Genetically modified corn causes organ damage?

Genetic modification of corn plants usually involves the addition of a gene that will either make the plant resistant to a herbicide that will be sprayed on it or cause the plant to produce a pesticide that will kill crop-damaging pests. 

Monsanto, an agriculture and biotechnology corporation, sells 90% of the world’s genetically modified (GM) seeds.1 Monsanto lost a court case in Europe and were forced to hand over their data from a 3-month feeding study they had performed on rats using three varieties of their GM corn. 

A group of French researchers following up their similar 2007 study re-examined Monsanto’s data using different statistical analyses. The researchers did find some differences between GM corn fed rats and and controls rats using their chosen analyses – most of these changes implied altered kidney or liver function, which could indicate toxicity. 2

The question is – how relevant are these changes? Do they really translate into toxicity in humans? We can’t really know yet. Even the authors of the study stress that the parameters measured are ‘signs of toxicity’ but not ‘proof of toxicity’. Additional longer studies will need to be done to clarify these findings and determine whether GM corn varieties are safe. 

The deletion or addition of one gene can change the expression of hundreds or even thousands of other genes, making the genetically modified plant quite different from the original. We don’t know for sure if GM corn is dangerous, but based on the physiological changes that took place in this study, it might be dangerous.

Most of the GM corn that is produced in the U.S. is consumed by farmed animals like cattle and pigs, not by humans. But if GM corn is damaging to the health of these animals, how does this affect the humans that eat them? Also some ingredients in processed foods like high fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, and soy products can potentially be from GM sources (if not labeled organic). We can make a conscious decision not to consume GM foods by avoiding meat and processed foods that contain GM corn or soy ingredients. 




1. Wikipedia: Monsanto

2. de Vendômois JS et al. A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. 2009; 5(7):706-726


Nice Weather Shortcut

I’ve discovered a great way to quickly store my garden bounty without spending much time in the kitchen during the final days of gorgeous summer weather.

I harvested all the ripe tomatoes plus the zucchinis that I let grow “too big”; the kind that master gardeners would most likely throw onto their compost piles.

After rinsing the vegetables with water, I cut the tops off the tomatoes and quartered them. Then I sliced the huge zucchinis into 2 inch cross-sections, and chopped them into chunks; skin, seeds and all.

I had enough to fill two, five gallon stock pots. I then turned on the stove burners and put on the lids. I didn’t add spices, onions, garlic or anything, and just allowed the tomatoes to break down and make their own juice in the cooking process.

When the zucchinis and tomatoes were thoroughly cooked and tender, I turned off the stove, removed the lids, and allowed everything to cool. When cooled, I put the stewed vegetables into one-gallon zippered bags and stored them flat in the freezer. They look like a bunch of stacked books.

Now I can pull out a one gallon “book” of cooked tomatoes and zucchinis, cut the plastic bag off, place it in a stock pot, and use it as a base for almost anything.

For starters, this past week I made a batch of bean and vegetable soup; adding onions, garlic, Mato Zest, previously cooked lentils and garbanzo beans, fresh cut corn, and a frozen bag of each: collard greens, green beans and brussel sprouts. It was delicious! For my family I added a little bit of cooked, ground turkey and they absolutely loved it! (In another post I’ll tell how I gradually transitioned my family into eating nutrient dense foods.)

I’m almost ready to rip the tomato plants out, till the soil under, and start planting my kale and spinach seeds for the fall and winter harvest.

Here’s to eating for health to all!

Do you have a harvesting short cut to share?

CSA Boxed Share 8.10.09

Ugh! It hardly feels like summer this year with all the rain we've been having. If it wasn’t for my CSA box shares I think I’d pack up shop and move to California. Luckily, this week was a good haul. It cheered me up a bit.

As you can see, I got a whole box of tomatoes, plus cherry tomatoes, cabbage, corn, shallots, green bell peppers, garlic, potatoes, zucchini and yellow squash. After I split it with my buddy, I took home half the tomatoes, some potatoes, the squash, a few shallots and the garlic. Sweet!

CSA Boxed Share 8.4.09

Despite the rainy, depressing weather, yesterday’s box share brightened up my day. Tomatoes are one of my favorite vegetables, so I was stoked when I found two containers of cherry tomatoes, along with regular tomatoes, corn, cabbage, basil, shallots, zucchini, garlic, potatoes and onions.

Now, until my garbage tomato starts bearing fruit—no doubt it’s been delayed by the unseasonably cool summer—I’ll have to make do with these tomatoes. Okay, so after the split with my friend I got some potatoes, shallots, corn, onions, zucchini and of course tomatoes. Sweet!


Veggie Growing Time Machine

Pretty soon I’ll be outside digging a big hole, dumping my bags of rotten fruits and vegetables into a pile and planting my garbage tomato. Right now, the offspring of last year’s tomato are blossoming on my kitchen windowsill and just like survival of the fittest only the strongest will get planted. At the moment, the one that started off runty is in the lead.

So, to get you hyped up about the spring and the upcoming growing season, don’t forget I’ll be posting updates on my garbage tomato all summer long. Here are some cool time-lapsed videos of plants various sprouting out of the ground. We’ve got some corn, pepper plants, oyster mushrooms and something called Wisconsin fast plants. Enjoy!

Via Serious Eats.

Image credit: Serious Eats

On Manager's Special 2.9.09


Great looking corn, just $1.00.



My mom bought these, Fuji apples and Anjou pears $2.17.



Super ripe bananas $0.64.

Grand total, only $3.81. Freaking awesome!

This week, was really good. All the stuff was in amazing condition, especially the apples. Fuji apples are my favorite. I think they taste like caramel.

Green-News: Thursday 2.5.09

  • A waste management company in the U.K. has invented a garbage truck that runs on fuel made out of trash collected from 25 bins installed around Northern England. The rubbish charges the truck’s battery and provides 10 megawatts of excess electricity to the grid. But, the trash is burned; DiscoBlog reports.
  • Gas prices have gone down, but more and more people are still looking to carpool. Massachusetts has implemented a state-wide system to promote car-pooling and the number of applicants doubled last year and in Germany, over 700,000 citizens use an online ride-share program; TreeHugger explains.

Image credit: juicyrai

FDA Calls Genetically Engineered Animals Cutting Edge...

In a statement last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said genetically engineered animals, not including cloned animals, hold substantial promise for improving public health, i.e. these creatures can enter the food supply, but not before rigorous scientific testing. However, the FDA will not require companies to label that their meat has come from genetically engineered animals, outraging consumer groups. One organization claims the FDA is disregarding consumers' right to choose; CNN investigates.

There’s a bizarre compulsion in this country to futz with what Mother Nature took millions of years to perfect, like do we really need purple tomatoes infused with snapdragon genes or carrots with scorpion parts? I doubt it. Not to mention, an experiment in 2007 showed rats fed genetically modified corn developed signs of kidney and liver disease after 3 months.

And as for cloned meat, it won’t be labeled either and many health experts don’t want it.

Image credit: Ilja