From beekeepers in France to the sweet corn at Walmart — GMO news roundup

There have been lots of good stories relating to GMO foods crossing the Bovine newsdesk in recent days, so we decided to compile a bunch of the more interesting ones in one post for your enjoyment. Here they are:

From the Biodynamics blog:

“More than half a million people have already signed a petition to the FDA asking for labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Now, continuing that momentum, a new video by the director of Food, Inc. encourages consumers to fight for the right to know what is in their food. The video is a collaboration between filmmaker Robert Kenner and the Just Label It campaign.”

More on the Biodynamics blog.

How to Identify GMO food at the Supermarket, even if it’s not labeled, via Federal Jack.com:

“(Spence Cooper)   Not many consumers realize that the FDA does not require genetically modified food to be labeled. That’s because the FDA has decided that you, dear consumer, don’t care if the tomato you’re eating has been cross bred with frog genes to render the tomato more resistant to cold weather. Some consumers may not be concerned with eating Frankenfood, but for those who are, here’s how to determine if the fruits and vegetables you’re buying are (GM) genetically modified.

Hat tip to Marion Owen for her valuable information. Here’s how it works:

For conventionally grown fruit, (grown with chemicals inputs), the PLU codeon the sticker consists of four numbers. Organically grown fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 9. Genetically engineered (GM) fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 8.

For example:

A conventionally grown banana would be: 4011

An organic banana would be: 94011

A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be: 84011

These tips are specially important now that over 80% of all processed foods in the US are genetically modified. Many countries in the European Union have been banning GM products and produce (including Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg).  We say “Eat healthy, buy or grow organic”.”

Marion Owen, probably the original source for the above story.

Levels of GMO crop infiltration around the earth.

From Ari Levaux, in The Atlantic:

The Very Real Danger of Genetically Modified Foods

Chinese researchers have found small pieces of rice ribonucleic acid (RNA) in the blood and organs of humans who eat rice. The Nanjing University-based team showed that this genetic material will bind to receptors in human liver cells and influence the uptake of cholesterol from the blood.

The type of RNA in question is called microRNA (abbreviated to miRNA) due to its small size. MiRNAs have been studied extensively since their discovery ten years ago, and have been implicated as players in several human diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. They usually function by turning down or shutting down certain genes. The Chinese research provides the first in vivo example of ingested plant miRNA surviving digestion and influencing human cell function in this way.

Should the research survive scientific scrutiny — a serious hurdle — it could prove a game changer in many fields. It would mean that we’re eating not just vitamins, protein, and fuel, but gene regulators as well.

That knowledge could deepen our understanding of many fields, including cross-species communication, co-evolution, and predator-prey relationships. It could illuminate new mechanisms for some metabolic disorders and perhaps explain how some herbal and modern medicines function.

This study had nothing to do with genetically modified (GM) food, but it could have implications on that front. The work shows a pathway by which new food products, such as GM foods, could influence human health in previously unanticipated ways.

Monsanto’s website states, “There is no need for, or value in testing the safety of GM foods in humans.” This viewpoint, while good for business, is built on an understanding of genetics circa 1960. It follows what’s called the “Central Dogma” of genetics, which postulates a one-way chain of command between DNA and the cells DNA governs.

The Central Dogma resembles the process of ordering a pizza. The DNA codes for the kind of pizza it wants, and orders it. The RNA is the order slip, which communicates the specifics of that pizza to the cook. The finished and delivered pizza is analogous to the protein that DNA codes for.

We’ve known for decades that the Central Dogma, though basically correct, is overly simplistic. For example: MiRNAs that don’t code for anything, pizza or otherwise, travel within cells silencing genes that are being expressed. So while one piece of DNA is ordering a pizza, it could also be bombarding the pizzeria with RNA signals that can cancel the delivery of other pizzas ordered by other bits of DNA….”

Read it all on The Atlantic

From the Current.com, “Beekeepers Occupy Monsanto France” (albeit in a poor translation):

Yesterday late morning, dozens of people on t invaded the premises of the Monsanto Monbéqui to voice their revendications. / Photo DDM, Chantal Longo. Click image to to to story.

“This is an order of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) that September 5, 2011 set fire to the powder. A beekeeper German who found the presence of pollen from GM maize Mon 810 sued and the court found her honey unmarketable. In fact the coexistence of GM crops in open fields and beekeeping is incompatible. A few days later the same court overturned the safeguard clause for the corn taken by France in 2008. Which sows confusion among beekeepers that the number of hives and bees decreases dramatically after the problems of the Regent, the Gaucho and across the great southern Asian hornet. Starting from a standing meeting Léojac they signed yesterday a coup by penetrating so cunning in the administrative buildings of the Monsanto-Monbéqui installed near the Garonne. An advance guard of about twenty of them acted as the Trojan horse posing as deliverymen and then opening the gates to the main body. The surprise was total. When the police arrived the occupants were on the premises with hives, smoker and realize what a picnic invigorating….”

Read more of that in The Current.com

Read the original story, in French from Ladepeche.fr

From Anthony Gucciardi, on Activist Post:

“Leaked: US to Start ‘Trade Wars’ with Nations Opposed to Monsanto, GMO Crops

The United States is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) crops withmilitary-style trade wars, according to information obtained and released by the organization WikiLeaks.

Nations like France, which have moved to ban one of Monsanto’s GM corn varieties, were requested to be ‘penalized’ by the United States for opposing Monsanto and genetically modified foods.

The information reveals just how deep Monsanto’s roots have penetrated key positions within the United States government, with the cables reporting that many U.S. diplomats work directly for Monsanto….”

Read more on Activist Post.

Jennifer Bunin, Civil Eats: “Tell Walmart to Reject New GMO Sweet Corn”

“This growing season there’s a new GMO in town: Monsanto’s GE sweet corn. This Roundup Ready product is the first GE corn for direct human consumption, and it has not been tested by the USDA and will not be labeled. If you’re unhappy about this, you’re not alone. The majority of consumers don’t want to eat genetically modified foods, and 95 percent feel strongly that they should be labeled.  Many retailers, including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and General Mills, have already agreed to not use GE Sweet Corn in any of their products—but Walmart, the country’s largest grocer and self-proclaimed sustainability adherent, has yet to make such a promise.

In a campaign reminiscent of the  Starbucks rBGH campaign, (which ultimately culminated not only in a pledge by the java giant not to sell dairy from cows treated with rBGH, but also created a domino effect, causing most large retailers to make the same agreement) , Food and Water Watch has initiated a national campaign to pressure Walmart to do the right thing and to live up to their sustainability claims. Just last week, Walmart launched a brand new website called The Green Room to exhibit their green credentials. Over the past couple of years they’ve run public relations campaigns touting their support of local farming, healthier eating, and providing oases in food deserts.

Walmart sells $129 billion worth of food (taking a whopping 25 percent of grocery sales throughout the US, and much more in some areas) each year, making it the most powerful food retailer in the world. If Walmart agreed to not stock GE sweet corn, it is highly likely that other retailers would follow their lead. It would also relieve farmers of the economic pressure to plant the biotech seeds….”

Read more on Civil Eats.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “From beekeepers in France to the sweet corn at Walmart — GMO news roundup

  1. Pingback: The Great GM Failure « thegreenmanweblog

  2. James

    These pushers of GMO are evil criminals in a plan to destroy the food crops of world and bring on mass famine.. What good is food thats food less ? As the scriptures tell us, People will eat but will still me hungary. I say not in my time, Let this evil be delayed till long after Im dead and gone!

  3. Pingback: Before You Buy |

  4. Pingback: GMOs and Monsanto

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