Posts Tagged ‘Genetically Modified Foods’

Posted on June 6, 2011 - by

GMO Food Toxin Found in the Blood of Pregnant Moms

In conjunction with our petition to the FDA to label genetically-engineered foods, we’ve partnered with author Robyn O’Brien to bring you groundbreaking news on toxins that leach from these foods.

New research from Canada has found a food toxin that is produced in insect resistant crops developed in the United States in the blood of pregnant women, their unborn babies and the general population.

It is the first study to show that these toxins, which are produced in genetically modified crops widely used in the United States and patented by the agrichemical industry, have not only survived the digestive tract but also passed the placental barrier and entered the bloodstream of unborn babies.

Pesticides used on crops that have been genetically engineered to withstand increasing doses of herbicides and weed killers were also found in the bloodstreams of these women.

The food toxin found is used in a strain of corn that is widely used in the United States as livestock feed and has been genetically modified to produce an insecticidal protein. This corn has received cultivation approval by the European Union but has not been widely adopted outside of the United States and is currently banned in France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Luxemburg and Greece.  Because of the toxin that this corn contains, the corn is now regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency as an insecticide.

This is the first study to dispute the claim by industry that no genetically engineered protein survives intact in the intestinal tract or can enter the bloodstream, given that this study detected this food toxin, known as Cry1Ab toxin, in the bloodstream of not only pregnant women but also their unborn babies.

The research was conducted by a team of scientists at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec and has been accepted for publication in the peer reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology. The team took blood samples from 30 pregnant women prior to delivery, 30 samples from umbilical cords immediately after birth and samples from 39 non-pregnant women who were undergoing treatment. All the women were of a similar age and body mass index, and none worked with pesticides or lived with anyone who did.

Traces of the toxin were found 93% of the pregnant mothers and in 80% of the umbilical cords. The research suggested the chemicals were entering the body through eating meat, milk and eggs from farm livestock which have been fed GM corn.

The findings appear to contradict the GM industry’s long-standing claim that any potentially harmful chemicals added to crops would pass safely through the body, according to an article in the UK Telegraph.

“To date, most of the global research which has been used to demonstrate the safety of genetically modified crops has been funded by the industry itself,” states the article.

The findings add to concerns about the toxicity and potential allergenicity of these genetically engineered proteins expressed by many scientists and reinforce the importance of exercising precaution when it comes to protecting the health of the pregnant mothers and their babies.

To avoid these genetically modified proteins and toxins in your family’s diet, you can look for food labeled “USDA Organic” as by law, these foods are not allowed to contain these insecticidal proteins or genetically engineered organisms.  You can also look for products labeled “Non-GMO”.  To learn more, please see our tips, Want to Steer Clear of GMOs? Here’s How.

The article above was originally published by Allergy Kids Foundation.

About Robyn O’Brien

Robyn authored “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It.” A former food industry analyst, Robyn brings insight, compassion and detailed analysis to her research into the impact that the global food system is having on the health of our children. She founded and was named by Forbes as one of “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter.” The New York Times has passionately described her as “Food’s Erin Brockovich.” You can learn more at

Sources and Notes

Aziz A. and Leblanc S., 2010, Reproductive Toxicology, accepted 13 February 2011.

Seralini G-E., Mesnage R. Clair E., Greese S., Spiroux de Vendômois J.ann Cellier D., 2010. Environmental Sciences Europe 2011, 23:10, see

Benachour N and Séralini G-E, 2009. Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells, Chemical Research in Toxicology Vol22 No1 pp 97-105 available from


Posted on June 22, 2010 - by

Don’t Let Monsanto Spin The Story

It comes as no surprise that Monsanto’s PR machine managed to spin the Supreme Court decision on June 21, 2010 (Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms) as being a ‘big win’. While the decision is complicated, the decision is by no means the victory that Monsanto was hoping for (and claimed through media outlets who didn’t do their homework).  The bottom line is that it is still illegal to sell or plant GMO alfalfa.

“The Justices’ decision means that the selling and planting of Roundup Ready Alfalfa is illegal. The ban on the crop will remain in place until a full and adequate EIS is prepared by USDA and they officially deregulate the crop. This is a year or more away according to the agency, and even then, a deregulation move may be subject to further litigation if the agency’s analysis is not adequate,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. “In sum, it’s a significant victory in our ongoing fight to protect farmer and consumer choice, the environment and the organic industry.”

Genetic contamination from GMOs are still considered harmful under the law, both from an environmental and economic perspective. We will keep you updated on any changes regarding the efforts to deregulate GE alfalfa. In the meantime, share this blog and make sure that you help your friends, family and social networks see past Monsanto’s PR campaign and maintain our fight against GE alfalfa!

Please consider donating just a few dollars to help FRESH continue our outreach and educational efforts. Donate today:

Eat Safe,

Lisa Madison
Distribution & Outreach Coordinator

Photo from flickr user dbking


Posted on February 3, 2010 - by

Urgent: USDA to rule on mutant alfalfa

Dear FRESH supporters,

Genetic food giant Monsanto is at it again. Its next target: a new product that could eliminate all organic alfalfa, a key food for raising organic-fed cows and pigs without any genetic engineering. Oceanflynn on Flickr

The USDA is well on its way to approving Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa. In its own report, the USDA says that not enough consumers care enough about organic foods for the USDA to block Monsanto’s modified alfalfa seeds. [1]  This is absurd since one of the main reasons people buy organic food is to avoid genetically engineered crops.

The USDA is only accepting public comments for the next two weeks. We need you to write to the USDA right now and tell them they must not approve Monsanto’s mutant alfalfa. We’ll deliver your comments before the deadline. [2]

Click here:

Alfafa is one of the major food sources for certified organic animals, not only because of its quality as forage, but because Monsanto’s patented genes are already found in 95% of soybeans and 80% of corn. If the USDA lets Monsanto sell its new alfalfa, it will inevitably overtake organic alfalfa crops through the natural pollination process. [3] As a result organic farmers may be feeding their cows genetically modified food.

Just like its corn and soy, Monsanto’s alfalfa is designed to tolerate its leading herbicide: Roundup. We can’t allow Monsanto’s greed to take-over one more crop. The consequences to our choice as consumer, to biological diversity, to the survival of our small and organic farmers depends are too dire.

Monsanto’s domination of our food must stop. For the USDA to shrug it off like nobody cares is to add insult to injury. We only have two weeks to submit our comments.The fight for FRESH food will continue, and with your help we’ll make it clear that people care about the food they eat.

Let’s show the USDA and Monsanto that people want food free from Monsanto’s modifications. Write your comments to the USDA now and say no to genetically modified alfalfa.

The fight for FRESH food will continue, and with your help we’ll make it clear that people care about the food they eat.

Thanks for all you do.

ana Sofia joanes

FRESH the Movie



1. United States Department of Agriculture. Glyphosate-Tolerant Alfalfa Events J101 and J163: Request for Nonregulated Status. Draft Environmental Impact Statement-November 2009. P.T-2.
2. Docket: APHIS-2007-0044: USDA Seeks Public Comment on Genetically Engineered Alfalfa
3. United States Department of Agriculture. Glyphosate-Tolerant Alfalfa Events J101 and J163: Request for Nonregulated Status. Draft Environmental Impact Statement-November 2009. P.95.

Reviews Supplemental documents here:
10 Things you should know about GE Alfalfa
Photo courtesy of OceanFlynn on Flickr


Posted on November 17, 2009 - by

You Are What You Eat!


Bill Couzens HeadshotBy: Bill Couzens
Bill Couzens is the Founder of Less Cancer

In the work to raise awareness for unnecessary and preventable exposures that may contribute to health effects including cancer, food should be considered.  Consumers must move away from the practice of pulling foods off the shelf with little knowledge of what they and their families eating.

Scientists have documented many examples of environmental exposures that are known to increase cancer risk include: smoking, UV light, asbestos, some pesticides, hormones, metals, vinyl chloride, gasoline, and small particulates from automobile and coal-fired power plants, to name a few.

What about contaminants in food?

Dr Maryann Donovan from the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cancer Institute (CEO-UPCI) says that  “consumers do need to become more selective when shopping for all products but especially food.  Scientists at the CEO-UPCI have measured contaminants in canned food at levels that can cause biological effects in laboratory studies. There are a number of published studies showing that some ingredients in products that we use in our homes, schools and communities are toxic and some have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory studies. Examples of possible food contaminants can include pesticide residues or bisphenol A. (BPA), a component of the resin that lines some cans and can leach into food”.

BPA, for instance, can be found in many of the canned foods sold in the United States. The Environmental Working Group tested 97 canned foods and found detectable levels of BPA in more than half of them.  The highest concentrations were in canned meats, pasta and soups.  Although there is no evidence that the levels of BPA in canned food cause health effects in humans, BPA is one of many chemicals in the environment that acts like the hormone estrogen.  Because low levels of hormones can have profound effects, exposure to hormone-like chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors, is especially concerning.  Pregnant women and children may want to limit their consumption of canned foods to avoid this source of BPA exposure.

It is important to protect children.  By making better food choices we can reduce their exposure to a host of unhealthy ingredients and contaminants. It is important to remember that children are not small adults, rather, they are a developing version of an adult. Simply put, children are under construction. They are unfinished and their developing systems are quite fragile.   We know, for instance, that in children the brain continues to develop into their twenties, and this makes their brains potentially more vulnerable to toxicants. They also breathe much more rapidly, so they take in more toxins through their lungs.  For children, depending on the exposure, some of the first body systems to show negative health effects can be their neurological and respiratory systems.

Food choice presents an opportunity to make change and begin the process of providing healthy choices for your family, but especially for young children. One easy first step is to seek out your local farmers market so that you can buy fresh food that is minimally processed. For myself and my family I always buy local first and, when available, I buy certified organic. I do this because I want to reduce the unnecessary and preventable exposures to unhealthy ingredients like sugars, fats, preservatives; contaminants in canned food;  genetically modified (GM) foods; and foods containing antibiotic and pesticide residues. While farmers markets can be a safe alternative for tracking down healthier foods, shopping there can also be a fun family adventure!