Industry and political organizations can’t change scientific evidence — they can only influence the way the public perceives science. That’s why it’s so important to have experts — scientists themselves, and science communicators, and yes, even journalists — who are dedicated to following the evidence rather than advancing any political cause (no matter how noble). They can help pick apart the social construction of science, and thwart attempts to muddy the waters.
You are the problem and you are the solution.
the one Lincoln faced—when “we can nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope on earth”—we must fight back against the forces that are pouring dirty money into the political system, turning it into a sewer.
We pray that each story will be the last. However, until the pesticides and chemicals are removed from our environment, the stories will continue.
The anti-labeling lobbies – funded in part by Monsanto – point out that:
- 70 percent of what we eat in this country is already tainted with GMOs;
- That, therefore, the ‘Warning: GMOs Inside’ label would be more ubiquitous than, and hence as useless as, the current label that warns ‘this product was made at a plant that also processes peanuts;’
- And that GMO-free foods are already labeled – with the word “organic.”
But GMO isn’t the whole problem, or even the biggest, and labeling is not the solution. The problem is greedy corporations putting profits ahead of the health of their customers.
Coca Cola sent ‘nutrition experts’ to the 37th Annual Conference & General Meeting of the Nigeria Institute of Food Science and Technology last week. Nigeria is seeing a rapid rise in obesity, heart disease, gluten intolerance and diabetes. The Coke experts – presumably with a straight face – told the assembled crowd that the increase in diabetes and other non-contagious diseases is a lifestyle issue and has nothing to do with the increased sales of Coke products.
Is the increase in gluten sensitivity is a ‘lifestyle issue’? In our last column (click here), we pointed out that wheat consumption has gone down significantly in this country over the past century, yet gluten intolerance has gone up!
To continue with our bread story:
By the 1920s bread companies were using a flour that had had all the healthy bran and wheat germ stripped away. The remaining starch was bleached with a substance called agene not only to make it whiter but – because large businesses are always in a hurry – to artificially ‘age’ it so that it worked better with mechanized dough-kneading machines.
The government stepped in midway through the century. Doctors in England had some pretty convincing proof that Agene would kill you, but not before making you crazy. Agene was banned, replaced with good old chlorine bleach.
The government was also concerned (there’s an oxymoron for you) about the utter lack of nutritive value in the bleached, starchy powder, so it was “enriched”… small amounts of four B vitamins and iron were added. Of course they don’t come close to replacing the vitamins, fiber, magnesium, manganese, zinc, calcium, minerals, phytonutrients and lignans lost in processing. And the “iron” added has about as much nutrition as you’d get by chewing on a nail.
To offer customers ever lighter and fluffier bread the competing bread companies demanded higher gluten varieties from the wheat industry, eventually resulting in a bread that, if it was any less substantial, would have been impossible for the average housewife to cut with a breadknife. But a company called the Continental Baking Company pushed forward anyway, in 1928 purchasing another bread company that had a patent on an automated bread slicer and packager, and Wonder Bread was born.
And now you know where the expression, ‘The greatest thing since sliced bread’ came from.
Wheat farmers, like bread companies, work within what’s called the Free Market System. But they have an additional item to consider on their profit-and-loss statement. It’s calledThe Farm Bill.
The Free Market System knows what I will pay for:
- Bread flour, about 35 to 50 cents a pound,
- Red fife flour, $1.00 a pound,
- Kamut flour, $1.25 a pound,
- Spelt flour, $1.60 a pound, and
- Einkorn flour, about 2.00 a pound.
So why aren’t wheat farmers all jumping on the health-conscious, wheat alternative bandwagon? The Farm Bill.
And the list goes on ……
In 1900, cancer killed three people in America out of every hundred. Today, it’s 33 out of every 100–more than one-in-four Americans die from cancer. These figures come from Dr. Joseph Weissman, a professor of medicine at UCLA. Weissman reckons that a fair slice of this explosion in cancer mortality can be laid at the door of petro-chemicals, particularly those used by the food industry.
But pesticides become less effective the more they are used. American farmers sprayed 33 percent more pesticides per acre in 1990 than they did in 1945. Over the same 45-year period, crop losses from pests increased from 31 to 37 percent. The response has been ever-greater dosings with pesticides. Addiction to chemical-intensive agriculture has become so acute that bio-engineers at the Monsanto Corporation have concocted “Round-Up Ready” soybeans. It is a deadly circle of poisons.
The risks from chemical-intensive agriculture come not only in the food, but also in the application of the pesticides, mostly in the form of aerial spraying. The federal Office of Technology Assessment reckons that more than 40 percent of the pesticides dumped by planes drifts off the target area, ending up in streams, schoolyards, and neighborhoods. Fluorescent tracers have shown that it takes only a moderate breeze to carry poisons such as 2,4-D and paraquat 20 to 50 miles. One study found poisons such as toxaphene, furan, and dioxin in the mud on the bottom of Lake Siskiwit, on Isle Royale–a wilderness island in the middle of Lake Superior. The pesticides had been wind-carried there over more than 200 miles.
Workers are always the first to pay the price. In central Washington last in 1995, 55 workers in an apple orchard became seriously ill after the wind shifted and they became exposed to the pesticide carbaryl. The EPA and the chemical industry claim that the regulations for the use of such pesticides will prevent any adverse health consequences. In their idyllic scheme, harvesting spraying takes place in perfect windless weather, with workers decked out in the latest protective gear and with detailed warning labels emblazoned on the poison brews. Real life in the fields means planes dumping clouds of pesticide in the wrong place at the wrong time, no protective clothing, poisons mixed with bare hands, workers uninformed about the dangers of the chemicals they are told to handle. The instructions for the use of pesticides are usually printed only in English, while most field workers are Spanish-speaking.
New study data is emerging all the time, and findings point to a simple but frightening fact: the toxicity of glyphosate has been grossly underestimated.
Glyphosate triggers massive inflammation, taxes the body with oxidative stress, throws your hormones out of whack, and destroys your microbiome (many experts attribute Celiac disease and grain intolerance to this damage). That pretty much covers the root causes that lead to nearly all major health conditions, so it’s no wonder that glyphosate has now been linked with immune dysfunction, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, obesity, depression and other mood disorders, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, infertility, reproductive issues, developmental deformities, and ALS
But at least organic food is safe…right?
In light of this increasingly grave situation, those wishing to protect themselves from the negative health effects of glyphosate have retreated into the perceived safety of organic food. But recently, a tirelessly health-conscious company, Tropical Traditions, has revealed that organic food is not as safe as we think it is.
They recently tested commercial organic grains grown in Montana, North Dakota, and Canada, and found them to contain levels of glyphosate that were nearly as high as in conventional, non-GMO grains (between 0.03-0.06 mg/kg, compared to 0.07-0.09 mg/kg found in conventional produce). While GMO grains contain much higher levels yet (between 3.3-5.7 mg/kg), this presence of glyphosate in organic products is deeply distressing—particularly given the chemical’s uncanny abilities to trigger health problems at shockingly low doses.
All organic grains they examined failed the glyphosate test, with the exception of organic rye and organic millet, as well as organic wheat from small-scale farmers in Wisconsin.