some action re: genetic engineering
For everyone who wanted to know what they can do regarding GE (genetically
engineered) foods, here's something that I received from earthsave-Boston.
It is a flyer that they are asking to be distributed to everyone you know.
Under the "What Can You Do?" section there are some good ideas.
It's time for action now before it's too late.
phone: (416) 392-1668
fax: (416) 392-6650
With valuable input from the earthsave-boston list and from ban-gef,
I think we have a valuable first anti-GMO flyer for use at U.S.
supermarkets. I've included it below.
It is also available at my website, both in HTML and MS-Word form:
http://www.cqs.com/gmohazard.htm and http://www.cqs.com/gmohazard.doc.
Now it's time to get on the stick and get the leaflet out to groups
who will put it into the hands of U.S. consumers. Please forward the flyer
and its web address to anyone you know, asking them to reprint it, hand it
out, leave it in laundromats, post it on bulletin boards - in short, plaster
the entire U.S. with it.
This is a "living document" which we will improve as time goes on and
which groups can take and tailor it to their own areas, put their own logo
at the bottom, etc.
Thanks again for everyone who helped.
Did You Know Your Food is Genetically Altered?
During the last five years, several multinational chemical and drug
companies - including Monsanto and Novartis (formerly Ciba-Geigy) - have
quietly altered our food supply in an alarming way. Genes from bacteria,
viruses, foreign plants and animals have been inserted into corn, soybeans,
potatoes, tomatoes, squash, and papayas. These corporations plan to
"genetically engineer" almost 100% of our food within a decade. Already
about 40% of the soybeans, 20% of the corn, and a percentage of the potatoes
grown in the U.S. and about 50% of the canola (rapeseed) plants in Canada
have been genetically altered.
These companies have influenced US and Canadian regulatory agencies to allow
these grains to be grown, mixed with non-altered grains, and sold without
any labeling, even though they have been shown to be harmful to the
environment and have not undergone even a single human health safety test.
More than 60% of the packaged food items in US grocery stores contain
genetically altered ingredients. We are now all experimental animals in a
huge biological experiment involving the food we eat every day.
What Have They Done to Our Food?
Scientists at these companies have learned how to insert genes from plants,
animals, bacteria, and viruses into any other plant or animal. For instance,
Monsanto has inserted foreign genes into soybeans and canola (rapeseed) that
allows farmers to spray the crops with Monsanto's toxic Roundup weed killer
without killing the plant. They have inserted a gene from an insect-killing
bacterium called BT into corn so that every cell of the plant has activated
BT toxin in it.
An Unprecedented Threat
In the rush to commercialize and profit from these "inventions," these
companies have exposed consumers and the environment to an unprecedented
1. The genes inserted into these grains cause the plant to create new,
foreign proteins, never before seen in nature. There has never been any
long-term animal or human testing to determine whether the new proteins can
cause allergies or other adverse effects. Instead, the companies got FDA
officials to declare them to be "substantially equivalent" to non-altered
grains, even though, behind the scenes, FDA scientists disagreed. Allergy
research doctors in England have seen a dramatic rise in soybean allergy,
and suspect a reaction to the new foreign protein. In the case of BT corn
and potatoes, European researchers have recently found that activated BT
toxin, now found in genetically altered corn and potatoes can cause cell
damage in mammals.
2. The pollen of these plants also contains the foreign genes. Pollen is
carried far and wide by wind and bees. It can pollinate and transfer its
altered genes to non-altered crops and similar wild plants - biologically
contaminating them - thus creating new species (nicknamed Superweeds). BT
toxin in corn and potatoes and their pollen kills non-target and beneficial
insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and butterflies. A Cornell University
study published in Nature showed how the new corn pollen kills Monarch
3. Both Monsanto and Novartis have developed "Terminator" genes that will
create plants that sterilize their own seeds, forcing farmers to buy seeds
from the companies every year. This threatens subsistence farming in
developing countries, where farmers have saved and traded seeds for
thousands of years. It also threatens the world's ecosystems if the genes
for sterility are transferred to wild plants.
Monsanto claims that the new crops have higher yields, and that genetic
engineering is the only way to feed a hungry world. But university trials of
these grains show that the crop yields are no better -- and in some cases
are far worse -- than ordinary seeds. The only driving force behind this
technology is profit for a few multinational companies who seem willing to
compromise health, safety, and the environment.
How to Avoid Genetically Altered Food
Since significant percentages of soy, corn, potatoes, and canola oil contain
altered genes, and they are mixed with unaltered food, right now there is
only one way to safely avoid them: seek out products that use only certified
organic ingredients. Avoid eating products that have unknown origins, such
as corn cereals, corn chips, and tofu (soybean curd) in restaurants unless
you know for sure that they use organic ingredients.
What Can You Do?
There are many safe food advocates all over the world who are trying to stop
the farming, production, and use of genetically altered food. You can join
1. Ask your local supermarket and restaurants to supply and serve products
that do not have genetically "engineered" ingredients. Show the supermarket
manager this flyer. Many supermarket chains in Great Britain now exclude all
genetically altered products from their shelves.
2. Write or call the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (Secretary Dan Glickman,
phone: 202-720-3631, email: SEC-EMAIL@usda.gov, fax: 202-720-2166), the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (Commissioner Jane Henney, phone: 301-827-2410,
email: JHENNEY@OC.FDA.GOV, fax: 301-443-3100), the U.S. EPA (Administrator
Carol Browner, phone: 202-260-4700, email: email@example.com) and your
Representative and Senator demanding a ban on this assault on our food
3. If you live in a farming state, call or write to your state Director of
Agriculture and your state Farm Bureau to tell them that you won't buy
products that have been "genetically engineered."
4. Tell your neighbors and friends about it. Show them this flyer. Copy and
post the flyer in public places, or hand them out to supermarket customers.
Join or form a community group to oppose this dangerous technology. Convince
local environmental groups of its immediate danger to health and the
5. Find out more about the dangers of this technology and the movement
against it. The Internet website page http://www.cqs.com/gmorg.htm is a list
of Internet Websites with a wealth of detailed information about the many
problems with genetic alteration and the people around the world who are
trying to stop it.
This flyer was prepared by an international group of scientists and safe
food advocates opposed to genetic alteration of our food. Many of us are
affiliated with local groups in our communities. If you want to take part in
this opposition, you may join us on the Internet by sending the message
"subscribe" in the subject line to Ban-GEF@lists.greenbuilder.com. An
Internet version of this flyer is available at
community_garden maillist - firstname.lastname@example.org