Posts Tagged ‘Robyn O’Brien’


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 www.allergykidsfoundation.org 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 www.robynobrien.com.

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 www.enveurope.com/content/23/1/10.

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 http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/tx800218n.

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Posted on March 28, 2011 - by

Serving Up Food Dyes: UK Style

In conjunction with our petition to the FDA to eliminate artificial food dyes, we’ve partnered with author Robyn O’Brien to bring you her thoughts on the harmful effects of food dyes.

Right now there is a lot of discussion around the science of food dyes. Do artificial colors contribute to hyperactivity in kids? Are food dyes responsible for ADHD? Is it the government’s job to take these dyes out of our kids’ foods or is it ours?

The fact of the matter is that you are going to get a different answer depending on who you ask. I learned this the hard way when I went to some of our leading pediatric allergists a few years ago to ask about the link between the introduction of GMOs into our food supply and the sudden epidemic we were seeing in the number of American kids with food allergies. They didn’t like the line of questioning and fired off some pretty aggressive responses. But given my background as a food industry analyst, I quickly learned that financial ties between doctors and agrichemical, food and pharmaceutical corporations can play a pretty important role in what these doctors are willing to say.

So when people get heated up around the science of food dyes, I find myself asking the same questions: Who has funded the research? Is there a financial incentive involved to protect the status quo? And are doctors that are speaking out on this issue in any way affiliated as spokespersons for either the food or pharmaceutical companies that stand to benefit from the continued use of these food dyes in foods?

Since there are usually extensive financial ties between doctors and food and pharmaceutical corporations, it is often helpful to turn to the consumer marketplace and food companies themselves for answers because money talks.

And interestingly, Kraft, Coca Cola and Wal-Mart have already removed these artificial food colors and dyes from the products that they distribute in other countries. They’ve reformulated their product lines in other countries and no longer include these food dyes, and they did it in response to consumer demand and an extraordinary study called the Southampton Study.

The Southampton Study was unusual in that it tested children on a combination of two ingredients: tartrazine (yellow #5) and sodium benzoate. The study’s designers knew that a child very rarely has occasion to ingest just a synthetic color or just a preservative; rather, a child who is gobbling up multicolored candies is probably taking in several colors and at least one preservative.

What’s amazing is that in the U.K., the federal food safety agency actually funded the Southampton Study that led to even U.S. corporations eliminating synthetic colors and sodium benzoate from their U.K. products.

And in response, a whole host of companies, including the U.K. branches of Wal-Mart, Kraft, Coca Cola and the Mars candy company (who make M&Ms), have voluntarily removed artificial colors, the preservative sodium benzoate, and even aspartame from their products. Particularly those marketed to kids.

When I first learned about this in the spring of 2007, I was stunned. Our American companies had removed these harmful ingredients from their products overseas—but not here? It was one of those stories that I went around repeating to everyone I knew.

“They’ve eliminated those additives in England,” I kept saying. “Kraft, Mars, and Wal-mart just took them out.” The companies didn’t fall apart. The world didn’t come to an end. The parents and caregivers in England weren’t condemned to a lifetime of bean sprouts and home-ground oatmeal. They just got to buy mac ‘n’ cheese and diet colas and grocery-store muffins and even Skittles without the additives that had been shown to make some kids hyper.
(more…)

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Posted on November 9, 2009 - by

Are We Playing Russian Roulette With Our Children?

By: Robyn O’Brien
Author of The Unhealthy Truth
Cross-Posted on Huffington Post

Today’s headlines are enough to make any mother quake.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism rates have doubled. Research published this morning in the journal Pediatrics reveals that in the U.S. in 2007 about 1 in 91 children ages 3 to 17 were somewhere on the autism spectrum. That’s more than any previous survey has found.

The new study then goes on to cite earlier research showing that the life-time medical cost of dealing with ASD is $1.6 million; other research cited says ASD-related costs borne by the health-care system rose 142 percent from 2000 to 2004.

While industry funded ‘experts’ may suggest that this study is based on subjective data, industry funded ‘experts’ also suggest that a bowl of Cocoa Krispies is a SMART CHOICE for our children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there has been a 265% increase in the rate of hospitalizations related to food allergic reactions, 1 in 2 minority children and 1 in 3 Caucasian children born in the year 2000 (this year’s fourth graders) are expected to be insulin dependent by the time they reach adulthood and now 1 in 91 children has some degree of autism.

Today, health care spending represents 17% of our GDP, but perhaps it is time that we view our children as more than just a sales channel for Big Pharma’s money making medicine.

The unhealthy truth is that today 1 in 3 American children now has autism, allergies, ADHD or asthma.

In 1946, Harry Truman said, “A nation is only as healthy as its children.”

Shouldn’t we stop playing Russian Roulette with ours?

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