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Tag Archive: Biotechnology


Are you inflamed over GMO foods?

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

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

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

A very disturbing picture began to emerge.

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

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

What exactly is Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering?

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

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

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

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

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

Explained: What Are GMOs?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you inflamed because of GMOs?

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

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

Is Your Body Burning Up with Hidden Inflammation?

Inflammation: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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

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

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

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

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

How to Locate the Causes of Hidden Inflammation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© naturalfamilymedicine.com

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

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

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

Read More Here

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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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linktv linktv

Published on Apr 30, 2013

As Europe considers expanding cultivation of genetically modified crops, the European movement against GMOs heats up. A campaign film produced by Sourced TV highlights European concerns.

Watch more at http://www.linktv.org/earthfocus.

Climate Change – GMO – Medical Research

 

 

Excellent documentary on the scientific  findings  of climate  change and the  dreadful effects of genetically modified foods (GMOs) on animals and, of course, humans.  . They’re untested, and highly dangerous. We DO NOT want our children, friends and family (or pets) eating these abnormal foods.    The opposing voices to the  scientific findings as  well as  the personal attacks  for both  climate  change  and  GMO Foods and  their  safety.

Health And Wellness Report

Holistic Health – Corporate Assault on Our Lives And Our Health – Bioethics :  Poisons in Our Foods – Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) – Genetics

Published on Sep 19, 2012 by

Are they poisoning us? If so, we must stop them. Please share this video with as many people as will watch. Let all people be educated fully, that is what I ask for. If you decide to support the arguments in the movie, PLEASE VISIT http://geneticroulettemovie.com/ and get more involved and please donate whatever you can to Dr. Jeffrey M. Smith and the movement! I do ask that you take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Life is full of plenty of uncertainties. Research and meditate on the facts, before jumping to conclusions.. I for one believe Monsanto is ruining the food and water supply with its implementation of pesticides liberally all over the world. But, like I always say, I’m not an expert of life, just a student with an open mind and an open heart. Another quick reference video I found recently is http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=M_ztZGbLEJ0 Check it out!
Another new vid I saw today (09/28/12) from Nutiva, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Lni6OAJz3sk#!, VOTE YES ON PROP 37. All we are asking is for labels. We the people deserve to know!!

Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)  –  Poisons in Our Foods – Fundamental Rights – Food Labels – Freedom of Information

Monsanto supported GMO labeling in Europe, but not in US

Monsanto

by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

 

(NaturalNews) By far the biggest opponent to California’s Proposition 37, the upcoming ballot initiative that would require genetically-modified (GM) foods to be properly labeled, is biotechnology giant Monsanto, which has already forked over at least $4.3 million towards efforts to kill the bill. But a little more than a decade ago, Monsanto was actually leading the charge in promoting GMO labeling in the U.K., where the company actually ran advertisements in favor of food ingredient transparency.

“Before you buy a potato, or any other food, you may want to know whether it’s the product of food biotechnology,” said one Monsanto ad that ran in the U.K. following the European Union’s (EU) approval for mandatory GMO labels back in 1997. “We have complete confidence that our food crops are as safe and nutritious as the standard alternatives,” it added, attempting to make the case through marketing means that GMOs were nothing about which people should worry.

Monsanto actually ran several different promotional campaigns around the turn of the century in the U.K. that explained to consumers how they would soon begin noticing the labeling changes on food packages. These campaigns were specifically designed to alert the public to “be aware” of the presence of GMOs in food so they would be fully informed as to what they were buying. Monsanto, in other words, was apparently very proud of its biotechnological developments at that time, and wanted everyone to know about them.

“[The campaign] ran in 1998-1999, was in the U.K. only, and was supportive of efforts by retailers to position their products with their customers,” said Tom Helscher, a Monsanto spokesman, to Mercury News.

Here is an image of one of the Monsanto U.K. ads that was handed out to British consumers at grocery stores and food retailers: http://www.monsanto.co.uk/highlights/ads/ad4.html

Monsanto supported GMO labeling in UK, but opposes it in US?

Fast forward to 2012; however, and Monsanto is doing everything it can to stop GMO labeling laws from being enacted in California or elsewhere in the U.S. Why Monsanto pushed so heavily in favor of GMO labeling in the U.K. a little more than a decade ago, but is now so vehemently against GMO labeling in the U.S., is not entirely clear. But it likely has something to do with the dozens of GMO safety studies that have since emerged linking biotechnology to organ damage, reproductive problems, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.

It also probably has something to do with the fact that Monsanto’s pro-GMO labeling ads in the U.K. arrived after GMO labeling laws had already been enacted across Europe. If GMOs were going to be labeled anyway, why would Monsanto not attempt to spin the situation and make it appear as though the company not only approves of GMO labeling, but also endorses it? Such tactics are common among corporations.

The only problem is that Monsanto is, at this moment, quickly sinking into an obvious mire of hypocrisy as the public learns that the company actually supported GMO labeling before it opposed it. Whatever best suits the corporate giant’s own interests; in other words, is the position it is going to take at any given time. And this is why it will be no surprise when Prop. 37 passes on November 6 in California to learn that Monsanto is once again shifting gears in support of GMO labeling, complete with outrageous claims that GMOs are safe and identical to real food.

Support GMO labeling at www.CArighttoknow.org

Sources for this article include:

http://www.mercurynews.com

http://www.responsibletechnology.org/

biotech

 

(NaturalNews) The largest and most comprehensive natural history museum in the Southeast, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS) is one of the premier educational destinations for both young and old alike to learn about the natural world in a fun, interactive environment. But this beacon of cultural enlightenment has apparently been infiltrated by Monsanto and numerous other corporate interests, all of which were allowed to give presentations at the museum’s recent “Biotechnology Day.”

According to the NCMNS website, the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) partnered with Kelly Services, a local staffing agency, to hold the first ever Biotechnology Day at the museum, which was tag-lined with the somewhat menacing phrase “Biotechnology in Your Daily Life!” The stated goal of the event was to “demystify biotechnology” and enlighten the public as to how it affects their everyday lives.

“Organizations (companies, educational institutions, non-profits) from around the state will be participating with hands-on demonstrations, experiments and crafts,” says the event’s description. Included among these presenters were representatives from both the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, which were essentially given an open pulpit from which to indoctrinate the minds of young children into the dogma of drugs and GMOs (genetically-modified organisms).

Monsanto, BASF, and Pfizer all gave presentations at Biotechnology Day

 

The very first presentation given during Biotechnology Day was titled “A Drug Comes to Market,” and was given by a senior learning technologist from clinical trial giant PPD. Other presentations included “Better Crops for a Better Future,” which was given by a representative of biotechnology giant BASF, as well as another given by the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Campbell University titled “Are You Taking Biotech Medicines?”

There was also a workshop on vaccines given by the CEO of a vaccine company known as Arbovax Inc, as well as a number of exhibits promoting GMOs and the use of emerging biotechnologies for creating “a better life.” Monsanto, the king of the biotechnology castle, even had a deceptive exhibit titled “Applications of Biotechnology to Enhance Crop Productivity.”

A mid-day session included a presentation from a Pfizer engineer who explained to children a little bit more about how proteins are extracted and “purified” for use in biotechnological applications. And the North Carolina State University(NCSU) Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) held a hands-on exhibit where children were taught how to manufacture biotechnology materials using grape soda

 

Be sure to check out the disturbing lineup of events at NCMNS’ inaugural Biotechnology Day yourself:http://naturalsciences.org/programs-events/biotechnology-day

You can contact NCMNS to share your thoughts about Biotechnology Day at:http://naturalsciences.org/contact-us

Sources for this article include:

http://naturalsciences.org/programs-events/biotechnology-day

http://naturalsciences.org/contact-us

http://www.naturalnews.com/biotechnology.html