Media/News Archive

The Next Great GMO Debate

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Technology Review
by Antonio Regalado

monsantoDeep inside its labs, Monsanto is learning how to modify crops by spraying them with RNA rather than tinkering with their genes.

The Colorado potato beetle is a voracious eater. The insect can chew through 10 square centimeters of leaf a day, and left unchecked it will strip a plant bare. But the beetles I was looking at were doomed. The plant they were feeding on—bright green and carefully netted in Monsanto’s labs outside St. Louis—had been doused with a spray of RNA.

The experiment took advantage of a mechanism called RNA interference. It’s a way to temporarily turn off the activity of any gene. In this case, the gene being shut down was one vital to the insect’s survival. “I am pretty sure 99 percent of them will be dead soon,” said Jodi Beattie, a Monsanto scientist who showed me her experiment. Read Full Article »

Junk Food Marketing Targets Communities of Color

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

by Rachel Zegerius

Source: Frankie Leon

Some of the same conventional processed food companies that are listening to their customers’ demands to remove synthetic and artificial ingredients are, simultaneously, being investigated for target-marketing nutritionally poor foods directly to communities of color.

A recent report by the University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity examines TV food advertising, and other forms of marketing, to young Hispanic and Black consumers.

The research shows that these young people receive a “double dose” of promotions for products high in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium. In fact, two‐thirds of food ads viewed by Hispanic children and teens promote fast food, candy, sugary drinks, and snacks. Read Full Article »

Meet the Nation’s First School District to Serve 100% Organic Meals

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Common Dreams
by Nadia Prupis

Source: Center for Ecoliteracy/USDA

“This program successfully disrupts the cycle of unhealthy, pre-packaged, heat and serve meals that dominate school kitchens.”

When schools in California’s Sausalito Marin City District return to session this August, they will be the first in the nation to serve their students 100 percent organic meals, sustainably sourced and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

More than 500 students at Bayside MLK Jr. Academy in Marin City and Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito will eat fresh, local food year-round, thanks to a partnership with the Conscious Kitchen, a project of the environmental education nonprofit Turning Green.

“Students everywhere are vulnerable to pesticide residues and unsafe environmental toxins,” Turning Green founder Judi Shils said on Tuesday. “Not only does this program far exceed USDA nutritional standards, but it ties the health of our children to the health of our planet. It’s the first program to say that fundamentally, you cannot have one without the other.” Read Full Article »

GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health

Monday, August 24th, 2015

The New England Journal of Medicine
by Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D.

HerbicideSpray WillFuller
Image source: Will Fuller

N Engl J Med 2015; 373:693-695August 20, 2015DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1505660

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not high on most physicians’ worry lists. If we think at all about biotechnology, most of us probably focus on direct threats to human health, such as prospects for converting pathogens to biologic weapons or the implications of new technologies for editing the human germline. But while those debates simmer, the application of biotechnology to agriculture has been rapid and aggressive. The vast majority of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States are now genetically engineered. Foods produced from GM crops have become ubiquitous. And unlike regulatory bodies in 64 other countries, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require labeling of GM foods. Read Full Article »

Butter Unlikely to Harm Health, but Margarine Could Be Deadly

Friday, August 21st, 2015

The Telegraph
by Sarah Knapton

Source: Steve Johnson

Saturated fat does not increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes or early death, a study has shown

Saturated fat found in butter, meat or cream is unlikely to kill you, but margarine just might, new research suggests.

Although traditionally dieticians have advised people to cut down on animal fats, the biggest ever study has shown that it does not increase the risk of stroke, heart disease or diabetes.

However trans-fats, found in processed foods like margarine raises the risk of death by 34 per cent.

Read Full Article »