In Praise of the Non-GMO Project

Non-GMO ProjectThere’s been some high voltage opinions darting about the blogosphere about the Non-GMO Project, which is the new third-party verifying organization for companies making Non-GMO claims. I have been watching and working with this organization for many years and I want to weigh in. I have unqualified support of the mission, tactics, and integrity of the organization. In fact, last year we made the requirement that for any product to be listed as non-GMO in our Non-GMO Shopping Guide or iPhone app ShopNoGMO, it had to be enrolled in the Non-GMO Project.

At some other time I’d like to share what I believe to be the pivotal role that the Non-GMO Project plays in coordinating the non-GMO activities of the natural products industry and in giving consumers reliable non-GMO choices. These are, in my opinion, extremely important for driving the tipping point of consumer rejection against GMOs—which is our Institute’s focus.

In this blog, however, I want to address the integrity of the leaders of the Project. It’s an important consideration, as those of us who avoid GMOs trust them to determine the validity of non-GMO claims.… Read More In Praise of the Non-GMO Project

Throwing Biotech Lies at Tomatoes – Part 1: Killer Tomatoes

Remember the pictures of the fish tomatoes? For years they were an unofficial emblem of the anti-GMO movement. They depicted how anti-freeze genes from an Arctic fish were forced into tomato DNA, allowing the plants to survive frost. Scientists really did create those Frankentomatoes, but they were never put on the market. (Breyers low-fat ice cream, however, does contain anti-freeze proteins from Arctic fish genes, but that’s another story.)

The tomato that did make it to market was called the Flavr Savr, engineered for longer shelf life. Fortunately, it was removed from the shelves soon after it was introduced.

Although there are no longer any genetically modified (GM) tomatoes being sold today, the FDA’s shady approval process of the Flavr Savr provides a lesson in food safety—or rather, the lack of it—as far as gene-spliced foods are concerned. We know what really went on during the FDA’s voluntary review process of the Flavr Savr in 1993, because a lawsuit forced the release of 44,000 agency memos.

Read More Throwing Biotech Lies at Tomatoes – Part 1: Killer Tomatoes

Court Victory: Bovine Growth Hormone Labeling

ATTENTION SHOPPERS. An appeals court just upheld your right to easily choose drug-free milk from drug-free cows. This is a victory.

We’re talking genetically modified bovine growth hormone, also known as rbGH, rbST, and crack for cows. It’s been condemned by the American Public Health Association, American Nurses Association, and numerous others due to its potential for increasing cancer risk.

Banned in most other countries and banished from most US dairies, it still lurks behind friendly “All Natural” labels of companies like Breyers Ice Cream.

Before Monsanto sold off its rbGH division to Eli Lilly in 2008, they lobbied hard to their friends in state governments trying to make it illegal for dairies to label their products as our rbGH-free. They almost won in Ohio—that is until an appeals court struck down the state’s label-muzzlng laws on Thursday, Sept 30th. If the decision had gone the other way, it would have forced all national brands that sold products in Ohio to remove statements like rbGH-free and artificial hormone free from their cartons.

The courts still allow Ohio to require a disclaimer on the cartons of those dairies who proclaim to not use the drug. But they told Ohio that they couldn’t require that the disclaimer be on the same panel of the package as the drug-free claim. Which is very good news.

I propose that dairies use a different disclaimer than that now required by Ohio law. Here’s what I propose:

Read More Court Victory: Bovine Growth Hormone Labeling

Genetically Modified Soy Diets Lead to Ovary and Uterus Changes in Rats

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If you’re still eating genetically modified (GM) soybeans and you plan on having kids, a Brazilian study may make you think again about what you put in your mouth. Female rats fed GM soy for 15 months showed significant changes in their uterus and reproductive cycle, compared to rats fed organic soy or those raised without soy. Published in The Anatomical Record in 2009, this finding adds to the mounting body of evidence suggesting that GM foods contribute to reproductive disorders (see summary at end).

Unlike women whose menstrual cycle starts automatically at puberty, female rats need to be "inspired." Their (estrous) cycle conveniently kicks in only after being introduced to male rats. Since no males were present in this study, the females fed organic soy or no soy were appropriately untriggered (diestrus).  For some odd reason, however, those fed GM soy appeared to have their ovulation cycle in full gear.

Although the researchers did not perform a check on the estrous cycle directly, their microscopic analysis of ovaries and uterus tissue showed that the hormone-induced changes (i.e. early ovulation and formation of corpus luteum) were well underway. In addition, the lining of the uterus (endometriim) had more cells than normal and the glands were dilated. In simpler terms, according to senior UK pathologist Stanley Ewen, something in the GM soy diet was "wrecking the ovary and endometrium" of the rats.

Read More Genetically Modified Soy Diets Lead to Ovary and Uterus Changes in Rats

Biotech Propaganda Cooks Dangers out of GM Potatoes

Don’t worry your little heads over the gene-spliced foods on your plates. Just trust companies like Monsanto when they tell you their genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are perfectly safe.

That’s the upshot of a new website created on behalf of the biotech industry by GMO advocates Bruce Chassy and David Tribe. While they attempt to discredit the scientific evidence in my book Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, instead they offer priceless examples of distortion, denial, and spin. Their site is yet another example of why we can’t trust GMOs, Monsanto, or the so-called scientists who support them.

In a series of rebuttals, I expose this charade and show why healthy eating starts with no GMOs.

Read More Biotech Propaganda Cooks Dangers out of GM Potatoes

Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality in Hamsters

“This study was just routine,” said Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov, in what could end up as the understatement of this century. Surov and his colleagues set out to discover if Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) soy, grown on 91% of US soybean fields, leads to problems in growth or reproduction. What he discovered may uproot a multi-billion dollar industry.

After feeding hamsters for two years over three generations, those on the GM diet, and especially the group on the maximum GM soy diet, showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies. They also suffered slower growth, and a high mortality rate among the pups.

And if this isn’t shocking enough, some in the third generation even had hair growing inside their mouths—a phenomenon rarely seen, but apparently more prevalent among hamsters eating GM soy.

Read More Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality in Hamsters

Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 10

When Forbes magazine declared Monsanto as the Company of the Year for 2009, millions of surprised people were forced to reevaluate their opinions about a major corporation. Now they no longer trust Forbes. Monsanto is one of the most despised corporations on earth. This is the last in a series of articles that expose their… Read More Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 10

Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 9

When Forbes magazine declared Monsanto as the Company of the Year for 2009, millions of surprised people were forced to reevaluate their opinions about a major corporation. Now they no longer trust Forbes. Monsanto is one of the most despised corporations on earth. This is the ninth in a series of articles that expose their… Read More Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 9

Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 8

When Forbes magazine declared Monsanto as the Company of the Year for 2009, millions of surprised people were forced to reevaluate their opinions about a major corporation. Now they no longer trust Forbes. Monsanto is one of the most despised corporations on earth. This is the eighth in a series of articles that expose their… Read More Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 8

Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 7

When Forbes magazine declared Monsanto as the Company of the Year for 2009, millions of surprised people were forced to reevaluate their opinions about a major corporation. Now they no longer trust Forbes. Monsanto is one of the most despised corporations on earth. This is the seventh in a series of articles that expose their… Read More Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 7

Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 6

When Forbes magazine declared Monsanto as the Company of the Year for 2009, millions of surprised people were forced to reevaluate their opinions about a major corporation. Now they no longer trust Forbes. Monsanto is one of the most despised corporations on earth. This is the sixth in a series of articles that expose their… Read More Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 6

Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 5

When Forbes magazine declared Monsanto as the Company of the Year for 2009, millions of surprised people were forced to reevaluate their opinions about a major corporation. Now they no longer trust Forbes. Monsanto is one of the most despised corporations on earth. This is the fifth in a series of articles that expose their… Read More Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 5

Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 4

When Forbes magazine declared Monsanto as the Company of the Year for 2009, millions of surprised people were forced to reevaluate their opinions about a major corporation. Now they no longer trust Forbes. Monsanto is one of the most despised corporations on earth. This is the forth in a series of articles that expose their… Read More Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 4

Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 3

Covering up health dangers

The policy Taylor oversaw in 1992 needed to create the impression that unintended effects from GM crops were not an issue. Otherwise their GRAS status would be undermined. But internal memos made public from a lawsuit showed that the overwhelming consensus among the agency scientists was that GM crops can have unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. Various departments and experts spelled these out in detail, listing allergies, toxins, nutritional effects, and new diseases as potential problems. They had urged superiors to require long-term safety studies. In spite of the warnings, according to public interest attorney Steven Druker who studied the FDA’s internal files, “References to the unintended negative effects of bioengineering were progressively deleted from drafts of the policy statement (over the protests of agency scientists).”

Read More Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 3

Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 2

Infiltrating the Minds and Offices of the Government

To get their genetically modified products approved, Monsanto has coerced, infiltrated, and paid off government officials around the globe. In Indonesia, Monsanto gave bribes and questionable payments to at least 140 officials, attempting to get their genetically modified (GM) cotton accepted. In 1998, six Canadian government scientists testified before the Senate that they were being pressured by superiors to approve rbGH, that documents were stolen from a locked file cabinet in a government office, and that Monsanto offered them a bribe of $1-2 million to pass the drug without further tests. In India, one official tampered with the report on Bt cotton to increase the yield figures to favor Monsanto. And Monsanto seems to have planted their own people in key government positions in India, Brazil, Europe, and worldwide.

Read More Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 2

Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 1

At a biotech industry conference in January 1999, a representative from Arthur Anderson, LLP explained how they had helped Monsanto design their strategic plan. First, his team asked Monsanto executives what their ideal future looked like in 15 to 20 years. The executives described a world with 100% of all commercial seeds genetically modified and patented. Anderson consultants then worked backwards from that goal, and developed the strategy and tactics to achieve it. They presented Monsanto with the steps and procedures needed to obtain a place of industry dominance in a world in which natural seeds were virtually extinct.

This was a bold new direction for Monsanto, which needed a big change to distance them from a controversial past…

Read More Monsanto: The World’s Poster Child for Corporate Manipulation and Deceit – Part 1

Supermarket News Forecasts Non-GMO Uprising

For a couple of years, the Institute for Responsible Technology has predicted that the US would soon experience a tipping point of consumer rejection against genetically modified foods; a change we’re all helping to bring about. Now a December article in Supermarket News supports both our prediction and the role the Institute is playing.

"The coming year promises to bring about a greater, more pervasive awarenes" of the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply, wrote Group Editor Robert Vosburgh, in a trade publication that conventional food executives and retailers use as a primary source of news and trends in the industry. Vosburgh describes how previous food "culprits" like fat and carbs "can even define the decade in which they were topical," and suggests that GMOs may finally burst through into the public awareness and join their ranks.

Read More Supermarket News Forecasts Non-GMO Uprising