Gmofreefood’s Weblog

Cheerios Says No to Monsanto
January 7, 2014, 3:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I know it has been ages since I last posted but this is news worth mentioning:

General Mills, of all companies announced late last week that it would be making Cheerios GMO-free!!! Now while as the article says is probably more of a publicity stunt by General Mills which wont have to dramatically change its Cheerios recipe to make that claim, it is a HUGE deal since it is the first time such a large food processing company like General Mills is basically joining the GMO Free labeling camp. Let’s hope that this will be inspiration to other large food processing companies and that it will also help convince legislators that they need to continue to push for GMO labeling laws.

Click HERE to read the full article.


Monsanto Bringing More GM Sweet Corn To Your local Supermarket
August 10, 2011, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Genetically modified corn is already in the many of your non-organic products, thanks to corn being on the ingredient list in one of its many forms. But now Monsanto will be launching a GM sweet corn intended for direct human consumption and which is resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

LA Timesreports:

The hybrid has genetic modifications that have three additional traits that allow it resistance to insects and the Roundup herbicide — is the company’s first foray into the relatively small market for this sort of produce. (Farmers plant about 250,000 acres of sweet corn for human consumption in the U.S., according to analysts and company officials. Corn raised to be turned into sugar, oil, animal feed or used as fibers makes up 92.3 million acres in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.)

Monsanto’s Consuelo Madere told LA Times that Monsanto did not expect much consumer outcry over the introduction, as its rival Syngenta has been marketing GM sweet corn for the past ten years.

I don’t think that’s probably the reason shoppers won’t object to this GM corn. More likely it’s because

1) the corn won’t be marketed as Monsanto corn,

2) it won’t be labeled as genetically modified by retailers, and

3) most consumers are, though a combination of omission and deliberate obfuscation by Big Ag, not well informed about GM crops (both their ubiquity in non-organic products and their potential personal and environmental health effects).

Monsanto told Fast Company, “Just as they do today, consumers will continue to have the ability to purchase corn from growers or retailers of their choice that provide the quality they are looking for.”

Another great dodge from Monsanto to the question of whether GM crops should be labeled or not–considering that Monsanto and other GM crop companies have strongly fought efforts to make labeling of GM ingredients mandatory in the US.

As always, if you want to avoid GM crops (which I think you should, for many reasons) your best best is to only buy organic produce and if possible know your farmer and their practices.

Source: Tree Hugger

USDA Looks to Approve First GE, Drought Tolerant Corn with no EIS
August 9, 2011, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

USDA Looks to Approve First GE, Drought Tolerant Corn with no EIS


On May 11, 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) released a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) on the first-ever genetically engineered (GE), drought tolerant corn, MON 87460. 

APHIS is currently soliciting comments on this unprecedented GE crop, due August 12, 2011.

The Center for Food Safety has reviewed the Draft EA, and, their analysis shows that has USDA not adequately analyzed or accounted for the various environmental and socio-economic impacts of this novel crop, and Monsanto has failed to make any significant progress on drought resistance through genetic engineering.

As with previous GE crop approvals, USDA’s proposal fails to comply with national environmental law, making APHIS’s approval illegal.

USDA’s proposal:

  • Fails to adequately consider and protect organic consumers
  • Fails to recognize farmers and consumers have the right to choose non-GE
  • Fails to analyze the benefits of drought-tolerant organic corn as an alternative to MON87460
  • Fails to use sound science and relies excessively on Monsanto data
  • Fails to assess the environmental impacts of converting conservation land to MON87460 production

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Tell USDA to obey the law! Further analysis and environmental protections are necessary before any approval should be considered.

New video on non GMO food movement – Pass it around
August 4, 2011, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

New short but to the point video on the increasing non-GMO food movement from the Institute for Responsible Technology.

It’s all up to us to stop bying GMO infected food and send a strong message to food companies in the US: stop using GMO ingredients or at the very least label your products or we will not buy them anymore. It is time to take a stand, the only kind they understand: the one that hurts their bottom line, their revenues.

Pass it around.

See the video here

Monsanto’s Fortunes Turn Sour
October 5, 2010, 12:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Source: NY Times Oct 4th 2010

It looks like Monsanto is not invincible after all and there might be hope for us all after all…:

As recently as late December, Monsanto was named “company of the year” by Forbes magazine. Last week, the company earned a different accolade from Jim Cramer, the television stock market commentator. “This may be the worst stock of 2010,” he proclaimed.

Bags of Asgrow Roundup Ready soybean seeds sit inside a Monsanto lab in St. Louis. Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company, plans to complete most of its $800 million stock buyback plan more than a year ahead of schedule after the shares dropped to the lowest since 2007.

Monsanto, the giant of agricultural biotechnology, has been buffeted by setbacks this year that have prompted analysts to question whether its winning streak from creating ever more expensive genetically engineered crops is coming to an end.

The company’s stock, which rose steadily over several years to peak at around $145 a share in mid-2008, closed Monday at $47.77, having fallen about 42 percent since the beginning of the year. Its earnings for the fiscal year that ended in August, which will be announced Wednesday, are expected to be well below projections made at the beginning of the year, and the company has abandoned its profit goal for 2012 as well.

The latest blow came last week, when early returns from this year’s harvest showed that Monsanto’s newest product, SmartStax corn, which contains an unprecedented eight inserted genes, was providing yields no higher than the company’s less expensive corn that contains only three foreign genes.

Monsanto has already been forced to sharply cut prices on SmartStax and on its newest soybean seeds, called Roundup Ready 2 Yield, as sales fell below projections.

But there is more. Sales of Monsanto’s Roundup, the widely used herbicide, has collapsed this year under an onslaught of low-priced generics made in China. Weeds are growing resistant to Roundup, dampening the future of the entire Roundup Ready crop franchise. And the Justice Department is investigating Monsanto for possible antitrust violations.

Until now, Monsanto’s main challenge has come from opponents of genetically modified crops, who have slowed their adoption in Europe and some other regions. Now, however, the outspoken critics also include farmers and investors who were once in Monsanto’s camp.

“My personal view is that they overplayed their hand,” William R. Young, managing director of ChemSpeak and a consultant to investors in the chemical industry, said of Monsanto. “They are going to have to demonstrate to the farmer the advantage of their products.”

Brett D. Begemann, Monsanto’s executive vice president for seeds and traits, said the setbacks were not reflective of systemic management problems and that the company was already moving to deal with them.

“Farmers clearly gave us some feedback that we have made adjustments from,” he said in an interview Monday.

Mr. Begemann said that Monsanto used to introduce new seeds at a price that gave farmers two thirds and Monsanto one third of the extra profits that would come from higher yields or lower pest-control costs. But with SmartStax corn and Roundup Ready 2 soybeans, the company’s pricing aimed for a 50-50 split.

That backfired as American farmers grew only 6 million acres of Roundup Ready 2 soybeans this year, below the company’s goal of 8 million to 10 million acres, and only 3 million acres of SmartStax corn, below the goal of 4 million.

So now Monsanto is moving back to the older arrangement. SmartStax seed for planting next year will be priced at about only $8 an acre more than other seeds, down from about a $24 premium for this year’s seeds, Mr. Begemann said. The company will also offer credits for free seed to farmers who planted SmartStax this year and were disappointed.

Monsanto has also moved to offer farmers more varieties with fewer inserted genes. Some farmers have said they often have to buy traits they do notneed — such as protection from the corn rootworm in regions where that pest is not a problem — in order to get the best varieties. This issue has surfaced in the antitrust investigation.

Monsanto’s arch rival, DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred, has also capitalized on the limited variety under a campaign called “right product, right acre.”

“If they don’t have a need for rootworm then we won’t have that trait in that product,” Paul E. Schickler, the president of Pioneer, said in an interview.

After years of rapidly losing market share in corn seeds to Monsanto, Pioneer says it has gained back 4 percentage points in the last two years, to 34 percent. Monsanto puts its market share at 36 percent in 2009 and says it has remained flat this year. In soybeans, Pioneer puts its share at 31 percent, up 7 percent over the last two years; Monsanto puts its share at 28 percent last year and said it has dropped some this year.

Monsanto had a similar problem with lower-than-expected yields on Roundup Ready 2 soybeans last year, when the crop was first planted commercially, forcing it to slash the premium it charges.

But this year, the yield appears to be meeting expectations, according to OTR Global, a market research firm that surveys farmers and seed dealers. That could bode well for SmartStax next year.

One reason is that the Roundup Ready 2 gene is now offered in more varieties, making it better suited to more growing conditions. The yield of a crop is mainly determined by the seed’s intrinsic properties, not the inserted genes. An insect protection gene will not make a poor variety a high yielder any more than spiffy shoes will turn a slow runner into Usain Bolt. In the first year of a new product, few varieties contain the new gene.

Still, Monsanto is bound at some point to face diminishing returns from its strategy of putting more and more insect-resistance and herbicide-resistance genes into the same crop, at ever increasing prices. Growth might have to eventually come from new traits, such as a drought-tolerant corn the company hopes to introduce in 2012.

“Technologically, they are still the market leader,” said Laurence Alexander, an analyst at Jefferies & Company. “The main issue going forward is do they get paid for the technology they deliver. The jury is still out on that one. It’s going to take a year or two of data to reassure people.”

Panel Leans in Favor of Engineered Salmon
September 21, 2010, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Source: NY Times Sept 20th 2010

It looks like concerned citizens are losing the battle against the introduction of the first Genetically Modified Salmon that is pumped with Growth Hormones to allow it to continue to grow during the colder winter months.

I don’t know about you but I would rather pay a little more or eat a little less to get some fresh Salmon WITHOUT growth hormones… Sometimes I am amazed to the length some people will go to to make more money faster. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for making money. But when it comes to the point where we are injecting growth hormones into our own food, it does not take a genius to realize that this can NOT be good for your health in the near or long term…

Watch this Video

The article from the NY Times:

Members of a federal advisory committee on Monday seemed to conclude that genetically engineered super-salmon would be safe to eat and for the environment, but they also found gaps in the studies used to support that conclusion.

The committee met here to advise the Food and Drug Administration on whether to approve what would be the first genetically engineered animal to enter the American food supply.

The Atlantic salmon, which would be raised on farms, contain an extra growth hormone gene that allows them to grow to marketable size about twice as fast as conventional fish.

Committee members, who were not asked to vote on whether the fish should be approved, did not point out anything about the fish that would seem dangerous, despite one study suggesting a possible increase in the potential to cause allergic reactions. They said the chance the fish would escape into the wild was low.

“They didn’t see any glaring holes” in the data, Gregory A. Jaffe of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who was the consumer representative on the committee, said after the meeting ended.

Still some panel members did say the studies the F.D.A. relied on to reach its own conclusion that the salmon would be safe were flawed, often using only a few dozen fish or even fewer.

“I do get heartburn when we’re going to allow post-market surveillance to finalize our safety evaluation,” said one committee member, Michael D. Apley, a pharmacology expert at Kansas State University.

The criticisms could add to the time needed to approve the salmon. It could also provide grist for consumer and environmental groups, many of which testified on Monday that the salmon should not be approved.

Approval of the salmon could pave the way for other such biotech animals to enter the food supply, like a pig developed in Canada that has more environmentally friendly manure.

The results could also influence other countries. Eric Hallerman, a fisheries expert at Virginia Tech, told the committee that fast-growing versions had already been developed for 18 different types of fish in various countries.

The salmon contain a growth hormone gene from the Chinook salmon and a genetic switch from the ocean pout that turns on an antifreeze gene. That allows the salmon to make growth hormone in cold weather, whereas salmon usually produce it only in warm weather.

Ronald L. Stotish, the chief executive of AquaBounty Technologies, the company that developed the salmon, told the committee that its AquAdvantage salmon would help the world meet rising demand for seafood without further devastating natural fisheries. He said it would be economical to grow the fish in inland tanks in the United States, saving the cost of flying in the fish from Chile or Norway, from which the United States now gets most of its Atlantic salmon, he said.

For now, though, the company’s eggs are being hatched at a company facility in Prince Edward Island, Canada. And the fish would be grown to size in only limited quantities at a company facility in Panama.

The company said that fish would not escape because they are grown inland in facilities with containment mechanisms. If any did escape, it said, the rivers outside the Canadian and Panama facilities would be too salty or warm for the fish to survive. And the fish would all be female and almost all would be sterile, so they would not interbreed with wild salmon.

But some committee members, as well as some environmental groups, said the government’s environmental assessment should evaluate what would happen if the salmon were grown widely in many facilities.

“The F.D.A. must consider issues related to realistic production scenarios,” said Anna Zivian, a senior manager at the group Ocean Conservancy.

One test showed a possible increase in the potential to cause allergic reactions that was almost statistically significant even though only six fish were used in each group in the study.

But several committee members said the meaning of that test’s results were open to question since it was not clear what amount of increase was meaningful.

Kevin Wells, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri and a committee member, said he doubted the fish would cause extra allergies.

“The salmon contains nothing that isn’t in the human diet,” he said.

The fish are being regulated under the process used to approve veterinary drugs. The F.D.A. held a half-day session on Sunday to give the committee, made up mostly of veterinarians, a primer on genetic engineering.

Approval, if it comes, is likely to take at least several months. The F.D.A. said it would prepare an environmental assessment that would be open to comment for 30 days. If the agency decides that there could be a significant environmental impact — something that does not appear likely — it will have to do a full environmental impact statement, which could take months or years.

The F.D.A. will have a public hearing on Tuesday on whether the salmon, if approved, should be labeled.

Say No to Frankenfish: FDA Looks To Approve Genetically Engineered Salmon
September 1, 2010, 8:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Source: True Food Network:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on August 25, 2010, that it will potentially approve the long-shelved AquAdvantage transgenic salmon as the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption. The GE Atlantic salmon being considered was developed by AquaBounty Technologies, and genetically engineered to produce growth hormones year-round, creating a fish the company claims grows at twice the normal rate. This could allow factory fish farms to crowd the salmon into pens and still get high production rates.

We have only a short window to tell FDA to reject these GE fish
Can you send a comment today?

Each year millions of farmed salmon escape from open-water net pens, outcompeting wild populations for resources and straining ecosystems. Any approval of GE salmon would represent another serious threat to the survival of native salmon populations, many of which have already suffered severe declines related to salmon farms and other man-made impacts. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that a release of just sixty GE salmon into a wild population of 60,000 could lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations. Wild Atlantic salmon are already on the Endangered Species List in the U.S.; approving these GE Atlantic salmon will be the final blow to these wild stocks.

The human health impacts of eating GE fish are entirely unknown, but some scientific research raises cause for alarm: for example, some scientists have asserted that foreign growth hormones in transgenetic fish may increase production of other compounds such as insulin in the fish. Additionally, FDA has recognized that a transgene cannot be “turned off” once it is inserted in the organism, and will therefore have effects that are uncontrollable.

These GE farmed salmon will also carry with them all of the health hazards of other farmed salmon, but transgenic fish may be more susceptible to disease than fish currently grown in aquaculture facilities because transgenic fish are identified as “macro-mutants” with a reduced ability to survive.  Consequently, the amount of antibiotics given to transgenic fish may be higher than the amount currently given to farmed fish; already farmed salmon are given more antibiotics than any other livestock by weight, threatening the health of those who eat them and the continued efficacy of these antibiotics to treat human disease.

The company first applied for approval of the fish in 2001, but the Bush Administration delayed its approval until it was out of office.  Ironically, the Obama Administration, who came to office promising a more environmentally sound and transparent process, is using the Bush Administration-developed framework for the approval of genetically engineered animals. This process uses the fiction that the genetically engineered salmon is, in effect, an animal “drug.” The failure of the FDA to develop a transparent process for the approval of GE animals and instead use the secretive process of the New Animal Drug regulations means that consumers will be deprived of basic information as to the safety of these animals.

Tell the Food and Drug Administration not to approve GE salmon AND, if the Obama Administration insists on approving these genetically engineered fish, it should require the fish to be labeled when marketed to fish farmers, fish retailers and food companies, restaurants, and when marketed to consumers.

Please take action today! The hearing for approving the salmon is scheduled for Sunday, September 19, and no public comment period has been established for the approval of genetically engineered fish outside of this meeting, so this may be our only chance to oppose this dangerous approval! Only a public comment period on labeling of the GE fish has been opened.

Take action now and send a note to the FDA