Monsanto

  • Genetically Modified (GM) Foods Can Cause Cell Damage

    Among the most common herbicides used worldwide is one named Roundup. The authors of a study on the subject of cell damage and death reported their research “…points to detrimental health effects from Roundup®, which are currently masked or hidden from scientific scrutiny.”

    GM crops are engineered to be Roundup resistant—their residues rank among the major pollutants and are authorized residues contaminating GM foods and feed at the tested levels. The researchers studied toxicity mechanisms of four different Roundup formulations in human cells. The formulations were diluted at minimal doses (up to 100,000 times or more), but they still caused cell death within just a few hours. The researchers also noted damages to membranes and DNA, and found the formulations inhibit cell respiration (oxygen levels needed within the cell like our lungs require oxygen).

    Soybeans, cotton and corn are the world’s largest group of genetically modified crops. In fact, according to reports by Dr. J. Mercola, the GM Roundup-Ready® gene is part of more than 75 percent of soybeans, 65 percent of cotton and 10 percent of corn grown in the U.S.

    These varieties of GM crops have become popular because farmers can spray Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide directly onto their fields without harming the crops. In other varieties of crops, Roundup, or any other glyphosate-based herbicide, sprayed onto a plant would kill it. Roundup works by inhibiting an enzyme called EPSP synthase, which is necessary for plants to grow. Without it, plants can’t produce essential proteins so they slowly yellow and die. GM Roundup-Ready crops produce an enzyme that has the same function as EPSP synthase, but is not affected by the Roundup.

    The latest study, for the first time, showed just how toxic these residues are to your health. Even highly diluted formulations tested on human cells caused cell death within 24 hours! According to researchers, “This work clearly confirms that the adjuvants in Roundup formulations are not inert. Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death around residual levels to be expected, especially in food and feed derived from Roundup formulation-treated crops.”

    Monsanto long used the slogans, “It’s Safer than Mowing,” “Biodegradable,” and “Environmentally Friendly” to describe Roundup — until the REAL effects of this toxic herbicide were revealed and they were forced to discontinue their deceptive advertising.

    Health Risks of GM Foods
    To simplify the complexity of risks for you and your family, allow me to elaborate. If you eat GM foods, there is a very good chance those foods contain Roundup residues— and possibly hefty amounts! According to a leading spokesperson on the health dangers of GM foods, Jeffrey Smith, the study identified the following disorders all related to GM soy consumption; irritable bowel syndrome, digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, headaches, lethargy, skin disorders (acne, eczema, etc.), nausea, burning or itchy skin, severe multiple food and environmental allergies from newfound proteins never before existing in food which our bodies are not equipped to break down.

    Food for Thought
    About 70 percent of foods in your grocery store contain GM foods. In the U.S., GMO giants have been very effective in eliminating legislation to require them to clearly label GM products. Most U.S. stores do not post signs next to product to identify GM foods. The following label reading and shopping information will help you become an informed shopper:

    1. Examine the little sticker on produce—if you see a five-digit number that begins with an 8, don’t buy it, it’s genetically modified
    2. If produce has 4 digits, it’s “conventionally grown”
    3. If produce has 5 digits, and begins with a 9, it’s “organically grown”
    4. Most processed foods and drinks contain GM ingredients, unless they’re organic
    5. Buy local organic produce whenever possible
    6. Avoid processed foods

    Farmers who buy Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready seeds are required to sign an agreement promising not to save or sell the seeds. This insane practice means farmers now must buy new seeds annually and purchase them from Monsanto— there’s definitely something wrong with that picture.

    Yes, it does take conscious effort to live healthy in a toxic world; however, you do have choices. I don’t know about you, but I’m not satisfied to simply live longer, I make informed choices to live healthier and maintain quality of life, naturally.

  • Why Choose Organic?

    Why Choose Organic? Elly McGuinness

    You may have heard that ‘going organic’ is a healthy choice for the farmers, the environment, and your own health. But do you really understand why it’s such a positive choice? This article series explores the benefits of choosing organic.

    Reason 1: Glyphosate
    You may be aware that organic food and products are produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or chemicals. Advocates of conventional farming (the type that does allow use of these artificial substances) argue that recommended levels of these chemicals are not exceeded.

    This statement may be true for one chemical in one product but it does not consider the sheer number of potentially toxic chemicals that we are subjected to in modern society—in our food, our water, in the materials we use to make products and clothing, and in the air we breathe.

    A chemical may be tested and found to be safe at a certain level, but it is unlikely that the full cocktail of chemicals contained in a product have been tested. Molecular biologist Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini has demonstrated that the full formulations of pesticides are much stronger than the declared active ingredient. Additionally, the ‘active’ ingredient may not be the most toxic ingredient in pesticide formulations.1

    Coupled with these issues, there is little consideration for variations in sensitivity between individuals, nor for the consequences of being exposed to so many different chemicals over the course of a day, or a lifetime.

    Glyphosate is a chemical under hot discussion in the farming world. Being on the market in the form of the active ingredient in the widely used herbicide Roundup, virtually all conventional produce and food products contain traces of this chemical. As with all subjects of debate, there are many studies that claim Roundup herbicide poses no risk to humans.2

    However, in March 2015 the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic in humans” (category 2A) based on epidemiological studies, animal studies, and in vitro studies.3,4,5

    Advocates for organic farming believe it is wise to err on the side of caution—who wants to risk a build-up of toxic residue that could lead to serious health problems? It is much safer to ban ‘questionable’ chemical ingredients and to find a proven safe alternative than to live by the mantra of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

    The links between glyphosate and a wide range of health concerns and conditions are becoming increasingly evident. Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has found strong links between glyphosate use, and the rise in celiac disease. She explains that the villi in the gut are destroyed by glyphosate, which reduces the person’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals and can result in gut problems.6

    Glyphosate has been highlighted as a potential endocrine disruptor7 and has shown a strong correlation with the increased incidence of many diseases, from cancer to dementia, to autism.8,9,10 The World Health organization lists the adverse health effects caused by glyphosate as airway, skin, and mucous membrane irritation, abdominal, pain, nausea, vomiting, shock, dyspnea, respiratory failure.11

    For consumers who are not convinced about the safety of food production methods using synthetic chemicals such as glyphosate, the only ways to currently drastically reduce exposure are by choosing certified organic produce and products, growing your own, or by getting food from a local farmer who you know is not using these chemicals.12,13,14

    For those who are not sure how to start shifting from a conventional to an organic diet, or who have concerns around personal budgeting restraints, a good place to start making changes is by focusing on the ‘dirty dozen’— a list of the twelve foods in New Zealand that have been identified as having the highest pesticide residues.

    Reason 2: Healthy soil, healthy body
    Many people are now choosing organic as one way to help optimize their health and wellbeing. The vitamin and mineral content of fresh produce and other foods will vary based on how the soil is cared for, the environment they are grown in, and how they are processed, among other things.

    In organic farming, caring for the soil is of the utmost importance, because it forms the basis for health, for all life forms. As Sophie Grigson and William Black explain, “Healthy soil encourages healthy plants, plants which are strong and disease resistant, which means there is less need for artificial pesticides in organic production.” Their book “Organic—a new way of eating” highlights the fact that if we feed the soil, the plants will look after themselves.15

    Sally Fallon reiterates this in her book “Nourishing Traditions,” when she explains that nitrogen fertilizers used in conventional (non-organic) farming produce high yields, in part by pulling minerals from the soil. In turn, the food suffers because the vitamin and mineral contents are depleted. She explains that vitamin and mineral content between conventional and organic crops can vary hugely, and that some commercially raised oranges have been found to contain NO vitamin C!16

    The old saying ‘you are what you eat’ really does ring true. If you are consuming food that was once a sickly animal who was fed routine courses of antibiotics and a genetically engineered diet of pesticide sprayed grains that it is unable to digest, how healthy do you think you will be?

    If you are eating food that has been sprayed copious times with a herbicide that has been engineered to kill EVERYTHING around it, except that particular crop, how do you think this affects the health of the soil, and the subsequent health of your body? Similarly, with the skin being the largest organ in the body, and readily absorbing anything you rub on it, have you considered what is entering your system via this method (by way of creams and lotions)?

    Yes, our bodies are amazing, and yes they can process and eliminate a certain degree of ‘rubbish.’ But, when they become overloaded they are unable to summon the resources required to neutralize the onslaught of poisons entering them. Therefore it makes sense to limit our intake of toxins wherever we are able to do so; for example by making organic choices.

    Organic farming helps ensure you are receiving the best quality for your body, allowing your cells to be as healthy and strong as possible. Growth hormones, protein rich feeds and the routine use of antibiotics are not allowed, nor are synthetic chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides or pesticides.

    If you consider health as a holistic word encompassing people, animals, and the planet, then choosing organic is a positive step in this direction.

    Endnotes:

    1. “Food Matters – Life matters!” article. Organic NZ magazine. May/June 2015.
    2. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/10408444.2013.770820.
    3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyphosate.
    4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Agency_for_Research_on_Cancer#IARC_categories.
    5. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer/.
    6. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/09/14/glyphosate-celiacdisease-connection.aspx.
    7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257596/.
    8. http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/92/JOS_Volume-9_Number-2_Nov_2014-Swanson-et-al.pdf.
    9. https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-roundup-enough-make-yousick.
    10. https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-sealed-documentsreveal-truth-behind-roundups-toxicological-dangers.
    11. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/86/3/07-041814-table-T1.html.
    12. https://www.organicnz.org.nz/node/120.
    13. Organic – a new way of eating.” Sophie Grigson and William Black. Headline Book Publishing 2001.
    14. Nourishing Traditions." The Cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. Revised second edition. Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig. Ph.D. 1999, 2001 New trends Publishing Inc.
    15. http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/policy-law/food-monitoring-programmes/foodact-1981/frsp/documents.htm.
    16. http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/elibrary/industry/2003_04-Analyses_Environmental.pdf
  • Why Choosing Organic over Natural is a Healthy Choice

    Why Choosing Organic is a Healthy Choice Elly McGuiness You may have heard that "going organic" is a healthy choice for the farmers, the environment, and your own health. But do you really understand why it's such a positive choice? This article series explores the benefits of choosing organic. Reason: It checks a lot of boxes

    Many of the attributes that consumers are looking for in their food, beverages, household items and beauty products are covered under the banner of certified organic products.

    The 2016 New Zealand Organic Market report highlighted some of the main factors consumers are looking for when it comes to their purchases. One of the factors that rated highly was for GM/GE free food. Consumers may or may not be aware that purchasing certified organic products instantly assures the product does not contain any genetically modified ingredients. So by purchasing organic it's an easy way to ensure you're avoiding genetically engineered food.

    The report highlighted another important factor for consumers is that their food is 100 percent natural. By choosing organic you can be assured what you're purchasing is 100 percent natural. However, it must be noted that the two words are not interchangeable, as some might believe! For example, a conventional apple or orange is "100 percent natural" but this doesn"t mean it has not been sprayed with copious layers of synthetic chemicals. So purchasing "natural" products does not necessarily mean you are purchasing organic, but purchasing organic does mean you are purchasing natural. Most consumers are aware purchasing certified organic products means they will be avoiding synthetic chemicals but they do not necessarily make the connection that their "natural" product could have been involved in a lot of chemical treatments.

    Lesser known is the fact that irradiated products or ingredients are not permitted. Non organic food items such as herbs and spices, herbal teas and tropical fruits may be subjected to irradiation in order to stop the development of insects concealed within produce and to lengthen shelf life. The foods are put through powerful gamma rays or x-rays, a practice which is raising concerns in the scientific community about nutrient loss, free radical production, and links to diseases. Consumers can rest assured that any certified organic foods they purchase will not have been irradiated.

    Sustainability is a core, fundamental concept at the heart of the organic movement so it can be a good choice for those who are intent on looking after the environment and improving it for future generations. Organic farms vary in their efforts to improve animal welfare and employ principles of permaculture—just as conventional farms do. For this reason consumers may choose to investigate the origin of their food and products further. Positive choices do not need to be complicated however; and the certified organic label helps to make purchasing easier by checking a number of the boxes that consumers are looking for.

    Note: This article was written with relevance to New Zealand Certified Organic Standards. Standards in other countries may vary slightly.