Take Action to Prevent Widespread Use of GMO Salmon

September 14, 2010

Please support Food Democracy Now! in their grassroots efforts to educate the public on genetically modified foods and the risks to your health. Below is a plea from them to sign a petition to stop GMO salmon from landing on your plate. A worthy effort!!!

In health,

Dr. G

Massive mutant GMO salmon, genetically engineered to grow twice as fast as wild salmon, are coming to a table near you if you don’t act today.

On September 3rd, a panel of three Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials declared that genetically modified salmon were “safe” for human consumption. [1] Somehow, the elite FDA panel arrived at this “decision” based on “scientific research” provided by AquaBounty Technologies, the same company that stands to profit from introducing its patented genes onto our plates.

With the potential approval of GMO salmon, Americans are now entering an alarming new era of genetic experimentation with food animals, nature and the human population. Already the scientific community is warning against the real risk that these unnaturally engineered fish pose to wild species, the environment and human health.

Act today to stop the FDA from allowing this disaster to happen! Click here to automatically sign your name to the petition demanding that the FDA halt approval of GMO salmon.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/247?akid=202.63486.cnGt_Y&t=8

Known as “macro-mutants”, AquaBounty’s GMO salmon are designed to ignore natural cycles of food sources and wild fish mating patterns that have existed for eons. [2]

While AquaBounty’s GMO salmon are only days away from being approved, the FDA has only seen scientific studies provided by the company that stands to profit from these patented genes. Since AquaBounty’s GMO salmon are being regulated under the FDA’s new animal drug provision, real independent scientific studies were not required. [3]

If history and the law of unintended consequences has taught us anything, the FDA’s approval of transgenic GMO mutant fish will be a disaster. For years independent scientists have been warning us about the dangers posed by these GMO salmon.

Once again, corporations and our government are trying to place profits over people. Act today to stop the FDA from allowing this disaster to happen!

Click here to automatically sign your name to the petition demanding that the FDA halt approval of GMO salmon.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/247?akid=202.63486.cnGt_Y&t=11

What will these GMO salmon do to the environment?

One key problem with AquaBounty’s current business model is that they intend to sell the patented GMO salmon eggs to giant aquatic fish “farms” and not raise the fish themselves. [4] By becoming the Monsanto of aquaculture in simply selling the seed stock, AquaBounty solves a key infrastructure problem, but opens the door to mismanagement of its product and potential extinction of wild species. While the FDA states that the patented GMO salmon will be raised on inland fish farm facilities, there is no guarantee that the sold eggs might not accidentally end up in open-water ocean net pens or accidentally be spilled during transport.

If this happens, it could spell disaster. Even more alarming is the fact that, according to the Environmental Assessment that AquaBounty submitted to the FDA, these GMO salmon eggs are to be hatched in a facility on Prince Edward Island in Canada and raised at an inland facility in Panama! [5] That’s right, designed in Canada, raised in Panama, and ready for your plate here in America. Something smells fishy about this arrangement.

If GMO salmon escape into the wild, scientists warn that just 60 GMO salmon released into a population of 60,000 could lead to the extinction of the wild population in just 40 fish generations. [6] With wild Atlantic salmon already on the list of endangered species, the approval of AquaBounty’s patented GMO mutant fish may very well be a death sentence for wild salmon. One has to ask, what profit could possibly be worth such an outcome?

How will GMO salmon impact human health?

Because independent scientific studies of AquaBounty’s patented salmon have not been allowed, the human health impacts of GMO salmon are not currently known. Shockingly, the FDA is relying on scant scientific documents provided by AquaBounty itself. In fact, the FDA’s own assessment AquaBounty’s studies to determine whether GMO salmon are safe for human consumption states that the studies contain “technical flaws” and provide “insufficient data”.

For two of the studies submitted, AquaBounty used sample sizes so small that they have no scientific credibility, with only 12 fish tested for one study, while the study on possible allergic reactions in humans involved only “6 fertile fish and 6 infertile fish.” [7] Despite this scant evidence, the FDA is currently on the verge of approving the companies GMO salmon.

Serious questions remain about eating fish engineered to grow faster and how that genetically manipulated trait can impact human health, especially that of our most vulnerable populations such as pregnant mothers and children.

Act today to stand up for human health, food safety and the environment. Click here to automatically sign your name to a letter that tells the FDA that there are consequences to meddling with nature.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/247?akid=202.63486.cnGt_Y&t=15

Thank you for participating in food democracy!

– Dave, Lisa and The Food Democracy Now Team

Please consider donating to Food Democracy Now! today – whether it’s $10, $25 or $50. http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/donate/133?akid=202.63486.cnGt_Y&t=18

We rely on folks like you to keep us going and couldn’t do it without you! Thanks again for your support.

Sources:

1. “Aqua Bounty Biotech Salmon OK to Eat-FDA Staff,” Lisa Richwine, Reuters, September 3, 2010.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/243?akid=202.63486.cnGt_Y&t=20

2. “Methods to Assess Ecological Risks of Transgenic Fish Releases”, William M Muir and Richard D Howard, Genetically Engineered Organisms, Chapter 13, CRC Press 2002.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/248?akid=202.63486.cnGt_Y&t=22

3. “GE Animals Regulated Under New Animal Drug Provisions”, FDA.gov website, FDA Releases Final Guidance on Genetically Engineered Animals, January 15, 2009.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/251?akid=202.63486.cnGt_Y&t=24

4. “Modified Salmon is Safe, FDA Says”, Andrew Pollack, The New York Times, September 3, 2010

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/249?akid=202.63486.cnGt_Y&t=26

5. “Enviornmental Assessment for AquAdvantage Salmon”, provided to FDA by Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc., FDA.gov website

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/250?akid=202.63486.cnGt_Y&t=28

6. “Mutant Salmon Coming to a Kitchen Table Near You”, Ariel Schwartz, Fast Company, July 12, 2010

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/244?ak_proof=1&akid=.96984.GhQb69&t=19&akid=202.63486.cnGt_Y&t=30

7. “Would You Eat Genetically Altered Salmon?”, Deniza Gertsberg, AlterNet.com, September 11, 2010 http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/246?akid=202.63486.cnGt_Y&t=32


Help Bring Integrity Back to the Agricultural Industry

October 29, 2009
It appears that the USDA is appointing key executives with questionable backgrounds, and an apparent bias towards
Perfect tomato.

Agribusiness in question

the use of Genetically Modified crops and pesticides.  I am reprinting below a call for action from Food Democracy Now! which outlines the current concerns and offers an easy action step for you to take to help bring integrity back to the US agricultural industry.  Please let your voice be heard and also please join me in donating money to Food Democracy Now! so they can continue with the good work they are doing on our behalf.
President Obama has found himself with some strange bedfellows lately.

While on the campaign trail in Iowa, Barack Obama boasted, “We’ll tell ConAgra that it’s not the Department of Agribusiness. We’re going to put the people’s interests ahead of the special interests.”1 Despite that promise, it seems that ConAgra’s friends at Monsanto and CropLife are still finding their way into the USDA.

Last month, President Obama nominated two “Big Ag” power brokers–Roger Beachy and Islam Siddiqui–to key agency positions, putting agribusiness executives in charge of our country’s agricultural research and trade policy. Please join us in telling the President that this isn’t the change we voted for. We don’t want Big Ag running the show any more.  

Siddiqui’s confirmation hearing is set for next week. Please help us reach our goal of 50,000 signatures to make a real impact.

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/65?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

Obama’s first agribusiness selection is Roger Beachy, to be head of the USDA’s newly created National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Beachy is the founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO. It may sound innocuous, but the Danforth Center is essentially the non-profit arm of GMO seed giant Monsanto; Monsanto’s CEO sits on its board, and the company provides considerable funding for the Center’s operations.2

As the head of the USDA’s new research arm, formerly known as the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CREES), Beachy is responsible for deciding how U.S. research dollars will be spent in agriculture.3 Translation: more research on biotech, less research on how to scale sustainable and organic agriculture.

Unfortunately, Beachy has already started work at the USDA, but the next nominee—Islam Siddiqui—still must be confirmed by the U.S.Senate. Siddiqui, the Vice President of Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America, was recently nominated to be the Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the US Trade Representative.4 Amazingly, when Michele Obama planted her “organic” garden on the White House lawn, Siddiqui’s CropLife MidAmerica sent the First Lady a letter saying that it made them “shudder”.5

During his career, Siddiqui spent over 3 years as a pesticide lobbyist, an Undersecretary at the USDA and a VP at CropLife. In defending Siddiqui, the White House has stated that he played a key role in helping establish the country’s first organic standards.6 What they neglect to mention, though, is that those original organic standards would have allowed irradiation, sewage sludge and GMOs to undermine organic integrity! The standards were so watered down that 230,000 people signed a petition for them to be changed, which they eventually were.7

Fortunately, the organic community stopped Siddiqui and his cronies then, and we need your help now to do it again. If Siddiqui’s nomination is allowed to go through, then agribusiness will continue to control the seeds, the science, and the distribution of global food and agriculture.

Please join Food Democracy Now! and a broad coalition of other groups, in calling on President Obama to keep his campaign promise of closing the revolving door between agribusiness and his administration.  

Please click here to add your voice.  

http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/65?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

Thanks for standing with us and our coalition partners from across the country, including: The Pesticide Action Network (PAN), National Family Farm Coalition, Food & Water Watch, Farmworker’s Association of Florida, Institute of Agriculture & Trade Policy, Greenpeace and the Center for Food Safety in calling for President Obama to live up to his promises to put people’s interests ahead of special interests

Sustainably Yours,

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team.

If you’d like to see Food Democracy Now!’s grassroots work continue, please consider donating. Your donation of $5 or more will help us continue our work. We appreciate your support! http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/25?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

Sources:

1. Obama slams corporate agriculture, two Illinois firms, The Chicago Tribune, November 10, 2007
http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/58?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

2. Another Monsanto man in a key USDA post?, Grist, September 24, 2009
http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/59?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

3. A New Direction on Research at the USDA? The Experts Weigh In, The Huffington Post, October 15, 2009
http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/60?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

4. Obama’s attempt to tap an agrichemical-industry flack runs into trouble, Grist, October 10, 2009
http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/61?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

5. Michelle’s green garden upsets pesticide makers, The First Post, April 23, 2009
http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/62?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

6. Agriculture nomination steams greens, Politico, October 10, 2009
http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/63?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1

7. USDA Enters Debate on Organic Label Law, The New York Times, February 23, 2003 http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/72?akid=35.63486.sfhQtX&t=1


Organic Produce Under Attack

August 20, 2009

Seattle Farmers MarketA recent review by the UK Foods Standards Agency came out claiming that organic foods are no better than the less expensive conventionally grown foods.   A closer look at that review reveals some truths underlying the growing media attention and debate over whether or not organic foods are worth the extra buck. I am re-printing an excellent post on this topic  by Tom Philpott who farms and cooks at Maverick Farms, a sustainable-agriculture nonprofit and small farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

One of the key messages I received while researching this topic is that organic foods consistently contain a higher level of tertiary, phytochemicals then conventionally grown foods. These phytochemicals (e.g. resveratrol, chlorophyll, glucosinolates) hold as much, if not more promise for preventing and treating disease then the basic nutritional compounds that are used to test the benefit of one food over another.

In health,

Dr. Gina

A bit of nitrogen with those veggies?

Tom Philpott

A recent literature review by the U.K. Food Standards Agency concluded that organic foods offer no nutritional advantages to ones grown with conventional chemical agriculture.   The report quickly bounced around the media and the internet and has congealed into received wisdom. For example, in a recent chat with readers, Washington Post food politics columnist (and general policy writer) Ezra Klein engaged in the following exchange:

Santa Fe, N.M.: I saw a report today on a study finding that organic food isn’t any healthier than conventional food. Is buying organic a waste of money, in your opinion? Read the rest of this entry »


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