Silver Linings of Challenging Times

With news headlines dominated by the novel corona virus, a look at what has been smothered beneath the headlines may help shed some light on root issues that “We, The People” can work to change.  Epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant has said “Outbreaks are inevitable.  Pandemics are not.”

Importantly, there are other significant root issues that have been contributing to the potential for new problems to crop up— factory farming of animals cramming livestock into unhealthy crowded places, fostering the thriving of deadly pathogens; hydrocarbon fracking which uses, pollutes, and wastes vast amounts of pristine drinking water; genetically engineered food crops (the majority of which have required bacteria to “infect” a cell to allow new genetic traits to be received by a cell and viruses to serve as a viral promoters of cell growth once the new genetic trait is inserted).  Notably, there are significant benefits in crop diversity and rotation of which many farmers are aware.  The use of chemical weedkillers is a short-cut fix with adverse longer term problems like weed resistance and killing off valuable soil bacteria and pollinators such as birds, bees, butterflies, plus toxic Glyphosate/chemical wastes.

Just recently, I read a very timely article from The Nation —The Other Pandemic: Habitat Destruction*, which has accelerated over the past century, causing imbalances in our natural ecosystems.  Wild animals used to live in balance with natural plant ecosystems, supported by birds and pollinating insects that play critical roles.  Large monoculture crops like GMO corn, soybeans, cottonseed, have been a key causative factor in creating these natural imbalances, disrupting the rich diversity on earth. Wild animals and monoculture crops are symptomatic of an unhealthy system as is short-lived extractive fracking. It isn’t sensible to continue bad practices if we continue to despoil our precious water resources and disrupt valuable natural habitat resources and ecosystem balance!

In short, disrupting balanced ecosystems, replacing natural habitats with GMO crops and packing food animals into crowded factory farms, has increased the risks of more pathogenic crossover microbes into humans.  With all of these disruptive conditions and forces having been unleashed, is it surprising the novel corona virus has been rampaging around the world?  Globalization hasn’t helped either, but we are also very fortunate in the US to have lots of sound local businesses that have supported our needs and continue their fine work.

Buy local, avoid GMO foods, and refresh yourself with the ways your grandparents, great grandparents, and other family and friends who know time-proven common sense farming and living practices to nurture the earth, and to conserve and protect our valuable drinking water sources.

*The Nation , March 16/23, 2020, “The Other Pandemic: Habitat Destruction”, by Science Journalist, by Sonia Shah

“Altered Genes, Twisted Truth – How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public” by Steven Druker

Sonia Shah’s article :Accelerating habitat loss behind Covid-19, The Microbes, Animals and Us

 

 

 

Roundup Whitewashing by EPA…Again!

The EPA  updated a safety review of Roundup’s active ingredient Glyphosate , issuing a statement on January 30, 2020 claiming no human health risks of concern.  However, when subjected to scrutiny in the US federal court system, guilty has been the verdict in the first three of a long queue of non Hodgkins lymphoma lawsuits filed in the past year. This revised statement by EPA about Glyphosate’s safety occurred after the regulatory agency selectively ignored 67 studies reviewed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which came to a more serious cancer-related safety conclusion.

In fact, EPA’s downgraded risk judgement appears to have been largely based on industry-related or funded studies. The backlog of lawsuits from Glyphosate-related harms continues to grow. There has been a pause in the lawsuits moving through the legal system, presumably for Bayer (the current owner of Monsanto and its Glyphosate group of products) to try to come to terms with plaintiffs on a class action settlement.

Higher Glyphosate residues have not only been accumulating in the food system, but also can be found in soils and waters all across America.  The EPA is failing Americans as cancer cases continue to mount. When independent peer-reviewed science is ignored, and scientific studies have been used which are fraught with financial and corporate conflicts of interest, consumers’ health is endangered unnecessarily.

Unregulated Genetic Engineering -Dangerously Off the Rails

From US Right to Know research, FDA recently discovered “a potential blind spot in standard genome editing screening methods,” and said they suspect integration errors are “underreported or overlooked” in genome editing experiments. They noted other examples of unexpected alterations – a 2017 mouse study that found complex deletions and insertions in an edited mouse genome, and a 2018 study that reported DNA damage in human cell lines.

How were the unintended DNA integrations in genetic engineering transactions missed?

The “Fox” [Government regulators] guarding the “Henhouse” [ Genetically Engineered Animals and Plants] has been allowing contamination of the human gene pool with antibiotic-resistant  and other potentially harmful genetic mutations, in large part due to scanty or no genetic engineering process oversight away from industry “Creators”.  US Right to Know continues to expose this and other dangerous schemes to advance certain agendas for patents and profits,  despite warning signs of dangerous consequences to the DNA of living organisms, a veritable Pandora’s Box.

GMO Mosquitoes Out of Control

Brazil, among the first guinea pig countries to open the Pandora’s Box of GMO mosquitoes, is now paying for it.  And it’s not a pretty picture.   The technology continues to be rolled out with great promises, inadequate safety protocols,  and most unfortunately is resulting in profound mishaps. The plan of releasing sterile GMO males to limit the mosquito population has resulted in the new mosquitoes multiplying faster than  the original population.  In other words,  the GMO mosquito release has gone off the rails fairly quickly after introduction.

To add insult to injury,  Oxitec, the company conducting a real-time mosquito experiment in Brazil, did not involve or inform the public about the operation.  Other omissions to the public include the use of antibiotics in the mosquito genetic engineering process, which has been criticized in earlier creations of GMO plants.  It is premature and unethical to release new GMO creations into the food supply and the environment without adequate pre-market testing.  In short, companies should be held to sound science — standardized long-term testing procedures as well as multi-generational studies in order to assure public safety, prior to rollout to the public.

 

Cancer Lawsuits Against Monsanto’s Roundup Approaching 18,000… and Counting

Monsanto’s own studies on Roundup apparently showed that “when you expose animals or humans to this [Roundup], you see genetic damage, you see lymphoma” according to lawyers familiar with the issue.  Unfortunately,  Monsanto has continued to lie to consumers about product safety and lawsuits continue piling up.   Bayer, the German company that  owns Monsanto continues to state that Roundup is “completely safe”, despite the contrary verdicts.  For more information on this building backlog of worldwide cases against Monsanto’s weedkiller, please click on the link.  Wisely dispose of any unused herbicide at special hazardous waste drop-offs, as soils, water and wild vegetation, as well as your garden plants, pets, and family can be harmed if not disposed properly.

Sudden Federal USDA GMO Labeling Rule Ignores Peoples’ Right to Know and Ignores Citizen Input

The USDA’s long delayed GMO labeling rules were originally passed as a shell of a federal law which pre-empted more effective consumer-friendly labeling at the state level around 2013. After food labeling authority was transferred from FDA to USDA, the Federal Government’s USDA proposal became a blank shell of a federal law for so long that the government was sued for holding up the labeling law.   Suddenly, on December 20, 2019, during the holiday season, the USDA slipped in their version of the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard as a substitute for genuine GMO food labeling, with callous disregard for citizens and peer-reviewed science findings.  This grand sham of a federal law is shameful and will lead to higher health care costs by hiding the presence of GMOs and associated toxins in the food supply.  It is very likely designed by and for special interests.  Notably, it disingenuously attempts  to disguise what a simple “nonGMO” on the label would most effectively communicate to Americans and US residents.   It deceives and betrays those who want and are entitled to know  what is in the food they feed their families.  Implementation by companies is slated during 2021-2022 by the USDA rule.  You may TAKE ACTION against the USDA Rule here

In effect, deceiving the American public on GMO labeling with misleading cover language and graphics for GMO ingredients is an extraordinary disgraceful act against American families caring for their health  and trying to feed their families wholesome, nonGMO foods. It is especially of concern due to the high and increasing pesticide toxin residues commonly found in US GMO foods as well associated transgenerational gene mutations and other genetic impacts from the genetically engineered process (which can be impossible for doctors to trace if the foods lack GMO labeling). USDA, EPA scientists and employees in particular have been muzzled, especially in recent years from communicating the dangers shown in peer-reviewed science around the world. It is a shameful federal action which must be remedied immediately, as it will escalate already skyrocketing health care costs, and leave families and health care practitioners in a murky morass as they try to determine root causes in diagnosing and helping their patients.

The existing and straightforward “nonGMO” labeling, which large and small companies had already put on their labels starting around 2013, to satisfy consumer needs to know about their foods, is simple to see for shoppers in the grocery aisles.   The agency has now decided to use the term “bioengineered”–a term many Americans may not be familiar with–rather than GMO or nonGMO. Many Americans know the term “GMO” and can connect it to the labeling debate–so the government decides to use a different term that sounds more innocuous. If the government was actually concerned with communicating information clearly to consumers, they would simply use the term “GMO” and not other terminology with which Americans may not be familiar.

The problems continue with the definition of “bioengineered.”  The definition is preposterous and entirely inadequate to capture all the different techniques for genetically modifying food that are currently being used or are in development. Gene-editing using CRISPR is one example, where scientists manipulate an organism’s own DNA to silence certain genes or express otherwise silent genes. For example, the USDA recently decided that a CRISPR-created non-browning mushroom did not have to be regulated, and following the USDA’s logic, the GMO labeling rule will not apply. That’s right: a genetically modified mushroom will not have to be labeled as GMO because the USDA thinks that the genetic change could be accomplished through normal means.

Very importantly, the USDA, taking cues from Congress, has written a labeling rule that applies exclusively to obsolete technology. The USDA’s definition of a GMO completely misses the point. Even if a particular change could have been brought about through traditional breeding, the fact that it was brought about through genetic modification in a laboratory means that consumers have a right to know, end of story.

The problems don’t stop there. The rule establishes a threshold for the “inadvertent or technically unavoidable” presence of GMO material of up to five percent; foods that meet this criteria will not have to be labeled as bioengineered. The plain fact, once again, is that even if the presence of a small number of GMOs is “inadvertent or unavoidable,” consumers still have a right to know.

There is another way that the USDA has narrowed the foods that will have to carry GMO labeling. So-called “highly-refined foods” made from GMO crops–such as sugar from GMO sugarbeets or high fructose corn syrup from GMO corn–will not require a label. The USDA argues that the presence of GMOs cannot be detected in refined products. Once again, consumers have been sold out. Just because current testing techniques cannot detect GMO material in a finished product does not mean there is no modified genetic material in the food. The whole point of a GMO labeling law is to provide consumers with information, so those who wish to avoid GMO foods can easily do so. If refined foods made from GMO ingredients are exempted, the spirit of the law is undermined.

Finally, the USDA has altered the symbol that may be used by companies to communicate the presence of GMOs. Some early proposals looked like a smiling face. The symbol the USDA chose says “bioengineered” rather than GMO and depicts a field and a sun, which is intentionally deceptive. These are natural images used to communicate the presence of decidedly un-natural ingredients in a food. It’s as if the PR department at Bayer/Monsanto came up with it themselves!

US legislators need to hold USDA immediately accountable for this dreadful, and deadly action against Americans and other residents. At every turn, it seems like the USDA has favored industry over consumers. This is unacceptable. Our government is turning a huge,  manipulated deaf ear to Americans and should go back to the drawing board to amend this rule to so it adheres to the principal of a consumer’s right to know, rather than industry’s right to obscure.  This should remain a government for the American peoples’ interests  and it behooves us all to hold the USDA as well as their sister agencies FDA and EPA accountable for steamrolling over the results of legitimate peer-reviewed science, and it replacing it with contrived sham science which is so harmful to our population, constitutional rights, and out of control health care costs.  Think of all the cancers and other ailments associated with the pesticide-dependent  food supply certain industry interests are peddling at the cost of human health and associated family misery.

Tell the USDA (BEfooddisclosure@ams.usda.gov) and your legislators what you think about this dastardly USDA act during the holiday season and federal government partial shutdown.

(Editors Note: Written in collaboration with Alliance for Natural Health /ANH USA)

 

Roundup Jury Cancer Verdict to Monsanto – GUILTY!

JURORS SEE THROUGH FLAWED INDUSTRY SCIENCE LACKING INTEGRITY WHILE ROUNDUP USERS  WERE FALSELY TOLD THE  WEEDKILLER  WAS BIODEGRADABLE AND NOT HARMFUL- THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING….

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jury-orders-monsanto-pay-290m-roundup-trial-n899811

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/glyphosate-roundup-chemical-found-in-childrens-breakfast-foods/  

Click here for more consumer info

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-monsanto-cancer-lawsuit-bayer/roundup-cancer-verdict-sends-bayer-shares-sliding-idUSKBN1KY0M5

 

 

Gene -Editing Stocks Plunge After Latest Research Cancer Risks Revealed

CRISPR stocks hit after current research indicates cause for serious health concerns.

The importance of scientific integrity , due diligence and thorough research cannot be understated when considering this Gene Editing technique for our food supply, which the Europeans still characterize as GMO (an abbreviation the public grasps rather than using bioengineered or  “BE” terminology as USDA just proposed).  Further, US food labeling requirements are proposed to shift from FDA to USDA as CRSPR technology has been given green lights and there has been much industry PR in US media reports touting the benefits, without addressing the risks. While the Europeans have taken a more cautious approach, it is obvious the US is on a more reckless track when it comes to protecting consumers of GMO food.  At the same time, US Organic Standards are being weakened.

 

Global Collusion Accelerates with Monsanto’s Agrichemicals and Pesticide-dependent GMO Food System

Agrichemical pesticide Glyphosate (active ingredient in Roundup) is likely the most abused chemical in the world, and can be found  in the most of the world’s food and water supplies with serious repercussions to families virtually everywhere. Don’t think Monsanto disappeared – it’s hiding behind a new name after being recently purchased by another large global chemical company Bayer.  Thus, the pernicious work of pesticide toxins increasing in food supplies deceptively continues …. only hidden under a new nameplate.  For some of the latest disconcerting health and agricultural updates, please see here and here.

Beyond being the active ingredient in Roundup and many other crop and lawn care products, the toxic pesticide chemical had originally been marketed as biodegradable, but with industry safety testing methods later found to be compromised,  Glyphosate is especially harmful to children, poisoning populations, water supplies, and whole ecosystems around the world…..leaving consumers in the dark about protecting their families as profits have taken priority over family health and safety.  Consumers have little chance to find the truth as previous posts show the virtual hijacking of the US food labeling process.  

See also https://sustainablepulse.com/2018/07/02/insane-loophole-could-exempt-over-10000-gmo-foods-from-gmo-labeling-law/   recent court case documents   and US Right to Know information

 

Take Action Now! Hijacked Federal GMO Food Labeling in Process- Public Comment Ends July 3rd

Hundreds of millions of public and private funds have been spent since the mid-1990’s when GMO foods were first released for human consumption.  Most Americans were unaware at the time that FDA scientists had issued numerous warnings about the need for more robust food safety and risk assessments, which weren’t done prior to release into the US food supply.  Unfortunately politics and profit ultimately prevailed over health safety, and Americans have been very ill-informed about much of the food they are putting on their family dining tables.

Why is our government balking at requiring plain English text for accurate disclosure of food ingredients directly on food package labels in their latest Agriciultural Marketing Service food disclosure proposal?  Why don’t they want to permit the use of “GMO” and “nonGMO” , already widely understood and in common use on food packaging by many companies to inform consumers about the food they are buying in supermarkets?  Since many companies already are providing the consumer this desired information…what is our government hiding when it doesn’t want us to read plain English text on food labels and use QR computer code?  The purity and quality of the food we eat should not be symbolized by a contrived “smiley BE-faced symbol” as some in government have proposed, especially when it potentially covers up toxic pesticides and other chemicals in such foods. Websites can also be listed on the label for additional manufacturer information as is already common practice.  Consumers should not be required to have and use a smartphone to read QR computer code,  when package text labeling is readily available to everyone in the grocery aisles for health and family-conscientious consumer.

Here’s a summary and Take Action plan courtesy of the Center For Food Safety :      USDA’s Proposed Rule on GMO Food Labeling

“On May 3, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its long-awaited proposed regulations for the mandatory disclosure of foods produced using genetic engineering (GE). These rules will implement the 2016 federal law requiring those GE disclosures, establishing many details on how the disclosures will be implemented. The rules are the final step in a decades-long process of demanding and securing GE food labeling in the United States at the state and now at the federal level. As such, public comment will be extremely important. The importance of comments is even further magnified by the fact that the USDA proposal presents a range of alternatives and makes few decisions, leaving uncertainty about the final outcome on critical points. Some of the more important issues along with recommended responses are detailed below. Comments are due July 3, 2018. “

With this proposed new Federal Food Disclosure rule, Genetically Modified (GMO) labeling is in the process of a consumer unfriendly hijacking attempt by political powers/special interest maneuverings — putting USDA officially in the driver’s seat to cover up misaligned FDA food labeling –  all the while exposing consumers to more toxins in supermarket foods and continued escalation of health care costs by denying consumers the right to know what’s in our food. If our government isn’t listening to consumers, at least some companies are more sensitive to what the consumer wants to know about their food by already labeling nonGMO! Who is kidding whom??? Avoiding consumption of toxic substances and family health care costs are significant and timely pressing matters which don’t deserve outsourcing to PR departments and other marketing shenanigans to muddle the information about what is in our food.  Take action now by clicking here to comment on this proposal.

 

For more details and information you may visit:  https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/976/ge-food-labeling/2018-proposed-ge-labeling-rule-talking-points

https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/national-bioengineered-food-disclosure-standard

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/05/23/2018-11025/national-bioengineered-food-disclosure-standard

https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/976/ge-food-labeling/us-polls-on-ge-food-labeling

This GE salmon is likely one of the earlier reasons that the labeling laws are being switched from FDA to USDA- Against extraordinary levels of public opposition, the antibiotic-laden GMO salmon application apparently had to be squeezed in as a “New Drug Application”  under the Center for Veterinary Medicine umbrella because there was no animal procedure in place for it under FDA regs at the time.  Also there are quite a few current genetic manipulation technologies like Gene Editing (CRISPR) being vigorously promoted despite continuing problems and risks.

https://responsibletechnology.org/fda-oks-first-u-s-genetically-engineered-salmon-facility-at-albany/