All posts by Nick Meyer

Taxpayer Funded GM Cereal Crop Successfully Produces Fish Oil In Its Seeds

Fish oil supplements are some of the most popular on the market, especially since they’re a source of Omega 3s that many people aren’t getting enough of each day.

But now a British company is taking fish oil where it’s never been before: inside the seeds of a plant.

According to this article in The Independent, the crop was funded by the government and took place at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire next to a failed GM wheat trial conducted last month.

greener pro

Camelina. PHOTO/Greenerpro.com

Extra Genes Added to New GM Crop

The crop was genetically engineered with up to seven extra genes involved in the manufacturing of Omega 3 oils in water-based algaes, which are often eaten in wild fish.

The goal of the trial is to find alternative ways to feed farmed fish so that they end up with more of the Omega 3s in their diet, which usually come from anchovies, sand eels or other natural sources. But will these farmed fish actually be healthy when it’s all said and done? Currently large numbers of farmed fish are fed an unnatural diet of genetically modified corn and soy pellets, and live in unsanitary and unnatural conditions that can cause them to become extraordinarily unhealthy by the time they reach your plate. The new GM crop is an attempt to allow the fish farming system to stay on its current path. 

Up to 15 percent of the oil in the GM crops turned out to be of the Omega 3 variety according to researchers.

Researchers said that it was one of the most complex trials ever carried out; the question is whether consumers actually want it and what the unintended health effects may be down the line.

The crop grown was camelina, also known as “false flax.” For more on the trial check out the original article here.

For more on bizarre GMO experiments that were never authorized by the public including human genes in rice and much more, check out this article as well.

New GMO Wheat Trial in the UK a Colossal Failure; Taxpayers Foot the Bill

 

What benefits do genetically modified crops give to the consumer?

That’s still a question that hasn’t been answered, or proven for that matter.

And yet the GMO experiment has continued on the taxpayers’ dime, both in the United States and recently in the United Kingdom where an experimental GMO wheat trail has been described as a disappointment by researchers.

The trial, conducted by the Rothamsted Research organization in the UK, wasted £1 million of taxpayers’ money on a type of GM wheat that was engineered with synthetic genes designed to mimic a distress signal from aphids.

The hope was that the aphids would be repelled from the wheat, with the goal of reducing insecticide use on the crops according to the website GMWatch.org.

gmo aphid

Aphid control solutions exist without expensive, untested GMOs.

Insects Adapt; Is Anyone Surprised?

According to the GMWatch article the insects adapted quickly and were not bothered by the distress signal after time. One type of aphid even adapted before the experiment ever left the lab.

GMWatch also noted that there has been an agroecological, non-GMO solution to the aphid problem shown to work since the mid-90s. The approach simply utilized native predators by supporting their habitats with flower strips around the field; aphid-repelling pheromone strips were also utilized. 

As for this type of GMO wheat it’s worth noting that no safety studies have been done, and that there is no market currently for GM wheat despite companies including Monsanto continuing to push for it.

But when there’s money to be made as Biotech companies often do by pushing these crops on unsuspecting folks who don’t want them, these types of risky, unnecessary experiments tend to continue.

The full results of the Rothamsted researchers about the GMO wheat failure can be read hereNick Meyer writes for MAM and the website AltHealthWORKS. Find them on Facebook by clicking here

How Africa Can Solve Malnutrition Without Any “Help” From Monsanto

For countless decades the powers of the world have looked at Africa with hungry eyes, seeking to tap into and exploit the continent’s vast resources.

In years past it was the conversion of staple food craps to cash crops (such as cocoa) but in the 21st century things have become a bit more coded.

The Monsanto Company and its GM seeds with restrictive contracts, as well as chemicals, have become a new form of imperialism disguised as providing help to indigenous populations around the world.

Lately, the powers-that-be have been focused on Africa as their new target, with hopes of introducing more and more GM seeds (through “charity” outfits like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and eventually foisting them on unwilling and unsuspecting farmers and peasants.

The constant refrain is that Africa needs GMOs to feed their starving population, but this new paradigm has been met with stiff opposition in countries across the continent.

The prevailing thought among those in the know is that Africa has more than enough resources and manpower to feed its population in time, provided that the right resources go to the right people, of course.

africa farming

Africa’s farming could benefit greatly from increased leafy green production to combat malnutrition.

Feeding Africa Without Monsanto’s Help

According to recent research, there are plenty of untapped superfoods growing across Africa that can help combat malnutrition in ways GMOs could never dream of touching.

For example the superfood moringa, from the moringa tree, has “more vitamin A than carrots, seven times more vitamin C than oranges, and twice the protein of cow’s milk, per 100 grams” according to Kenyan horticulturalistMary Abukutsa-Onyango.

Moringa is just one example of a bursting ecosystem of highly nutritious greens that are capable of growing well in Africa. 

According to Abukutsa-Onyango, Kenyan farmers planted 25% more of these types of foods to meet demand from 2011-2013, and awareness is increasing among Africans who seek these types of highly nutritious native “superfoods.”

For more info on feeding Africa without Monsanto’s help and what the real challenges are, check out this excellent article in Mother Jones from Tom Philpott by clicking here.

Can the American Farming System Handle the Skyrocketing Demand for Non-GMO Foods?

As evidenced by May’s March Against Monsanto and the protest movement against GMOs at the grocery store and farmer’s markets, demand for non-GMO and organic food is skyrocketing.

But as more and more companies and products go non-GMO, will the American farming system be able to handle all of these requests?

Or will companies resort to bending the rules and passing off the same “conventional” ingredients as something they’re not?

Recent reports have suggested that America has been forced to import everything from Romanian corn to grass-fed Australian beef in order to keep up with demand.

While challenges do exist, consumers should be delighted to know that the supply is finally catching up to the demand.

Suppliers have been stocking up on Non-GMO grains to meet demand.

Suppliers have been stocking up on Non-GMO grains to meet demand.

American Non-GMO Supply Catching Up

According to this article from the Iowa-based Organic & Non-GMO Report website and newsletter, the non-GMO grain supply is now up 25 percent, while demand is up 15-20 percent.

“I don’t think there is a danger of non-GMO supplies running out,” says Lynn Clarkson in the article, the president of Clarkson Grain.

Further into the article it is revealed that there has been an astounding 80 percent growth in the demand for non-GMO and organic food recently, according to Kara VanKleek, marketing director at CHS, Inc. which supplies Non-GMO Project Verified soy flours, flakes and oils.

Soy flour in particular has been in high demand because of its status as a well known GMO-tainted food product.

While much progress has been made there is still work to do, especially in terms of helping cities and towns that still have virtually no non-GMO options available, including restaurants and sellers of packaged foods. 

For more information on the continuing rise of non-GMO foodstuffs in the United States and the incredible demand being generated, check out the full article here from the Non-GMO & Organic Report.

Nick Meyer writes for the website AltHealthWORKS.com and March Against Monsanto, check out his Facebook page here

Neil Young Monsanto Protest Album Now Streaming Live- Listen Here

Whether it’s been the rise of corporate influence in music and entertainment or racism and everything in between, rock legend Neil Young has always been on the cutting edge of musical protest.

Young has a long history of music with a purpose, and his latest album with the band Promise of the Real titled ‘The Monsanto Years’ continues that lineage, with songs taking on the highly controversial GMO crop giant Monsanto as well as Wal-Mart wages and other key issues of our time.

Young’s album will be officially released on June 29, 2015, but he has recently decided to make it available online via live stream.

Click here for a live stream preview of Young’s album, which features songs such as ‘A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop (sample lyrics below)':

monsanto years album

“If you don’t like to rock Starbucks a coffee shop
Well you better change your station ’cause that ain’t all that we got
Yeah, I want a cup of coffee but I don’t want a GMO
I like to start my day off without helping Monsanto”

“Monnnnnn-sannnnnn-toooooooo
Let our farmers grow what they want to grow”

Young is also currently touring across the country; dates can be found by clicking on his website here.

You can also order his CD on his website or by clicking on this link.

Considering his support for our cause, supporting his new CD and tour are the least we can do. Enjoy!

Pope Francis Speaks Out on Environmental, Other Damages Caused by GMOs

For years many people have wondered about the stances of religious organizations on genetically modified organisms, which are lab-created foods by Monsanto and other companies that would not occur in nature.

Recently, Pope Francis of the Catholic Church let the world know where he stands in an Italian interview.

“It is difficult to give an overall judgment on the development of genetically modified organisms (GMO), plant or animal, for medical purposes or in agriculture, since they can be very different and require different considerations,” he said.

Of course it’s interesting to note that the FDA originally said that GMOs, while unique enough to be awarded a patent, are “substantially equivalent” to regular crops, a lie that allowed a swift deregulation of them in America.

The Pope continued, casting doubt on the impacts of the crops and a call to attention as to how they’re being used by large corporations according to this article by the website Sustainable Pulse.

pope francis gmo

“The spread of these (GM) crops destroys the complex web of ecosystems, decreases diversity in production and affects the present and the future of regional economies,” he said. 

“In several countries there is a trend in the development of oligopolies in the production of seeds and other products needed for cultivation, and the dependence deepens when you consider the production of sterile seeds, which end up forcing farmers to buy (seeds) from producers.”

For more on Pope Francis’ comments including what he says about man meddling too much with nature and the vicious cycle it creates, check out the Sustainable Pulse article here.

 

 

Remember the Monsanto Protection Act? It’s Back, and Worse Than Ever Before

The Monsanto Protection Act became one of the most infamous pieces of legislation in recent U.S. history, prompting a massive backlash in 2014.

But now a new bill disguised as a “GMO labeling” act has been introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo, causing one major consumer group to label it perhaps even worse than the Monsanto Protection Act.

According to the Center for Food Safety, Rep. Pompeo’s bill has been greatly expanded to actually prohibit all labeling of GMO foods, while making it unlawful for states of local governments to restrict GM crops in any way.

The bill, H.R. 1599, will be discussed at a House hearing on Thursday.

“The Monsanto Protection Act is back, and it’s even worse than before. This bill would strip away a state or local government’s basic rights of local control, and hands the biotech industry everything it wants on a silver platter. No Member of Congress that cares about the rights and concerns of his or her constituents should support this bill,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety in this press release from the CFS.

PHOTO: Common Dreams/OCA

PHOTO: Common Dreams/OCA

 

State, Local Laws Undermined

The center also said that the bill would further weaken the federal regulation of GM crops while also forbidding local communities to create laws against them, such as the recent ban in Jackson County, Oregon.

Other similar ordinances have passed in Hawaii, California and Washington State, but would be voided under the bill, which has been dubbed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act.

The bill would “undemocratically nullify” GM crop regulations that have been on the books in across the country for years.

For more on the “New Monsanto Protection Act” check out the press release here.

Shocking Charts Reveal Who Really Owns Monsanto Company

You can find out a lot of shocking things when you follow the money, as any good journalist would do.

Recently, the health website Natural Society did just that in regards to Monsanto and found some pretty shocking information on who really owns the company.

While CEO Hugh Grant and major shareholder Bill Gates get most of the scrutiny and negative attention, Natural Society found that the real owners of Monsanto stock are large institutions, with five of them holding the top spots.

 

monsanto shareholders

The top one is the Vanguard Group, Inc., with over $3 billion worth of stock, as shown in the chart below. 

ns mon

Among individuals, the top shareholder is actually William U. Parfet, a Michigan-based chairman of the board, CEO and president of MPI Research, Inc. which is an early stage drug development contract research laboratory, believe it or not.

He’s also on the board for a large medical services company called the Stryker Corporation, which raises the question: why is such a highly influential man within the drug and medical services industries the top shareholder for Monsanto?

For more on what all this could mean and to see the list of top individual shareholders, check out the original Natural Society article here.

Did you know that Monsanto is also considering a name change to escape the white hot spotlight cast on them by activists and movements like MAM? Read more in this article

 

Oppressive New “Monsanto Law” Meets Opposition in Africa

The nation of Ghana is just one of many on the African continent locked into a struggle with Monsanto, pitting small farmers against the multinational corporation and other similar companies in a struggle for food sovereignty.

Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds and anti-farmer business dealings such as seed consolidation have already led to serious consequences for small farmers in places ranging from India to the Phillippines and many others, and residents of many other countries are beginning to catch on.

The fight for seed and food sovereignty has been especially fierce in Ghana, where seed saving has been a crucial part of traditional farming as it is throughout much of Africa.

Now, the government of Ghana is one where oppressive seed laws are attacking the roots of independent farming in the country, as noted in this recent article by The Ecologist.

ghana food gmo

A scene from the May 23 MAM in Ghana. Via Food Sovereignty Ghana on Facebook.

The article tells the story of how Ghana’s women farmers are especially steadfast in resisting the proposed laws.

“My mother gave me some seeds to plant. And I’m also giving those seeds to my children to plant.

“So that is ongoing, every time we transfer to our children,” Esther Boakye Yiadom explained in the article. “And that is how all the women are doing it. We don’t buy, we produce it ourselves.”

The barter and seed and food exchange system practiced by her and others in Ghana is the exact model of small-scale farming the United Nations says we need to feed the world, but will it be able to continue if Monsanto and others gain control?

A new law in Ghana dubbed the ‘Monsanto Law’ would effectively supercharge the power of multinational seed companies while at the same time restricting the rights of small farmers to keep and exchange seeds.

Today just 10 corporations control over 75% of the the world’s commercial seed market and yet in Africa 80% of seeds are controlled by farmer-managed systems. What could be the consequences of such a takeover of seeds in Africa by Monsanto and others for small farmers?

Check out the original article here for more info and perspective from those who are currently in the struggle themselves. You can also check out Food Sovereignty Ghana on Facebook here for more info.

Large Cross-Section of Studies the World Over Link Monsanto’s Roundup to Cancer Epidemic

The Monsanto Company has continually maintained that one of the cornerstones of its vast agrochemical empire, its best-selling Roundup herbicide, is safe for human exposure.

And yet time and time again, independent research has disproved this notion with studies linking it to cancer and several other serious health problems.

Monsanto originally thought that because animals lack a specific enzyme, ESPS synthase, that they would be immune from the harmful effects of Roundup. But independent science is increasingly showing that it does in fact cause serious harm to humans and animals after all. 

As Dr. Jeff Ritterman writes in this article from TruthOut.com:

“The herbicide has been proven to cause birth defects in vertebrates, including in humans, and it may also be the cause of a fatal kidney disease epidemic.

“An increasing number of studies are now linking the herbicide to cancer…”

argentina roundup cancer

Sprayings of Roundup in South America have had drastically bad effects on the health of locals.

Cancer Exploding in the “Soy Republic”

Thanks in large part to exposure to Roundup and glyphosate, the main ingredient in the herbicide, doctors have noticed an alarming increase in cancers in the “Soy Republic” in Latin American, where 125 million acres of soy has been planted, most of it GMO and heavily sprayed.

“Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides.” said Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez, a pediatrician specializing in environmental health, at a recent conference.

A 2010 study undertaken in 2010 by another doctor found skyrocketing cancer rates in the last 15 years, based on data from 65,000 people in Sante Fe, located in Argentina’s soy region.

Lung, prostate and breast cancers were discovered at rates 2-4 times higher than the national average in the area. 

For more from Dr. Ritterman and more on the study, as well as several other stories ranging from South America to the United States and Europe linking Roundup exposure to brain cancer, lymphoma, and several other serious maladies, check out the original TruthOut article here.

Related reading: Bombshell interview with the doctor who exposed Monsanto’s secret trade documents on how Roundup causes cancer.