Tag Archive: Genetic engineering


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An awesome victory!
apple-red-black-735-257
by Christina Sarich
Posted on October 26, 2015

If you ever buy kid’s meals at Wendy’s you’ll be happy to know that the apples they serve will not be GM ‘Arctic apples’ as per a recent statement by the company. The company confirmed in April via email to Friends of the Earth that it has no plans to sell Arctic apples. McDonald’s and Gerber have also reportedly stated that they won’t be using this GM apple variety. Can we trust them?

Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and other Big Food companies don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to serving healthy food, but mega corporations like these are becoming less and less relevant to a public who is increasingly interested in what they are being served.

Lisa Archer, food and technology program director at Friends of the Earth said:

“Wendy’s is wisely listening to its customers by joining other major food companies and apple growers in rejecting this unnecessary and risky genetically engineered apple. It’s becoming increasingly clear that there is no demand for this new GMO.”

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Genetically engineered crops banned in Jackson County, Oregon in landslide victory against GMOs

Oregon
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

(NaturalNews) A ban on the growing of all genetically engineered plants appears to be a landslide victory in Jackson County, Oregon. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting and a huge voter turnout of over 50 percent, nearly 66% of voters elected to ban all genetically engineered crops from being grown in the county.

The vote ran 39,489 to 20,432 in favor of the ban, and it sends a clear signal that the People of Jackson County, Oregon — a largely agricultural area of the country — absolutely do not want genetically engineered crops to be growing anywhere near them. (Click here to see county election results.)

This is on top of the recent victory in Vermont where lawmakers passed a mandatory GMO labeling law that requires foods to be honestly labeled with their GMO content. (The evil biotech industry and its Grocery Manufacturers of America front group plant to sue Vermont to keep consumers in the dark.)

“Destroy all genetically engineered plants”

This ordinance in Oregon requires everyone to “destroy” all genetically engineered plants except those grown under indoor laboratory conditions (i.e. those which are safely isolated from the wild). This will allow scientists to continue to study GMOs without risking the lives of everyone else in the process.

Click here to read the full text of the ordinance (PDF).

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Oregon counties ban cultivation of GMO crops

Published time: May 21, 2014 16:37
Edited time: May 22, 2014 11:18

Reuters/Ints Kalnins

Reuters/Ints Kalnins

Despite the flood of corporate money poured into two small Oregon counties, local residents voted on Tuesday to ban genetically engineered crops from being planted within their borders.

Although Jackson County itself is home to less than 120,000 registered voters, the measure to ban genetically modified crops (GMOs) made headlines around the nation when it was revealed that large biotech companies like Monsanto were pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the area in order to affect the vote’s outcome.

As RT reported previously, Monsanto and five other corporations spent at least $455,000 in an attempt to defeat the initiative, and opponents of the GMO ban had gained an eight-to-one spending advantage as of April. According to the Associated Press, nearly $1 million of the $1.3 million spent during the campaign was used by opponents.

When the results were tallied, however, 66 percent of Jackson County residents voted in favor of the ban.

“We fought the most powerful and influential chemical companies in the world and we won,” local farmer and anti-GMO advocate Elise Higley told the Oregonian.

“It’s a great day for the people of Oregon who care about sustainability and healthy ecosystems,” added the group GMO Free Oregon on its Facebook page.

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January 18, 2014 | 49,140 views

By Dr. Mercola

Cereal giant General Mills has announced that its original-flavor Cheerios will soon be made without the use of genetically modified (GM) ingredients.

It’s a major step in the right direction that also highlights the changing attitudes among the US public regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs)… increasing numbers of people simply do not want them in our food.

For some of you, the news that Cheerios even contained GM ingredients to begin with may come as a surprise, as GM ingredients are not required to be labeled in the US (the way they are in the European Union or EU).

Others may have assumed they were GM-free, since they’re made mostly from oats, not corn or soy, which are two of the most commonly used GMOs in the US. Unbeknownst to many, however, Cheerios were formerly made using GM cornstarch and sugar.

Most likely, though, General Mills’ move was made in response to recent consumer backlash, proving once again that the power to clean up the food supply lies in your hands.

 

Consumer Backlash Likely Drove General Mills to Drop GMOs from Cheerios

 

General Mills reported earlier this month that they’ve already begun producing Cheerios made without GMOs. To be clear, the change will only apply to its original-flavor cereal (not Apple Cinnamon or others), and the boxes will be labeled “Not Made with Genetically Modified Ingredients.”

There will also be a disclaimer that trace amounts of GMO ingredients may be present due to contamination during the manufacturing process.1 The move comes just weeks after General Mills’ Cheerios brand released a Facebook app asking “fans” to “show what Cheerios mean to them.”

The app allowed users to create their own placards using Cheerios’ trademarked black font on a yellow background, where dots and periods featured little cheerios. One day later, the app was abruptly pulled after thousands of angry “fans” expressed their disgust over the company’s betrayal. What betrayal, you ask?

General Mills donated more than $1.1 million to the “No on Prop. 37” campaign to defeat California’s Proposition 37, which would have required GM foods to be labeled as such and prevented GM foods from being mislabeled as “natural.”

Proposition 37 was defeated back in November 2012 due to massive donations from multinational corporations, such as General Mills, which hide GM ingredients behind natural labels and “wholesome” advertising. Two of the first three ingredients in Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios are cornstarch and sugar—two ingredients that are often genetically engineered.

 

You Spoke… and General Mills Listened!

 

Many people are now waking up to the fact that there is an ever-growing number of genetically engineered ingredients in our food that we had no idea were there. As far as Cheerios goes, you’d never get the impression there might be anything unnatural about their cereal.

But when it came out that the company had been donating to efforts to keep GM labeling silent, their trust for providing “wholesome goodness” (as their Web site claims) was badly broken.

After all, they would rather pay millions to hide that their products contain GM ingredients rather than give you the choice to buy something else… or reformulate their product without GM ingredients (which would be the sensible thing to do if they were really concerned about children’s long-term health and well-being).

After all the backlash – remember, there were thousands of people speaking out against their GMO deception on their Facebook page – General Mills got proactive with damage control by removing the GM ingredients from their flagship product. Now, if they’ll extend it to their other products as well, we’ll be getting somewhere…

Monsanto Disses GMO-Free Cheerios as a Marketing Stunt

Monsanto, the world leader in genetically modified (GM) crops and seeds, dismissed General Mills’ move to make Cheerios GMO-free, calling it a ‘marketing’ move. CEO Hugh Grant focused his comments on the fact that oats are the main ingredient in original Cheerios, and there are no GM oats.

Still, there is GM corn and GM sugar, two other ingredients used in the cereal. Clearly Monsanto is keen on downplaying the positive press that General Mills is receiving over labeling their products as free from GMOs. Could this signal the beginning of the end for the unspoken partnership between biotech and the junk-food industry?

CEO Hugh Grant said:2

“The interesting thing with Cheerios over that particular brand is they’re made from oats, and there are no biotech oats in existence today. So I think we’ve talked for years about we would support voluntary labeling and that was up to companies to do. I think we saw last week was the first real life example of true voluntary labeling and probably a little bit of marketing as well.”

Monsanto is not going to let GM labeling happen without a fight, however. Last year the company donated nearly $5 million to the anti-labeling campaign in Washington State, and in 2012 they donated more than $7 million to help defeat California’s Proposition 37.

Curiously enough, Monsanto is more than willing to “support” GMO labeling once they run out of options. They even ran an ad in the UK letting British consumers know how much the company supports the mandatory labeling of their goods—even urging Britons to seek such labels out—ostensibly because Monsanto believes “you should be aware of all the facts before making a decision.”

 

Forbes Asks: Are GMO-Free Cheerios “The First Domino”?

 

The first white flag from the food industry has gone up, and even Forbes had to admit it. With increasing GMO-labeling initiatives on state ballots and regulators considering labeling changes on a national level, the food industry has been standing together to defeat this rising opposition … until now.

General Mills’ move sets it apart from the other industry giants in showing that they are responding to consumer demand. It’s a wise move that will win them major favor among the growing number of Americans seeking safer food while costing them little (the actual tweaking of their recipe to become GMO-free will be minimal). This may very well be the ‘first domino’ to fall …

In fact, Post Foods recently announced that they have released a non-GMO verified Grape Nuts cereal that is available on store shelves as of January 2014.. and they’re looking to add even more non-GMO verified products, noting that

We are always listening to our consumers…”

So it seems the dominoes are already beginning to fail. As for why General Mills’ made their move at such a pivotal time in GM-food history, Forbes hit the nail on the head:3

The answer is that public opinion is reaching critical mass. Ninety-percent of Americans believe that GMOs are unsafe, 93 percent of Americans favor stringent federal GMO labeling regulations, and 57 percent say they would be less likely to buy products labeled as genetically modified. When we shift the focus from General Mills motivations to the timing of its decision, we see why every food manufacturer ought to be taking notice, whether another brand-name kitchen table staple goes non-GMO or not.”

 

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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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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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Civil Beat  |  By Sophie Cocke Posted: 12/05/2013 10:21 pm EST

 

big island biotech ban

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi | Civil Beat

 

HONOLULU — Mayor Billy Kenoi signed Bill 113 into law on Thursday, prohibiting biotech companies from operating on the Big Island and banning farmers from growing any new genetically altered crops.

 

The bill exempts the island’s GMO papaya industry.

 

Kenoi said that the new law signals the county’s desire to encourage community-based farming and ranching, as opposed to playing host to global agribusiness corporations in a letter to council members announcing his decision to sign the bill.

 

None of the biotech companies that have taken up root in Hawaii in recent years, such as Monsanto, Syngenta and Pioneer, operate on Big Island. The new law makes sure that remains the case.

 

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Organic Connections

 

 

Tell USDA to Reject this GE Apple! Comments are due December 9th, so please sign the petition today.

Tell USDA to Reject the GE Apple!

via Center for Food Safety

After decades of promises from the biotech industry that genetically engineered (GE) food would feed the world, cure the sick, reduce agricultural dependence on toxic chemicals, and save countless crops from imminent collapse, industry is poised to finally release a product they think will solve a problem humans have struggled with for centuries… an apple that doesn’t brown when you slice it… Seriously; we couldn’t make this stuff up.

A public comment period on the GE apple is open through December 9th.

GE apples are being touted as the best thing since…well, since sliced apples. In our homes, we just add a little lemon juice. Gosh! We have been living in the Stone Age!

While these GE apples are a waste of time and money, we don’t want to downplay the real concerns about them. Pre-sliced apples are actually a frequently recalled food product. Once the whole fruit is sliced, it has an increased risk of exposure to pathogens. Since browning is a sign that apples are no longer fresh, “masking” this natural signal could lead people to consume contaminated apples, which is why some folks are calling it the “botox apple.”

 

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Tuesday, November 05, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

orange

(NaturalNews) Increasingly stricken by a disease that leaves them shriveled, discolored and sour, Florida oranges are the latest target for genetic manipulators who are right now working on a new variety of genetically modified (GM) orange that could end up containing pig genes. According to The New York Times (NYT), the disease, known as citrus greening, threatens the entire domestic orange industry, which is why some of Florida’s largest citrus producers see no other option but to fund the development of GM oranges.

Southern Gardens Citrus (SGC), one of Florida’s largest citrus growers and manager of some two-and-a-half million orange trees in south-central Florida, is at the forefront of the push for GM oranges. According to reports, the company recently tried to battle citrus greening in its own groves, chopping down and burning hundreds of thousands of infected trees and bolstering its arsenal of pesticides. But these efforts ultimately failed, prompting company officials to seek various alternative approaches.

When scouring the world for an orange variety immune to the disease proved fruitless, Ricke Kress, SGC’s president, decided it might be time to take a more drastic approach. According to the NYT, Kress and his boss had previously mulled the idea of developing GMO oranges when citrus greening first showed up in the state but were reluctant to actually go through with it due to the long-term damage it might cause to the citrus industry. Now, however, Kress believes that the situation is far more serious.

Though he admits that Florida oranges could naturally develop their own resistance to the C. Liberibacter asiaticus bacterium, which is believed to be the cause of citrus greening, Kress is not necessarily keen on taking this risk. Natural resistance could take just a few months to develop, he says, or it could take years or even decades. In the meantime, Florida oranges could end up going extinct, leading to the loss of some 76,000 jobs in Florida and the end of bountiful orange juice cartons on grocery store shelves.

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TRUTHstreammedia TRUTHstreammedia

Published on Jul 2, 2013

http://truthstreammedia.com/?p=3667
(Truthstream Media.com) During a discussion panel in Arizona State University’s Biotech department that took place on February 2, 2012, the inventor of genetically engineered edible vaccines joked about wiping out 25% of the population with a genetically engineered virus.

Dr. Charles Arntzen, head of The Biodesign Institute for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, responded to a question pertaining to whether feeding the 8 billion people of the world was worth it, or whether population reduction should be pursued.

The scientist quipped: “Has anybody seen ‘Contagion’? That’s the answer! Go out and use genetic engineering to create a better virus… 25 percent of the population is supposed to go in Contagion.”

Arntzen was the first to pursue an edible vaccine for use in the developing world while at the Boyce Thompson Institute in 1996 under funding from the Rockefeller Foundation. His signature delivery vehicle is the banana. He noted the possibilities for its use in both poor countries as well as the wealthier Western world: “Children of developing countries may not be the only beneficiaries of this new technology. Says Arntzen: ‘American kids will also probably prefer being vaccinated by an edible vaccine rather than by a needle.'”

Perhaps even more startling is the fact that Dr. Arntzen — and perhaps some of his colleagues in the room — developed the first effective, stable and storable synthetic Ebola vaccine capable of being stockpiled under grants from the Department of Defense and Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. According to a news report from Arizona State University: “If early efforts bear fruit, an Ebola vaccine could be stockpiled for use in the United States, should the country fall victim to a natural outbreak or a bioterrorism event in which a weaponized strain of the virus were unleashed on soldiers or the public.”

If not downright creepy and nihilistic, it is surely poor bedside manner to joke about depopulating the masses of the planet via an engineered virus when he and his department are actively involved in tinkering with such stuff.

The Ebola vaccine, while overtly for defensive measures, is the natural research companion to weaponized Ebola viruses that have been refined over the years by military researchers, including those in the United States, and classified as a Class A bioweapon.

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