GMO Digest: Beyond 10/10/10, Health Dangers, CAFOs, and More

Here is the latest installment of the GMO Digest.

Looking Beyond 10/10/10 – As 10/10/10 came and went, we were encouraged to see that environmental activism is alive, that thousands of consumers follow this issue closely, and that the word about healthy eating and environmentally-sound food production is spreading.  These issues are only going to grow in their importance.

Here is a great read — a manifesto for changing the system of industrial food production and farming by Ronnie Cummins, Director of Organic Consumer Association.

Are You Really Surprised? - As stated in Scientific American, “now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.”  Another author recently discussing GM corn pesticides in a National Geographic blog wrote that “[r]esearchers in France found that Cry1Ab (the pesticide-producing foreign gene in GM corn) causes organ damage in rats, even when the corn made up a third or less of the rats’ diets.”

The researchers were quoted as saying “[u]nfortunately, the modified Bt toxins, mutated and as produced by GM plants, have never been tested on human cells in regulatory tests, despite our requests, … This is a shame.”

GM Contamination Settlement - On October 15th, Bayer CropScience settled a lawsuit brought by three Texas growers over claims that its genetically engineered seed contaminated U.S. long-grain rice fields, causing a plunge in exports to Europe back in early 2000s.  The settlement amount was $290,000.  Bayer previously lost six similar lawsuits for about $54 million and it still faces 6,000 other claims.

Tragedy of CAFOs – Industrial animal factories, also known as Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations (CAFOs), have brought automation on a hard-to-imagine massive scale to meat and poultry production.  Like GMOs, CAFOs have transformed their food manufacturing segment in grotesque and damaging ways.  Also like GMOs, CAFOs are dangerous to human and animal health, the environment and they have the distinction of making animal cruelty an industrial norm. Recent stories shed light on the unsavory way in which animals are raised and slaughtered, and the environmental damage caused by CAFO practices.

CAFOs in Pictures - The tragedy of industrial animal factories has been illustrated in a photograph slide show published on TreeHugger.com.  It’s a must see.

Antibiotics in Meat - Another pressing public health issue that traces back to CAFOs is the over-use of veterinary antibiotics.  Earlier this year FDA urged meat producers to refrain from using antibiotics to promote livestock growth, calling the practice an “urgent public health issue.”  According to the Union for Concerned Scientists, 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States in 2001 went to livestock for growth-promotion purposes, while another 14 percent went to animals for disease prevention or treatment.

Water Pollution by Pharma - Yes, the water you drink may be laced with pharmaceuticals. Here is a well-researched story on an issue we also wrote about earlier this year.  The danger of ever-growing volumes of pharmaceuticals in the water to humans and animals has become an increasingly worrisome concern for public policy officials and environmental advocates.  The debate is growing.

Non GMO Month - We are proud to say that two of our stories were re-published by the Non GMO Project as part of their promotion for the first ever Non GMO Month.  The stories discussed our reasons to avoid GMOs and the emergence of superweeds.

Thank you everyone for reading!  Please submit your comments or ideas and follow the latest GMO and food safety news on our Facebook fan page or on our Twitter feed.

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http://www.treehugger.com/galleries/2010/10/industrial-animal-factories-in-shocking-photos.php