Exposing Monsanto's Frankenfoods


#231, July 1, 2010

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

Edited by Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins


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Quote of the Week

Monsanto Subsidiary Admits the Truth, Sixteen Years Ago

"If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it."

- Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994


Puzzle of the Week

Monsanto Says, "Buy Organic to Avoid GMOs"

Ever wonder what Monsanto's executives feed their kids? The following quote, taken directly from Monsanto's Web site, shows that Monsanto's savvy employees understand that if they want to avoid genetically engineered foods, all they have to do is buy organic:

"Individuals who make a personal decision not to consume food containing GM [genetically modified] ingredients can easily avoid such products. In the U.S., they can purchase products that are certified as organic under the National Organic Program. They can also buy products which companies have voluntarily labeled as not containing GM ingredients. The law allows for voluntary labeling so long as the information is accurate, truthful and avoids misleading consumers about the food. Monsanto supports both options."

Of course, Monsanto's bottom line business model relies on misleading consumers, monopolizing seeds, buying off scientists and politicians, and strong-arming farmers. They're not afraid of organic, so long as certified organic crops and foods remain a small niche market. Unfortunately Monsanto's business model seems to be working, at least in North America. The overwhelming majority of corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, and sugar beets grown in the U.S. and Canada are Monsanto's patented GMO varieties, despite mounting evidence that these "Frankencrops" are bad for the environment and hazardous to animal and human health. While nearly everyone in North America has eaten genetically modified foods, only 26% believe that they have. The only way to turn this around is to label genetically engineered foods, which Monsanto, of course, opposes. They understand that health and environmentally conscious consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the dangers of GMOs, and that if given the choice through mandatory labeling, as in the European Union, they will avoid them or boycott them.

We need to help consumers defend themselves from Monsanto and the biotech bullies. The most effective way to do this is to pass a law requiring labels on genetically engineered foods. Please send a letter to your US Senators, Member of Congress and candidates for federal office, asking them to support the pending bill in the U.S. Congress, the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act.


Alert of the Week

Stop Frankenfish!

Obama's Food & Drug Administration is considering an application from AquaBounty to commercialize genetically engineered salmon. This would be the first genetically engineered animal to enter the food supply.

The F.D.A. doesn't have a special process for reviewing genetically engineered animals. It treats genetically engineered animals like veterinary drugs, and keeps the information the companies submit secret, on the basis that it's proprietary. There's no opportunity for the public to see the data, let alone offer evidence to rebut it.

There are serious concerns about the safety of genetically engineered salmon.

According to an expert panel from the Royal Society of Canada, scientists have documented "deleterious consequences to fish morphology, respiratory capacity, and locomotion associated with the introduction of growth hormone (GH) gene constructs in some transgenic variants of salmonids, notably Pacific and Atlantic salmon." The panel concluded that this "is the rule rather than the exception in fish ... [and] has been manifested by changes to enzyme activity, gross anatomy, behaviour and, in all likelihood, hormonal activity."

The human health impacts of consuming food from salmon that are deformed by genetically engineered growth hormones is unknown and are not being discovered and made available to the public through the F.D.A. process.

Don't let Obama's Food & Drug Administration approve genetically engineered salmon!



OCA Needs Your Help to Fight Monsanto and Spread the Organic Revolution

OCA and our growing network of organic consumers and farmers understand that we have a positive life-affirming solution for the global food, health, and climate crisis: organic food, farming, and ranching. But to fight Monsanto and Big Food and get out our all-important message we need your support. Please send us a tax-deductible donation today and we'll send you a free "Millions Against Monsanto" bumper sticker so you can help spread the word in your community. Please be sure to put 'sticker' in the comments field of your donation.


Join Us!

From Copenhagan and Cochabamba to Cancun - Join the OCA at the historic COP 16 Climate Conference

In 1999 and 2003, the OCA helped organize protests and teach-ins against the World Trade Organization in Seattle and Cancun. The "Battle of Seattle", as it came to be known, and subsequent mobilizations were the coming of age of the global grassroots. Now you have the opportunity to join OCA Director Ronnie Cummins and other OCA staff on an escorted delegation to the historic teach-ins and rallies for climate justice and organic agriculture at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico.

Over 100,000 concerned citizens from North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia are expected to converge on Cancun, including leading farm, food, Fair Trade, climate justice, and anti-GE activists. They'll attend a wide range of workshops, forums, and cultural events. Following up on the theme of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, "Another World is Possible," the emphasis in Cancun will be on presenting solutions and alternatives to the climate crisis.

The OCA delegation, limited to 100 people, will include international experts on organic agriculture and climate justice, including OCA Director Ronnie Cummins. The delegation will partner with OCA's Mexico sister organization, Via Organica.

During the week of teach-ins and protests, November 29th to December 10th, the OCA delegation will be housed in comfortable accommodations in the city of Cancun. Costs for a shared double room, meals, seminars, and transport to and from the teach-ins and activities will start around $950 (airfare not included). Private rooms are available for an additional $200.

Call the OCA office (218-226-4164) or click below to reserve your place on the delegation (select "Campaign Manager").


Video of the Week

Haiti: The Aid Dilemma

In the aftermath of January's devastating earthquake in Haiti, post-disaster relief is creating a new kind of problem for small farmers and consumers. The massive influx of food aid has altered the price of rice, throwing the delicate balance in Haiti's food supply chain out of whack and threatening to collapse the country's rice market. It's the kind of problem that can turn a one-time disaster into a crisis that lasts years.



Little Bytes

The Hundred Years' War over Toxic Chemicals

U.S. Should Follow Europe and Put the Brakes on Nanotech Food

Gulf Seafood After the Oil Spill: Who Decides How Safe Is Safe?

Nitrates in Water and Food may Increase Thyroid Cancer Risks for Women

Bigger 'Dead Zone' Projected for Gulf, Even Without Oil's Effects



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