Tag Archives | GMOs

California To Vote On Labeling Genetically Modified Foods

Should people have a right to know what corporations are feeding to them, or is it none of their business? The Guardian on a referendum this November which could change how food is sold across the country:

Last month, nearly 1m signatures were delivered [in] California calling for a referendum on the labeling of genetically engineered foods. If the measure, “The Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act”, passes, California will become the first state in the nation to require that GM foods be labeled as such on the package.

Lawmakers in states like Vermont and Connecticut have also proposed labeling legislation, which has gone nowhere in the face of stiff industry opposition. What makes the referendum in California different is that, for the first time, voters and not politicians will be the ones to decide. And this has the food industry worried. Understandably so, since only one in four Americans is convinced that GMOs are “basically safe”, according to a survey conducted by the Mellman Group.

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1913 Foresaw A Future Of Eating Giant, Irradiated Animals

A century ago, the endless promise of radium pointed toward a future in which a monstrously large frog’s leg sat at the center of every dinner table. Via ZPi, a 1913 article from the Salt Lake Tribune heralding the impending use of radiation to breed enormous livestock of all sorts:

Professor Dawson Turner, at the recent meeting of the British Association, made the astonishing announcement that by treating a frog’s egg with radium he had bred a frog three times the normal size of the species. The application of this discovery may have several very important results for humanity. Perhaps its most obvious value is that it will furnish us with a means of increasing the food supply.

Even at its present stage of development the experiment is capable of greatly reducing living expenses. Frog’s legs are delicious, succulent food similar in taste to fine chicken, and in many ways superior to the choicest quality beef.

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How California Could Force the Rest of the U.S. to Label GMO Foods

Reports Tom Philpott on Mother Jones:
In November, California voters will decide on a ballot initiative that would require labeling of all foods containing ingredients from genetically modified crops. The initiative made it to the ballot after almost 1 million Californians signed a petition in favor of it—nearly double the 504,760 signatures needed under the state's proposition rules. The campaign that organized the push to get the measure on the ballot focused on possible health effects of GMO foods. This news will not likely be applauded by my friends over at Croplife America, the main trade group of the GM seed/agrichemical industry. The big GMO crops—corn, soy, sugar beets, and cotton—are processed into sweeteners, fats, and additives used widely by the food industry. Everything from high fructose corn syrup-sweetened Coke to soybean oil-containing Hellman's mayo would have to bear a label reading something like "Contains GMO ingredients."...
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Eating This Could Turn Your Gut into a Living Pesticide Factory

Corn_borerDr. Mercola sounds the alarm on the latest unintended consequence of permitting genetically-modified organisms into the food supply:

A new generation of insect larvae is eating the roots of genetically engineered corn intended to be resistant to such pests. The failure of Monsanto’s genetically modified Bt corn could be the most serious threat ever to a genetically modified crop in the U.S.

And the economic impact could be huge. Billions of dollars are at stake, as Bt corn accounts for 65 percent of all corn grown in the US.

The strain of corn, engineered to kill the larvae of beetles, such as the corn rootworm, contains a gene copied from an insect-killing bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt.

But even though a scientific advisory panel warned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the threat of insects developing resistance was high, Monsanto argued that the steps necessary to prevent such an occurrence — which would have entailed less of the corn being planted — were an unnecessary precaution, and the EPA naively agreed.

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Guerrilla Labeling Of GMO Foods

NoGMOWhen your government is so beholden to agribusiness that it won’t listen to overwhelming consumer demand for foods to be labeled if they contain genetically modified organisms, what do you do? Create your own labels and hit the supermarket! Amy Harmon and Andrew Pollack report for the New York Times:

Great Barrington, Mass. — On a recent sunny morning at the Big Y grocery here, Cynthia LaPier parked her cart in the cereal aisle. With a glance over her shoulder and a quick check of the ingredients, she plastered several boxes with hand-designed stickers from a roll in her purse. “Warning,” they read. “May Contain GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms).”

For more than a decade, almost all processed foods in the United States — cereals, snack foods, salad dressings — have contained ingredients from plants whose DNA was manipulated in a laboratory. Regulators and many scientists say these pose no danger.

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Farmers & Food Co’s Rally Against GM Seeds & Chemicals

SOCC_logoThe dangers of using bio-engineered seeds and chemical pesticides in agriculture have been warned against by activists for many years, but now many farmers and food companies are sounding the alarm too, calling for government intervention. From Reuters via Yahoo Finance:

A coalition of more than 2,000 U.S. farmers and food companies said Wednesday it is taking legal action to force government regulators to analyze potential problems with proposed biotech crops and the weed-killing chemicals to be sprayed over them.

Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical, and Monsanto Co. are among several global chemical and seed companies racing to roll out combinations of genetically altered crops and new herbicides designed to work with the crops as a way to counter rapidly spreading herbicide-resistant weeds that are choking millions of acres of U.S. farmland.

Dow and Monsanto say the new chemical combinations and new crops that tolerate those chemicals are badly needed by corn, soybean and cotton farmers as weeds increasingly resist treatments of the most commonly used herbicide – glyphosate-based Roundup.

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Monsanto Threatens to Sue Vermont if Legislators Pass GMO Labeling Bill

MonsantoWill Allen and Ronnie Cummins write on AlterNet:

The world’s most hated corporation is at it again, this time in Vermont.

Despite overwhelming public support and support from a clear majority of Vermont’s Agriculture Committee, Vermont legislators are dragging their feet on a proposed GMO labeling bill. Why? Because Monsanto has threatened to sue the state if the bill passes.

The popular legislative bill requiring mandatory labels on genetically engineered food (H-722) is languishing in the Vermont House Agriculture Committee, with only four weeks left until the legislature adjourns for the year. Despite thousands of emails and calls from constituents who overwhelmingly support mandatory labeling, despite the fact that a majority (6 to 5) of Agriculture Committee members support passage of the measure, Vermont legislators are holding up the labeling bill and refusing to take a vote.

Instead, they’re calling for more public hearings on April 12, in the apparent hope that they can run out the clock until the legislative session ends in early May.

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Retro Dreams Of Giant Future Food

Lifestyle magazine articles and Sunday comic strips in the 1960s predicted the arrival of a golden age of eating by the year 2000, with plates filled by technologically modified, super-sized foods of the future. The illustrations may look fantastical, but this is more or less what has happened — the only thing that was not anticipated was an organic foods movement putting up resistance. Via Paleofuture:

Gamma ray fields now operating on the east coast point to a day when crops will grow to giant size, vastly enlarging yield per acre. These super-plants will be disease and insect resistant — more tender and tasty — and controllable as to ripening time. Seasonal vegetables like corn will be available fresh nearly everywhere for most of the year instead of only a month or so.

1961-April-9-CTWT-sm

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Is the Obama Administration Planting Monsanto GM Crops in Wildlife Refuges?

MonsantoMike Ludwig reports in Truthout:

The White House is withholding documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by an environmental group that suspects the Obama administration of working with Monsanto-linked lobbyists to defend the planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops in wildlife refuges across the country. The information currently being withheld includes a portion of a January 2011 email that a top White House policy analyst received from a lobbyist with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), which represents GE seed companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta.

According to legal filings, the White House withheld the portion of the email because it accidentally contained information on BIO’s lobbying strategy that, if released, would cause competitive harm to the group and the companies it represents. “We suspect the reason an industry lobbyist so cavalierly shared strategy is that the White House is part of that strategy,” stated Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) staff counsel Kathryn Douglass, who is arguing the email should be a public record.

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Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Corn Fields

No pun intended. Via True Activist:

Hungary has taken a bold stand against biotech giant Monsanto and genetic modification by destroying 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds, according to Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar. Unlike many European Union countries, Hungary is a nation where genetically modified (GM) seeds are banned. In a similar stance against GM ingredients, Peru has also passed a 10 year ban on GM foods. Planetsave reports:

Almost 1000 acres of maize found to have been ground with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary, deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said. The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added.

Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary. The checks will continue despite the fact that seek traders are obliged to make sure that their products are GMO free, Bognar said.

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