Archive for the ‘Food Politics’ Category

Can BPA Make You Fat?

Can BPA Make You Fat? 

—By Tom Philpott | Wed May. 30, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

 

The food industry likes to portray obesity as a matter of personal responsibility: People who eat too much gain weight, and it’s their own fault.

That view willfully neglects the role that industry marketing, particularly to children, plays on shaping people’s food habits. Meanwhile, evidence is mounting that exposure to certain industrial chemicals in food, often at very low levels, changes the way people metabolize calories and can lead to weight gain. While no one would say that these chemicals, known as obesogens, are the sole cause of rising rates of obesity in the United States, they may well be contributing significantly to it.

One of the most common of these obesogens is bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, the ubiquitous chemical found in everything from the lining of cans to the paper that most receipts are printed on. Research suggest that it’s in the urine of upwards of 90 percent of Americans—evidently at levels high enough to cause harm.

According to University of Missouri biologist and well-known BPA researcher Frederick vom Saal, it also affects how the body deals with fat. “BPA reduces the number of fat cells but programs them to incorporate more fat, so there are fewer but very large fat cells,” vom Saal recently told Environmental Health Perspectives. “BPA exposure is producing in animals the kind of outcomes that we see in humans born light at birth: an increase in abdominal fat and glucose intolerance.”

A study released last week by University of California-Irvine researchers further implicates BPA in the obesity problem—and raises even greater suspicion about a related compound called bisphenol A diglycidyl ether, a combination of BPA and something called epichlorohydrin, this World Health Organization report explains. It’s through BADGE that BPA makes it into in food can linings. UC-Irvine biologist Bruce Blumberg, who coauthored the study, explained to me in an email that the BPA that ends up in our food through can linings gets there when BADGE breaks down into its components.

Blumberg and his team found, though, that BADGE in its whole state is an even more potent obesogen than BPA—and its effects are independent of BPA. Both BADGE and BPA can trigger preadipocytes—which are known as “pre-fat cells” because they can either lie dormant, copy themselves, or turn into fat—to become fat cells. The UC-Irvine researchers tested the effects BADGE and BPA have on stem cells, our bodies’ cellular building blocks that can differentiate into the whole variety of human cells. They found that while BADGE can turn stem cells into fat cells at tiny doses, BPA doesn’t have that effect at all. The result surprised Blumberg and his team, because they went into the study assuming that BADGE wasn’t an obesogen.

How small are the doses at which BADGE does its dirty work? Blumberg told me that the stuff can induce stem cells to become fat cells at levels as low as 3 parts per billion. That’s way, way below the level the FDA has declared the “no observed adverse effect level” for BADGE, which is 15 parts per million, Blumberg wrote in an email.

While numerous studies have measured how much BPA leaches from cans and into our bodies, very little research has been done on our exposure to BADGE in its whole state. But BADGE does appear to leach into food. Blumberg says that one study found it in humans at a level of around 15 parts per billion—significantly more than the 3 parts per billion at which his team saw fat-inducing effects.

Clearly, more research needs to be done to sort out just how BADGE turns stem cells to fat cells at tiny doses. Perhaps it’s the other ingredient in BADGE, epichlorohydrin, that has the fat-transforming effect on stems cells, or perhaps it’s the way BPA and epichlorohydrin interact. But the UC-Irvine study represents yet another bit of evidence that the FDA, which recently reaffirmed its approval of BPA in can linings, isn’t taking the threat of industrial chemicals in food nearly seriously enough. And it also strongly suggests that at least some of our obesity problem stems not from personal choice but rather from decisions made behind closed doors by the food and chemical industries, which have found it profitable to put this stuff in our food containers.

 

Article URL: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/05/bpa-fat-obese-badge-cans

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Outrage ! Monsanto buying our Congress

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Outrage!

What is going on? In the past few months GMO labeling legislation has been introduced in Washington State, Minnesota, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Vermont. In each state, the same frustrating story repeats itself. Legislators are optimistic, the bills seem to move quickly at first, they receive a record breaking amount of public support, and then they stall in committee and never move again, despite unprecedented numbers of calls and emails from citizens to legislators. A representative in Minnesota told us they expected “fallout” for supporting the bill, even though it didn’t pass. In Washington state an unprecedented coalition of anti-GMO wheat farmers and organic consumers were stymied by agriculture committee legislators, who, it turns out, had received money from Monsanto. In Vermont, legislators and Governor backed off from a California-style labeling bill, despite polls showing 90% of Vermonters supported the bill, openly admitting that they were fearful of a lawsuit from Monsanto and the biotech industry. It’s clear that Monsanto and the biotech bullies will go to great lengths to keep their stranglehold on our food supply, and unfortunately most state legislators are either intimidated by or complicit with Monsanto.

It is also clear that we are at a major turning point in this fight. More people than ever care about what is happening to our food supply. More people than ever want to see GMOs labeled. The energy is building!

Here’s what OCA wants to do about it:

Our Millions Against Monsanto Campaign plans to join forces with the Occupy Monsanto protests across the country the week of September 17th, 2012 to create the largest Days of Action for GMO Labeling ever! We want to raise the clamor for labeling to a fever pitch and you can help!

Here’s what we need:

More activists and more awareness in each state!

There are now 692,413 in our Millions Against Monsanto campaign! Let’s get one million by September 17th! In the months leading up to the Days of Action, we need you to gather petition signatures (PDF) and pass out leaflets at your local farmer’s market or natural food store. Summer is the perfect time to raise awareness about food.

Petitions (PDF)

Leaflets, Posters and other Educational Materials

Please contact us if you want any of these materials in quantity!

Thanks to you . . . Monsanto knows.

Thanks to you . . . Monsanto knows.

Dear Friend,

A sincere thank you to the thousands of you who donated to our special fundraising campaign for the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.

Every dollar donated goes directly into the fund that will be used to support Ballot Initiative signature gatherers, media experts, consultants, and lawyers who will work together to get GMO labeling on the ballot, and pass this law in November.

Thank you.

If you weren’t able to pitch in this time, but you’ve signed petitions, or helped get the word out by sharing articles or telling friends about this campaign – or other GMO labeling campaigns – thank you! Every action counts.

Thanks to your support, Monsanto knows that millions of Americans demand the right to know whether or not their food has been genetically engineered, and want an end to the routine practice of labeling or advertising GMO-tainted foods as “natural.”

Thanks to you, the biotech bullies now understand that farmers and consumers are determined get GMOs labeled, state by state, if that’s what it takes.

Thanks to your active support the nationwide and global movement against genetically engineered foods and crops is growing stronger each day.

Big Biotech and Big Food will spend millions trying to defeat our labeling initiative in California. Every dollar we raise between now and November 6 will help us counter their lies with truth.

We still have a lot of work to do between now and election day – but thanks to you, we are building the strongest coalition in history around this critical issue that will affect generations to come.

Thank you.

For an Organic Future,


Ronnie Cummins
Director, Organic Consumers Association and Organic Consumers Fund

PS: If you haven’t pitched in yet, it’s not too late! You can still make a secure online donation to the Organic Consumers Fund today. Or, you can donate by phone or mail. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action. Donations are not tax-deductible. If you need a tax deduction, you can donate to the Organic Consumers Association, a 501(c)3. Your donation to the OCA will be used for general public education and grassroots mobilization.

Please sponsor the Genetically Engineered Technology Farmer Protection Act

From The Organic Consumers Association

Please sponsor the Genetically Engineered Technology Farmer Protection
Act. This bill establishes a set of farmers‘ rights in regards to
genetically engineered organisms and the business practices of biotech
companies.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-3555
The intent of the act is:

To provide additional protections for farmers and ranchers that may be
harmed economically by genetically engineered seeds, plants, or animals,
to ensure fairness for farmers and ranchers in their dealings with biotech
companies that sell genetically engineered seeds, plants, or animals, to
assign liability for injury caused by genetically engineered organisms,
and for other purposes.

Prohibited Practices

The act prohibits several practices that have become common in contracts
with biotech companies. For instance:

Purchasers of genetically engineered seed will not be prohibited from
saving seeds for next year’s crop and will not have to pay a fee to save
seeds.

Liability for any damage done by the genetically engineered organism
will not be shifted to the farmer.

Farmers will not have to allow biotech companies access to their
property.

If a genetically engineered product does not perform as advertised,
the purchaser will able to recover damages.

Preventing Cross-Pollination

Biotech companies will be required to provide written instructions on how
to grow the genetically engineered crop in such a manner as to avoid
cross-pollination.  Conventional farmers who want to sell their crops to
places that prohibit genetically engineered food and organic growers will
benefit from this provision.

Pest-Resistance to Natural Pesticides

Bt pesticides are a useful tool in an organic farmer’s pesticide arsenal.
Bt is a naturally-occurring bacteria that kills many crop pests.

Engineering crops to produce Bt toxins is common among biotech companies.
Pest insect resistance to Bt could damage a large segment of the
non-biotech farming community.

The act requires biotech companies to formulate a plan to prevent
resistance to Bt.

Additional Provisions

H.R.3555 also includes a prohibition on loan discrimination against
farmers who don’t want to adopt biotech in their fields, a prohibition on
non-fertile plant seeds (the terminator gene), and mislabeling.

Please take action to protect farmers!

Organic Consumers Association

http://www.organicconsumers.org/
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More than 100,000 Stand with Family Farmers vs. Monsanto! Do you?

More than 100,000 Stand with Family Farmers vs. Monsanto! Do you?

We wanted to thank everyone for standing with family farmers vs. Monsanto during their day in court on January 31st. Incredibly, more than 55 family farmers and plaintiffs traveled to New York to take part in the initial phase of the potentially landmark case Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al v. Monsanto.

The hearing in Manhattan Federal District Court was centered on Monsanto’s motion to dismiss the case and Federal Judge Naomi Buchwald heard arguments from attorneys on both sides. Farmers were encouraged by Judge Buchwald’s familiarity with the case and her announcement that she would make a decision in the next 60 days, no later than March 31st.

After the hearing, farmers were excited to join several hundred supporters in Foley Square at a Citizen’s Assembly where they addressed the crowd and shared their experience, strength and hope in moving forward.

Click here to watch a short video to hear farmers, plaintiffs and citizens speak about their shared fight against Monsanto to reclaim our seed heritage.

 

Occupy Wall Street Farmers March

 

Already more than 100,000 farmers and citizens have signed a pledge to stand with America’s farmers in this important struggle to reclaim their basic rights to plant crops on their land and grow food without the fear and threat of intimidation by Monsanto’s abusive patent infringement lawsuits.

If you haven’t already done so, please click here to say, “I stand with Farmers vs. Monsanto”.

We want to give special recognition to the farmers and plaintiffs who traveled to be a part of this historic day and thanks to members of the Occupy Wall Street Food Justice working group, Occupy Farms, Occupy Big Food, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and all those who have helped spread the word of support for the family farmers and plaintiffs.

We believe that together we can win!

Click here to follow the latest news about Farmers vs. Monsanto.

Thank you for participating in food democracy-

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team

P.S. Can you chip in $5 or $10 to help us keep fighting for family farmers against Monsanto and their abusive lawsuits against farmers. Every little bit helps and together we make a difference! Help us make sure farmers have their voice heard over Monsanto’s.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM (Photo credit: live w mcs - multiple chemical sensitivity)

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Ten Ways Monsanto and Big Ag Are Trying to Kill You – And the Planet

Energy-intensive industrial farming practices that rely on toxic chemicals and genetically engineered crops are not just undermining public health, they’re destroying the planet.

Here’s how:

#1 Generating Massive Greenhouse Gas Pollution (CO2, Methane, Nitrous Oxide) and Global Warming, While Promoting False Solutions Such as Industrial Biofuels, So-Called Drought-Resistant Crops, and Genetically Engineered Trees

#2 Polluting the Environment and the Soil-Food Web with Pesticides, Chemical Fertilizers, and Persistent Toxins, Including Dioxin

#3 Draining and Polluting Wetlands and Aquifers, Turning Farmland into Desert

#4 Poisoning Wells and Municipal Drinking Water, Lakes, and Rivers

#5 Chopping Down the Rainforests for Monoculture GMO Crops, Biofuels and Cattle Grazing

#6 Increasing the Cost of Food, While Reducing Nutrition and Biodiversity

#7 Spawning Pesticide-Resistant Superbugs and Weeds, and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

#8 Generating New and More Virulent Plant, Animal and Human Diseases

#9 Utilizing Wasteful Fossil Fuel-Intensive Practices and Encouraging the Expansion of Natural Gas Fracking and Tar Sands Extraction (Which Destroy Forests, Aquifers, and Farmland)

#10 Stealing Money From the 99% to Give Huge Subsidies to the 1% Wealthiest, Most Chemical and Energy-Intensive Farms and Food Producers

 

It’s not enough to stop eating genetically engineered food. If we want a liveable planet we’ve got to boycott all factory farmed food and make the Great Transition from energy and chemical-intensive agriculture to a relocalized and organic system of food and farming. The World According to Monsanto is a recipe for disaster. Monsanto and Big Ag contaminate every link in the food chain, threatening the very foundation of life: living nutrient-rich soil, clean water, resilient crops, healthy animals, stable climates, and diverse food sources. The good news is that agro-ecological and organic methods can reverse this threat and sustain food production for future generations, but we don’t have much time to turn things around.

Take Action

Learn more:

“What About the State of Our Planet, Mr. President?” By Will Allen and Ronnie Cummins

The Farm Bill: Subsidizing Pollution, Junk Food, and the Richest 1%

Support the OCA and the OCF

In 2012, whether we’re talking about getting antibiotics out of animal feed or labeling GMOs, we’re fighting harder than ever. With the 2012 California Ballot Initiative, and GMO labeling legislation gaining momentum in Vermont, Washington, Connecticut, Hawaii and other states, we have a real chance to hit Monsanto with the skull and crossbones they fear so much – mandatory labels on genetically engineered food. We also plan to step up our efforts to strengthen organic standards and significantly expand the market for organic food and products, especially those produced locally and regionally.

Please be as generous as you can during our January and February fundraising drive.

Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible)

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our efforts in California)

Urgent Action Needed to Label GMOs in Your State!

Sixteen states are currently considering legislation to label GMOs. Please contact your state legislators to encourage them to support or introduce GMO labeling bills.

Take Action by Choosing Your State!

All eyes are on Washington state this week, as we try to get two GMO labeling bills passed out of the Senate and House agriculture committees this week. Public support is strong and last week’s hearings were packed, but Monsanto lobbyists are trying hard to kill the bills.

Take Action in Washington State!

The California legislative effort to label genetically engineered fish suffered a setback when a bill to label genetically engineered salmon failed 9-7 in committee earlier this month. The sad truth is that California politicians appear to care more about what Monsanto and corporate agribusiness want than the 90% of their constituents who have expressed their view over and over again that they want labels on genetically engineered food.

This is why OCA, Food Democracy Now, Mercola.com, the Sierra Club, Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network, and LabelGMOs.org, along with our allies in the organic business community have united to put a citizen Initiative on the ballot in November 2012 that will require labels on all genetically engineered foods and food ingredients, and outlaw the common practice of labeling or advertising hundreds of GMO-tainted processed foods as “natural” or “all-natural.”

Learn More and Take Action in California!

 

January 24: Join the OCA Protest at Monsanto’s Annual Shareholders Meeting

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January 24: Join the OCA Protest at Monsanto‘s Annual Shareholders Meeting

What if Monsanto had to pay for its corporate crimes?

It is inevitable that one day Monsanto will be held responsible for the enormous human health and environmental damages arising from the so-called “responsible” use of its toxic pesticides, chemicals, and mutant genetically engineered seeds. If the Biotech Bully of St. Louis were to be held liable for its 100-year legacy of corporate criminality – carcinogenic chemical food sweeteners, Agent Orange, dioxin, Bovine Growth Hormone, poisonous herbicides, seed monopolization, and genetically engineered crops, the company’s shareholders would no doubt see the value of their Monsanto stocks plummet to zero.

Following up on two protests at Monsanto’s headquarters in 2011, OCA returns to St. Louis for the 2012 Monsanto shareholders’ meeting on January 24!

Please join OCA, Pesticide Action Network, and Harrington Investments (a socially responsible investor’s group) in St. Louis to support a shareholder resolution to examine the financial risks associated with genetically engineered crops. While an OCA representative is speaking inside the shareholders meeting, another group of us will be outside, peacefully picketing.

Come to St. Louis to Make Monsanto Pay! Contact Mike Durschmid (mikedvegan AT gmail.com) to join in, or RSVP on Facebook and share with your friends.

And this just in: Activists in Maui, Hawaii, in solidarity with our St. Louis action, will be peacefully protesting outside Monsanto’s Hawaii HQ location on 3555 Mokulele Hwy on the same day. For more information or to RSVP, visit the Facebook event here.

Learn more

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