Glyphosate kills bees by stealth

November 2018

Increasing suspicion is falling on glyphosate herbicides' effects on microbes in the gut of consumers.

The innards of all animals are teeming with bacteria whose quantity and diversity exert multiple influences on health.  Many of these microbes have enzymes in common with plants, and, like plants, can be harmed when glyphosate interferes with them.

Cost-cutting in Brazil

November 2018

In 2016, organic food sales in Brazil were mushrooming by 20 to 30 percent a year.  At the same time, some 70 percent of organic produce was being exported to Europe.  Farmers there recognise that "Growing organics is the future", and the people are increasingly "wanting healthier food free from pesticides".

Were it not for the alliance between the government and Big Agriculture, which is driving the economy, and the supermarkets, which are controlling the food supply system, organics would be a key growth industry.  Instead, it remains a tiny fraction of the whole, swamped by Big Ag's desire for GM crops and their supporting chemicals.  Supermarkets, of course, promote cut-throat competition amongst their suppliers, and the 'winners' are the unrestrained fraudsters passing off conventional pesticide-laden food as 'organic'.

Faced with this scenario, the Brazilian government is busy pushing through two far-reaching pieces of legislation.

GM papaya in China

November 2018

Papaya is a short-lived perennial crop. Under ideal conditions, the trees begin to bear fruit within months of planting and continue profitably for three years.  This provides a valuable non-stop harvest.

The greatest single threat to papaya production globally has long been considered papaya ringspot virus (PRSV).  This rapidly spreading disease devastates yield and fruit quality.  In the absence of any naturally-resistant strains for conventional breeders to tap into, genetic transformation is viewed as "the most effective approach to prevent and control PRSV".  The favoured GM trick is to insert a vital PRSV gene into the papaya which has the effect of silencing that vital gene in the virus.

Poisoning our great-grandchildren?

November 2018
Disturbed by the higher incidence of birth defects he observed after moving to a mid-west farming state, one US paediatrician decided to investigate.  His research homed in on two of the most heavily used herbicides in the state: atrazine and glyphosate.  Atrazine is used on corn and soya crops, and has a habit of ending up in drinking water*.  Glyphosate is used on most GM corn and GM soya and has a habit of ending up everywhere [1].

So far, studies on humans have shown that if you plot the levels of atrazine in drinking water and birth defects, they fit each other "like a hat".  At the same time, glyphosate has been found in the body of "virtually every pregnant mother" tested in the state, and has been linked to shortened pregnancy [2].

Looking at rat experiments carried out in the US (atrazine) and Argentina (glyphosate), things become scary. 

Could GM fish oil wreck the environment?

November 2018

Concerns about eating salmon stuffed with GM omega-3 oils may be over-blown [1], but the risks to the environment are very real.

GM veggie oil for fish

November 2018

The earliest suggestions that certain 'fatty acids' (the building block of oils) might be, like vitamins, vital to health in small quantities were ridiculed by the scientific establishment: oils were viewed as simply a concentrated source of energy for the body and devoid of any role in health promotion.

Science has moved a long way since then: fatty acids have been implicated in the healthy function and development of cells and tissues at every stage of life.  Two fatty acids in particular, 'EPA' and 'DHA' omega-3s*, are the subject of an "impressive documentation ... related to health benefits” with special reference to the heart and cardiovascular system.  Despite this, "the cellular and molecular mechanisms for (EPA and DHA) action are still insufficiently understood" (Gil).