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Food Companies Plan to Label GMOs—but Is There More to the Story?


#1

Food Companies Plan to Label GMOs—but Is There More to the Story?

Katherine Paul, Ronnie Cummins

The world’s largest food corporations have spent hundreds of millions of dollars (some of it illegally) to avoid being required to label the genetically engineered ingredients in their products.


#2

For how many millennia did humans consume gluten-continaining foods without realizing that gluten was causing a percentage of the population much suffering? The precautionary principle properly applied would exclude GMO-based "foods" until they were shown to be safe by independent unbiased studies. Absent that, labeling is the best solution. Knowledge is power.


#3

I briefly abandoned my boycott of Campbell's products (the company now owns my favorite corporate processed salsa).

The salsa is still yummy but the six jars I bought on sale are now gone. My inner mind has resisted my tastebuds clamoring for more. Thank you for this article, it will help maintain my boycott. Really, do you eat corporate processed french fries harvested from fields that had the above ground green killed by Monsanto's latest glyphosate concoction?

Spray of poison on crops engineered to withstand the poison is the real problem with GMOs. Don't forget; the US Government now allows you to consume 32 ounces of glyphosate residue per year. Each person can now be fed almost a Liter of glyphosate per year by Monsanto, that's what GMOs are mostly about.


#5

Senator Stabanow can say she will "support federal mandatory GMO labeling" because she knows the Obama Administration stacked with GMO industry operatives, and Congress with so many members funded by the GMO industries assure that GMO labeling will never be initiated at the federal level..


#6

It's appropriate to discuss the connections of GMO to glyphosate. Absent from most of these discussions, however, is much mention of the use of glyphosate on conventional non-GMO crops as a finishing desiccant prior to harvesting. Glyphosate is frequently applied days in advance of combining to insure a uniform consistency. Understand that in the process, glyphosate translocates through the entire plant, seeds included, as it shuts down cell synthesis. In other words, GMO or not, you're consuming some quantity of glyphosate.


#8

There is all kinds of research if one wants to make the efforts to find it.
Residual amounts present in finished crops are variable, given that in practice applications rates in the field are highly variable. Absorption rates, and consequently distribution within the plant, can be affected by timing of herbicide application. Nevertheless, if the plant has been sprayed and you end up consuming its product, then it may be a safe conjecture to assume that you've ingested some amount of glyphosate.
Addressing your initial question, try performing some advanced searches using the terms 'herbicide', 'glyphosate', and 'translocation'.
Robert Kremer, University of Missouri microbiologist, has performed extensive research on the topic over the past several decades.


#10

I was referring the question you posed within the subsection of this string:
"Any studies comparing GMO crops to conventional non organic crops in glyphostae levels?"
As to the other thing, you mean that stuff that pro-GMO folks sometimes dismissively refer to as 'junk DNA'?
The gene splicing techniques are really sloppy, notions of 'scientific precision' are somewhat erroneous. That which has no immediate explanation is termed junk DNA. Evidence, however, is starting to show up that might indicate that at least some of that junk could serve some latent function.
Who knows how many endogenous retroviruses there are lurking about?
Interesting article appeared in Phys.org the other day:
http://phys.org/news/2016-03-ancient-viruses-lurk-dna-thought.html
Food for thought?


#11

Has anyone read, or is familiar, with the book,
Altered Genes, Twisted Truth
How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public
Authored by Steven M.Druker.

A highly recommended read for everyone interested in this topic.
ISBN 978-0-9856169-0-8


#12

What was the purpose of this comment? Sounds like you teamed up with "Garrett" to plant the subliminal that GMO food is "just as safe" as everything else, minus the glyphosate.

To my way of thinking, this is covert PR for Monsanto presented as concern for public health.


#15

That's actually a good question.

Grain farming, including wheat farming, gradually emerged from various river valleys from 10,000 or so years ago up into the 1900s. But indigenous practices in California suggest that use of staple seeds was widespread far before that (see Kat Anderson's Tending the Wild). Of course, usage before tillage incorporated a far wider range of seeds.

Virgil's Georgics recounts an earlier predominance of acorn use that was supplanted over a few years by a culture of grains (mostly wheat and related) and lupines (a nitrogen-fixing legumes that provided a crop while partially repairing the soil). The lupines were in turn replaced in many areas by lentils and beans. Archaeologists theorize that this related to the overuse of trees to smelt metals for bronze tools. Bronze makes a better tool than does iron, but takes more wood to smelt. Humans apparently turned to iron when trees became prohibitively scarce to smelt bronze. That corresponds at least chronologically with the move to wheat farming on hillsides and fields.

There was very clearly a reduction in health that came from the reduction of diversity in crops and from the joining of people into cities without adequate disposal of sewage. It is not clear the extent to which people suffered from gluten-related conditions over this time. One would imagine that it must have happened. But there are variations in both the type and amount of gluten in various wheat crops and products, and considerable differences in its digestibility according to the biomes in the guts of different humans.

These practices had their costs, and we can see them across the traditional lands of antiquity, whose storied lands of milk and honey have been converted not to normal deserts, but to more or less deserted sinks of sterility. However, problems amplified in the 1900s, when most varieties of foodstuff were lost due to centralized economic concerns, and a large percentage of nutrition and microbial life were stripped from foodstuffs by manufactured farming and the so-called "green revolution" of genetically limited (not GMO) hybrids, heavy pesticide and herbicide use, and chemical fertilizers almost entirely without trace nutrients.

Those who grew up with these latter products often complain of gluten problems. That includes me, and surely a lot of people who manage to ignore it. This was all done in the name of profit: of shifting wealth from one pair of hands to another.

Hopefully I can quote an astute observation by Ezra Pound without convincing people that I approve of most of his politics:

. . . with usura, sin against nature,
is thy bread ever more of stale rags
is thy bread dry as paper,
with no mountain wheat, no strong flour
with usura the line grows thick
with usura is no clear demarcation
and no man can find site for his dwelling.
Stonecutter is kept from his stone
weaver is kept from his loom . . . (Canto 45).


#16

I saw it, the dna that was formally called junk is actually viruses that we have absorbed into our dna. We adapt, nature makes no "junk".
All of these adaptions have an up side and a down side.
Humans in our civilized hubric form create junk that the Earth cannot process.
Plastic for instance, dioxin etc..
Now our hubris has led us to tamper with and make junk of the actual building blocks of life itself. Who wants to see the downside? Few.


#19

Makes sense. Just like they now say its not safe to use.
Ironically millions or billions of pounds of it have been used to help restore ecosystems. Big downside.


#21

I am a restoration ecologist. Roundup is used and has been used for decades to annilate nonnatives even to the point of completely killing all plants of the area. I never liked it and never ordered its use.

We were routinely told it posed little or no health risks and broke down readily.
Both are now assumed to be untrue.


#22

That makes a lot of sense. At the same time that I experimented with cutting back on various foods to relieve a range of immune systems, I started a garden that at various points has supplied all or almost all of my food for as much as several months at a time. That all sounds very intelligent and purposeful, to me at least, but I did not really anticipate this sort of connection at the time I did it. However, after a bit, I noticed that when the garden food ran out for one or another distraction or failure in expertise, symptoms returned very quickly that I'd thought I found a way out of.

There are many specific things, which I have not much sorted out and any of which might involve some oddity of my own nature. But, just as a sample of some of the complications, corn is interesting.

I can eat corn tortillas, at least the ones that I buy around here. The corn in these is treated with the alkaline mineral lime, which removes part of the husk. This is an old tradition, though some people used ashes instead. I cannot eat products made with American corn meal, nor can I eat the local prepared masa para tamales, perhaps because it is less well treated, perhaps for some other reason. Popcorn from the store and popped at home also causes problems. I have trouble with sweet corn purchased at the store. However, I can eat as much sweet corn grown on my land as I care to, with no symptoms.

It is a wee bit difficult trying to figure out just exactly what factor or which practice is causing a given problem, whether that is reflux or headaches or swollen and aching joints or itching or various sorts of intestinal distress. But it is quite obvious that digestion is impaired and that there is a range of problems depending on whatever it might be that is not properly digested.

I don't doubt that I have suffered some damage secondary to age and abuse, but that seems to heal very quickly when the commercial products are removed entirely. To some extent of course, there are particular things that I just should not have--anything with wheat, for example. I don't suppose much can be made in a documentary way of this sort of anecdotal evidence, but of course it makes a difference when one lives the anecdote. The lesson that comes out of it, finally, is that one cannot trust the commercial makers of products for profit--not something I would have guessed a half a century ago.


#23

I'm about halfway through it. It's really information-dense for a non-scientist like me - a bit of a slog, actually.

It's been interesting learning some of the background I didn't know, such as the discovery of "restriction enzymes" in 1970, which was, in a sense, the beginning of "the project." And I had no idea how extensive the effort was, even at the outset. Amazing, really, and hard (for me) not to use the word "conspiracy."

I am convinced that history - if there is one - will deem the GMO Project to be an extraordinary example of groupthink.

For which, BTW, I know of no better corrective than The Virtues of Ignorance: Complexity, Sustainability, and the Limits of Knowledge, ed. Bill Vitek and Wes Jackson.


#24

It could be even more devious than that. With the emergence of CRISPR technology, I won't be surprised to learn that the various tentacles of the "GMO Project" are preparing a gigantic "re-branding." No need to worry about GMO labeling if you give the whole thing a new name, right?


#25

Re-branding, plus Obama's TPP and TTIP enabling corporations to sue governments for interfering with potential profits. Tobacco companies have already sued Uruguay and Australia fighting cigarette label laws.