Friday, November 30, 2012

Organic: Food Justice for the 99%

Cornucopia
by Charlotte Vallaeys, M.S., M.T.S.

Dr. Oz in Time Magazine Slandering Families Who Choose Safe, Organic Food for Their Children — Off-Base/Ill Advised

As Americans become increasingly aware of the story behind conventional foods—the ecologically destructive monoculture fields, the petrochemical fertilizers, the toxic pesticides and dangerous fumigants—the agrochemical industry has launched an all-out media offensive against the booming organic industry.

The agrochemical industry’s communications specialists have apparently found willing partners in major nationwide media outlets like The New York Times and Time magazine, which have recently published articles discouraging people from buying organic foods. The message is nearly always the same, as industry-friendly researchers and reporters downplay the role and harm caused by agricultural chemicals and focus instead on the differences between a handful of common nutrients. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, the conclusion is always that organic foods are not worth the extra price because the nutritional differences are minimal.

First, we must set the record straight. Scientific studies show that milk from pastured cows contains higher levels of beneficial fats. Beef from grass-fed cattle and eggs from pastured hens are lower in cholesterol and saturated fat and higher in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamins A and E. Organic strawberries and tomatoes contain more healthy antioxidants. These are all undisputed facts laid out in a myriad of published, peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Consumers increasingly turn to organic and grass-based foods, based on this scientific evidence that has been reported in magazines, including Time, in recent years. Now, the latest issue of Time mindlessly repeats the agribusiness mantra: “Nutritionally, an egg is an egg.” Milk is milk. And canned peas, with toxic pesticide residues, heated to extreme temperatures during processing, and then placed in a container lined with a suspected endocrine disruptor, are just as healthy as those for sale at a farmer’s market, picked fresh from a local field just hours ago.

The purpose of these media reports and stories seems to be to pull Americans away from thoughtful discourse about our food and back to blissful ignorance. Concern over pesticides, animal welfare, fostering local economies, and pollution turn people toward organic and local foods—and that’s bad for business for the chemical and industrial farming industries. No wonder they want us all to look at an egg, whether produced on a factory farm or laid by a free-range, pastured hen, and see nothing more.

The paternalistic message—to shut up and eat our food—is no longer working. Americans are no longer ignoring the mounting scientific evidence that pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, hormones, antibiotics and other drug residues are harming us, even at extremely low levels, and especially our children.

This scientific evidence about pesticides’ harmful effects, most recently reviewed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and covered in the latest issue of Pediatrics, will continue to be a major driving force behind the booming success and growth of the organic food movement.

The agrochemical industry will not win the hearts and minds (and stomachs) of Americans, especially when the health of our children is on the line. So they have turned their latest attempt to bring Americans back to blind trust in conventional foods by focusing on our collective class resentments. A more sinister message has taken hold, likening a diet of conventional foods to “The 99% Diet” and a chemical-free organic diet as “elitist.”

In Time magazine, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who once told millions of viewers, “I want you to eat organic foods” and “your kids deserve better than to be part of a national chemistry experiment,” has seemingly changed his tune and turned the decision to buy organic foods into a political and class issue.

Not only did Dr. Oz write that conventional foods are nutritionally equal to organic foods (he never mentions pesticide contamination), he calls organic foods “elitist.” Suddenly, a middle-class mother who decides to pay extra for a safe haven from pesticide contamination is called “snooty” and a “food snob” by the very same celebrity physician who once urged her to protect her children from agricultural chemicals by choosing organic.

Of course, the scientific evidence has not changed since Dr. Oz told us to buy organic. The study, for example, that showed statistically significant higher rates of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children with higher levels of dietary pesticide exposure has not disappeared, and is considered as scientifically sound and convincing today as it was when it was first published in 2010 and reported in media outlets including Time.

The conventional food advocates are now attempting to dissuade Americans from buying organic foods by turning the issue into one of class and privilege. The tactic is to paint food as a reflection of one’s position in society, like owning a Mercedes or fancy yacht, rather than a question of health and safety—organic food is painted not as a safe haven from pesticides, but as an elitist food for the “1%.” Would any of us 99%’ers want to be considered a “snob?”

Middle-class Americans who prioritize personal finances and choose to protect their children from harmful pesticide residues should be proud of this decision, and should not be bullied or shamed by Oz. Our children, as Dr. Oz once noted, should not serve as the human equivalents of lab rats. Rather than malign organic foods as elitist, we must recognize the very real and indisputable health benefits of organics and work to make pure, wholesome, uncontaminated foods more accessible and affordable for all.

Charlotte Vallaeys, M.S., M.T.S.
Director, Farm and Food Policy
The Cornucopia Institute

The Time cover story from 12/3/12 on “What to Eat Now” by Dr. Mehmet Oz is available, click title.

Excerpts from the article, with Cornucopia’s responses:

Dr. Oz: “Nutritionally speaking, there is little difference between the farmer’s-market bounty and the humble brick from the freezer case.”

Cornucopia response: Dr. Oz compares conventional and organic foods throughout the article by focusing exclusively on the differences between a handful of nutrients. This is exactly what the agrochemical and conventional farming industries, and their front group, the Alliance for Food and Farming, would like the American public to focus on. Just two months ago, Dr. Oz told the viewers of his syndicated television show to buy organic vegetables to avoid pesticide residues. Now, in his copywritten Time story, the word “pesticide” or “agricultural chemical” is never mentioned.

Dr. Oz: “Dispelling these myths—that boutique foods are good, supermarket foods are suspect and you have to spend a lot to eat well—is critical to improving our nation’s health. Organic food is great, it’s just not very democratic.”

Cornucopia response: What can be more democratic than consumers voting with their food dollars to support organic farmers who protect our environment and our health by eschewing harmful and polluting agrochemicals?  Even if there were no direct benefit to our families (plenty of published scientific research indicates there is), when we choose organic food we are protecting farmers and farmworkers from exposure to toxic chemicals. Many farmers, farmworkers and their children have elevated levels of certain cancers and chronic diseases.

Dr. Oz: “The rise of foodie culture over the past decade has venerated all things small-batch, local-farm and organic—all with premium price tags. But let’s be clear: you don’t need to eat like the 1% to eat healthily.”

Cornucopia response: Organic foods are not for the “1%.” Organic foods are for everybody, and are accessible and affordable to most families who prioritize their expenses. Many organic consumers forgo other “luxuries,” whether it be iPhones, vacations, new cars – all of which are advertised in the same Time magazine where Dr. Oz’s article appears – in order to be able to afford organic foods to protect their family’s health. These decisions should be applauded, not turned into a character flaw.

Dr. Oz: “After several years of research and experience, I have come to an encouraging conclusion: the American food supply is abundant, nutritionally sound, affordable and, with a few simple considerations, comparable to the most elite organic diets. Save the cash; the 99% diet can be good for you.”

Cornucopia response: Dr. Oz’s research apparently missed the countless studies showing that organic foods are nutritionally superior, lower in pesticide residues, lower in antibiotic-resistant pathogen contamination, etc. In addition to being published in peer-reviewed journals, testing by independent sources such as Consumer Reports (Consumer Union) and government agencies such as the USDA corroborate these findings.

Dr. Oz: “I consider it a public-health service to the consumer who has to feed a family of five or the person who wants to make all the right choices and instead is alienated and dejected because the marketing of healthy foods too often blurs into elitism, with all the expense and culinary affectation that implies.”

Cornucopia response: The added expense of buying organic foods is an investment in health. In the interest of public health, Dr. Oz should have mentioned the pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, synthetic preservatives, artificial dyes and sweeteners, and other harmful inputs used in conventional farming and food production. Comparing nutrients is just one aspect of a cost-benefit analysis. Dr. Oz owes his loyal fans, who respect his judgment, a more thoughtful and nuanced analysis.

Dr. Oz: “There’s no question that free-range chickens and grass-fed, pasture-dwelling cows lead happier–if not appreciably longer–lives than animals raised on factory farms. They are also kept free of hormones and antibiotics and are less likely to carry communicable bacteria like E. coli, which are common on crowded feedlots. If these things are important to you and you have the money to spend, then by all means opt for pricier organic meats.”

Cornucopia response: Yes, Dr. Oz, avoiding hormones and antibiotics is important to us, and it should be to you, too. However, just because a package says “free range” or “grass-fed” does not mean it is certified organic, and therefore is not certified to be produced without some of the most dangerous and objectionable drugs. Concerned consumers should go out of their way to seek out the organic seal.

Dr. Oz: “But for the most part, it’s O.K. to skip the meat boutiques and the high-end butchers. Nutritionally, there is not much difference between, say, grass-fed beef and the feedlot variety.”
Cornucopia response: Dr. Oz’s statement is not backed by scientific data, which consistently shows lower levels of cholesterol and saturated fat and higher levels of beneficial omega-3 fats and vitamins in grass-fed beef compared with feedlot beef.

Dr. Oz: “Let’s also take a moment to celebrate the tuna-salad sandwich, which is to lunch what the ’57 Chevy is to cars–basic and brilliant.”

Cornucopia response: It is unconscionable that Dr. Oz touts the nutritional benefits of canned tuna, without mentioning the FDA and EPA warnings concerning methylmercury contamination. The FDA and EPA recommend that women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children limit their consumption of canned light tuna to no more than 12 ounces per week, and their consumption of canned albacore tuna to no more than 6 ounces per week.

Dr. Oz: “Preserves and jams without added sugar can be great sources of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.”

Cornucopia response: Preserves and jams without added sugar often contain added artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, which has been linked in studies to cancer and neurological damage. Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are banned in organic products.

Dr. Oz: “We know more about the connection between food and health than ever before—down to the molecular level, actually. This has provided us the curious luxury of being fussy, even snooty, about what we eat, considering some foods, well, below our station. That’s silly. Food isn’t about cachet. It’s about nourishment, pleasure and the profound well-being that comes from the way meals draw us together.”

Cornucopia response: Dr. Oz spends the entire article attempting to convince the American public that there are few, if any, differences between conventional and organic foods. Yet in his closing paragraphs he tacitly acknowledges that we “know more about … food and health than ever before – down to the molecular level.” This contradicts his earlier statements that there are no differences.

Most people who buy organic foods do so not because they are “snooty,” as Dr. Oz suggests, but because they seek to protect themselves and their families from the widely recognized harmful effects of pesticides and other agrichemicals.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Treatment for Enterocolitis Brings Huge Benefits in Autism: Wakefield Vindicated?

Gaia Health

Dr. Wakefield was vilified for his research demonstrating a connection between enterocolitis associated with the MMR vaccine and autism. His work, though, is now producing results in the life quality of children afflicted with autism and its entercolitis pain. Watch this video to see the dramatic changes in some children’s lives, even a 15-year-old boy. There truly is reason to believe that these children can be cured, and even go on to lead normal lives.

 

Why Doctors Are More Dangerous Than Guns - Health Ranger Investigation

Social Network

A popular message circulating the internet claims that "guns don't kill people, doctors do," based on statistics that theoretically show that doctors are responsible for more accidental deaths every year than firearms.

Like many urban legends that cross the internet, it has a lot of "facts" for its readers, but it is unlike most urban legends in that it quotes a source: "Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services." The message was even recounted in an article by Nathan Tabor. The letter claims that:

-- There are 700,000 physicians in the United States.

-- There are 120,000 accidental deaths in the United States caused by physicians every year, and the accidental death percentage per physician is 0.171.

-- There are 80 million gun owners in the United States.

-- There are 1,500 accidental deaths from guns every year, regardless of age group, and the accidental death percentage per gun owner is 0.0000188.

This means, the letter points out, that doctors are 9,000 times more deadly than gun owners.

Based on U.S. government statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, combined with doctor-caused deaths published in the Journal of the American Medical Association it is evident that FDA-approved prescription drugs kill 290 Americans every single day, meaning that for mass shootings to approach that number, you'd have to see a Colorado Batman movie massacre take place EVERY HOUR of every day, 365 days a year.

That's how dangerous doctors and FDA-approved prescription medications really are.

Additionally, specific information obtained by Death by Medicine shows that an estimated 106,000 people die from adverse drug effects -- from properly prescribed drugs -- every year, and approximately 98,000 die annually from some sort of error by medical staff. Compare this to statistics from the Department of Justice and the U.S. Centers for Disease control for the year 2004, which show an estimated 16,137 people were victims of homicide (not just firearm murders) in the United States.

 

Statin Drugs Cause Even More Nerve Damage Than We Thought

Live in the Now
by Sayer Ji

Have the nerve-damaging properties of statin drugs now been confirmed? There are over 300 adverse health effects associated with the use of this chemical class of cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins, with myotoxicity (muscle-damaging) and neurotoxicity (nerve-damaging) top on the list.When will the FDA step in and warn the public, as proof of the problem in the biomedical literature reaches an alarming level of clarity?

The neurotoxicity of statin drugs are back in the news. Following on the heels of the FDA decision earlier this year to require statin drugs manufacturers to add “memory loss” as a side effect of this chemical class, a new study in published in the Journal of Diabetes reveals a clear association between statin use and peripheral neuropathy in a US population 40 years of age and older.

The study found “The prevalence of peripheral neuropathy was significantly higher among those who used statins compared to those who did not (23.5% vs. 13.5%; p < 0.01),” which is a 75% increase in relative risk.

Case reports of statin-induced peripheral neuropathy have existed in the medical literature for over 15 years. Now, larger human studies are confirming that statin drugs do damage to the peripheral nerves. Moreover, much of the damage is occurring below the threshold of clinical surveillance, silently causing harm in unsuspecting patients.

For example, in 2011, the results of a 36-month prospective clinical and neurophysiological follow-up of patients treated with statins over 3 years was published in the journal Neuro Endocrinology Letters, revealed in forty-two patients that despite the fact that they did not report subjective symptoms typical for peripheral neuropathy, damage was occurring. They concluded: “The study confirmed that long-term treatment with statins caused a clinically silent but still definite damage to peripheral nerves when the treatment lasts longer than 2 years.” Click the hyperlink to view all 9 studies on statin-induced peripheral neuropathy on Greenmedinfo.com. Or, view an even more sizeable dataset (54 studies) on statin-associated neurotoxicity.

While this research is adding to a growing awareness of the nerve-damaging properties of statins, this side effect is just the tip of a massive iceberg of under reported deleterious effects. For example, our project has identified 314 possible adverse effects of statins thus far. Conversely, we have identified a wide range of health benefits of cholesterol, running diametrically opposed to the over-simplification inherent in the cholesterol hypothesis (some say “cholesterol myth“) of heart disease causation.

Two thirds of pork products in U.S. supermarkets contaminated with fever-inducing bacteria

Daily Mail

Over two thirds of raw pork products sold in US supermarkets contain a dangerous bacteria that can lead to illness, a study has claimed.

The report found that a large proportion of pork products harbour bacteria - but the prevalence of yersinia enterocolitica is the most striking finding.

The food-borne pathogen was discovered in 69 per cent of all raw meat sampled in the study, carried out by Consumer Reports.

More well-known bacteria were significantly less prevalent in the study. Salmonella was found in only four per cent of products, while three per cent of meat samples tested positive for listeria.

Eleven percent of samples, most of which were taken from popular supermarkets, contained the enterococcus bacteria and seven percent contained staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

Yersinia enterocolitica affects more than 100,000 Americans every year, many of whom are children, and can induce fever, cramps and diarrhea.

The bacteria though is relatively unheard of and for every diagnosis it is estimated that 120 cases go undetected.

The study sampled a range of commonly consumed products, made up of 148 pork chops and 50 ground pork samples. The ground pork samples proved more likely to carry bacteria than the chop samples.

Urvashi Rangan, who helped compile the report, described the results as 'concerning'.

He told ABCNews: 'It’s hard to say that there was no problem. It shows that there needs to be better hygiene at animal plants. Yersinia wasn’t even being monitored for.'

He emphasised the importance of cooking raw meat properly to kill bacteria, adding: 'Anything that touches raw meat should go into the dishwasher before touching anything else.'

The study also found that many of the pathogens found were resistant to at least one form of antibiotic.

Critics argue that the use of therapeutic antibiotics in livestock increases the levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the environment.

The Pork Producer's Council however questioned the validity of the study given the sample size used.

It said that the 198 samples did 'not provide a nationally informative estimate of the true prevalence of the cited bacteria on meat'.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said: 'USDA will remain vigilant against emerging and evolving threats to the safety of America’s supply of meat, poultry and processed egg products, and we will continue to work with the industry to ensure companies are following food safety procedures in addition to looking for new ways to strengthen the protection of public health.'

TriHealth ‘fires’ workers without flu shots

From the Trenches World Report

Health system TriHealth had a message for 150 employees Wednesday: We really mean it this time.

The 150 workers who didn’t get the required flu shots by the Nov. 16 deadline received termination notices the day before Thanksgiving.

To keep their jobs, they need a flu shot by Dec. 3.

“The flu vaccine still is the best way to protect our employees and our patients against the flu,” spokesman Joe Kelley said.

TriHealth required all 10,800 employees to get flu shots. This is the third year it’s issued terminations for failure to get vaccinations.

TriHealth operates Good Samaritan and Bethesda North hospitals, the Queen City Physicians and Group Health Associates doctors groups and Hospice of Cincinnati.

It has offered the shots for free since Oct. 1 and will continue to offer them through Dec. 3.

Several of the region’s biggest health systems also require flu shots. Insurers and employers often recommend them to fight off the flu, but health systems are increasingly adamant in an effort to protect patients.

Some have gone even further.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in previous years has restricted access to patient rooms for everyone except families during flu season.

One example was the 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dr. Russell Blaylock: Fluoride’s Deadly Secret

From the Trenches World Report

Dr. Russell Blaylock M.D. is a retired neurosurgeon and author whose trailblazing research has tirelessly documented the fact that there is an epidemic of neurological disorders in the western world which are directly connected to toxins in our environment, and how this relates to the larger global eugenics program behind population reduction. In this fascinating interview, Blaylock reveals how depopulation programs forged by the Rockefeller foundation in association with the Nazis were the basis of modern day incarnations of eugenics like fluoride poisoning and vaccinations.

Blaylock explains how the eugenics movement began in America through Rockefeller, Ford and Carnegie funding and what originated as The Science of Man project, which was an effort to socially engineer humanity to weed out those deemed “undesirable” to the elite. Rockefeller funding via major universities then bankrolled eugenics programs for the next several years, information about which was gleaned and exchanged with the Nazis in Hitler’s Germany. Once eugenics had attracted the negative connotations of racial superiority and genocide, the pseudo-science was reborn under the umbrella of molecular biology and DNA.

The goal is to alter behavior by chemically changing the way in which the brain functions. One of the primary methods through which this is achieved is by fluoridating water and food supplies. Blaylock explains how fluoride opportunists seized upon falls in dental cavities, which were occurring naturally as a result of increased calcium intake and better diets in the west, to claim that mass fluoridation was the answer, while burying a plethora of studies that proved adding fluoride to water did not reduce cavities at all and in fact in several instances increased dental cavities.

Blaylock highlights how independent study after study has shown that fluoride increases cancer rates, increases bone disorders, which as Blaylock points out is a good way of increasing mortality rates amongst the elderly, and also leads to profound neurological disorders. Blaylock highlights the research of Phyllis Mullenix, Ph.D, who during her tenure at Harvard University conducted one of the largest studies into fluoride’s effects on the brain in animals. Mullenix found that offspring of animals who had been fed fluoride became hyperactive (ADHD) and that if you gave an animal fluoride after birth they became very lethargic and apathetic. Mullenix discovered that fluoride tends to accumulate in the part of the brain that controls behavior. After revealing the truth about fluoride, Mullenix was later shunned and attacked by the medical establishment that she had once been a part of.

Blaylock delves into the dangers of vaccines and how they are part of the eugenics assault, pointing out that America’s infant mortality rates are impossibly high for a nation that is supposed to be a global leader in health care. Blaylock puts the number down to the fact that American babies are now being shot up with more vaccines than ever before, the rising number of which correlates exactly with levels of infant mortality. “When you over-vaccinate, it interferes with the development of the brain and then the child has difficulty learning, they have behavioral problems, and their brain cannot develop normally,” states Blaylock.

This is a key interview to watch if you want to get a firm grasp of how we are under attack from modern day eugenics. Blaylock frames the information in clear and easily understood verbiage so everyone can obtain a coherent understanding of how we are being targeted and what we can do to defend ourselves against this chemical and behavioral assault on humanity.

New Study: 1/3 of Tumors Found in Mammograms are Harmless

by Lisa Garber

Researchers of a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine claim that the push for breast cancer exams in the past 30 years has caused 1.3 million American women to be overdiagnosed. Dr. H. Gilbert Welch of Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine argues that the decrease in breast cancer mortality rates is owed more to improved treatment than screenings, which detect even small, possibly benign and temporary abnormalities that resolve themselves.

Many breast imaging specialists, like Dr. Danial B. Kopans of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boson, railed against the findings, calling it “malicious nonsense” designed to deny women access to screening to reduce healthcare costs.

Early Screenings and False Positives

While the study authors agree that screening has detected early-stage cancers, it must also by this reasoning reduce the incidence of late-stage cancers (because the tumors would have been removed sooner). But they haven’t, the authors say.

After analyzing data between 1976 and 2008 from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found that early-stage cancers doubled (per 100,000 women) from 112 to 234, but late-stage cancers fell by only 8 cases, from 102 to 94.

“We hear the word ‘cancer,’” says Welch, “and we all assume the definition that’s in my medical dictionary—it’s a tumor that, left untreated, will inexorably grow and cause death. But now, as we look for really early forms of the disease, we realized the pathologic definition of cancer includes abnormalities that may come and go.” (Welch clarified that although he is not telling women to resist screenings, they should be conscious of the technology’s limitations.)

Stamatia Destounis, a Rochester breast imager, was dubious on the matter. “There is no way for us to know which early-stage breast cancer would not progress and which one would…. How would we tell a patient, ‘Chances are this is early and it’s probably not going to progress for a long time, if ever’?”

Dangerously High Screening Rates

This isn’t the first time breast imaging has come under attack; in 2009, the US Preventative Services Task Force concluded that current levels of testing put women under unnecessary financial and emotional duress. They also noted that false positives and unhealthy exposure to radiation were a growing concern. Several Harvard Medical School academics also echo Welch’s opinion that screening rates are unnecessarily high, and even mainstream health officials like Danish scientist Peter Gotzshe admit that screening isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.

It can also be argued that the very organizations advocating aggressive screenings—like Susan G. Komen—are engaged in fraud for using misleading statistics to promote screening, offering free screenings that may or may not raise the risk of future development of cancer, and by skirting scientifically relevant issues to breast cancer, like its link to BPA.

Unfortunately women are driven by massive amounts of fear of breast cancer, so much so that some individuals are actually cutting off their breasts in order to be risk-free.

Related: Why Are Health Officials Still Pushing Ineffective Breast Cancer Screenings?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead


Youtube

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is a 2010 American documentary film which follows the 60-day journey of Australian Joe Cross across the United States as he follows a juice fast under the care of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, the Nutrition Research Foundation's Director of Research. Robert Mac, executive director of the Nutrition Research Foundation is credited as co-creator of the film. Cross serves on the Nutrition Research Foundation's Advisory Board.



GM corn variety 'cannot be regarded as safe': Author of study linking food to cancer issues new attack

Daily Mail

The team of researchers who caused uproar when they claimed a variety of genetically modified corn causes cancer has insisted the crop 'cannot be regarded as safe'.

Leading scientists lined up to condemn the study after it was published two months ago, saying it lacked scientific rigour and had made a series of basic errors.

Russia banned the import of the corn and a group of six French scientific institutions carried out an investigation which accused the study authors of playing on public fears to hype their own reputations.

But French scientist Dr Gilles-Eric Séralini and his colleagues have now hit back maintaining the safety of the NK603 variety of GM corn remains unproven.

They accused many of their critics of lacking credibility because of links to the GM industry and said much of the criticism was led by 'plant biologists, some developing patents on GMOs, and from Monsanto Company owning these products'.

Refusing to give in to demands to withdraw their study, they said their findings represented 'the most detailed test' of genetically modified crops that are ' independent from the biotech and pesticide companies' which develop them.

They said in their rebuttal, published as a letter to the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, that unlike many other scientists involved in researching GM foods they were free from industry influence because they had no intention of 'commercialising a new product'.

It was also pointed out by the team that the research represented a 'first step' rather than a final conclusion about the potential impacts of NK603 corn and that further experiments may be able to establish its safety. For their original study they carried out experiments on rats and concluded that the GM corn, developed by US biotech company Monsanto, increased the risks of breast cancer and liver and kidney damage.

Experiments carried out by the team also suggested that tiny quantities of the widely available weedkiller Roundup, also developed by Monsanto, was also associated with an increased risk of cancer.

The experiments were carried out over two years whereas, they pointed out, biotech companies have usually based claims that their GM products are safe after feeding new varieties to rats for 90 days.

After publication of the study, in the peer reviewed Food and Chemical Toxicology, a dozen senior scientists signed a letter to the journal saying it should never have been published.

GM FOOD REGULATION

GM food and feed is strictly regulated within the EU. Labels must indicate to consumers when GM ingredients are included in food All products that are GM or include GM ingredients must meet traceability rules so that all retailers are able to identify their suppliers.

Risk assessments for all new GM products are carried out by the European Food Safety Authority before they can be sold in Europe.

'This study does not provide sound evidence to support its claims. Indeed, the flaws in the study are so obvious that the paper should never have passed review,' they wrote.

'This appears to be a case of blatant misrepresentation and misinterpretation of data to advance an anti-GMO agenda by an investigator with a clear vested interest.'

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) ordered a French University to carry out a review of the research while in Russia the Institute of Nutrition was asked to conduct a similar exercise.

Monsanto said in a statement in September: 'Based on our initial review, we do not believe the study presents information that would justify any change in EFSA’s views on the safety of genetically modified corn products or alter their approval status for genetically modified imports.'

Monday, November 19, 2012

Beta Blocker Drugs Useless for Most People

Gaia Health
by Heidi Stevenson

Beta blocker drugs, routinely given to people who’ve never suffered a heart attack, offer no benefit in most cases, and can cause immense harm in all cases. Evidence-based medicine is again shown to be a farce.

Yet another drug group, beta blockers, is being proven to be useless. These drugs, which block adrenalin, are routinely prescribed to people who’ve had heart attacks and people who are defined as being at risk for them. In other words, they’re given at the drop of a blood test.

There is, of course, an excuse being used for the finding. It’s implied that beta blockers don’t work because this is the era of “reperfusion”, which is a group of treatments that supposedly help keep blood vessels open. These include aspirin, stenting, and angioplasty. In other words, they’re claiming that the current treatments are so superior that beta blockers are no longer needed.

Of course, the study didn’t demonstrate that, but it sounds good, so they’re sticking with it. Besides, it most assuredly does not explain why there’s no benefit from beta blockers before people have had heart attacks, during which time they will not have had any of the reperfusion treatments, with the possible exception of aspirin. The only thing that’s clear from the claim is just how far modern medicine’s apologists will go in trying to explain away the truth.

If you’re taking beta blockers, do not stop taking them suddenly. It can be very dangerous, so be sure to discuss it with your doctor before quitting.

The Study

The study, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), is entitled β-Blocker Use and Clinical Outcomes in Stable Outpatients With and Without Coronary Artery Disease. The researchers followed 44,708 patients for an average (median) of 44 months. The outcome measures were:

The primary outcome was a composite of cardiovascular death, nonfatal MI, or nonfatal stroke. The secondary outcome was the primary outcome plus hospitalization for atherothrombotic events or a revascularization procedure.

The abstract starts with a statement that beta blockers are the standard of care immediately after myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), but then goes on to say:  

However, the benefit of β-blocker use in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) but no history of MI, those with a remote history of MI [myocardial infarction], and those with only risk factors for CAD is unclear.


That statement alone clarifies that the routine use of beta blockers in massive numbers of people who’ve never suffered a heart attack has absolutely nothing to do with evidence. It’s a clear demonstration that doctors’ claims of basing their practices on science or evidence-based medicine are nothing short of farcical.

Why This Study Matters

What made this study unique, as compared to most produced by the pharmaceutical companies, is that they looked at cardiovascular deaths and nonfatal heart attacks and deaths, rather than focusing on markers, such as blood pressure and cholesterol. This is highly significant. The reason people take these drugs is to avoid death and disability from disease, not to avoid high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Those are not diseases. They may be indicators of disease states, but they are not, themselves, diseases. One of the nastiest tricks used by Big Pharma is the substitution of markers like these for the real concern: death and debility from disease.

The study found that people defined as having cardiovascular disease, there is no benefit in taking beta blocking drugs. Only those who have recently suffered from heart attacks may benefit. The time after a heart attack during which beta blockers may help is unknown. The study did find benefit in patients who were taking beta blockers during the year after suffering a heart attack.

The lead author, Sripal Bangalore of New York University School of Medicine, told heartwire:  Though the guidelines are kind of aligned with what we are showing, in practice that’s not true. It’s common to see beta blockers being prescribed because of the perception that they are perhaps beneficial. But we should be extra careful in making those extrapolations.

Beta blockers are frequently prescribed to people only because their blood pressure is determined to be higher than is currently believed to be good. Of course, it has never been demonstrated that artificially lowering blood pressure prevents heart attacks, but that certainly doesn’t stop them from prescribing drugs to lower it.

So, what risks are taken by people in exchange for beta blockers’ complete lack of benefit? They are not small. In fact, it’s probable that people have died as a result. Adverse effects include liver damage, impotence, fatigue and inability to exercise, wheezing, damage to peripheral nerves, thrombocytopenia, lupus erythematosus symptoms, anaphylaxis, hypercalcemia (excess calcium), hypomagnesia (inadequate magnesium), death of the skin (which can be life-threatening), and more.

Evidence-Based Medicine?

Yet again, we have solid evidence that the so-called scientific basis of “evidence-based medicine” is hardly existent. Beta blockers may have value, but hardly anyone taking them for cardiovascular disease receives any benefit—and all face grave risks from them. This is the reality.

“Evidence-based medicine” is little more than a clever marketing gimmick. When selling clothing, that’s generally not a big problem. Caveat emptor doesn’t matter so much when shopping for clothes. However, when it comes to taking pharmaceutical drugs and other medical treatments, caveat emptor should never be a concern for the patient. The doctor should be screening products, not acting as sales agents for Big Pharma.

More Proof that Pesticides are Having Detrimental Effects on Children

Natural Society
by Elisabeth Renter

A new study from the Pesticide Action Network says that the more than 1 billion pounds of pesticides used in the United States every year may be having detrimental effects on children’s health. While it may seem like a statement from Captain Obvious, the industry that makes these pesticides insists they are safe. Safe to have on our foods, in our air, and leeched into our water. And just as safe for children as they are for adults.

But, the Pesticide Action Network North America (PAANA) says, that simply isn’t the case. Their research, and research that has come before them, indicates these chemicals (used to kill things incidentally) are contributing to things like autism, birth defects, early puberty, obesity, cancer, diabetes, and asthma.

Researchers drew their conclusions from dozens of studies that linked pesticides with serious health concerns. These studies show that the effects of pesticides on children are even more pronounced than they are in adults. After all, everything is smaller and still developing in the young.

“One of the things that is also really clear from science is that children are just much more vulnerable to pesticide exposure,” said report co-author Kristin Schafer. “In terms of how their bodies work and defense mechanisms work, how much (pesticides) they’re taking in pound for pound, they’re eating more, drinking more, breathing more than an adult, and are much more susceptible to harms that pesticides can pose.”

For their part, the pesticide industry says these findings are simply untrue—that their chemicals are harmless for everyone, that they are tested for safety and wouldn’t be used if they weren’t safe. Of course, their vested interest in the continued belief of their chemicals safety wouldn’t be playing a role in their insistence, would it? Pesticide companies and companies like Monsanto, for instance, are notorious for funding studies that “prove” their safety—because truly objective studies would hurt their bottom line.

Related:  Brain tumour link to pesticides

Payback Time: Boycott the Brands that Helped Kill Prop 37

Organic Consumers Association

They stomped on our right to know. Now it's time to get even.

Prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling initiative, was narrowly defeated last week thanks to a relentless, deceitful $46-million advertising blitz. Among the largest bankrollers of the NO on 37 campaign were huge multinational food and beverage companies whose subsidiaries make billions selling some of your favorite organic and "natural" brands.

Brands like Kashi. Honest Tea. Naked Juice. Muir Glen and Morningstar Farms.

It's time to boycott the companies whose dirty money confused and scared millions of California voters into voting No on Prop 37. It's time to plaster their facebook pages with this message: We won't support you until you support us. It's time to call their consumer hotlines, complain to their store managers. It's time to tarnish their holy organic and natural images, to expose their hypocrisy and greed.

It's time to raise a little hell.

The OCA is calling on all consumers to boycott these 10 organic and natural traitor brands:

• PepsiCo (Donated $2.5M): Naked Juice, Tostito's Organic, Tropicana Organic • Kraft (Donated $2M): Boca Burgers and Back to Nature • Safeway (Member of Grocery Manufacturers Association, which donated $2M):"O" Organics • Coca-Cola (Donated $1.7M): Honest Tea, Odwalla • General Mills (Donated $1.2M): Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, Larabar • Con-Agra (Donated $1.2M): Orville Redenbacher's Organic, Hunt's Organic, Lightlife, Alexia • Kellogg's (Donated $791k): Kashi, Bear Naked, Morningstar Farms, Gardenburger • Smuckers (Donated $555k): R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic • Unilever (Donated $467k): Ben & Jerry's • Dean Foods (Donated $254k): Horizon, Silk, White Wave Tell these companies that if they want your loyalty - and your grocery dollars - they must do two things:

1. Speak out publicly in favor of the pending GMO Labeling Ballot Initiative (I-522) in Washington State in 2013, as well as the pending GMO labeling bills coming up in Vermont and other states.

2. Contribute as much or more money to the Yes on I-522 Campaign in Washington than their parent corporations spent to defeat Prop 37.

Prop 37 was narrowly defeated, by dirty money and dirty tricks. But it spawned a huge, national consumer movement that is fired up and more determined than ever to fight this battle until we win the right to know if our food has been genetically modified. We're already collecting signatures in Washington State, talking to legislators in Vermont and Connecticut. A 30-state coalition is formulating a plan to collaborate on GMO-labeling laws and initiatives.

You are a part of this movement, and today we're calling on you, on the millions of consumers who were outraged by the NO on 37's dirty campaign, to send a clear message to the traitor brands who helped kill Prop 37, in the only language they understand: lost profits and lower sales.

TAKE ACTION: Join the Boycott!

GM woes: no water, no birds, no butterflies, and we’re coughing at harvest time

Farm Wars
by Cindy, Coldwater Michigan, USA

A farmer with land near us next to Silver Lake in southern Michigan (Branch County) dug a deep well two years ago about 600 feet from the lake shore. He did it in the dead of winter, going through snow and frozen ground after the summer crowd left for the season. When everyone returned in the spring, we and some of our neighbours found that our water pipes often sucked air. The farmer used immense irrigation systems the whole summer on his GM crops. Another GM farmer near a pond that our friend owns a few miles away in the same county also drilled a well to irrigate his fields and the pond went dry.

The first farmer started planting GM crops about 3 or 4 years ago. We knew he did it because he put out signs indicating that they were GM when he planted his corn that year. Then in the fall, when he began to harvest, he actually flew a skull-and-crossbones flag on his combine and harvester! My husband and I started coughing, and we coughed our way through his harvest, as we do every fall now, and getting worse every year.

The other thing that’s happened is that we have almost no birds here anymore. I have bird feeders out, for both songbirds and hummingbirds. For years I’ve enjoyed a wide variety of birds outside my window. But sadly, this year I never once had to replenish my bag of feed. The birds are gone. So are the butterflies. I saw zero butterflies this summer, and there were hardly any bees.

The bees used to battle the hummingbirds for food, but the two lonely hummingbirds that visited our feeder this year had very little competition from the handful of bees that came around. I used to enjoy flocks of hummingbirds, but this year my hummingbird feeder actually went sour before I had to change it. The wild deer are gone too. In other parts of our country, people are blaming the drought for low bird populations. But we’re sitting on a lake.

There’s plenty of water here. And there are no birds. Again, the only thing that’s changed is we’re surrounded by GM fields.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cell phone radiation DOES harm your baby and may cause hyperactivity, study says

Daily Mail

Attention pregnant women: put down your cellphone.

Cellphone radiation exposure during pregnancy impacts fetal brain development and may cause hyperactivity, Yale School of Medicine researchers say.

Dr. Hugh Taylor, a medical professor and chief of Yale's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, co-authored a recent study to probe the impact of cellphone exposure on pregnancies.

'We had pregnant mice in cages and we just simply put a cellphone on top of the cage. In half the mice, the cellphone was active and in half of the ... cages the cellphone was turned off so it wasn't transmitting a signal at all,' Taylor said. Taylor said the researchers allowed the mice to give birth and waited until offspring were young adults before behaviors were tested.

'The mice exposed to cellphones were more active,' Taylor said. 'Their memory was slightly decreased ... these mice were basically bouncing off the walls and didn't have a care in the world.'

Taylor says the study shows there is a "biological basis" to suggest cellphone exposure can impact pregnancies. He says he is encouraging patients to be cautious with devices and recommends pregnant women hold phones away from the body. Cellphone manufacturers, including Blackberry and Apple, also say consumers should keep devices away from the body due to potential safety risks but these warnings often go unnoticed because they are featured in device manuals. Taylor is slated to join other global researchers on Monday for a panel discussion about the impact cellphone exposure may have on pregnancies. The panel has been organized by Dr. Devra Davis, who runs the non-profit organization Environmental Health Trust.

Davis' organization has been pushing governments around the world to take action on cellphone safety. 'While it may be legal for companies to show advertisements of phones being used in ways that are not recommended, it is not ethical,' she said. 'When they sell phones to people, and they tell them in fine print to not use them next to the body, and then all their advertisements show them using cellphones exactly next to the body ... I think that is really a profound disconnect that people ought to be aware of.'

The world now has almost as many cellphone subscriptions as inhabitants, according to recent numbers published by the UN telecom agency.

In 2011, the World Health Organization's cancer arm said cellphones could cause cancer and called for more research. Some other countries around the world, including France, have banned companies from advertising cellphones to children due to the possible risks.

Related: Pregnant women need not worry about cellphone use

Ground Truth: Two things about California's GE labeling fight

by Heather Pilactic

Amidst the food movement’s flurry of post-election analysis and reflection, here are two salient facts about California’s ballot initiative fight over the proposed mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food:

1) Pesticide and processed food industries outspent a rag-tag citizen’s coalition of pro-labeling forces by 5-to-1, and still only narrowly (53% v. 47%) defeated the initiative (Proposition 37); and

2) California’s battle over GE labeling kick-started the national conversation in a way that’s going to make it much harder for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue rubber-stamping new GE crops — as the agency is poised to do once again in coming weeks

Numbers & Facts

Proposition 37’s late-game reversal of fortunes is stunning by the numbers alone, and these warrant a closer look. Among California’s 11 very expensive ballot initiatives, Proposition 37 is alone in showing such a clear reversal of public opinion in tight correspondence with corporate ad spending.

Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer Crop Science and BASF (a.k.a. the “Big 6” pesticide corporations) joined processed food conglomerates in spending $46 million dollars to defeat Proposition 37. Meanwhile, supporters of the ballot initiative cobbled together a mere $9 million, and nearly won. Up until early October, in fact, polls showed Californian’s favoring GE labeling by a factor of nearly 3-to-1.

We at PAN were among the many in the trenches of the Yes on Prop 37 campaign, and remember when the tides began to turn (early October). Behind that turn was an apparently unlimited ad budget, coupled with a stunning infidelity to facts. (Watching the World Series here in the Bay Area and seeing one misleading commercial after another attack Prop 37 is something I’ll not soon forget.)

As Tom Philpott notes, the No on Prop 37 campaign was “truth-challenged.” But propaganda and misinformation notwithstanding, at least two myths surrounding agricultural biotechnology have begun to unravel. A broader cross-section of the American (and especially California) public now knows that GE crops drive up pesticide use rather than curbing it, and that in fact, the science around the safety and efficacy of these products is far from settled.

Prior to Prop 37, the link between the pesticide industry and GE crops was almost a secret. (99% of GE crops either contain or are designed to withstand high application rates of a pesticide). Now, even those who opposed the measure and could not tell you exactly how GMOs and pesticides are connected know that it was Monsanto and other pesticide industry heavyweights who came out swinging against GE labeling. And after a century of bad corporate behavior, nearly every world-wise American now knows at a gut level that Monsanto is not to be trusted.

In the fuzzy-logic world of consumer culture, GE food’s brand has been seriously tarnished. And many other state-based GE labeling efforts are in the works even now, including Washington, Connecticut and others.

What next?

Whether or not all of this means that the food movement is past the pimply stage of early adolescence, the fact is that California’s labeling fight broadened and emboldened this movement’s power base just as we are heading into a series of regulatory fights over new GE crops in the pipeline, and preparing for what looks like a spring 2013 re-authorization battle over the now-expired Food and Farm Bill.

Prop 37 broadened & emboldened this movement’s power base just as we are heading into a series of vital policy debates.

If the fiscal cliff and other DC distractions succeed in keeping Congress from passing a 2012 Farm Bill in the lame duck session despite our insistence that they get off their duffs, then the very same sustainable food and farming forces that gathered together to push for Prop 37 will turn our attention and newly honed skills to securing the kind of agricultural policy that withdraws governmental support from the system of agriculture embodied by Monsanto. For every additional dollar of funding we win for organic agricultural research, that’s one dollar of public funding that will not be devoted to developing more GE crops that fail to deliver on promises to farmers and the public. And in this Farm Bill fight, we will bring to bear a broader base of power as well as a public disabused of the notion that agricultural biotechnology is the best thing since sliced bread.

Even more immediately, this not-so-nascent movement will be ready to push back when USDA moves to approve the next in Monsanto and Dow’s pipeline of new GE seeds — none of them adequately tested, and each engineered to withstand heavier applications of more toxic herbicides than the last. When our regulators fail once again to do their jobs, and we in the trenches of the sustainable food and farming movement say, “Not so fast!” — we will say so with a louder voice, and in concert with a public who has a fuller awareness of what’s at stake.

Related: The Folly of Big Agriculture: Why Nature Always Wins
30 States Pick Up Reins on GMO Labeling Initiative After Prop 37 Defeat
Goldfish Crackers targeted in ‘natural’ lawsuit over genetically engineered soy as Prop 37 supporters launch ‘GMO inside’ initiative

Monday, November 12, 2012

That ‘Organic’ Peanut Butter Might Be Doing Irreparable Harm

Gaia Health
by Heidi Stevenson

Definitions of organic can often be inadequate, with peanut butter as a prime example. Most peanut butter labeled as organic can do immense harm to health. It isn’t that there’s anything inherently wrong with peanuts. It’s the way that the peanut butter is processed.

If the oil in peanut butter isn’t sitting at the top of the jar, then you should leave it on the shelf. If the oil doesn’t separate, it’s been hydrogenated. Hydrogenated oils are trans fats. The usual excuse is that it’s what customers want—but would most people object to mixing the oil into the mashed peanuts if they knew how harmful trans fats can be?

More importantly, why would producers be interested in spending the extra money involved in hydrogenation of peanut butter? You can be fairly sure that the public would be retrained to be happy with oil separating if there weren’t an advantage for them. After all, they had no trouble getting people to accept bananas that look less than perfect when it was to their advantage. The primary reason for hydrogenation is to lengthen shelf life. Longer shelf life translates into bigger profits.

So, Why Doesn’t the Label Show Trans Fats?

Agribusiness, with the full cooperation of your government, has ways of lying to get around the trans fat label on foods. Two tricks are employed in peanut and other foods.

Serving Size Trick

In the case of peanut butter—and other foods—one simple trick is to indicate trans fats only according to their so-called “serving size”.

If a 16 ounce jar of peanut butter contains 6.5 grams of trans fat, the label will state that it contains none! And it’s completely legal.

A peanut butter serving size is defined as two tablespoons, or 32 grams. A 16 ounce jar of peanut butter is about 454 grams, or about 14 servings. 6.5 grams of trans fat per jar comes to .45 grams of trans fat per serving.

The labeling law says that when there’s less than .5 grams of trans fat per serving, it can not only be unlabeled, but the label can state that it has no trans fat!

Now you know why portion sizes are so small. It facilitates label lies.

Hiding in Other Ingredients

Serving size is just one way of hiding trans fats. The other is by simply declaring that two other degraded fat products don’t contain trans fats—in spite of the fact that they do. Monoglycerides and diglycerides are often found on the labels of peanut butter and other processed foods.

First, let’s make clear that there is nothing wrong with natural mono- and diglycerides. They are, in fact, quite healthy. However, they can be—and in the case of processed foods, invariably are—treated by processing at very high temperatures for hours with hydrogen forced into them, which forms trans fats. That’s why they’re added to peanut butter. They’re hydrogenated so that they act as emulsifiers to control texture, fat separation, and most significantly—from the point of view of Agribusiness—they lengthen shelf life.

However, trans fats from mono- and diglycerides do not have to be revealed on labels!

Processed Food Isn’t Organic

When we think of organic foods, we think of fresh foods—and the term organic should, at a minimum, include freshness in its definition. Sadly, though, it doesn’t. As a result, an entire industry exists around the term, designed not to honor it, but to subjugate it. The term organic exists in Agribusiness for one purpose only: to convince people to pay higher prices for foods that, though they may have been grown by organic standards (though that’s doubtful, too), they most assuredly aren’t healthy. They’ve been sliced, diced, and processed until little is left of their nature or nutrient value.

Foods that are sitting on supermarket shelves in packages—including in the produce section—should all be treated as suspect. We need, desperately, to learn how to cook. We need to buy our foods directly from the source, when possible. And we need to purchase prepared foods from the source, not from supermarkets.

The stuff in supermarkets is, for the most part, not really food. It has calories and a few arbitrary and artificial nutrients added in. It bears little resemblance to what our forebears recognized as food. If we don’t pay attention and reverse this trend, we can expect to condemn not only ourselves, but also our children to lives of deteriorating health, pill-popping, and subjugation, because we won’t have the energy or mental ability to change it.

If you don’t want to end up like the woman in the picture at the top of the page, then it’s time to stop reading labels and start eating natural foods.

Millions Spent Defeating Prop 37-GMO's: Why They Don't Want Us To Know What We're Eating

Youtube


Howard Vlieger began studying GMO crops in 1994 and is fortunate to work with some of the leading scientists in the world on research projects involving GMO crops. The real life experience that he has from being a farmer and working with farmers all across the US gives him a unique perspective on GMOs. Howard has been giving presentations to educate people about GMOs for more than 6 years in 13 states.

Related: How Dangerous Is Genetically Modified Food?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Release in the Millions with No Risk Assessment

Natural Society
by Mike Barrett

In case you didn’t know, genetically modified mosquitoes have been unleashed numerous times on planet Earth. Thus far, millions mosquitoes were released in various locations; Cayman Islands, Malaysia, and Brazil. Now, the GM mosquito creator Oxitec may release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in the fields of crops, including olives, citrus fruits, cabbage, tomatoes, and cotton.

A UK-based company, Oxitec is the maker of all genetically modified insects. The company’s goal is to create a global market, where GM insects will be released around the world in order to take over natural insect populations. With the replacement of natural insects, the company hopes to wipe out disease carried by insects as well as those insects feeding on farmers’ crops. As scary as it might sound, thousands of insect species could be genetically altered in the near future.

Interestingly, Oxitec is supported by and very close with multinational pesticide and seed company, Syngenta. Syngenta, in addition to providing the world with destructive pesticides, has also been charged with covering up the deaths of many animals consuming the company’s GM corn. Being mainly interested in the market for GM agricultural pests, Syngenta as well as Oxitec are planning to commercialize GM insects around the world.

What’s especially scary about the release and future modification of thousands of species is that all of this will be done with little risk assessment. Not to mention not knowing of the vast number of negative outcomes that could occur from genetically modifying parts the biosphere.

Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK said “The public will be shocked to learn that GM insects can be released into the environment without any proper oversight. Conflicts-of-interest should be removed from all decision-making processes to ensure the public have a proper say about these plans.”

To help release the GM insects, Oxitec is influencing regulation around the world. One example of influence revolves around the European Food Safety Authority, established to help the risk assessment of GM insects. As reported by FarmWars, there seems to be numerous instances of conflict of interested, which includes experts with links to Oxitec. The connection of those in EFSA and Oxitec is very similar to that of the Monsanto-FDA connection, where several government officials have hard-links to biotech giant Monsanto.

The draft Guidance on risk assessment of GM insects shows some significant deficiencies: for example it does not consider the impacts of GM insects on the food chain. Oxitec’s GM insects are genetically engineered to die mostly at the larval stage so dead GM larvae will enter the food chain inside food crops such as olives, cabbages and tomatoes. Living GM insects could also be transported on crops to other farms or different countries. EFSA has excluded any consideration of these important issues from its draft guidance. Many other issues are not properly addressed.

A briefing shows how Oxitec is trying to influence regulatory processes for GM insects. Oxitec:

Doesn’t want to be liable for any complications.

Tries to avoid any regulation of GM agricultural pests on crops appearing in the food chain.

Excludes important issues from risk assessments, such as the impact on human immunity and disease, and the possible outcomes arising from surviving GM mosquitoes.

Releases large amount of GM mosquitoes prior to regulations.

Attempts to define ‘biological containment’ of the insects (which are programmed to die at the larval stage) as contained use, by-passing requirements for risk assessments and consultation on decisions to release GM insects into the environment.

Undermining the requirement to obtain informed consent for experiments involving insect species which transmit disease.

Ignores any labeling using products produced from GM insects and how insects can be contained where released.

Related: Genetically-Modified Insects: Under Whose Control?

Friday, November 9, 2012

DID PROP 37 REALLY LOSE OR WAS IT VOTE FRAUD?

Proposition 37, a Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Initiative, was put before California voters on Nov. 6.  We were told the bill was defeated.  How can that be when over a million votes remain uncounted? -Ed.

John Rappoport's Blog
by Jon Rappoport

Hold your horses.

On election night, not long after the polls closed in California, the announcement came out: Prop 37 was losing. A little while later, it was all over. 37 had gone down to defeat.

But is that the whole story? No.

As of 2:30PM today, Thursday, November 8th, two days after the election, many votes in California remain uncounted.

I tried to find out how many.

It turns out that the Secretary of State of CA, responsible for elections in the state, doesn’t know.

I was told all counties in California have been asked, not ordered, to report in with those figures. It’s voluntary.

So I picked out a few of the biggest counties and called their voter registrar offices. Here are the boggling results:

Santa Clara County: 180,000 votes remain uncounted.

Orange County: 241,336 votes remain uncounted.

San Diego County: 475,000 votes remain uncounted.

LA County: 782,658 votes remain uncounted.

In just those four counties, 1.6 million votes remain uncounted.

The California Secretary of State’s website indicates that Prop 37 is behind by 559,776 votes.

So in the four counties I looked into, there are roughly three times as many uncounted votes as the margin of Prop 37′s defeat.

And as I say, I checked the numbers in only four counties. There are 54 other counties in the state. Who knows how many votes they still need to process?

So why is anyone saying Prop 37 lost?

People will say, “Well, it’s all about projections. There are experts. They know what they’re doing. They made a prediction…”

Really? Who are those experts? I have yet to find them.

For big elections, the television networks rely on a private consortium called the National Election Pool (NEP). NEP does projections and predictions. Did NEP make the premature call on Prop 37? So far I see no evidence one way or the other.

NEP makes some calls for the television networks, but NEP is composed of CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, and AP. It could hardly be called an independent source of information for those networks.

NEP has AP (Associated Press) do the actual vote tabulating, and NEP also contracts work out to Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International to do exit polls and projections based on those polls.

Edison Media Research did the exit polls in the state of Washington for this election. How? They surveyed 1493 people by phone. Based on that, I assume they made all the projections for elections in that state, even though there is no in-person voting in Washington, and voters can submit their ballots by mail, postmarked no later than election Tuesday. So how could Edison know anything worth knowing or projecting on election night?

Both Edison Research and Mitofsky were involved in the 2004 election scandal (Kerry-Bush), in which their exit polls confounded network news anchors, because the poll results were so far off from the incoming vote-counts.

Edison and Mitofsky issued a later report explaining how the disparity could have occurred; they tried to validate their own exit-poll data and the vote-count, which was like explaining a sudden shift in ocean tides by saying clouds covered the moon. It made no sense.

So if NEP did the premature Prop 37 projections that handed 37 a resounding loss, there is little reason to accept their word.

We’re faced with a scandal here. An early unwarranted projection against Prop 37 was made, when so many votes were still uncounted.

Those votes are still uncounted.

Why should we believe anything that comes next?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pesticide Use Increases as GMO Technology Backfires

Live in the Now
by Mary West

The GMO nightmare continues to unfurl, as the crop technology designed to reduce the need for pesticides has backfired. Farmers’ heavy adoption of these modified crops has sparked an increase in “superweeds” and hard-to-kill insects, creating the need to use more toxic herbicides.

Proponents of GMOs have alleged that these crops are a vital tool for weaning farmers off of toxic pesticides, but this claim has been resoundingly refuted by a recent study published in Environmental Science Europe. Chuck Benbrook, a researcher for Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, found that GMO use has led to a “monsoon in herbicides.” Not only have these crops necessitated the need for higher applications of Roundup, Monsanto’s herbicide, but the problem has also forced farmers to use older herbicides that have more harmful effects, says Benbrook.

Statistics demolish Monsanto’s claim that GMOs reduce the need for herbicides.

The magnitude of the increase in pesticide use is illustrated by the statistics of the study. In the period between 1996, when the use of Roundup-ready crops began, and 2011, herbicide use increased by 527 million pounds, equating to 11 percent.

During the first few years of the use of Roudup-ready crops, these GMOs actually fulfilled Monsanto’s promise of reducing the need for herbicides: they reduced the use of these chemicals by 2 percent between 1996 and 1999. This advantage, however, was short-lived. After this period, weeds started developing resistance to Roundup, which led to farmers’ increasing their application of this herbicide by 21 percent, evidenced by a 19 million spike in its use, Benbrook tells The Guardian. The stepped up use of Roundup eliminated the weak weeds, which gave the resistant weeds, or “superweeds,” the opportunity to proliferate and take over.

Statistics revealing a 24 percent increase in pesticide use between 2009 through 2010 show the problem is only getting worse. Benbrook relates to The Guardian that by this time the problem of resistant weeds had fully kicked in, resulting in the use of greater volumes of Roundup as well as more toxic herbicides such as 2,4-D, a component of the infamous Agent Orange.

What about Bt seeds, the other main biotech product?

Resistance problems leading to pesticide increases are not limited to Roundup-ready crops but also include the other primary biotech product – Bt seeds. These seeds have been engineered to contain a gene present in Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that is toxic to insects. This product’s purported benefit is that it will take care of the insect problem, but has it worked?

Although it initially reduced the need for insecticides, the resistance problem developed by Roundup-ready crops has now begun to manifest in these crops as well. Just as weeds acquired resistance to Roundup, so also rootworm, the biggest pest of corn, is showing signs of resistance to the Bt technology. In areas of the Midwest where these crops have been popular, agricultural experts are advising farmers to spray other insecticides because the Bt trait is failing.

Greater use of chemicals translates into more health hazards.

The harmful effects of pesticides, including Roundup, are not confined to weeds and inserts. Studies show they increase health risks in people and animals exposed to them through food and water. Experts say the use of more chemicals leads to more health hazards. Benbrook aptly characterizes the GMO problem as a “slowly unfolding train wreck.”

The Fight for Real Organic Food Continues

Waking Times
by Alex Pietrowski

Greed and power in the food industry is turning a trip to the grocery store into an objectionable experience, as processed and factory foods are further pushed onto the unwitting public.

On the positive side, however, most of us now have plenty of organic options, providing we know where to shop and how to find the good stuff. From fresh organic produce, to organic and compassionately farmed animal products, to a variety of delicious organic packaged foods, it is now easier than ever to eat healthy and stay away from unwanted pesticides, antibiotics, GMO ingredients, and synthetic additives in our food.

And now that Proposition 37 in California to label GMO foods has been defeated by the food industry and a sleeping populace, it is more important then ever to know how how to access and support the organic food movement. In a big way, your life depends on it.

Consumers must be prepared to demand and fight for high-quality organic options in our supermarkets, or we will be faced with a further degradation of production standards, questionable business practices, and conflict of interest matters.

Big Agra Conflict of Interest

A recent issue raised by various organic food industry watchdogs has been the presence of conflict of interest that has influenced decisions on what food additives are approved for use in organic packaged products. US organizations, such as the Cornucopia Institute and Center for Food Safety, have recently raised the issue of Big Agra business encroaching on the independent oversight that the US National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has over what synthetic items can be added to the approved National List. This list includes processed synthetic items and processes that are approved for use in organic packaged products.

The following video from Cornucopia Institute provides a thorough overview regarding this issue:



A conflict of interest question has been raised regarding who makes the decisions about what contractors and consultants conduct technical or TAB reviews of materials on the National List of approved organic ingredients. Currently, the NOSB does not hold the final decision in this; instead, the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), the designated federal officer that participates in NOSB meetings, and the USDA Office of Ethics are said to carry an unethical influence over these decisions.

The decisions of the NOSB significantly affect the direction of the organic industry and what synthetic items are actually considered acceptable organic food components. Questionable items are already approved, such as the food additive Carrageenan, which was re-approved for use in organic food processing as of the Spring 2012 NOSB meeting.

“Degraded carrageenan,” which is present in all food-grade carrageenan, is classified as a “possible human carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Academy of Science in United States. – Cornucopia Institute

Who Owns Organic

It can be quite shocking to realize that we’re at a stage of having a “possible human carcinogen” approved as an ingredient in our organic products. Perhaps as awareness of this grows, concerned industry players, consumers and government officials will implement new checks and balances to ensure that less conflict of interest exists in the NOSB in the US, and in similar organic industry authorities worldwide. Industry oversight will grow in importance now that most non-organic, all-American brands, many of which are supporting Monsanto’s no GMO labeling efforts, are the same companies that have been heavily investing in the organic industry over the last 15+ years.

Some of the big food companies that have given money to the [GMO] anti-labeling cause also own organic brands, such as Kellogg Co., which owns the Kashi cereal brand, Dean Foods Co., owner of the Horizon organic dairy line and J.M. Smucker Co., which owns several organic brands. – Wall Street Journal

Here’s a PDF of the top food companies in the US and their ownership ties to well-known organic brands (as of June 2009)

Click here to download a short video created by Dr. Phil Howard, Assistant Professor at Michigan State University about who owns some of the more well-known organic brands.

How to Shop Organic

Let’s agree that buying food is much more complicated than it used to be, especially for the aware, health-conscious individual. There are more choices than ever, but these choices come from fewer companies. For shoppers, it is vitally important to understand the labeling process currently employed in the organic food industry. This is why people who want to label GMO foods are so passionate about this cause: labels are one of a few ways, if not the only way, that consumers can make informed decisions about what food they buy.

The USDA’s NOP offers some insight on its website about the labeling requirements of organic products, which can be viewed in the Labeling Organic Products PDF.

Here’s a quick video with Anne Lappe, author of “Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen,” offering an overview of how to identify organic foods in stores:



In the video, Lappe mentions that buying organic produce is easy – it’s either organic or not. But what if your organic produce selection is limited? Or you’re on a budget, and shopping all organic is breaking the bank. Here’s a quick review of what fresh produce is typically most heavily treated with pesticides and which is not.

Here is another article with some insight regarding organic dairy, meat and seafood.

Think Local

If you already buy organic products or just want to eat healthier, don’t get discouraged by this article. It is a resource. Take this opportunity to learn from the wealth of information available here, and start making even better food choices. In our world, it is difficult to be 100% organic. But there are ways you can move closer toward this goal. Support smaller organic food producers and local farms. Eat fresh and raw foods. Start an organic garden or become involved in a community urban farming project. And stay informed and educated, so YOU are the one who decides on what food ends up on your dinner table.

Related:   GM Wheat May Damage Human Genetics Permanently

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vaccine Bombshell: Baby Monkeys Develop Autism Symptoms After Obtaining Doses of Popular Vaccines

by Sola Ogundipe

Following a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which revealed that many infant monkeys given standard doses of childhood vaccines as part of the new research,developed autism symptoms, question marks over the ultimate safety of vaccines have come to the fore.

The groundbreaking research findings presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in London, England, have revealed that young macaque monkeys given the typical CDC-recommended vaccination schedule from the 1990s, and in appropriate doses for the monkeys’ sizes and ages, tended to develop autism symptoms. Theirunvaccinated counterparts, on the other hand, developed no such symptoms, which points to a strong connection between vaccines and autism spectrum disorders.

This development which deconstructs mainstream myth that vaccines are safe and pose no risk of autism, was brought on by after studies on the type of proper safety research on typical childhood vaccination schedules that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should have conducted — but never has — for such regimens.

Included in the mix were vaccines containing Thimerosal, a toxic, mercury-based compound that has been phased out of some vaccines, but is still present in batch-size influenza vaccines and a few others.

Also administered was the controversial measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which has been linked time and time again to causing autism and various other serious, and often irreversible, health problems in children.

“This research underscores the critical need for more investigation into immunizations, mercury, and the alterations seen in autistic children,” said Lyn Redwood, Director of SafeMinds, a public safety group working to expose the truth about vaccines and autism.

“SafeMinds calls for large scale, unbiased studies that look at autism medical conditions and the effects of vaccines given as a regimen.”

Adding to the sentiment, Theresa Wrangham, president of SafeMinds called out the CDC for failing to require proper safety studies of its recommended vaccination schedules. Unlike all other drugs, which must at least undergo a basic round of safety testing prior to approval and recommendation, vaccinations and vaccine schedules in particular do not have to be proven safe or effective before hitting the market.

“The full implications of this primate study await publication of the research in a scientific journal,” said Wrangham. “But we can say that it demonstrates how the CDC evaded their responsibility to investigate vaccine safety questions. Vaccine safety oversight should be removed from the CDC and given to an independent agency.”

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg's soda ban will cause New Yorkers to poison themselves with more aspartame

Natural News

Ah, the hilarity of the nanny state knows no bounds, it seems. Especially not in New York City, where Mayor Bloomberg oversaw a large-sized soda ban that just became law. The really hilarious part of the law? It does not apply to aspartame-laced "diet sodas" which, by any honest measure, are far more toxic to your health than regular sodas made with HFCS.

HFCS may cause diabetes and obesity, but aspartame causes neurological damage and early-onset Alzheimer's. But that's just what New York needs, it seems: A wave of crabby soda-drinking senior citizens who are half blind and can't remember where their apartment building is located. (Or has that already happened?).

That the New York city health board actually thinks diet soda is healthier than regular soda is a sad, sad commentary on the state of nutritional ignorance in NYC. So under this nanny state plan, citizens will be pushed to consume more neurotoxic aspartame -- gee, what a brilliant plan! Why not ban vitamins, too, and just force everybody to take a daily chemotherapy pill and call it a "public health initiative?".

Soda prohibition will only create a new black market.

I'm mesmerized by the arrogance of nanny state governments that think they can alter reality via decree. Bloomberg and the entire city health board somehow believes they will magically make people healthier by taking away their choice. So instead of actually educating New Yorkers about the dangers of HFCS and phosphoric acid -- two of the primary health-destroying ingredients in sodas -- they pull a nanny state / police state fast one and criminalize the selling of those sodas.

This, of course, will only create a black market in high-capacity sodas. So now, instead of people buying their sodas at legitimate establishments with relative compliance with public health regulations, they're going to be buying "contraband" sodas in dark alleys where crime runs rampant. This is the upshot of all such prohibition laws by any government: economic transactions that used to be above the board are now driven underground. (Marijuana, see?)

Before long, tyrants like Bloomberg will dutifully announce "there is a crime wave of illicit soda sales taking place!" and therefore the city needs to create a soda prohibition task force to hunt down soda sellers and infiltrate their operations.

Yep, it's time to declare the "War on Soda" ... kind of like the War on Drugs, except even more of a waste of taxpayer money.

Then we'll see the NYPD hiring "undercover soda buyers" to infiltrate soda selling establishments, posing as regular customers. They'll ask for -- OMG! -- a "13 oz. soda" and see if the vendor actually serves it up. If they do, they're arrested on the spot and processed as a soda criminal. Because, you know, they're obviously a danger to society and need to be taken off the streets, right?

You see, the problem with creating new laws is that you then criminalize an entire segment of the population; then you need law enforcers to hunt those people down and "process" them with fines or criminal penalties. So instead of gaining public health, the city actually loses public freedom and creates a new crime enforcement overhead paid by taxpayers.

A nation with the most laws has the least freedom

The more laws you create in any jurisdiction, the less freedom you have remaining. Laws always have good intentions, of course, but they also have unintended consequences (such as driving people to drink more aspartame).

Such is the problem with trying to micromanage everybody from a centralized government: You can never successfully shape their behavior to your liking because people are individuals and they want to make up their own minds about things. Even if they do stupid things like drinking a Big Gulp soda sweetened with genetically modified corn syrup tainted with mercury. Yeah, it's STUPID beyond belief, but it's still their choice.

With this soda ban, Mayor Bloomberg is treating the citizens of New York like stupid little children. Or even like house pets. "Bad soda drinker! Bad!" It is a silly, dignity-crushing stance for any government to take, and it only breeds contempt among the People who increasingly see their local government "rulers" as power-hungry maniacs trying to micro-manage every little detail of their private lives.

What's next? Is Bloomberg gonna pull a Singapore and ban chewing gum, too?

Or how about banning "dirty thoughts?" That could be a real windfall for the prison industry system.

Mark my words: In a year, New York's obesity problem will be WORSE

The really hilarious realization in all this is that banning large sodas won't make a bit of difference in the city's obesity problem. A year from now -- or five -- you're going to have even more cases of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

And why is that? Because most of these diseases are caused by nutrient deficiencies. Banning diet soda does nothing to get people more vitamin D, selenium, zinc or magnesium -- the things that help prevent chronic degenerative disease. Diabetics, in particular, usually lack chromium, magnesium and vitamin D.

Banning people from buying large sodas does not magically make people take up exercise or consume fresh fruits and vegetables. You can't legislate people to want to be healthy, especially when half the people writing and passing these laws are obese, cancer-ridden desk jockeys in desperate need of a colon cleanse.

Look, society is SICK. Disease is rampant. The food supply is toxic. People are eating themselves to death with GMO, HFCS, MSG, aspartame and more. But that's mostly because huge food corporations dominate the legislation process and the poisons they put into the foods never get questioned.

Mayor Bloomberg doesn't question aspartame, MSG or GMO. Neither did Michelle Obama with her newly-release grocery shopping guide. There's never any real talk about the real poisons in your food. Instead, it's just this watered-down nanny state mish-mash of pure political bunk.

I don't drink soda, but that's because I'm an intelligent person who doesn't wish to poison my body with phosphoric acid and mercury-laced HFCS. I don't need some silly government mandate to tell me that soda is poison. That should be obvious to anyone with half a brain.

I also don't smoke marijuana, don't eat bacon and don't drink coffee. But again, that's my choice. I don't believe any one group of people has the right to tell another group of people what they can eat, drink or smoke. So why do we bow down, lick boots and surrender our freedoms over these things to the government?

Folks, if you live in NYC, you need to leave anyway. Not due to Bloomberg's silly nanny state initiatives, but because the city will become a death zone in the coming economic collapse. NYC is the absolutely last place you want to be when it all comes down.