Friday, September 19, 2008

from GE plants to GE animals

Here's a statement just out from the Consumers' Union (nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports)

For Immediate Release: September 18, 2008Contact:Jean Halloran, 914.378.2457Dr. Michael Hansen, 917.774.3801

Statement of Consumers Union

Consumers Union finds it "incomprehensible" that the FDA will not require labeling of genetically engineered animals that are sold as food. Genetically engineered animals may contain genetic material from entirely different species. For example mouse genes have been put into pigs to help them metabolize phosphorous more efficiently, and spider genes have been put into goats so that they produce spider silk in their milk. FDA proposed today that they will only review genetically engineered animals for their safety as food, and will not require any labeling.

"It is incomprehensible to us that FDA does not view these animals as different from their conventional counterparts, and therefore something that under law is required to be labeled," stated Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. "In our view, consumers have a right to know if the ham, bacon or pork shops they are buying come from pigs that have been engineered with mouse genes."

Consumers Union is also concerned that cows engineered to produce antibiotics in their milk, which can help the cow avoid udder infections, also will not be labeled. "Unlike conventional antibiotics, which must be cleared from the cow before it can be used to produce milk or meat, the antibiotic that is genetically engineered into the animal will always be present. We are concerned both about the potential safety and lack of labeling on such food products," stated Michael Hansen, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Consumers Union.

My comments:

So just like plant food containing genes from other plant or animal species, these GE animals are not considered different from the original animal and don't need to be tested? If they are the same, why do the biotech companies take out patents on their version? And engineering anitibiotics into animals so they can continue to raise them in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions. We are already having problems with germs becoming resistant because of overuse of anitbiotics. This could have major implications.

We need these foods to be labeled so consumers have a choice!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Junk Food, GE corn and soy, and rats

This is a VERY interesting article about an experiment done by Appleton, Wisconson high school students. As well as some interesting information about animals and GE foods, written by Jeffrey M. Smith, author of "Seeds of Deception".

Monday, September 08, 2008

Support local companies and the environment

This is really cool and a way to make positive changes:

Carrotmob Makes It Rain

Everyone needs to buy things. But we tend not to spend our money in a socially organized way. So Carrotmob, a new environmental advocacy group, had an idea: what if those seeking the same kind of product got together, pooled their dollars, and used them to collectively support local companies that were also doing the most for the environment? Watch what happened when Carrotmob pulled a big crowd together to spend a lot of money at the local liquor store with the strongest environmental commitment. If we live our values, business can--and does--listen.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Organic vs. conventionally grown produce

I always recommend avoiding fruits and vegetables grown with pesticides--especially for children. Studies have linked the consumption of produce treated with pesticides to birth defects, neuroblastoma (an increasingly common brain cancer), leukemia in children, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, among other health problems. Children are especially susceptible because they eat 2 to 4 times more produce than adults relative to their body weight and exposure occurs as their organs and bones are still growing.

Organic produce is better nutritionally as well. Studies published by the Organic Center ( found higher antioxidant levels in organic produce and some research suggests that they maybe higher in vitamins A and E as well.

Many people feel they can't afford to buy all organic food. If you have to pick and choose, check out the lists put out by the Environmental Working Group ( They have a list of the "dirty dozen" (conventional crops with the highest pesticide levels). These are the ones to be sure to buy organic. They also provide a list of "consistenly clean" produce--foods with the lowest pesticide levels that don't necessarily have to buy organic.

Dirty Dozen

Sweet bell peppers
Grapes (imported)

Consistently Clean

Sweet corn (frozen)
Sweet peas (frozen)