Comparing Apples and Oranges? It’s Easy When They’re Both Genetically Engineered

December 14, 2010
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apples and orangesWill we soon wake up to GMO orange juice? Plus more on apples, sugar beets, court decisions, and Hillary Clinton’s attempt to push GMO on Africa.

An insect-borne bacterial disease is ravaging Florida’s orange crops. Commonly called “greening,” the blight (which is caused by the lethal Huanglongbing bacteria, first identified in China over 100 years ago) could wipe out most of Florida’s citrus within seven or eight years.

In response, some government agencies are advocating the creation of genetically engineered pest-resistant orange trees. Officials at the USDA say there may be no other choice, and a report sponsored by the Florida Department of Citrus and US National Academy of Sciences concluded that genetic modification holds the only real long-term hope of fighting the disease.

Currently, there are only two whole fruits on the US market that have been genetically engineered—Hawaiian papaya and one variety of plums. But a vast array of processed foods on the shelves of US supermarkets contain GM corn, soybeans, and sugar beets, including baby formula.

There is, of course, no evidence whatsoever that GMO oranges are safe for the environment or safe for human consumption. On the contrary, numerous studies show that GMOs significantly alter gut bacteria, and it is possible that the recent increases in allergies, asthma, and other diseases that affect the immune system are related to the consumption of foods from GMO crops. Even more frightening, GMOs are causing terrible genetic changes in mammal offspring. Scientists are seeing birth defects, high infant mortality rates, and sterility in hamsters, rats, and livestock fed GMO soy and corn, and some hamster pups even begin growing hair inside their mouths!

Yet government and agribusiness are plunging ahead with plans to create GMO oranges. It’s a quick-fix solution that completely ignores the root causes of the disease, which some experts say include the overuse of pesticides and nutrient-depleted soil.

The fact is, GMO is incredibly lucrative for its developers. GMO oranges, like other GMO crops, require new seeds to be purchased every year for plantings. Their seeds are programmed to self-destruct every year, requiring farmers to purchase new ones. The GMO crop’s patents also require regular fees and royalties to be paid to the companies that produce them, resulting in even higher profits.

It’s big business for the government, too. The US Africa Command, or AFRICOM, is responsible for US military operations in and military relations with all African nations except Egypt. According to several leaked documents (published by WikiLeaks, and analyzed by journalist Richard Brenneman), AFRICOM was created by the Pentagon in 2007 in part to push GMOs under the guise of structural adjustment and infrastructure improvements. One cable in particular, sent from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to American embassies in Africa, says plainly (under the heading “Food Security and Agriculture”) that one of the priorities of the State Department is to encourage African governments’ “acceptance of genetically modified food and propagation of genetically modified crops.”

This is not about actual food security for Africa. It is about supporting US corporate interests in Africa. AFRICOM is the brainchild of a retired four-star Air Force general who is now a paid lobbyist for the agrofuels industry.

In other news, Monsanto and the pro-GMO lobby received several decisive blows last month.

Germany has laws that make GMO manufacturers liable for any harm their products cause, and they require farmers who grow GMO crops to publicly register the locations of those crops. Monsanto sued, claiming that this prevents farmers from planting genetically engineered crops and was therefore unconstitutional.

Even though their claim seems absurd on its face, the suit dragged on for five years, ending with Germany’s highest court reaffirming that the long-term risks of GMOs are unknown given the current lack of scientific data, and so the German government has an obligation to act cautiously in regards to the preservation of nature for future generations. In its decision, the court repeatedly stated that genetic engineering alters the very structure of life and could have irreversible effects.

The week after that decision, a federal judge in San Francisco ordered the immediate destruction of 256 acres of genetically engineered sugar beet seedlings planted in Oregon and Arizona in September. Judge Jeffrey White determined that the seedlings had been planted in violation of federal law and regardless of his previous ruling that made planting of GE sugar beets illegal until the USDA completes an Environmental Impact Statement.

Unfortunately, an appeals court issued an emergency stay and postponed the judge’s ruling, giving the court more time to decide whether or not the plants should remain in the ground while the USDA seeks to overturn Judge White’s original ruling.

The USDA, meanwhile, has just been asked to approve a GMO apple that won’t brown soon after it is sliced. The Canadian biotech company that developed it says this could boost sales of apples for snacks and salads. The non-browning technology appears to benefit apple growers and shippers more than consumers by allowing companies to sell apples that are older than they look.

The US apple industry is trying to decide whether to support the request or not—so far they are unconvinced that consumers would want a GE apple. Or perhaps American consumers are smart enough to know that a little bit of lemon juice will prevent apple slices from browning—and it won’t make their children sterile, either!

If the apple growers fall for this, they shouldn’t be surprised if they find their sales plummeting, since people won’t know which apples are genetically modified and which not.

34 Responses to “Comparing Apples and Oranges? It’s Easy When They’re Both Genetically Engineered”

  1. ugg says:

    Remarkable issues here. I am very glad to see your article. Thank you a lot and I’m taking a look ahead to touch you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

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  2. mother aghast says:

    I am so relieved that my family is not alone in the fight to eat natural foods! We have always grown at least part of our own vegetables and meat. As the cost of food skyrockets and organic food producers are pushed out of production by the FDA (thanks to the underhanded passage of the Food Safety and Modernization Act), producing our own food appears to be the only way we will be able to save ourselves – the whole human race! However, every livestock feed distributor carries feed with GE corn and soy, which will render our home grown livestock infertile in a matter of 3 generations, which puts us right back into the palm of Montsanto and Friends. Even people who are trying to produce their own meat will be unsuccessful because they don’t know that the feed they are giving their livestock will render them useless! Another grab at power over homegrown livestock is the emerging government movement to “microchip” every farm animal in this country. It is currently state law in Louisiana for horses to have a current coggins test, at which time a microchip is implanted in the horse’s neck, supposedly for the purpose of proving the horse had a coggins test. You cannot refuse the chip and still get the test, so the only way to legally own a horse is to allow its existence to be recorded and monitored by the government. I’m not sure if this has trickled down to cattle and swine yet, but I’ve got to assume it will if it hasn’t already. Chipping all livestock owned by small farmers is a great way for the government to keep tabs on how many, what kinds, and where to find alternate sources of food not produced by big agri-business. I say that poultry is the way to go. If you feed your poultry non-GMO foods, they will reproduce at an astounding rate, much faster than the government can keep track of them. You can have meat on the table, fresh and healthy, year round, with little investment. But again, you must feed them appropriately to ensure their fertility is not diminished by GE feeds. Chin up, fellow humans! Spread the word, and keep educating yourselves and others. If enough people know what’s going on with our food supply, even Montsanto will have a hard time staying in business.

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  3. Ex Pigfarmer says:

    OK, I have tried my hand at pig farming and failed. I fed my pigs pig grower wich is a mix of soy and corn ground to a fine dust. My F1 pigs who started GM feed after they were weened had litters 12 and 15 piglets. Those baby pigs had litters of three and five and their offspring were sterrill, their livers were white! huge and smelled foul!. That was my GM experiment , I don’t need to see the results of the school lunch program to know there will be a halfing of fertillity and a higher than medium new born death rate amonge those fed gm at any time in their lives. That happened to my pigs, it was sad and cruel to watch and I expect to see results like that among the human population starting in about 5 yeas. This is 2010 so watch the CDC web sight for statistics. Blindness in about 20%, sickly offspring in 80% of F1 generations offspring , liver disease developing in 100%, sterrillity by three generations, that is the way GM soy and corn manifests. best of all it will save us from overpopulation….

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    • sd7 says:

      this is an extremely important message to spread, I’m sorry you had to take matters into your own hands but thank you for enlightening us. So many people trust our government to take care of them, we must continue to spread the word. Please tell people to watch, “The World According to Monsanto,” “The Corporation,” “The Beautiful Truth,” “Food Inc” and many other great documentaries on the subject. This is a sad state of things but remember no amount of darkness can snuff out the light of even one tiny candle. We CAN change things, we just have to believe and take action..

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  4. `Dr. Manhattan says:

    It is sad that it is getting to the point that if we want natural foods we have to either grow it ourselves or make sure to get it from an organic farm.
    Seems like they have found a way to get those of us who stay away from their processed foods.
    All we can do is take action for ourselves and our families and spread the word.
    Seems to me Corporate Ameri666a is the true Antichrist.

       0 likes

  5. Sandi says:

    mansanto needs to except the responsibity of their action. Farmers in 3rd world countries are committing sucide because their farming practises were not successful and further ruined farmers with lawsuits for contracts.
    I do not want to be helped by the genetically altered seeds…..we have enough evils in the world because of stupidity and the all mighty dollar.

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  6. John Farnham says:

    I encourage readers alarmed by the proliferation of GM ‘foods’ ( aka Frankenfoods ) to take some time to Search Care2 for the file of articles alerting us to the irreversable dangers of GM foods and what has happened where Monsanto has had its way for longer. I keep a file on Corporate Farming ( it’s an Oxymoron ) at opitslinkfest.blogspot.com – but unless you Search the blog the way you can Search Care2 it is likely you will miss important points. That said, YouTube can be absolutely wonderful if you have not taken the time to explore it.
    And for those who say it is too alarmist…is that practically possible ?

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  7. Paul Bridgewater says:

    Genetically modified food has not been tested as to it’s health consequences and rather like Red Dye #2, I really do not wish to be the guinea pig for some companies experiment. As I have watched more and more of my friends die from cancer, brain tumors and other nightmares, which ultimately lead back to the poisons in our systems, I shudder to think that the Agencies hat were put into place to protect the public have failed so miserably.

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  8. Ann says:

    I do not want genetically engineered food!!! I am one of those that needs to know what they are eating with dire consequences if I don’t. Of course the powers that be probably see this as a way to cut health care costs, by killing off parts of the population

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  9. patty camobell says:

    I vigoroulsy suppport the production of GMO foods and I feel that the gov’t has no business pushing it ahead when it is not proven safe. I believe it is highly unsafe.

       0 likes

  10. Rosalind Walton says:

    I think that Hillary Clinton and the members of the USDA and AFRICOM need a good course in genetics that would make them understand that the genome is an interactive entity, and not a string of pop it beads. Then they might realize that you can not introduce a new gene without making profound and unintended changes to the whole genome. I realize that such aguements have no impact on the heads of the big biotech companies who are more interested in money and power than in the health of the population they serve. I thiink it is obscene to push GMO crops on third world countries.
    Rosalind Walton

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  11. Kempton Jones says:

    i would like to contest this and keep it from becomming a reallit, here in america i have children and grand children and the last thing any of us needs is our food to be genetically tamperd with,
    so what ever it takes to stop this and others like it count me in.

       0 likes

  12. Katherine MacTavish says:

    NO! Absolutely NOT! Do I want GE Apples! Or any other GE FOOD!

       0 likes

  13. DAVID AARON says:

    MONSANTO THE TYRANNICAL, MANIACAL MONSTER!!
    NO! NO TO FRANKEN-FOODS!

    FOR THE SAKE OF HUMAN AND PLANET EARTH’S HEALTH & SAFETY…WE THE PEOPLE WITH
    GREAT CONCERN AND TENACITY WILL VOTE AGAINST GMO.
    MONSANTO WILL NOT SUCCEED.

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  14. S PAREDI says:

    WE DO NOT WANT ANY GENETICALLY MODIFIED OR ALTERED FRUIT OR FOODS OF ANY TYPE – WE HAVE SAID NO AND WE MEAN IT – NOR DO WE WANT “ROUND UP” OR ANY OTHER CANCER CAUSING PESTICIDES, WEED KILLERS OR CHEMICALS USED ON OUR FOOD CROPS OR ON OUR PLANTS OR SOIL SINCE MORE WILL ALSO GET INTO OUR WATER.

    WE ARE SPENDING SO MUCH ON HEALTH CARE AND YET WE ARE CAUSING BAD HEALTH WITH ALL THIS CRAZINESS.
    ARE CORPORATIONS SUCH AS MONSANTO NOW IN CHARGE OF WHAT WE EAT AND HOW WE CARE FOR OUR SELVES, OUR LAND, AIR AND WATER?

    IT MAKES ME SICK TO THINK THAT WE THE PUBLIC ARE NOT MAKING THE DECISIONS
    REGARDING OUR OWN FOOD CROPS. WHO IS PAYING OUR GOVERNMENT TO MAKE DECISIONS WE DO NOT WANT? WHY ARE THE GMO FOODS ALREADY OUT THERE NOT MARKED CLEARLY SO WE CAN AVOID THEM.
    IF WE DON”T WANT THEM NOR DO 3RD WORLD COUNTRIES. S

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  15. Sandra DenBraber says:

    I will eat organic fruits and veggies. I am very aware of the hamster studies and it is just one more way of population reduction. May the GMO masterminds be teh first to be sterile.

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  16. truther says:

    In regard to what you wrote:

    “The fact is, GMO is incredibly lucrative for its developers. GMO oranges, like other GMO crops, require new seeds to be purchased every year for plantings. Their seeds are programmed to self-destruct every year, requiring farmers to purchase new ones.”

    1. GMOs are _not_ lucrative for anyone. For one thing, the yields are generally lower, while the cost of seeds is higher. So how can they be lucrative? The only reason Monsanto is not totally broke already is because they have high level govt support, while sucking money from the taxpayers.

    2. GMO oranges — while obviously being an abomination — presumably will be growing on a tree that doesn’t need to be replanted every year.

    3. The so-called ‘terminator seeds’ (the ones that are programmed to self-destruct every year) are not currently being planted commercially AFAIK.

    I’m opposed to GMOs because this is a very stupid and dangerous technology — it is very dangerous to health. I’m just trying to correct some inaccuracies.

    –truther

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  17. Cheryl says:

    Are they trying to kill the other 50% of our North American bee populations? There is scientific date!

    http://www.fastcompany.com/1708896/wiki-bee-leaks-epa-document-reveals-agency-knowingly-allowed-use-of-bee-toxic-pesticide

    Bees are essential to our crops. GMO products have already damaged our ecosystem. When are these people going to wake up to what they are doing to the earth?

    http://infowardvd.com/

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  18. Gary says:

    I wish the Obama administration would ban GE altogether.

       0 likes

  19. lowell watson says:

    I remember when science was for the health and welfare for humans, not there demise. Lowell Watson

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  20. Shirley Pinckard says:

    Please leave our food alone! Do not genetically engineer any of it. The Africans have already turned down GE food that was offered to them from us; they don’t want it either.
    We do not know the effects of this on the human or any other body. Stop, please.

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  21. Andra Addis says:

    People should not be consuming foods from GMO crops. Shame on Hillary Clinton and Bill Gates for pushing these GMO crops on the people of Africa. GMO engineering of food crops should be banned immediately in every country. Good for Germany taking action. The only people who will benefit from this immoral business will be the companies selling these GMO seeds and their investors, the pharmaceutical companies and the politicians.

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  22. These things are done in the name of power and greed. It is time to make the punishment fit the crime. Is there a list of corporations that sell GMO foods? Is it possible to get one and make it public with changes as necessary? Boycotting and educating the people is a must. Hopefully Africa will slam that door in Clinton’s face. I am totally ashamed to live in a country that places no value on life and performs daily atrocities using citizens as guinea pigs. I’m just really tired of corporate rule and getting very angry along with millions of others. I would leave but I don’t think there is a country left that hasn’t been ruined by these pigs. I hope I live long enough to see justice served.

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  23. alfiya says:

    THIS IS OBVIOUS, DIRECT CRIMINAL CASES AND WE STILL DISCUSSING IF THEY WILL WIN.
    EVERYONE KNOWS THAT GM IS A TREAT SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN IT TO BE EXTREMELY HARMFUL, BUT NOT EVEN SO, THESE LAW MAKING CORUPTED INDIVIDUALS FIGHT AT THE SAME TIME WITH ORGANIC FOOD FROWERS. WHY NOT FIGHT TO NOT TOUGH EVER ORGANIC FARMER?

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  24. Mel Smith says:

    I quit eating Apples some time ago, as they contain to many pesticides. I only eat Apples that come from old orchards of long ago.
    I just eat around the worms that are always in those old apple trees fruit. If it don’t say USDA organic, I don’t eat it anymore.
    That don’t leave much food to get in our pantry, as it is hard to find reasonably priced organic foods on the shelves in the supermarkets.

    My wife is Epileptic and we found out her seizures were caused by chemicals in the food, like MSG, and Aspartame, and any chemicals like pesticides and herbicides.
    So we read every label on every product we buy, and we have stopped her seizures that she had for over 35 years, She has had only 2 seizures in the last 21/2 years instead of 1-4 each month in all those 35 years.
    Some of those chemicals are hidden in the labels and we have had to really study that list on my blog to make sure none of those hidden sources of MSG are in a product before we buy it.

    I’m sure there are people out there that are having seizures and Medication don’t help, and that haven’t figured out it is all the chemicals in our food source. We get heavy metals in vaccines that lodge in the brain and build up and cause many neurological problems, and the Doctors have no clue it is coming from the food and from vaccines.

    They just want to prescribe those expensive psychotropic drugs until they find one or more that slows down the seizures, but don’t stop them. Those drugs are so strong they almost make the patient like a zombe.

    We don’t eat any GE or GMO food what so ever. So nothing with Corn,Soy or sugar from beets and they put Soy and Corn oil in many products now, so we don;t buy anything with that on the label

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  25. i love apples says:

    How stupid can people get? Prevent apples from browning after they are cut? A benefit to consumers? What a meager benefit to consumers it is to offer this feature. It is clearly not about consumers benefit but meant to protect the profits of distributors and retailers who wish dupe people into buying near expired food which would otherwise go unsold. None of the motives behind GMO development are really about benefitting consumers. GMO is all about maximizing profits so company execs can demand their ungodly salaries and nothing more. If half the bio-technology research was put behind developing sustainable models of production threats from natures own bacteria, et al., to commercial crops could be curable and preventable.

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  26. Deborah Carpenter says:

    This is horrible and devilish, sounds like Hillary, sad to say, how will she like it when she or her grandchildren…or will they be isolated in an ivory tower and think they can avoid it all. Once the genie is out of the bottle who knows what will happen. I hope the whole gmo industrial structure collapses on it self, soon.

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  27. Laurence Topliffe says:

    A letter should go out to all newspapers and News organizations fruit farmers telling them that they will do everything the writers can to tell everyone else to never buy any fruit or vegetable that is genetically engineered because they are unsafe. A letter should also go to every political representative and governor saying the same thing.

    The statement that the human body has not been genetically engineered to digest genetically engineered fruits and vegetables should be included. The bacteria that inhabit the human gut can be damaged by those kinds of changed foods.

       0 likes

  28. Suzanne says:

    As usual, nutrition is being taken out of the mix on this issue. It’s all about money.

       0 likes

  29. Madge Eggena says:

    Just say no to GMO’s.

       0 likes

  30. EddieW says:

    I have stopped eating Corn and Soybeans, also I will not eat any Salmon!! If this goes through, no problem, I will eat no Oranges , and now I have just added Beets to the list.. Their evil foods are already known to cause liver and kidney disease, but since they are part of the Eugenics movement, killing people is the ideal! and kill them slowly, so they will spend huge amounts on big Pharma! The Federal DEATH Administration (FDA) will happily go along with this!
    After huge numbers of deaths, they will then use the seeds stored in Norway for themselves!

       0 likes

    • Anne McCurry says:

      I am curious about the seeds stored in Norway. If this means you can actually get unaltered seeds please elaborate. Thank you

         0 likes

  31. bill robertson says:

    we need a friend(s) in congress.
    this is important stuff. monsanto is definitely the enemy.

       0 likes

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