Category Archives: GMO

GMO crops may cause major environmental risks, USDA admits

GMO crops may cause major environmental risks USDA admits GMO crops may cause major environmental risks, USDA admits

A new report published by the United States Department of Agriculture demonstrates that the vast majority of corn and soybean crops grown in America are genetically-engineered variants made to withstand certain conditions and chemicals.
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But while GMO seeds have been sowed on US soil for 15 years now, the latest USDA report reveals that Americans still have concerns about consuming custom-made, laboratory-created products, albeit nowhere near as much as in Europe.

The report was released by the USDA’s Economic Research Service and published on their website Feb. 20. And though the paper takes into consideration the trends that have shaped how scientists and agriculturists have approached genetically-modified organisms since they were first introduced in the US a decade-and-a-half ago, the consensus seems to be that no one is certain just yet about what toll the surge in GMOs will truly have.

Between 1984 and 2002, the study’s authors wrote, the number of GMO varieties approved by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, grew exponentially. Today GMO crops are found in most of America’s biggest farms, they continued, and scientists have in the last several years discovered groundbreaking new ways to make situation-specific seeds that have traits more desirable than traditional crops.

“As of September 2013, about 7,800 releases were approved for GE corn, more than 2,200 for GE soybeans, more than 1,100 for GE cotton and about 900 for GE potatoes,” the USDA affirmed.

Just last year, the agency added, GMO crops were planted on about 169 million acres of land in the US — or about half of all farmland from coast-to-coast.

Around 93 percent of all soybean crops planted in the US last year involved GMO, herbicide-tolerant (HT) variants, the USDA acknowledged, and HT corn and HT cotton constituted about 85 and 82 percent of total acreage, respectively.

“HT crops are able to tolerate certain highly effective herbicides, such as glyphosate, allowing adopters of these varieties to control pervasive weeds more effectively,” reads an excerpt from the USDA report.

As those weed-killers are dumped into more and more fields containing HT crops, however, USDA experts say it could have a major, as-yet-uncertain impact on the environment.

“Because glyphosate is significantly less toxic and less persistent than traditional herbicides,” a portion of the report reads, “…the net impact of HT crop adoption is an improvement in environmental quality and a reduction in the health risks associated with herbicide use (even if there are slight increases in the total pounds of herbicide applied). However, glyphosate resistance among weed populations in recent years may have induced farmers to raise application rates .Thus, weed resistance may be offsetting some of the economic and environmental advantages of HT crop adoption regarding herbicide use. Moreover, herbicide toxicity may soon be negatively affected (compared to glyphosate) by the introduction (estimated for 2014) of crops tolerant to the herbicides dicamba and 2,4-D.”

That chemical, as RT has reported on in the past, is a component in Agent Orange and has been linked to health risks. Should the USDA give the go-ahead for GMO companies to manufacture 2,4-D-resistant crops, then that agent could appear in alarming numbers across America’s farmland. But while anti-GMO advocates consider that just one of the reasons they oppose the influx of man-made crops being grown in exponentially large numbers across the county, the USDA said activism along those lines has been comparatively small in the US.

“Some consumers, including those in the European Union, have indicated a reluctance to consume GE products. In other countries, including the United States, expression of consumer concern is less widespread,” the report reads.

“Despite the rapid increase in adoption rates for GE corn, soybean, and cotton varieties by US farmers, some continue to raise questions regarding the potential benefits and risks of GE crops.”

But even if the jury is still out with regards to the risks of GE crops, the USDA said they are being grown in record numbers, the likes of which has prompted herbicide manufactures to experience a surge as well. Whether that’s’ good or bad, however, has yet to be determined.

“We are not characterizing them (GMO crops) as bad or good. We are just providing information,” Michael Livingston, a government agricultural economist and one of the authors of the report, told Reuters.

According to the report, herbicide use on GMO corn increased from around 1.5 pounds per planted acre in 2001 to more than 2.0 pounds per planted acre in 2010.

Source: RT

Kraft removes sorbic acid preservative from some ‘Singles’ products, replaces it with GMOs and an unnamed, proprietary stabilizer

Kraft removes sorbic acid preservative fromsome Singles products replaces it with GMOs and an unnamed proprietary stabilizer Kraft removes sorbic acid preservative from some Singles products, replaces it with GMOs and an unnamed, proprietary stabilizer

In the wake of announcements made by both General Mills and Post about the removal of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from some of their products, at least one major processed food manufacturer has oddly decided to take the opposite approach.
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Kraft Foods recently announced that it will phase out the use of the chemical preservative sorbic acid in some of its “Singles” products, only to replace it with a GMO-derived anti-fungal agent in combination with an unnamed, proprietary stabilizing compound.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Kraft plans to phase out sorbic acid just from its “American” and “White American” varieties of Kraft Singles, a highly processed, cheese-like food product that does not mold, in an apparent attempt to appeal to changing consumer tastes. Instead of sorbic acid, these two products will soon contain a blend of natamycin, a chemical preservative derived from GM bacteria, and some other mystery compound that the company disturbingly refuses to disclose.

Somehow, replacing one chemical preservative with another — and a GMO at that! — is considered an improvement at Kraft, the second-largest food and beverage company in the world. Kraft also apparently believes that consumers want to know less about what they are eating, hence its decision to include an additional secret ingredient.

“We know families today want convenient foods that have no artificial preservatives and a simpler, more recognizable ingredient list,” declared Brian Gelb, a senior associate brand manager for Kraft Foods, in a recent statement intended to be taken seriously. “Kraft is working to deliver more of these options for some of our most beloved brands.”

Kraft Singles not even cheese; sorbic acid probably safer than replacements

This marketing sleight of hand might be funny if it did not illustrate how utterly degenerate these major food companies are when it comes to deceiving their customers. The executive leadership at Kraft must have come completely unhinged to think it was a good idea to swap a mostly benign preservative with a questionable GM one alongside a mystery ingredient, and call it “natural.”

The major irony in all this is that Kraft Singles are not even real cheese, and yet Kraft is busy fussing about a preservative that it thinks might be a turn-off to the kinds of people that purchase Kraft Singles in the first place. If we had to make an educated guess, it is probably safe to say that most Kraft Singles customers are probably unaware of what they are actually eating, let alone concerned about the type of chemical used to preserve it.

It should also be noted here that natamycin is technically a drug. Not only is it used in eye drops and other medical applications as an antibiotic, but it is also used to treat cuts and other abrasions in the skin. In other words, Kraft Singles will now contain genetically engineered antibiotic drugs in addition to unlabeled additives – bon appetit!

“So, we are replacing a man made mold inhibitor, with a man made antibiotic that will cause more problems for people”? questioned one rhetorical Houston Chronicle commenter regarding the announcement.

Another commenter over at the Chicago Tribune, also concerned about the addition of antibiotics in cheese, explains that “sorbic acid is about as benign as you can get.” In his view, the switch will “backfire on Kraft.”

So as not to generate too much ruckus, Kraft is planning to keep using sorbic acid in its 2% and non-fat Singles varieties until further notice.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.chicagotribune.com

http://www.gmo-compass.org

http://www.chron.com

http://www.kraftrecipes.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

EPA claims ‘no harm will result’ from any levels of BT residue on GM soybeans

gmo soy EPA claims no harm will result from any levels of BT residue on GM soybeans

According to the Cornucopia Institute, “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a final rule on February 12 creating an exemption for residue tolerance levels in soy foods and feed for the biological pesticide BT used in GMO crops. Similar exemptions have already been approved for corn and cotton food and products.”
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Bacillus Thuringiensis, the bacterium commonly called Bt, naturally produces a toxin that kills certain insects. Because of this trait, scientists have spliced Bt genes from the bacterium into GMO crops to make them more resistant to pests.

“EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the U.S. population, including infants and children, from aggregate exposure to residues of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1F protein,” the agency wrote.

There have been a multitude of studies showing that GM foods can cause harm. “Authors of a recent study using the Bt toxins concluded that these proteins can cause harm to humans and livestock, and the risk increases with long-term exposure and with higher levels of toxins in our food,” reported Cornucopia.

You can view and comment on the EPA’s final rule at FederalRegister.gov. Objections to the final rule and requests for a hearing must be filed by April 14.

Source: http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/02/epa-approves-exemption-bt-residues-soy-foods-gmo-crops/