Andy Warhol Halloween: “There’s a Franken-Fly in my Fish-Gene Tomato Soup and I Can’t Get Up!”

Labels Scare the GE Crap Outta Bayer, Monsanto, et al

We had a gathering —  public meeting — in Ellensburg, WA, looking at the known and projected  impacts of genetically engineered crops. The Washington State supporters are looking to garner more support for an initiative on the upcoming ballot, I-522,  which calls for  labeling all genetically engineered food.

Sort of half the ball-game is lost. Akin to putting giant marques  around big and small communities that state:

  • Ground water contaminated with hydraulic fracturing chemicals
  • Ground ozone too high — stay inside, don’t exercise, breathe easy
  • Beaches closed due to medical waste flotsam
  • Tap water must be boiled due to cryptosporidium outbreak
  • Children play at your own risk — atomized depleted uranium over, under, in everything
  • Pregnant women do not drink the well water

Oh, heck, you get the picture: Washington state is fighting to have GE/Frankenfood labeled, when in fact we should have kept the stuff out of our food web completely.

At that public meeting in the farming community of Ellensburg, Howard Vlieger gave a presentation. He’s a third generation farmer who is seen as an expert on genetically engineered crops. His concerns point to human health around the planting and consumption of those “modified crops.”

Nelson Shafer voiced his concerns: “My health would be a lot better and I’d have more strength of mind and body, the whole nine yards is going to be better off for everybody if these ingredients are labeled.”

Another comment: “The thing is wanting to know what other ingredients are in your food and you have a right to know,” said Jim Brand.

“Most” crops in the state are not genetically engineered, but voters will be casting their votes on I-522 this November in the general election, a measure that has nothing to do with keeping GE-GMO crops out of our lives.

As I have found a million times over, when you specialize in things around environmental debates, ecological realities and the continual chipping away of our natural environment, people can focus on one species, say, the leatherback turtle, and in that grand study, a microcosm of connections to the food web and web of life in general could, should and many times are made. So, the genetically modified food arena, while much more broad-based than someone or group of people working on the leatherback turtle, still, it holds onto some simple points — GMOs and,

  • plant and animal breeding
  • human health
  • agriculture
  • animal welfare
  • food production

and GMO’s and their  implications on

  • biological diversity
  • human genetics and medicine
  • the environment
  • the socioeconomic development

So, look at just one small window into one week’s of stories around GE-GMO, from, GENET,  “a European network of non-governmental non-profit organisations engaged in the critical debate of genetic engineering, founded in 1995. GENET’s mission  is to provide information on genetic engineering to its member organisations and the interested public and to support their activities and campaigns. At the moment, GENET has 51 member organisations in 27 European countries. GENET is an international non-profit association under Swiss law.”

Here, again, don’t say people concerned about the food web, which includes all animal and plant species and our cultural diversity around food and food security, aren’t working hard to stop the take-over of our seeds. The way of humanity, pre-agrarian and all through way through 10,000 years of chopping down forests, planting, rerouting rivers and polluting the air, water, human species with all those inputs that have made modern ag green in the sense that green is greenbacks, trillions in cash made on food, at the expense of ecosystems, and people, who are still starving and calorie deficient in the several billions.

These pigs of the corporate science  whorehouse want ALL food to be genetically modified, imprinted with DNA codes that have to be purchased and teased with toxins to produce deficient foods. These pigs will stop at nothing to make money and hold billions of us at the end of their GMO gun barrel.

Again, brought to you by yours truly via DV —  “Soy Mafia and GMO Assassins Aided and Abetted by Scientific American

Genetically-engineered olive flies?

“The Oxitec insects are manipulated with synthetic DNA, which is a mix of maritime organisms, bacteria, viruses and other insects. It is not known how these insects will interact with changing environmental conditions, so far they have only been bred in the laboratory,” said Testbiotech’s spokesman Christoph Then.

Are ‘Frankenflies’ a Safe Alternative to Chemical Pesticides?

We’re finally starting to see the ugly consequences of decades of unrestrained pesticide use. Direct and indirect exposure to pesticides has been linked to asthma, autism and learning disabilities, birth defects and reproductive dysfunction, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and several types of cancer. Yet we keep dumping them all over the place.

Why? Because to keep us swimming in meat and wheat, it’s necessary to grow a lot of food. Crop-eating pests are a liability, so farmers are willing to do just about anything to keep them at bay. Despite what the chemical companies tell us, the pesticides aren’t working, so now some say we should genetically modify the bugs themselves.

Scientists in Britain are seeking approval to unleash thousands of genetically-modified olive flies in Spain as part of a plan to develop an alternative to chemical pesticides. The olive fly (seen above) poses a huge threat to the nation’s olive crops, and the genetic experiment promises–at least in theory–to eliminate the pests without affecting other species.

In the experiment, pioneered by Oxford-based biotech firm Oxitec, genetically-modified olive fly males would be released into the environment, free to mate with wild olive females. The resulting offspring would be infertile, however, so eventually, all of the flies would die-off, leaving the olives free to flourish without the use of a toxic pesticide that has been banned in some countries.

I know what you’re thinking: “But what happens to all those tweaked-out male flies?! What if they get a little kinky and start spreading their seed to other types of flies?”

“Olive flies only mate with olive flies, only the targeted species would be affected,” explains Medical Daily. “Chemical pesticides, in contrast, linger and can affect a broad array of organisms.”

The experiment has been a success when trialed in greenhouse laboratories. Results suggest that the entire olive fly population could be wiped out in about two months, but things rarely go as well in nature as they do in the controlled setting of a lab.

Some fear that littering the Spanish countryside with the carcasses of GM olive flies could yield unforeseen negative consequences. If they’re ingested by other animals or decompose in the water supply, for instance, they might still release unknown toxins into the environment.

“Oxitec’s experiments should not go ahead until rules for safety testing and plans for labeling and segregation of contaminated fruits have been thoroughly debated and assessed,” Dr. Helen Wallace, director of GeneWatch UK, told the Daily Mail. “If these issues are ignored, growers could suffer serious impacts on the market for their crops.”

Furthermore, “Friends of the Earth, an environmental policy group, claims that some of the genetically modified insects could continue to breed. While Oxitec only plans to release males, up to 0.5 percent of the released insects are female, as the released mosquitoes are handpicked by scientists, prone to human error,” reports Medical Daily.

See here.

News on All Sides of the GE-GMO Debate:- Run Through and See How Pathetic the Pro-GMO Folks Are!

Well, no need to continue giving you all specific examples of The Future of Food. You all know how to surf the World Wide Web. And, check out just that week’s worth of headlines (hit the links for the full stories) around genetically modified food-plants-insects-bacteria-mammals-fish-people. GNET —  European network of non-governmental non-profit organisations engaged in the critical debate of genetic engineering:

Read more: 

2013-09-16 | permalink

Monsanto’s Next Conquest for GMO Dominance

While Africa has long been intransigent in its stance against introducing genetically modified crops, cracks are forming in the opposition, and the world’s leading biotechs — DuPont , Monsanto , and Syngenta among them — are poised to take advantage of the weakening stance and flood the market with seed, fertilizer, and pesticides. With Europe effectively closed off to GM crops, the seed and chemical giants are looking to Africa to be their next growth market.

2013-09-11 | permalink

Lawyers’ Fight Over Labeling Lacks Nutritional Content

Some of the good class-action lawyer folks who fought the tobacco companies in the 90s have apparently plucked their next target: food manufacturers, for false and misleading health claims about their foodstuffs.

2013-09-11 | permalink

US farmers appeal complaints about Monsanto to Supreme Court

A group of U.S. farmers, seed companies and others challenging patents on genetically altered crops held by biotech seed giant Monsanto Co. on Thursday appealed their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

2013-09-11 | permalink

Dow wins patent fight with Bayer over genetic engineering

Bayer Cropscience has failed to convince a federal appeals court that Dow Agrosciences violated one of its biotech patents. The patent pertained to genetically engineered crops resistant to 2,4-D.

2013-09-11 | permalink

GM foods: asking the right questions

A while ago, I read an article in Mother Jones: GM Crops Are Killing Monarch Butterflies, After All. Given the current concerns about genetically modified foods, it was predictable — and wrong, in a way that’s important. If you read the article rather than the headline, you’ll find out what was really going on. Farmers planted Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn and soybeans. These plants have been genetically modified so that they’re not damaged by the weed killer Roundup. Then the farmers doused their fields with heavy applications of Roundup, killing the milkweed on which Monarch caterpillars live. As a result: fewer butterflies.

2013-09-10 | permalink

GM Fruit Flies Set for Mass Releases in Spain and Brazil

GeneWatch UK today called for a moratorium on proposed releases of genetically modified (GM) fruit flies and other agricultural pests into the environment, until the issue of GM insects in fruit and vegetable supplies has been properly addressed.

2013-09-09 | permalink

Canada: Weeding out Monsanto

You might have missed it, but this spring thousands of people across Canada came out to 38 rallies organized by farmers and their supporters. In addition to these April 9 rallies, people inundated their MPs with letters and petitions, emailed, made phone calls, and asked for meetings. They were responding to a call from the National Farmers Union – Ontario for a day of action against the release of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa in Canada.

2013-09-09 | permalink

Washington: crowd hopes for support on labeling initiative

A public meeting in Ellensburg on Sunday focused on the impact of genetically engineered crops. Supporters hoped to gain the support of I-522, an initiative calling to label all genetically engineered food.

2013-09-09 | permalink

Hawaii: Thousands rally against GMO practices on Kauai

Thousands on Kauai marched the streets to show their support of the “Right to Know” Bill, a bill that would require agricultural companies working with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to disclose the chemicals they’re using and take extra steps to keep the chemicals contained.

2013-09-09 | permalink

Proponents of GM food still talking about Golden Rice? Sigh

Yes, they are, as witnessed by the article in the New York Times last Sunday and the editorial about food biotechnology in the September food issue of Scientific American.

2013-09-09 | permalink

Philippines: Law on Golden Rice ban urged

Non-government organizations supporting organic food and farms want local and national laws to ban genetically-modified crops such as the controversial Golden Rice for its detrimental effect to health and farmers’ income.

2013-09-09 | permalink

Class Action Over “All Natural” Products With GMOs

Smucker’s cannot trash a potential class action alleging that it mislabels Crisco Oil products as “all natural,” a federal judge ruled. In a federal complaint earlier this year, Diane Parker claimed the J.M. Smucker Co. deceives consumers by labeling Crisco Pure Vegetable Oil, Crisco Pure Canola Oil, Crisco Pure Corn Oil and Crisco Natural Blend Oil as “all natural.”

2013-09-09 | permalink

Spain Considers Trial Release of GM Olive Flies

Genetically-modified olive flies will be released in a Catalan olive grove if a field trial proposed by British biotech company Oxitec is approved in Spain. According to German expert group Testbiotech, which opposes the trial, it would be the first release of GM animals in the European Union.

2013-09-09 | permalink

India: Agriculture Minister says farmers prefer GM crops

Farmers tend to prefer growing genetically modified crops as they give a higher yield, are more disease resistant and provide more profits, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said.

2013-09-09 | permalink

GM wheat: records show concern over export markets

Four months after the discovery of genetically engineered wheat sent a shudder through one of Oregon’s most significant international markets, federal investigators appear no closer to solving the mystery of how the “Roundup Ready” plants appeared in a solitary eastern Oregon field.

2013-09-09 | permalink

China Food Fight Over GMO Heats Up

China’s fierce public debate on genetically modified food, long a political hot potato in a country obsessed with how to feed its 1.3 billion citizens, has become the subject of a spat between big guns from two of its most powerful governing institutions.

2013-09-09 | permalink

Israel’s GM “Superplants” Thrive in Arid Areas

Genetically-modified food has a bad reputation mostly because many food giants are mixing non-plant DNA to create drought and pest-resilient crops that we’ll eventually eat; manipulating plant DNA with plant components, however, is normal practice.

2013-09-09 | permalink

Nature Vs. GMO: Face Off Over GM Food

Heather Harp’s passionate advocacy against foods with genetically modified ingredients springs from her guts. The 29-year-old Auburndale woman, a private nanny, represents one of the millions of U.S. consumers the Florida citrus industry will have to deal with if it takes the path of using genetically engineered trees as a solution to citrus greening, a fatal bacterial disease threatening commercial citrus production in the state.

2013-09-09 | permalink

Biotech Industry New Era of Pesticide-Promoting Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has quietly approved the first of a new generation of GE crops resistant to more toxic herbicides. The first crop to pass the low regulatory bar was a Bayer soybean variety genetically engineered to withstand direct application of the herbicide isoxaflutole (IFT), which according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a “probable human carcinogen.”

2013-09-05 | permalink

African opposition to GMO is farce, says group led by Kofi Annan

Concern in Africa over genetically modified crops has been dismissed as fear of the unknown by an environmental group chaired by Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general.

2013-09-05 | permalink

British Scientists Aim To Engineer Their Own Beans

Essentially little more than navy beans covered in a tomato-based sauce, baked beans are one of the more popular foods in the British Isles. However, due to the UK’s growing environment – the beans are grown outside the region and are mostly imported from Canada.

2013-09-02 | permalink

The battle for Pakistan’s agriculture

The first battle never really took off even after 66 years – restoring unduly appropriated land to the tiller – and a second more destructive and far-reaching battle is already upon us. Monoculture killed three-fourths of global biodiversity and soils: GM can only hasten extinction.

2013-09-02 | permalink

Lawsuit to Halt GE Crops on Wildlife Refuges in the Midwest

A federal lawsuit filed today seeks to halt the planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops and end blanket pesticide use in national wildlife refuges in the Midwest region. The suit demands that the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), which operates the refuges, stop these practices until it undertakes rigorous analyses of their environmental impacts.

2013-09-02 | permalink

Eco-Groups Challenge Obama Over GMO in Wildlife Refuges

Environmental advocates are once again suing the Obama administration to stop the farming of genetically engineered crops in national wildlife refuges, this time in five refuges in four Midwestern states.

2013-09-02 | permalink

Oregon, source of GE plants remains a mystery

Oregon farmers are moving ahead with plans to start planting their next crop as questions remain about the source of a patch of genetically modified wheat found in a farmer’s field there last spring that threatened trade between the Pacific Northwest and other countries.

2013-09-02 | permalink

GMO labeling takes center stage in New York

After years of debate and study, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods have been even more in the spotlight recently. Last year, California’s highly-publicized GMO labeling ballot initiative attracted significant attention before it failed in a public vote. This time around, New York State is debating the issue as the legislature considers a bill (for which NRDC recently testified in support) that would require the labeling of many foods and agricultural products produced through genetic engineering.

2013-09-02 | permalink

Why has study saying GM could kill been ignored?

The study by researchers under Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen in northern France ran into an immediate barrage of condemnation when it was published. As a result, it has been largely ignored by the media, and is mostly unknown in the UK.

2013-09-02 | permalink

Golden Rice and GMOs: The Best Solutions To World Hunger?

Earlier in the week I wrote an article about genetically engineered food, and why I thought it was a bad idea. I questioned the use of science to justify the promotion of Golden Rice, and asserted that there were other, more promising ways of providing nutrition to those who need it.

2013-08-29 | permalink

Genetic Modification in the Food We Eat

Chances are you’ve heard the term “Genetic Engineering” or “genetically modified”. And chances are also that you’ve heard the many ways this incredible technology can benefit our society. But have you ever stopped to consider how this technology really works, what it is actually doing, and the potential dangers involved in tampering with the genetics of our food?

2013-08-29 | permalink

Illinois: GMO corn failing to protect fields from pest damage

Researchers in the key corn-growing state of Illinois are finding significant damage from rootworms in farm fields planted in a rotation with a genetically modified corn that is supposed to protect the crop from the pests, according to a new report.



Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.

One comment on this article so far ...

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  1. Paul Haeder said on September 16th, 2013 at 11:31am #

    Dear Paul,

    Last week the U.S. House of Representatives decided to introduce the same language for the Continuing Resolution spending bill (H.J.RES.59) that contained the Monsanto Protection Act that Congress passed last spring.

    Last March, Monsanto succeeded in sneaking the controversial rider into a must pass spending bill, which is set to expire on September 30th. The Monsanto Protection Act undermines the basic concept of judicial review and forces the USDA to allow the planting of untested GMO crops even if a federal court ruled that the USDA had not properly considered the environmental or economic risks these new crops pose to family farmers.

    If allowed to pass again, this new provision would undermine agency oversight and this dangerous provision could eventually become permanent, allowing Monsanto to succeed in stripping judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested GMO crops.

    Is Congress Trying to Kill GMO Labeling?

    Even worse, right now Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) is working behind the scenes to introduce a bill that would kill state GMO labeling efforts by preempting it with a bill that would place GMO labeling under federal authority, circumventing successful citizen led efforts in Maine and Connecticut and trying to invalidate the ballot initiative in Washington state before it even passes.

    We need your voice today more than ever to stop Monsanto’s shenanigans in Congress!

    Click here to make a call to Congress to tell them to vote no on the continuing resolution if it contains any protections for Monsanto or undermines state’s rights to label genetically engineered foods!

    Even now as we are close to winning, Monsanto, DuPont and the biotech seed and chemical giants are working desperately behind the scenes to thwart our efforts.

    While the previous Continuing Resolution that was passed this March is set to expire on September 30th, Roll Call reported this week that House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, (R-KY) has introduced the short-term Continuing Resolution, with the exact same language as last time, which could be voted on as early as next week.

    While members of the House are desperate to pitch this new continuing resolution as a “responsible” effort to pass a temporary budget to avoid a shutdown of the federal government, Monsanto and the biotech industry are using it as another opportunity to corrupt our basic democrat rights and protect their bottom line.

    Last spring Food Democracy Now! members exposed the initial Monsanto Protection Act to the world when more than 300,000 of us stood up and demanded an end to the special interests handouts to Monsanto and the biotech seed and chemical giants.

    Right now, we are once again calling on you and your friends and family to stand with us again to help expose this corruption of our basic democratic process once again!

    Monsanto’s days are numbered and they know it! This year, you helped passed GMO labeling bills in Connecticut and Maine and right now we’re working hard with our allies to help win a citizen led ballot initiative in Washington state that would mandate labeling of genetically engineered foods.

    Unfortunately, Monsanto, DuPont and the largest junk food companies in the world are determined to try to steal our basic democratic rights to protect their corrupt corporate profits. Just this week Monsanto dumped $4.5 million to defeat our efforts to win Yes on 522 and GMO labeling in Washington state while DuPont dropped $3.4 million.

    Right now is the critical window where we need to stand together to stop Monsanto and these corrupt corporations from trying to betray our basic democratic rights once again.

    Please stand with us to help stop Monsanto, DuPont and the biotech seed and chemical companies from corrupting our laws and democratic process.

    Remember, democracy is like a muscle, either you use it or you lose it!

    Thanks for participating in food democracy,

    Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team