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Friday, January 10, 2014


January 10, 2014  News Item in L.A. Times Business Section: "Monsanto profit beats forecasts"

Monsanto Co., the world's largest seed company, reported fiscal first quarter earnings that topped analysts' estimates on rising sales of engineered soybean seeds and Roundup herbicide.  Revenue rose 6.9% to $3.14 billion.


IN PLAIN CHEERIOS, NO MORE GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms)

January 4, 2014, L.A. Times article by David Pierson,

Summarized by me, Graham Becker

General Mills stops using bioengineered corn starch and sugar can in plain Cheerios.  Whole-grain oats, the chief ingredient in the cereal, are not affected by the change because oats are not available in genetically modified varieties.

General Mills uses GMO corn, soy, and beet sugar in many of its cereals.  This decision will only affect original Cheerios (usually a child's first finger food) and will not affect Lucky Charms or Cinnamon Toast Crunch because genetically engineered ingredients are so pervasive in their sourcing and manufacture.

Genetically Modified food is one of the most divisive issues in America today.  Farmers have always bred crops for special traits such as drought tolerance.  But genetic engineering takes place in a lab where plant genes are altered.

Proponents laud the innovation as a way to boost yields, build disease resistance and feed hungry nations.

Today, according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture, 93% of all soybeans and 90% of all corn grown in the United States are genetically modified varietals.

According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, up to 80% of processed foods in America contain genetically engineered ingredients.

There is no definitive science showing such foods are harmful to human health when consumed.

A June ABC News poll found that 93% of Americans favored GMO labeling laws and more that 50% believed GMO's to be unsafe for human consumption.

General Mills spent $2 million defeating the 2012 GMO labeling initiatives in California and Washington. General Mills opposes state-by-state labeling laws because it would be too costly to fight.

64 countries, including all those in the European Union, Japan and Australia, require food manufacturers to indicate to consumers if their products contain GMO's.

Currently, there are no national labeling laws in the U.S.

General Mills supports a national initiative.

It is reported that Ben and Jerry's as well as Chipotle restaurant will be eliminating GMO's from their formulations this year, 2014.

More on GMO's...researched and reported by Graham Becker


We now have agricultural scientists working for companies who are patenting scientifically altered and genetically modified seeds and fish. Companies large and small want to patent and own their company's creation of genetically modified seeds and now fish that they've created. Farmers planting these crops have just been told by the courts in the U.S. that they can't breed their own seeds from the seeds they have bought from this or any company creating these organisms. Farmers have to continue buying a new stock of seeds every growing season. It's against the law for them not to and farmers therefore can only use this company's seeds. They must buy their seeds from the company store, so to speak.

These seeds are unique in that nature left it to scientists to create a "better" seed. Corn and soy are two of these crops that are being genetically modified. As to the health consequences of eating scientifically altered, genetically modified food, no one really knows. It could be just fine, I don't know. There is at least one observation that bees are also averse to these new crops for some reason and some people have concluded that honey bees - needed for pollination - are treating these new crops as biological deserts.

These new seeds are bred to be resistant to pesticides; coincidentally, one company's own brand. My limited understanding is that the crop doesn't die as a result of being treated with the pesticides, only the infestation is prevented. It is theorized that the bees, just doing their beezness, so to speak, are impacted by the crops systemic pesticides.

Scientists are also working on making crops more drought resistant through chemistry.

In a similar way, scientists have created the current type of wheat we eat, called dwarf wheat. It isn't our ancestor's wheat, mind you, it's a modern incarnation and invention of a grain that didn't exist until we made it in a lab. The ancient grain is no longer a part of our food choices. Dwarf wheat was bred to be shorter in stature than the ancient wheat, grow faster, get harvested more quickly, and repeat. On top of that crop invention, we then pulverize the grain, add back some vitamins and minerals and even more gluten in some cases, and then we form stuff, put in a box and call it food. Just look around you (or is that 'a round you') and you'll see what I'm talking about. We're eating more dead food than our bodies can metabolize safely. We've become a danger to ourselves, methinks.