Archive for June, 2009

Weed killer kills human cells. Study intensifies debate over inert ingredients

Weed killer kills human cells. Study intensifies debate over ‘inert’ ingredients.

Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. The new findings intensify a debate about so-called “inerts” — the solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other substances that manufacturers add to pesticides. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients are approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

By Crystal Gammon

Environmental Health News

June 22, 2009

Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.

The new findings intensify a debate about so-called “inerts” — the solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other substances that manufacturers add to pesticides. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients are approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is the most widely used herbicide in the United States.  About 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA.

Until now, most health studies have focused on the safety of glyphosate, rather than the mixture of ingredients found in Roundup. But in the new study, scientists found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells—even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns.

One specific inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA, was more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than the herbicide itself – a finding the researchers call “astonishing.”

“This clearly confirms that the [inert ingredients] in Roundup formulations are not inert,” wrote the study authors from France’s University of Caen. “Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death [at the] residual levels” found on Roundup-treated crops, such as soybeans, alfalfa and corn, or lawns and gardens.

The research team suspects that Roundup might cause pregnancy problems by interfering with hormone production, possibly leading to abnormal fetal development, low birth weights or miscarriages.

Monsanto, Roundup’s manufacturer, contends that the methods used in the study don’t reflect realistic conditions and that their product, which has been sold since the 1970s, is safe when used as directed. Hundreds of studies over the past 35 years have addressed the safety of glyphosate.

“Roundup has one of the most extensive human health safety and environmental data packages of any pesticide that’s out there,” said Monsanto spokesman John Combest. “It’s used in public parks, it’s used to protect schools. There’s been a great deal of study on Roundup, and we’re very proud of its performance.”

The EPA considers glyphosate to have low toxicity when used at the recommended doses.

“Risk estimates for glyphosate were well below the level of concern,” said EPA spokesman Dale Kemery. The EPA classifies glyphosate as a Group E chemical, which means there is strong evidence that it does not cause cancer in humans.

In addition, the EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture both recognize POEA as an inert ingredient. Derived from animal fat, POEA is allowed in products certified organic by the USDA. The EPA has concluded that it is not dangerous to public health or the environment.

The French team, led by Gilles-Eric Seralini, a University of Caen molecular biologist, said its results highlight the need for health agencies to reconsider the safety of Roundup.

“The authorizations for using these Roundup herbicides must now clearly be revised since their toxic effects depend on, and are multiplied by, other compounds used in the mixtures,” Seralini’s team wrote.

Controversy about the safety of the weed killer recently erupted in Argentina, one of the world’s largest exporters of soy.

Last month, an environmental group petitioned Argentina’s Supreme Court, seeking a temporary ban on glyphosate use after an Argentine scientist and local activists reported a high incidence of birth defects and cancers in people living near crop-spraying areas. Scientists there also linked genetic malformations in amphibians to glysophate. In addition, last year in Sweden, a scientific team found that exposure is a risk factor for people developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Inert ingredients are often less scrutinized than active pest-killing ingredients. Since specific herbicide formulations are protected as trade secrets, manufacturers aren’t required to publicly disclose them. Although Monsanto is the largest manufacturer of glyphosate-based herbicides, several other manufacturers sell similar herbicides with different inert ingredients.

The term “inert ingredient” is often misleading, according to Caroline Cox, research director of the Center for Environmental Health, an Oakland-based environmental organization. Federal law classifies all pesticide ingredients that don’t harm pests as “inert,” she said. Inert compounds, therefore, aren’t necessarily biologically or toxicologically harmless – they simply don’t kill insects or weeds.

Kemery said the EPA takes into account the inert ingredients and how the product is used, whenever a pesticide is approved for use. The aim, he said, is to ensure that “if the product is used according to labeled directions, both people’s health and the environment will not be harmed.” One label requirement for Roundup is that it should not be used in or near freshwater to protect amphibians and other wildlife.

But some inert ingredients have been found to potentially affect human health. Many amplify the effects of active ingredients by helping them penetrate clothing, protective equipment and cell membranes, or by increasing their toxicity. For example, a Croatian team recently found that an herbicide formulation containing atrazine caused DNA damage, which can lead to cancer, while atrazine alone did not.

POEA was recognized as a common inert ingredient in herbicides in the 1980s, when researchers linked it to a group of poisonings in Japan. Doctors there examined patients who drank Roundup, either intentionally or accidentally, and determined that their sicknesses and deaths were due to POEA, not glyphosate.

POEA is a surfactant, or detergent, derived from animal fat. It is added to Roundup and other herbicides to help them penetrate plants’ surfaces, making the weed killer more effective.

“POEA helps glyphosate interact with the surfaces of plant cells,” explained Negin Martin, a scientist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina, who was not involved in the study. POEA lowers water’s surface tension–the property that makes water form droplets on most surfaces–which helps glyphosate disperse and penetrate the waxy surface of a plant.

In the French study, researchers tested four different Roundup formulations, all containing POEA and glyphosate at concentrations below the recommended lawn and agricultural dose. They also tested POEA and glyphosate separately to determine which caused more damage to embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.

Glyphosate, POEA and all four Roundup formulations damaged all three cell types. Umbilical cord cells were especially sensitive to POEA. Glyphosate became more harmful when combined with POEA, and POEA alone was more deadly to cells than glyphosate. The research appears in the January issue of the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

By using embryonic and placental cell lines, which multiply and respond to chemicals rapidly, and fresh umbilical cord cells, Seralini’s team was able to determine how the chemicals combine to damage cells.

The two ingredients work together to “limit breathing of the cells, stress them and drive them towards a suicide,” Seralini said.

The research was funded in part by France’s Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering, a scientific committee that investigates risks associated with genetically modified organisms. One of Roundup’s primary uses is on crops that are genetically engineered to be resistant to glyphosate.

Monsanto scientists argue that cells in Seralini’s study were exposed to unnaturally high levels of the chemicals. “It’s very unlike anything you’d see in real-world exposure. People’s cells are not bathed in these things,” said Donna Farmer, another toxicologist at Monsanto.

Seralini’s team, however, did study multiple concentrations of Roundup. These ranged from the typical agricultural or lawn dose down to concentrations 100,000 times more dilute than the products sold on shelves. The researchers saw cell damage at all concentrations.

Monsanto scientists also question the French team’s use of laboratory cell lines.

“These are just not very good models of a whole organism, like a human being,” said Dan Goldstein, a toxicologist with Monsanto.

Goldstein said humans have protective mechanisms that resist substances in the environment, such as skin and the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, which constantly renew themselves. “Those phenomena just don’t happen with isolated cells in a Petri dish.”

But Cox, who studies pesticides and their inert ingredients at the Oakland environmental group, says lab experiments like these are important in determining whether a chemical is safe.

“We would never consider it ethical to test these products on people, so we’re obliged to look at their effects on other species and in other systems,” she said. “There’s really no way around that.”

Seralini said the cells used in the study are widely accepted in toxicology as good models for studying the toxicity of chemicals.

“The fact is that 90 percent of labs studying mechanisms of toxicity or physiology use cell lines,” he said.

Most research has examined glyphosate alone, rather than combined with Roundup’s inert ingredients. Researchers who have studied Roundup formulations have drawn conclusions similar to the Seralini group’s. For example, in 2005, University of Pittsburg ecologists added Roundup at the manufacturer’s recommended dose to ponds filled with frog and toad tadpoles. When they returned two weeks later, they found that 50 to 100 percent of the populations of several species of tadpoles had been killed.

A group of over 250 environmental, health and labor organizations has petitioned the EPA to change requirements for identifying pesticides’ inert ingredients. The agency’s decision is due this fall.

“It would be a big step for the agency to take,” said Cox. “But it’s one they definitely should.”

The groups claim that the laws allowing manufacturers to keep inert ingredients secret from competitors are essentially unnecessary. Companies can determine a competitor’s inert ingredients through routine lab analyses, said Cox.

“The proprietary protection laws really only keep information from the public,” she said.

Read more great posts about real food at


Fresh, and Food Inc. – Two Movie Reviews in One

Fresh and Food, Inc Movie Review Coordinator

In the past week, we’ve seen both of these documentaries. They are both about our food supply, industrial farming, and safe food.  One is Fresh and the other Food, inc.  Fresh we bought on DVD and Food, inc is playing at our local movie theatre. I took the kids. Links are below.

There are a lot of similarities in the movies so I’m reviewing them together.  They are about how monocultures (growing just one crop) is environmentally dangerous and how industrialized food has lead to unhealthy, over-processed food and abused and neglected animals. My cousin, who lives near a cow CAFO, (Concentrated animal feeding operation) calls it, Cowchwitz, which unfortunately it is for the poor cows who live there.

Both movies have soy and corn farmers who don’t use GMO’s (Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed).  These conventional farmers are a vast minority these days and Monsanto is suing them anytime their field get contaminated by Monsanto’s products. Monsanto is also suing the seed cleaners and putting them out of business so even the people who want to grow and save their own non-GMO seed have no one to clean it anymore.  It’s unconscionable.

Fresh had Michael Pollan (who’s also in Food, inc) discussing how CAFO’s are creating manure lagoons that are toxic waste fields of animal manure, filled with antibiotics, pharmaceuticals, and hormones that leaches into the water supply. These toxic conditions are causing not only local pollution,  but has lead to outbreaks of e-coli in spinach, peanut butter and other foods.

Both movies also feature segments with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, one of my personal heroes, because he is farming in a safe, ecological and sustainable way.  In Fresh, he discussed how Mad Cow disease has come about from the  CAFO practice, of feeding cows other dead and diseased animals.  Cow are herbivores, and only supposed to eat grass, not corn, and certainly not dead animals.

Faster, bigger, cheaper is the motto of industrial agriculture. The cheap corn and soy that are fed to animals in this country are subsided by our tax dollars. I think those dollars would be better spent subsidizing cheap fruit, vegetables and organic and sustainable food.  Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety, said it’s now been scientifically proven that a mid-sized organic farm can produce more and safer food then their agribusiness counterpart.  He also said these agribusiness farms have cost us 90% of our crop and animal diversity and lost more then 14% of our topsoil, through the use of non-sustainable methods.

The amazing thing is that 70% of the row crops that are grown in the U.S. are not for human consumption but for the animals that can’t digest them.

I liked both movies but have to say that I did like Fresh better.  The topics are similar but Fresh held more of a positive message about what we can do to stop this; eat local, eat organic, shop at your local farmer’s market.  Food, inc, while also having the same message, had a number of very disturbing scenes of confined animals being mistreated and slaughtered.  Fresh had a few confinement scenes also but it was balanced with many scenes of what real farming and husbandry should be.

On the other hand, my 17 year old son said he liked Food, inc. better, because it clearly said this is not an acceptable way to treat animals as well as the humans that had to work with them. Food, inc. did provide more detail of how terribly the workers are treated in industrial food production.  They are both good, and highly recommended movies.

The overall message, and the message of us here at is the same:  Eat Local, Eat Organic, Eat safe, fresh food for you, and your family. As more of us do this, the system will have to change.

You can read more great posts about real food, on Fight Back Friday here,

Links to buy:


Aspartame Gate: When Donald Rumsfeld was CEO of Searle

I have to admit, I haven’t drunk soda, diet or otherwise in many years and I heard that there were problems with Aspartame when it was first released but didn’t know many of the specifics until I read the below.  It’s unconscionable that OUR government cares more about special interests then the health and well being of us and our families.



As calls for US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign are prompting questions from Senators, about possible breakdowns in the Pentagon chain of command leading to prisoner abuse in Iraq, Betty Martini founder of Mission Possible, an international ‘Aspartame resistance’ movement, writes to Senator Biden to explain that allowing torture of prisoners in Iraq may not have been the only reprehensible action Rumsfeld should answer for.

Martini says that Aspartame, a toxic sweetener approved against better scientific judgement by an FDA Commissioner personally installed by Rumsfeld when he was working on president Reagan’s transition team, is killing thousands and the evidence is being covered up by a pliant FDA. Will Rumsfeld fall over what someone has already called Gulag Gate? – or might he fall victim to the FDA’s and his own involvement in what more and more starts to look like Aspartame Gate?

Read Betty Martini’s letter to Senator Biden here:

URL: and

Sender: [email protected]

Date: Wed, 05 May 2004 14:26:40 -0400

To: [email protected]

From: “Dr. Betty Martini”

Subject: Senator Biden, More damning information on Rumsfeld you may not know

Dear Senator Biden:

The news talks about you asking Donald Rumsfeld to step down which has to do with the Iraq situation.

I would like to call your attention to when Donald Rumsfeld was CEO of Searle, manufacturers of aspartame. For 16 years the FDA refused to approve it, not only because its not safe but because they wanted the company indicted for fraud. Both U.S. Prosecutors hired on with the defense team and the statute of limitations expired. They were Sam Skinner and William Conlon. Skinner went on to become Secretary of Transportation squelching the cries of the pilots who were by now having seizures on this seizure triggering drug, aspartame, and then Chief of Staff under President Bush’s father. Some of these people reach high places. Even Supreme Justice Clarence Thomas is a former Monsanto attorney. (Monsanto bought Searle in l985, and sold it a few years ago). When Ashcroft became Attorney General, Thompson from King and Spalding Attorneys (another former Monsanto attorney) became deputy under Ashcroft. (Attorneys for NutraSweet and Coke).

However, the FDA still refused to allow NutraSweet on the market. It is a deadly neurotoxic drug masquerading as an additive. It interacts with all antidepressants, L-dopa, Coumadin, hormones, insulin, all cardiac medication, and many others. It also is a chemical hypersensitization drug so that it interacts with vaccines, other toxins, other unsafe sweeteners like Splenda which has a chlorinated base like DDT and can cause autoimmune disease. It has a synergistic and additive effect with MSG. ( Both being excitotoxins, the aspartic acid in aspartame, and MSG, the glutamate people were found using aspartame as the placebo for MSG studies, even before it was approved. The FDA has known this for a quarter of a century and done nothing even though its against the law. Searle went on to build a NutraSweet factory and had $9 million worth of inventory.

Donald Rumsfeld was on President Reagan’s transition team and the day after he took office he appointed an FDA Commissioner who would approve aspartame. The FDA set up a Board of Inquiry of the best scientists they had to offer, who said aspartame is not safe and causes brain tumors, and the petition for approval is hereby revoked. The new FDA Commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes, over-ruled that Board of Inquiry and then went to work for the PR Agency of the manufacturer, Burson-Marsteller, at a rumored $1000.00 a day, and has refused to talk to the press ever since. Read the whole story of the history of aspartame at This will tell you everything you need to know. Rumsfeld calling in his markers is even documented in the congressional record!

In order to get it in other countries, Searle made a business deal with Professor Paul Turner in England. They knew if England found out the FDA wanted them indicted for fraud it could never get approved. Parliament found out and there was a big blow out but the order was never rescinded. The story was in the Guardian. Now all they had to do was rubberstamp this deadly poison around the world.

There were three congressional hearings because of the outcry of the people being poisoned. Senator Orrin Hatch refused to allow hearings for a long time. The first hearing was in 1985, and Senator Hatch and others were paid by Monsanto. So the bill by Senator Metzenbaum never got out of committee. This bill would have put a moratorium on aspartame, and [would have] had the NIH do independent studies on the problems being seen in the population, interaction with drugs, seizures, what it does to the fetus and even behavioral problems in children. This is due to the depletion of serotonin caused by the phenylalanine in aspartame.

I spoke to the European Union a couple of years ago and brought them the damning government records so they would know that aspartame was never proven safe. This was at the time they were going to write a new report, again because of the outcry on aspartame. I also gave them some of Monsanto’s flawed research and showed them what they had done. You can’t show a poison to be safe on studies without fixing them. But those from industry were part of the committee so what the EU did was eliminate all the damning research and use the flawed. They didn’t even look at their own research. It was as if they were making it up as they went along. See the rebuttal to the EU report on Click on aspartame.

With regard to Desert Storm Syndrome, you may recall the government did a study and came up with Lou Gehrigs. The pop companies sent aspartame laced pop to the Persian Gulf to sit in the 120 degree Arabian sun and break down to formaldehyde cocktails. Go to and read the protest of the National Soft Drink Association and you’ll see they said it decomposes at 86 degrees. So the pop companies knew the gun was loaded. The NSDA also quoted the law that said it’s illegal to put anything in carbonated beverages that decomposes or adulterates the drink. Yet the pop companies turned around and added it to the beverages anyway. And it would interact with vaccines like the Antrax given to the troops – never approved by the FDA. Acting Commissioner at the time, Michael Friedman just said to use it anyway. Read the case for aspartame disease being Lou Gehrigs on (click on aspartame).

Back in 1996 when Dr. John Olney (founded the field of neuroscience called excitotoxicity, and attempted to stop the approval of aspartame with Attorney James Turner) made world news on the aspartame/brain tumor connection he was on 60 Minutes. Michael Friedman knowing full well the main reason the FDA [had] refused to allow aspartame on the market for 16 years was the brain tumors, got on 60 Minutes and defended Monsanto by saying aspartame did not cause brain tumors. Yet the FDA’s own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross, told Congress that without a shadow of a doubt aspartame can cause brain tumors and brain cancer, and violated the Delaney Amendment which forbid putting anything in food you know will cause cancer. His last words to Congress were “And if the FDA violates its own law, who is left to protect the public?” All you have to do is read the Bressler Report (FDA audit) on where Searle was caught excising brain tumors from the rats and putting them back in the study. When the rats died they resurrected them on paper. I spoke with Jerome Bressler as did Dr. H. J. Roberts (Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic, or 1 800 827 7991) and neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D. (author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, ). He told us the studies were so bad that the FDA removed the 20% of his report that was the most damning. He also said to try and attain a cover letter as well as two mice studies. Dr. Roberts wrote his congressman to get this, but the FDA refused.

I asked Michael Friedman when he was going to get his reward for selling out to Monsanto, but he never answered. In June 1999 he got his reward when Monsanto hired him. I told him at the time the FDA no longer needed a revolving door, they could build a bridge to take care of the traffic.

Today we are faced with what may be one of the largest plagues in world history, Aspartame Disease. Congress has given the NIH $2.7 billion to find out what toxin is poisoning our kids that has baffled the experts. See my report on to NIH. In 20 years the kids would be dead. They ought to give the money to the parents of children damaged by aspartame.

Aspartame lawsuits have now been filed accusing some of the largest companies in the world of knowingly poisoning the public. See press release below. Understand that aspartame damages DNA so we’re talking about survival of the human race. Nothing is safe as long as [aspartame] is on the market because of interaction of a deadly chemical poison. Thank you Donald Rumsfeld! The medical text, Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic, by Dr. H. J. Roberts is 1038 pages of symptoms and diseases triggered by this neurotoxin. It has even caused the epidemic of obesity because it makes you crave carbohydrates so you gain weight, and the formaldehyde accumulates in the adipose tissue (fat cells) according to the Trocho Study. That’s why they are trying to get the cheeseburger law through the Senate now. Aspartame manufacturers do not want to be held responsible for the epidemic they caused by refining lies until they resembled truth, telling the public aspartame is a diet product. Aspartame is also responsible for the epidemic of diabetes. It not only can precipitate diabetes but simulates and aggravates diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy, can cause diabetics to go into convulsions and interacts with insulin.

Aspartame liberates free methyl alcohol. Charles Fleming was a body builder and played basketball four times a week, and was addicted to aspartame, drinking diet drinks all day, and consuming other products. When he died and [they] saw the methanol poisoning they thought his wife poisoned him. This Sunday school teacher is now serving 50 years in a Troy Virginia prison for a crime committed by the manufacturers of aspartame. Four doctors have written affidavits that Fleming died of aspartame but the medical examiner, Dr. Marcello Fierro (friend of Orrin Hatch) has refused to talk to Dr. Roberts even when a meeting was set up for that reason. He wrote one of the affidavits. He treated victims of aspartame disease in the trenches of medical practice for 20 years and testified before Congress. In his first press conference he said if something wasn’t done then we would be faced with a global epidemic, and that’s where we are. See the petition for releasing Diane Fleming on .

America is terrorized by the exploding crisis in health care. American families are but a single sickness away from financial destruction. Citizens who scrimped their life through to cushion retirement must now choose whether to eat or buy drugs. Face it: if you’re over 50 you’re over-medicated in the USA today. Try saving half by buying from Canada and FDA will make a law against you! Land of the Free no more!

It’s about money. Money for commissioner Hayes. Money for the federal prosecutors. Money for the parade of FDA officials who slithered into the NutraDeath club. Billions of quarters tinkling into vending machines of the National Soft Drink Association that once announced aspartame instability, but when cash registers began dancing to the beat of aspartame addiction just hurried to the bank.

Under the venal authority of Commissioner Hayes FDA repudiated its mission to protect a nation’s health and became the private harlot of the drug industry. Aspartame and a thousand more dread poisons pimped by FDA are loosed upon a trusting population. Like seeping sewage the stinking greed of FDA and it’s whoremasters has infected American healthcare, murdering children, impoverishing families and devouring widows’ houses.

And it all started with Donald Rumsfeld calling in his markers and getting this deadly, deadly neurotoxic drug approved. He knew it was poison and didn’t care.

The profiteer’s endless proclamation:

“All is well!” “All is well!”

They lure our land and health to hell.

Dr. Betty Martini, from

Related articles:

Rumsfeld Nutrasweet Folleys Now Hurt US Troops,

Aspartame, anti-depressants and Bush,

Aspartame Neurotoxic: Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nutra Sweet Sued in California,

FDA bans Ephedra: deaths may be Aspartame related,

FDA – Monsanto: dangerous relations,


An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton from Another Wellesley College Alumna


Dear Hillary,

By polling logic, I should be your supporter — Democrat, woman, white, liberal. But this past summer I saw a News Hour show on farmers committing suicide in Maharastra, India, which affected me deeply. I started learning what was happening to farmers and to food and how the Clintons are connected.

The News Hour piece said Monsanto, a US agricultural corporation, hired Bollywood actors to sell illiterate farmers Bt (genetically engineered) cotton seeds, promising they’d get rich from big yields. The expensive seeds needed expensive fertilizer and pesticides (Monsanto’s) and irrigation. There is no irrigation there. Crops failed. Farmers had immense debt and couldn’t collect seeds to try again because Monsanto seeds are “patented” as “intellectual property”).

“Genetic Engineering is often justified as a human technology, one that feeds more people with better food. Nothing could be further from the truth. With very few exceptions, the whole point of genetic engineering is to increase sales of chemicals and bio-engineered products to dependent farmers.”

David Ehrenfield: Professor of Biology, Rutgers University.

Monsanto has a $10 million budget and 75 person staff to prosecute farmers.

Since the late 1990s (as industrial agriculture took hold in India),166,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide and 8 million have left the land (P. Sainath, The Hindu). Farmers in Europe, Asia, Africa, Indonesia, South America, Central America and here, have all protested Monsanto and genetic engineering.

What does this have to do with you?

Your Orwellian-named “Rural Americans for Hillary” were Monsanto’s lobbyists. My greater concern, though, is you former-employer, Rose Law Firm, representing Monsanto, world’s largest GE (GE – genetic engineering) corporation; Tyson, world’s largest meat producer; Walmart, the world’s largest retailer. Rose is home to Industrial FOOD.

Rose’s cozy connections: Jon Jacoby, senior at the Stephens Group – one of the largest shareholders of Tyson, Walmart, DP&L – is C.O.B. of DP&L, arranged the Wal-Mart deal. Jackson Stephens’ Stephens Group staked Walton, financed Tyson. Monsanto bought DP&L. Walmart’s board invited you on, Tyson executive helped you do $100,000 trade just before Bill’ governorship, Jackson Stephens backed Bill for Governor, then President (donating $100,000).

Monsanto made Agent Orange, PCBs, nuclear weapons components, pesticides, and with that diverse background in death, are now “doing” food.

Bill in office:

USDA immediately significantly weakened chicken waste/contamination standards, easing Tyson’s poultry-factory expansion.

1. Monsanto people were put in charge of food, …

2. FDA okayed Monsanto’s rBGH (bovine growth hormone), first GE-product ever approved.

3. Despite bovine illness/death, FDA didn’t recall or warn.

4. When dairymen labeled milk “rBGH-free,” USDA threatened confiscation.

5. Organic food was the last way around unknown danger. FDA tried to close that escape with new “organic” standards, to include: genetic engineering of plants/animals, food irradiation , sewage sludge fertilizer.

USDA backed down from public response 20 times greater than to anything before American food:

Oils: Indian sheep died eating from Bt cotton fields. Our children eat Bt cottonseed oil in peanut butter, cookies.

Grains: 49 per cent of corn acreage planted in Bt corn in 2007. A French study indicates it causes kidney and liver toxicity. . Monsanto controls US’s two main crops, soy (90% GMO, 90% of traits “belong” to Monsanto) and corn, the largest crop (60% GMO, nearly 100% Monsanto “owned” traits).

Meat: Steroids bulk athletes, Monsanto steroids fatten animals, our fattening children eat steroid-laced meats. FDA allowed “known TSE-positive (Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy Mad Cow Disease) material to be used in pet food, pig, chicken and fish feed.” Monsanto’s GE-hormone increases risk sick cows are entering US food chain

Poultry: USDA weakened waste/contamination standards. Waste from transnational poultry industry is now implicated as the source of bird flu. The poultry industry is using the crisis to push out small farmers.

Milk: Scientific studies indicate Monsanto’s rBGH increases risks of breast cancer by up to seven-fold, increases colon, prostate cancers risks. Canada, 29 European nations, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa ban U.S. rBGH dairy products. Bill’s USFDA put no restrictions, warning labels, or any labels.

Control out of control.

Monsanto’s Terminator genes make plants sterile after one season, posing apocalyptic risk of breaking out into nature. GE breakouts have contaminated maize and weeds, already.

Monsanto, meat-packers, and the USDA are pushing NAIS (National Animal Identification System), a corporate database tracking small farmers’ livestock.

Monsanto pushing state laws taking control from farmers, communities, over GE planting.

Cattle living in filth, 12,000-year-old seed loss, poultry industry implicated in bird flu, Mad Cow disease, bee colony collapse, poisoned soil, depleted water, Superweed), lawsuits against farmers, loss of family farms throughout the world, … farmers committing suicide. Industrial agriculture.

Bees and farmers, dead canaries in that mine.

Your proposed “Department of Food Safety” centralizes control over food into whose hands? Tough talk on labeling “foreign” food but Bill degraded US food and prevented minimally sane labeling. You never objected.

Monsanto uses child labor in India.

You take Monsanto donations. Blacks, our poorest group, have to eat Monsanto’s steroid/hormone/antibiotic-filled GE food. You take Monsanto donations.

Who are you protecting? National Black Farmers Association, boycotting Monsanto? Babies drinking rBGH milk? Women fearing breast cancer? Despairing farmers? Suffering animals? Children fed kidney-and-liver-toxic Bt-corn?

Or Monsanto?

I am a person before I am a woman. Your gender is irrelevant. Given deadly threats to my grandchildren’s future by your corporate connections (Edwards was right), I don’t believe your talk of “caring” about Blacks/women/children/health/farmers/food.

I will vote for someone committed to small farmers – our ONLY real food safety. Your friends, though, are the heart of an international industrial agricultural nightmare.

Linn Cohen-Cole


Disclaimer. I am not a scientist. I have read for months on this subject, and am including only a tiny portion of the horrifying things I have learned. I am expressing my opinion as person and may be wrong. Perhaps things are swell out there and rBGH is fabulous and TSE-laced feed is great, and genetic engineering is the best thing since manna. But I am scared for my family and I have not only a right to say so but an obligation to do so. I am angry that Monsanto was allowed the influence it had and has done the things it definitely seems to have. I am disgusted by industrialization of every tender and beautiful part of our world and hope, for all our children’s sake, we are not too late to pull back.

Read more great, Fight Back Friday posts here:


The Book that Changed our Lives

I have been studying nutrition and eating healthfully since high school. I remember 30 years ago telling my mother that we should be using butter and not margarine. She didn’t believe me. 🙂

I have been a vegetarian, a vegan, and macrobiotic at different times in my life, trying to find a diet that really worked for me. When my kids were born our diet changed to home cooked meats (mostly fish & chicken), vegetables and grain, mostly healthy with occasional processed food. We were doing okay until I started having some serious health challenges, stemming from the California fires of 2003. I started having serious lung problems that got even worse from a subsequent smoke inhalation. I tried everything from the steroids prescribed by my doctor to homeopathy – I’m trained as a homeopath and did experience some relief from remedies but not enough – and also tried acupuncture, herbs, etc. I was still not doing well. At the same time my husband was experiencing a recurrence of sinus problems that he hadn’t had in years.

We were searching for something that would help us regain our health. I was browsing cookbooks on and found Nourishing Traditions.  It looked really interesting and after reading the reviews, I bought it. We both read it through and it made good sense, we decided to tweak our eating habits. We started making broths from scratch, started making real kefir (from real, raw, whole milk) and kombucha, and we stopped using vegetable oils (esp Canola as it’s made from genetically modified seed) and switched to olive oil, butter and coconut oil.

Within a few months of making those changes both of us experienced a noticeable improvement in our health and day-to-day energy.  I was able to slowly wean off of my inhalers and my husband’s sinuses improved. Our energy greatly improved – and we are both in/near our 50’s.

It’s over 600 pages of research, food information and recipes. The book is laid out with the basic nutritional information – and it’s NOT what we’ve been told before – in the front. Then comes all the recipes with sidebars through out detailing information and research to go along with them. And the recipes are terrific too, for everything from home made stocks, to fish, meat, vegetables, grains, desserts and beverages. There’s a lot of wonderful information on fermented foods and tonics. We now make kefir and kombucha but there are more I’d like to try.  I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s truly a life changer.



Buy it at Amazon – click the book pic  (affiliate link – we make a few cents that helps keep our site running)

How to Avoid Genetically-Manipulated (GMO) Food Ingredients

In North America, all soy that is labeled “organic soy” is guaranteed to not be genetically-manipulated and not be treated with herbicides. Look for soy products and ingredients (e.g., tofu, tempeh, miso, soy sauce, soy milk, etc.) which are organic. All other soy ingredients are almost always genetically-manipulated and herbicide-treated. The same is true for canola, corn, dairy products and potatoes. Look for organic corn, potato and dairy ingredients at your local health food store. Check the ingredients labels carefully. It may be best to avoid canola altogether because it is rarely organic and is usually chemically-treated as detailed by world expert, Udo Erasmus. Outside of Europe and Asia it may not be possible at this time to avoid genetically-manipulated ingredients 100% of the time, but it is a good idea to avoid them when possible. The List of Companies Pledging to Remove GMO Ingredients is another very useful resource.

Health Hazards

There are a number of compelling reasons to completely avoid genetically-manipulated and herbicide-treated food ingredients from soy, corn, canola, dairy and potatoes. Children should be particularly careful to avoid such non-organic food ingredients.

1. Scientists attending the Open-ended Working Group on Biosafety of The UN-Convention on Biological Diversity (13-17 October, 1998) implored “all governments to use whatever methods available to them to bar from their markets, on grounds of injury to public health, Monsanto’s genetically manipulated (GM) [herbicide-resistant] Roundup-Ready (RR) soybean.” Non-organic soy ingredients are made with Roundup-Ready soybeans. Full Text of News Release and Scientists’ Statement.

2. A recent experiment conducted by independent expert Dr. Alpad Pusztai in the United Kingdom has shown that genetically-manipulated foods can, when fed to animals in reasonable amounts, cause very gradual organ damage and immune system damage.

The food used in the experiment was genetically-manipulated potatoes. Two sets of potatoes were grown in the same pot and greenhouse: 1) a genetically-manipulated variety altered to produce a non-toxic “GNA lectin”, and 2) a normal variety of potato. The normal potato was fed to animals with no adverse effects. The genetically-manipulated potato caused gradual organ damage and immune system damage.

A separate follow-up experiment conducted by Dr. S.W.B. Ewen, a Senior Pathologist at the University of Aberdeen, has confirmed that it was not the “GNA lectin,” but toxic or infectious by-products of the genetic manipulation process led to the immune system damage and organ damage in the animals fed genetically-manipulated potatoes. Because it was not the lectin in the potatoes, but the genetic manipulation process itself which led to toxicity, similar results might be seen in animals or humans fed genetically-manipulated soy, canola, and corn over a long period of time (i.e., years or decades).

There were initial reports of flaws in the research when government agencies audited the Dr. Pusztai’s preliminary notes. But since that time, over 20 top scientists around the world have peer-reviewed the Final Report and stated that the conclusions are justified. Parts of these experiments conducted by Dr. Pusztai and Dr. Ewen were recently published in the scientific journal, The Lancet. Most of The Lancet reviewers deemed it acceptable research for publication.

A couple of reviewers and other scientists and organizations receiving biotech money have been critical of the research. They have made the following statements (paraphrased below):

* “Raw potatoes should not have been fed to the animals in the experiment.” However, the animals eating non-genetically manipulated raw potatoes did fine. It was only the genetically manipulated food which caused health problems.

* “Too few animals were used.” Initial objections of The Lancet’s statistician reviewer were satisfied. Enough animals were used to show a statistically significant difference between the test group and control group.

* “There was an inadequate control group.” This is a non-specific criticism. The experiment wasn’t perfect. But the only difference between the two groups of animals was that one group ate genetically manipulated foods and the other didn’t.

* “One cannot take the results of this experiment and apply it to all genetically manipulated foods.” The only difference was the genetic manipulation of the potatoes. The same hazards may or may not be found in genetically manipulated soy, canola, etc. It is prudent to assume that all genetically manipulated ingredients have the same slow toxic effects until long-term, independent research can be conducted on each genetically manipulated crop.

On occasion, news reports of flaws in the research are mistakenly repeated, but almost independent scientists who have seen the Final Report of Dr. Pusztai’s research and are aware of the results of Dr. Ewen’s research agree that the conclusions are justified.

* News Report on Dr. Pusztai’s Research

* Interview with Dr. Pusztai

* Summary of the Peer-Review by Researchers

* Confirming Research by Dr. S.W.B. Ewen (Scroll Down to Text)

3. There are several differences between the normal breeding process and the artificial genetic manipulation process. One key difference is the use of highly-infectious viruses for artificial genetic manipulation as a promoter to switch on the introduced gene. One commonly-used virus is a highly-infectious form of the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV). (The form of CaMV virus found in normal foods is not highly-infectious and cannot be absorbed by mammals.) The dangers were described in detail by renowned geneticist Dr. Mae-Wan Ho in a meeting on March 31st 1999 at the invitation of UK Environment Minister, Michael Meacher. Additional scientific information about the dangers presented by infectious promoter viruses such as CaMV are described by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Dr. Joe Cummins, Emeritus Professor of Genetics, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Western Ontario. Finally, a recent scientific report by Molecular Biologist, Angela Ryan provides further concerns regarding the use of the CaMV virus to create genetically-manipulated foods.

4. Another key difference between normal breeding and artificial genetic manipulation is that the genetic manipulation greatly increases the risk that the plant (e.g., soy) will develop toxic or allergy-causing compounds. Such unexpected changes have already been shown to occur in some genetically-manipulated crops.

The insertion of a new gene can sometimes alter the synthesis of chemicals in the plant. Such an alteration can lead to the change in existing chemical compounds in the plant (including a possible significant increase in existing levels of toxic compounds) or the development of new toxic or allergy-causing compounds. There would be no way to predict these effects in advance and it would be difficult to test for these effects without many years of careful, independent research on human test subjects. Gradual toxic effects could occur over weeks, months, years, or even decades and society would not be aware of the health damage until it was too late.

Genetic Manipulation industry representatives often point out that such unexpected hazards could be seen when breeding plants. This is true. However, the evidence demonstrates that there is a much greater likelihood of these unexpected toxic and allergic effects from genetically-manipulated plants/food ingredients. These potentially dangerous effects and their greater likelihood in genetically manipulated crops/food ingredients were discussed in some detail in by one of the world’s top experts on genetically manipulated crops:

Scientific principles for ecologically based risk assessment of transgenic organisms

P.J. Regal, Published in Molecular Ecology (1994) 3:5-13

(NOTE: Scroll down to the heading: “Ecologically adaptive pleiotropic effects?” approximately 3/5 of the way down the document)

For an excellent summary related to toxic and allergy-causing substances appearing in genetically-manipulated foods, please see the summary of “Assessing the Safety and Nutritional Quality of Genetically Engineered Foods” by Dr. John Fagan, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. At the end of the summary, there are examples provided of genetically-manipulated crops/ingredients that unexpectedly produced toxic or unusual chemical compounds.

5. Another major risk from genetically-manipulated foods is the possibility that regular exposure to foreign DNA and RNA material inserted into these artificial foods could cause allergic reactions or autoimmune diseases. Recent scientific research has shown that fragments of DNA from genetically-manipulated food ingredients can be detected in the brains of animals fed these food ingredients. Dr. Sharyn Martin, Ph.D. discusses the evidence that DNA and RNA fragments can cause adverse immune system reactions including autoimmune disorders in Immunological Reactions to DNA and RNA.

Scientists in the United Kingdom measured a 50% increase in soy allergies in one year. They believe that the increase in soy allergies may be caused by the increase use of genetically-manipulated soy ingredients.

6. Finally, some genetically-manipulated crops are changed so that they produce their own high levels of pesticides. For example, genetically-manipulated “Bt” crops have been shown to emit very high levels of toxins. Plants genetically-manipulated to produce Bt toxin produce at least 1000 times more Bt toxin per acre than does a heavy application of Bt directly on the plants. This may lead to problems with long-term ingestion of such foods (such as non-organic corn and corn-based sweeteners). Other hazards related to crops manipulated to produce their own pesticides are discussed in more detail by Dr. Joseph Cummins, Professor of Genetics in “Plant-Pesticides in GE-food: A Potential Health Risk”. Even if the genetically-manipulated plant does not produce its own pesticides, it has been shown conclusively in scientific research that the herbicides used on some of these non-organic, genetically-manipulated plants (e.g., soy, canola, corn) are extremely toxic and can cause birth defects.

Additional authoritative information written by some of the world’s leading scientific experts for laypersons, physicians and scientists can be found at:

* Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology

* Is Genetically Engineered Food Safe?

* Genetic Engineering and Its Dangers: Essays Compiled by Dr. Ron Epstein

* Bio-Safety – Risks From Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEOs)

Environmental Hazards

The risks of irreversible damage to the environment have caused scientists around the world to demand a moratorium on the release of genetically-manipulated crops. This document focuses on health hazards. For a discussion of the environmental risks, please see the Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology web page.

Regulation of Genetically-Manipulated Foods

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not test nor require significant safety tests for genetically-manipulated foods. It has recently become known that the FDA’s own scientists have been warning FDA officials that they are ignoring the potential hazards of genetically-manipulated foods. Neither the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nor the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) require any significant tests for the health effects of these crops.

As has been widely-reported, FDA, EPA, and USDA officials are often rewarded with lucrative jobs at companies that they were regulating. A recent report by the Edmonds Institute lists several of hundreds of possible examples of the revolving door between the regulators and the companies they are supposed to regulate.

Many organizations have expressed concern that officials at these government agencies regularly ignore concerns of their own scientists and the general public and then go out of their way to please companies that they regulate. For example, the health department in the U.K. raised the allowable food residue levels of Roundup (Monsanto’s soybean and canola herbicide) by 200 times the existing level. This was done despite dangers expressed by the leading food safety experts. Similar increases in allowable pesticide and herbicide residues have been granted in the U.S. and other countries at the request of companies involved in genetically-manipulating foods.

Worldwide Condemnation of Genetically-Manipulated Crops/Foods

In many other countries, renowned scientists, medical trade organizations and government officials are detailing the known health hazards and potential health hazards from genetically- manipulated food ingredients. For example, in the last several months, a top UK Scientist has warned about potential hazards from genetically-manipulated foods, the British Medical Association (BMA) has called for a ban on genetically-manipulated foods and the French President and German Chancellor listed genetically-manipulated foods under “Global Threats” at a recent summit meeting. Top scientists in Asia and other parts of the world are speaking out as well. This has caused many manufacturers and grocery stores chains all around the world (outside of North America) to ban genetically-manipulated food ingredients. In order to keep up with news from around the world, please read through the following compilation of news articles:

Corporate Public Relations (PR) Strategies

The multinational companies trying to sell genetically-manipulated foods (Monsanto, Dupont, Novartis, Agrevo [Hoechst and Schering]) have spared no expense in their public relations campaign. They have sometimes been successful in getting newspaper and magazine articles or television shows created to help promote genetically-manipulated crops. In addition, these multinational companies give huge sums of money to dietetic associations, farming and seed associations, grocery associations, and PR organizations (e.g., IFIC) in order to obtain help in propagating PR statements to the media and general public. Common PR statements include:

1. “Genetic Engineering is exactly like breeding and has been done for hundreds of years.”

As described above, artificial genetic manipulation of plants/food ingredients is different from breeding and has significant hazards associated with it including toxicity hazards seen in recent research.

2. “Careful tests by the FDA, EPA, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have proven that these ingredients are safe.” (Alternative: “We have the strictest regulatory process in the world”!)

These government agencies have not conducted, nor required any significant safety testing. Scientists around the world are calling for a moratorium on genetically-manipulated food ingredients and long-term, independent human studies lasting many years before these food are allowed for sale on the market. Because these government agencies are ignoring the hazards of genetically-manipulated foods, a very large alliance of scientists, consumer groups, environmental groups, and religious groups are suing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

3. “Europe and Asia are not making scientific evaluations of the issue, but relying on emotional arguments.”

Many of the top scientists around the world are speaking out about the hazards of genetically-manipulated crops/food ingredients. A small selection of these scientists have signed the following referenced document calling for a moratorium on genetically-manipulated crops. These are independent scientists who do not receive money from companies researching, creating or selling these genetically-manipulated crops and food ingredients. When U.S. officials make these sorts of public comments (quoted above), they are insulting much of the population of Europe and Asia and perhaps will strengthen the desire of European and Asian countries to avoid imports of food ingredients from the United States and Canada.

4. “Genetically-manipulated crops are safer because less pesticides and herbicides are used.”

In fact, recent research has shown that farmers growing genetically-manipulated crops use, on average, an equal amount or more pesticides than farmers growing non-genetically-manipulated, non-organic crops.

5. “Farmers are Reaping Rewards of Growing Genetically-Manipulated Crops.”

Farmers are being victimized as well. Evidence of problems they are experiencing include:

* Research showing reduced yields from genetically-manipulated crops.

* More money spent on herbicides and pesticides for genetically-manipulated crops.

* Potential of reduced farm land values.

* Possible lawsuits and intimidation from Monsanto.

* Increased costs in order to segregate their crops

* Risk of possible permanent damage to their soil by growing genetically-manipulated crops.

The scientific journal Nature (September 9, 1999) has reported that some farmers are considering class-action lawsuits because the seed and chemical companies (e.g., Monsanto) were misrepresenting their products as benign. The Washington Post reported (September 18, 1999):

“American farmers planted [gene-altered crops] in good faith, with the belief that the product is safe and that they would be rewarded for their efforts,” the American Corn Growers Association said in a statement last week. “Instead they find themselves misled by multinational seed and chemical companies and other commodity associations who only encouraged them to plant increased acres of these crops without any warning to farmers of the dangers associated with planting a crop that didn’t have consumer acceptance.”

Wheat farmers should prepare to avoid these genetically-manipulated seeds when they come on the market in the next year or two.

6. “Genetically-Manipulated crops have the potential to produce “functional foods” with extra nutrients and drugs which can save lives!”

The reality is that these nutrients or drugs can be taken separately when needed. The high cost of drugs is largely due to drug companies trying to recoup the millions of dollars of research money spent and is rarely due to high production costs. The costs of developing a drug-producing, genetically-manipulated plant is quite high. The costs of drugs will remain high whether they are genetically-manipulated into plants or not. Therefore, these drugs and nutrients can be produced without genetic manipulation as been the case in the past. It is also important to keep in mind that Alternative Medicine techniques are now beginning to replace the use of pharmaceuticals in some cases of disease treatment.

Originally, the corporate PR strategy was to say that genetically-manipulated crops would help “feed the world.” But when it was pointed out that the world grows 1-1/2 times the amount of food needed to feed the population, that the problem was food distribution, and that genetically-manipulated crops have reduced yields, the companies changed their PR to say that genetically-manipulated crops will grow drugs and save lives.

There is a very serious danger of pollen from these manipulated crops infecting normal crops of the same species or of different species leading to the unintentional ingestion of drugs by the general population. Pollen can travel a very long way from fields to infect other crops. In addition, scientists are concerned that accidental inhalation of pollen from these genetically-manipulated plants might lead to adverse health effects in some people.

What You Can Do (7 Steps)

1. Do what you can to remove genetically-manipulated food ingredients from your diet and your family’s diet. You can begin to do this by locating stores in your area which sell foods with organic soy, corn, dairy, and potato ingredients. The stores with the largest selection of such products include:

* Large natural food supermarket chains (e.g., Wild Oats Market, Whole Foods Market)

* Smaller health food stores

* Food Cooperative Markets ( directory 1, directory 2)

* Online Sources (e.g., Wild Oats Market, Whole Foods Market)

2. Print this web page out and share it with others!

3. Join others in creating web page links to the Soy Info Online! web page or this subpage.

4. Examine the organizations and web page resources below to determine which group(s) you want to work with so that we can keep food free of genetic manipulation.

5. Keep up-to-date on the latest news by subscribing to a discussion group listed in the Resource section below and/or by checking the Ethical Investing page for news updates on genetically-manipulated food issues.

6. Move your investments out of stocks, mutual funds, retirement funds, etc. which involve companies that produce genetically-manipulated crops and foods (Monsanto, Dupont, Novartis and Agrevo [Hoechst and Schering]). Europe’s largest bank recently warned large investors that ” GMOs [investments] are dead”. These companies’ stocks are falling quickly and you will lose money or certainly not make as much money as you can if you have stocks or mutual fund and retirement fund investments that involve these companies. Please check the list of mutual funds (e.g., Fidelity, Janus) that invest in Monsanto stock. Also, please join others by checking the Ethical Investing Web Page for ideas on moving your investments.

  1. 7.Please contact grocery stores to ask them to carry more organic foods including soy products, corn, potatoes and other produce. Contact food product manufacturers and ask them to replace any non-organic soy, corn, potato, dairy or canola ingredients they have with organic, non-genetically-manipulated ingredients. Sometimes the manufacturer will listen to consumer requests as is happening all over Europe. Sometimes they will claim that there are no non-genetically-manipulated sources for the ingredients they use. That is rarely the case as manufacturers all over Europe and Asia are removing genetically-manipulated ingredients from their products (Examples). Other times, they will respond with statements which originated with the genetic manipulation industry. However, it will only take a few major manufacturers in the U.S. to switch to non-genetically-manipulated ingredients and the rest will follow in order to avoid losing market share. So, please be persistent!


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Our Favorite Summer Cake

Banana-Berry Cake with Lemon Frosting

This is one of our favorite cakes. My husband’s Birthday was last week and this was his requested cake. What makes it extra special around here, is that we make it with the Blackberries that grow on our back hill. Every summer we make a few of these and this year we have (almost) more berries then we know what to do with. 


Mashed ripe banana adds moistness. The frosting, with cream cheese as its base, is similar to that of a traditional carrot cake. We use all organic and non-gmo ingredients.


Butter for the pan

1 tablespoon unbleached flour

1 1/3 cups organic sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

3 large eggs

1 3/4 cups unbleached flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup low-fat buttermilk  (we usually use kefir or half kefir and half real, raw milk)

1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 bananas)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


3/4 cup (6 ounces) Organic cream cheese, chilled

2 tablespoons butter, softened

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash of salt

2 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or strawberries. (whatever looks good)

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare the cake, coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with butter; line bottoms with wax paper. Coat wax paper with butter; dust each pan with 1 1/2 teaspoons flour.

Place granulated sugar and 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Lightly spoon 1 3/4 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk.

Combine buttermilk, banana, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture (mix after each addition just until blended). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake cake at 350° for 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Peel off wax paper. Cool layers completely on wire rack.

To prepare frosting, combine cream cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, rind, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and dash of salt in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar; beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat).

Place 1 cake layer on a plate, and spread with 1/3 cup frosting. Arrange raspberries in a single layer over frosting, and top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator. Garnish with fresh raspberries, if desired.

Read more great real food Wednesday blogs here,


Would You Call 60,000 Cows Fenced Together on a Dirt Patch a Farm?

By Lisa M. Hamilton, Prairie Writers Circle.

Between 2002 and 2007, the United States lost 43,603 real farms — we can’t let agribusiness control our food supply.

When the Agriculture Department released its 2007 census recently, the news appeared surprisingly good: For the first time since World War II, the United States did not lose farms, it gained them — 75,810, to be exact, for a total of 2.2 million.

But on closer inspection, the numbers aren’t so hopeful. The discrepancy stems from this tricky question: What is a farm? The census has changed its definition nine times since 1850, most recently to “any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year.”

This loose definition is meant to err on the side of inclusion, but ultimately it just errs. Take, for example, the four chickens I keep in my back yard. I sometimes sell eggs to neighbors, and at the going rate I could make $500 a year. If I got four more hens, my suburban home could qualify as a farm.

Silly, right? But where do you place the lower limit — or the upper limit? The Cargill feedlot in Lockney, Texas, consists of 60,000 cattle kept in dirt yards and fattened on feed grown elsewhere. Is that a farm? While the census says yes, most Americans would say no.

So then, what is a farm? To answer that, we must first ask: Why do we care? Really, why is it good news when farms — and, more importantly, the farmers who run them — increase?

There are sentimental reasons, of course, but there is also a practical reason. Farmers are valuable because they bring human scale to our massive food system. Think of how many people, in the wake of each new salmonella scare, turn to the farmers market. We do so because we know that farmers bring oversight and ethics to food production, contributions that only individual humans can offer.

In the future, farmers’ importance will only grow. Their intimate, human-scale knowledge of the land is what will allow agriculture to adapt to climate change. And as the cheap energy that industrial agriculture depends on disappears, it is farmers, with their small-scale innovation and sheer manual labor, who will feed us. Why do we care about having more farmers? Because deep down we know they are essential to a functioning food system.

So I offer this new definition of a farmer: someone who grows crops in sufficient quantity to be a true commercial entity, yet is still close enough to the ground to bring human scale and values to the process. Not the backyard chicken enthusiast, nor the corporation behind the feedlot, but the individual human on the land, growing our food.

Revisit the census with this definition, and the good news vanishes. The USDA’s reported increases occurred exclusively in farms with yearly sales of less than $2,500 or more than $500,000 — that is, the backyard operations and the corporate-scale businesses. In every other category, the numbers dropped or, in one case, stayed the same. Between 2002 and 2007, the United States actually lost 43,603 real farms.

To stop this hemorrhaging, we must shift from blindly encouraging production to investing in a system that values farmers and propagates them. We need to help new farmers obtain markets, land and credit. And we must inspire nonfarmers to enter the profession. Imagine, for instance, a program that puts interns on farms — an AmeriCorps for agriculture. In this “AgriCorps,” participants would learn the skills of farming and experience the lifestyle; hosts would receive valuable labor to bolster their businesses.

Such a program would face an obvious objection: AmeriCorps offers volunteers to public service organizations, but most farms are private businesses. Why should the rest of us help support them?

But maybe we need to reconsider that line of thinking. By defining farms and farmers as purely economic entities, we condemn them to a system that inevitably eliminates them. What if instead we began to see farmers as the public servants they are, and enabled them to be the public servants we need: stewards of our soil and water, pillars of our rural communities, and guardians of our food. Perhaps by redefining what farms mean to us, we can help their numbers grow — this time, for real.

Lisa M. Hamilton is the author of the new book “Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness.” She wrote this comment for the Land Institute’s Prairie Writers Circle, Salina, Kan. Hamilton lives in California.Read more about her.,000_cows_fenced_together_on_a_dirt_patch_a_”farm”/

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Monsanto’s Terminator Making a Comeback? Enter the Zombie!

By Barbara H. Peterson

Monsanto and its cohorts in crime promised us that they would not be using Terminator technology called GURT, or genetic use restricted technology. In fact, the United Nations actually issued a moratorium on the project. So we’re safe, right? Wrong.

As usual, the boys in the little white lab coats have not been idle. In spite of the moratorium, not only are they working heatedly on Terminator technology, but are getting ready to introduce Zombie technology. Terminator, and Traitor or Zombie technologies are just variations of GURT. Whereas Terminator technology produces plants with sterile seeds, Zombie technology carries this a step further by creating plants that could require a chemical application to trigger seed fertility every year. Pay for the chemical or get sterile seed. This is called reversible transgenic sterility. They have been working steadily on perfecting this technology, and are now poised to introduce it to the world as a solution to the current GMO contamination problem. Move over Terminator, here comes the Zombie.

If a field gets contaminated with seeds containing the Terminator gene, the resulting plants will have sterile seeds, so the reproductive cycle ends. If the contamination is from the Zombie gene, the resulting plants will most likely require a certain pesticide or will be sterile.

Plants are engineered with sterility as the default condition, but sterility can be reversed with the application of an external stimulus that restores the plant’s viability. In order to bring the “zombie” seed back from the dead, the farmer or breeder must use an external stimulus (such as a proprietary chemical) to restore the seed’s fertility.

Either way, if you are a small farmer with a contaminated field, your seed-saving venture for the following year will be less than successful. Planting sterile seeds takes the same amount of work as well as monetary outlay that planting good seeds does, but without the return on investment. And, you cannot tell the difference between the good, the bad, and the ugly seeds until it’s too late. That is, if the patent enforcement brigade doesn’t raid your property first and force you to destroy your crops and all of your seeds due to patent infringement. Then you get nothing, and have to pay for the privilege.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that Monsanto announced in 2006, its takeover of Delta Pine & Land?

This would not be of much consequence, but for the fact that Delta Pine & Land is a joint owner along with the USDA of US patent # 5,723,765 – GURT technology.

In March 1998 the US Patent Office granted Patent No. 5,723,765 to Delta Pine & Land for a patent titled, Control of Plant Gene _Expression. The patent is owned jointly, according to Delta Pine’s Security & Exchange Commission 10K filing, ‘by DP&L and the United States of America, as represented by the Secretary of Agriculture.’  (

This makes, as of 2006, Monsanto and the United States of America (Corp USA), as represented by the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA), which is currently Tom Vilsack, joint owners of the GURT patent. Kind of gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling all over, doesn’t it?

Barbara H. Peterson

Read the following article from ETC Group and download the full 28 page report here:

Here is another report on GURT technology from Germany:

Terminator: The Sequel

Despite the fact that governments re-affirmed and strengthened the United Nations’ moratorium on Terminator technology (a.k.a. genetic use restriction technology [GURTs]) in March 2006, public and private sector researchers are developing a new generation of suicide seeds – using chemically induced “switches” to turn a genetically modified (GM) plant’s fertility on or off.

Issue: Under the guise of biosafety, the European Union’s 3-year Transcontainer Project is investing millions of euros in strategies that cannot promise fail-safe containment of transgenes from GM crops, but could nonetheless function as Terminator, posing unacceptable threats to farmers, biodiversity and food sovereignty. Terminator technology – genetic seed sterilization – was initially developed by the multinational seed/agrochemical industry and the US government to maximize seed industry profits by preventing farmers from re-planting harvested seed. Researchers are also developing new techniques to excise transgenes from GM plants at a specific time in the plant’s development, and methods to kill a plant with “conditionally lethal” genes. This new generation of GURTs will shift the burden of trait control to the farmer. Under some scenarios, farmers will be obliged to pay for the privilege of restoring seed fertility every year – a new form of perpetual monopoly for the seed industry.

Impact: Whether intended or not, new research on molecular containment of transgenes will ultimately allow the multinational seed industry to tighten its grasp on proprietary germplasm and restrict the rights of farmers. Industry and governments are already working to overturn the existing moratorium on Terminator technology at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In the months leading up to the CBD’s 9th Conference of the Parties (Bonn, Germany 19-30 May 2008), industry will argue that global warming requires urgent introduction of transgenic crops and trees for biofuels – and that Terminator-type technologies offer a precautionary, environmental necessity to prevent transgene flow. Ironically, society is being asked to foot the bill for a new techno-fix to mitigate the genetic contamination caused by the biotech industry’s defective GM seeds.

Players: Taxpayer-financed research on biological containment of GM crops subsidizes the corporate agenda. A handful of multinational seed corporations control biotech seeds and the proprietary seed market as a whole has seen unprecedented corporate concentration. In 2006, the world’s top 4 seed companies – Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and Groupe Limagrain – accounted for half (49%) of the proprietary seed market.

Policy: Governments keep trying to find ways to make GM seeds safe and acceptable and they keep failing. They should stop trying. There is no such thing as a safe and acceptable form of Terminator. The EU should discontinue funding for research on “reversible transgenic sterility,” and re-assess funding for other research projects undertaken by Transcontainer. Rather than support research on coexistence to bail out the agbiotech industry, the EU should instead fund sustainable agricultural research that benefits farmers and the public. National governments should propose legislation to prohibit field-testing and commercial sale of Terminator technologies. Governments meeting at the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn, Germany must strengthen the moratorium on GURTs by recommending a ban on the technology.

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