Roundup Herbicide Linked To Overgrowth of Deadly Bacteria

GreenMedInfo

Could Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup be leading to the overgrowth of deadly bacteria in animals and humans consuming genetically-modified food contaminated with it?

This question follows from a new study published in the journal Current Microbiology titled, “The Effect of Glyphosate on Potential Pathogens and Beneficial Members of Poultry Microbiota In Vitro,” which found that the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, known as glyphosate, negatively impacted the gastrointestinal bacteria of poultry in vitro. The researchers presented evidence that highly pathogenic bacteria resisted glyphosate, whereas beneficial bacteria were moderately to highly susceptible to it.

Some of the beneficial species that were found to be suppressed by glyphosate were Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Bacillus badius, Bifidobacterium adolescentis and Lactobacillus spp. The pathogenic species which were found to resist glyphosate toxicity were Salmonella Entritidis, Salmonella Gallinarum, Salmonella Typhimurium, Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium botulinum.

The researchers stated that “A reduction of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract microbiota by ingestion of glyphosate could disturb the normal gut bacterial community.” Even more alarming was their observation that the toxicity of glyphosate to the most prevalent beneficial species, Enterococcus, “could be a significant predisposing factor that is associated with the increase in Clostridia botulinum-mediated diseases by suppressing the antagonistic effect of these bacteria on clostridia.” Clostridia are a class of anaerobic bacteria including some of the most dangerous known to man, such as C. tetani and C. botulinum, which produce tetanus and botulin toxin, respectively.

Consider that botulin is the most acutely toxic substance known, and that despite the fact it is FDA-approved for use “cosmetically,” e.g. Botox injections, it is being looked at as a potential bioweapon because it only takes 75 billionths of a gram (75 ng) to kill a person weighing 75 kg (165 lbs). It has been estimated that only 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) would be enough to kill the entire human population.

The researchers noted that the glyphosate-sensitive beneficial strains of bifodobacteria, lactobacilli, propionibacteria and enterococci were found to inhibit the growth of C.botulinum. They also found that pathogenic Salmonella and E.coli strains, increasingly found contaminating poultry products, were highly resistant to glyphosate. Lastly, the researchers pointed out that glyphosate also has the potential to induce genetic mutations within bacteria, making it possible for a new level of pathogenicity to emerge following chronic exposure to this chemical.

What Does This Mean For Our Food?

One of the obvious implications of this research is that poultry fed glyphosate-laced genetically modified corn or soy, for instance, would likely experience unhealthy changes in the make-up of their intestinal flora (known as dysbiosis), resulting in increasing harm not only to the animals, but to those consuming them. Factory-farmed chickens are already routinely fed antibiotics, arsenic and even antidepressants, all of which represent serious health threats, both by contributing to the generation of communicable disease vectors, as well as contamination of the meat itself.

This new study adds to a growing concern that concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) chickens may becoming a breeding ground for botulism, and related pathogenic organisms. Deadly botulism outbreaks in cattle, in fact, have recently been linked to poultry litter contamination in Ireland.[i] Also, this month the FDA broadened the use of highly controversial food irradiation by increasing the allowable dose in poultry from 3 to 4.5 Kilograys (keep in mind a Kilogray is equivalent to 2,500,000 chest x-rays (40 millirems each) or 166 times a human lethal dose (5 Grays)), citing concerns that lower levels do not eliminate radiation-resistant spore-forming bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum.[ii]

More Than Just A Food Contamination Problem

Research published earlier this year, also in the journal Current Microbiology, indicated that glyphosate formulations, at concentrations lower than presently used in agricultural applications, are capable of destroying food organisms widely used as starters in traditional and industrial dairy technologies, such as Geotrichum candidum, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus.[iii] The study authors concluded that Roundup herbicide’s inherent toxicity to soil organisms may explain what is behind “…the loss of microbiodiversity and microbial concentration observed in raw milk for many years.”

The reality is that GM farming practices, which are heavily reliant on glyphosate-based herbicide formulations, are creating a more serious long-term threat to our food security by drastically altering the composition of the soil, threatening its very fertility and ability to produce food for present and future generations.

Pesticide Use Increases as GMO Technology Backfires

Wake Up World
by Mary West

The GMO nightmare continues to unfurl, as the crop technology designed to reduce the need for pesticides has backfired. Farmers’ heavy adoption of these modified crops has sparked an increase in “superweeds” and hard-to-kill insects, creating the need to use more toxic herbicides.

Proponents of GMOs have alleged that these crops are a vital tool for weaning farmers off of toxic pesticides, but this claim has been resoundingly refuted by a recent study published in Environmental Science Europe. Chuck Benbrook, a researcher for Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, found that GMO use has led to a “monsoon in herbicides.” Not only have these crops necessitated the need for higher applications of Roundup, Monsanto’s herbicide, but the problem has also forced farmers to use older herbicides that have more harmful effects, says Benbrook.

Statistics demolish Monsanto’s claim that GMOs reduce the need for herbicides.

The magnitude of the increase in pesticide use is illustrated by the statistics of the study. In the period between 1996, when the use of Roundup-ready crops began, and 2011, herbicide use increased by 527 million pounds, equating to 11 percent.

During the first few years of the use of Roudup-ready crops, these GMOs actually fulfilled Monsanto’s promise of reducing the need for herbicides: they reduced the use of these chemicals by 2 percent between 1996 and 1999. This advantage, however, was short-lived. After this period, weeds started developing resistance to Roundup, which led to farmers’ increasing their application of this herbicide by 21 percent, evidenced by a 19 million spike in its use, Benbrook tells The Guardian. The stepped up use of Roundup eliminated the weak weeds, which gave the resistant weeds, or “superweeds,” the opportunity to proliferate and take over.

Statistics revealing a 24 percent increase in pesticide use between 2009 through 2010 show the problem is only getting worse. Benbrook relates to The Guardian that by this time the problem of resistant weeds had fully kicked in, resulting in the use of greater volumes of Roundup as well as more toxic herbicides such as 2,4-D, a component of the infamous Agent Orange.

What about Bt seeds, the other main biotech product?

Resistance problems leading to pesticide increases are not limited to Roundup-ready crops but also include the other primary biotech product – Bt seeds. These seeds have been engineered to contain a gene present in Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that is toxic to insects. This product’s purported benefit is that it will take care of the insect problem, but has it worked?

Although it initially reduced the need for insecticides, the resistance problem developed by Roundup-ready crops has now begun to manifest in these crops as well. Just as weeds acquired resistance to Roundup, so also rootworm, the biggest pest of corn, is showing signs of resistance to the Bt technology. In areas of the Midwest where these crops have been popular, agricultural experts are advising farmers to spray other insecticides because the Bt trait is failing.

Greater use of chemicals translates into more health hazards.
The harmful effects of pesticides, including Roundup, are not confined to weeds and inserts. Studies show they increase health risks in people and animals exposed to them through food and water. Experts say the use of more chemicals leads to more health hazards. Benbrook aptly characterizes the GMO problem as a “slowly unfolding train wreck.”

Kaiser Speaks about GMOs

Willamette Live

Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plan, has made an official statement on GMOs (genetically modified organisms in food,) calling the topic important both scientifically and politically.

In our last issue, Salem Weekly described “What You Need To Know About GMOs,” an article we found printed in Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest Fall 2012 newsletter, Partners in Health.

Because the author is not credited and the article itself is not available on Kaiser Permanente’s web site, Salem Weekly queried David Northfield, Media Relations Manager of Kaiser Permanente’s Communications & Organizational Research in Portland, to learn more.

Among other questions, we asked if the text of the article, reflected Kaiser Permanente’s official position on genetically modified organisms in food.

Northfield responded on November 25. He said, “The article appearing in this fall’s issue of Partners in Health, Kaiser Permanente’s newsletter for members, was written by one of our nutritionists, and presents her views and insights on the subject. As a mission-based non-profit healthcare organization, we believe it is important to share information with our members on a wide range of topics related to health care and health, but we do not take an organizational position on every issue.”

Northfield went on to say, “Kaiser Permanente believes the ongoing research and debate on bioengineered foods, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is important. We also recognize there are important conversations about related initiatives and propositions. While we believe these are important scientific and political debates, we do not have policy positions on these subjects.”

Though Kaiser Permenente will not state an official policy on GMOs, the nutritionist-author of “What You Need To Know About GMOs” (who is not named,) described studies that showed significant physical damage caused by GMOs and listed ways its members could avoid them.

GMO crops, or biotech crops, are plants whose DNA has been modified by genetic engineering techniques. The process is believed to have begun in 1982 to make tobacco plants hardier.

It has burgeoned since then; a 2011 article published by an industry publication claims a 94-fold increase in worldwide acreage between 1996 and 2011.

In their article, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications calls biotech crops “the fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.”

Opponents to GMO foods organized in California this year with Proposition 37, which attempted to require food with GMO content to be labeled, and to prohibit from calling itself “natural.” The Proposition failed on November 6.

Currently in the United States, although ingredients like peanuts must be mentioned on labels, foods with GMOs are not required to be.

Biotech and food corporations spent an estimated $39,000,000 to defeat the California proposition and hide their GMO ingredients.

In addition to a software app suggested by Kaiser Permanente’s nutritionist, Salem Weekly recommends the affiliated web site, nongmoshoppingguide.com.

Meanwhile, an original hard copy of the Partners in Health issue, including the article “What You Need To Know About GMOs” is available in our offices.Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plan, has made an official statement on GMOs (genetically modified organisms in food,) calling the topic important both scientifically and politically.

In our last issue, Salem Weekly described “What You Need To Know About GMOs,” an article we found printed in Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest Fall 2012 newsletter, Partners in Health.

Because the author is not credited and the article itself is not available on Kaiser Permanente’s web site, Salem Weekly queried David Northfield, Media Relations Manager of Kaiser Permanente’s Communications & Organizational Research in Portland, to learn more.

Among other questions, we asked if the text of the article, reflected Kaiser Permanente’s official position on genetically modified organisms in food.

Northfield responded on November 25. He said, “The article appearing in this fall’s issue of Partners in Health, Kaiser Permanente’s newsletter for members, was written by one of our nutritionists, and presents her views and insights on the subject. As a mission-based non-profit healthcare organization, we believe it is important to share information with our members on a wide range of topics related to health care and health, but we do not take an organizational position on every issue.”

Northfield went on to say, “Kaiser Permanente believes the ongoing research and debate on bioengineered foods, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is important. We also recognize there are important conversations about related initiatives and propositions. While we believe these are important scientific and political debates, we do not have policy positions on these subjects.”

Though Kaiser Permenente will not state an official policy on GMOs, the nutritionist-author of “What You Need To Know About GMOs” (who is not named,) described studies that showed significant physical damage caused by GMOs and listed ways its members could avoid them.

GMO crops, or biotech crops, are plants whose DNA has been modified by genetic engineering techniques. The process is believed to have begun in 1982 to make tobacco plants hardier.

It has burgeoned since then; a 2011 article published by an industry publication claims a 94-fold increase in worldwide acreage between 1996 and 2011.

In their article, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications calls biotech crops “the fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.”

Opponents to GMO foods organized in California this year with Proposition 37, which attempted to require food with GMO content to be labeled, and to prohibit from calling itself “natural.” The Proposition failed on November 6.

Currently in the United States, although ingredients like peanuts must be mentioned on labels, foods with GMOs are not required to be.

Biotech and food corporations spent an estimated $39,000,000 to defeat the California proposition and hide their GMO ingredients.

In addition to a software app suggested by Kaiser Permanente’s nutritionist, Salem Weekly recommends the affiliated web site, nongmoshoppingguide.com.

Meanwhile, an original hard copy of the Partners in Health issue, including the article “What You Need To Know About GMOs” is available in our offices.