The consensus of the majority of watchdog groups who keep tabs on Big Agra’s newest GMO and GE crops were outraged in October, 2013. The headlines flashed “World Food Prize Sham” and “Thousands Protest” as the cherished prize was awarded to Monsanto, a company many groups accuse of poisoning the world’s crops with their genetically modified seeds. The World Food Prize is considered agriculture’s Nobel Prize. Monsanto is the leader in developing corn and other crops genetically altered to resist the company’s pesticides. The pesticides are sprayed onto the crops but the genetically modified crop is impervious to the harmful chemicals. The researchers responsible for the GMO crops believe they have found a solution to world hunger and future demands on food production. Opponents believe that companies like Monsanto overstate their success and point to the cross-pollination of GMO crops with non-GMO crops. They cite land pollution products like Monsanto’s Roundup Ready as creating runoff. Some researchers claim that the GMO crops are harmful to humans, while the creators of GMO crops argue such claims are unfounded.
Browsing Public Health
It sounds like a sequel to the 1973 movie Soylent Green. Yet, many food safety watchdogs are warning that it’s possible that some foods you eat could contain human DNA. Has life truly begun to imitate art? Do Frankenstein foods now mean that the warning phrase “soylent green is people” must also be modified to “rice and gummy bears are people”? As horrifying and repulsing it may be to most people, it’s true that human DNA is in some food products, including gelatin and in a few cases, crop medicines!
It’s impossible to know if what you’re eating is a GMO product or not. That’s because food companies who use GMO products have spent a great deal of money to fight the public’s demand for appropriate labeling. It’s easy to understand why the food companies don’t want the public to have this product labeling since, according to Greenpeace, over 70% of the food products sold in Canada contain GMO. And, consumers have no way of knowing this since the food isn’t labeled to alert them that they are ingesting GMO foods. Unaware, most people in the US were eating GMO corn in the early 1990s. So why is rice under the microscope again? Two words – Golden Rice. New GE Rice – Golden Rice Golden Rice is a GE (Genetically Engineered) rice created to provide vitamin A to address VAD (Vitamin A Deficiency). VAD is very prevalent in developing or poverty stricken countries. Greenpeace opposes Golden Rice and points out that: “The solutions to fight VAD and other nutrient deficiencies are known, available and cost effective, what is lacking however is the political will and determination to put them in place.”
Across the Internet, there’s discussion of the Invisible Bug Biting Syndrome (IBBS). Some claim that IBBS is becoming epidemic while others discount the complaints of suffers as being nothing more than a psychological illness known as Ekbom Syndrome (ES). These medical professionals dismiss patients’ claims similarly to how many blame psychological delusion for those suffering from Morgellons Disease. Still, others are adamant that those suffering from constant itching, sensations of bugs crawling over their bodies and small red marks left in their wake are actually suffering from a reaction to chemicals found in factory grown beef and Genetically Modified (GMO) foods. Can these explanations be correct? While psychological delusions are very real mental disorders and offer reasonable and plausible explanations, what about the people who are mentally sound yet continue to suffer these symptoms? There may be another explanation according to some laypeople who have researched IBBS – mite infestation. Even though entomologists, such as those in the Department of Entomology of the University of Georgia, correct people making these claims by reminding them that mites (bird or rat) do not bite, those suffering from the agony of constant attack are not swayed.
When traditional medicine doesn’t hold the cure for disease, many people turn to alternative medicine. That’s what happened in 1984, when Augusto and Michaela Odone vehemently refused to accept the doctors’ prognosis that their young son would be dead within two years. They eventually turned to an alternative form of treatment. Italian born Augusto Odone, an economist with the World Bank, lived in Washington, DC with his wife, Michaela, and their six-year-old son, Lorenzo. When Lorenzo was diagnosed with adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), The Odones rejected the death sentence doctors gave their child. (1) Rare Neurological Disease Attacks Only Young Boys ALD is a rare neurological disease that attacks one out of 17,000 young boys between the ages of 5 and 10. The disease is genetically transmitted from the mother to the son. ALD allows a build-up of “long-chain” fatty acids within the brain that attack the sheathing that surrounds nerve cells. The accumulation of the fatty acids prevents the nerves from transmitting messages to the rest of the body. (2) The devastation of nerve damage greatly impairs the patient, who gradually becomes deaf, mute, blind and eventually paralyzed. In 1984, most boys diagnosed with ALD lived between one to two years. Eventually, the child died either from aspiration (introduction of food, drink or fluid into the lungs) or neurological damage. (3)
Do you know how bad BPA is for you? Well, last month, two new studies provided even more evidence that bisphenol-A BPA (an industrial chemical used in plastic) may be bad for human health. Both studies showed that BPA and phthalate in plastics affect both male and female human reproductive health. The first study showed that BPA in the body of those who are already at an increased risk of miscarriage can increase the risk even further. The second study provided evidence that the level of BPA in a man’s body has a direct correlation to his ability to make a woman pregnant (2). Both studies provide further evidence that the FDA’s long-standing stance that BPA is relatively safe for humans is the wrong approach. Through the years, the FDA has repeatedly stated that there is not enough evidence to warrant regulatory actions. These two findings do not come from fringe researchers either. The miscarriage study was conducted by a Stanford University reproductive endocrinologist, and the men’s health study was conducted by researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Texas A&M Rural School of Public Health, and the New York State Department of Public Health (1). It’s getting that much harder for the FDA to ignore the weight of the evidence.
It seems like an everyday occurrence that food poses a health risk to consumers or is adultered and passed off as something it isn’t. Many of these foods are imported, such as the honey fraud from China and the toxic salmon from commercial salmon farms. Many of the food scares over the past decade have come from Asian countries. Foods have been contaminated, sometimes intentionally as a result of fierce competition and suppliers trying to cut corners to save money. Pig Feces Save Seafood Farmers Money In an effort to save money, many Asian seafood farmers have stopped buying commercial fish feed and have opted for cheap pig feces. It is a highly controversial and dangerous practice because pig feces are often contaminated with bacteria, especially salmonella. A tilapia farm in the rural region outside of Hong Kong is a prime example. The farm feeds its fish feces from pigs and geese. This is the kind of fish farm US companies are buying from to sell to US consumers. (1) There are some food and agricultural professionals who claim the facts are overstated by news agencies “cherry-picking” the bad incidences for a dose of sensationalism. Others defend the practice of pig feces stating that the fish aren’t directly eating the feces, but the algae bloom the feces create. They conveniently neglect to delve into the fact that the algae are contaminated with bacteria found in the pig feces. 27% of the seafood sold in the US comes from these Chinese fish farms. The two most common reasons for the FDA rejecting imported seafood are filth and salmonella. (2)
The 1996 HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) ensures your medical records remain private. This law is applied very strictly by the medical community, but sometimes those administering the privacy requirement inadvertently prevent medical stories from being told. As with all things, there are cases of institutions abusing the law by hiding behind HIPPA requirements as a way to prevent transparency or investigative reporting when there’s suspected wrongdoing. With hospitals and medical professionals being legally bound to protect the privacy of patients, journalists can’t simply access the necessary information as they did decades ago. They often require this information relative to reporting about various health issues. Without access, they can’t do their jobs. In fact, reporters can’t simply enter a hospital to discuss issues with patients due to hospital policies that have been formed based on HIPPA interpretations that sometimes are incorrect. This misinterpretation of the law is the crux of many problems journalists face over access to information. What makes it even more complicated is that interpretations of HIPPA often vary from one hospital to another. (1)
In January 2013, the UN agreed to “a global, legally-binding treaty to prevent emissions and releases”. The Minamata Convention on Mercury “provides controls and reductions across a range of products, processes and industries where mercury is used and released or emitted”. (1) Minamata is a Japanese city that suffered some of the highest mercury pollution that resulted in serious health issues for its citizens. Mercury exposure can cause a wide range of health risks, including brain and neurological damage to the young. Some of the physical side-effects of mercury exposure and poisoning include: –> Digestive system –> Kidney damage –> Language impairment –> Memory loss
You’ve probably been hearing many stories about how the government shutdown has adversely affected Americans across the country, but you probably haven’t heard a story like this. On Tuesday, October 8th, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was forced to bring 10 recently furloughed workers back to work when a cluster of 300 salmonella infection cases turned up in 18 states, focused in California. (1) The problems started late September when roasted chickens sold at Costco in South San Francisco sickened one person. Costco immediately pulled over 9,000 units of Kirkland Signature Foster Farms chicken products. The CDC concern comes from the fact that since March of this year, an unusual surge of 317 people have fallen ill from the particularly virulent strain of the bug known as Salmonella Heidelberg, which can be more resistant to antibiotics than other strains. It has also led to twice as many hospitalizations than typical salmonella poisoning cases. (2) The recall of furloughed employees hint at a wider problem with the government shutdown – with less monitoring and oversight of the nation’s food supply, is more tainted food making it into the food supply?