[info_box]Caution: This post contains heartbreaking images of children that have been harmed by chemical exposure. [/info_box]
Biotech companies are actively working toward a world in which we will have to explain the reason potatoes glow in the dark when they need watering and why pigs have cowhides. Oh yes, these have really been attempted, as has the strawberry/fish combo from the title!¹ As you read this they are dicing and splicing dozens of species for new crops, even new animals, for you to help your children grapple with.
Did I say just wait? I meant DON’T WAIT. Most of us know that GMO genes are drifting into organic fields. We know that when we buy corn, sugar, canola, or soy that it is most likely contaminated. But as I learned when I began researching for my guest post at Food Renegade, there is more to the story.
“Tweedle dee dee! Tweedle dee dee! The fly has married the bumble bee!,” sings my three year-old.
That’s ridiculous, I tell her. What’s next, the dog runs off with the squirrell and the cat pines hopelessly for the badger? We have laws against these things, little miss. Natural laws that protect the integrity of a species’ genome.
Unfortunately, biotech firms don’t think the rules apply to them. They’re using genetic material from pathogenic viruses, genetic parasites and bacteria to breach the hull of the genome, so to speak, and infect it with alien genes.
Problem is, once these pathogenic viruses, parasites and bacteria have the ability to penetrate genomes, they can do it again . . . to you.
The constructs are designed to break down species barriers and to overcome mechanisms that prevent foreign genetic material from inserting into genomes.
. . .These constructs are introduced into cells by invasive methods that lead to random insertion of the foreign genes into the genomes (the totality of all the genetic material of a cell or organism). This gives rise to unpredictable, random effects, including gross abnormalities in animals and unexpected toxins and allergens in food crops.
. . . transgenic DNA – the totality of artificial constructs transferred into the GMO – may be more unstable and prone to transfer again to unrelated species; potentially to all species interacting with the GMO.
Horizontal gene transfer is likely to spread antibiotic resistant “marker” genes that could render infectious diseases untreatable, a generation of new viruses and bacteria that cause diseases, and harmful mutations which may lead to cancer. Here’s what they’ve got cooking in current field trials:
Of course, Monsanto said this genetically modified material is safe because it is killed on contact with stomach acid. So no problem, right? Yeah, we’re seeing it in the bloodstream of pregnant moms and their unborn babies.
What about cooking? Would that help? “Plant DNA is not readily degraded during most commercial food processing. Procedures such as grinding and milling left grain DNA largely intact, as did heat-treatment at 90deg.C [194 degrees Farenheit]. Plants placed in silage showed little degradation of DNA, and a special UK MAFF report advises against using GM plants or plant waste in animal feed.” ²
Not only that, but studies show we don’t even have to EAT the stuff to have it scramble our DNA. “In commenting on the FDA’s document, the UK MAFF pointed out that transgenic DNA may be transferred not just by ingestion, but by contact with plant dust and air-borne pollen during farm work and food processing. ³
Agent Orange: “Essentially it’s so safe you can drink it”(4)
Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) has a history of “safe use for over 30 years in more than 130 countries.” Any evidence to the contrary is merely a “variation.”
When I see these children, I see not just their physical struggles, but the recklessness that allowed it to happen. Although it is painful I choose to witness it . . . to allow these images to wash over my mind as I stand at the Home Depot counter deciding whether to spend the afternoon pulling weeds or just buy a bottle of Roundup. Was it necessary to post these images to make my point? I’m not sure. All I know is we cannot hide these realities in asylums and dark corners of third world countries we never visit.
Despite what they say about buffer zones and containment, cross-pollination between GMO and organic varieties is inevitable. In 2004, citizen groups tested nearly 20,000 papaya seeds on the island of Hawaii. Half of the seeds were genetically modified, even though 80% were taken from organic farms that were not supposed to be GMO.¹
You may be standing knee-deep in laundry right now, or trying to figure out how to defrost and roast a chicken in half an hour, or wondering if I’m about to ask you to join Greenpeace and chain yourself to to the doors of a pro-rGBH dairy (please don’t). You may be thinking you don’t have time for this, and I don’t blame you.
But here’s the thing: Monsanto is ready to roll out plums, rice, cauliflower . . . everything really. And believe it or not, most Americans have NO IDEA.
In a 2010 survey taken by the International Food Information Council, only 28 percent of respondents knew genetically modified foods were sold in stores.
It’s Independence Week here in the United States . . . a celebration of the charter of the Declaration of Independence. I’m on the hunt for sparklers and the perfect GAPS friendly banana cream pie, but I’m also planning to declare my own independence, too.
If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell and consume GM foods, soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free of GM. It’s a one way choice, like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia; once it’s made, it can’t be reversed.
Roger Levett, “Choice: Less can be more”, Food Ethics, Vol. 3, No. 3, Autumn 2008
The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t require labeling of GMO’s. “If companies say genetic engineering is fine, then OK let’s label it and let the consumers make their own decisions,” said Michael Hansen, a senior scientist at Consumers Union, which produces Consumer Reports. “That’s what all the free market supporters say. So let’s let the market work properly.“
Here’s what you can do to declare food freedom from your living room, or kitchen, or wherever you happen to be right now.
Raise awareness. Only 28 percent of people know GMO’s are sold in stores, so let’s educate our family and friends by sharing articles on Facebook, talking over dinner, etc.
Support Truth In Labeling
Download the Non-GMO Shopping Guide . . . and use it!
Have you ever seen a kid get ridiculously excited about spending the night at a friend’s house, only to call his parents late at night begging them to bring him home?
Yes. That whimpering, sad little child was me. On SEVERAL occasions.
Aren’t little boys supposed to LOVE adventure, change, and exciting new opportunities?
If you ask my parents why I never joined the boy scouts or little league or escaped to a summer camp, they’ll tell you it’s because I never wanted to be far from home. I didn’t want to try anything new. My parents tried encouraging me to join something. ANYTHING. They just knew I’d get more out of life if I tried new experiences.
But I was having none of it. I visited Boy Scouts for . . . a day. That was it. I remember saying no to tee ball. I actually remember feeling afraid because I didn’t understand those things. They were foreign and didn’t feel safe.Read More »
In this video, my lovely assistant and I will demonstrate how to make coconut milk from fresh coconut. And for those of you that like written instructions:
Your leftover coconut makes delicious shredded coconut. It’s wonderful for making Leite de Coco (coconut fudge), Coconut Cremé Brulee, and more. And it’s easy to make, too! Simply place the shredded meat in your dehydrator for 5-7 hours at 95 degrees F, or until the shreds feel very dry.Read More »
She used to be your garden variety woodland sprite, but times are hard and sorting mountains of corn and soy for Whole Foods is a sweet gig. Just sprinkle a little magical fairy dust and VOILA! The genetically modified feed separates from the conventional feed in a snap . . .
Read more of my guest post over at Food Renegade!
Read More »
I’d had nightmares about standing up in church and uncontrollably bellowing no-no words, but I never expected this. Without a blip of warning my mouth hijacked the controls and blurted it out. The first hint I had of what was going on was the sound of my voice crashing into my eardrums.
I love you.
It would have been nice if you said it first. Then again, it would have been nice if I had given you the chance.
These days, those three words usually come with an extra phrase or two, like “I love you, babe, AND NO YOU MAY NOT SUCK ON HIS FACE!” or “Love ya. Muah! Cat food is not a toy, Micah!” Parenting has changed almost everything about our lives, but it hasn’t changed this: I am crazy in love with you. How could I not be?
I said it first and I’ll say it now: I love you, Daddypotamus! You’re a phenomenal dad, and we’re going to dogpile you with kisses now.
Aquabounty, the biotech firm that spent 15 years and $60M creating GM Atlantic Salmon, is up a creek without a paddle. Better them than one of their fish, which could devastate natural populations if they ever happened to mix.
In an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, the U.S. House of Representatives moved to ban the sale of GM Atlantic Salmon. It’s just a draft and hasn’t been voted on yet, but it signals a shift away from blind acceptance of GM foods.
Earlier this year expert testimony from Consumers Union senior scientist Michael Hansen revealed Aquabounty’s negligence toward human and environmental health. Only SIX FISH were studied for health effects, and Hansen believes there is significant evidence they manipulated data to “prove” there is “no significant difference” between wild salmon and GM salmon. Haven’t we heard that before?
This is HUGE, because it is an acknowledgment of one of the most basic flaws of genetically modified foods. Proteins that were not allergenic, when spliced into the genome of a different organism, can become so.
Indeed, a 1996 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who were allergic to Brazil nuts were also allergic to soy beans that had been implanted with a Brazil nut protein. There is also some evidence that even proteins don’t usually cause allergies can become allergenic when they are moved to a new food. A 2005 Australian study found that mice who were fed peas containing a typically non-allergenic protein from kidney beans experienced allergic reactions.
So, what do we know about the allergen potential of GM salmon specifically? Not much, because the research is skeletal at best.
[A] number of consumer, health, and environmental groups say that neither AquaBounty Technologies nor the FDA has enough evidence to ensure the public that the fish—which wouldn’t have to be labeled as genetically engineered (GE) on supermarket shelves—is safe for people or the planet. Consumers Union senior scientist Michael Hansen called the company’s food safety tests “woefully incomplete,” and the group pointed out that the FDA approval panel is mostly comprised of GE cheerleaders, with no fish ecologists or allergists. Why’s an allergist important? Because the company’s own tests suggest that the new salmon could be much more allergenic than regular salmon.
In order to understand the allergy tests, a bit of backstory on how AquAdvantage salmon are made is necessary. First, genetic engineers create a “diploid” fish, meaning like people, it has two sets of chromosomes. Then, to make the final market product, they add genetic material from other fish and breed a new salmon with three sets of chromosomes—a “triploid” female that can’t reproduce. AquaBounty researchers compared the allergenicity—or potential to cause an allergic reaction—of a control group of salmon to both the genetically engineered diploids and triploids. They found that the diploid salmon were 40 percent more allergenic than the control, while the triploid group was 19 percent more allergenic.
AquaBounty says that the triploids’ allergenicity level wasn’t statistically significant, and although the diploids’ level is significant, it doesn’t matter because only triploids will be sold. But Hansen of the Consumers Union finds a few problems with this argument. For starters, the test wasn’t double blind, meaning the researchers knew which fish were part of which test group. Second, the sample size of triploid fish was tiny—only six fish in all. Third, although AquaBounty is going to try to turn all its market-bound fish into triploid sterile females, the process isn’t perfect, and some 5 percent could end up as the more allergenic diploid.
Are Genetically Modified Foods More Allergenic? (emphasis mine)
Allergies are not merely an inconvenience. They create stress and inflammation in the immune system, which can result in many serious conditions.
You know, the ones that will happen because the process isn’t, ahem, “perfect”?? They are NOT sterile, which means that if they escaped they could breed with wild salmon. Scary thought.
The House may be finalizing the 2012 Farm Bill early next week. If you don’t want to leave this victory to chance a call to your senator/representative supporting this ban wouldn’t hurt. The number for the Capitol Switchboard is 202-224-3121. Just ask for your Representative’s and Senators’ offices and they’ll patch you right through. Then when your hubs gets home try to work this phrase in, “as I told the Senator today . . . ”
We’ve been GAPsters for a three and a half months now, which means it’s time for an update! So, the first thing you need to know is . . .
Start GAPS today, and you too can have no pants! Okay, I overshot there. You probably WANT pants. You most likely even want them to fit. Daddypotamus actually does, too, but since the man is shedding about two pounds a week his measurements are a moving target. Nothing to complain about there! I can think of a few other things not to complain about when losing 35+ pounds, and they are bacon, mayonnaise, biscuits and BUTTER! Not in breath mint sized portions, either. No, we’re talking unrestricted access. Take that, Jenny Craig!!
Pantlessness is not the only “benefit” of GAPS.
GAPS is not as expensive as I thought. Yes, we pay more for food, but it’s so nutrient dense that for the first time in years I can count the supplements we’re taking on one hand. Just in case you’re interested, they are . . .
Plus, now that we’re off Intro we can use navy beans and lentils to stretch things a bit. And the fact that Daddypotamus doesn’t sneak off and blow our budget at restaurants now helps too.
We don’t actually know what it was, but Daddypotamus‘ weird, bumpy, crusty flakiness is gone! After using several topical applications on his scalp with no success, we were excited to watch it completely disappear during the Intro Diet.
It hasn’t stopped by to pick up it’s mail in awhile so we’re assuming it’s found a lovely beachside home and will stay gone for good. Fine with us.
Considering GAPS? Feeling overwhelmed? Cara at Health Home & Happiness just released “What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days On The GAPS Introduction Diet.” It is hands down the best resource on starting GAPS Intro I’ve seen. Review coming soon!
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Congratulations Holly Rasmussen! Both you and Samantha Gibbs (who told you about Mommypotamus) will soon receive your very own copy of Anni Daulter’s ICE POP JOY! If you mamas will just fill out my contact form with your address info within 72 hours they’ll be on their way.Read More »