Monsanto Manipulating Media
Monsanto recently went on ABC stating: "Organic food is bad for you and bad for the environment." They really want you to believe that the chemicals, hormones, and genetically manipulated foods they are producing are good for you. The evidence is in. Serious and lethal harm can come from manufactured and genetically modified foods. However, many of the reports of this danger have been seized, and not published for consumer consideration
Monsanto suppressed a story on the dangers of Bovine Growth Hormone. Fortunately, and very courageously, the reporters sued their employer, Fox Network, for scuttling their story.
The story is here: http://www.foxbghsuit.com
Shred a whole magazine?
A 14,000 copy run of "The Ecologist", the UK's leading
environmental magazine was shredded because it discussed Monsanto
and genetic engineering in less than flattering terms. Yes, the printer gave in to Monsanto’s attorneys. Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman report this here:
Thanks for this Info from Brass Check: http://www.brasscheck.com
Genetic Corn Kills Butterflies
WHEN THE U.S. government approved the plant four years ago, the promise was extraordinary: The new corn produced a natural toxin that killed the European corn borer, responsible for $1.2 billion in crop damage each year. Farmers hoped the breakthrough would increase yields and make pesticides obsolete.
Years of field tests showed the corn to be safe for humans, honey bees and other "friendly" insects. No harmful side effects were reported.
But a study by Cornell University scientists found that pollen released from the plants, known as "Bt-corn," can kill larvae from the monarch butterfly, a species known for its beauty and long migration between Mexico and the United States.
"We need to look at the big picture here," said John Losey, a Cornell entomologist and the primary investigator in the study. "Pollen from Bt-corn could represent a serious risk to populations of monarchs and other butterflies, but we can't predict how serious the risk is until we have a lot more data. And we can't forget that Bt-corn and other transgenic crops have a huge potential for reducing pesticide use and increasing yields. This study is just the first step. We need to do more research and then objectively weigh the risks vs. the benefits of this new technology."
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Further tests are necessary, among them replicating the lab test in the field, but the Cornell entomologists say the problem could be widespread: Other species of butterflies and moths may be harmed by the hybrid corn pollen, and that could in turn affect entire ecosystems.
The study, published in the journal Nature, will likely set off a firestorm of debate about Bt-corn, which was planted on 7 million acres last year and which is considered among the first major successes of agricultural biotechnology.
Cornell entomologist Linda Rayor, a study co-author, called the monarch butterfly discovery a "warning bell" from a flagship species for conservation.
But a spokesman for the National Corn Growers Association said the study raises more questions than it answers and will need extensive follow-up research.
Monsanto, one of the companies that makes Bt-corn, said the finding is not very important. Many monarch butterflies would not be exposed to the toxic pollen, a spokesman said, since most milkweed does not grow near corn fields.
Val Giddings, vice president for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, said: "Whatever the threat to monarch butterflies that is posed by Bt corn pollen, we know it's less than the threat of drifting pesticide sprays."
Industry officials said they were not surprised by the finding, because the larvae of monarch butterflies are similar to the corn borer. They also called the study sloppy because the researchers didn't precisely measure the amount of pollen ladled onto the milkweed leaves used in the test.
Among those alarmed by the study is the Union of Concerned Scientists, an independent nonprofit alliance of scientists based in Cambridge, Mass., who want more intensive testing of genetically engineered crops.
"To put it simply, we're not surprised," said Jane Rissler, a UCS plant pathologist. "We're dismayed. This should help people understand that genetically engineered crops bring with them risks that have not been properly raised or studied."
Rissler said the Cornell discovery is likely the first case of a genetically altered plant proving fatal to a non-targeted or "friendly" insect.
But it is not the first time scientists found possible unintended consequences of genetic engineering:
A Swiss study last year found insects called lacewings died more quickly if they fed on corn borers reared on Bt corn.
A University of Chicago study published in September found that a weed altered by scientists to resist an herbicide developed a far greater ability to pollinate other plants and pass on its traits. The findings raised fears that genetic engineering could lead to the rise of "superweeds" impervious to weed killers.
In Scotland, a toxicologist who added insect-resistant genes and proteins to potatoes and fed them to rats reported that the animals suffered damaged immune systems, growth problems and shrunken brains. But his findings were sharply disputed by other scientists.
* U want a shrunken brain? *
The hybrid corn produces a natural bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, and thus is commonly known as Bt-corn.
The Bt-corn toxin thwarts the European corn borer, a moth species that came over to the United States in the early 1900s. The pest's larvae typically bore into stalks and eat their way through the plant, destroying about 40 million tons of corn each year. Pesticides are not very effective because the larvae live deep in the stalks.
At least 18 Bt-engineered crops have been approved for field testing in the United States. And the Department of Agriculture, which allows transformed corn, potatoes and cotton to be produced commercially, said it was convinced the crops had no negative effects on friendly insects such as bees and ladybugs.
WHAT EARLIER STUDIES MISSED
But until the Cornell study nobody had looked for any risk posed by the spread of the corn's pollen to other plants or the effect it would have on insects feeding on those plants, said Rayor, the Cornell insect behavioral ecologist.
"People weren't really thinking about the toxin flying around and how it affects insects feeding on their own host plants," Rayor said.
Scientists previously conducted tests to make sure the Bt-corn would not harm "beneficial predators" that eat pests such as the European corn borer. But those studies didn't examine the non-targeted insects that feed on plants near cornfields, Rayor said.
Inside the laboratory, monarch larvae were fed milkweed leaves dusted with the transformed pollen from Bt-corn, leaves dusted with pollen from nontransformed corn, and leaves without corn pollen. Milkweed, which Monarch larvae feed on exclusively, is commonly found alongside cornfields.
The result: The monarch larvae that ate the transformed pollen ate less, grew at a slower rate and died faster. Nearly half of the larvae fed the Bt-corn pollen died in the study. All of the other monarch caterpillars survived the study.
Rayor and colleagues plan to conduct more research on the Bt-corn pollen this summer using colonies of painted-ladies and buckeye butterflies.
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"We're willing to believe it affects other species of butterflies," Rayor said. "No doubt there are dozens of other innocent victims feeding on weedy species that happen to be near corn."
Until more tests are done, however, the scientists say they don't know if the fatal consequences occur outside the laboratory.
"We don't know how broad this effect will be on butterflies and how large a dose of pollen they need to get to be affected," Rayor said. "This summer we'll be looking at how different doses of pollen affect mortality."
*What about BEE's and Honey and pollination ? *
Newhouse News Service's Mark Weiner and The Associated Press contributed to this report.