Thursday, January 9, 2014

Are Humans Being Used As Lab Rats In A Genetic Engineering Experiment?

Indeed, the writing is on the wall and screaming out trying to tell us that we are all being used as human lab rats, and without our consent, in one of the biggest uncontrolled scientific experiments in history! Evidence is all around us showing us that agri-biotech companies are genetically engineering food that is to be fed to us for the purpose of transforming us into genetically modified organisms.

To date there are 81 food items listed on the FDA's List of Completed Consultations on Bioengineered Foods some of which include corn, soybeans, cotton, potatoes, tomatoes, and squash. Yet, this list is far from comprehensive since at present in the U.S., agri-biotech companies are not required to obtain FDA approval for GM foods. In fact, under current FDA policy companies need only "voluntarily" seek FDA consultation and adhere to FDA recommendations following the consultation. Even more compelling is that because many GM foods are "substantially equivalent" to non-GM foods and are whole foods rather than food additives, they are not subject to FDA regulation, which means that only processed foods are being regulated.

So what this means is that we are being scared and manipulated into eating more processed foods. Why? Because consuming such foods ultimately lead to obesity and an increase in health problems, which equates to more dollars being spent on medicine and cosmetics, all of which are industries being "regulated" by the FDA. Thus, the writing is on the wall and democracy has a new face and its called genetic engineering. It's becoming more and more evident all around us.

When capitalism dictates the direction of science its called technological advancement. When increased revenues take precedence over the value of human life its called free enterprise and when corporations are allowed to go unregulated to dictate the very essence of life through DNA manipulation its called genocide. That said, since humans don't classify as whole foods, what does the future hold for us if there is no regulation of what is being done to us?

Amirah Bellamy is a Vegan Coach, Vegan Fitness Meal Planning Expert, and Author. To learn more about her fabulous Vegetarian Meal Plans, purchase her infamous eBook "The 50¢ Book That's Hotter Than 50 Cent," or INSTANTLY grab her FREE Vegetarian Starter Kit go to

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Organic Food vs. Genetic Engineering

It's always helpful to step back and take a look at things from an objective perspective, especially when we are personally involved.

Creating and sustaining an organic lifestyle means we are in the "center" of that activity, daily. Among all the other things going on in our daily lives, as moms, we are also trying to develop new habits for our family in regards to their health and well being.

So I thought it would be helpful for us all, myself included, to just take a step or two back and revisit the basic questions and reasons why we are pursuing an organic lifestyle to begin with.

What Is Organic Food?

Certified organic food is most commonly described as food grown and packaged without the use of chemicals, preservatives or additives. Food that is either completely or at least 70% all natural.

Another way to explain it, from a bigger picture standpoint is:

"Organic food is produced through a system that is based on ecological balance and humane care for the plants, animals and people that make up the farm environment."

One important reason to consider organic food, and an organic lifestyle, that I've not read much about previously, is genetic engineering. The Sierra Club site states:

"Eating organic food is one way you can avoid genetic engineering. All certified organic produce and ingredients are produced free of any genetic engineering"

What Is Genetic Engineering?

In layman's terms I would translate it to be the taking of genes from one species of plant and injecting another plant with those genes to force certain characteristics. For example, if you had a corn plant that was delicious and seemed to be resistant to pests, you would take its' genes and inject it into another plant of a different variety, in the hopes to force the taste and/or pest resistance onto the other.

Doesn't sound too bad, but when you understand the "risks" associated with genetic engineering, it doesn't sound so good either.

Here's a more technical description of genetic engineering and the associated risks:

"In genetic engineering technology, genes are isolated and transferred using a "gene gun" or a viral vector from one species into a foreign species, crossing over what is called the "species barrier." An example is the transfer of an insect-resistant gene from a soil bacterium (called Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt) into corn plants to confer insect resistance. This kind of genetic transfer never occurs in nature and cannot be achieved through traditional plant breeding methods. The new gene lands in a random spot in the genome of the recipient organism, and can disrupt normal functioning of that organism in unpredictable ways."

Risks of Genetic Engineering

Non-target insects, including ones that are beneficial to farmers are harmed by genetically engineered crops.

Genetically engineered organisms have harmed soil microorganisms, leading to stunted or killed crops.

Plants engineered to be insect- or herbicide-resistant can lead to resistance in weeds and insect pests. This means more chemicals or new genetic engineering.

New allergens and toxins are the potential result of genetically engineering food. Some are detected before market approval while others are not.

Pollen from genetically engineered crops can drift into wild environments and breed with wild relatives of crop plants.

The effects of this genetic pollution cannot be predicted. Once genetically engineered organisms are released into the environment they cannot be con-trolled and they cannot be recalled. Genetic pollution is irreversible.

So we can conclude that organic food is grown WITHOUT the use or need for genetic engineering. And if organic farming can help us avoid "genetic pollution", AND it's better for our health and well being, doesn't it just make good sense for everyone?

The Sierra Club article goes on to conclude that:

"The industrial approach is to "improve nature" and make food products exempt from natural systems and laws. Harmful consequences are corrected using new and more technologies, usually leading to further problems. In contrast, the organic approach is to understand these laws as much as possible and work with them. Organic farmers practice prevention, not correction."

I think any reasonable consumer, without a financial interest in the mass production of genetically altered foods would agree that when it comes to the foods we eat and the environment we need, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

Organic farmers, like organic moms, care about the food and sustaining the land for future generations. We all know, whether we want to admit it or not, what the large corporations who mass produce traditional food crops are most interested in.

Moms Organic House [] is your place for practical, everyday organic living information, tips and ideas. Whether it's the garden, kitchen, bathroom or cleaning closet, "themom" is living an organic lifestyle and sharing information and experiences along the way.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The First Genetic Engineering - How Dogs Became Man's Best Friend

I guess I figured that dogs evolved from wolves somehow, but not how I expected. They were more created by...human....intervention. If you're a dog lover you may already know about this, and if you're not, you might not care. But I like dogs and I didn't really know most of this. We watched this show earlier this week, I think it was on the National Geographic Channel, it was called 'And Man Created Dog'. Needless to say I thought it was fascinating.

They guesstimate that it started sometime around thirty thousand years ago. Wolves are pack animals and they are predators. But when people started coming along in groups, wolves would follow them around. They probably started out with the intention of hunting us (I can't remember), but they found that they could also scavenge from our leftovers. So, they started hanging around us more and more.

This became very valuable to us. Wolves obviously have far keener senses than we do, especially smell. So when other animals would get near the camp at night, the wolves knew long before us that a predator was in the area and they would howl and it would wake us up. So it was to our survival benefit to keep them around, albeit at a comfortable distance. So we didn't mind them scavenging our camps when we packed up to move on to follow, well, our own prey.

Somewhere, sometime, a brave man or woman (or child?), probably took in some abandoned wolf pups and raised them, and over time attracted more to find out if any others were safe to be around and feed. If they were safe, we kept them as our pets and fed them. If they demonstrated any threat to the group, especially the children, we would take them out and kill them. We then began the first genetic engineering ever, we mated together only the friendly wolves.

And generation after generation, we kept and mated together the wolves that were the most friendly and attentive to us, thereby getting offspring that were likely to have the same traits. We took care of them and they protected us by being our predator alert system. As time went on, we selectively mated only our friendly new pets and weeded out the not-so-friendly ones. Over time, this completely separated the gene pool between the wild wolves and the ever human-friendlier version, the new dog.

Back then, well until the past couple hundred years, dogs kept the wolf-like appearance, kind of a dog-wolf (there was a scientific name for it but I sure don't remember it). We were buddies. We made them into our buddies by our selective breeding of them. It has even gotten to the point that when we pet and care for a dog, we get the same hormonal release as when we play with and nurture children, to a far lesser degree I'm sure. But still, pretty amazing. And they have the same hormonal reaction toward us. So now we're not only bonded together in a practical way, but an emotional way as well.

One thing I really took away from the show is the responsibility we have toward dogs. We took them (as wolves) from their natural habitat and away from their predatory hunting nature, and made them dependent on us for food and care. We made them. They are no longer able to, or meant to, survive on their own in the wild. They don't hunt anymore (when they help us hunt they don't eat the prey). If left in the wild they are left to the only means they know to survive, scavenging human leftovers and hoping to get fed by humans. They can't survive without us. They have a strong survival instinct to please us. They are the only animal that actually is attentive toward us, looks us in the eye, and cares about us. We owe it to them to take care of them.

Ronald Arnott is a computer desktop application technician with a Masters Degree in Administration.

Visit his personal site at []

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Genetic Engineering, Pesticides And Your Health

We know that GE crops are contaminating conventional and organic crops. We know GE products are making their way, directly or indirectly, onto our plates. So, until regulations catch up to the reality (and if it's not too late to save our food supply by then), there are two main things we, as consumers, can do. First, we must speak out to our representatives and make our voices heard so that businesses do not flourish at the expense of human welfare and irreparable damage to our food supply and environment. Second, we must educate ourselves on the health issues related to GE products, so that we can each make our own best decisions about what we purchase and eat, and by extension, which companies we support through our consumerism.

To that end, I spoke recently with molecular biologist, Dr. Kevin Nash, and asked him what, if any concerns he had about the health impact of eating GE products. According to Dr. Nash, "We eat DNA all the time in any plant, animal or fungi material. We cannot incorporate, only digest, genetic material from other sources. The product of that gene manipulation can cause a problem [for example, in the case of] modified plants to restrict bugs and disease. This may be the production of a natural pesticide; and pesticides are not necessarily good for us in large doses." So, while human DNA is arguably safe from ingesting the GE products themselves, the main concern with GE crops becomes exposure to chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, the ingestion of which does pose a significant health risk and can endanger human DNA according to Dr. Nash.

Of course, herbicides and pesticides are nothing new in crop production. What is new is the growth of herbicide-resistant weeds, which have cropped up as a result of the unchecked growth (and spreading) of GE alfalfa among other GE crops. In particular, according to a recent report, "The spread of pollen and seed from Monsanto-made, genetically engineered (GE) RoundUp Ready alfalfa into non-GE commercial and organic alfalfa crops might eliminate the U.S. supply of organic alfalfa and lead to overuse of potentially toxic glyphosate-based herbicides, said organic interest groups such as the Center for Food Safety, the Northeast Organic Farming Association and the National Organic Coalition."

The end result is that glyphosate-tolerant (GT) weeds have appeared as a by-product of the GE alfalfa contaminating simple weeds. This means that, in order to rid their fields of those weeds, farmers now have to use more chemicals, and more dangerous chemicals, to fight these so-called "superweeds." Ultimately, that means more chemicals in our soil, our air, our foods, and our bodies. And, of course, when fields have been contaminated with these weeds and with GE alfalfa, farmers cannot sell their alfalfa as "organic" because it no longer meets the criteria, thus losing money when they sell this product as a conventional, rather than organic, crop.

When part of the reason many of us choose to eat organics is to avoid pesticides and other chemicals, the idea that organic farmers are unprotected in their efforts to keep their land clear of GE and GT seeds, and are bearing the cost themselves when their crops do become infected, is odious to say the least. And of course, ultimately, those of us choosing organics will pay the price in our health and our wallets. As organic farmers struggle against the pollution of their land by nearby GE farming, making their once-organic seeds grow into crops that don't meet the "organic" guidelines, the prices of organics will continue to go up, and fewer people will be able to afford to eat organic.

This ultimately means we will be exposed to GE crops or the chemicals needed to keep them at bay. And none of it has to be labeled, so we truly won't even know what we're eating. So it is time for us to speak out, write our representatives, and be sure to keep buying organics and support organic farmers by buying non-food products from companies using organic materials whenever possible.

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

No More Teary Onion, Thanks to Genetic Engineering

The blog, Rael the Prophet, reports on an article in the UK Telegraph about a research on a genetically engineered tear-free onion being collaboratively conducted by researchers from Japan and the New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research. We're all aware how teary an onion can be if mishandled when chopping. To men and women who spend considerable amounts of time cooking, this, definitely is news worth celebrating.

In addition to ridding onion of the gene that causes teary effects on our eyes, these researchers promise that this new variety will be sweeter and healthier.

What an exciting research? Indeed, it has generated quite a buzz. The journal Onion World, in its December edition, has featured this work, which is being piloted by Dr. Colin Eady. The popular environmental blog Environmental Grafita gleefully proclaims, GM onions means no more tears, with sarcasm:

Anti-GMO activists may soon be tearing up after a New Zealand company announced the development of a genetically modified tear free onion.

I can't also wait to see their [anti-biotech activists] reactions. Instead of inserting a foreign gene into the onion, which has been the practice in crop genetic engineering, researchers in this project will be working to suppress the gene that makes onions teary.

The key is not to introduce a foreign gene but to silence one using a phenomenon called RNA interference. By stopping sulphur compounds from being converted to the tearing agent and redirecting them into compounds responsible for flavour and health, the process could even improve the onion.

So, which direction will the debate on safety of this new onion variety take? We're always told there's no guarantee of safety of genes inserted into crops such as corn, cotton, or soya. Will the anti-biotech groups now claim removing a gene from a crop, and onion onion for that matter, will compromise human health and the environment? Let's wait for the debate to start.

James Wachai specializes in agricultural biotechnology communication.

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