Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kellogg plans to use genentically engineered sugar

Sugar from GE sugar beets will soon hit the market and Kellogg plans to use it - at least in the US (European's wouldn't stand for it). The Organic Consumer's Organization asked them to reconsider this position or face a boycott and Kellogg did not back down. (See letters from OCA and Kellogg's reply here) http://organicconsumers.org/kelloggs.cfm .

Since half of the granulated sugar in the U.S. comes from sugar beets, a move towards biotech beets means a dramatic alteration of the U.S. food supply. These sugars, along with GE corn and soy, are found in many conventional food products, so consumers will be exposed to genetically engineered ingredients in just about every non-organic multiple-ingredient product they purchase. At least with high-fructose corn syrup, there was a specific ingredient to avoid - but now we have to avoid anything with sugar to be safe.

The GE sugar beet is designed to withstand strong doses of Monsanto's controversial broad spectrum Roundup herbicide. Studies indicate farmers planting "Roundup Ready" corn and soy spray large amounts of the herbicide, contaminating both soil and water. Farmers planting GE sugar beets are told they may be able to apply the herbicide up to five times per year. Sugar beets are grown on 1.4 million acres by 12,000 farmers in the U.S. from Oregon to Minnesota. These GE Crops do NOT reduce the use of herbicide used - they INCREASE it!

I urge you to boycott Kellogg and other companies using or planning to use GE sugar. Monsanto's GE sugar beets will expose millions of consumers to untested and unlabeled so-called food that threaten human heath, the environment and farmers' rights everywhere.

5 comments:

AJG said...

How do you know that this will increase the amount of spraying?

What is so wrong with GE foods?

Cathe Olson said...

Without the "roundup ready" gene, fields can be sprayed with herbicide only before the crops begin to grow. Once they are growing, the crops would be killed. The GE versions can be sprayed with the Roundup herbicide and survive so roundup is sprayed multiple times during the growing season.

What's wrong with GE foods is that the technology and effects are untested and because they are not labeled, those possible effects cannot be traced.

It's possible that the GE sugar beets are perfectly safe - but who knows. I feel they should be labeled as GE so customers can chose whether they want to consume them - and also they should be tested like any other new product.

The other problem with GE is that Monsanto and other companies are patenting the genes as their product - and when their seeds drift and contaminate crops belonging to other farmers, they are suing them and many farmers are not only losing large amounts of money, they are losing the seed stock many have spent their lifetime creating.

AJG said...

"Without the "roundup ready" gene, fields can be sprayed with herbicide only before the crops begin to grow."

What?? have you ever been around a field of any sort. What do you think those airplanes are doing flying around, and the tractors in the fields going around. They are spraying herbicide on the crops, yes once they are out of the ground.


"The GE versions can be sprayed with the Roundup herbicide and survive so roundup is sprayed multiple times during the growing season."

The GE versions will be sprayed most likely only 2x during the year, but can be sprayed up to i think 5x in a year. However it cost $$ to have a equipment run through the crop, so the less the better ("Round Up" provides a less sensitive window to spray and in turn a grower can spray less times). Without GE crops the spraying would be much more, as it would require more passes through it and more chemical per acre. Instead of spraying 4 or 5 different chemicals, a grower can now only spray 1 chemical for herbicide.

The actual amount of chemical is less with GE crops. This is true. It is also better for the land, due to the does not need to be tilled again before next years crop which reduces runoff (which there is very little to start with).


"It's possible that the GE sugar beets are perfectly safe - but who knows. I feel they should be labeled as GE so customers can chose whether they want to consume them - and also they should be tested like any other new product."

Labeling, yes i agree, but isn't most everything GE now, corn, soybeans, etc...?


"farmers are not only losing large amounts of money, they are losing the seed stock many have spent their lifetime creating."

Growers don't grow their own seeds for sugar beets, (do you own research on this) therefore Monsanto isn't suing sugar beet growers for reusing them because they can't.

Growers are making more money, otherwise why would they use GE seeds. They still have the option to not use them, but if using them is net income positive, then why wouldn't they use them?

Cathe Olson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathe Olson said...

- Roundup Ready does decrease herbicide use:

According to an independent analysis of USDA data by former Board of Agriculture Chair of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Charles Benbrook, GE crops increased herbicide use in the US by 122 million pounds-a 15- fold increase-between 1994 (when GE herbicide-tolerant crops were introduced) to 2004.

- Sugar beets for seed are grown in Oregon:

Sugar beet seeds are primarily grown in Oregon's Willamette Valley, also an important seed growing area for crops closely related to sugar beets, such as organic chard and table beets. The wind-pollinated GM sugar beets will inevitably cross-pollinate with related crops being grown in close proximity, contaminating conventional sugar beets and organic chard and table beet crops.

"Contamination from genetically modified pollen is a major risk to both the conventional and organic seed farmers, who have a long history in the Willamette Valley," said the Organic Seed Alliance's Director of Advocacy, Matthew Dillon. "The economic impact of contamination affects not only these seed farmers, but the beet and chard farmers who rely on the genetic integrity of their varieties."

GM sugar beets are wind pollinated, and there is a strong possibility that pollen from Roundup Ready sugar beets could contaminate non-GM sugar beets and important food crops such as chard, and red and yellow beets (or "table beets"). Such biological contamination would also be devastating to organic farmers, who face debilitating market losses if their crops are contaminated by a GM variety. Contamination also reduces the ability of conventional farmers to decide what to grow, and limits consumer choice of natural foods.

- Herbicides sprayed with plants up:

From my research, I found that some herbicides can be sprayed with plants up and farms hope they will survive but roundup is too strong and cannot be sprayed on the actual plants. I'd be interested to see evidence if I am wrong on that.

- "Everthing" is not GE - corn and soy yes but that's all so far - and why can't they be labeled - they are in Europe, Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries around the world.

- Further studies have come out showing a decrease in yield with GE. I think farmers use them because of the promise of less chemicals and higher yields but those are proving to be untrue. However, they are needing less labor (no hand weeding . . . )