Friday, April 23, 2010

Ten Things Monsanto Does Not Want You To Know or What’s Wrong With Genetic Engineering?

Reprinted from Organic Consumers Association

#221, April 22, 2010

Genetic engineering is a radical technology that breaks down genetic barriers between humans, plants and animals. Once released, these genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can easily spread and interbreed with other organisms, and they are virtually impossible to recall back to the laboratory. Monsanto provides roughly 90% of GMO seeds in the world. These seeds have been genetically modified to produce their own pesticide or survive repeated spraying of their toxic herbicide Roundup. Monsanto’s GMOs are not designed to increase yields to feed the world, but rather to increase Monsanto’s profits by increasing the use of chemicals such as Roundup and selling their high priced patented seeds which farmers must buy every year.

Due to the enormous political clout of Monsanto, the American public is being denied the right to know whether their foods are genetically engineered or not. Following is a list of 10 facts about Monsanto and GMOs, and how they can adversely affect your health, local farmers, and the planet.

1) No GMO Labeling Laws in the US
Foods containing GMOs don’t have to be labeled in the US. Monsanto has fought hard to prevent labeling laws. This is alarming, since approximately 70% of processed foods in the US now contain GMO ingredients. The European Union, Japan, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and many other nations now require mandatory GMO labeling.

2) Lack of Adequate Safety Testing
In May 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle announced the FDA’s anti consumer right-to-know policy which stated that GMO foods need not be labeled nor safety-tested. Meanwhile, prominent scientists such as
Arpad Pusztai and Gilles-Eric Seralini have publicized alarming research revealing severe damage to animals fed GMO foods.

3) Monsanto Puts Small Farmers out of Business
Percy Schmeiser is a Canadian farmer whose canola fields were contaminated with Monsanto’s Round-Up Ready Canola by pollen from a nearby GMO farm. Monsanto successfully argued in a lawsuit that Schmeiser violated their patent rights, and forced Schmeiser to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. This type of biotech bullying is happening all over North America.

4) Monsanto Products Pollute the Developing World
Monsanto’s deadly legacy includes the production of Agent Orange and DDT. Now massive aerial spraying of Roundup in Columbia is being used by the US and the Colombian government as a counter-insurgency tactic, contaminating food crops and poisoning villagers.

5) Monsanto Blocking Government Regulations
A revolving door exists between Monsanto and US regulatory and judicial bodies making key decisions. Justice Clarence Thomas, a former Monsanto lawyer, was the one who wrote the majority opinion on a key Monsanto case. Michael Taylor once worked for the FDA, later represented Monsanto as a lawyer, then returned as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy when rBGH was granted approval.

6) Monsanto Guilty of False Advertising
France’s highest court ruled in 2009 that Monsanto had lied about the safety of its weed killer Roundup. The court confirmed an earlier judgment that Monsanto had falsely advertised its herbicide as “biodegradable”.

7) Consumers Reject Bovine Growth Hormone
In the wake of mass consumer pressure, major retailers such as Safeway, Publix, Wal-Mart, and Kroger banned store brand milk products containing Monsanto’s controversial genetically engineered hormone rBGH. Starbucks, under pressure from the OCA and our allies, has likewise banned rBGH milk.

8) GMO Crops Do Not Increase Yields
A major UN/World Bank-sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists and endorsed by 58 countries concluded that GM crops have little to offer to the challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change. Better alternatives are available, and the report championed organic farming as the sustainable way forward for developing countries.

9) Monsanto Controls US Soy Market
In 1996, when Monsanto began selling Roundup Ready soybeans, only 2% of soybeans in the US contained their patented gene. By 2008, over 90% of soybeans in the US contained Monsanto’s gene.

10) GMO Foods May Lead to Food Allergies
In March 1999, UK researchers at the York Laboratory were alarmed to discover that reactions to soy had skyrocketed by 50% over the previous year. Genetically modified soy had recently entered the UK from US imports and the soy used in the study was largely GM.

How to avoid GMO foods? Buy only organic foods!

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Diabetes Drug Avandia Causes Heart Attacks printable article
Originally published April 13 2010
by Ethan Huff, citizen journalist

(NaturalNews) A recently-released Senate committee report has uncovered that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the maker of the diabetes drug Avandia, concealed information verifying that the drug has caused tens of thousands of heart attacks in patients who took it. The 334-page report also indicts the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for failing to properly regulate the drug and ignoring the truth about its dangers.It was also revealed that FDA officials had conducted confidential studies on Avandia and made recommendations that the drug be pulled from the market because it is unsafe.

In 2007, however, an FDA advisory committee of scientists and doctors voted overwhelmingly to keep the drug on the market, while at the same time acknowledging that it increased the risk of a heart attack.In the bizarre world of the drug industry, lies and deception are generally allowed to trump the facts. GSK responded to the allegations by claiming that extensive studies on more than 52,000 patients have shown no "statistically significant association between Avandia and heart attacks."

The whole ordeal began back in 2007 when Steve Nissen, a cardiologist from the Cleveland Clinic, published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed a 43 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events in patients taking Avandia. Naturally, GSK denounced the study, but internal emails obtained and included in the Senate Finance Committee report revealed that GSK scientists agreed with Nissen's study as their own numbers were similar.According to independent sources, GSK has known about the dangers of Avandia for years but has done everything possible to cover up the truth. In typical drug company fashion, GSK intimidated independent scientists that were critical of the drug, subverted independent reviews and studies of the drug's safety, and employed devious strategies to minimize all information about Avandia's dangers.

At the same time GSK was claiming that Avandia was perfectly safe, the company agreed to add a "black box" warning to the drug back in 2007 that said the drug can cause aggravate congestive heart failure. Black box warnings are the strongest type and are used on drugs that medical studies indicate carry significant risk or serious and even life-threatening negative side effects.So which is it? Is Avandia safe or does it cause heart failure? According to GSK, both statements are somehow true. According to all independent analysis, Avandia is wholly unsafe and should be pulled from the market.
Senate report links diabetes drug to heart attacks - CNN

GlaxoSmithKline Knew of Avandia's Cardiac Risks, Senate Report Says - The Wall Street Journal

Black box warning - Wikipedia

Articles on Diabetes:


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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mouthing Monsanto's Propaganda: Lies in the Boston Globe


#220, April 15, 2010Health, Justice and Sustainability News from the Organic Consumers Association
Edited by Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins

Lies in the Boston Globe

By Jill Richardson La Vida Locavore, April 11, 2010

The Boston Globe just printed a whopper: "Genetically engineered crops are more environmentally friendly than organic ones." This is the same lie we've been hearing from a long time, and it's coming from more or less the same source. In this case, the source is Elliot Entis, a former board member of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) - the biotech industry lobby group.I know what this article says without reading it: organic yields less than conventional, GMO ag and therefore organic is worse for the earth. People who oppose GMOs and love organics are idealists who don't know the first thing about growing food. We need GMOs to feed the earth.

And that is exactly what the article DOES say. None of it becomes any less of a lie just because the Boston Globe was hoodwinked into printing it. Honestly, this is outrageous and newspapers should be held to a higher standard. We expect them to give us the hard facts, not dumb lies.If you want to express your outrage on this, please write the Boston Globe a letter to the editor within the next week.

Use the following points:

1. The Rodale Institute's Farm Systems Trials show that organic yields as much or MORE than conventional, GMO ag for corn and soy.

2. For all crops, organic yields a little more than 90% as much as conventional in the U.S. but produces 80% MORE than conventional in the developing world.

3. Therefore, the entire argument made in the article is blown to bits because it was entirely based on that premise.

4. The Union of Concerned Scientists found that GMOs resulted in a net INCREASE of pesticide use overall. Also, the numbers given for Biotechnology crops that boast a decrease of pesticides do not account for the pesticide produced by the plants themselves.

5. Biotechnology t is not as benign when produced by GM crops as it is when sprayed on by organic farmers. That is because when it is sprayed on as needed, it then breaks down in the environment quickly. When it is produced by every cell of every plant, it is always present. Thus, it puts us at risk of losing Bt as an effective organic management tool for pests because it will promote the evolution of Bt-resistant pests.

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