Category: Genetics


Published time: April 04, 2014 04:00

(AFP Photo / Dieter Nagl)

(AFP Photo / Dieter Nagl)

Rep. Mike Pompeo will introduce legislation backed by powerful trade groups to prevent states from passing laws requiring the labeling of genetically-modified foods, according to reports. The bill is linked to biotech giant Monsanto and Koch Industries.

Pompeo will offer the bill in the US House before Congress leaves for Easter recess later this month, The Hill newspaper reported, citing industry sources. Politico also reported on the impending proposal. Pompeo’s office would not comment on the congressman’s intentions for a labeling restriction.

The bill includes a “prohibition against mandatory labeling,” according to The Hill, echoing powerful interest groups that have already declared war against such “right to know” labeling laws around the nation.

It was revealed in recent months that powerful farming and biotechnology interest groups like Monsanto were joining forces – under the name ‘Coalition for Safe Affordable Food‘ – to push a federal voluntary labeling standard for food made with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in an effort to stem the tide of state legislation seeking to mandate labeling.

In recent years, voters in states such as California and Washington have narrowly defeated ballot initiatives proposing mandatory GMO labeling, though not without dragging members of the new Coalition into expensive campaigns to defeat the measures. Many other states are now considering their own proposals to label GMO food.

A top member of the Coalition – the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a major food industry lobbying group – raised and spent the bulk of the overall $22 million that opponents of labeling sank into defeating Washington State’s ballot initiative on GMO labeling last year. That total number was three times the amount that proponents of labeling spent in the state. GMA was joined in its effort by allies such as biotech giants Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont.

The Coalition said in February that it would seek to empower the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “to establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients.” In addition, the Coalition proposes the FDA mandate labels for GMO food or ingredients that the agency deems a “health, safety or nutrition issue,” though no consumables currently fall in such a category.

“The legislation we’re proposing would preclude state legislation that conflicts with the federal standards,” GMA president Pamela Bailey said of the Coalition’s aim, The Hill reported.

 

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Food Safety News

Remember California’s Proposition 37? It was the 2012 ballot initiative that would have required genetically engineered (GE) food sold in California to be labeled as such.

Prop. 37 would have also prohibited GE foods sold in California from being labeled “natural.” This aspect of the initiative got less attention, but would have had significant repercussions for food labeling and marketing.

Prop. 37 was defeated, with 51.41 percent of California voters voting against it. A similar ballot initiative in Washington, Initiative 522, was also defeated. Many state legislatures have rejected GE labeling bills.

Now, state Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) has reignited the GE labeling discussion in California. Evans has introduced Senate Bill 1381, a bill that would require GE food labeling.

Evans’ bill is cleaner and more simple than Prop. 37, according to the Center for Food Safety, which has funded GE labeling initiatives in multiple states. However, SB 1381 is drastically different from Prop. 37 in how it will be decided upon. Prop. 37 was a ballot initiative, which is an option available in some states for passing laws by popular vote, and it was rejected by Californian voters, not the California legislature. SB 1381 will have to go through the California legislative process. Thus, if it is accepted or rejected, the action will be taken by California’s elected officials, not voters.

The bill, if passed, would require GE food to be labeled as genetically engineered, but food containing only some GE ingredients could be labeled “Produced with Genetic Engineering” or “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering.” The bill prohibits punishment for failure to label GE foods if less than 1 percent of the ingredients in packaged food is genetically engineered or if the producer didn’t know they were using – or didn’t intend to use – GE foods.

 

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Medical syringeBarbara H. Peterson

Farm Wars

Did you know that genetically engineered vaccines are approved for use in livestock for the USDA National Organic Program? Straight from the horse’s mouth:
At present, the National List identifies all vaccines, as a group, as synthetic substances allowed for use in organic livestock production. Vaccines are not individually listed on the National List, but rather are included on as a group of synthetic substances termed “Biologics Vaccines,” that may be used in organic livestock production (7 CFR §205.603(a)(4)).
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USDA.gov

Vaccines
Made
from
Genetically Modified Organisms
Livestock
___________________________________
Composition
of the Substance
:
GMO vaccines are composed of inactivated or weakened viral or bacterial organisms
thathave had genetic material added, deleted, or otherwise modified. Vaccines may also contain suspending fluids, adjuvants (additives that help stimulate an immune response, most commonly aluminum salts and oil/water mixtures) stabilizers, preservatives, or other substances to improve shelf – life and effectiveness of the vaccine(CDC, 2011)
.
Additives in GMO vaccines do not differ from conventional vaccines
(OIE, 2010)
Approved Legal Uses of the Substance:
Under regulations issued by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) pursuant to the Organic Food Production Act of 1990, genetic modification is considered an “excluded method,”which is generally prohibited from organic production and handling under 7 CFR 205.105(e). However, the prohibition of excluded methods includes an exception for vaccines with the condition that the vaccines are approved
in accordance with §205.600(a). That is, the vaccines must be included on the
List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (hereafter referred to as the National List)
.
At present, the National List identifies all vaccines, as a group, as synthetic substances allowed for use in organic livestock production (7 CFR §205.603(a)(4))
.
Vaccines are not individually listed on the National List, but rather are included on as a group of synthetic substances termed “Biologics  — Vaccines” that may be used in organic livestock production (7 CFR §205.603(a)(4))
.
According to livestock health care standards specified in 7 CFR §205.238, organic livestock producers must establish and main preventive healthcare practices including vaccinations. In addition, 7 CFR §205.238 specifies that any animal drug other than vaccinations cannot be administered in the absence of illness
.
Any animal treated with antibiotics may not be sold, labeled, or represented as an organic (205.238(c)(7)).
Livestock vaccines are regulated by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Center for Veterinary Biologics under authority of the Virus-Serum-
Toxin Act of 1913. In particular, all vaccines used in agricultural animals must be licensed, and vaccines created using biotechnology (i.e., made with GMOs) must adhere to the same standards for traditional vaccines. Specifically, vaccine makers
are required to submit a Summary Information Format (SIF) specific to the type of vaccine (Roth and Henderson, 2001). A SIF must present information regarding t
he efficacy, safety, and environmental impact of the vaccine being registered. The purpose of the SIF is to characterize the vaccine’s potential for, and likelihood of, risk. Occasionally, peer-review panels are formed to complete risk assessment of
vaccines; this was the case for the currently licensed live vector rabies vaccine (to reduce rabies in wildlife
.
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Organic Consumers Association

GMO Vaccines in Organic

  • Public Comments to the National Organic Standards Board
    By Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq., Political Director
    Organic Consumers Association, May 22, 2012
    Straight to the Source

TAKE ACTION: Get GMOs Out of Organic Baby Food!
TAKE ACTION: Tell Organic Baby Food Brands to Stop Using GMOs!
TAKE ACTION: Get Genetically Engineered Vaccines Out of Organic!
TAKE ACTION: Stop Factory Farm Production of “Organic” Poultry and Eggs!
The Organic Food Production Act and the regulations that implement it are very strong. Unfortunately, there’s been some resistance to following the law and regulations.

And, in most instances, when large companies violate national organic standards, the response from Congress, the National Organic Program and the National Organic Standards Board, has been to change the law and regulations to match non-compliance rather than to strengthen enforcement.

The most striking example of this was in 2005 when the Organic Trade Association went to Congress to overturn a federal court ruling in favor of an organic blueberry farmer Arthur Harvey. The original version of OFPA limited the National List exemptions for prohibited substances used in handling to non-organics that were also non-synthetic. When the court in Harvey v. USDA ruled that synthetic ingredients were being illegally approved for use in organic foods, the OTA got Congress to reverse the decision legislatively.

Another more recent example is DHA/ARA. The National Organic Program admitted that these synthetics used in baby formula, baby food and baby cereal, were illegally approved for use in organic foods, but instead of enforcing the law, the NOP asked the manufacturer to petition the products for placement on the National List and the National Organic Standards Board approved them at the last meeting, even though it was clear that the NOP had not properly vetted DHA/ARA to determine whether they were produced using excluded methods of genetic engineering.

Two more examples of the organic industry’s refusal to obey the law — and the NOP’s unwillingness to enforce the law — are open questions before you: GMO vaccines and animal welfare standards.

Under current regulations, GMO vaccines can’t be used unless they are successfully petitioned for use on the National List. To date, no GMO vaccines have been petitioned, so one would assume that they’re not being used in organic.

But, we know they are being used. This was first admitted to publicly by the National Organic Program staff at the May 2009 meeting of the National Organic Standards Board. Richard Matthews announced to the board that, in fact, since the beginning of the program, all vaccines had been routinely allowed in organic, without a review as to whether or not they were genetically engineered, and he recommended that, instead of the NOP enforcing the law against this violation, the NOSB should recommend a change in the law and that’s what the NOSB did.

Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy wisely rejected that recommendation, but the NOP still hasn’t made any attempt to enforce current law. The NOP should have immediately collected information on which vaccines are being used in organic and prohibited those that are genetically engineered. At that point, prohibited GMO vaccines that had been used in organic could be petitioned. And we’d be back on track with current law.

Instead, the NOP seems to have left the ball in the NOSB’s court. And we still have an acknowledged failure to follow and enforce the law.

This isn’t right. The National Organic Standards Board should stop work on GMO vaccine recommendations until there are assurances from the NOP that they’re going to stop the illegal use of GMO vaccines.

We have a similar problem on the issue of animal welfare. You all are trying hard to establish some measurable standards for animal welfare, but the irony is that while you try to improve animal welfare, the current regulations are being violated.

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Human-animal hybrids, disasters in the making

Human-animal hybrids, disasters in the making

Scientists worldwide are creating bizarre human-animal hybrids that could wreak havoc on society. In the past ten years alone, unforgettable advances in the field of genetic modifications have left researchers and on-lookers stunned.

Nowadays, it is possible for a couple of university-age students to concoct new life forms in the comfort of their own basement. Regrettably so, laws have not been able to keep up with the pace at which scientists have been toying around with their creations.

In turn, the entities being created are not at all illegal but by all means could pose a risk to society by and large. There is no telling what may happen if these life forms are allowed to mate. Still, eagerness can be seen in the eyes and minds of scientists on a global level just waiting to unleash their next creation to the world, that all seemed liked fantasy just a short time ago.

To give a concrete example, scientists have made mice with an artificial human chromosome “in every cell of their bodies”. Such an act is being praised as a “breakthrough” which may lead to different cures for a wide scope of disease. As reported by Lifenews.com, University of Wisconsin researchers have had much success by transferring cells from human embryos into the brains of mice. These very cells began to grow, and in time made the mice more intelligent.

The mice showed that they were able to solve a simple maze and learn conditioning signals at a more enhanced level than if compared to before their transformation. Critics are quick to question whether a practice of injecting parts of humans in animals carries more benefits than risks.

 

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Are you inflamed over GMO foods?

Several years ago the general public was completely unaware of GMOs and GE foods (genetically modified organisms or genetic engineering), but today the topic is becoming rather well known, thanks to growing education and alternative media coverage. The general public is becoming better informed about the potential harms and health issues associated with biotechnology and bioengineered foods, but the smoke and mirrors the mega-corporations use to obfuscate deeper understanding of the dangers inherent in such ‘mad science’ increases in tandem with growing awareness.

Ok, so a lot of people know they are eating GMO’s and what they are, but the real question is: are GMOs actually safe, as proponents and supporters of biotechnology claim, or are they not? Should we be worried about the long-term health and environmental effects of genetically altered foods? In the following article I hope to present clear evidence and data for stating very definitively: YES! We should be very concerned!

As an organic farmer, agriculture consultant and researcher, I became interested in the GMO issue over seven years ago, particularly their effects on the soil and the contamination or mutation of various plant species. ‘Connecting the dots’, so to speak, it dawned on me how serious this issue is, not just in terms of the environmental effects of GMOs, but also the consequences of eating GMO foods for human health.

A very disturbing picture began to emerge.

As I realized that this ‘genetic engineering’ is essentially a mad science, I joined a local group called ‘Seeds of Truth‘. We began meeting weekly to discuss how to get the word out about the growing takeover of Hawaii’s agricultural lands by several biotechnology corporations.

In November 2010, I had an opportunity to do a podcast with the SOTT team: GMO Frankenfoods and What You Can Do to Improve Your Health. The transcript for the podcast can be read here.

What exactly is Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering?

For those who are new to this topic, it’s important to explain some background knowledge when using the term ‘Biotechnology’. According to Wikipedia:

Biotechnology (sometimes shortened to “biotech”) is the use of living systems and organisms to develop or make useful products, and it is usually seen in agriculture, food production and medicine production. Modern use of similar terms includes genetic engineering as well as cell and tissue culture technologies. The concept encompasses a wide range of procedures (and history) for modifying living organisms according to human purposes – going back to domestication of animals, cultivation of plants, and “improvements” to these through breeding programs that employ artificial selection and hybridization. By comparison to biotechnology, bioengineering is generally thought of as a related field with its emphasis more on higher systems approaches (not necessarily altering or using biological materials directly) for interfacing with and utilizing living things. The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity defines biotechnology as:[1]

“Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use.”

Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome using biotechnology. New DNA may be inserted in the host genome by first isolating and copying the genetic material of interest using molecular cloning methods to generate a DNA sequence, or by synthesizing the DNA, and then inserting this construct into the host organism.

For the purpose of this article I will use the term ‘genetic engineering’ and ‘genetically modified organisms’ (GMO’s) in place of ‘biotechnology’. I hope to clearly explain that ‘genetic engineering’ is not in humanity’s best interest, regardless of claims by avid supporters. The agriculture industry, or Big Ag, began introducing ‘genetically engineered foods’ to the public in the early 1990s. Today, 80% of U.S. grocery store foods contain GMOs.The following articles carried on SOTT.net provide important background information regarding the ‘mad science’ behind GMO technology:

Explained: What Are GMOs?

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Since this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms.

The genetic engineering technology was developed in the 1970s. In the early 1990s, the tomato was one of the first to fall victim to this technology. The anti-freeze genes from an Arctic fish were forced into tomato DNA, allowing the plants to survive frost. Fortunately, this type of tomato was not introduced into the marketplace. Actually, it never left the lab.

In 1976, a major biotechnology company manufactured a herbicide called Roundup. When the farmers sprayed this herbicide on their crops, not only would it kill the weeds, but it would also kill the crops. This biotech company developed genetically modified crops after finding bacteria in a chemical waste dump near its factory that were not dying in the presence of the herbicide. The bacterial gene that produced the protein that allowed it to survive in the presence of herbicide was inserted into soy, corn, cotton and canola.

In 1996, this company (Monsanto) introduced genetically modified soybeans, and slowly introduced genetically engineered corn, cotton and canola. When these crops are sprayed with this Roundup, all plants except the resistant crop are killed.

In 1992, the FDA declared that GM crops are GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) as long as their producers say they are. Therefore, the FDA doesn’t require any safety evaluations or labeling of GMOs. A company can even introduce a genetically modified (GM) food to the market without telling the agency. The official FDA policy stated, “The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.” But behind closed doors an internal FDA report stated: “The processes of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different and according to the technical experts in the agency, they lead to different risks.”

Internal memos made public from a lawsuit showed that GM crops can have unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects including allergies, toxins, nutritional effects and new diseases as potential dangers. The FDA doesn’t require a single study, and the complex biology of GM crops may produce far more side-effects than drugs. GM foods are fed to the entire population, and they are not labeled or monitored, so symptoms are difficult or impossible to track.

Dr. Tim O’Shea, author of the website ‘The Doctor Within’, provides more background information explaining what exactly GMOs are:

Genetically Modified Foods: 80% of What’s In Your Grocery Cart:

Since the 1990s world agriculture and food production has undergone the most radical transformation in history. With very little public awareness, in just a few short years genetically modified foods have come to dominate both global agriculture and supermarket shelf space.

The first GMO experiment was crossing the DNA of a flounder with that of a tomato. This was done in order to make the tomato able to withstand colder temperatures. Oh yes, did we mention? – in the biotech industry, pieces of DNA can be transferred theoretically from any plant to any animal, vice versa, or any combination thereof.

Segments of DNA from one species are randomly spliced into the DNA of the other species hundreds and hundreds of times until the desired effect appears. How this cross-species DNA insertion is accomplished is a little less than scientific. The two most common methods of DNA modification are

  • the gene cannon
  • using bacteria and viruses as carriers for the DNA fragment

Scientists refer to the Position Effect when talking about not being able to predict where the inserted fragments will end up in the genetic sequence. Limitless possibilities result – recombining genetic sequences that can turn on or turn off vital processes that have taken thousands of years to refine.

In the gene cannon method tiny little golden bullets are shot into the cells of the target organism with a .22 calibre pistol. Not kidding. Hundreds of times. In this way the DNA of the host organism can be available for splicing in new fragments from the donor species. Of course this method is imprecise and unpredictable and anything but scientific. Only a tiny percentage of the blasted foreign DNA ends up inside the host DNA, of course. But if you do it enough times, you might eventually get a desired recombination. This was the how the flounder and tomato genes were combined.

The more popular method however is to use bacteria and viruses as carriers of donor DNA fragments which may then invade the host’s DNA and splice in the new pieces. We have long known that viruses have this ability to invade the host’s DNA and to actually splice themselves into the DNA strands. Both these methods of genetic modification result in the random scrambling of the host’s DNA, which has virtually unlimited unpredictable consequences.

Are you inflamed because of GMOs?

By ‘inflamed’, I’m not just referring to the state of anger and frustration people feel upon learning the sneaky, deceptive tactics Biotechnology corporations use to put these unsafe ingredients in our food. I am talking about inflammation in the body as a result of eating genetically engineered food loaded with ‘genetically mutated bacteria and viruses’.

Extensive study has been conducted regarding inflammatory responses to disease in the body. Doctors like Mark Hyman and Gabor Mate have written about the connections between inflammation in the body and the onset of disease:

Is Your Body Burning Up with Hidden Inflammation?

Inflammation: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Everyone who has had a sore throat, rash, hives, or a sprained ankle knows about inflammation. These are normal and appropriate responses of the immune – your body’s defense system – to infection and trauma.

This kind of inflammation is good. We need it to survive – to help us determine friend from foe.

The trouble occurs when that defense system runs out of control, like a rebel army bent on destroying its own country.

Many of us are familiar with an overactive immune response and too much inflammation. It results in common conditions like allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disease, and asthma. This is bad inflammation, and if it is left unchecked it can become downright ugly.

What few people understand is that hidden inflammation run amok is at the root of all chronic illness we experience – conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, dementia, depression, cancer, and even autism.

How to Locate the Causes of Hidden Inflammation

So if inflammation and immune imbalances are at the root of most of modern disease, how do we find the causes and get the body back in balance?

First, we need to identify the triggers and causes of inflammation. Then we need to help reset the body’s natural immune balance by providing the right conditions for it to thrive.

As a doctor, my job is to find those inflammatory factors unique to each person and to see how various lifestyle, environmental, or infectious factors spin the immune system out of control, leading to a host of chronic illnesses.

Thankfully, the list of things that cause inflammation is relatively short:

  • Poor diet – mostly sugar, refined flours, processed foods, and inflammatory fats such as trans fats – Lack of exercise
  • Stress
  • Hidden or chronic infections with viruses, bacteria, yeasts, or parasites
  • Hidden allergens from food or the environment
  • Toxins such as mercury and pesticides
  • Mold toxins and allergens

Dr. Gabor Mate also describes inflammation in the body in his book, When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection:

Inflammation is an ingenious process invoked by the body to isolate and destroy hostile or noxious particles ( think GMO’s). It does so by tissue swelling and the influx of a host of immune cells and anti bodies. To facilitate it’s defensive function, the lining or mucose, of the bowel is in a perpetually controlled or orchestrated state of inflammation. This is a normal state in healthy people. The powerfully destructive forces of the immune apparatus must be routinely regulated, kept in balance, so that it can carry out policing duties without harming the delicate body tissues, it is in charge of defending. Some substances (again think GMO’s) promote inflammation others inhibit it. If the balance is upset disease can result.

Additional information about the connection between inflammation and disease is available at the Greenmedinfo.com website:

The Truth About Disease – What it is and What Causes it

Modern medicine describes hundreds of individual “diseases.” Each “disease” is generally named for a group of symptoms and the area of the body affected. Many are suffixed by -itis, meaning inflammation of… like tonsill-itis or arthr-itis. And interestingly, recent studies are finding inflammation involved in virtually all of them. Does this terminology serve to pigeonhole distinct “diseases” and distract us from seeing the big picture of inflammation as the disease? Have we been looking at secondary pathologies and opportunistic microbes, and treating them at symptom-level… instead of addressing a common root cause? Is there some imaginary partition that separates human health from chemistry, physics and cell biology?

Whether inflammation is acute like appendicitis or chronic like atherosclerosis and obesity, an immune response is taking place. In-flam-mation literally means “on fire” and is classically marked by the Latin: rubor, tumor, calor and dolor – or redness, swelling, heat and pain – so we know from those words that oxidation is at work.

Oxidation is simply fire or rust or whenever one molecule seizes an electron from another molecule. The needy oxidant grabs or shares the electrons of an electron rich anti-oxidant. When the electrons are stolen from chemical bonds, those molecules (like DNA) come apart or are deformed (like fats) and said to be oxidized, burnt.

Inflammation does not just happen; a bacterium or toxin or some other irritant triggers an immune response. The ammunition used by the body for immune firefights is singlet oxygen, an all-purpose defensive weapon. With an unpaired electron, an oxygen radical is a powerful oxidant.

It can deconstruct and destroy pathogens, poisons, cell debris and other unwanted substances, molecule by molecule, by snatching the electrons that hold them together. Immune cells initiate the conflagration, armed with mini-flamethrowers that generate oxidative bursts of singlet oxygen to burn the area clean.

Now that we have covered both the history of GMO technology and the inflammatory response in the body, we can begin to look at the deeper issues associated with ‘genetic engineering’ and the introduction of mutated foreign pathogens into our bodies, such as bacteria and viruses.

© naturalfamilymedicine.com

Is it possible that GMOs trigger and cause inflammation in the body?

With the introduction of ‘genetic engineering’ and its widespread use in the production of food for both humans and animals, we can begin connecting the dots. The issue here is that this ‘genetic mad science’ is producing disease and illness in the population based on the foods that are being touted as safe and healthy. Basically the population is being used as guinea pigs to test the long term effects of eating a diet composed of genetically modified organisms. Naysayers and pro GMO advocates say that ‘genetically altered foods’ are safe, GRAS (Generally regarded as Safe) or substantially equivalent to non GMO food, but where is the data to back up such a claim? Biotechnology corporations like Monsanto claim that there is no need for value testing the safety of GMO foods. What do scientists working in the field say?

“As a scientist, actively working in the field [of GMO] I find that it is very, very unfair to use our fellow citizens as guinea pigs.” – Arpad Pusztai, PhD

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Does it disturb anyone  else that  only  after  it is going to be  made  available  to the  general  public will they be  doing  trial studies on  the validity of it’s  claims?   Not to  mention the  safety issues of the genetic mutation that  has  been triggered in these  tomatoes?

One  wonders  why these  tests were not  done  before  exposing the general  public  to  their GMO creation?

~Desert Rose~

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Canada harvests cancer-fighting purple tomatoes

© Flickr.com/Daniel*1977/cc-by-nc-sa 3.0

Genetically modified purple tomatoes created to battle against cancer have been grown and harvested in Leamington, Ontario, Canada. The purple vegetables have been altered so that they contain larger doses of anthocyanins—the very same antioxidant that is present in blackberries and plums. Anthocyanins are believed to fight against cancer.

In Leamington the acclaimed tomato capital of Canada, New Energy Farms planted and grew the vegetable for plant biologist Cathie Martin. She is a professor at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK. “It looks very similar to normal tomato crops. You really wouldn’t know any difference, apart from the color of the fruit,” New Energy Farms CEO Paul Carver said.

The unusual looking tomatoes were grown in a controlled environment in a greenhouse, then hand selected. The juice was squeezed out of the vegetables while the seeds and plants were lit on fire as a preventative measure to shield against cross-contamination.

Come early February, the estimated 528 gallons of purple tomato juice will be sent off to British heart patients. Besides anthocyanins being cancer-fighting, the special element in the tomatoes also battles cardiovascular disease.

“When mice [with cancer] were fed a diet supplemented with purple tomatoes, they lived 30 percent longer than those with a diet supplemented with red tomatoes,” Martin said. She revealed that the purple tomatoes also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Research shows “complementary health advantages for people diagnosed with major chronic disease, particularly cancer. We’re not saying this is a standalone therapy,” she said.

Since European rules for genetically modified foods are much stricter, it was easier to grow the tomatoes in Canada. “Canada was an unbelievably good choice because you have a very enlightened view of regulatory approval,” Martin said, “It was easier to do this in Canada than elsewhere.”

Voice of Russia, Cbc.ca

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BBC 

Genetically-modified purple tomatoes heading for shops

Purple tomatoes The new tomatoes could improve the nutritional value of everyday foods

The prospect of genetically modified purple tomatoes reaching the shelves has come a step closer.

Their dark pigment is intended to give tomatoes the same potential health benefits as fruit such as blueberries.

Developed in Britain, large-scale production is now under way in Canada with the first 1,200 litres of purple tomato juice ready for shipping.

The pigment, known as anthocyanin, is an antioxidant which studies on animals show could help fight cancer.

Scientists say the new tomatoes could improve the nutritional value of everything from ketchup to pizza topping.

The tomatoes were developed at the John Innes Centre in Norwich where Prof Cathie Martin hopes the first delivery of large quantities of juice will allow researchers to investigate its potential.

“With these purple tomatoes you can get the same compounds that are present in blueberries and cranberries that give them their health benefits – but you can apply them to foods that people actually eat in significant amounts and are reasonably affordable,” she said.

I hope this will serve as a vanguard product where people can have access to something that is GM but has benefits for them”

Prof Cathie Martin John Innes Centre in Norwich

The tomatoes are part of a new generation of GM plants designed to appeal to consumers – the first types were aimed specifically at farmers as new tools in agriculture.

The purple pigment is the result of the transfer of a gene from a snapdragon plant – the modification triggers a process within the tomato plant allowing the anthocyanin to develop.

Although the invention is British, Prof Martin says European Union restrictions on GM encouraged her to look abroad to develop the technology.

Canadian regulations are seen as more supportive of GM and that led to a deal with an Ontario company, New Energy Farms, which is now producing enough purple tomatoes in a 465 square metre (5,000sq ft) greenhouse to make 2,000 litres (440 gallons) of juice.

According to Prof Martin, the Canadian system is “very enlightened”.

“They look at the trait not the technology and that should be a way we start changing our thinking – asking if what you’re doing is safe and beneficial, not ‘Is it GM and therefore we’re going to reject it completely’.

“It is frustrating that we’ve had to go to Canada to do a lot of the growing and the processing and I hope this will serve as a vanguard product where people can have access to something that is GM but has benefits for them.”

The first 1,200 litres are due to be shipped to Norwich shortly – and because all the seeds will have been removed, there is no genetic material to risk any contamination.

Read More Here

Related Stories

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Over the years, this biotech giant has successfully infiltrated an ever increasing number of high-level federal regulatory positions in the U.S. government; many of which are positions meant to protect your food safety…

Why Does Monsanto Always Win?  -  Mercola . com

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WashingtonsBlog

Genetic Engineering Actually INCREASES Pesticide Use, DECREASES Crop Yield, And May Be Dangerous to Your Health

One of the main selling points for genetically engineered crops is that they would use substantially less pesticides than conventional crops.

Because of that, and other, promises regarding GE crops, they have taken over much of the food crops in America. For example:

  • The USDA reports that 93% of all soy and 85% of all corn grown in the U.S. is an herbicide-resistant GE variety
  • Similarly, around 93% of all cottonseed oil and more than 90% of all canola oil produced in the U.S. is herbicide-resistant GE

However, it turns out that GE crops need a lot more herbicides than conventional ones.

Washington State University Charles Benbrook – former Executive Director of the Board on Agriculture at the National Academy of Sciences and, before that, Executive Director of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Research, and Foreign Agriculture, U.S. House of Representatives – published a study showing:

Contrary to often-repeated claims that today’s genetically-engineered crops have, and are reducing pesticide use, the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds in herbicide-resistant weed management systems has brought about substantial increases in the number and volume of herbicides applied. If new genetically engineered forms of corn and soybeans tolerant of 2,4-D are approved, the volume of 2,4-D sprayed [background] could drive herbicide usage upward by another approximate 50%.

***

Largely because of the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds, HR crop technology has led to a 239 million kg (527 million pound) increase in herbicide use across the three major GE-HR crops, compared to what herbicide use would likely have been in the absence of HR crops.

Washington State University explains:

Herbicide-tolerant crops worked extremely well in the first few years of use, but over-reliance led to shifts in weed communities and the emergence of resistant weeds that have, together, forced farmers to incrementally –

  • Increase herbicide application rates (especially glyphosate),
  • Spray more often, and
  • Add new herbicides that work through an alternate mode-of-action into their spray programs.

Each of these responses has, and will continue to contribute to the steady rise in the volume of herbicides applied per acre of HT corn, cotton, and soybeans.

HT crops have increased herbicide use by 527 million pounds over the 16-year period (1996-2011). The incremental increase per year has grown steadily from 1.5 million pounds in 1999, to 18 million five years later in 2003, and 79 million pounds in 2009. In 2011, about 90 million more pounds of herbicides were applied than likely in the absence of HT, or about 24% of total herbicide use on the three crops in 2011.

Today’s major GE crops have increased overall pesticide use by 404 million pounds from 1996 through 2011 (527 million pound increase in herbicides, minus the 123 million pound decrease in insecticides). Overall pesticide use in 2011 was about 20% higher on each acre planted to a GE crop, compared to pesticide use on acres not planted to GE crops.

There are now two-dozen weeds resistant to glyphosate, the major herbicide used on HT crops, and many of these are spreading rapidly. Millions of acres are infested with more than one glyphosate-resistant weed. The presence of resistant weeds drives up herbicide use by 25% to 50%, and increases farmer-weed control costs by at least as much.

The biotechnology-seed-pesticide industry’s primary response to the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds is development of new HT varieties resistant to multiple herbicides, including 2,4-D and dicamba. These older phenoxy herbicides pose markedly greater human health and environmental risks per acre treated than glyphosate. Approval of corn tolerant of 2,4-D is pending, and could lead to an additional 50% increase in herbicide use per acre on 2,4-D HT corn.

Science Daily notes:

“Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and they are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent,” Benbrook said.

Forbes points out:

A new study released by Food & Water Watch yesterday finds the goal of reduced chemical use has not panned out as planned.  In fact, according to the USDA and EPA data used in the report, the quick adoption of genetically engineered crops by farmers has increased herbicide use over the past 9 years in the U.S.  The report follows on the heels of another such study  by Washington State University research professor Charles Benbrook just last year.

Both reports focus on “superweeds.” It turns out that spraying a pesticide repeatedly selects for weeds which also resist the chemical.  Ever more resistant weeds are then  bred, able to withstand increasing amounts – and often different forms – of herbicide.

GE Crops Have Reduced Crop Productivity

GE food manufacturers also promised an increase in crop productivity.  Indeed, that was a giant selling point for GE foods.

That claim has been debunked as well …

The Independent noted in 2008:

Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.

The study – carried out over the past three years at the University of Kansas in the US grain belt – has found that GM soya produces about 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent, contradicting assertions by advocates of the technology that it increases yields.

Professor Barney Gordon, of the university’s department of agronomy, said he started the research – reported in the journal Better Crops – because many farmers who had changed over to the GM crop had “noticed that yields are not as high as expected even under optimal conditions”. He added: “People were asking the question ‘how come I don’t get as high a yield as I used to?’”

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Read More Here

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PreventDisease.com

Counterintuitive Finding Shows Herbicide Use In Genetically Modified Crops Has Actually Increased


The promise by Monsanto and producers of genetically modified crops was that farmers could use less chemicals and produce a greater yield. That’s about as true as honesty in politics. A study published this week by Washington State University research professor Charles Benbrook finds that the use of herbicides in the production of three genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops — cotton, soybeans and corn — has actually increased.

This counterintuitive finding is based on an exhaustive analysis of publicly available data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service. Benbrook’s analysis is the first peer-reviewed, published estimate of the impacts of genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-resistant (HT) crops on pesticide use.

It is confirming earlier US government data showing that in the US, GM crops have produced an overall increase, not decrease, in pesticide use compared to conventional crops. Not only that promises of greater yields are also unfounded.

GM crops have not increased the yield potential of any commercialised crops. In fact, studies show that the most widely grown GM crop, GM soya, has suffered reduced yields.

A report that analyzed nearly two decades worth of peer reviewed research on the yield of the primary GM food/feed crops, soybeans and corn (maize), reveals that despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase US crop yields. The author, former US EPA and US FDA biotech specialist Dr Gurian-Sherman, concludes that when it comes to yield, “Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down.”

In the USDA study, which appeared in the the open-access, peer-reviewed journal “Environmental Sciences Europe,” Benbrook writes that the emergence and spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds is strongly correlated with the upward trajectory in herbicide use. Marketed as Roundup and other trade names, glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. Approximately 95 percent of soybean and cotton acres, and over 85 percent of corn, are planted to varieties genetically modified to be herbicide resistant.

Atrazine is the second-most widely used herbicide in the U.S. More than 75 million pounds of it are applied to corn and other crops, and it is the most commonly detected pesticide contaminant of groundwater, surface water and rain in the U.S.

Men exposed to high amounts of the substance are far more likely than men with less contact to have diluted or deformed and sluggish sperm. Each of the semen problems can reduce the ability of sperm to reach and fertilize an egg and could make conception harder.

“Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent,” Benbrook said.

Data from the US Department of Agriculture indicate that the use of glyphosate on major crops went up by more than 15 fold between 1994 and 2005. The EPA estimated in 2000-2001 that 100 million pounds of glyphosate are used on lawns and farms every year, and over the last 13 years, it has been applied to more than a billion acres.

It did not take long for glyphosate-resistant weeds to appear, just as weeds resistant to every herbicide used in the past had appeared. The Weed Science Society of America reported nine weed species in the United States with confirmed resistance to glyphosate; among them are strains of common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), common waterhemp (Amaranthus rudis), giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida), hairy fleabane (Conyza bonariensis), horseweed (Conyza canadensis), Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense), rigid ryegrass (Lolium rigidum), and palmer pigweed (Amaranthus palmeri).

The annual increase in the herbicides required to deal with tougher-to-control weeds on cropland planted to GE cultivars has grown from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to about 90 million pounds in 2011.

Herbicide-tolerant crops worked extremely well in the first few years of use, Benbrook’s analysis shows, but over-reliance may have led to shifts in weed communities and the spread of resistant weeds that force farmers to increase herbicide application rates (especially glyphosate), spray more often, and add new herbicides that work through an alternate mode of action into their spray programs.

Natasha Longo has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.

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Bad Apple

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Jan 8, 2014 by NATASHA LONGO

 
Since the genetic code of the apple was mapped by researchers a few years ago, scientists have explored gene silencing and other manipulation techniques to alter one of nature’s most healing superfoods. Genetically modified apples may soon enter the food supply under the guise of preventing browning. First, though, officials must confront some enduring public distaste for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) now widely perceived as one of the most extensive global threats to human health.

 

There are natural ways to keep an apple from browning such as applying lemon, lime and even pineapple juice as they have the citric acid necessary to prevent oxidation. Sea salting is another option as it effectively acts as a preservative.

But according to the Washington Agriculture Dept., GMO apples could replace all of these methods straight from the vineyard since gene sequences could be manipulated with the same end result.

An Economic Disaster And Abuse Towards Nature

“This is an economic disaster,” Henry House, an organic apple grower in Davis, Calif., recently warned.

More than 60 million tons of apples are grown worldwide each year – the equivalent of 20lb per person.

Organic growers such as House fear that honeybees will spread genetically engineered apple pollen and contaminate organic orchards. Some consumer advocates maintain a more general antipathy toward engineered foods, while industry groups that include the Northwest Horticultural Council in Yakima, Wash., also object to what would be the first genetically engineered apple in commercial production.

As of yet, no genetically modified apples have been approved anywhere in the world. It is expected, however, that the amount of GM apple field tests will keep increasing.

Washington state accounts for 44 percent of the nation’s apple-bearing land, with 146,000 acres.

The U.S. Apple Association, noting that “browning is a natural process related to the exposure to oxygen,” has voiced opposition to the Arctic apple.

Thousands of others have weighed in as the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service considers whether to grant “non-regulated status” to varieties called the Arctic Golden and the Arctic Granny. Approval would give the commercial green light to British Columbia’s Okanagan Specialty Fruits.

Processing of GMO Apples Well Underway

The information from gene regulations of the Golden Delicious variety of apples is already being used to breed red-fleshed apples which are supposedly more attractive to consumers. After all, we wouldn’t want consumers to think there are a few bad apples of any variety would we?

Ever imagine eating an apple with a desire to curb your appetite for the rest of the day? Well it’s becoming a reality as genetically modified apples that suppress appetite could also be in the pipeline, with the first varieties with enhanced appetite suppressing compounds on shelves within five years.

Farmers need not worry about slow growth of apple trees. Now breeders will be able to screen seedlings for key genes, vastly speeding up the process while destroying the Mother Nature’s diversity that perfectly tunes apple cultivation.

Researcher Roger Hellens of New Zealand firm Plant & Food Research, said: ‘Now we have the sequence of the apple genome, we will be able to identify the genes which control the characteristics that our sensory scientists have identified as most desired by consumers.

Amit Dhingra, of Washington State University in the US, said: ‘Before genome sequencing, the best we could do was correlate traits with genes.

‘Now we can point to a specific gene and say, “This is the one; this gene is responsible for this trait”. ‘Or the trait might be for something desirable, like flavour in a piece of fruit.’

Hellens said: ‘Understanding how important characteristics in plants are controlled is vital in reducing the time to breed successful commercial cultivars (varieties).

Company President of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Neal Carter stated that he “expects full deregulation” of the apples this year.

The Arctic apple’s resistance to what scientists call “enzymatic browning,” which is what happens when a typical apple is cut or bruised, comes from the insertion of a certain genetic sequence taken from an apple. The inserted sequence essentially suppresses the browning process.

With federal approval, the company no longer would need special permits before it put the genetically modified apples into production. If they get the go-ahead, company officials have indicated, the Arctic apples could reach grocery stores sometime in 2015.

Public Outcry Will Be A Challenge To Acceptance

First, though, the Agriculture Department must process all the public reactions received in a comment period that’s been extended until Jan. 30. The initial comment period, in 2012, drew more than 72,000 statements, including many form letters from opponents. The latest period has drawn more than 6,100 comments, many of them passionately worded from opponents of genetically modified organisms.

“Growing these GMO apples is insane,” Loxahatchee, Fla., resident Ellie Jensen wrote last month.

While the public comments have often been skeptical, federal officials have sounded sympathetic. In an 83-page draft environmental assessment completed last year, Agriculture Department scientists recommended approving the product they think can help the apple industry.

“Browning reduces apple quality by causing detrimental flavor and nutritional changes that limit apple’s fresh-market, fresh-cut and processing applications,” the Agriculture Department officials noted.

Officials loudly claim that organic growers “will not be substantially affected” by the “limited acreage” planted with the genetically engineered crops, but then added that organic growers “may need to discuss their needs” with neighbors who opt for the Arctic apples.

If extra genes allowed the apple to adapt for millions of years, do humans really have the right to silence specific genes to enhance the appearance of Mother Nature’s abundance or even the consumer’s palate?

When genetic engineers insert a new gene into any organism there are “position effects” which can lead to unpredictable changes in the pattern of gene expression and genetic function. The protein product of the inserted gene may carry out unexpected reactions and produce potentially toxic products.

The Agriculture Department, moreover, is effectively limited to considering whether a new product poses a potential plant risk, and questions such as potential market impact or consumer reaction aren’t really part of the equation.

“In general, this administration and past administrations have been very favorable toward biotechnology,” acknowledged Schlect, of the horticultural council.

GMOs Will Never Be The Answer To A Sustainable Food Supply

There are also projects developing insect resistant, transgenic apples. In the US, transgenic apples with delayed softening are being developed with longer shelf life, so that fruit can ripen on the tree. There is no end to the methods of madness that GMO scientists are pursuing to alter Mother Nature.

Genetically modified foods are NOT the answer. Crop uniformity and gene altering such as the research being employed by Plant & Food Research will only reduce genetic diversity making these fruits more vulnerable to disease and pests. The unnatural gene transfers will only create new toxins and weaknesses making us all vulnerable to long-term and potentially persistent illnesses.

We should all be making efforts to take these independent studies very seriously and demand that government agencies reproduce those studies instead of depending on those paid by biotech companies.

Natasha Longo has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.


Reference Sources 122, 231

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Soubor:DNA molekula života - česky.jpg

The DNA molecule of life   ( Čeština: DNA molekula života – česky )

Human_Genome/graphics/slides

Autor     Modify by Reo On at cs.wikipedia

Original source: http://www.ornl.gov/hgmis

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University of Washington

 

Scientists discover double meaning in genetic code

Scientists have discovered a second code hiding within DNA. This second code contains information that changes how scientists read the instructions contained in DNA and interpret mutations to make sense of health and disease.

Genome scientist Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos.

Genome scientist Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos led a team that discovered a second code hidden in DNA.

A research team led by Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos, University of Washington associate professor of genome sciences and of medicine, made the discovery. The findings are reported in the Dec. 13 issue of Science.

Read the research paper.  Also see commentary in Science, “The Hidden Codes that Shape Protein Evolution.

The work is part of the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements Project, also known as ENCODE. The National Human Genome Research Institute funded the multi-year, international effort. ENCODE aims to discover where and how the directions for biological functions are stored in the human genome.

Since the genetic code was deciphered in the 1960s, scientists have assumed that it was used exclusively to write information about proteins. UW scientists were stunned to discover that genomes use the genetic code to write two separate languages. One describes how proteins are made, and the other instructs the cell on how genes are controlled. One language is written on top of the other, which is why the second language remained hidden for so long.

“For over 40 years we have assumed that DNA changes affecting the genetic code solely impact how proteins are made,” said Stamatoyannopoulos. “Now we know that this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture. These new findings highlight that DNA is an incredibly powerful information storage device, which nature has fully exploited in unexpected ways.”

 

Read  More Here

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Monsanto Targets the Heart of Science: The Goodman Affair

by Claire Robinson and Jonathan Latham, PhD

Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal, has jested that instead of scientific peer review, its rival The Lancet had a system of throwing a pile of papers down the stairs and publishing those that reached the bottom. On another occasion, Smith was challenged to publish an issue of the BMJ exclusively comprising papers that had failed peer review and see if anybody noticed. He replied, “How do you know I haven’t already done it?”

As Smith’s stories show, journal editors have a lot of power in science – power that provides opportunities for abuse. The life science industry knows this, and has increasingly moved to influence and control science publishing.

The strategy, often with the willing cooperation of publishers, is effective and sometimes blatant. In 2009, the scientific publishing giant Elsevier was found to have invented an entire medical journal, complete with editorial board, in order to publish papers promoting the products of the pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck. Merck provided the papers, Elsevier published them, and doctors read them, unaware that the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine was simply a stuffed dummy.

Fast forward to September 2012, when the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT) published a study that caused an international storm (Séralini, et al. 2012). The study, led by Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen, France, suggested a Monsanto genetically modified (GM) maize, and the Roundup herbicide it is grown with, pose serious health risks. The two-year feeding study found that rats fed both suffered severe organ damage and increased rates of tumors and premature death. Both the herbicide (Roundup) and the GM maize are Monsanto products. Corinne Lepage, France’s former environment minister, called the study “a bomb“.

Subsequently, an orchestrated campaign was launched to discredit the study in the media and persuade the journal to retract it. Many of those who wrote letters to FCT (which is published by Elsevier) had conflicts of interest with the GM industry and its lobby groups, though these were not publicly disclosed.

The journal did not retract the study. But just a few months later, in early 2013 the FCT editorial board acquired a new “Associate Editor for biotechnology“, Richard E. Goodman. This was a new position, seemingly established especially for Goodman in the wake of the “Séralini affair”.

Richard E. Goodman is professor at the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, University of Nebraska. But he is also a former Monsanto employee, who worked for the company between 1997 and 2004. While at Monsanto he assessed the allergenicity of the company’s GM crops and published papers on its behalf on allergenicity and safety issues relating to GM food (Goodman and Leach 2004).

Goodman had no documented connection to the journal until February 2013. His fast-tracked appointment, directly onto the upper editorial board raises urgent questions. Does Monsanto now effectively decide which papers on biotechnology are published in FCT? And is this part of an attempt by Monsanto and the life science industry to seize control of science?

To equate one journal with “science” may seem like an exaggeration. But peer-reviewed publication, in the minds of most scientists, is science. Once a paper is published in an academic journal it enters the canon and stands with the discovery of plate tectonics or the structure of DNA. All other research, no matter how groundbreaking or true, is irrelevant. As a scientist once scathingly said of the “commercially confidential” industry safety data that underpin approvals of chemicals and GM foods, “If it isn’t published, it doesn’t exist.”

Monsanto Targets the Heart of Science: The Goodman Affair

photo: Richard E Goodman, University of Nebraska

Goodman’s ILSI links
The industry affiliations of FCT‘s new gatekeeper for biotechnology are not restricted to having worked directly for Monsanto. Goodman has an active and ongoing involvement with the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). ILSI is funded by the multinational GM and agrochemical companies, including Monsanto. It develops industry-friendly risk assessment methods for GM foods and chemical food contaminants and inserts them into government regulations.

ILSI describes itself as a public interest non-profit but its infiltration of regulatory agencies and influence on risk assessment policy has become highly controversial in North America and Europe. In 2005 US-based non-profits and trade unions wrote to the World Health Organization (WHO) protesting against ILSI’s influence on international health standards protecting food and water supplies. As a result, the WHO barred ILSI from taking part in WHO activities setting safety standards, because of its funding sources.  And in Europe in 2012, Diana Banati, then head of the management board at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), had to resign over her undisclosed long-standing involvement with ILSI (Robinson et al. 2013).

 

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