Monsanto and ArborGen set their sights on GM trees and grasses

Monsanto and ArborGen set their sights on GM trees and grasses
By: Tony Isaacs


Franken trees and Franken grasses

In recent years, Monsanto and ArborGen have been developing GM trees including trees modified to withstand Monsanto’s Roundup, trees designed with a reduced lignin content to appeal to paper making and construction industries (lignin gives trees their strength and rigidity) and “terminator trees” which don’t produce seeds. In Hawaii, there has already been a contamination issue with GM papaya – the world’s first commercially planted genetically engineered tree.


One of the GM trees currently being readied planting is GM Eucalyptus, despite numerous unresolved and unstudied concerns such as:

*Cryptococcus neoformans gattii, a yeast pathogen hosted by a variety of Eucalyptus species. It causes systemic fungal infections in humans, leading to fungal meningitis and death.

*Cold tolerance C-Repeat Binding Factor (CBF) genes such as those found in transgenic Eucalyptus trees that have been associated with stunted growth and production in potatoes. CBF gene modification produces highly pleiotropic effects but there does not appear to have been any investigation on the production of unintended metabolites, proteins, or nuclei acids in the modified trees.

*Transgenes, such as the ones involved in the Agrobacterium vector used in creating the transgenic trees, which can enlarge their host range to infect other species and exchange genes with them through hormones produced at the site of plant wounds.

*As reported by MSNBC and PLoS Pathogens, a new strain of a deadly fungus, Cryptococcus gattii, that has been causing fatal human illnesses throughout the Pacific Northwest. The fungus, which is known to grow on eucalyptus trees, has killed 40 out of 220 people infected throughout the region. The reduced lignin in GM eucalyptus has raised concerns that the trees could be more susceptible to infection.

*Pollen from GM Eucalyptus trees can travel almost twice as far as the ArboGen application stated. Pollen from other GM trees can travel for over 40 kilometers.

One way Monsanto has used to escape scrutiny of their GM Eucalyptus is by declaring most, if not all of the genetically modified components to be ‘Confidential Business information’ (CBI). The CBI designation prevents independent evaluation of the full impact of GM eucalyptus on the environment and on human and animal health.

The USDA recently handed Monsanto and their client lawn seed company Scotts a huge victory by deciding to not regulate Roundup Ready Scotts Kentucky Bluegrass. The USDA had previously echoed warnings by the Center for Technology Assessment that GM bluegrass could become an “environmental nightmare”.

Grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass have light and easily dispersed pollen. Thus, the likelihood of polluting existing strains is virtually certain as has happened in Oregon where Roundup Ready bentgrass has become a scourge.

So, get ready for even more toxic poisons in the coming plague of glyphosate-resistant plants gone wild. Also expect Monsanto to demand that payment for infringing on their patents, as they have with farmers whose crops have been adulterated by Monsanto’s seed pollen.

A sure formula for disaster

Easy approval of GM grasses and trees combined with insufficient testing and lack of oversight is an almost certain formula for future disaster. As we have seen with other Monsanto GM plants, once the GM genie is out of the bottle it is pretty much impossible to put it back in.

Sources for this article included:

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Drug Residues In Meat And Dairy Products -Should We Be Concerned?

Drug Residues In Meat And Dairy Products

Although much of the alarm over the use of antibiotics on livestock focuses on its contribution to bacterial resistance, the presence of drug residues and other chemicals in meat and dairy products is causing concern.

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A survey on veterinary drug use and residues in milk in Hyderabad.

A survey on veterinary drug use and residues in milk was carried out in Hyderabad (India) and surrounding suburban villages. Mastitis was the most common disease reported; oxytocin and oxytetracycline were frequently used in veterinary formulations. Of 205 milk samples analysed, 9% of market samples and 73% of individual animal milk samples contained oxytetracycline residues. None of the government dairy samples contained oxytetracycline residues. Maximum oxytetracycline consumption through milk was calculated to be 0.045 mg/kg bw/day. The levels ranged from 0.2 to 1.4 micrograms/ml in market milk samples and from 0.2 to 6.7 micrograms/ml in samples obtained from individual buffaloes. It was found that the oxytetracycline residues affect curd setting, the extent depending on the amount of residue.


Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued 78 warning letters (up from nine in 2002) to livestock producers or brokers whose meat samples bore traces of illegal drugs or of residues that were illegally high.

Those numbers likely underestimate the problem, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture samples only a fraction of the animals slaughtered each year. The FDA enforces regulations on residues but said it doesn’t have the resources to inspect every facility connected with an animal found to be in violation.

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Drug residues pose various risks to consumers. Penicillin, for example, can cause acute allergic reactions, and the drug flunixin can lead to gastrointestinal and kidney problems.

Drug residues have been found in pigs, veal calves and meat cattle, but the vast majority of residue violations were found in dairy cows sent to slaughter: 700 in 2010 and 475 in 2011. These animals make up less than 8 percent of all beef animals slaughtered but account for nearly 70 percent of all drug violations found in beef, mostly related to antibiotics and painkillers.


Read more on problems associated with drug residues CLICK HERE

Monsanto Applies for More Test Sites of More GMO Wheat Varieties

Amidst the Global Uproar, Monsanto Applies for More Test Sites of More GMO Wheat Varieties Anyway

  By Fritz Kreiss 

When you want to see an example of what it’s like to be all but above the law, you can almost find a perfect example of it in the world’s largest seed company, GMO and petrochemical specialist Monsanto.  As most everyone has recently heard, they’re currently under scrutiny by many people, governments, and organizations around the world as their RoundUp Ready GMO Wheat was recently found growing illegally in a farmer’s field in Oregon.  This crop has never been approved for use in any country in the world, and according to Monsanto they haven’t tried growing any in Oregon for a decade now and have done no testing at all since 2005, and so, that’s what we       believed.

Image taken from Occupy Monsanto | Facebook

 Then we found out days later that they grew a 150 acre test plot of the wheat in Hawaii and this year they doubled it for a 300 acre plot in North Dakota.  This all started coming out in the aftermath and due to the investigations by the USDA to find out how this GMO managed to escape and survive all these years spreading its tainted and patented genetic material without losing too much of its purity.  

We have just learned that Monsanto is now testing at least two new genetically engineered wheat breeds, one much like the last simply made to be RoundUp Ready to withstand the well known herbicide, and at least one other designed to withstand sprayings of not only RoundUp but also other herbicides such as Dicamba which are generally believed to be more toxic to both people and the environment.  Those are the same ones they claimed were being tested on the current plots we just learned of, but that’s not all.

Over just the last three weeks in the midst of everything, Monsanto applied to 13 more states to get approval for more test site locations (source: USDA):

 Why is this company given free rein to do whatever they please with our food supply, our health, the agriculture market, and our own government?  (Their constant involvement in running the FDA and USDA from the highest ranks for the last 20 years does explain a lot.)  At some point the people need to speak up and demand that something be done to protect the citizens of this country from this menace to society that so recklessly plays games with our health and that of our world with little to no thought of the consequences beyond their own short-term profit?  Please contact all your state and federal representatives as well as both the USDA and the FDA with your thoughts, comments, and anything else you can think of to spur them into taking action.  Demand that these applications be denied until proper safety regulations have been put into place, experimental and potentially dangerous crops such as these should be kept only in a carefully controlled lab if they cannot prevent any of the altered genetic material from escaping (which the industry has quite clearly failed to do in a number of different cases with various crops and products.  Demand change, as they’re not going to do anything about it if we don’t make them.


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