Chia Seeds ... Who knew?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

GMO Food for thought!

GMO plants have been created in laboratories and then planted by farmers. 

Last year, if you’re like the average American, you ate more than your body weight of a group of foods you didn’t even know you were consuming. Foods that have never been proven safe to eat. Foods that are becoming more and more widespread in our food supply.

These foods consist of genetically modified organisms (GMO), plants that have been created in laboratories and then planted by farmers. The most frightening part about these foods is that they are unlike any other foods that humans have ever eaten before recent times. And they were probably on your dinner plate last night and almost certainly in your snack foods.

Food for Thought

The Environmental Working Group, a consumer advocate organization, determined that Americans eat, on average, 193 pounds of GMO foods a year. And the group justifiably asks: “If you were planning on eating your body weight of anything in a year, wouldn’t you want to make sure it was safe to eat?”

But you don’t know if these foods are safe to eat and nobody is planning any research to find out how risky they are. The government doesn’t require international corporations like Monsanto, that make tremendous profits off of these foods, to establish their safety.

Other countries are more concerned about these foods than we are. As a matter of fact, the United States is just about alone in not requiring labeling of GMO foods or the performance of safety tests to see whether or not these bizarre, chemist-created foods are harmless. As a result, about 90 percent of the corn, soy and cotton now produced in the United States are GMO crops. When you eat processed foods like corn chips or breakfast cereal, 70 percent of what you take in has been made from GMO products.

GMO Profits

Who stands to profit from this change in our eating habits? Primarily Monsanto, the bio-tech company that controls 90 percent of all GMO seeds that farmers plant.

A big reason Monsanto can get away with engineering this profitable threat to health stems from its gargantuan lobbying efforts in Washington. According to a report by Food and Water Watch, a non-profit consumer organization, Monsanto and other huge food and agricultural biotechnology firms and trade associations lavished more than $540 million in campaign contributions and lobbying efforts during the past decade. And their efforts are accelerating. Food and Water Watch has determined that the annual spending on politicians by these corporations has doubled during that time. These companies employ more than 100 lobbying firms and also have in-house lobbyists who wine and dine government officials to get what they want.

Revolving Door

In many cases, the same people who hold high paying jobs at Monsanto eventually move into positions at the regulatory agencies that are supposed to be protecting us against their abuses of the food system.
Consider the case of Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for Foods for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the past, he has moved from a job at the FDA to a job at a law firm that represented Monsanto. Then he moved to a job at Monsanto, over to the United States Department of Agriculture, back to the law firm, over to Monsanto, to a position on a university, to a think tank and then back to the FDA. It’s a pretty cushy career path for Taylor, but a disaster for our protection from questionable food. While Taylor was doing his second stint at the FDA, the agency adjusted its regulatory policies so GMOs could be introduced into our diet without being tested for toxic effects.

Pesticide Danger

Aside from the possible danger of eating GMO foods that have had genetic material from other species added to their cells, the GMO crops that farmers grow often have been sprayed with unconscionable amounts of pesticides that contaminate our air and water. Residues of these chemicals may also contaminate foods made from these plants.
Many of these GMO crops are “Roundup® ready.” That means they have been modified genetically to survive massive amounts of the pesticide called Roundup® (also provided by Monsanto). Glyphosate from Roundup® is now being detected in ground water far from the farms at which it is sprayed. Traces are even being found in the urine of city dwellers. It crosses the placental barrier and can be detected in the blood of unborn children.
This technology threatens you and me and the world around us. Roundup®-ready crops have led to the creation of “frankenweeds,” weeds impervious to herbicides. GMO seeds that produce their own pesticides are creating “frankenbugs” that withstand and even thrive on GMO plants. But this toxic brew is killing off populations of beneficial insects like pollinating honeybees. It has led to what is called colony collapse disorder and a world-wide die-off of bees. GMO crops may also be wiping out monarch butterfly populations.
Right now, the only way for you to avoid GMO foods is to eat organic food. Any other food, even items marked “all-natural,” may contain GMO ingredients.

If you were to write a movie about evil scientists plotting to insert secret ingredients into our food that might make humans sick, you’d have a hard time coming up with something more inventive and potentially more dangerous than genetically modified (GMO) food. Even though GMO ingredients are not listed on food labels, they have already infiltrated our dinner plates. And this technological change to our food has the potential for sabotaging the world’s food supply.
Amazingly, most Americans don’t even realize they eat GMO food at just about every meal. In particular, the soy and corn ingredients of our favorite dishes almost always contain GMO ingredients.

Vast Amounts of GMO

U.S. farmers and farmers around the world plant shockingly vast amounts of these laboratory-created crops. In particular, soy, corn and cotton (our food frequently has cotton- seed oil added to it) have been genetically engineered to contain toxic pesticides and to withstand massive amounts of herbicides applied to farm fields. This allows GMO crops to survive and be harvested while weeds are supposed to wither and die. Of course, other beneficial living things like honeybees and a wide collection of wildlife also perish from pesticide exposure. And the pesticides often persist long enough to poison our water and air.
Right now, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications estimates that since GMO crops were introduced in the 1990s, a billion acres worldwide have been planted with these plants. That’s an area larger than the continental United States. GMO farming is good for farmers…deadly for people!

Hidden Problem

Although GMO proponents argue that the technology is safe, recent discoveries about what happens in the genetic material of altered organisms are not reassuring. In theory, alter- ing an organism’s genetic material seems simple and precise. The process is supposed to consist of extracting a desirable gene from one plant or animal and inserting into another.
For example, suppose you want to create tomatoes that can withstand cold weather. In theory, you take the genes that allow a frost- resistant plant to survive freezing temperatures and you put it into a tomato plant. When seeds of the new tomato plant grow, the presence of this genetic material stimulates activity in the new plants that keep them alive as the temperature drops.

In practice, however, unforeseen complications arise that are unexpected. Only during the past few months have scientists discovered that the genes technologists insert into plants are often contaminated with unintended material. That includes viruses.

Recently, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) discovered when lab scientists altered genes in GMO food they were also feeding in parts of a virus gene. No one had ever noticed that before.
This virus gene, however, is now in the food we eat. Is it safe? Will it lead to unforeseen illness among the millions of people who consume it? The experts are uncertain. It has never been present in our food previously. Until this recent scientific discovery, nobody knew it was in our GMO foods.
Reports about this virus show that of the 86 different processes being used to insert genes into GMO crops, this virus is present in 54 of them. Meaning this virus of questionable safety is in a lot of the snack foods sitting in your cupboard.

Viral Danger

Experts explain that these types of viral genes can be very dangerous. Viral genes are designed to hobble our immune systems (and the immune systems of plants and animals) so that the viruses can invade cells and flourish. Scientists are concerned about this newly discovered viral material because the viruses that invade the cells of a plant do not funda- mentally differ from the viruses that make us sick.
Concern about these genes caused Pete Riley, director of the public interest group GM Freeze, to warn: “This is a clear warning (that GMO food) is not sufficiently understood to be considered safe.” Riley also told the British publication The Daily Mail, “’Authorization for these crops must be suspended immediately, and they should be withdrawn from sale, until a full and extended review of their safety has been carried out.”

Labeling Movement
Perhaps the only good news about GMO food in the United States is its presence soon may be labeled on food packages.
Last November, voters in California turned down a law requiring food companies to list GMO ingredients on food packages. Although most consumers seem to be in favor of GMO labeling (Doesn’t everybody want to know what’s in our food?), food manufacturers spent more than $40 million in the election season frightening voters and ensuring the GMO labeling law lost. Voters in Washington state recently declined a GMO  labeling mandate due to an extensive and deceptive TV and print mailing campaign that flooded the airways and mailboxes sponsored by Monsanto, Dow, and Bayer that just overwhelmed voters with bogus campaign claims, and flat-out lies How sad!

But now that food companies are realizing other States are going to be passing GMO labeling laws in the near future, they seem to be caving in and negotiating with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to craft labeling guidelines. Even Wal-Mart seems to be moving in favor of GMO labeling

In this effort, though, we should keep our government officials and local supermarkets aware of the importance of this issue. Write to your local legislators and the heads of your favorite food companies to make sure they know you want GMO foods to be labeled.
If you want to avoid eating GMO foods— until foods are labeled—the only sure way is to stick to organic food. Certified organic food is the only food in supermarkets and health food stores that has to be free of GMO ingredients.

Here’s a tip for cleaning non-organic vegetables in the meantime….

You should always rinse organic produce also, as there may be residues of germs or signs of visiting insects. Plain water alone is fine for organic items only.

For all non-organic veggies & fruit… a non-toxic cleansing brew is simply vinegar and lemon juice.

Keep a kitchen spray bottle filled with white distilled vinegar and the juice of 1/4 lemon.

Spray all non-organic fruit and veggies well and allow to sit for a few minutes before rinsing with water. Some veggies and fruit are sprayed with as much as 5-6 different kinds of pesticide, and herbicide, and spraying and rinsing will dissolve most all toxins.

These toxins are not removed with simply washing under water as they are made to withstand water from the rain.

Remove outer leaves of lettuce, cabbage, and other leafy veggies, and remove any peel that’s possible before eating.