More Room? Hens are Hoping Soon!

 

We all love our chicken. Fried chicken from KFC, chicken fingers for our little ones, grilled chicken sandwich for a healthy lunch , and chicken alfredo at a 5 star restaurant. Yes, everywhere we look there is some form of chicken product in every refrigerator. It’s no wonder, because chicken is the world’s primary source of animal protein, a healthy alternative to red meat, and unlike many vegetables it is available all year long. But, stop and think. If we can purchase them all year long, where are they all coming from? With thousands of people being infected from Salmonella outbreaks every year from unsanitary living conditions of hens, it is time for a change.

Money Camouflaged as Hens? 

In large factory farms thousands of hens are crammed together with little to no space to move around. They squawk loud agonizing cries because of surrounding filth and tormenting diseases. It is obvious that they are solely grown as profit instead of the animals that they are. What has happened to the world today? Do we not take pride in farming of animals, or do we take too much? Industrial Agriculture could be a great way to feed a starving world but at the same time animals should be treated with respect. Farming has advanced so much within the last 100 years but it is important we do not forget our past. What happened to chickens growing up on real farms and although 280 million hens are raised in factory farms today isn’t there a way to make them safer and more environmental?    

See full size image

An Answer! 

Finally, a prayer has been answered. Farmers and animal welfare advocates are working together and coming up with a law that will give these hens larger cages and better living conditions.  The United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States have asked Congress to pass a law that will enact the new standards including, but not limited to, larger cages and more natural environments. Most importantly this law will be a new break through. It will be the first law addressing the treatment of farm animals.    

Happy Hens are Healthy Hens!

Hens in many factory farms are caged in small spaces of 67 square inches but if a new law is in passed hens will be given up to 144 square inches of living space each! Could you imagine living in such close containment with a friend or family member that you cannot move your arms and legs? This is how these hens live from day to day. Ok you may ask, but what is the importance of this? More space will prevent disease, such as salmonella outbreaks, which are caused from massive amounts of manure in one area that many hens must endure. Salmonella is transferred from one infected hen to the next and although eggs are infected they look normal. Every thing and everyone needs space. Without space hens become stressed and can attain many diseeases that are then passed down to us! Safety should always come first. Just because hens are not humans they still feel pain.

In addition, habitat enrichments will be added to living space to give the hens a more natural environment. Perches, scratching areas, and nesting areas will allow the hens to express their natural behaviors. As of right now hens have nothing but the wood carvings beneath their feet and flapping shicken wings in their face. Maybe they are our food supply but shouldn’t they live a semi-normal life? Happy hens are healthy hens and healthy hens are better for us.

Although it may take 18 years to bring change at least this law is a beginning. There may be controversy because of effects on poultry companies. But, small steps turn into long strides. It is obvious that if we care about our body then we have to care about how hens are being treated in Factory farms. We may think that we will not be the one who will get an outbreak from Salmonella, but with thousands of people every year getting it, chances are you and I could be next on the list. The more people who stand up and protest for the humane standards of chickens the higher chance chickens will get to live in a more natural environment. Remember, happy hens are healthy hens and healthy hens are better for us.    

-Mecee Snider

   

Work Consulted

Neuman, William. “Egg Producers and Humane Society Urging Federal Standard on Hen Cages”. The New York Times,  7 July 2011. Web. 6 November 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/08/business/egg-producers-and-humane-society-urging-federal-standard-on-hen-cages.html?_r=1&ref=factoryfarming>.

Campbell, Elizabeth. “Humane Society, Egg Group Propose Cage, Hen Treatment Laws.” Bloomberg, 7 July 2011. Web. 6 November 2011.<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-07/humane-society-egg-group-propose-cage-hen-treatment-laws-1-.html>.

Where to Spend Those Extra Bucks?

by Megan White

FOOD. FOOD. FOOD. FOOD. FOOD. FOOD. FOOD. We need food to survive so where do we go to get it? There are many options as to where we can purchase food. Food is practically on every corner and everywhere we look. Yet, the most common place we buy food, other than a restaurant, is…wait for it…the grocery store. I know, what a shocker.

The grocery store is one of those places that, either you love it or you send someone else to do the dirty work, which is perfectly understandable because sometimes it can be overwhelming. There are so many options to choose from.

When entering the grocery store typically the first things that we see is a beautiful display of brightly colored produce. Every square inch of the store is filled with such a wide variety of packaged foods. So many options to choose from how do we know what to buy. For each individual the decision is different but for most people, part of the equation is be based on the cost of food. For others, purchasing food is decided based on how healthy it is.

What Does Organic Mean?

The demand for Organic food is rising and so are the questions about our food. What does organic food mean? Organic food is grown or raised using strict codes starting with the soil all the way to packaging. The farmers are not allowed to use any synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetically modified organisms. To be labeled organic the food must contain at least 95% organic ingredients. Dairy that is organic must be from an animal that has been fed for at least 12 months an all organic diet and must not be given any hormones or antibiotics. These strict codes are not only better for the environment but they are more humane for the animals and the consumers health as well.

Why Buy Organic?

Organic food is not laced with synthetic chemicals and poisons that you ingest into your body. These pesticides and other poisons that are coated on conventional foods to kill animals and pests are causing major health problems such as cancer and reproductive disorders.

Other health problems and even early puberty in children are directly linked to the hormones and antibiotic filled animals especially in cows and chickens. Dairy cows are injected with a potent chemical hormone called rBGH. This hormone is injected into the cows to increase milk production. Not only does rBGH increase milk production but it also increases the cows chances of an udder infection. To solve the side effect of an udder infection the cows are injected with antibiotics which are then passed on and injested by everyone who eats dairy products. This is not a good thing for us to injest because rGBH has been showed in studies to cause breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. What a wonderful thought.

Another health issue is caused by the unsanitary conditions in the industrial slaughter houses as well as the factory farms. In 1998, packaged chicken from the stores were tested and the results showed that over 70% of the chicken was contaminated with either Salmonella, Campylobacter, or both. The unsanitary conditions cause the meat to have much higher levels of contamination resulting in food related illnesses which every year are responsible for 5,000 deaths annually. For myself this is another reason to eat organic foods.

An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away?

Really how much more expensive is eating Organic? That all depends on how you look at it. If eating Organic foods gives you better health than no it is not more costly because the visits to the doctor are cut down. That means less money spent on health problems.

As far as actual price differences go there is not much of a difference. I have been comparing prices at my local Publix. Depending on what you buy the cost differences fluctuate between a few dimes to a few bucks. Fruits and vegetables are not much more expensive-about a buck more. I ended up finding a three pound bag of Organic Apples for under six bucks. That is a great deal especially since apples are the most poisoned fruit this year. As far as other items it just depends on what brand you get.

How to Stretch Your Dollar?

Most of us are on a budget. Being a college student myself I am learning all of the tricks to help stretch my budget and eat healthy. I have found that not everything in the produce section needs to be organic. There is a list that the Environmental Working Group posts with the top twelve most poisoned fruits and vegetables. These are the most important items to buy in the organic section:

1. Apples                   

2. Celery

3. Strawberries

4. Peaches

5. Spinach

6. Nectarines

7. Grapes

8. Bell Peppers

9. Potatoes

10. Blueberries

11. Lettuce

12. Collard Greens/Kale

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is if it has a soft or edible skin go Organic. There are a few items with a soft skin that are the least contaminated and fine to purchase conventionally:

1. Onions

2. Corn

3. Asparagus

4. Eggplant

5. Kiwis

6. Cabbage

7. Sweet Potatoes

8. Mushrooms

9. Avocados

10. Mangos

Using common sense is a must when on a budget. So it shopping around and finding the best deals. Look at your local Farmer’s Market where the seasonal produce is super fresh and usually less expensive. Coupons are also helpful. The internet has many different web pages dedicated to coupons that are easy to print off at home. Another helpful hint is to buy organic store-brand products because they tend to be less expensive. Do not forget to look at the international food aisles because there are many organic and inexpensive healthy options.

Organic food is not just better for our health it is better for the environment and the animals as well. Why should we alter what was created. Food fuels our bodies and not only effects our daily lives but the health of our future. Why not spend an extra buck on Organic Milk instead of hamburger. The small changes and choices we make in our lives are just the beginning in building a better future for ourselves and our families. Best of luck on your journey to a happier life.

Works Consulted

Cummins, Roz. “In Which We Attempt to Calculate How Much an Organic Feast

   Would Cost.” Grist. 09 January 2008.Online.18 October 2011.

    http://www.grist.org/article/organic_feast

McLendon, Russell.”Is Organic Food Worth The Cost?” CNN.14 April

    2011.MNN.com.1 October 2011.

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/04/13/ed.organic.food/index.html

 

Concerns Are Raised About Genetically Modifying Insects

While the jury is still out with their verdict of genetically modified organisms in foods, scientists are already moving on to modifying new organisms. These organisms are mosquitoes.

Created in British company Oxitec’s lab, these altered mosquitoes’ purpose is to drastically cut the number of mosquitoes in highly populated areas; Thereby reducing the number of diseases caused by mosquitoes, including the incurable Dengue fever.  So far, trials conducted in the Grand Cayman Islands have experienced population cuts of almost 80%.

The genetically modified insect has been altered to contain a florescent gene for identification.

There have been two ways of altering the mosquitio. The most effective way of altering the mosquito is having a female kill switch. Scientists first release the modified mosquito males, who will mate with the wild female mosquito. As she lays the eggs, the female offspring will not survive. This quickly diminishes the mosquito population for it is the female mosquito who is the infector of many diseases.

Scientists are worried about the release of these genetically modified insects because once they have been released there is literally no way to bring them back in. There is also valid concern with the effect this drop in mosquitoes will have on other animals niche’s. Oritec’s response is to never fear, for their goal of this is not to eradicate mosquitoes as a whole, but simply to diminish the population in certain over populated areas. This applies to areas where it appears as if there are swarms of mosquitoes year round. One has to wonder if even just diminishing the population to about 20% of what is was will have consequences. Also on scientist’s minds is if the modified bug has had enough field trial time to count as sufficient review time. Even with the short field trials there was no major publication that the field trials were even being conducted. Unless you count a pamphlet and a five minuet spot on the evening television as sufficiently warning the communities in which the field trials were being conducted.

Something Out Of a Science Fiction Movie

Similar to the problems with genetically modified crops, we also run the risk of mosquitoes developing immunity to these kill switch female genes. Or as James Lieks fears, some 50 foot super mosquito. Our only option then would be genetically modifying another organism and hoping they do not turn on us.

Some scientists have clearly blown off the negatives of this experiment relating it to the drama associated with genetically modified foods. “You don’t eat insects,” said Dr. James of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. “This is being done for a good cause.”

Positive Effects

While the release of insects has its negative attributes, we have to look at how the problem is being dealt with at the moment. In the Grand Caymans, for example, sections of the town are “fogged” with a dangerous insecticide. This insecticide used is associated with breathing difficulties and has to be done in rotation in the affected cities.

Next are the concerns of the illnesses. Mosquitoes are known for being carriers of Malaria and other diseases. The aim of the experiment is not for the eradication of malaria, or at least not yet. However, Dengue fever, which has no vaccination and no cure, is the primary virus target. Dengue fever bears resemblance to the flu’s symptoms with fever, headache, muscle and joint pains. It is known that dengue hemorrhagic fever is the life threatening form and many in the Grand Caymans contract this illness. It is primarily a tropical disease but has been noted as infecting places including Pakistan and our own Florida. This eradication could be a breath of fresh air to people who have contracted these viruses, lived in these places their entire lives, or who are even allergic to the mosquito.

In conclusion, one has to wonder if this is totally necessary, and if the positive effects are worth the risk of the negative effects. With the health of most of the southern hemisphere at risk for infection, many diseases possibly on the verge of eradication, and the promise that there would be less mosquitoes, the genetically modified pest it looking like a wonderful alternative to a writer who is allergic to the bug.

-Andrea Melton

Works Consulted

Ira Flatow.” Mosquitoes Engineered To Kill Their Own Kind”. npr.com. Web. 6 November, 2011

http://www.npr.org/2011/11/04/142024622/mosquitoes-engineered-to-kill-their-own-kind

Andrew Pollack. “Concerns Are Raised about Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes.” nytimes.com. Web. 7 November 2011.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/31/science/concerns-raised-about-genetically-engineered-mosquitoes.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2

James Lieks. “Mess with Skeeters, Brace for The Worst.” Startribune.com Web. 6 November 2011 http://www.startribune.com/local/133298713.html

Choose the Healthy Alternative Before it’s to Late

 

Choose the Healthy Alternative Beofre it’s to Late

By Michael Hampson

Every year billions of dollars are spent on fitness products including gym memberships, personal trainers, supplements, and fitness equipment. This sort of money is spent by consumers in attempt to become healthy and attempt to develop their bodies to properly function. But if these individuals were to perhaps take a step back and reevaluate their lifestyles they may start to understand what could be limiting their health coucious goals.This limiting factor is the silent killer referred to as GMO’s.  GMO’s also known as genetically modified Foods are foods derived from genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques. You may have just read this and think how does a food who’s DNA has been altered affect me?  It can be best summed up by this comparison, would you fill your car’s gas tank with water and think it will run properly?  The same principle can be applied to the human body what we put into our bodies is our fuel and consuming GMO’s is certainly a counterproductive fuel. GMO’s are a counterproductive in many ways but one main component would be the prevalence of Soy and corn. The articles I read discuss how soy and corn can negatively affect health causing many complications; including lowering sperm counts, reducing testosterone, and possibly causing sterility in males and reproductive problems in females.

 

GMO’s Hurt

The article I read discusses the effects GMO’s such as corn and soy on the human body. The human body needs Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s. Although our body needs these fatty acids it is unable to make them itself.  These two acids balance one another out for example Omega 3’s reduce inflammation in the body and Omega 6’s cause inflammation. Both are imperative but when one over powers the other it leads to many problems such as cancer, obesity, lowered testosterone, diabetes, and more.  The prevalence of soy in the daily diet is causing this imbalance in one ounce of soybean oil 14,000 mg of Omega 6 can be found.  Asides from causing imbalances soy can also block the digestion of important minerals such as zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium.  These minerals are support a healthy immune system, bone mass, as well as helping regulate testosterone production.  Testosterone is an important factor in male reproductive health. That is why it came as no surprise when a study by Surov’s Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Association for Gene Security released their scientific research conducted upon hamsters demonstrating the health problems created due to gm soy consumption. In the study one group of hamsters were feed a high GM soy diet whereas the other group was feed a healthy non GM based diet. The hamsters who consumed the soy diet after three generations were unable to have babies. In the generations prior while on a GM soy based diet the hamsters were only able to give birth to 52 pups 25% which died in a few weeks. The non-soy fed hamsters had a longer life span, were larger in size, gave birth to 78 pups in the first two generations and by the third generation continued to reproduce. Unlike the Soy feed group they still had complete reproductive health and the ability in both males and females to create offspring.

 

The tests keep on providing

Small rat who eats GM Soy compared to normal sized rat.

Asides from hamsters becoming sterile on account of GM soy consumption there has also been many other studies reporting similar complications. Take the study done by Irina Ermakova a member of the Russian National Academy of Sciences which is able to show how soy can affect the testicles in male rats. The testicles play an important role in male reproductive systems such as producing sperm and testosterone.  Without the proper function of the testes males are unable to fertilize the female’s eggs in the reproductive cycle. In her study the rats feed GM soy had a significant change in there testicles the color shifted from the natural pink to the unnatural dark blue as well as they decreased in size.  Similar incidents were found in animals that consumed GM corn such as a test done by Baylor University the more corn they feed the rats the less reproductive activity they exhibited, they also discovered compounds found within the corn reduced the female reproductive system 200 times greater than normal. The GM corn also enlarged prostates in male rats and breasts in female rats. Enlarged breasts and prostates in humans have often time resulted in cancer. Not only are labratory tests explaining the negativities of GMO’s but it has also begun to affect farmers as well. For example an Iowa based farmer complained of his pigs and cows becoming sterile and in some cases even having false pregnancies. Researchers were lead to believe it was the large quantities of GM corn the animal were feed leading to these problems.  The last bit of researched that could alarm any male who eventually wants to start a family would be the 2008 experiment conducted by Harvard University. The experiment revealed that men who intake high amounts of GM soy had 41 million ML less sperm count than males who did not intake high amounts of GM soy. 

 

 

 

Protests Against GMO's

GMO’s need to be avoided

In reading these articles I was able to gain a better understanding of what it really means to be healthy. Although we may work out and spend money on nutritional supplements in attempts to stay healthy; the real problem is right in front of us. The problem is GMO foods. Today the average consumer thinks nothing of purchasing processed foods with little though to what those process foods could do to their health in the future. The vast majority of all processed foods have some sort of GM soy or corn in them. These silent killers may not offer any acute health problems but the research mentioned throughout the article would lead one to believe it can have chronic health effects. Although not a substantial amount of testing has taken place on humans in regards to GM corn and soy I feel as though I would rather be safe than sorry. Reproductive systems in males and females are extremely important and we should not jeopardize this due to a craving for some processed food bull crap.

 

 Works Consulted

“Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility,Infertility in Hamsters.Jeffrey Smith.April 20, 2010.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/genetically-modified-soy_b_544575.html

“Soy Lowers Testosterone and Sperm Count Levels” .Brian Marcel. December 19,2010.

http://www.bryanmarcel.com/soy-lowers-testosterone-and-sperm-count

 Soy Letchin: The Risks If You Choose the Wrong Type, the Benefits If You Choose Right.November 9, 2008

http://bodyecology.com/articles/soy_lecithin_the_risks_if_you_choose_the_wrong_type_the_benefits_if_you_choose_right.php

Right2Know

After two weeks and 313 miles, hundreds of people gathered outside the White House to protest GMOs, genetically modified organisms. The Right2Know March started in New York and ended in Washington, DC. The protesters were fighting for the right to know what is in our food. GMOs are not currently labeled and there are no laws in America requiring GM foods to be labeled.  GMOs have not been proven safe and the FDA does not require intense testing on these foods before they are distributed.

What is a genetically modified organism? 
A GMO, also referred to as biotechnology or genetically engineering, is an organism whose genetic makeup has been changed to contain foreign genes. For example, some crops are altered to contain more nutrients; other crops are altered to contain pesticide, herbicide, and weather (frost and draught) resistance features. One of the more well-known GM crops is Golden Rice. Golden Rice has been genetically modified to contain high levels of Vitamin A. This crop was supposed to be distributed to underdeveloped countries, such as Africa, where Vitamin A deficiency is extremely high. Most of these countries are either unable to afford this new crop or are unwilling to risk contamination of native plants.

The Right2Know
The Right2Know group is an organization made up of individuals, farmers, businesses, and other organizations all fighting for GMO labeling. On October 1, 2011, the Right2Know protesters gathered in New York City and began their two week march to Washington. Along the way they held several events with speakers and demonstrators identifying the problems with GMOs and why everyone has the right to know what they are eating. The march ended on October 16, with a five hour rally in front of the White House. The Right2Know group wants the Obama administration to keep its campaign promises to begin labeling GM foods.

Labeling GMOs
GMO foods have been around for a while, but until recently they were mainly used as food for animals or ingredients in processed foods. That is not the case anymore. Recently the Obama administration approved the commercial use of GM alfalfa. The approval of alfalfa, along with other pending GM crops, means the direct consumption of GMOS is becoming closer to a reality. These new crops could have unknown, adverse effects on people and without labeling there would be no way to trace it back to GMOs. Labeling will help identify what foods have been altered and help to identify current problems in consuming GM foods. Currently, there are over 40 countries who either require labeling or completely ban GMOs altogether. Most European nations have very strict laws on GMOs. Some countries do not even allow the importation of GM crops. America is one of a few developed countries that do not require labeling.

The Power of Choice 
Labeling won’t just happen overnight. It takes people, like the protesters in the Right2Know March, willing to spend days, even months, sometimes years fighting for what is right. It also takes consumers willing to change and assert their opinions by only buying organic foods. In the last few years, consumers’ choice has proven to be the winner in the war for labeling. One examples of this is when people started to buy milk that did not contain rBGH, recombinant bovine growth hormone. A hormone that makes cows grow bigger faster. This hormone had many adverse effects on cows, such as making the cows become so big that their legs could not support their own weight. Eventually, so many people stopped buy rBGH milk that Wal-Mart completely stopped selling it along with other grocery store chains.

The Corporations’ Perspective            
One of the main reasons why labeling has not been required is because most corporations do not want to start labeling. The governing boards of major food corporations believe that if consumers saw GMO stickers on food, people would be less likely to purchase those products, causing huge drops in sales. Not only are these corporations afraid of a decrease in sales, but they are also concerned about the new cost for labeling. Some corporations clam that labeling would be very expensive and possibly confusing. These same corporations are often financial backers for legislators and the corporations threaten to pull their support if legislators vote for labeling.

With people like the Right2Know group and other protesters the idea of labeling has become much more prevalent. People are realizing that GMOs are spreading. What started with one product, rice, has grown exponentially. Even with several obstacles, more and more people are willing to fight for GMO labeling, and even though labeling will not stop the GMO industry, it will help in reaching millions of people who unknowingly eat GMOs every day.

-Anna Lochas

Works Consulted

Eng, Monica. “Anti-GMO protests heat up this fall.” Chicago Tribune 21 Oct 2011. Web. 6 Nov 2011. http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/food/stew/chi-food-policy-antigmo-movements-heat-up-this-fall-20111021,0,839760.story

“People don’t want to be a GMO Experiment.” Sacramento Bee 4 Nov 2011. Web. 6 Nov 2011. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/11/04/4031066/people-dont-want-to-be-a-gmo-experiment.html

The Right2Know Website
http://www.right2knowmarch.org/

The Fight for Labeling Rights: What Agribusiness Doesn’t Want You to Know

They Are Alive!!!

There is an ever-growing controversy that most of us have never heard of. Though it is hard to believe, the American food supply is nearing its twenty year mark of
being overrun with dangerous biotechnology. As with so many other life changing
innovations, the greed of mankind has pushed biotechnology too far in the wrong
direction. A mound of controversy has arisen over the inception of food
modification into the world’s food supply. Critics immediately deemed GMOs as a
science project gone wrong; the term Frankenfoods was soon used interchangeably with GM foods.

There has been a long debate over the safety of modified foods. Researchers have found the safety of GMOs to be questionable to say the least. Anything short of buying certified organic food leaves the consumer in a dangerous game of Russian roulette. With all the labeling issues found with organic and modified food alike, the knowledge that the food you are eating is now a difficult thing to come by. How are we supposed to know what food is safe to eat and what is not?

Got GMO’s?

Who in the world hasn’t had a big, cold glass of milk? It is safe to say that
most people have had milk as a young child. Milk has always been held in high regard with our children’s healthy growth for its high calcium content, as well as protein and vitamin C. Any oreo cookie commercial will show how our culture has been taught to drink milk. What if there was evidence that several harmful substances were being included in the milk that you drink? What if this has been going on for 17 years? Human input strikes again at the health of the public. The FDA approved the sale of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone in 1994. Thanks to all of our friends at Monsanto,
recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) is now used in dairies across the
nation. This hormone is injected into dairy cattle during the lactation period
to force them to produce higher amounts of milk. rBGH has caused numerous
problems with the nutritional content and overall safety of a glass of milk.

First off, the average person would agree that healthy milk would undoubtedly come from a health cow. This hormone has been found to raise the appearance of mastitis, an udder infection sometimes found in dairy cattle. Some investigations have found that
the use of rBGH can raise the appearance of mastitis in cattle as high as one
third higher than in untreated cattle.

Right away this causes a problem for consumers, because this infection causes high amounts of pus to collect in milk samples. As gross as that is, it makes sense in a way due to the fact that your standard gallon of milk has to pasteurized before consumption. The process of pasteurization is essentially a way to heat milk to the point of killing any
bacteria that might harm the consumer. Therefore, we can deduce that there must
be something that was in the milk to cause producers to pasteurize it. Also,
this process has failed to keep outbreaks of salmonella at bay and reduces the
vitamin content of the milk by at least half that of raw milk. This is the milk that we are feeding our children with everyday!

In addition to the pus and the nutrient deficiency, rBGH milk will also contain traces of antibiotics. This one is a no brainer. If the cows that are injected with hormone are
getting sick with mastitis, there has to be some treatment to keep the cows
from dying. In comes the doses of antibiotics to ward off mastitis, or at least
keep the poor animal alive enough to keep producing product.

So let’s map this thing out. Corporations want to produce more milk. Certain helpful companies create a hormone that does just that. The injections cause infection in the
cattle, which is remedied with antibiotics for the cows to live and nutrient robbing pasteurization to make the milk safe for human consumption. This leaves us buying unhealthy, unsanitary milk, all in the name of making money. If this wasn’t enough, we have secretly been sold this terrible milk for years without any knowledge of it until recently!

Did I Mention Who Marketed rBGH?

Yes. You have read correctly. Monsanto was one of the first companies to put bovine growth hormone on the market. For those of us who may be a little less familiar with Monsanto, here are a few fast facts of this colorful company:

  • Known for their production of harmful chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs were found to be potent carcinogens (i.e. cancer causing agents) and the cause of several reproductive, developmental, and immune system disorders in the 1960s.
  • Has been fined in court for withholding important information on the health hazards of certain products several times. Monsanto paid $225,000 dollars for mislabeling their herbicide Roundup on 75 different occasions in 1998. Overexposure to Roundup has been related to heart palpitations, nausea, reproductive problems, chromosome aberrations, lung damage, etc.
  • Producers of the artificial sweetener aspartame. In 1996, the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology concluded aspartame increased the number of brain cancers.

Can we really trust foods that are being treated with products from a company like
this? In addition to all the pertinent information that Monsanto has kept from
the public, it has made a tremendous effort for others to keep their mouths
shut about possibly crippling evidence. There are several instances of farmers,
scientists, press members, and agency members being fired, paid off, and
threatened or the like. The video below gives a brief glimpse into the
underhandedness of big agribusiness practices.

Your Right to Know

 A report from the Organic Consumers Association says that the state of Ohio
recently decided that it will not continue to pursue any further regulation for
the labeling of organic dairy products. Ohio disputed the labeling of organic
dairy products as free of synthetic growth hormones, pesticides, or
antibiotics. Disputes like this have become a common theme for organic
producers because conventional competitors do not want their products to be put
in jeopardy. But isn’t it the right of the consumer to know the facts behind
the food that they are eating? Are we really buying into the idea that it is
not our place to know whether our food is safe if the feelings of a company
might get hurt?

The Sixth Circuit Court of appeals has already ruled in 2010 that rBGH dairy is compositionally different from normal milk and that the hormone elevates the risk of cancer. No one can deny these facts, but agribusiness is not going down without a fight. Companies will continue to shadow the harmful effects of their modified food products and protect their livelihood. It is now the responsibility of the consumer to be aware of the current situation and to stand for the health of our people buy refusing to buy
these products and demanding retailers to carry organic.

                                                                                                         –     Jackson H. Smith

Works
Consulted

Baden-Mayer, Alexis. “Victory for Voluntary GMO-Free
Labels!.” Organic Consumers  Association.
N.p. 3 Nov. 2011. Web. 5 Nov. 2011.  http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_24246.cfm

Tokar, Brian. “Monsanto: A Profile of Corporate
Arrogance.” Say No To GMO’s. N.p. N.d. Web.
6 September, 2011.  http://www.saynotogmos.org/monsanto_1.htm#arrogance

“Real Milk.” Food Renegade. N.p. N.d. Web 5, Nov. 2011 http://www.foodrenegade.com/the-basics/real-milk/

“Natural” cereal full of GMOs

“Truth in advertising” is a Federal Trade Commission requirement that advertisements not make misleading, false, or deceptive claims. False advertising is illegal in most countries, but for many years, advertisers have still been able to place consumers under an attractive façade in order to sell them products and ideas in ways that are less than legal. It now appears that even breakfast cereal companies have followed suit.

For a long time, breakfast cereal companies have been marketing toward a crowd looking for healthier breakfast alternatives to the sugary cereals many of us have been eating every morning of our lives. However, a new investigation by the Cornucopia Institute has shown that many breakfast cereal companies have been using the ambiguity of the term “natural” to lead consumers to believe that their products are free from pesticide use and genetically modified ingredients. The Cornucopia Institute found that in reality, these “natural” cereal brands contain high levels of GMOs and pesticides.

So what about GMOs?

GMO stands for genetically modified organism; the term refers to a living organism which has been genetically altered in order to enhance growth, nutritional value, or resistance to pests. In theory, it sounds like a wonderful practice, but the use of GMOs comes with its fair share of problems.

First of all, an insufficient amount of testing has been done to see whether or not genetically engineered foods are safe to consume. We would need to conduct very specific long-term feeding studies in order to even assure ourselves about the safety of GMOs. Moreover, the use of GMOs could make disease-causing bacteria even more resistant to antibiotics, spreading disease and creating “super bugs”. Don’t even get me started on the immensely negative environmental impact it would have, or how only a handful of food companies will (and already do!) dominate world food production, or the exploitation of people and animals that would worsen. Yeah. GMOs are a nasty business – one that could get better in time, yes, but that would, well, take time and some serious stepping up on behalf of the US government. Yup! Time. I said I wouldn’t get started, so here are a few things to remember about GMOs in relation to the Cornucopia Institute’s test findings.

3 Important Things to Remember about GMOs:

  1. GE contamination exists in almost anything, even “non-GMO” food products. Therefore, the ‘level’ of GMOs in a specific food item is more important to identify. For instance, some of the so called “natural” items tested by the Cornucopia Institute revealed contamination levels ranging from 28-100% GMOs. This rules out the notion that these foods were contaminated from nearby fields, which genetically-modified crops have a tendency to do.
  2. GMO tests are a “snapshot” that can change over time. in other words, foods that are GMO-free one day may contain higher levels due to a number of factors, such as contamination, supply changes, supply line errors, etc.
  3. Products containing GMOs may be “enrolled” in a Non-GMO Project before being “verified”; this means that they are “on the path”, so to speak, to becoming GMO-free, but have not met their goal yet. So, it is important to try to shop for certified organic breakfast cereals!

What do the tests show?

The Cornucopia Institute’s test results reveal the following:

  • Kashi brand cereals (Kellogg’s) contain high levels of GMOs. 100% of the soy used on tested Kashi cereal boxes contained genetically engineered soy.
  • Mother’s brand cereals (PepsiCo) use corn that is at least 28% genetically engineered.
  • Whole Foods’ 365 Corn Flakes contain more than 50% GE corn.
  • Barbara’s Bakery Puffins cereal also contains more than 05% GE corn.
  • Quaker Oats (a unit of PepsiCo), an “all-natural” product, and yet its processing plant emits ~19,000lbs of sulfuryl fluoride yearly. Sulfuryl fluoride is a toxic greenhouse gas which is used to treat crops (such as oats) while in storage.
  • “Natural” Peace Cereal Wild Berry Crisp is produced from conventional agricultural ingredients and contains the neurotoxin phosmet and carcinogen captain.
  • Mom’s Best Naturals Raisin Bran cereal contains non-GMO ingredients, but ones commonly contaminated with the neurotoxins malathion and phosmet
  • Many Bear Naked and Kashi products contain conventional soy protein, which is typically hexane-extracted in the US. This means that the soybeans are placed in a “hexane bath”, consisting of >50% n-hexane (a known neurotoxin) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Nature’s Path is a sincerely organic cereal and was made entirely without GMO ingredients.

What Can I Do Now?

Well, one thing you can try to minimize your consumption of GMO products and maximize your consumption of organics! Make sure to keep an eye for the USDA Organic label.

USDA Organic labels ensure that at least 95% of the product is organic. But keep in mind, that even if a product is certified organic, it may not have the USDA sticker on it. It’s a voluntary process that is quite rigorous, so not everyone (like smaller farming operations) is able to get certified.

Catherine Davis


Works Consulted

Adams, Mike. “‘Natural’ Breakfast Cereals Loaded with Pesticides and GMOs – Explosive New Scorecard from Cornucopia Reveals All.” Natural Health News. 11 Oct. 2011. Web. 07 Nov. 2011. <http://www.naturalnews.com/033838_breakfast_cereals_GMOs.html>.

“Genetic Engineering.” Sustainabletable.org. Web. 07 Nov. 2011. <http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/ge/>.

“Certified Organic Label Guide.” Organic.org. Web. 07 Nov. 2011. <http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-201>.