting that Dr. Jonathan Lundgren, a USDA entomologist based in South Dakota, is slated to receive a national award next week in Washington DC for “civic courage” in recognition of his resistance of agency censorship. “Dr. Lundgren’s experience raises doubts about whether groundbreaking science can still be conducted inside USDA free from interference.”
Read the PEER suit
View PEER rulemaking petition
See USDA curt dismissal of PEER petition
Look at USDA scientific censorship in action
Revisit Dr. Lundgren’s case
Attend Dr. Lundgren’s civic courage award ceremony onNovember 30th
Note USDA outreach for ideas on increasing public access to its science

Monday, November 9, 2015


44 Reasons To Ban or Label GMOs
By Gary Null
07 November, 2015
Progressive Radio Network
For twenty years the federal government, through the USDA and FDA, has stated unequivocally that genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) are safe and can help feed the world and save lives. However, over the last two decades independent scientists have brought forth challenges to the prevailing dogma on this important issue. The response of the GMO industry to any critic–irrespective of their credentials or the scientific evidence they provide–is that they are wrong. To determine where the truth lies, we have set about reviewing all available scientific literature on the safety and efficacy of GMOs. The results of our independent investigation are stated in the following 44 reasons to ban or label GMOs. All of the information is footnoted and fully referenced.
1.Because 91% of Americans want GMO labeling.[1]
2.Because 64 countries around the world including Japan, Australia, China and the entire European Union require GMO labeling.
3.Because in September 2015, Russia completely banned the production of food using GMOs. This came after the country undertook independent scientific research of the GMO issue.[2]
4.Because GMO giant Monsanto has a history of producing highly dangerous chemical compounds including DDT, Agent Orange, saccharin, and recombinant bovine growth hormone, all of which are known to cause significant health issues. [3]
5.Because Monsanto has launched smear campaigns against GMO labeling advocates, organic farmers, anti-GMO organizations, and made threats of lawsuits against state governments and media outlets for even suggesting mandatory labeling. For example, supporters of GMOs recently pressured Reuters to fire veteran journalist Carey Gillam for reporting fairly on GMOs.[4]
6.Because the pro-GMO lobby pushes its own research that contradicts the conclusions of independent studies on GMO safety. The Hindustani Times remarked that “There are over 500 research publications by scientists of indisputable integrity, who have no conflict of interest, that establish harmful effects of GMO crops to human, animal and plant health, and on the environment and biodiversity… On the other hand, virtually every paper supporting GM crops is by scientists who have a declared conflict of interest or whose credibility and integrity can be doubted.”[5]
7.Because according a meta-analysis carried out by researchers at Caen University in France, a GMO feed diet contributes to kidney and liver toxicity in rats.[6]
8.Because a study published in the Turkish Journal of Biology in December 2014, associates GM corn and soy consumption with several health complications in rats including DNA damage, abnormal sperm, blood changes, and damage to liver, kidney, and testes.[7]
9.Because pregnant goats fed a diet of GM soybeans were found to produce less nutritious milk and give birth to offspring that grew slower and were shorter.[8]
10.Because GM tomatoes were discovered to cause stomach lesions in research mammals.[9]
11.Because the genetic engineering of foods can trigger allergic reactions to GM substances. For example, one study carried out by researchers at the University of Nebraska showed that an allergen commonly found in brazil nuts that is used in the creation of GM soybeans caused an allergic reaction in individuals who consumed soybeans.[10]
12.Because research demonstrates that DNA fragments from GM foods can enter the human bloodstream. Considering that the health risks posed by GM foods are still not well understood, this finding is especially troubling.[11]
13.Because an increase in GMO consumption in the United States has coincided with a rise in health issues among the US population. According to Jeffrey Smith’s Institute for Responsible Technology, “numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise.” While this connection has not been confirmed through science, it’s important that we investigate the potential associations between human health issues and GMOs.[12]
14.Because GMO crops are prone to failure. Bt insecticidal brinjal eggplant in Bangladesh is facing widespread collapse, with a failure rate of four out of five farms. In Brazil, after only three years of GM Bt cultivation, pest resistance has been observed. Similar observations are being reported in Bt maize in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Philippines, South Africa and US, and in Bt cotton in Australia, China, India and the US. American scientists confirmed that rootworms destroying corn fields are no longer resistant to GM corn.[13][14]
15.Because GM crops contaminate non-GM agriculture through cross pollination, polluting the genetic integrity of crops for many years to come.
16.Because South Korea, despite having a nationwide ban on the cultivation of GM crops, is currently contending with wild GM crops sprouting across the country. Officials fear that these wild GM strains will disrupt local ecosystems.[15]
17.Because GMO cross pollination has resulted in financial hardship and difficulty for farmers who wish to grow crops that are non-GMO and organic.
18.Because GMO research can be costly and ineffective. In 2015, a trial testing out the viability of GM wheat in the UK failed miserably when aphids destroyed an entire crop, costing the taxpaying public about $5 million.[16]
19.Because permaculture and organic farming practices are being refined to create sustainable agricultural models in the long term. For example, scientists have found that crops can actually sense pests approaching and attract pest predators in order to survive. Kenyan farmers have used this knowledge to successfully eliminate an insidious pest affecting their corn crops at no cost.[17]
20.Because rats fed a diet of GM Roundup Ready crops were observed to have structural and functional alterations to liver cells.[18]
21.Because it was revealed in 2015 that GM salmon is more susceptible to disease and slower growing than their non-GM counterparts.[19]
22.Because the FDA approved GMOs to be introduced into the American food supply despite some FDA scientists raising questions about the safety of GMO consumption in the long term.[20]
23.Because some GM crops are sprayed with chemicals that have been found to decrease their nutritional value. A recent meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition which reviewed 373 studies concluded that organically grown fruits and vegetables contain up to 69% greater amounts of important antioxidant compounds when compared to their conventionally grown counterparts.[21
24.Because GM corn has been found to be nutritionally inferior to non-GM corn in terms of vital nutrient content. One assay found that non-GM corn is 437% richer in calcium, 56% times richer in magnesium and 16% richer in potassium.[22]
25.Because the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), representing food giants including PepsiCo, ConAgra, Nestle and Kellogg has spent tens of millions of dollars in lobbying efforts to keep Americans from knowing if their food contains GMOs. In an apparent attempt to undermine the democratic process, this group has sued the state of Vermont in 2014 after it became the first state to require GMO labeling.[23]
26.Because Big Ag companies contribute to an unsustainable and environmentally unhealthy monoculture form of agriculture, in which only one type of crop is farmed. The UN Commission on Trade and Development issued a report in 2014 warning against corporate dominated monoculture farming methods and promoted farm diversity and small scale organic farming as the most sustainable way to feed to the world’s population.[24]
27.Because the domestic production of GM corn, which accounts for about 90% of all corn grown in the United States, is forcing the US to import organic and non-GM corn from other countries. This dynamic hurts farmers in the United States who could otherwise capitalize from the growing demand for non-GM corn.[25]
28.Because new research suggests that some biotech firms are engaging in highly questionable scientific practices while conducting trials assessing GMO safety in animal feed. Data gathered by researchers at Caen University in France indicates that the feed given to animals in the control group during various trials conducted by GM firms such as DuPont actually contained high quantities of pesticides and GMOs, which may have heavily skewed the test results.[26]
29.Because glyphosate (Roundup), the widely used pesticide that Monsanto’s GM seeds (Roundup Ready Crops) are created to withstand, has been shown to be a probable carcinogen. [27]
30.Because glyphosate has been found to disrupt proper enzyme function in the body of mammals, causing inflammation.[28]
31.Because research links glyphosate exposure with the alarming rises in chronic degenerative disease in the United States. According to one study published in The Journal of Organic Systems “Evidence is mounting that glyphosate interferes with many metabolic processes in plants and animals and glyphosate residues have been detected in both. Glyphosate disrupts the endocrine system and the balance of gut bacteria, it damages DNA and is a driver of mutations that lead to cancer.”[29]
32.Because glyphosate can act as a genotoxic endocrine disruptor in human cells.[30]
33.Because glyphosate has been identified as a potential health hazard for decades yet nothing has been done to curb its production. The Permaculture Research Institute states that “Monsanto and the European Commission (EC) have known about birth defects since the 1980s. Industry studies found statistically significant skeletal and/or visceral abnormalities as well as reduced viability and increase in spontaneous abortions in rats and rabbits exposed to high doses of glyphosate. Lower doses were later shown to cause dilated hearts. The EC dismissed all the findings.”[31]
34.Because glyphosate may no longer be as effective at killing weeds. Worse still, glyphosate use has been shown to give rise to “superweeds” that are resistant to the chemical and therefore highly problematic for farmers. [32]
35.Because glyphosate residues do not break down as quickly or completely but end up poisoning our soil, rainwater and air, accordingly to official government research.[33][34]
36.Because evidence suggests that glyphosate not only contaminates soil with its chemical compounds, but actually destroys beneficial soil organisms.[35]
37.Because glyphosate contamination has become so pervasive that it is present in our urine. One German study found the pesticide to be present in significant concentrations in all the urine samples tested from non-agricultural workers in Berlin.[36]
38.Because glyphosate exposure has been linked with birth defects. [37]
39.Because evidence suggests that glyphosate may contribute to Parkinson’s Disease.[38][39]
40.Because glyphosate may seriously damage the kidneys. In early 2014, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study linking glyphosate runoff in Sri Lanka’s water systems to an epidemic rise in a fatal unknown chronic kidney disease or CKDu.[40]
41.Because recent studies reveal that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicides are contributing to the decline of honeybee populations. In August 2014, Mexican beekeepers in the state of Yucatan won a victory to halt Monsanto’s plans to plant thousands of acres of Roundup Ready soybeans. After a careful review of the science, a Mexican judge ruled that GMO soy agriculture is an economic threat and incompatible with the state’s honey production, home for 25,000 families involved in producing 40% of Mexico’s honey exports. The ruling is having a rippling effect across other Mexican states involved in honey production.[41]
42.Because oversight on pesticide use may be hampered by serious conflicts of interest. In October 2015, the Washington Post reported that entomologist Jonathan Lungren blew the whistle on his superiors at the US Agriculture Department for attempting to block his research conclusions showing that pesticides are particularly lethal to key pollinators such as bees and butterflies.[42]
43.Because the rise of Big Ag monoculture and GMO farming in India has resulted in significant economic and social hardships among Indian farmers and their families. Dwindling crop yields stemming from farmers’ reliance on corporate agricultural models to grow crops such as bioengineered cotton has contributed to many farmers going bankrupt. It is suspected that around 250,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide over the last 16 years; some of them are thought to have been brought to the brink by the economic difficulties that accompany corporate farming practices. [43]
44.Because simply handling bioengineered cotton crops caused Indian farmers to develop a range of frightening symptoms, which included, according to one report “allergic reactions in various body parts which included hands, feet, face, eyes and nose, with some having fallen seriously ill.”[44] Similarly, more than a decade of documentation shows that Argentinean agricultural workers who were exposed to glyphosate had developed medical conditions including skin rashes, infertility, cancer and respiratory issues.[45]
It’s Time to Act
Time is running out for your voice to be heard on this issue. Contact your local members of Congress today to let them know that we want all GMO foods to be labeled, if not removed from the shelves completely, until they are proven to be safe for consumption. Let them know that we would like congressional hearings on this issue during which qualified independent scientists present the evidence for GMOs being harmful.
To find the contact information for congressional members visit:
There are many small local food organizations in the individual states. However, the following list of organizations are those that have been at the forefront to protect organic and traditional agriculture and have been fighting on behalf of American consumers and food health against the big agricultural and chemical giants. Most of these organizations have e-lists you can subscribe to and receive daily or periodic information and updates about the battle against GMOs.
Institute for Responsible Technology was founded by Jeffrey Smith, who is a world leader in educating policy makers and the public about genetically modified foods and crops. The organization publishes frequent reports on GMO risks and impact on health, the environment, the economy, corporate practices and agriculture.
Food Democracy Now was founded by David Murphy, who has built a national grass-roots community dedicated to a sustainable food system that protects the environment and supports traditional farmers and their families. The organization has been at the forefront in advocating for the labeling of GMO foods and products.
Organic Consumers Association, directed by food activist Ronnie Cummins, is a grass-roots public-interest organization campaigning for food sustainability, children’s health, and corporate accountability. OCA is the primary organization fighting on behalf of the nation’s estimated 50 million organic food consumers with a goal to convert American agriculture to at least 30% organic by the year 2015.
GM Watch is a UK-based information organization monitoring everything related to bioengineered foods and big agriculture gathered from around the world. You can sign up at GM Watch’s site to receive daily news and reports as they arrive.
The Center for Food Safety is directed by national legal and consumer-interest advocate Andrew Kimbrell. The organization is a non-profit environmental advocacy initiative challenging harmful food production technologies, including genetic modification, and a leader in promoting sustainable agriculture.
Food and Water Watch is a health safety advocacy organization dedicated to assuring our food, water and fish are safe and sustainably produced. The organization pressures legislators to promote wholesome food (including the labeling of GMO foods) and clean water accessibility to all for their basic needs. The organization has 15 offices in the US and a staff in Europe and Latin America.
Natural News was founded by its chief editor and national health activist Mike Adams. It is among one of the best daily news resources for information on all issues related to health, including alternative medicine, genetically modified foods, vaccines science, and corporate corruption.
Dr. Joseph Mercola publishes one of the nation’s most widely read health sites dedicated to natural health and everything related to the corporate pharmaceutical, medical, chemical and agricultural industry that threatens the health and safety of people.
Coalition of States for GMO Labeling is a grass-roots effort now with 30 states to persuade state legislatures to bring up a vote on GMO labeling. For information on becoming involved in your state to educate and promote GMO labeling, inquire with an email to
The Alliance for Natural Health is an international organization promoting sustainable health practices, freedom of choice in healthcare, and accessibility to non-toxic healthy food, vitamins and supplements at the federal and local state levels. The Alliance is perhaps the most active organization lobbying Congress and state legislatures, and serves as a government watchdog to file complaints on actions taking by the FDA, USDA and other federal health agencies.
Just Label It is a grassroots organization started in California to fight state legislators to mandate GMO labeling. The organization, in partnership with many of the more notable organic food companies, is taking the petition for mandatory labeling to the FDA.
Center for Environmental Health is a non-profit organization taking on the industrial chemical industry to eliminate the threats chemicals pose to children, families and communities.
Consumers Union is a large national organization with lobbyists fighting for a fair, just and safer marketplace for consumers. Their website provides consumer information on a wide variety of topics, including genetically modified foods.
Environmental Working Group is a public health and environmental organization that advocates for health protection on Capitol Hill. Among their primary goals is to conduct scientific research to expose chemicals and products dangerous to health, the environment and the natural resources we rely upon, and to replace federal policies favoring big corporations with policies that invest in conservation and sustainable development.
Organic Seed Alliance advances the ethical development and stewardship of the genetic resources of agricultural seed. Their mission is to work through collaborative education, advisory services, and research programs with organic farmers and other seed professionals to advance a more sustainable agriculture.
Seeds of Change is an organic seed company founded in 1989 with a mission to preserve biodiversity and promote organic agriculture. It is an excellent source to purchase organic seeds and learn tips about rural, personal and urban organic farming.
Navdanya was founded by Dr. Vandana Shiva in India to lead the way to food and seed sovereignty, sustainable agriculture, and fair trade organic networking. The organization’s learning centers, School of the Seed and Earth University, bring people together from all over the world to build a food network that will be sustainable in the future.
The National Organic Coalition is a national alliance of organizations working to provide a “Washington voice” for farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, consumers and progressive industry members involved in organic agriculture.
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is an alliance of grass-roots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. Its vision of agriculture is one where a safe, nutritious, ample, and affordable food supply is produced by a legion of family farmers who make a decent living pursuing their trade
The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think-tank, founded by renowned agricultural and trade activist Anuradha Mittal, that brings fresh ideas and bold action to the most pressing economic, social and environmental issues directed towards a more sustainable, just future.
Foodconsumer is an online health, diet and food site taking a lead in promoting GMO labeling.
Food Freedom News is an educational site addressing food safety, food freedom and sovereignty, and local food production. It is a popular site for those who wish to begin growing their own produce.
Moms for Safe Food is a national community blog website offering a lot of advice about transitioning to eating a safe, healthy, GMO-free diet
Gary Null PhD is the host of the nation’s longest running public radio program on nutrition and natural health and a multi-award-winning director of progressive documentary films, including Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs, which is available for free viewing
2. "Govt Decides to Ban GMO Food Production in Russia – Deputy PM." RT English. Accessed October 30, 2015.


4. Ken Roseboro. “Biotech’s Assault on Balanced Journalism” Huffington Post, June 4, 2014

5. Pushpa M Bhargava
 US is trying to control our food production Hindustan Times, August 7, 2014


8. Calabrò, M.I. Cutrignelli, G. Moniello, M. Grossi, V. Mastellone, P. Lombardi, M.E. Peroa, F. Infascelli (2015) Genetically modified soybean in a goat diet: Influence on kid performance. Small Ruminant Research 126: 67–74.

9 . Department of Veterinary Medicine, FDA, correspondence June 16,1993. As quoted in Fred A. Hines, Memo to Dr. Linda Kahl. “Flavr Savr Tomato:Pathology Branch’s Evaluation of Rats with Stomach Lesions From Three Four-Week Oral (Gavage) Toxicity Studies and an Expert Panel’s Report,” Alliance for Bio-Integrity (June 16, 1993)
10 Nordlee, Julie A., Steve L. Taylor, Jeffrey A. Townsend, Laurie A. Thomas, and Robert K. Bush. "Identification of a Brazil-Nut Allergen in Transgenic Soybeans." New England Journal of Medicine, 1996, 688-92.


13. Guardian Newspaper Report Admits Widespread Failure of GM Btbrinjal” GMWatch June 5, 2014
14. Deirdre Fulton, GMO Corn No Longer Resistant to Bugs Common Dreams 30 July 14


17. Richardson, Jill. "Don't Let Them Blind You with Their Science." OtherWords. October 28, 2015. Accessed October 29, 2015.

18. Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA USA 2007


20. Steven M. Druker, “How the US Food and Drug Administration approved genetically engineered foods despite the deaths one had caused andthe warnings of its own scientists about their unique risks,” Alliance for Bio-Integrity,




24. UN Report Says Small Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World.” Technology Water. December 14, 2013




28. Anthony Samsel Stephanie Seneff. Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases, Entropy 2013, 15 (4), 1416-1463






37. Paganelli A1, Gnazzo V, Acosta H, López SL, Carrasco AE. Glyphosate-based herbicides produce teratogenic effects on vertebrates by impairing retinoic acid signaling. Chem Res Toxicol. 2010 Oct 18;23(10):1586-95. doi: 10.1021/tx1001749. Epub 2010 Aug 9.

38. “Roundup, An Herbicide, Could be Linked to Parkinson’s, Cancer and Other Health Issues, Study Shows” Reuters. April 25, 2013

39. Gang Wang, Xiao-Ning Fan, Yu-Yan Tan, Qi Cheng, Sheng-Di Chen Parkinsonism after chronic occupational exposure to glyphosate. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2011 Jul;17(6):486-7. Epub 2011 Mar 2

40. Channa Jayasumana , Sarath Gunatilake and Priyantha Senanayake Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka? J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(2), 2125-2147

41. Sweet victory for Mexico beekeepers as Monsanto loses GM permit” The Guardian, August 8, 2014

42. Volk, Steve. "Suspended USDA Researcher Alleges Agency Tried to Block His Research into Harmful Effects of Pesticides on Bees, Butterflies." Washington Post. October 28, 2015. Accessed October 30, 2015.