Thursday, February 6, 2014

GMA unifies food industry in GMO label fight

The Grocery Manufacturers Association doesn't want you to know what's in your food. They want all GMO commodity crops to be considered 'natural' and only supports voluntary labeling of GMOs in food. Labeling scares them. And rightfully so, they have been hiding pesticides and harmful ingredients in food for years. There are so many inaccuracies in the statements from the CEO of the GMA, it is hard to know where to start. Keep in mind the next GMO corn coming to a store near you is going to be coated with 2,4-D herbicide, one of the original ingredients of Agent Orange, and further artificially designed in a lab to create toxins in each and every cell of the plant. Poisoned on the inside and outside. Just common sense says that will cause some real health issues when consumed over a lifetime. And they think that should be considered natural. WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW ABSOLUTELY WHICH FOODS ARE UNNATURALLY CREATED BY THE INSERTION OF FOREIGN DNA INTO PLANTS FROM ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ORGANISMS, LIKE BACTERIA AND VIRUSES. PLANT DNA CROSSED WITH ANIMAL DNA IS NOT NATURAL. And we have the right to know which pesticides are sprayed on GMO crops. The GMA thinks it should be called natural, because that will boost sales.

Childhood cancer rates continue to accelerate and not to mention allergies and autism. The exposures to chemicals in our food is a result of the partnership and collusion between the FDA and giant agricultural/chemical companies. We must stop the revolving doors between business and the government agencies that are supposed to be policing them. Money shouldn't be the loudest voice in the room.

Just remember this: Whatever big business wants, it's not because they are thinking of your welfare. I guarantee whatever they are suggesting is to protect their profits. Don't trust the FDA as well, they are manned to great degree by previous executives of the big agriculture/food/chemical industries. Just pass the labeling laws and let's see where the cards fall. I bet it would all work out, and to our favor as consumers. It didn't crash the agricultural or food industries in the more than 65 countries that now restrict GMOs or require labeling, including the most populated country on earth, China. They are spreading fear and false information to keep us in the dark.

Read entire article here:
GMA unifies food industry in GMO label fight

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Invasion - Little Fire Ants in Hawaii

"Our Food Is Dishonestly Priced": Michael Pollan on the Food Movement's Next Goal of Justice for Food Workers

Industry plays up the image of the food snob to keep us divided, but the stereotype hides a much more diverse and savvy movement, says best-selling author and food activist Michael Pollan.
Take a stroll through most grocery stores, and many of the products claim to be organically grown or locally sourced. The foodie movement has swept America in the last decade, thanks in no small part to the work of journalists and intellectuals who have championed the cause online, in print and on the airwaves.
Michael Pollan is inarguably one of the most influential of these figures. Pollan is most famous for his books, especially In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (2008) and The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006). He also contributes regularly to publications such as the New York Times Magazine, where his work has received numerous awards, and is a professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. 
As organic, locally grown food has emerged as a cultural and economic counterforce to industrialized agriculture, critics have claimed it is elitist and accessible only to those with the resources to pay more for their nourishment. Pollan and his allies have responded, in part, by drawing the public's attention to the low-wage workers who work in the field, behind the counter, and in the kitchen. In recent years Pollan has supported the efforts of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an organization dedicated to improving working conditions and wages for tomato pickers' in Florida; in December 2013 he sided with fast food strikers and their demand for a $15 dollar per hour wage. In an email missive for (received by 8 million subscribers), Pollan wrote: "If we are ever to . . . produce food sustainably and justly and sell it at an honest price, we will first have to pay people a living wage so that they can afford to buy it." In his words, fair wages must be part of the push to democratize food.
I recently connected with Pollan to discuss equitable food pricing, farm worker rights, and industrial agriculture's role in casting the food movement as elitist.  (What follows is a condensed and edited version of our conversation.) I began by asking Pollan about his evolving personal interest in the plight of food workers.
"I've been really paying more attention to it over time than I did at the beginning," he said. "When I wrote my first book about the food system, The Omnivore's Dilemma, I didn't talk in detail about labor. It was much more from the point of view of the eater than the person behind the counter.
"But the food movement is all about connecting the dots," Pollan continued. "Both the farm workers and the fast food workers are very important in the food system. I think Eric Schlosser did this better than anyone in Fast Food Nation (2001), where the focus was very much on food workers, slaughterhouse workers and farm workers. I think he's helped to sensitize a lot of people in the food movement who perhaps weren't paying as much attention to this part of the puzzle as they should have been. You definitely find the interest spreading and accelerating as social inequality has gotten so much worse in the last few years."

Read entire article here:
"Our Food Is Dishonestly Priced": Michael Pollan on the Food Movement's Next Goal of Justice for Food Workers

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How American Food Companies Go GMO-Free In A GMO World

I have said this for awhile now, "Keep the Big Island of Hawaii GMO free and take advantage of the growing market for GMO-free food." Create an agriculture plan to take advantage of the rest of the world's desire for non-GMO commodity crops!

Read entire article here:

How American Food Companies Go GMO-Free In A GMO World : The Salt : NPR

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Disappeared News: Follow the money to understand why the public is being locked out of testimony on a key pro-GMO bill

This blog says it all. Biotech will stop at nothing to make Hawaii theirs, to pollute as needed for profits. They don't care one ounce for the land or the people. And the politicians are goosestepping in line for handouts. Whether they believe in what they are doing or not, it is wrong to usurp the will of the local governments and people. We have already spoken, NO MORE GMOs!

Entire article is here:

Disappeared News: Follow the money to understand why the public is being locked out of testimony on a key pro-GMO bill

The Natural Effect

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Is China Going to Lead the World in GM Food Labelling?

China is continuing to require distinctions for GMO foods for consumers by requiring stores to set up different areas just for foods with GMO ingredients. We here in America are still in the dark about eating GMO foods. Our government doesn't want to disturb the giant agro-mega sized global chemical companies. We do have the best government corporations can buy.

Entire article is here:

Is China Going to Lead the World in GM Food Labelling?

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Monsanto - Picking Up God's Slack

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hemp would kick cotton's ass. Grow hemp not GMOs.

Monsanto will not let hemp grow to compete with their 'magic cotton seed'. Monsanto now accounts for 90% of GMO cotton seed sold in America. Hemp would kick cotton's ass! Why are things the way they are? Just follow the money.

At least for now look for the organic cotton label and stop sending your hard earned money to corporations that are putting profits before the welfare of the people. We have a right to be suspicious of companies that have a hundred year history of pollution and graft, like Monsanto.

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GM Grass Goes Yard | fieldquestions

Read this article. A GMO grass has gotten out into the environment and created more super-weeds, and there is no taking it back! A perfect example of why non-GMO farmers CANNOT co-exist with these biotech farms. GMOs are being scattered everywhere by scientists and companies bent on OWNING the next big GMO crop. Stop this insanity, stop the wholesale plantings of GMO crops until we can create a SAFE way of evaluating the need and safety of GMOs.

And btw, boycott all Scotts/Miracle-Gro products. O.K. one more thing: Keep in mind that golf courses are one of the more toxic environments you can encounter.

Find entire article here:
GM Grass Goes Yard

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Washington State University develops non-GMO, non-browning apple alternative | The Organic & Non-GMO Report

This article shows the real need for GMO transgender foods is a bullshit business trumped up as our savior to farming. Not so. Conventional breeding programs can offer safe alternatives. Scientists often conveniently forget the Precautionary Principle when it comes to profits. Corporate sponsored science should always be suspect, for corporations are required to put profits before the welfare of the public.

Washington State University develops non-GMO, non-browning apple alternative | The Organic & Non-GMO Report

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Spectrum Seed helps farmers see advantages of going non-GMO | The Organic & Non-GMO Report

Indiana-based company provides farmers with high-yielding non-GMO corn seed choices
Scott Odle is probably as far from being an anti-GMO activist as anyone could be. He has spent his life in conventional farming, growing up on an Indiana farm, studying agricultural economics at Purdue University, working for Cargill, and then returning to his family farm. A self-described conservative, Odle has doubts that genetically modified foods are harmful. Yet, Odle and his Indiana-based company, Spectrum Seed, are supporting the growing non-GMO food movement and have built a successful business, developing and selling non-GMO corn seed.
How did Odle’s journey lead him to the non-GMO world? A combination of factors including concerns about control over seed by a few large corporations, better economics and yields of non-GMO production, and the need to make agriculture more sustainable.
Not too many years ago, Odle admits he was “aggressive” on using genetically modified corn traits on his Indiana farm. But over time he started questioning the value of GM seed, and realized non-GMO was performing better. “I was gaining seven to ten more bushels per acre with non-GMO,” he says.

“We wanted to be simple

Five years ago, Odle connected with Scott Johnson, a plant breeder who had worked for biotech giant BASF. “Scott found there were a lot of good non-GMO products out there,” Odle says.
Odle, Johnson, and several other colleagues then launched Spectrum Seed.
“I thought as producers we needed more choice. The price increases (for GM seed) were huge. It scared me how much I was spending on seed,” Odle says.
The aim was to create a company that would focus on developing and selling quality non-GMO corn seed and treat its customers well.
“Our mantra was that we wanted to be simple. We don’t require a refuge in a bag (as GM seed companies do), there are no rules, and none of our corn has been rejected in China,” Odle says, referring to China’s rejection of Syngenta’s unapproved AgriSure GM corn.
Spectrum is succeeding. “We are going into our fifth selling season, and our sales have almost doubled every year,” Odle says.
This year Spectrum offers 20 different non-GMO corn hybrids with maturity dates ranging from 82 to 116 days. They sell seed in 38 states.

Field trials show non-GMO outperforms GMO

This past year Spectrum conducted field trials of its non-GMO corn hybrids, comparing them with GM corn varieties in different regions in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio. The results showed that Spectrum’s hybrids produced yields that were as good as, or in some cases, better than GM varieties from Pioneer Hi-Bred, DeKalb, and other seed companies. For example in east central Iowa, Spectrum’s 6104 corn variety produced 181 bushels per acre compared to 178 bushels per acre for a Pioneer variety.
“We can produce yield without having (GMO) traits,” Odle says.
To ensure the non-GMO status of its seed, Spectrum receives third-party certification through the Identity Preservation program offered by the Indiana Crop Improvement Association. The program requires a threshold of less than 1.0% adventitious GM material or 99.0% purity for non-GMO corn. Spectrum’s hybrids have been tested to 0.2% and 0.1% adventitious GM material.

- See more at:
Spectrum Seed helps farmers see advantages of going non-GMO | The Organic & Non-GMO Report

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GM Purple Tomatoes Set for EU Legal Problems over Human Testing - Sustainable Pulse

Following the announcement last week that 1200 litres of GM purple tomato juice is being sent to the UK from Canada for testing, before the GM tomatoes themselves enter shops across the country, EU and US scientists have expressed serious concerns.
purple tomato
The aim is to use the GM tomato juice in research to conduct a wide range of tests including examining whether the anthocyanin they contain has positive effects on heart patients in UK hospitals. However, according to a number of EU and US scientist sources, these GM tomatoes have never been tested for toxicity in animal feeding trials, which is a legal requirement in the EU.
If regulators in the EU do allow human trials before animal testing, this will violate EU regulations for GMOs and at worst would border on a criminal act, given that it is possible that an adverse reaction might take place. Canadian regulators are also set for similar legal problems, if as expected they allow GM tomatoes to be sold in the country within 2 years.
The GM purple tomatoes were invented at the John Innes Centre in Norwich by a team led by Prof Cathie Martin. Due to EU regulations the tomatoes were then sent to Canada, where they were developed further.
The GM tomatoes contain the pigment, known as anthocyanin, which is an antioxidant and claims have been made suggesting that they could help fight cancer. These claims are based on the results of a small scale test on mice which has beenrefuted or questioned by experts, including the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and Cancer Research UK (CRUK).
GM Watch has outlined the main points regarding why GM purple tomatoes are not required and also a number of scientific points on why they could be dangerous to human health:
1. A general point about anthocyanins: There are over 200 types and they constitute the main red/purple pigment class found in common fruit and vegetables, e.g. red cabbage, red onions, berries, etc. (Note: the purple of beetroot is not an anthocyanin but another nonetheless valuable antioxidant.) Thus one can have a diet rich in anthocyanins without resorting to GM purple tomatoes. What Cathie Martin and her colleagues have produced is totally unnecessary given the abundance of anthocyanins already in food plants.
2. The Ti-plasmid transgene cassette contains a kanamycin (antibiotic) resistance gene, which would have been used in the initial selection of the GM transformants. They don’t mention the use of kanamycin selection in the methods section of their paper but there is no other way they could have conveniently selected for transformants. It is conspicuous they avoid mentioning this, perhaps in order to avoid attracting attention to it, in light of the fact that the EU has asked for antibiotic resistance genes not to be present in the final GM plant.
3. The transgenes involved are two from snapdragons and are a class of proteins known as “transcription factors”; ie proteins that control the expression of many other genes. Thus there is no way that these two transcription factor genes would have just turned on the target genes for anthocyanin synthesis and not interfered with the function of others. The data they present looking at gene expression profiles is inconclusive in this respect using a somewhat outdated, crude method compared to what can be done now. The tomato genome sequence has now been determined and so state-of-the-art methods such as gene-chip microarrays or better still total mRNA (transcriptome) analysis by high throughput sequencing can now be used to properly assess what the GM process has actually resulted in.
4. These tomatoes CANNOT be called substantially equivalent to the non-GM parent as they have a substantially different chemistry and composition compared to the non-GM parent.
5. No generic toxicity testing, either short- or long-term, of these tomatoes has been published and we must assume it has not been done. The only additional work published with these GM purple tomatoes is to show that high anthocyanin in the skin extends shelf life. No work has been done to see if nutrient content is preserved during the time of extended shelf life. If the nutrient content is not preserved, then it’s a rip-off in terms of what the consumer is getting.
6. The whole idea of GM “nutritionally enhanced” foods starts with two major conceptual flaws; (i) there is something wrong with the diversity of foods we have already and (ii) that high levels of a single nutrient is going to result in significantly improved health status – in this case, warding off cancer. This is nonsense on both counts.
So in allowing these GM tomatoes to be grown on their territory, the Canadian authorities, rather than being more “enlightened”, as Martin claims, appear to have been “endarkened” by pro-GM propaganda.
For those who are fixated on a purple tomato-related answer to cancer, a peer-reviewed study found that extracts of the fruit of non-GM anthocyanin-rich tomatoes inhibited two human cancer cell lines in a dose dependent manner.
GM Purple Tomatoes Set for EU Legal Problems over Human Testing - Sustainable Pulse

Dow Chemical: Destroying Our World

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Organic Food vs. Conventional: What the Slate Article Missed | Inspired Bites

esterday’s article out of Slate telling parents not to worry about pesticides caused quite a stir.
It runs completely counter to the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the President’s Cancer Panel which urges parents to avoid exposing their children to these chemicals when and wherever they can.
How pervasive have these chemicals become?  Seeds are now produced using methyl bromide. Corn seed is still coated in neonicotinoids and still uses atrazine. Soy still uses diflubenzuron  and methomyl.  Do we have the studies to show that these chemical in combination are safe for children?  What is the compound toxicity of this on the developing digestive tract and immune system of a child?
A study published in Pediatrics found that the risk of having ADHD increases in children who have higher concentrations of dialkyl phosphate metabolites. The metabolites indicate exposure to organophosphates, pesticides that affect the nervous system, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
This is a controversy to serious to ignore.  On top of the concerns shared in the journal,Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control now reports that cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in American kids under the age of 15.  1 in 2 men are expected to get it in their lifetime, along with 1 in 3 women.  Correlation is not causation, but in light of the combination of chemicals being used on and in our food supply, it merits investigation.
The author of the Slate piece, while feeding her own young children organic produce, free from synthetic pesticides, argued that organic foods may not be much healthier or more nutritious than their conventional counterparts.  The title of the piece is”Organic Schmorganic”, and it caused quite a stir.
A deeper investigation into pesticides reveals a few things that were not highlighted in the coverage.
While scientists out of Stanford recently analyzed vitamins and minerals, suggesting little variation between foods produced organically and those produced conventionally using a chemically-intensive agricultural system, food isn’t simply a delivery device for vitamins and minerals alone.
We are quickly learning in this industrialized food era that our food can be full of a lot of other things.  It has become a delivery device for artificial colors, additives, preservatives, added growth hormomes, antibiotics, pesticides, insecticides and so much more.
The term “organic” actually refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed and legally details the permitted use (or not) of certain ingredients in these foods.
The details are that the U.S. Congress adopted the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) in 1990 as part of the 1990 Farm Bill which was then followed with the National Organic Program final rule published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The standards include a national list of approved synthetic and prohibited non-synthetic substances for organic production which means that organically produced foods also must be produced without the use of:
  • antibiotics
  • artificial growth hormones
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • artificial dyes (made from coal tar and petrochemicals)
  • artificial sweeteners
  • synthetically created chemical pesticide and fertilizers
  • genetically engineered proteins and ingredients
  • sewage sludge
  • irradiation
Read entire article here:
Organic Food vs. Conventional: What the Slate Article Missed | Inspired Bites

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hawaii's GMO War Headed to Honolulu and Federal Court

The debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Hawaii is reaching a fever pitch. The battleground has shifted from packed local meetings to a federal court and the Legislature as powerful agrichemical interests push back against a grassroots movement that has succeeded in passing laws through two county councils. The question facing the island state that has become a cradle of GMO development: Do county governments - and the local communities they represent - have the power to regulate global chemical companies and the pesticide-laden process of developing genetically engineered seeds?
After months of massive marches and packed local meetings, two county governments in Hawaii took on Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and the other agrichemical firms that take advantage of Hawaii's three growing seasons to develop GMO seed varieties sold across the world. In November, the county of Kauai passed a law regulating pesticide use at GMO test plots near residential communities. (Truthout reported from Kauai in November, check out our in-depth coveragehere and here.) In December, the island of Hawaii banned biotech companies from operating on the island and asked farmers not to plant any newly developed GMO seeds besides papaya. 
On January 23, state lawmakers introduced legislation that would block county governments from restricting legal agricultural practices, a move that critics say is a clear effort to pre-empt the counties of Hawaii and Kauai and render their new GMO rules null and void. Anti-GMO activists have dubbed the bill the "Hawaii Monsanto Protection Act." 
During the 2012 election cycle, Monsanto and two lobbyists that represent the company were among the top 15 donors to Sen. Clarence Nishihara, the bill's main sponsor in the state Senate, according to state records. During the same election year, Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, another sponsor in the Senate, received a combined $3,650 of donations from Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow Chemical and an additional $5,450 from Monsanto lobbyists and industry representatives. 
In January 2014, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta and a subsidiary of Dow Chemical filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging Kauai's new law, originally called Bill 2491 and now known as Ordinance 960. The law aims at protecting environmental and public health by requiring the three companies, along with the biotech firm BASF, to publically disclose information about pesticide sprays and establishing buffer zones near schools and hospitals. 
Read entire article here:
Hawaii's GMO War Headed to Honolulu and Federal Court

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U.N. warns us to eat less meat and lay off biofuels, or we’re in for it | Grist

We’re overconsuming ourselves into environmental oblivion.
Farming will eliminate forests, plains, and other wild areas nearly the size of Brazil by 2050 around the world if we can’t mend our agricultural, dietary, and biofuel-burning ways. This unsustainable drive for more growing land will result in rising hunger and more frequent riots as food prices increase.
That’s the salty prognosis in a new report by scientists working for the U.N.’s International Resource Panel.
The amount of farmland has increased 11 percent since the 1960s, as growers struggle to meet growing populations’ ballooning demands for food and biofuel, according to the report. About 1.5 billion hectares, or 3.7 billion acres, is now being used globally to produce crops, and that figure continues to grow. Making matters worse, about a quarter of the world’s soils are degraded, which reduces the amount of crops that can be grown in them.
“Growing demand for food and non-food biomass will lead to an expansion of global cropland; yield growth will not be able to compensate for the expected surge in global demand,” the report states. “Cropland expansion at the cost of tropical forests and savannahs induces severe changes in the living environment with uncertain repercussions.”
What may be hardest for some of the world’s poorest and hungriest residents to stomach is the vast amount of farmland that’s being dedicated to growing crops for biofuels and for animal feed.
“One of our key challenges is overusing agricultural land for growing meat,” said report lead author Robert Howarth of Cornell University. “We don’t need to become complete vegetarians, but to put this into context and to help sustain feeding a burgeoning global population, we need to reduce our meat consumption by 60 percent — which is about 1940s era levels.”
Read entire article here:
U.N. warns us to eat less meat and lay off biofuels, or we’re in for it | Grist

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Beyond the Bio: Coach Mark Smallwood | Beyond the Bio |

They call him Coach.
Mark Smallwood leads the team at the Rodale Institute, which advocates for organic farming from its headquarters in Kutztown, Berks County.

Photo by Courtesy

They do more than farming though - they raise cows and chickens, and a whole cavalcade of other animals.
I talked with Coach Smallwood about why he made the move to Rodale, some of the most surprising misconceptions he's heard about organic, and how his life as a basketball coach translates in his current career.
On the job at Rodale:
"It was to be more impactful...I don't know how much higher you can go.
"This was the birthplace of the organic movement, and I'm the leader here now, making good impact."
On misconceptions:
"One is that organic can't feed the world. We hear that all that time. We've totally disproved that. Our farming systems trial started in 1981, the longest trial of its time in North America, growing conventional crops right next to organic. After now 32 years, this is what we know: in terms of feeding the world, the yields are the same. No scientist in the world would ever dispute the numbers.
Entire article is here:
Beyond the Bio: Coach Mark Smallwood | Beyond the Bio |

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Farmed and Dangerous Official Trailer

Want to Avoid GMOs? Look for This Label | Maria's Farm Country Kitchen

What do Cheerios and apples have in common? They are the latest and very public battlegrounds for the GMO debate. But these two mainstays of American childhood nutrition are headed in opposite directions: While the Arctic apple, genetically modified to not brown when it’s cut, is all but set to be approved for production; original Cheerios is now GMO free. And while the general public is wholeheartedly in support of knowing what is in its food, shoppers are still confused as to what all the labels really mean.
Now some of the very groups who dumped millions into defeating state GMO labeling laws across the country have changed tack and are pushing for a national GMO labeling law; one that requires labels only on GMOs “proved” to cause health problems. The problem? Patents and “intellectual property” laws not only severely restrict how GMOs can be researched, but also have provided an easy way for the companies to discredit study results they don’t like.
While food and seed giants figure out how to take the teeth out of GMO labeling laws before they even happen, there is good news for the more than 90 percent of American consumers who want to know whether or not something contains GMOs: We already have a label.
Certified-organic farmers and food producers can’t use GMOs. Ever. And there are strict regulations in place for certified-organic producers to avoid GMO contamination, including testing. As Melody Meyer, vice president of policy and industry relations at United Natural Foods, Inc., and a Rodale Institute business member, explained recently, “In November 2012, the NOP clarified through formal rule making that testing for prohibited residues in organic products, including GMOs, MUST occur periodically (on an annual basis), and that certifiers must investigate and issue noncompliance notices accordingly to organic operations that fail to meet the requirement.”
Entire article is here:
Want to Avoid GMOs? Look for This Label | Maria's Farm Country Kitchen

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Monday, January 27, 2014

New Hawai’i Bills Seek to Undermine Kauai and Big Island GMO laws.

Big Ag and their big money is out to take away home rule and let the continued poisoning of paradise. Once again we must fight to protect the land from biotech hooligans that test their newest chemicals without oversight. We had to sue and pass legislation just to get the giant chemical companies to tell us WHAT they were spraying next to schools! Now all that could be undone by preemptive laws from the state. We will not bow to our corporate masters! The new "plantation" owners will not win this one, we will fight to protect what we love.

New Hawai’i Bills Seek to Undermine Kauai and Big Island’s GMO Regulatory Laws | Latest News | Earth Island Journal | Earth Island Institute

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Is Organic Really Better? Is Organic Really Better?: By Robyn O’Brien

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently weighed in for the first time on organic food, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that feeding kids organic fruits and veggies and organic meat just might reduce the risks of certain conditions and diseases and have some health benefits.
The President’s Cancer Panel also sounded alarm bells about chemicals and cancer, encouraging us to eat organic when we can, to reduce our exposure to pesticides and other additives being applied to our foods.
This is something I certainly didn’t do when my kids were younger, reflecting on all of the tubes of blue yogurt and packages of processed foods I’d served up.
When I first heard the term “organic” several years ago, I dismissed it. It connoted a “status” and conjured up two different images: lifestyles of the rich and famous or perhaps some alternative, hippie thing.
I was wrong.
The term “organic” actually refers to the way agricultural products are grown and produced. It legally details the permitted use (or not) of certain ingredients in these foods.  When I first learned about it, I thought it was a marketing tool.
The legal details are that the U.S. Congress adopted the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) in 1990 as part of the 1990 Farm Bill which was then followed with the National Organic Program final rule published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The standards include a national list of approved synthetic and prohibited non-synthetic substances for organic production which means that organically produced foods also must be produced without the use of:
  • • antibiotics
  • • artificial growth hormones
  • • high fructose corn syrup
  • • artificial dyes (made from coal tar and petrochemicals)
  • • artificial sweeteners derived from chemicals
  • • synthetically created chemical pesticide and fertilizers
  • • genetically engineered proteins and ingredients
  • • sewage sludge
  • • irradiation
Wow, who knew that conventional, non-organic food could contain these ingredients?  Not many of us, since sewage sludge and artificial growth hormones aren’t on the label.
Read the entire article here:

“Wake Up Before It’s Too Late:” New UN Report Calls for Dramatic Shift Toward Natural Agriculture

Even as the United States government continues to push for the use of more chemically-intensive and corporate-dominated farming methods such as GMOs and monoculture-based crops, the United Nations is once against sounding the alarm about the urgent need to return to (and develop) a more sustainable, natural and organic system.
That was the key point of a new publication from the UN Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) titled“Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake Up Before It’s Too Late,” which included contributions from more than 60 experts around the world.
The cover of the report looks like that of a blockbuster documentary or Hollywood movie, and the dramatic nature of the title cannot be understated: The time is now to switch back to our natural farming roots.
The New UN Farming Report "Wake Up Before It's Too Late."
The New UN Farming Report “Wake Up Before It’s Too Late.” Click here to read it. 
The findings on the report seem to echo those of a December 2010 UN Report in many ways, one that essentially said organic and small-scale farming is the answer for “feeding the world,” not GMOs and monocultures.

Sunday, January 5, 2014 Keauhou Kona Farmers Market

Go to a farmers market this weekend, spending time and money with local farmers makes great community
Keauhou Kona Farmers Market

Friday, January 3, 2014

How You Made a Difference for Farm Animals in 2013

Chicken More Popular Than Beef In U.S. For First Time In 100 Years

Thanks to chicken nuggets.....

America might think of itself as a nation of beef eaters, but for the first time in over a century, Americans are eating more chicken than beef, Priceonomics reports.
meat consumption
Source: Earth Policy Institute. Credit: Angela Wong / NPR
Beef consumption has been declining for the past decade, as consumers become more health conscious and choose leaner meats and vegetarian options. Red meat has beenlinked to heart disease and diabetes, and people perceive chicken, a white meat, to be a healthier option. The shift toward healthier dietary habits is only one piece of the puzzle, however.
Beef prices have also been rising, convincing consumers to buy less. In 2012, theaverage price per pound of beef was $5.02, up from $3.32 per pound in 2002. In 2013, beef prices reached an average of $5.36 per pound, while broiler chickens were only $2.03 per pound, according to BEEF Magazine.
retail beef prices
BEEF Magazine
One cause of the price hike is that supply has decreased as a result of higher corn costs. While chicken feed consists of a variety of grains, corn and soybean meal, corn has become the dominant feed for cattle. According to the USDA, January 1, 2013 marked the "lowest Jan. 1 inventory of all cattle and calves since the 88.1 million on hand in 1952.” In the last two years, prices for cattle have risen by as much as 25 percent.
While American's are actually eating less meat overall -- from chicken to beef to pork -- the scale has finally tipped from greater consumption of beef to greater consumption of chicken. In 2012, Americans were eating almost 60 pounds of chicken per person each year. Chicken has become such a staple of the American diet that it's hard to imagine a time when we weren't eating much of it at all. The change has been dramatic, however. In the 1950s, Americans ate an average of 16 pounds of chicken per person every year. By 2000, that number grew to 53 pounds per year.
Go straight to the source:
Chicken More Popular Than Beef In U.S. For First Time In 100 Years

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Institute for Responsible Technology - 65 Health Risks of GM Foods

5.1 In spite of industry claims, transgenes survive the digestive system and can wander
1. Industry advocates claimed that genes were destroyed during the digestion of food and therefore gene transfer to gut bacteria or organs was extremely unlikely.
2. Studies now verify that genes can survive digestion, both in humans and animals.
3. Animal studies on non-GM DNA also verify that it can pass through the placenta into the fetus, from the digestive channels into the blood and organs, and even penetrate the blood brain barrier.
5.2 Transgene design facilitates transfer into gut bacteria
1. Genes can naturally transfer between species and even kingdoms, but it is uncommon.
2. GM crops may be especially suited to overcome the natural barriers of this transfer.
3. Short bacterial sequences and higher herbicide residues, for example, may significantly increase the transfer rate.
4. Transgenes may therefore readily travel from GM food into the DNA of gut bacteria.
5.3 Transgenes may proliferate in gut bacteria over the long-term1. Once transferred into gut bacteria, transgenes may confer survival advantages, allowing them to endure and spread.
2. These advantages may be due to antibiotic or herbicide resistance, promoters that function in bacteria and genetic mechanisms that promote uncontrolled replication.
3. Having "infected" our gut bacteria, the foreign genes and the proteins they create may be harmful.
Read entire article here:
Institute for Responsible Technology - 65 Health Risks of GM Foods

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Argentine Protesters vs Monsanto: “The Monster is ... Argentine Protesters vs Monsanto: “The Monster is ...: MALVINAS ARGENTINAS, Córdoba, Argentina , Dec 2 2013 (IPS)  - The people of this working-class suburb of Córdoba in Argentina’s central fa...

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GMO Contamination

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