Archive for category Big Food & Beverage Giants
November 4, 2014
Last week saw an inter-agency power grab. It begins with the weakening of organic standards—and could end with the term “organic” becoming practically meaningless. Action Alert!
In September, the USDA announced changes to its interpretation of the “sunset” provision in the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), an incredibly important piece of legislation that Congress passed into law in 1990. These changes override the powers of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and make it easier for food producers to use synthetics in organic food production.
The “Sunset” Controversy
Previously, any exemptions from organic standards were set to expire, or “sunset,” on a specific date—unless they were reinstated by a “decisive” two-thirds majority vote of the NOSB. Now it’s just the reverse: a synthetic material can be permitted to remain in an organic food indefinitely unless a two-thirds majority votes to remove it from the exempted list.
Thousands of consumer advocates and environmentalists spoke out against this power grab by the USDA—one that satisfies only the vested interests of large-scale producers trying to increase their profits with an “organic” stamp. ANH-USA was there at the meeting so we could speak out on behalf of consumers and voice our concern about the continuing dilution of organic standards.
The board received a tremendous number of comments about the new sunset process, including these:
- The National Organic Coalition called it a significant reinterpretation of the law, one that redefines the word “sunset” to mean exactly its opposite. The entire concept is now nonsensical, and clearly runs contrary to the intent of the original legislation: “sunset” means that the exemptions “come off,” not “stay on.”
- The Cornucopia Institute said the NOSB is being stripped of its authority so that the USDA can set its own agenda—a naked power grab. Cornucopia is looking at legal action over this change in terminology.
- Consumer Reports says the National Organic Program is becoming less and less discriminatory about sunsets, and doesn’t align with what the law requires, creating a huge gap between what is marketed as organic and what the consumer expects organic to be.
Why the New Sunset Rule Is Dangerous
The shift in power was on clear display at last week’s NOSB meeting when board members voted to allow the continued use of gellan gum, tragacanth gum, sulfurous acid, sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate, and aqueous potassium silicate in organic production. Allowing these synthetic substances in organic production is a clear victory for producers who want to be considered organic without sacrificing their bottom line.
For example, large organic dairy producers such as Stonyfield Organic, Organic Valley, White Wave, and Horizon Organic say gellan gum—a thickening agent—is needed to stop the chocolate flavoring from separating from the milk while the carton sits in grocery stores. Consumer advocate and organic watchdog groups argued that the ingredient simply isn’t necessary and that such synthetic materials should never be allowed in foods that are certified as organic. Board members who advocated removing these items were voted down because of the new interpretation of the “sunset” rule.
At issue is the board’s composition, which has been infiltrated by corporate interests. The make-up of the fifteen-member board is clearly defined by statute, but an executive from Driscoll’s now sits in a seat that should belong to a farmer/grower. Another seat is held by an individual who, when appointed, worked for the country’s largest organic marketing cooperative, CROPP ($928 million in annual revenue).
“We have two members of the current board, both sitting in seats that Congress had designated for someone who must ‘own or operate an organic farming operation’ but who were actually agribusiness employees when appointed to the five-year term on the NOSB,” said Mark A. Kastel, co-director and senior farm policy analyst at Cornucopia.
The voting records of these two agribusiness employees are significantly lower than those of the actual farmer members of the NOSB. In all, of the board’s fifteen members, six are a pro-corporate business voting block, and several others often vote with them. In other words, what we are seeing is a clear case of collusion between USDA and agribusiness.
November 9, 2014
The new documentary Bought dives deeply into the inner workings of the industries at the core of our food and healthcare system, exploring the truth about how vaccines and drugs are developed and rushed to market and the ongoing secrecy behind the genetic engineering of our food supply.
For a limited time proceeds from renting or purchasing this film will be donated to the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a non-profit organization advocating for vaccine safety and informed consent protection in the public health system.
Filmmaker Jeff Hays believes, as I do, that you have a right to the truth so that you can make educated decisions about your health, food, and medicine. Unfortunately, the truth is not easy to come by today.
Like the banks, the food and drug industries have grown more powerful and less transparent over time, and profit has become the primary motive. Hays may be best known for his 2012 documentary “Doctored,” which exposes how the medical and drug industry conspire to control the health care system.
Hays’ new film peels back the layers to show how the drug, vaccine, and chemical technology industries have joined forces as one supervillain, with its “undisclosed location” smack-dab in the middle of the White House.
You can’t effectively address one industry without addressing them all, as they are now inextricably linked. Until enough people raise their voices, nothing is likely to change. According to Hays:1
“From opiates, to statins, to a blizzard of psychotropic medications that do far more harm than good, the film covers how our entire health care system, from education to practice has been Bought… three story lines converge on Wall Street, in a tale of corruption, greed and shocking lack of conscience.”
Federal Vaccine Court: Designed Specifically to Clean Up the Trail of Destruction Left by Vaccines
Vaccines are a $30 billion per year industry. Today, four dominate the world market (Pfizer, Merck, Sanofi Pasteur, and GlaxoSmithKline). Given the furor that erupts when anybody publicly questions vaccine safety, you would assume that the US government considers vaccines completely safe.
But in reality, that’s not the case as evidenced by the establishment of a Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) where vaccine injury claims are decided in a Federal Vaccine Court2 to compensate vaccine victims, but in reality protects the vaccine industry from lawsuits. The official line by federal health officials is that vaccines are safe and never cause autism.
However, the fact is that for many years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice and the Federal Vaccine Court have been quietly settling cases of brain inflammation and permanent brain damage (encephalopathy) that included symptoms of autism.
These VICP awards have been made to cover treatments related to autism. The VCIP was established in 1986 when Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act,3 which protected vaccine manufacturers, pediatricians and other vaccine providers from nearly all civil liability for injuries and deaths caused by government recommended and mandated vaccines.
If vaccines are so safe, then why has the government set up a federal compensation program specifically to manage the damage they cause? In Bought, families who have won and lost in Vaccine Court share their heartbreaking stories.
These parent and health care professionals speaking out about their experiences are articulate, knowledgeable, and compelling witnesses to the damage that vaccines and one-size-fits-all vaccine policies have done. They are not part of some anti-vaccine campaign—in fact, the reason they were in Vaccine Court is because of what happened when they DID vaccinate their children!
Most Vaccine Reactions Are Never Connected to Vaccines
Proving causation is extremely difficult with vaccine injuries in part because there are huge gaps in vaccine safety science and, also, unless a vaccine reaction is immediate and obvious, parents may not connect their child’s deterioration in health to the shots the child was given.
When parents report their child’s regression into chronic poor health following vaccination to their child’s pediatrician, they are typically told the illness couldn’t possibly be related to the vaccine or vaccinations the child was given.
Sometimes reactions occur within hours or days of vaccination and are dramatic and life threatening and the child is taken to the emergency room and the vaccine reaction symptoms are recorded in the child’s medical record. Usually, only the most clear cut and identifiable vaccine reactions end up in Vaccine Court—the ones where the “dots” are easily connected.
Unfortunately, at that point the damage is done and the child may be left with lifelong chronic illness and disability. The vast majority of vaccine adverse reactions are never reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). Still, CDC’s VAERS database4 lists 8,000 different adverse vaccine reactions, from localized swelling and anaphylactic shock to autism, coma, and death.5
Because of the factors already discussed, the actual number of reactions is probably much higher than the database reports. As vaccine safety advocate Dawn Loughborough said in “Bought:”
“We used to have this idea we were protecting children from infectious diseases. And we created the National Vaccine program with children in mind, but somewhere in time protecting the program became more important than what’s happening to our children.”
November 9, 2014
As we get closer to the holidays, many people look for ways to cut back on sugar and other indulgences so that when the New Year rolls around, they won’t have to work so hard to lose those extra pounds. While it is a good idea to avoid sugar altogether, using the artificial sweeteners Splenda or Aspartame might be even worse. There are numerous reasons you should avoid the stuff in little yellow packages (or pink, or blue). Here is why.
Donald Rumsfeld, the very same politician who supports GMOs, is perhaps the singular man who got Splenda onto the market after the FDA initially refused it. If you have gotten sick from consuming this toxic substance, you can thank him, along with its makers. Splenda was created by the British company Tate & Lyle along with the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.
Perhaps you remember when the Coca-Cola company launched its ad campaign to fight obesity back in the early 80s? This was all part of a ploy to begin the use of aspartame, whose patent was once owned by none other than Monsanto! Ironically, there are numerous studies that show this stuff causes obesity. It doesn’t prevent obesity.
Before they started selling you Splenda, it was called NutraSweet. In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to aspartame, the active ingredient in NutraSweet, as well as Splenda and many other artificial sweeteners. Is Splenda safe? It depends who you ask.
Let’s look at a little timeline, shall we?
- 1901: Monsanto Chemical Works is formed.
- 1976: When Ford loses the 1976 election, Rumsfeld returns to private business life, and is named president and CEO of the pharmaceutical corporation G. D. Searle & Company, during which time he leads the legalization of Aspartame.
- 1977: Monsanto stops producing PCBs.
- 1997: Monsanto businesses are spun off as Solutia Inc.
- 1999: John Hunter is named chairman and CEO.
- 2000: Monsanto’s Pharmaceutical Services Division is created. Monsanto also merges with the drug-maker Pharmacia & UpJohn Inc., which took control of the Searle pharmaceutical operations, and the current Monsanto Co. was incorporated as a subsidiary in October 2000.
- 2002: PCB trial results in sharp drop in stock price.
November 5, 2014
Monday, February 06, 2012
By: Jonathan Benson
[NaturalNews] Correction: The original version of this article stated that some U.S. Department of Agriculture certified organic products may contain neotame. Since the publishing of this article, NaturalNews has obtained a letter from the USDA’s National Organic Program Deputy Administrator, Miles McEvoy, explaining that neotame is NOT permitted for use in products labeled certified organic, or in products that contain the label “made with organic [specified ingredient or food group]. You can view a copy of this letter here:
And while Monsanto was the original creator of neotame back when it owned the NutraSweet Company, J.W. Childs Equity Partners II, L.P. today owns the NutraSweet Company, which includes ownership of neotame as well.
It could be lurking in the foods you eat every single day and you would never even know it. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared that one of Monsanto’s creations, a synthetic sweetener chemical known as neotame, does not have to be labeled in food products, including even in organic food products.
A modified version of aspartame with even more added toxicity, neotame received quiet and unassuming FDA approval back in 2002, even though no safety studies have ever been conducted on the chemical (http://www.neotame.com/pdf/neotame_fda_US.pdf). In fact, an investigation conducted by Feingold.org found only four studies relating to neotame in the MEDLINE database.
Two of these “studies” were not studies at all, and the other two were actually one duplicate study conducted by NutraSweet, the company that produces and sells neotame.
So just like with aspartame, the FDA has once again approved for use a dangerous sweetener chemical that metabolizes into formaldehyde when consumed. Except this time, the chemical contains added 3-dimethylbutyl, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed as one of the most hazardous known chemicals, and it does not have to be labeled on any of the products to which it is added.
“Neotame has similar structure to aspartame — except that, from it’s structure, appears to be even more toxic than aspartame,” writes HolisticMed.com on its page about neotame. “Like aspartame, some of the concerns include gradual neurotoxic and immunotoxic damage from the combination of the formaldehyde metabolite (which is toxic at extremely low doses) and the excitotoxic amino acid” (http://www.holisticmed.com/neotame/toxin.html).
The FDA, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) all consider neotame to be safe for use, despite the fact that WHO actually published a paper seeking to establish acceptable daily intake levels for neotame. If neotame is so safe that it does not even have to be labeled, according to the FDA, then why do acceptable daily intake levels have to be established? And what is the point of establishing them in the first place?
This dog and pony show of special interest regulatory corruption is a travesty that will have global negative health consequences. Like most other toxins added to foods, neotame will most likely cause chronic damage over a long period of time, which means mainstream health authorities will get away with never having to admit that neotame is a dangerous toxin.
Sources for this article include:
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
By: Ethan A. Huff
[NaturalNews] With so much conflicting information out there about which foods are healthy and which foods are not, it can be difficult for many people to determine how best to approach a healthy lifestyle that includes eating well. But a good place to start is to avoid these seven toxic foods, beverages, and additives that are quite common in the American diet.
Diet sodas and beverages sweetened with artificial chemicals. One of the more common dietary misconceptions in mainstream society today is the idea that “diet” beverages are somehow healthier than their sugar-sweetened beverages. Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) saccharin (Sweet’N Low), and sucralose (Splenda) are among the more popular artificial sweeteners used in many diet sodas, juices, chewing gums, and other foods (http://www.naturalnews.com).
Not only are artificial sweeteners bad for your health (http://www.naturalnews.com), but they also tend to promote obesity (http://www.naturalnews.com/022785.html). If you want to protect yourself against chronic illness and toxicity — aspartame literally converts to formaldehyde in the body and causes metabolic acidosis — it is best to stick with either raw sugars or natural sugar substitutes like pure stevia extract.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the silent killer. It is not really much of a secret anymore that HFCS, despite all the corn industry shilling, is a toxic sweetener that should be avoided (http://www.naturalnews.com/hfcs.html). Since it is linked to obesity, brain damage, low IQ, and even mercury poisoning, avoiding all foods that contain HFCS — this can include breads, cereals, and other seemingly innocuous foods — will do wonders for your health.
Most vegetable oils, including hydrogenated and ‘trans’ fat varieties. The misdirected war on saturated fats has convinced millions of people that unsaturated vegetable oils are a healthy alternative. Not only do many vegetables oils turn rancid quickly, which means they are toxic (http://healthwyze.org), but many of them also contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids which, apart from omega-3 fatty acids, can cause severe health problems like heart disease and cancer. (http://www.naturalnews.com/022860.html)
Many vegetable oils are also derived from genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), including canola, soy, and corn oils. These same oils are often hydrogenated as well, a process that turns them into heart-destroying solid oils. Avoiding these and sticking instead to healthy fats like grass-fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and hemp oil will greatly improve your health and lower your risk of disease.
White bread, pasta, and other refined flour foods. They are cheap, plentiful, and come in hundreds of varieties. But white breads, pastas, and other foods made from refined flour are among the top health destroyers in America today. Not only are most white flour products carcinogenic because they are bleached and bromated, but they also lack vital nutrients that are stripped away during processing. Avoid them, and all processed wheat products if possible, to optimize your health.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG), carrageenan, and refined salt. Often hidden in foods under deceptive names (http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html), MSG is a pervasive salt chemical you will want to avoid that is linked to causing headaches, heart problems, brain damage, and other problems. Carrageenan, another chemical additive often hidden in “natural” and organic foods like nut milks and lunch meats, is similarly worth avoiding, as it can cause gastrointestinal upset and colon cancer. (http://www.cornucopia.org)
And processed salt, which is added to just about everything these days, lacks the trace minerals normally present in sea and earth salts, which means it ends up robbing your body of these vital nutrients (http://www.naturalnews.com/028724_Himalayan_salt_sea.html). Hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke are just a few of the many conditions that can result from refined salt intake, so your best bet is to stick with unrefined sea salts and other full-spectrum salts.
Splenda soon to unleash ‘Nectresse’ – Here’s what you need to know about this new ‘natural’ sweetener
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
By: Jonathan Benson
[NaturalNews] McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, maker of the artificial sweetener Splenda, is gearing up to introduce a new “natural” sweetener known as Nectresse that will cater specifically to those looking for a healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners and sugar. But is Nectresse really as natural as McNeil claims it is, or is the product just another example of tricky marketing hype aimed at health-conscious consumers?
According to the Nectresse website, the product is “100 percent natural,” and is made from the heat-stable extract of an Asian melon known as monk fruit, or Lo Han. McNeil claims that Nectresse contains zero calories per serving, and that monk fruit is 150 times sweeter than sugar, which means that consumers do not need to use very much of it to effectively sweeten foods and beverages.
Nectresse contains other additives besides monk fruit
But monk fruit is not the only ingredient in Nectresse, nor is it even the primary ingredient. The first and most abundant ingredient in Nectresse is actually erythritol, a sugar alcohol commonly derived from corn, the vast majority of which has been genetically modified (GM) in the U.S. And the second ingredient in Nectresse is sugar, which is refined and more than likely comes from GM sugar beets.
The third ingredient in Nectresse is monk fruit, which McNeil explains is extracted using a natural process involving both water and heat rather than chemicals — this is good. But the fourth and final ingredient in Nectresse is molasses, which once again is a sugar that more than likely was derived from GM sugar beets — producers that use sugar from sugar cane, after all, typically indicate this on their ingredient labels.
Nectresse, not so natural after all
So three out of the four ingredients used in Nectresse appear to be derived from bioengineered crops, and two of these ingredients are refined sugars. And since erythritol is a sugar alcohol, as well as the most abundant ingredient in Nectresse, McNeil can legally claim under U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines that Nectresse contains zero calories per serving.
But the fact that Nectresse more than likely contains ingredients derived from GM sources means that it is hardly the “natural” product that McNeil is hyping it up to be. Sure, Nectresse contains a little bit of monk fruit which, like the stevia plant, contains compounds that are naturally very sweet, but that do not provide the body with calories in the same way as sugar. But the other ingredients found in Nectresse can hardly be considered natural.
According to MonkFruit.org, (http://www.monkfruit.org/monk-fruit/68/food-beverage-manufacturers) monk fruit can actually be up to 200 times sweeter than sugar because it contains natural antioxidants known as mogrosides that have a strong, sweet taste, but that are not actually considered to be sugar. These mogrosides are unique to monk fruit, and they also contain zero calories.
By itself, in other words, monk fruit appears to be viable as a healthy, alternative sweetener that, because of its heat stability, can work better than stevia in certain food applications that require baking, sauteing, or other forms of heat cooking. Nectresse, on the other hand, appears to be an adulterated version of the monk fruit that represents the corporate food industry’s latest attempt at trying to cash in on the health-conscious.
Sources for this article include: