Friday, May 30, 2014

GM Foods Neither Safe nor Needed, Say Genetic Engineers

GMO MYTHS AND TRUTHS REPORT
GMO MYTHS AND TRUTHS REPORT
GMO MYTHS AND TRUTHS REPORT
GMO Myths and Truths Report 
(reprinted with permission from Earth Open Source- 
 http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/gmo-myths-and-truths)

Genetically modified crops and foods are neither safe nor necessary to feed the world, a new report by genetic engineers shows.

The second edition of GMO Myths and Truths, co-authored by genetic engineers Dr John Fagan and Dr Michael Antoniou and researcher Claire Robinson, was released on 19 May 2014 as a free online download by the sustainability and science policy platform Earth Open Source.

The second edition follows the publication two years ago of the first edition, which was downloaded 120,000 times just a few weeks after publication and was read online by several times that many visitors. At 330 pages, the new edition is nearly three times the length of the original and summarizes many new studies.

GMO debate is far from over


Author John Fagan said: “The GMO debate is far from being over, as some GMO proponents claim. Instead the evidence of risk and actual harm from GM foods and crops to health and the environment has grown in the two years since we brought out the first edition.

“The good news is that GMOs are not needed to feed the world. The report shows that there are far better ways of ensuring a safe and sustainable food supply.”

New information in the updated report includes:

* A review that is claimed by pro-GMO lobbyists to show that 1,700 studies show GM foods are as safe in fact shows nothing of the sort. Instead many of the 1,700 studies cited show evidence of risk. The review also excludes or glosses over important scientific controversies over GMO safety issues. (p. 102)


* A review purportedly showing that GM foods are safe on the basis of long-term animal studies in fact shows evidence of risk and uses unscientific double standards to reach a conclusion that is not justified by the data. (p. 161)


* A laboratory study in human cells shows that very low levels of glyphosate (the main chemical ingredient of Roundup herbicide, which most GM crops are engineered to tolerate) mimicked the hormone estrogen and stimulated the growth of breast cancer cells. The level of glyphosate that had this effect was below the level allowed in drinking water in Europe and far below the level allowed in the USA. It was also below the level found in GM glyphosate-tolerant soy, which is imported into Europe for animal feed and human food. If confirmed in animal studies, this finding would overturn regulatory assumptions of safe levels of glyphosate. (p. 221)


* A rat feeding study led by Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, which found toxic effects from a GM maize and tiny amounts of the Roundup herbicide it is grown with, was retracted by a journal editor for unscientific reasons. Yet the study is far stronger and more detailed than many industry studies that are accepted as proof of safety for GMOs. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had to reject the study in order to protect its own previous opinions on this and other GMOs, for reasons explained in the report. The findings of this study, if confirmed, would overturn regulatory assumptions of safe levels of glyphosate and Roundup. (pp. 94, 147)


* Claims that an EU-funded research project shows GMOs are safe are not evidence-based, since the project did not even test the safety of any commercialized GMOs. Some animal testing data gathered by the project actually reveal health risks from the GMOs tested. (p. 166)


* Claims that Europe is becoming a “museum” of farming because of its reluctance to embrace GM crops are shown to be nonsensical by research showing that Europe’s mostly non-GM agriculture out-yields the USA’s mostly GM agriculture with less pesticide use. (emphasis ours) Instead, it is the GM-adopting USA that is falling behind Europe in terms of productivity and sustainability. (pp. 232–233)


* Risks from an important new type of GMO that is designed to silence genes are not being properly assessed by regulators. (p. 78)


* Contrary to claims by GMO proponents, the real reason GM golden rice isn’t available has nothing to do with anti-GMO activists and everything to do with basic research and development problems. (p. 197)


* Conventional breeding continues to outstrip GM in delivering crops that yield well, resist disease, are nutritious, and tolerate drought and other types of extreme weather. (pp. 284, 318–321)


* Crop genetics are only part of the solution to our food and agriculture challenges. The other part is agroecological farming methods that build soil and focus on growing a diversity of naturally healthy and resilient crops. (p. 303)

Evidence of harm from GMOs and Roundup


Author Michael Antoniou said: “An increasing number of studies are showing problems with GMOs and their associated pesticides, such as Roundup. There is evidence that Roundup, even at the low levels permitted in food and drinking water, could lead to serious effects on health over time, such as liver and kidney toxicity. Based on this evidence, it appears that the levels of exposure currently held as safe by regulators around the world are questionable.”

The GMO industry is built on myths


Author Claire Robinson said: “Claims for the safety and efficacy of GM crops are often based on dubious evidence or no evidence at all. The GMO industry is built on myths.

“What is the motivation behind the deception? Money. GM crops and foods are easy to patent and are an important tool in the global consolidation of the seed and food industry into the hands of a few big companies. We all have to eat, so selling patented GM seed and the chemicals they are grown with is a lucrative business model.

“GMO Myths and Truths offers a one-stop resource for the public, campaigners, policy-makers, and scientists opposing the GMO industry’s attempts to control our food supply and shut down scientific and public debate.”

The authors of GMO Myths and Truths are not alone in doubting the safety of GMOs. In late 2013, nearly 300 scientists and legal experts signed a statement affirming that there was “No scientific consensus on GMO safety”.[1]

Notes

1. http://www.ensser.org/increasing-public-information/no-scientific-consensus-on-gmo-safety/

        
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Click here to download the report - http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/gmo-myths-and-truths 
Thank you to  genetic engineers Dr John Fagan and Dr Michael Antoniou, researcher Claire Robinson and Earth Open Source for this valuable resource.


Friday, May 23, 2014

March against Monsanto Tomorrow!

https://www.facebook.com/MarchAgainstMonstanto
For Hudson Valley residents- Albany will be the place to be tomorrow for the third March against Monsanto! Let's have a huge showing so NY legislators see that their constituents are serious about GMOs, the health and environmental risks they pose and the need for them to be labeled and ultimately banned. Sign up here- over 1,100 already have- https://www.facebook.com/events/157409507755751/

Press Release from March against Monsanto


Contact:
March Against Monsanto
https://www.facebook.com/MarchAgainstMonstanto


May 24, 2014 ‘March Against Monsanto’ planned for over 50 countries
 
INTERNATIONAL (May 24, 2014) - On May 24, millions of activists from around the world will once again March Against Monsanto, calling for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals. Currently, marches will occur on six continents, in 52 countries,with events in over 400 cities. In the US, solidarity marches are slated to occur in 47 states.  A comprehensive list of marches can be accessed at www.march-against-monsanto.com.

Tami Monroe Canal, founder of March Against Monsanto (MAM), was inspired to start the movement to protect her two daughters. “Monsanto’s predatory business and corporate agricultural practices threatens their generation’s health, fertility and longevity. MAM supports a sustainable food production system. We must act now to stop GMOs and harmful pesticides.”

GMOs are not adequately monitored to ensure public safety. Long term, independent, peer reviewed studies were not conducted before GMOs were introduced for human or animal consumption. In the USA, the revolving door between Monsanto employees, government positions, and regulatory authorities has led to key Monsanto figures occupying positions of power at the FDA and EPA. Monsanto has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to obstruct all labeling attempts; they also suppress any research containing results not in their favor. The scientifically established health risks include, but are not limited to: organ damage, sterility, infant mortality, birth defects, auto-immune conditions, allergies and increased cancer risks. GMOs have been partially banned by Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, South America, Russia, France, Switzerland and Costa Rico, and are currently labelled in 62 countries. Despite this, factory farm animals throughout the world are still fed GMOs.

Kelly L. Derricks started March Against Monsanto's Agent Orange awareness program, educating supporters on the deadly chemical weapon that Monsanto was the largest manufacturer of during the Vietnam War era. Kelly is the president and co-founder of the non-profit, Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance (COVVHA). The organization fights internationally for the children exposed to Agent Orange through generational exposure that is killing tens of thousands with no recognition from the United States Government.  She is quoted saying, "If we fail to realize that March Against Monsanto is not about GMOs alone, then we have already lost the battle."

Josh Castro, organizer for Quito, Ecuador’s march observes, “Ecuador is such a beautiful place, with the richest biodiversity in the world. We will not allow this Garden of Eden to be compromised by the destructive practices of multinational corporations like Monsanto. Biotechnology is not the solution to world hunger. Agroecology is. Monsanto's harmful practices are causing soil infertility, mono-cropping, loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, and contributing to beehive collapse. GMO crops cross pollinate with traditional crops, risking peasant farmers' livelihood."

In India, more than 250,000 farmers have committed suicide after Monsanto's Bt cotton seeds did not perform as promised.  Farmers, left in desperate poverty, are opting to free their families of debt by drinking Monsanto pesticide, thereby ending their lives. Many farmers in other countries are also stripped of their livelihood as a result of false promises, seed patenting and meticulous legal action on the part of Monsanto and other big-ag interests. In many parts of Africa, farmers and their communities are left to choose between starving or eating GMOs.

An “Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs),” http://www.i-sis.org.uk/list.php, signed by 828 scientists from 84 countries, detailed concern regarding GMOs coupled with a call for immediate 5 year suspension of GMO crops in order to conduct “a comprehensive public inquiry of agriculture and food security for all.”

Supporting links:

The World according to Monsanto
Total Disinformation Awareness: Monsanto Suppresses Research On GMO Crops
Anniversary of a Whistle blowing Hero
GMO Scandal: The Long Term Effects of Genetically Modified Food on Humans

Data Pool of MAM: 

Friday, May 16, 2014

GMO Labeling in NY - URGENT!

    March against Monsanto, New Paltz, NY                                                                             B Upton

GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are labeled, restricted or banned for over three billion people in the world! Our country is far behind.

Most people in the industrialized world get to choose whether they eat GMOs or not, but we are kept in the dark about what is in our food. We also do not share most of the world's understanding of the harm GMOs cause to our health and to the environment. The more people know about GMOs, the more they reject them. Even the Chinese government is sounding the alarm about GMOs, saying We must face the harm caused by imported GM soybeans to 1.3 billion Chinese people” (from the government's “Science & Technology Abstracts Newspaper"  April 25, 2014)

Many in this country just assume GMOs are safe because they think the FDA has done extensive testing to assure their safety. They have not. The FDA depends on companies like Monsanto to tell us GMOs are safe. Twenty years ago, there was an overwhelming consensus by FDA scientists that GMOs could create nutritional deficiencies, new hard to detect allergens, toxins and new diseases, but political appointee and former attorney for Monsanto, Michael Taylor, overruled their concerns and wrote the policy saying GM food was substantially equivalent to normal food. Taylor was awarded for this by being named the VP of Monsanto and is now back as the FDA Food Safety Czar! The system is rigged to benefit corporations even at the expense of public safety.

How many Americans are aware of the corruption of the FDA? How many stories about GMOs do you see on mainstream media (MSM)? Even the NY Times repeats Monsanto's talking points rather than expose the hundreds of studies that show that GMOs are dangerous to our health and the future of the planet. The collusion of government and corporations, which includes MSM, is a mighty force, but our desire to protect our loved ones and our earth is stronger. Other countries, like those in the European Union have done it and we can too.

There Is Hope!
Connecticut and Maine have passed GMO labeling bills that will go into effect when surrounding  states pass similar legislation which is inevitable. Vermont just passed and the governor has signed into law the first GM labeling bill with no strings attached.

And now it is our turn. Last year in New York, we lost the opening volley by only two votes. This year, we have already passed one hurdle (the bill requiring GM labeling passed in one committee!) and now we have to keep the momentum going. Please get involved. New York State legislators tell us hundreds of phone calls, and e-mails DO make a difference!

The legislative 2014 session is over June 20, so we have no time to lose. In addition to the legislators below (please share this with people across our state) if you are local, please call your Hudson Valley representatives too:

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill
District Office
845 338-9610

Albany Office
518 455-4436

Senator John Bonacic
District Office
845 344-3311
Albany Office 
518 455-3181

 

From GMO Free New York:

URGENT ACTION ALERT for NEW YORKERS! CONTACT ASSEMBLY CODES COMMITTEE! PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!

Bill A.3525, successfully voted out of the Assembly Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee by a margin of 9-6, has now been referred to the Assembly Codes Committee, where it will need to be “put on the agenda” in order to be voted on. It’s the chair of a committee that decides whether or not to put a bill on his/her committee’s agenda, so it’s very important that committee members who are supportive of GMO labeling put pressure on the chair to do so.

There are 22 members of the Assembly Codes Committee, including the chair; in order for a bill to pass out of this committee there must be a minimum of 12 YES votes. The good news for us is that 12 of these committee members are already cosponsors of the bill, and one of them is the chair, Joseph Lentol. But this doesn’t mean we’re looking at a sure-thing slam dunk. Believe it or not, just because someone has added their name as cosponsor to a bill doesn’t automatically mean they’ll vote YES on it when it comes up for a vote. Why, you ask? Because this is politics, folks! Welcome to our democracy! We are up against some of the biggest companies in the world and they are not exactly rolling over and playing dead. We have our work cut out for us, and then some, especially because we were victorious last week. But WE WERE VICTORIOUS!

Below is the contact list for these 22 Assemblymembers. We are asking that ONLY THEIR CONSTITUENTS CONTACT THEM. We have it on good authority that getting hundreds of calls and emails from voters outside their district falls on deaf ears and sometimes aggravates office staff. We don’t want to aggravate.

Not sure who your Assemblymember is? Find out here: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?sh=search)

A phone call is better than an email, but I’ve provided contact info for both.
If your Assemblymember is ALREADY A COSPONSOR:
1. Identify yourself as a constituent – very important!
2. Thank them for being a cosponsor on bill A.3525 and supporting your right to know if your food has been genetically modified.
3. Ask: “Will you vote YES if the bill comes up for a vote in the Codes committee?”
4. Then say, “Please ask Assemblyman Lentol to put bill A.3525 on the Codes committee agenda.”

If your Assemblymember is NOT A COSPONSOR:
1. Identify yourself as a constituent – very important!
2. Ask: “What is your position on GMO food labeling and bill A.3525?”
a. If they are supportive, say: “Please cosponsor the bill and also ask Assemblyman Lentol to put bill A.3525 on the Codes committee agenda.”
b. If they are NOT supportive, say: “Please reconsider your position. I should have the right to know what’s in my food and to make informed choices when deciding what to buy to eat for myself and my family, just like the 3 billion citizens in over 64 countries around the world already do.”



ASSEMBLY CODES COMMITTEE

Thomas Abinanti (D) – cosponsor 

518 455-5753
914 631-1605
abinantit@assembly.state.ny.us

James Brennan (D) – cosponsor

518 455-5377
718 788-7221
BrennanJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Vivian Cook (D) – cosponsor 

518 455-4203
718 322-3975
CookV@assembly.state.ny.us

Steven Cymbrowitz (D) – cosponsor

518 455-5214 
718 743-4078
cymbrowitzs@assembly.state.ny.us

Joe Giglio (R) 

518 455-5241 
716 373-7103
GiglioJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Al Graf (D) – cosponsor 

518 455-5937
631 585-0230
grafa@assembly.state.ny.us

Charles Lavine (D) – cosponsor 

518 455-5456 
516 676-0050
lavinec@assembly.state.ny.us

Joseph Lentol (D; committee chair) - cosponsor 

518 455-4477 
718 383-7474
lentolj@assembly.state.ny.us

Tom McKevitt (R; already voted against A.3525 in Consumer Affairs & Protection committee)

518 455-5341 
516 228-4960
mckevittt@assembly.state.ny.us

Michael Montesano (R) – cosponsor 

518 455-4684 
516 937-3571
montesanom@assembly.state.ny.us

Walter Mosley (D) – cosponsor 

518 455-5325 
718 596-0100
MosleyW@assembly.state.ny.us

Daniel O'Donnell (D) 

518 455-5603 
212 866-3970
odonnelld@assembly.state.ny.us

Nick Perry (D) – cosponsor 

518 455-4166 
718 385-3336
perryn@assembly.state.ny.us

Gary Pretlow (D) 

518 455-5291 
914 667-0127
pretlowj@assembly.state.ny.us

Edward Ra (R) – cosponsor 

518 455-4627 
516 535-4895
rae@assembly.state.ny.us

Robin Schimminger (D) 

518 455-4767 
716 873-2540 
schimmingerr@assembly.state.ny.us

Claudia Tenney (R) 

518 455-5334 
315 736-3879
tenneyc@assembly.state.ny.us

Michele Titus (D) 

518 455-5668 
718 327-1845
TitusM@assembly.state.ny.us

Helene Weinstein (D) 

518 455-5462 
718 648-4700
weinsteinh@assembly.state.ny.us

David Weprin (D) - cosponsor 

518 455-5806 
718 454-3027
weprind@assembly.state.ny.us

Keith Wright (D) 

518 455-4793 
212 866-5809
wrightk@assembly.state.ny.us

Kenneth Zebrowski (D) 

518 455-5735 
845 634-9791
zebrowskik@assembly.state.ny.us

PLEASE SHARE THIS ACTION ALERT WITH ALL NEW YORKERS YOU KNOW WHO EAT FOOD!
THANK YOU!