News Briefs

August 17, 2010
Category: Uncategorized

iStock_000005778256XSmallSour milk politics; Congress tries to improve school lunches; court says no to Monsanto; and Harvard researchers develop Frankenstein machine.

Sour Milk Politics

The report last week about female Chinese infants growing breasts because of hormone-laden milk formula has gotten people’s attention. The same Chinese milk products are believed to have been sold into the US.

Meanwhile Ohio’s governor, Ted Strickland, continues to press his war against milk producers who openly state that their milk has not been contaminated by injection of bovine growth hormone (BGH) or other hormones into the cows. Strickland originally wanted to forbid all such statements because the largest dairy producers did not like them. He then decreed that such statements could only be kept if accompanied by an FDA disclaimer that milk from cows treated with bovine growth hormone was identical to other milk. Not only accompanied: the disclaimer had to be the same font and the same size type, a requirement that the governor knew national brands could not possibly comply with—it would force them to drop the statements not only in Ohio, but everywhere.
Never mind that the FDA disclaimer was factually false. Milk from cows treated with bovine growth hormone is chemically different from other milk in a variety of unattractive ways, including being higher in insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which has been linked to cancer.
And who do you think developed the false disclaimer at the FDA? An individual named Michael Taylor who then joined Monsanto in a senior management position and has now returned to the FDA as senior advisor to the Commissioner. Note, however, that Monsanto sold its bovine growth hormone business to Eli Lilly in 2008; it is no longer Monsanto whose corporate interests are at stake; so Taylor no longer has any conflict in dealing with the BGH issue—right?
The BGH label issue in Ohio has gone to court. The judge ruled against our side, but ordered mediation. A similar BGH gag rule was also attempted in Pennsylvania by then-state Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff, but was countermanded by Governor Ed Rendell. A similar bill was passed by the Kansas legislature, then vetoed by Governor Kathleen Sebelius shortly before she left to become Secretary of Health and Human Services (and thus in charge of the FDA).
Governor Strickland is locked in a tight re-election race in Ohio. We hope our Ohio supporters will help spread the word about his sell-out to large dairy interests at the expense of our children’s health.

Congress Tries to Improve School Lunches

Senate bill S.3307 and House bill HR.5504 are stirring up a ruckus. The Senate bill has passed; the House bill has not yet been voted upon. Their language asks the US Department of Agriculture to develop better standards for the National School Lunch Program and for school vending machines, a favorite initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama. The ruckus is because the Senate bill takes money away from food stamps to fund it, while the House version is so far unfunded.
What no one seems to be noticing is that the USDA is grossly unqualified to develop school lunch standards. This is the agency, notoriously in bed with large corporate interests, that brought us irradiated meat, often from questionable sources, for school children, along with a refusal to let beef producers test for Mad Cow Disease or reveal the results of such tests.
We recently recounted how USDA mandates that irradiated almonds cannot be labeled as such and must instead be labeled “raw.” And of course the Department is all for GMO food, no matter the evidence that is produced against it, and all for BGH-treated milk, even though Canada, Japan, and most of Europe have banned it.
School lunches certainly do need better standards, but if those standards are produced by the USDA, will we get standards written, behind the scenes, by the likes of Monsanto? Nothing is more important than our children’s diet, or for that matter, our own. It is one of the most important elements of natural health. But to get the right school lunch standards, the USDA, like the FDA, needs a thorough-going reform.

Court Again Says No to Monsanto

A US district judge in California said that the USDA cannot wave through approval for Monsanto’s new genetically modified sugar beets without a review of what they would do to the environment. The court had previously canceled USDA’s earlier wave-through approval of genetically modified alfalfa, an issue that has gone to the Supreme Court but is still unresolved.

Harvard Researchers Create Frankenstein Machine

Harvard researcher George Church and colleagues have announced the creation of a new technology—Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering, or MAGE—that will, according to Bloomberg, “induce 50 different gene [DNA] alterations in a population of bacteria almost simultaneously, creating billions of cellular mutations in a matter of days.” The researchers are elated by all the genetically modified organisms they can now make in the blink of an eye.
Church did say last July that the US should develop regulations to keep such technology out of the hands of terrorists. We do not feel very reassured to hear that government regulations will somehow protect us from the massive bio-terrorism that could be unleashed by this MAGE technology.


Also in Featured in the August 17, 2010 Newsletter:
Memo to Political Leaders: When You Think Job Creation, Think Natural Health (If You Don’t, Other Countries Will)

12 responses to “News Briefs”

  1. You know, harming the health and well-being of our citizens through dangerous food practices is not really different in effect or intention from using guns or bombs. I am as unconvinced of the right of corporations to produce unsafe foods (and of their government’s oversight agencies which fail to provide food safety) are all that different from the rights assumed by somebody who performs violence to health and life of others with guns and sticks of dynamite. Damaged and dead is damaged and dead. Could we get over this pretense and put all the truths on the table?
    No reading person could possibly believe GMO food is safe or good for anyone nor for the earth that used to bear food. Ditto cloned food and irradiated food. If it were safe, corporations and government wouldn’t be making laws forcing us to buy this garbage, nor would they be hiding what they are doing as they change one food crop after another – unlabeled – to GMO, irradiated, cloned, etc. Nobody hides what is known to be healthy.
    It’s time to quit playing with this. We need to apply the same pressures as the EU applied to GMO and quit begging for justice in food policy from either corporate or government players. It’s time to demand a clean, labeled, food supply and a complete sweep of the FDA and USDA who have proven themselves incapable of making food safe. There is nobody but us to do this job, and health and time are running out.

  2. Robert Cruder says:

    The current world population requires that any solution to any of our problems must be scalable to industrial size.
    Venter is sailing the world in search of useful GENES, not organisms because the low probability that the organism naturally hosting that gene would be easily cultured or scaled to industrial use.
    There’s not much point in Venter’s effort if one cannot put those genes into organisms that we already know how to culture such as E coli, yeasts or algae.
    Existing recombinant methods attach a gene for antibiotic resistance to the target gene so that cells which have not been transfected can be easily killed.
    A terrorist with a sample of any bacterial disease could easily create a multiple-antibiotic-resistant version using current shrink-wrap kits available by mail-order.
    Terrorism is an easy way to frighten the ignorant but insults an informed reader.
    Remember that sick and starving people are the best culture medium for terrorism. Denying them the benefits of technology in order to remain pure to a vitalist dogma serves no one.

    • Phil Albee says:

      Robert Cruder has a point about the creativity of terrorists.
      For example, the success of narco-terrorists in co-opting GMO technology for pot and coca plants. This is one of the benefits of GMO technology.
      His use of the term “vitalist dogma” is comical. Vital is, well, vital. Vitality in food is measurable as the balance of life and health enhancing qualities vs the life and health detracting qualities.
      Industrial food production is just that – it’s about maximizing industrial processes, not maximum vitality of the food product.
      GMO technology isn’t about feeding the poor and sick, it’s about overcoming pesticide and herbicide resistance, and milking profits out of farmers within protected systemic monopolies. It’s not about defeating terrorism – it’s about progressively polluting the gene pool, to the point where all major agriculture on the planet ends up relying on patented chemicals for crop management.
      GMO technology is about polluting crop genes to the point where no crop can survive unless it’s supported by patented chemical management. Period.
      So, are we really talking dogma here?
      Sick and starving people around the world tend to live under dogmatic, repressive, political and religious regimes. Those problems are not technological.
      World population is projected to exceed 10 billion by 2050. Supporting that population will require energy, food, and water resources that are sustainable – not polluted, and needing further resources to be cleaned up, in order to be safely accessed.
      In short, this world needs technology that’s LESS environmentally invasive, not more. That’s not dogma. It’s the reality of a world of limited resources. It’s also scientific consensus.
      Diet For A Small Planet is a good basic resource for the critical thinker. Seeds of Deception by Jeffery Smith completes the picture. Maybe Robert Cruder should start there, as any informed reader would have already read these.

  3. When I think about all the government branches that operate from the point of view of greed, I then become quite irritated. For a long time I have been watching for a governmental branch that serves the people and thus far I have been unable to identify even ONE. It would take several extremely powerful people, wanting to serve the people, to overturn the current stupidity in government. It is not too late to save the next generation. All that needs to be done is convert all schools to one-room four-grades pattern and bring back K-12 civics classes. That’s all, and just that simle. Students would be taught to be entrepreneurs instead of zombie job fillers, and the students would be taught respect of the government and governmental tasks. If some part of government is not for the people, then people would knowingly decide to change it.
    (clarification: you may not know this but from K=12 you are trained to work in a factory and have been since about 1920. Go to school, recess at 10am, back in class until lunch time, after lunch be in class, recess in the afternoon, and at the end of class go home. Do this five days a week for 12 years. As an adult in the work force, go to work, bathroom break around 10am, back to work until lunch time and after lunch then back to work. After more work and an afternoon break then go home. Do this for 42 years and then retire. UNFORTUNATELY: This model is broken. Kids are still taught to work in a manufacturing environment but the jobs just are not there. Very few entrepreneurs are produced. With the one-room four-grade concept most students are graduated at entrepreneurs which worked for the US for 150 years supporting capitalism: Mom& Pop stores and such, the local general store, and much much more. Civics classes were dropped from schools in the Seventies because too many honest students were being produced who knew when Government for the people was good and wars for the sake of business interests was bad.)

  4. Donna Estes says:

    Having just read Seeds of Deception, I am boiling mad at the fact that the GMO sugar beets need a review for the environment. What about a review and some serious testing for humans. Not that the earth isn’t important, but we have to be around to take care of it. This has gone on to long already. And now the machine to modify lots of genes at once. We are dealing with a monster alright, it’s our government, corporations, regulatory agencies and the greedy sob’s without any conscience who can sleep at night. It all makes me ill and wanting to consider moving to a country with some respect for their citizens.

  5. joyce flaherty says:

    I hope the people who have built this machine, and other ge technolgy have their families suffer the same deaths as they will inflict on simple citizens. They should be first in line. In fact i give them first choice and we can watch.

  6. SANDI says:

    WEL, I ABSOLUTELY AGREE AND I SPENT YESTERDAY IN MY CONGRESSMAN’S OFFICE ASKING TO CHANGE SCHOOL LUNCH STANDARDS AND BRING IT BACK TO THE LOCAL SCHOOL SYSTEMS TO HAVE CONTROL…..AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED THEY CAN THROW OUT THE STOCK PILE “NONFOOD” FOR SCHOOL LUNCHES…..I AM PUSHING FOR A SALT CHANGE TO NATURAL SEA SALTS WITH KELP AND MORE TRACE MINERALS….OUR CHILDREN NEED MORE TRACE MINERALS TO MAKE HEALTHY BONE MARROW TO PRODUCE HEALTHY CELLS…..WE ARE AT HIGH RISK FOR CANCER…DAH? HOW ELSE CAN IT BE…I AM ALSO ASKING FOR MORE WHOLE GRAINS AND FRESH VEGETABLES TO BE ADDED, DAILY AND PROBIOTIC SUPPORT. CHILDREN HAVE NOTHING IN NUTRITION FOR ENHANCING GOOD BRAIN HEALTH. THIS IS NOT AN EASY THING TO DO, BUT I DO HAVE A FEW CONGRESSMAN’S EAR.
    I AM WORKING LOCALLY TO MAKE CHANGES BY WORKING WITH PARENTS AND CHILDREN ON WHAT TO EAT. HAVE A LOOK AT WELLNESSANSERS.ORG SOON TO BE A BOOK. THERE IS SOMETHING THERE FOR YOU, TOO.

  7. Candace Stolley says:

    MAGE sounds like something that could create terrible problems even without bioterrorism…think Monsando…think bacteria mistakes that kill accidentally in large numbers. This sounds like technology insanity.

  8. Madge says:

    We read about BGH in the milk and how it affects little girls but I am post menopause and I do not want anything to stimulate my breasts either. I try to prevent breast cancer and care little about a CURE. All the labeling fuss after all is about money not about health etc. If it was okay for us to consume why do they want to hide the facts. We have a right to know what is in our food and how it is grown. We need better labeling if we can’t get the big guys to stop adulterating the food supply. Thanks for listening.

  9. Cat says:

    If church wants regulations on gene-induced and other high risk new technologies, he should back up the morgellons pandemic cascading across the US and europe. It is a man-made disease nightmare caused by nanotechnology. There are many things across the board that cause this bc nanotechnology is in everything now. But why would the govt not help people or acknowledge this? Bc they created it. Thru their greediness and untrustworthy constituants. Nanotechnology is NOT regulated bc the FDA does not have the equipment to research anything this small (w/150th the size of a virus).

  10. Mathias M. Pastore, DC says:

    I know I am preaching to the choir here. Too much screen time (TV & Computer Games), too few nutrients (depleted soil & processed food), foreign ingestibles (GMOs), being obsessed with expensive diagnostics & ignoring cost-effective treatments, and DRUGS – all these factors combine to render we beings unaware. Unaware beings make the best consumers. Unaware beings ask their Docs for drugs, secure in the lie that the miracle surgery will be there for them when things become critical. I voted for the Clintons way back when, and all I got was the HMOs. I voted against Bush (GW) and I got Medicare Part D (Government funded drugs). I voted for Obama this time around, and now we have more drug-pushing pro-psyche bills in Congress than ever before in the history of Mankind. The only defense is to stay aware. Nurture your ability to be aware. No matter the party, we get govenment for big business.

  11. Maddie says:

    Another good reason to grow your own food and make lunch for your kids to take to school, or home school. At least you know what they are eating! And learning.
    Maddie

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