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FDA Sides With Biotech Industry, Again…

September 29, 2010
Call for Moratorium on GM food

Image by ogglog via Flickr

Make no mistake about it, the FDA (with Obama appointed deputy commissioner for foods, Michael Taylor, formerly of King & Spaulding- a law firm which represented the agri-giant Monsanto Corp) has proven whose interests it has at ‘heart’, and it’s not the people’s.

Under intense pressure from the GM industry, the FDA not only approved the sale of genetically modified salmon without labeling it as such, but they will also be prohibiting companies who produce non GM food from including any reference to its non-altered state on the label.  I can almost see the bio-tech giants giggling with glee!

Evidently, the FDA insisted that one canola oil maker could not label their product using a red circle with the letters “GMO”  inside and a line through it.  The FDA claims that the symbol suggests that there is something wrong with genetically engineered food.

In an another whirlwind attempt to further satisfy the bio-tech industry’s gluttonous agenda, the FDA recently mailed letters  to non GM food manufacturers telling them that they are not to include phrases like “GMO-free” on their content label.  One company which produces a non GM strawberry spread (Polaner/B&G Co.) received a letter insisting that a label containing the phrase “GMO-free” would be misleading because GMO refers to a genetically modified organism, and strawberries are produce, not an organism.   Are they serious?  Do they honestly believe that we are all that ignorant?  That letter is a prime example of how semantics and ‘loop holes’ are used to aid the twisted motives of the factory farming giants.

House Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) told the Washington Post: “This to me raises questions about whose interest the FDA is protecting.” Kucinich has repeatedly introduced bills into the House that would mandate the labeling of genetically modified food, but his efforts to protect the people have been thus far in vain.  The money and influence of the GM lobbyists and bio-tech companies has been a nearly insurmountable hurdle.  Kucinich adds “They are clearly protecting industry and not the public.”

New York University nutrition professor Marion Nestle also  told the Washington Post; “The public wants to know and the public has a right to know.”

But one director of animal biotechnology states, “Extra labeling only confuses the consumerit differentiates products that are not different [and] makes it harder for consumers to make their choices.”

So, while opponents of the ban agree that consumers have a right to know, the proponents of GM food insist that ‘ignorance is bliss’ and that their efforts are a valiant attempt to protect the people from ‘confusion.’    Really?  I don’t think so!  I don’t know about you folks, but I think I’ll risk the ‘confusion’ for the unconditional right to know full well what I am eating!

Whatever happened to the constitutional right of free speech– which does include by a Supreme Court ruling– the right of commercial free speech in anti-FDA decisions…?

Yes, you should be outraged.

NOTE: If you’re concerned about purchasing genetically modified salmon, there is one way to beat the system:  buy ‘wild caught’ salmon.  If you local grocer does not carry it, ask them to!  Big ‘Y’ Super Food Stores (Northeast) does carry it on occasion.

SPECIAL NOTE:

Conflict of interest

This unscrupulous conflict of interest displayed by the United States food and pharmaceutical industries is nearly a half a century in progress.  Mark Gold, founder of the Aspartame Toxicity Information Center in Concord, New Hampshire provides an overview of the situation in his “Analysis of the influence of the Aspartame Industry on the Scientific Committee on Food.”

“In the United States, corruption of governmental and scientific committees by the food industry was disclosed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In an article in the journal Science (1972), it was revealed that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Food Protection Committee was being funded by the food, chemical and packaging industries. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was relying on the NAS Committee for ‘independent’ information. The Chairman of the NAS Subcommittee investigating monosodium glutamate (MSG) had recently taken part in research partially funded by the MSG manufacturer. Another member of the Subcommittee became a spokesperson for the MSG industry. (Science 1972) Other members of the Subcommittee had ties to the MSG industry.  Since that time numerous governmental committees have been corrupted by the placement of food industry-funded consultants on these committees.”

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Does Religion Belong in Government?

September 23, 2010
U.S Postage Stamp, 1957

Image via Wikipedia

Recently on Facebook, a ‘friend’ posted something on his wall that I felt compelled to respond to.  This is a portion of what he stated, and I quote: 

“Governments not respecting Judeo-Christian Values are the problems of the world”.

Now, I certainly have no problem with Christianity in general, however this particular statement offended me for two reasons:

  1. It is inherently unconstitutional
  2. It is an affront to those whose beliefs are not Judeo-Christian in nature

When I posted a reply in opposition of his statement, I was essentially categorized into three separate groups of people:  Atheists  Communists, and part of Oprah’s ‘new religion’.   Of course, I was flabbergasted at this point.  I wasn’t aware that Oprah was now being classified as a ‘religion’…!  Haven’t watched Oprah in years, and I’m not a communist or atheist either.   I tried (in vain) to explain my views again by pointing out the First Amendment principle of religious freedom of choice and the right to worship as we choose (without causing harm to another).  To that, another ‘friend’ of the original poster stated that “the First Amendment does not say we can worship in any way we choose” and that “Separation of Church & State is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution…it is the most widely misused statement there is…” .

At this juncture, I was appalled at the level of ignorance being grossly displayed. 

FIRST AMENDMENT: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Yes, it is true that no where in the First Amendment do we see the words “worship as we choose” or “Separation of Church & StateHere’s where it gets interesting: Nowhere in the constitution will you find the words  “right to a fair trial” either, but is not every American afforded the right to one in the event of it’s necessity?   The absence of the actual ‘words’ does not mean the absence of the CONCEPT.   The Sixth Amendment provides the conditions of, and sets the stage for a fair trial without ever using those exact words.   The same is true with the First Amendment which guarantees the principles of religious freedom, by ensuring that religious beliefs – private or organized – are removed from any government control.  The government cannot tell you–or me– what to believe, or teach, or how to worship (“exercise thereof”).   It also ensures that the government does not try to advocate or endorse any particular religious doctrine.   Therefore, the First Amendment does wholly support the principle of  ‘Separation of Church and State’–by implication— because separation of church and state is what allows religious liberty to exist in the first place!

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black best expressed the purpose and function of the Establishment Clause when he said that it rests “on the belief that a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion.”   I realize there are many, many Americans who reject this truth, bolstering the idea that the government should endorse the religious values of certain members of society to the exclusion of others.  That is a problem, and most certainly unconstitutional.  Which makes me wonder then, why our courts use the bible to swear people in during testimony…seems an oxymoron to the First Amendment…

*I think it’s interesting to note that this ‘friend’ of mine deleted me from his ‘friend’ list after reading the information I presented about the First Amendment.

Please feel free to comment on this post, as I am quite interested in finding out what you think!

The USDA Sued Over Genetically Modified Sugar Beets

September 19, 2010
GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM

Image by live w mcs via Flickr

I can’t say I am surprised.  Let’s face it, genetically modified food is finally starting to receive the criticism it deserves– or dare I say, the government agencies responsible for allowing such atrocities to continue essentially ‘uncensored’ are at last being scrutinized and [potentially] held accountable.    GM sugar beets–and all other GM crops for that matter–are created to withstand high doses of herbicides and pesticides.  This may seem like a ‘good’ idea on the surface, under the guise that such agricultural ‘advances’ will allow farmers to produce more of a particular crop therefore yielding higher profits– but let’s face it, the only ‘people’ getting rich off factory ‘farming’ are the herbicide and pesticide industries whose own scientists are responsible for the creation of GM seed (food).

Our only hope for economic growth and sustainable farming is by making use of natural resources without raping the Earth of her vitality.  Is this possible?  Yes, under the BEST possible leadership it is.  Under the current Administration however, we’ve begun our descent into Socialism, and ‘power over the people’  is being had by corporate food giants like Monsanto.    The President is fully aware of this– it was he who appointed  individuals heavily linked to Monsanto into key USDA and FDA  positions, remember?

FACT:  The bio-tech industry is largely unregulated.  The government agencies that are put in place to PROTECT our food supply readily accept scientific data about genetically modified food from the very companies producing it!    This is like asking a wolf to watch over a chicken coop!

How do you feel about feeding your family large doses of herbicides and pesticides?  Even if you do not eat beets, most of us do eat corn, wheat, potatoes, tomatoes, and soy.   Different crops, same DNA manipulation and growing ‘standards’.   I am grateful for the current lawsuit and look forward to hearing about many more!

*Read more about the actual lawsuit by clicking one of the links below.

Fragrance Alert, What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You!

August 25, 2010
Curious bottle of fragrance by Britney Spears

Image via Wikipedia

What would you do if I told you that your favorite perfume, or cologne could be making you sick?

Yet, perfumes and colognes are only the tip of the iceberg.  Personal care and household products with toxic fragrances and chemicals are found in nearly every home in America.

Society seems obsessed with fragrances; consumers unwittingly expose themselves to volatile ingredients whenever they use perfume, cologne, scented lotion, cleaning products, scented candles, body spray, air freshener, laundry detergent, fabric softener, hair spray, shampoo, deodorant, after shave, scented cosmetics… the list goes on.

The word ‘fragrance’ on a label can mean the presence of up to 4,000 different ingredients– many of which are known carcinogens.  Frequently reported symptoms of fragrance exposure include headache, coughing, skin irritation, allergic rashes, dizziness, and vomiting.  Fragrances have also been clinically proven to affect the central nervous system causing depressions, irritability, and hyperactivity.

A study commissioned by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition of health and environmental groups, found that 17 [scented] products tested contained an average of 14 chemicals not even listed on the product label.    The top selling fragrances used by both women and men contain a dozen or more chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions and disrupt hormones.   Hormone disrupting chemicals can cause thyroid problems, sperm damage and cancer.  Leading the pack with 24  ‘hidden’ ingredients was  American Eagle Seventy Seven, followed by Chanel Coco with 18, and Britney Spears Curious and Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio with 17.

There is no government agency that regulates the fragrance industry so they are free to sell their toxic potions to the public using deceptive marketing terms such as  ‘floral’, ‘exotic’ or ‘natural’, giving people a false sense of fragrance ‘integrity’.

You can take charge of your health by avoiding the fragrance arsenal, and opting for natural alternatives.  Dr. Bronner’s soaps for the bath, Crystal Stick Deodorant (mineral salt solid),  and Biokleen laundry detergent mixed with a little baking soda are some great alternatives.

To freshen the air in your home try using 1 tablespoon of natural vanilla, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a 2 quarts of water.  Mix the vanilla and cinnamon into the water, bring to boil, then allow to steep on low heat for 30 minutes.  This will freshen your home naturally.  🙂


Should Genetically Modified Foods Be Labled?

August 21, 2010
GM apples

Image by /Sizemore/ via Flickr

Absolutely!

Here’s why:

There is documentation that people allergic to Brazil nuts have had allergic reactions to Soy Beans modified with Brazil Nut genes.   GM peas caused a 2-fold allergic reaction — the GM protein was allergenic and stimulated an allergic reaction to other food components.   If a GM food is not required by federal law to be labeled as such, and someone with an allergy to a component of that [mutant] food suffers a severe reaction, or dies, then who is held responsible?  NO ONE.  The ‘blame’ is lost, which allows agri-business the freedom to continue marketing their virulent ‘food’ without threat of a lawsuit, while it prohibits people from protecting themselves against food related injury.

In addition, findings from a study done in 2008 showed that mice fed GM soy over their entire lifetime displayed acute signs of aging in their liver.  This illustrates the fact that simply because the damage is not immediately & clearly recognizable, does not mean the potential for it does not exist.

Realistically speaking; it is impossible to tell at this early stage of the GMO era, what all of the LONG-TERM health affects are of eating a food that has had foreign genes (from bacteria, viruses, insects, or animals) introduced into it’s own DNA.   Although the studies to date are alarming enough for some, others may not be convinced just yet.  Labeling GM foods provides everyone the necessary right to choose.

Corporations [like Monsanto] are taking over the food supply and creating mutant-foods that ‘appear’ to provide benefit to both humans and the environment, when in fact they may ultimately prove devastating to both.

I say, when in doubt, choose organic.  Isn’t your family’s health worth it?

References:

1. (Identification of a Brazil-nut allergen in transgenic soybeans. Nordlee J.E. et al. N England J Med., 334: 688-692, 1996.)

2. (Transgenic expression of bean alpha-amylase inhibitor in peas results in altered structure and immunogenicity. Prescott V.E. et al. J Agric Food Chem., 53: 9023-9030, 2005.).

3. (a long-term study on female mice fed on a genetically modified soybean: effects on liver aging. Malatesta M. et al. Histochem Cell Biol., 130: 967-977, 2008.)