View Full Version : Genetically Engineered Foods — New Action Alert!

11-10-10, 11:37 AM
November 9, 2010

The FDA lied by omission about GE salmon, and Monsanto is attempting an end-run around USDA rules for GE beets. The stock market seems to be telling the true story.

But before we get into the latest political news about genetically engineered food, let’s take a moment to look at some recent science news. A recent study published in the journal Nature (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7318/full/nature09491.html) found that what we eat creates genetic changes—which may then be passed on to our children. Our genes are controlled by billions of chemical markers on our DNA. And these chemical markers can be affected by many lifestyle factors, the most important of which is diet. While the genes themselves generally don’t change, what they are “told to do” is changed by the food we eat (both quality and amount) and the chemicals we breathe or ingest. In this study, a group of rats was given a high fat diet, and they developed symptoms of diabetes. When they reproduced, the rats’ offspring were not overweight—but their ability to produce insulin was impaired. Researchers think the sperm cells from the obese rats had a different pattern of epigenetic marks on their DNA, which created the insulin resistance in their pups.

It should come as no surprise, then, that genetically engineered foods are causing terrible genetic changes in mammal offspring (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/genetically-modified-soy_b_544575.html). Scientists are seeing birth defects, high infant mortality rates, and sterility in hamsters, rats, and livestock fed genetically engineered soy and corn. Some hamster pups even begin growing hair inside their mouths. What we eat changes the biology of our children and our children’s children, and may harm them irreparably.

With this in mind, back to government policy. Remember Frankenfish (http://www.anh-usa.org/action-alert-genetically-modified-frankenfish/)? It turns out that the FDA knowingly withheld the revelation that both the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) testified at a 2003 hearing (http://stopgefish.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/corp-bo-full-file.pdf) that genetically engineered salmon must not be kept in open-water net pens because these transgenic salmon would threaten and adversely affect wild Atlantic salmon, currently on the Endangered Species List!

In an email (http://truefoodnow.org/2010/10/27/newly-disclosed-government-documents-conclude-ge-salmon-pose-a-critical-threat-to-marine-environments/), FWS staff wrote to NOAA and said, “Shortly after the Atlantic salmon was listed as endangered, several of us from USFWS and NMFS spent 2 days down in Maryland meeting with AquaBounty [creators of the bio-engineered salmon] and FDA about development of genetically engineered salmon and discussion around the need for FDA to engage in Section 7 consultation with the Services. We never heard a peep out of FDA or AquaBounty after that.”

In other words, even though such preliminary discussions with these expert fishery services took place, and the Services said such a hatchery operation must be prohibited, FDA never made this information public during the public hearings about AquAdvantage salmon. AquaBounty, of course, claims (with no proof) that the fish pose no threat to marine environments.
Then we have genetic engineering giant Monsanto. They paired with the German company KWS SAAT AG, one of the world’s leading plant breeders, to produce a variety of sugar beets containing the Roundup Ready gene. This gene ensures that the beets will tolerate applications of extremely toxic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundup_%28herbicide%29#Ecologic_effects) Roundup agricultural herbicides. But as we reported last year (http://www.anh-usa.org/judge-overturns-the-government%E2%80%99s-approval-of-monsanto%E2%80%99s-genetically-engineered-sugar-beets/), a US district court ruled that they couldn’t proceed with production until the USDA completed a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will be ready in May 2012.

Monsanto and KWS didn’t want to wait. They filed a petition (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/2010-27970.htm) with the USDA for “partial deregulation,” which would allow them to continue production of the GE beets while the research for the EIS was ongoing—in other words, to let them totally circumvent the rules. And the USDA is considering it (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/content/2010/11/enviro_sugar_beets.shtml), and is accepting public comment on it for thirty days (hence our Action Alert below).
Sales of Montanto’s Roundup herbicide have collapsed this year under an onslaught of low-priced generics made in China. But that’s the least of Monsanto’s troubles (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/business/05monsanto.html). Weeds are becoming resistant to Roundup, dimming the future of the entire Roundup Ready crop franchise. This will lead to uncontrolled growth of “superweeds,” which may require ever more toxic herbicides—to everyone’s peril. On top of that, the Justice Department is investigating Monsanto for possible antitrust violations. AquaBounty Technologies stock still hasn’t recovered from its losses this September after the FDA panel requested a delay in the approval of AquAdvantage salmon to study more of the data. Clearly the public’s confidence in genetically engineered foods is weakening.

A New Action Alert (https://secure3.convio.net/aahf/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=631)

Please write to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and ask them not to approve partial deregulation of GE sugar beets. Until the EIS is completed, no one can say how much these genetically engineered organisms will harm the environment. Monsanto should not be allowed to play fast and loose with the regulations, potentially endangering our health.

Please take action today!

Click THIS LINK (https://secure3.convio.net/aahf/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=631) to go to the Action Alert page. Once there, fill out the form with your name and address, etc., and customize your letter. We have a suggested message for you, but please feel free to add your own comments to the letter.
We’d also love to hear your comments about this article—just add your thoughts below—but remember that the messages below are only seen by our ANH-USA readers and not Congress, the FDA, etc.


11-10-10, 01:13 PM
Done! Thank you, Islander.

11-11-10, 12:47 AM
A reiteration on the action you may already have taken, but this item has more detail.

From: "Food Democracy Now! Team" <info@fooddemocracynow.org>

Tell the FDA you want the TRUTH about GMO salmon (http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/266?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=5)

Officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were recently caught red-handed intentionally hiding a damning report from the public that provided conclusive evidence that genetically modified (GMO) salmon pose a serious threat to endangered Atlantic salmon if accidentally released into the wild.
These FDA officials knowingly withheld a vital 2003 report from two federal agencies that made it “illegal in the U.S.” to grow GMO salmon in “open-water net pens”, according to a press release from the Center for Food Safety. [1]

This revelation is a bombshell. What's even worse is that -- as you're reading this -- a company called AquaBounty is fighting for FDA approval of the first transgenic food animal right now. Yet the U.S. government is hiding the facts from us.
What else are AquaBounty and the FDA not telling us about GMO salmon?
Click below to automatically add your name to the letter to tell the FDA to act on the facts about GMO salmon and reject its approval:

Act today to tell the FDA to reject GMO salmon and demand labeling for all GMO food products, including GMO salmon and all transgenic food animals (http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/267?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=6).
By failing to release this document prior to the September 19th public hearing on AquaBounty’s GMO salmon, the FDA continues an alarming trend that this agency and the U.S. government have engaged in since GMO foods first appeared in the 1990s.

After nearly 20 years of “approving” GMO food products, the FDA is still hiding basic facts about the impacts that GMO foods potentially have on human health and the environment. Previously, the FDA came under fire after the approval process of rBGH in milk when concerns raised by scientists and several independent studies showing harm were also ignored. [2] Such willful deceit not only set the course for future approval of GMOs, but also created a deep-seated mistrust of the FDA’s approval process.

Today, in 2010, neither American citizens nor farmers can afford to allow the public distrust to continue at this critical juncture in reforming our nation’s food system. The U.S. government must get serious about protecting the American public over corporate profits and the imaginary benefits of patented genes.

At the public hearing in September, the FDA’s advisory committee was split in their recommendation to make a decision on GMO salmon, with several committee members criticizing the poor science submitted by AquaBounty and calling upon the FDA to demand more rigorous independent scientific review despite the agency’s previous decision weeks earlier that GMO salmon were “safe” for human consumption. [3]
Perhaps they know something we're not allowed to know?

According to the Federal Biological Opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2003, the FDA was informed that it was unsafe to raise “transgenic salmon in open-water net pens pursuant to the U.S. Endangered Species Act.” [4]
The report went on to further say that existing scientific studies and “escape reports from the aquaculture industry” indicate that GMO salmon escaping into the wild from open-net pens “were reasonably certain to occur” and the danger these escaped salmon posed to wild Atlantic salmon included the ability to "competete for mates, food [and] nest sites" and that “interbreeding with wild Atlantic salmon will result in genetic modifications to the wild population” that would render “the wild fish less fit for survival.” [5]

Scientific studies show that the release of just 60 GMO salmon could eradicate wild Atlantic salmon populations of 60,000 fish in less than 40 fish generations. [6]

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the FDA is back to its old tricks again when it comes to hiding science and approving GMOs, but the Obama administration promised something better when they ran for office and it’s time to demand that they live up to their promises.

Thank you for participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and The Food Democracy Now! Team
Help support our work. Food Democracy Now! is powered by YOU — your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here: Chipping in as little as $7 can make a big difference. Every bit helps! (http://fdn.actionkit.com/go/donate/133?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=9)
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1. "Newly Disclosed Government Documents Conclude GE Salmon Pose a Critical Threat to Marine Environments," Center for Food Safety, October 28, 2010.
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/268?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=13 (http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/268?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=12)
2. "Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone: Alarming Tests, Unfounded Approval, The Story Behind the Rush to Bring rBGH to Market", Andrew Christiansen, Rural Vermont, June 1995.
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/269?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=15 (http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/269?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=14)
3. "Split Opinions on GE Salmon Means FDA Decision is Stalled", Stephanie Dearing, Digital Journal, September 21, 2010.
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/270?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=17 (http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/270?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=16)
4. "Newly Disclosed Government Documents Conclude GE Salmon Pose a Critical Threat to Marine Environments," Center for Food Safety, October 28, 2010.
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/268?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=19 (http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/268?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=18)
5. "Federal Biological Opinion issued by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," November 19, 2003.
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/274?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=21 (http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/274?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=20)
6. "A Recap of the FDA's 'Frankenfish' Hearings," Jill Richardson, Grist, October 4, 2010.
http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/273?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=23 (http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/273?akid=221.24565.q-ealx&t=22)