Super-simplified agri-systems support disease

August 2019

E.coli 0157 -

In 1996, an outbreak of E.coli 0157 bacterial disease in Scotland involved the largest recorded number of infected adults in whom the early digestive-tract symptoms progressed to life-threatening kidney disease. Twenty-eight of them died.

That same year, 7,966 individuals were diagnosed with E.coli 0157 infection in a single outbreak in Japan.

Because the guts of healthy cattle are a reservoir for E.coli 0157, the animals, their manure, and the land they've grazed, are potential sources of the infection. The bacteria can also make their way from fields into the water supply.

The Scottish E.coli 0157 outbreak was caused by contaminated raw meat stored next to cooked meat. The Japanese outbreak was caused by radish sprouts contaminated by infected water.

Organic foods have always been seen as an arch-enemy by biotech proponents. In a desperate attempt to trash organics, they've even been blamed for deadly infections of E.coli 0157 bacteria.

Bogus bleeding beef

August 2019

Remember the bleeding GM veggie-burgers rolled out across America in 2017? That's the fake meat produced by a similar method to the way Belgian beer's been made for nearly a thousand years? [1]

The Impossible Burger arrived courtesy of $80 million worth of research plus $300 million worth of promotion from foodie celebrities, and a heap of hype. Breathless write-ups name the Impossible Burger this year's 'It' food craze taking America by storm, and a wake-up call to the meat industry.

Indeed, the long-term goal of the bogus burger's manufacturer, Impossible Foods Inc., is to disrupt the meat industry and convert meat eaters to their products. Impossible Burgers are set to be followed by Impossible Sausages for pizzas and Impossible Steak.

Golden rice fast becoming colourless

August 2019

A major focus for the biofortification of food now being warmly embraced by governments in developing countries is beta-carotene, or 'pro-vitamin A' [1].

Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A, an essential micronutrient whose deficiency can seriously damage vision, the immune-system, and the embryo. The assumption that putting beta-carotene into rice, a staple food which doesn't naturally produce any vitamin A precursors, will benefit the health of the poor sounds good, until you look at the devil in the detail.

'Biofortification' - reinforcing malnutrition

August 2019

'Biofortified' crops, with increased levels of one, or a few, micro-nutrients, were first released in 2004. Since then, their use has been eagerly embraced by governments of developing countries as a cheap way to address malnutrition*.

*micro-nutrient deficiencies

In particular, iron, zinc and vitamin A in staple foods, such as rice and millet, have been a focus for biofortification schemes. Both conventional breeding and, increasingly, GM techniques are being used to achieve these 'nutritionally enhanced' crops.

America's GM plans

August 2019

Since the Big Bang of synthetic pesticides during World War II, US regulators from both major political parties have adopted lax, pro-industry standards that have kept potentially dangerous pesticides legal. This attitude has extended to GMOs.

Action on new GMOs

August 2019

Pro-GM lobbyists continue to put pressure on EU regulators to abandon their precautionary laws requiring approval, safety checks, traceability and labelling of all GM crops, foods and livestock.

In particular, the biotech lobby is striving to evade any regulation of 'new' GMOs produced with 'gene editing' techniques. With recent EU elections and Brexit, this is the perfect time for them to push for light-touch, corporate-friendly GM laws.