genetically-modified food

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Controversy Through Association: FDA Deputy Commissioner and His Monsanto History

By admin | March 19, 2012

Photo: Daniel Lobo

Photo: Daniel Lobo

By: Michael Engle

As widely seen during our national campaign time, often times, controversy can arise from previously held professional associations by certain candidates.  A similar debate is arising in Washington, D.C. in regard to food politics, as Stephanie Armour reports for Bloomberg.

Michael Taylor is employed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where he currently serves as the deputy commissioner for food safety.  Previously, Taylor served as the FDA’s deputy commissioner for policy; however, for 16 months in between his FDA stints, he served as the vice-president of public policy at Monsanto.  Monsanto is a leading name in genetically-modified organism (GMO), or “Franken-food,” production.  This plants Taylor as a lightning rod of controversy, due to the fact that GMO’s are a polarizing subject in modern food politics.

Although GMO’s result in edible food and are beloved by mass producers (Imagine a rice field that will not drown in a monsoon, and keep its yield!), they are criticized for homogenizing the crop gene pool, forcing small-scale farmers out of business, and proliferating auto-immune diseases among humans.  In fact, 1,000 acres of Monsanto-brand GMO corn was discovered and destroyed in Hungary, where GMO’s are banned; Peru also recently voted to ban GMO’s for the next ten years.

The million-dollar question will be answered with due diligence, but it can be worded succinctly: Can Michael Taylor perform his duties to the FDA, and, by proxy, to the American taxpayers, without exhibiting any biases in favor of Monsanto?  Read More

News

Basics of Avoiding Mutant Foods

By Jeannette | March 9, 2012

Photo: KayVee.INC

Photo: KayVee.INC

By: Allana Mortell

Imagine yourself in a supermarket on a Saturday afternoon, strolling with your cart, aisle by aisle. First, you swivel your way towards the cereal, picking up your favorite healthy breakfast starter, along with that sugary stuff the little ones asked for. Not exactly the most balanced breakfast, but nevertheless, those sugar-filled morsels sure can be addictive. Though it is widely known that those little puffs of cereal masquerading in a sugar coating are probably one of the worst things you could be eat, you may or may not, be surprised to learn that 70% of all processed foods in supermarkets these days now contain genetically modified ingredients.

Genetically modified organisms or GMO’s, are organisms whose genetic material has been altered thanks to genetic engineering techniques. Many countries, including Japan, Australia and the European Union ban all sorts of GMO’s, yet the United States does not, which has created problems in terms of exporting particular products. Metroland reported that, “estimates place the presence of GMOs at 70 to 80 percent in packaged foods in America and Canada, as commercially grown canola, soy, corn and cotton are already using genetically modified seeds.” Read More

News

Department of Agriculture Will Speed Up Approval of Genetically Modified Crops

By Jeannette | March 5, 2012

Photo: tillwe

Photo: tillwe

By: Justin Chan

Several days after the United States and Europe agreed on a pact that will recognize each other’s certified organic products, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that it will speed up approval of genetically modified crops.

According to BusinessWeek, seed companies such as Monsanto Co. will get faster regulatory reviews of their crops under the new policy changes. Michael Gregoire, USDA’s deputy administrator, said that the department plans to cut the time needed to approve biotech crops by half. Under the new guidelines, upgraded versions of current crop technologies will be reviewed for at least 13 months. New technologies will be reviewed for approximately 16 months. The changes are expected to take place this month, once they are published in the Federal Register. Read More

News

Monsanto Bites the Dust: Hungary and Peru Ban GMO Crops and Take Serious Actions

By admin | December 13, 2011

Photo: Fellowship of the Rich

Photo: Fellowship of the Rich

By: Michele Wolfson

Nations are starting to ban GMO crops around the world in display of health freedom. Hungary is getting international recognition for taking a bold stand against biotech mega Monsanto for destroying 1000 acres of Monsanto maize that was contaminated with genetically modified crops.  Genetically modified seeds are banned in Hungary, so when the government regulator discovered that this violation was broken- the result was an extreme environmental consequence. The concern is that this giant cooperation is threatening the overall genetic integrity of the environment as well as of human kind.

Genetically modified ingredients are so widespread among nations that it will be extremely difficult for Hungary and other countries to eliminate products containing GMOs. However, this no-nonsense act that Hungary’s government took is a good place to start. There is an increasing consensus among consumers worldwide that they want safe, local, organic fresh food and that they want the environment and wildlife to be protected. Read More

News

Outwitting Restaurants: How To Avoid GMOs While Eating Out

By admin | November 29, 2011

Photo: Esa L

Photo: Esa L

By: Saira Malhotra

Last week, WebMD posted their tips on avoiding GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) when dining out. While it is easier to follow through on your food philosophies when they come from your own kitchen, the challenge is posed when eating out in restaurants and cafes. WebMD has demystified some of this for us and demonstrated that by asking the right questions and reading between the menu lines, we can find the answer. Read More

News

The Fight for GMO Labeling

By admin | October 10, 2011

Photo: mar is sea Y

Photo: mar is sea Y

By: Saira Malhotra

Last week, USA Today reported a big push to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered food. Over 300 companies and organizations have filed a petition with the FDA requiring transparency of whether food has been bio-engineered. Among the coalition lie key players, such as Dannon SA and Dean Foods Co. These companies, led by the Center for Food Safety in Washington, want to change a 1992 FDA policy that does not require distinctions on food labels. Read More

News

The Inorganic Lowdown of ‘Organic’ Strawberries

By admin | September 28, 2011

Photo: burntfeather

Photo: burntfeather

By: Dylan Rodgers

Strawberries are the most provocative of the berries, not only because they flash their seeds at anyone who will look, but also because they’re often labeled ‘organic’ when they are nothing of the sort.

Some Californian organic strawberry farmers are up in arms about the US Department of Agriculture’s vague federal regulations as to what constitutes “organic growth”.  Read More

News

Frankenfoods: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Dangers?

By admin | September 26, 2011

Photo: Joost J. Bakker

Photo: Joost J. Bakker

By: Dylan Rodgers

Now that people are becoming much more health-conscious and focusing on organic products, it would follow that genetically modified and chemically altered foods would be nearly out the window for fear of any backlash from angry, hemp-clad protesters.  With a little research though, it is easy to see that ‘frankenfoods’ are far from obsolete.   I guess the big question is, “Are genetically and chemically altered foods more beneficial than harmful?” Read More

News

Genetically Modified Crops and Their Genetically Modified Bugs

By admin | August 30, 2011

Photo: Peter Blanchard

Photo: Peter Blanchard

Reading about a super plague attacking genetically-modified corn seems like a story out of ancient times and the future put together. Yet, that is exactly what is occurring in the United States and Europe as we speak. As the debate of pros and cons of genetically-modified foods continues, this turn of events can count as a con to those rallying for GMO foods.

A pest has now succumbed to feeding off of genetically modified corn, though this type of corn was developed by Monsanto to thwart off rootworms. Ironically, nature still finds a way. Read More

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