Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Riceland Foods is the largest rice cooperative in the U.S.  The cooperative filed suit against the Bayer Corporation for damages it suffered as a result of Bayer's unapproved genetically-modified rice contaminating natural long-grain rice  -- one of hundreds of similar lawsuits that have been filed against Bayer in federal and state courts.
As a result of this contamination, countries within the European Union refused to purchase U.S. long grain rice, and rice farmers and cooperatives lost millions of dollars in sales. They also incurred substantial clean-up costs.
According to the Jere Beasley Report:
"Riceland alleged in its lawsuit that the presence of Bayer's Liberty Link rice caused the cooperative to lose $389 million in projected and future earnings. The jury found that Bayer caused tremendous harm to Riceland and the entire industry and awarded Riceland $11.8 million in compensatory damages and $125 million in punitive damages. The jury also found that Bayer was solely responsible for any damages incurred by farmers as a result of the loss of the European market."
In related news, a new electron microscopic pathogen in the shape of a medium-sized virus has been discovered, which appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings.
In the video below, David Murphy of Food Democracy Now interviews Dr. Don Huber regarding the discovery of a new organism and how it relates to crop disease, livestock infertility and how it threatens U.S. food and agriculture.
On January 17, 2011, Dr. Huber sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack alerting him to a serious problem facing U.S. agriculture -- a previously unknown pathogen. Dr. Huber's letter revealed that a top team of scientists had discovered a link between the new pathogen, the steady rise of plant diseases in genetically modified Roundup Ready corn and soybean crops, and the high rates of infertility and spontaneous abortions of animal livestock.


  Farm and Ranch Freedom May 4, 2011
Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Riceland Foods, the largest rice cooperative in the U.S. filed suit against the Bayer Corporation after its natural long-grain rice was contaminated with Bayer's unapproved genetically-modified (GM) rice—and they won. The jury determined that Bayer caused "tremendous harm to Riceland and the entire industry," awarding Riceland $11.8 million in compensatory damages and $125 million in punitive damages.

THOUSANDS of Lawsuits Filed against Bayer for GM Rice Contamination

As a result of the contamination with Bayer's unapproved experimental GM rice, countries within the European Union refused to purchase U.S. long grain rice, and American rice farmers and cooperatives lost $389 million in projected sales, not to mention the clean-up costs.
Riceland's suit was just one of about 3,000 of similar lawsuits filed against Bayer in recent years. In April of last year, Bayer CropScience was also ordered to pay a dozen Arkansas farmers nearly $50 million "for allowing a genetically altered strain of rice to escape into the commercial market, damaging rice prices in 2006," a Bloomberg Law article reported.
Bayer's GM rice, known as LibertyLink, was never approved for commercial planting; it's an experimental crop, meant to be sown for research purposes only. This is a perfect example of how easily things can go awry, and clearly illustrates the dangerous ripple-effect that is bound to occur whenever a GM crop is introduced.
There's simply NO way to avoid contamination!
Other biotech companies have also gotten into hot water over GM contamination in the European Union, where their products are banned for commercial planting.

GM Contamination Spreading Like Uncontained Wildfire

For example, in August of last year, the Food Freedom blog reported that the Irish government discovered they'd accidentally planted banned GM maize, originating from Monsanto. The contaminated seeds had been supplied by Pioneer Hi-Bred Northern Europe, a subsidiary of DuPont. Random tests by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF), discovered that three out of 1,000 plants were contaminated by Monsanto's illegal GM maize, NK603, engineered to withstand otherwise lethal doses of the toxic herbicide RoundUp.
In order to protect surrounding farmers and organic farms, DAFF destroyed its maize crops before they started flowering, to prevent pollen drift.
However, there's still no telling the full extent of the GM contamination.
After all, it was only discovered through random testing. The seed had verified as "GM-free" by Pioneer Hi-Bred. Last year Monsanto's GM corn was also discovered across 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) in seven German states. Since Germany doesn't allow GM corn to be planted, the farmers had to destroy their crops. These farmers had to "eat" their losses, as the seed companies refused to accept liability for the contamination...
In 2007, pollen drift from GM maize (MON810) fields were also found to have contaminated hundreds of conventional and organic farmers in Spain, the only country in the EU that allows GM maize to be cultivated. A 2009 Greenpeace report documents the socioeconomic and human impacts of the contamination.
Part of the summary reads:
"The farmers' stories tell of an alarming reduction in the amount of organic maize being grown and the direct negative impacts that genetically modified organisms have on the population. These organic producers have voluntary opted out of the conventional or GM farming model, many out of dedication to the principles of sustainability.
 Now, they face contamination from neighboring GM crops, even when they take measures to try to avoid cross pollination of the plants. For an organic farmer, genetic contamination is an unmitigated disaster. This report tells the stories of real people who have experienced losses not of their own making. Adding insult to injury, they often have to pay for testing or other protection measures themselves.
… There are no safeguards for MON 810 cultivation, and co-existence of GM and non-modified crops is impossible."
That's the reality of the situation, which is why we cannot rest on our laurels and must fight against the approval of each and every new GM crop. You cannot contain them. They absolutely WILL contaminate their conventional and organic counterparts.
This is also what makes the recent approval of GM alfalfa in the US so incredibly dangerous. The release of GM alfalfa quite literally threatens the entire organic industry, including organic meat, as alfalfa is the fourth most grown crop in the US, and is used to produce forage seed and hay to feed cows and other livestock.

Brand New GM Food Dangers have Emerged

Adding to this unmitigated disaster, research by Dr. Don M. Huber, an internationally recognized plant pathologist and professor emeritus at Purdue University, has unearthed new evidence of potential harm to both livestock and humans. On January 17, he alerted the federal government to a newly discovered organism related to GM corn and soy, which appears to be responsible for plant death, as well as infertility and spontaneous abortion in animals fed GM crops.
In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Huber urged the government to immediately stop deregulation of Roundup Ready crops, and to delay the approval of alfalfa until further research has been conducted.
The letter reads, in part:
"Based on a review of the data, it is widespread, very serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans and corn—suggesting a link with the RR gene or more likely the presence of Roundup. This organism appears NEW to science! ... I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of a high-risk status.
In layman's terms, it should be treated as an emergency."
Unfortunately, his strong words fell on deaf ears, and GM alfalfa was approved anyway. I urge you to watch the video above, featuring Dr. Huber. In it he explains the science behind the new organism, and the threat it poses.
According to Dr. Huber:
"The pathogen may explain the escalating frequency of infertility and spontaneous abortions over the past few years in US cattle, dairy, swine, and horse operations. These include recent reports of infertility rates in dairy heifers of over 20%, and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as 45%."
"For example, 450 of 1,000 pregnant heifers fed wheatlege experienced spontaneous abortions. Over the same period, another 1,000 heifers from the same herd that were raised on hay had no abortions. High concentrations of the pathogen were confirmed on the wheatlege, which likely had been under weed management using glyphosate (Roundup)."
Even the staunchest supporter of GM foods must be alarmed when they hear about a previously unheard of microscopic "hybrid" pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings.
How can anyone ignore such evidence?
Especially when there's strong evidence that this infectious agent promotes diseases in BOTH plants and mammals, which is extremely rare.

Why is US Department of Agriculture Secretary Ignoring this Danger?

Unfortunately, our government officials are completely ignoring this urgent message, which is understandable when you consider that biotech companies like Monsanto have hijacked our political system and infiltrated all levels of policy making.
Tom Vilsack, for example, US Secretary of Agriculture is (FORMER MONSANTO MAN) firmly entrenched with the biotech industry. He's a long-time supporter of genetically engineered crops, including bio-pharmaceutical corn, and was the founder and former chair of the Governor's Biotechnology Partnership. He's also a staunch supporter of animal cloning. Back in 2005, he pushed through the undemocratic and highly unpopular seed pre-emption bill, which strips local government's right to regulate genetically engineered seed (including where GE can be grown, maintaining GE-free buffers or banning GE corn locally).

Get Involved!  Here's what You CAN Do...

First and foremost, avoid buying GM foods!
We CAN shift the balance by simply voting with our pocketbooks. Europe successfully did this over a decade ago, without any government assistance, and Americans can drive GMO's out of our food supply as well, but it requires educating the public about what GM foods are.
If you don't already have a copy of the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, please print one out and refer to it often. It can help you identify and avoid foods with GMOs. Also remember to look for products (including organic products) that feature the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal to be sure that at-risk ingredients have been tested for GMO content. Many health food stores will carry these products.
You can also download the free iPhone application that is available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.
If you're feeling more ambitious, you can also order the Non-GMO Shopping Tips brochure from the Institute of Responsible Technology in bulk and give it to your family and friends.
Better yet, always buy USDA 100% Organic products when possible, or buy whole fresh produce and meat from local farmers. The majority of the GMO's you're exposed to are via processed foods, so by cooking from scratch with whole foods, you can be sure you're not inadvertently consuming something laced with GM ingredients.
When you do purchase processed food, avoid products containing anything related to corn or soy that are not 100 percent organic, as any foods containing these two non-organic ingredients are virtually guaranteed to contain GM ingredients.
 Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/11/jury-awards-136-million-in-genetically-modified-rice-lawsuit.aspx

Monday, June 13, 2011


Improving School Food: Do It Now or Pay the Price Later

On May 30, the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee voted to cripple the nation’s budding effort to do something about the woeful quality of school food and make America’s kids healthier.
Ignoring the recent bi-partisan mandate to develop new science-based, healthy food standards under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the committee’s bill directs the US Department of Agriculture to ensure that its proposed school food standards will not increase costs to schools.
That would effectively squash the drive to make school food better.
The pending USDA rule to update 15-year old standards, which has generated more than 100,000 supportive public comments, would require schools to cut sodium and fat, provide more whole grains and double the amount fruits and vegetables in the meals they feed to more than 32 million kids every day. Many Republicans say we just can’t afford it—and want to roll back a long-overdue process.
The “increased costs of complying with the proposed rule will be overly burdensome and difficult to manage,” Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) wrote recently to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, urging that USDA’s pending standards be rewritten. Kline is chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee.
There is no escaping the fact that serving healthier foods will cost money–at least in the short run–especially for the majority of schools that don’t have the necessary infrastructure, purchasing systems and staffing in place.
But Kline is wrong.
What we can’t afford is the ever-mounting cost of continuing to feed our children the same unhealthy, fattening and disease-causing food. School meals – often high in fat, sodium and refined sugars and skimpy on fresh fruits and vegetables–are contributing to soaring childhood diabetes and obesity rates, impeding kids’ ability to learn and costing the nation billions of dollars in current and future health care costs.
A report last year by the Produce for Better Health Foundation, based mostly on federal data, calculated that the diet-related medical costs of just four serious illnesses–diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke–amount to $38 billion a year. Obesity pushes the figure close to the $150 billion mark.
There is substantial other evidence that people whose diets are rich in fruits and vegetables are far less likely to suffer from these health problems, yet less than 1 percent of adolescents get their recommended servings of these healthy foods. With many children consuming as much as half their daily calories at school, strengthening school nutritional standards is the surest way to reduce future health care costs.
This is not “nanny state overreach.” Besides the health benefits, better school food results in better student learning and behavior and greater fitness. A 2007 Department of Defense report found that 25 percent of the applicants rejected for military service were turned down because they were too fat. Twenty-five percent!
In the current ideologically driven budget-cutting mania, however, there seems to be no room  for rational debate about what programs are worth cutting, protecting or even increasing, based on hard data, future benefits and return on investment.
Healthy food investments will pay off
Yes, implementing new school food standards will come at a cost, but some schools are showing they can serve healthier food on limited budgets – and in some cases even reporting higher profits as a result of increased demand for better tasting food.
USDA projects that implementing its proposed draft standards would cost nearly $7 billion. To cover just a small portion of that cost, the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act authorized spending an additional six cents per meal.
But even if it’s possible to meet the new standards at lower cost, which some say is the case, the broader questions are:
  • Despite the difficult fiscal times we’re in, do we really want to rule out spending any new money on healthier food for kids, knowing that it will deliver financial and health dividends in the future?
  • Are we willing to have a national conversation about the merits of investing our future? And if we do make an investment, what programs – or “offsets”–should be cut to pay for it?
As the budget process moves to the Senate, lawmakers must do two things:
  1. Reaffirm the Act’s forward-thinking school food policies and strongly back USDA’s attempts to write science-based school food standards.
  2. Negotiate common sense agreements to slash spending on wasteful programs that yield few public benefits while protecting and even increasing spending that delivers myriad societal benefits and future cost savings.
In an earlier post, we showed how just 2 percent of the cotton subsidies spent in California ($75 million) could pay for doubling the quantity of fruits and vegetables in California schools, with great benefit for kids’ health and farmers’ bottom lines. These upland cotton subsidies, which totaled $200 million in 2009, generated a return of only $85 million in cotton sales for the state. That’s a loss to taxpayers of nearly 60 cents for each dollar spent. In contrast, an Oregon study found that every dollar spent on buying local food for school meals generated $1.87 in new economic activity.
As these examples make clear, there are indeed sensible offsets to pay for better school food–if reason and common sense can trump the influence and money that dictates decision-making in Washington. Simple request, right?
As the Senate works to resolve big-picture deficit reduction issues and considers changes to the 2012 Food and Farm Bill, it must not just slash and burn valuable programs. Senators must rethink policy priorities so that our investments are better aligned with the country’s long-term needs, especially in the nutritional guidelines that will pay off in better health for America’s kids for years to come.
Shifting policies and funding priorities
It won’t solve all the nation’s food-related health problems, but we can boost access to and affordability of healthy foods at school and at home simply by shifting a portion of the public investment in the 2012 Food and Farm Bill away from supporting the raw commodities that yield cheap processed foods (think: corn, soy) and into growing fruits, nuts and vegetables and building the local infrastructure to process and distribute them.
With the slash-and-burn approach to balancing the budget gaining momentum, it is crystal clear that it will take concerted action by of millions of concerned citizens to push members of Congress to craft a smarter, forward-thinking food system. Unless your voice is heard, how will your representative know what policies you believe in?
You can take the first step right now and let Congress know that investing in smarter food and farm policies that promote a cleaner environment and healthier diets for kids is a priority for you, because it offers better health and lower costs over the long term.
Originally published on AgMag
Kari Hamerschlag
Kari Hamerschlag is a Senior Agriculture Analyst working in the Environmental Working Group's California office. Prior to working with EWG, Kari worked for many years as a sustainable food policy consultant in the Bay Area, including a year long stint running a Farm Bill campaign for the California Coalition for Food and Farming.

From the U.N.: BIG AG, Step Aside!!! New Mantra: SAVE & GROW

A fight over the future of farming: U.N. ag group vs. Big Ag

Small-ag mindset vs. Big Ag muscle."The present paradigm of intensive crop production cannot meet the challenges of the new millennium," says a new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
In other words: Big Ag, step aside. It's not as if the world is being fed particularly well at the moment -- and prospects are dimming for chemical agriculture in a resource-restricted, warming world.
The FAO has been very active in attempts to make world agriculture more sustainable. It published an influential 2006 report on animal agriculture's environmental and climate impact, and it was behind the 2008 International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development report, which laid out a vision of the future of agriculture in the developing world based on the principles of agro-ecology rather than on chemically intensive industrial agriculture.
Building on that work, the FAO has now published a "policymaker's guide" for developing-world agriculture called "Save and Grow" that begins like this:
The Green Revolution in agriculture, which swept much of the developing world during the 1960s, saved an estimated one billion people from famine. Thanks to high-yielding crop varieties, irrigation, agrochemicals and modern management techniques, farmers in developing countries increased food production from 800 million tonnes to more than 2.2 billion tonnes between 1961 and 2000. Intensive crop production helped to reduce the number of undernourished, drive rural development and prevent the destruction of natural ecosystems to make way for extensive farming. Those achievements came at a cost. In many countries, decades of intensive cropping have degraded fertile land and depleted groundwater, provoked pest upsurges, eroded biodiversity, and polluted air, soil and water. As the world population rises to a projected 9.2 billion in 2050, we have no option but to further intensify crop production. But the yield growth rate of major cereals is declining, and farmers face a series of unprecedented, intersecting challenges: increasing competition for land and water, rising fuel and fertilizer prices, and the impact of climate change.
The new agricultural paradigm, according to the FAO, should be "save and grow." Farmers must preserve the natural resources at their disposal in order to increase their productivity. Reduced tillage to save soil, crop rotations to save nutrients, and improved seeds to save water. Note that for the last decade, "improved seeds" typically meant genetically modified seeds -- but as a recent New York Times article on food production indicated, many of the newest, best seeds for our warming world have been developed using traditional breeding techniques.
Of course, Big Ag does not tend to take this sort of thing sitting down. In a case of dueling policy papers, the industry-backed Global Harvest Initiative (GHI) has put out its own set of guidelines for the future of ag. GHI is a coalition of biotech and agribusiness companies -- DuPont, John Deere, Archer Daniels Midland, and Monsanto -- that has, amazingly, teamed up with three big environmental groups -- The Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, and Conservation International. GHI intends to fight against the agro-ecological techniques recommended by the FAO; it seems to think the FAO's approach is anti-technological. As the group puts it darkly in its policy brief:
Societies must carefully examine the application of technology in agriculture to avoid stifling the innovation and investment necessary to develop and promote sustainable agriculture ...
Today, it is unfortunate that approval processes are becoming more restrictive and burdensome as court challenges mount based on non-scientific concerns.
This seems to be a reference to several U.S. court cases currently putting the legal brakes on the use of some GMO crops sold by one of GHI's main funders, Monsanto -- though the courts have clearly established that opposition to technological advances can indeed be science-based.
GHI's main point is that technology is the only answer to feeding the world. Every attempt GHI makes at an evenhanded approach, such as admitting that "the application of new science-based technologies and innovations is but one tool available to help meet the growing demand for food and agriculture worldwide," is undercut by the group's conclusion:
Successfully addressing today's global agricultural challenges, as well as those of the future, requires applying new technologies and innovation at every step of the way, from the beginning to the end of the global agricultural supply chain.
As you dig through the dueling policy prescriptions, you quickly realize that the FAO's "Save and Grow" provides a real handbook for developing a successful agricultural system based mostly (but not entirely) on knowledge we posses today. GHI, however, wants us to believe that the answers we need are beyond the knowledge of today's farmers and scientists. One group is presenting a fantasy based on promises and "just around the corner" success; the other is dealing with reality and what can be accomplished with materials and know-how we already have.
Source: http://www.grist.org/industrial-agriculture/2011-06-14-fight-over-future-of-farming-un-fao-vs-big-ag

ARE GMO's turning our Guts into PESTICIDE FACTORIES and making us STERILE?Take Action!

GE Food Alters Our Digestive Systems! USDA To Deregulate

Submitted by Lois Rain on June 12, 2011 – 12:48 am
If the idea of eating genetically modified food isn’t disturbing enough, another side effect from its consumption holds baffling and overwhelming implications.
What if because of the GM process, your intestines are actually serving as a factory to keep churning out Bt toxins? It makes GM toxins sound more like a replicating parasite than anything else.
Now the USDA wants to completely deregulate GM Cotton and Corn crops that are modified to be drought resistant. Below, you can learn about the USDA’s Environmental Assessments – their comment period ends July 11. Follow the links below to easily send the USDA a message to keep tight restrictions! Banning is not one of their choices. But without the continuation of current regulations, we stand to lose our non-GMO and organic crops with contamination!

~Health Freedoms
GE organisms actually become part of the bacteria in our digestive tracts and reproduce continuously inside us. But the USDA now wants to to remove all controls from GE corn and cotton!
There are no human clinical trials of genetically engineered foods. The only published human feeding experiment revealed that genetic material inserted into GE soy transfers into the DNA of bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function. Even after we stop eating GE foods, we may still have the GE proteins produced continuously inside us.
As the Institute for Responsible Technology has noted, the genetic engineering process creates massive collateral damage, causing mutations in hundreds or thousands of locations throughout the plant’s DNA. Natural genes can be deleted or permanently turned on or off, and hundreds may change their behavior. Even the inserted gene can be damaged or rearranged, and may create proteins that can trigger allergies or promote disease.
The idea of having genetically engineered genes permanently living inside our guts has staggering implications:
  • If the antibiotic gene inserted into most GM crops were to transfer, it could create antibiotic-resistant diseases.
  • Bt toxins (Bacillus thuringiensis) inserted into GM food crops to kill pests are reaching the bloodstreams of 93% of women and 80% of unborn babies because of the consumption of meat, milk, and eggs from livestock fed GE corn. This could turn bacteria in our intestines into pesticide factories.
  • Animal studies show that DNA in food can travel into organs throughout the body, even into the fetus.
And we’ve seen cross-species transfer of DNA happen before. A significant percentage of human DNA is actually viral DNA that became part of us over 40 million years ago. There is concern that virally transmitted DNA may cause mutations and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and mood disorders. GE organisms may exacerbate this phenomenon.
Genetically engineered food genes transferring to our own genes could lead to problems like leaky gut syndrome:
  • Our small intestine, which is responsible for about 70% of our immune system, behaves like a selective sieve: it lets only nutrients and well-digested fats, proteins, and starches enter the bloodstream and keeps out large molecules, microbes, and toxins.
  • Leaky gut syndrome happens when the intestinal lining becomes inflamed, and the microvilli on the lining become damaged; this prevents the microvilli from absorbing nutrients and producing necessary enzymes and secretions for healthy digestion and absorption.
  • In between cells are desmosomes, which keep the cells together, forming a strong structure preventing large molecules from passing through. When an area becomes inflamed, the structure is weakened, allowing larger molecules to escape. The makes the immune system produce antibodies and cytokines to fight off molecules because they are perceived as antigens.
Allergies have already skyrocketed in the US, and with the introduction of GE soy in the UK, soy related allergies rose to 50%. Yet federal agencies turn a blind eye to the dangers of genetic engineering.
In 1989 there was a tragic outbreak of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS), an incredibly painful disease. The outbreak was traced to consumption of l-tryptophan supplements produced by a Japanese company using genetically engineered bacteria. The bacteria are used to increase yields, but they increase impurities during the fermentation process—possibly leading to a level of contaminants that caused the EMS.
To this day, the government has refused to address the issue of purity standards for GE-manufactured products. Instead, federal agencies and biotech companies claimed that contaminants linked to the EMS tragedy were caused by changes in the company’s manufacturing process—despite the fact that the company was precisely following the purity standards enforced by government rules.
The EMS was rare and had a fast enough onset that the case histories of the patients could be linked to this supplement, and it was also acute enough that doctors took notice. There is a very clear causal link between EMS and these genetically engineered organisms.
The effects of other genetically modified products may not be as obvious so quickly, but can be even more devastating; as we have reported previously, GMOs are causing terrible genetic changes in mammal offspring. Scientists are seeing birth defects, high infant mortality rates, and sterility in hamsters, rats, and livestock fed GMO soy and corn, and some hamster pups even begin growing hair inside their mouths.
The late George Wald, Nobel Laureate in Medicine or Physiology in 1967 and Higgins Professor of Biology at Harvard University, was one of the first scientists to speak out about the potential dangers of genetic engineering:
Recombinant DNA technology [genetic engineering] faces our society with problems unprecedented, not only in the history of science, but of life on the Earth….Now whole new proteins will be transposed overnight into wholly new associations, with consequences no one can foretell, either for the host organism or their neighbors….For going ahead in this direction may not only be unwise but dangerous. Potentially, it could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics.[1]
The USDA has released two Environmental Assessment reports, one for Monsanto’s corn genetically engineered to be drought-tolerant, and the other for Syngenta Biotechnology’s cotton genetically engineered to be pest-resistant. USDA believes the cotton is “unlikely to pose a plant pest risk”; for the corn, the agency is considering either keeping the corn under regulation, or assigning it nonregulated status (banning it altogether is off the table). The comment period for both EAs is open until July 11.
Please take action today! Tell the USDA that the corn and cotton must not be deregulated—that without strict controls, GE crops will encroach on non-GE crops, contaminating them, including organic crops—which will, of course, render them non-organic.
The GE corn is especially dangerous because it is for human consumption. As noted above, GE genes from foods can affect the bacteria from our digestive system, and can lead to allergies, disease and even sterility.
GMOs are causing terrible genetic changes in mammal offspring. Scientists are seeing birth defects, high infant mortality rates, and sterility in hamsters, rats, and livestock fed GMO soy and corn, and some hamster pups even begin growing hair inside their mouths.

Click THIS LINK to go to the Action Alert page for GE corn. Click THIS LINK to go to the Action Alert page for GE cotton.
Once there, fill out the form with your name and address, etc., and customize your letter. We have a suggested message for you, but please feel free to add your own comments to the letter.
We’d also love to hear your comments about this article—just add your thoughts below—but remember that the messages below are only seen
[1] George Wald, “The Case Against Genetic Engineering,” The Sciences, Sept./Oct. 1976.
Source: http://healthfreedoms.org/2011/06/12/ge-food-alters-our-digestive-systems-usda-to-deregulate/


When Food Kills
By     Published: June 11, 2011 
Op-Ed Columnist
The deaths of 31 people in Europe from a little-known strain of E. coli have raised alarms worldwide, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Our food often betrays us. Damon Winter/The New York Times
Nicholas D. Kristof

On the Ground

Nicholas Kristof addresses reader feedback and posts short takes from his travels.

Related in News

Just a few days ago, a 2-year-old girl in Dryden, Va., died in a hospital after suffering bloody diarrhea linked to another strain of E. coli. Her brother was also hospitalized but survived.
Every year in the United States, 325,000 people are hospitalized because of food-borne illnesses and 5,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s right: food kills one person every two hours.
Yet while the terrorist attacks of 2001 led us to transform the way we approach national security, the deaths of almost twice as many people annually have still not generated basic food-safety initiatives. We have an industrial farming system that is a marvel for producing cheap food, but its lobbyists block initiatives to make food safer.
Perhaps the most disgraceful aspect of our agricultural system — I say this as an Oregon farmboy who once raised sheep, cattle and hogs — is the way antibiotics are recklessly stuffed into healthy animals to make them grow faster.
The Food and Drug Administration reported recently that 80 percent of antibiotics in the United States go to livestock, not humans. And 90 percent of the livestock antibiotics are administered in their food or water, typically to healthy animals to keep them from getting sick when they are confined in squalid and crowded conditions.
The single state of North Carolina uses more antibiotics for livestock than the entire United States uses for humans.
This cavalier use of low-level antibiotics creates a perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant pathogens. The upshot is that ailments can become pretty much untreatable.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America, a professional organization of doctors, cites the case of Josh Nahum, a 27-year-old skydiving instructor in Colorado. He developed a fever from bacteria that would not respond to medication. The infection spread and caused tremendous pressure in his skull.
Some of his brain was pushed into his spinal column, paralyzing him. He became a quadriplegic depending on a ventilator to breathe. Then, a couple of weeks later, he died.
There’s no reason to link Nahum’s case specifically to agricultural overuse, for antibiotic resistance has multiple causes that are difficult to unravel. Doctors overprescribe them. Patients misuse them. But looking at numbers, by far the biggest element of overuse is agriculture.
We would never think of trying to keep our children healthy by adding antibiotics to school water fountains, because we know this would breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It’s unconscionable that Big Ag does something similar for livestock.
Louise Slaughter, the only microbiologist in the United States House of Representatives, has been fighting a lonely battle to curb this practice — but industrial agricultural interests have always blocked her legislation.
“These statistics tell the tale of an industry that is rampantly misusing antibiotics in an attempt to cover up filthy, unsanitary living conditions among animals,” Slaughter said. “As they feed antibiotics to animals to keep them healthy, they are making our families sicker by spreading these deadly strains of bacteria.”
Vegetarians may think that they’re immune, but they’re not. E. coli originates in animals but can spill into water used to irrigate vegetables, contaminating them. The European E. coli outbreak apparently arose from bean sprouts grown on an organic farm in Germany.
One of the most common antibiotic-resistant pathogens is MRSA, which now kills more Americans annually than AIDS and adds hugely to America’s medical costs. MRSA has many variants, and one of the more benign forms now is widespread in hog barns and among people who deal with hogs. An article this year in a journal called Applied and Environmental Microbiology reported that MRSA was found in 70 percent of hogs on one farm.
Another scholarly journal reported that MRSA was found in 45 percent of employees working at hog farms. And the Centers for Disease Control reported this April that this strain of bacteria has now been found in a worker at a day care center in Iowa.
Other countries are moving to ban the feeding of antibiotics to livestock. But in the United States, the agribusiness lobby still has a hold on Congress.
The European outbreak should shake people up. “It points to the whole broken system,” notes Robert Martin of the Pew Environment Group.
We need more comprehensive inspections in the food system, more testing for additional strains of E. coli, and more public education (always wash your hands after touching raw meat, and don’t use the same cutting board for meat and vegetables). A great place to start reforms would be by banning the feeding of antibiotics to healthy livestock.
I invite you to comment on this column on my blog, On the Ground. Please also join me on Facebook, watch my YouTube videos and follow me on Twitter.