|(Natural News) There is some truth behind the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are superfoods, and they are good sources of antioxidants that protect cells from oxidative damage and boost the immune system. They also contain dietary fiber, which is good for digestion and the maintenance of gut microbiota. But…|
Impossible Foods is billing its Impossible Burger as a healthier, more sustainable option than beef, but when tested by consumer advocacy group Moms Across America (MAA), concerning levels of the herbicide glyphosate were found in the food.1
It’s not at all surprising, considering the Impossible patty is made mostly of genetically engineered (GE) soy protein, and in the U.S. about 94 percent of soybean acres are planted with such GE seeds, which are designed to tolerate glyphosate, i.e., Roundup, herbicides.2
This alone pokes holes in their attempts to greenwash an otherwise highly processed fake food, but the company’s response to MAA’s findings is even more disconcerting.
Impossible Foods Resorts to Insults, Name-Calling to ‘Defend’ Their Fake Burger
Impossible Foods’ rebuttal to MAA’s glyphosate testing has taken a page out of Monsanto’s playbook: When a study shows reason for concern, immediately attempt to discredit the source using any means necessary, including insults and name-calling.
Rather than acknowledging that glyphosate in their food could be a problem — especially in light of the recent court cases against Bayer (which acquired Monsanto in 2018) totaling billions in judgments due to people who developed cancer as a result of Roundup use — they engaged in a veritable smear campaign against MAA.
In their Unofficial Correction of Moms Across America, Impossible Foods states, “MAA is an anti-GMO, anti-vaccine, anti-science, fundamentalist group that cynically peddles a toxic brew of medical misinformation and completely unregulated, untested, potentially toxic quack “supplements” … .”3
Really? In actuality, Moms Across America is a group of moms on a mission to raise awareness about toxic exposures and create healthy communities. They’ve previously commissioned research that’s revealed glyphosate lurking in everything from almond milk and hummus to orange juice and veggie burgers — information consumers should know.
Impossible Foods also highlighted MAA’s point that a staggering number of Americans have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), to which they rebutted, “Huh? This is a complete non-sequitur.”4
Perhaps they’re not aware, then, that as more and more glyphosate has been sprayed on agricultural lands, parks and backyards, entering our food and water supplies, NAFLD rates have trended upward, from a prevalence of 15% in 2005 to 25% in 2010.5
Glyphosate not only has been linked to liver damage at ultralow doses,6 but people with a more severe form of NAFLD called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, had significantly higher residues of glyphosate in their urine, according to one recent study.7,8
As for MAA’s statements that glyphosate-based herbicides have been “proven to be carcinogenic,” Impossible Foods stated this is “a ridiculous claim” and “No regulatory authority in the world considers glyphosate to be carcinogenic to humans at current exposure levels,” tell this to the victims behind the at least 13,400 lawsuits that have been filed claiming exposure to glyphosate-containing Roundup caused health problems, including cancer.
The first three lawsuits have already ended in favor of the plaintiffs, leaving Bayer saddled with billions in damages. Zen Honeycutt, MAA’s executive director, brought up a good point, which is who will end up responsible for glyphosate’s toxic burden if the lawsuits leave Bayer bankrupt:9
“If Bayer goes bankrupt due to the outcome of about 14,000 lawsuits filed against them for the carcinogenic effects of glyphosate herbicides, who will become liable for harm to the public? I wonder if it will be retailers and food brands who continue to expose the public to toxic glyphosate herbicides.”
What Is the Impossible Burger?
Impossible Foods creates meatless burgers that “bleed” like real meat, due to the addition of soy leghemoglobin, or heme. This, the company says, it what makes meat taste like meat and, in plants, leghemoglobin is the protein that carries heme, an iron-containing molecule.
Originally, Impossible Foods harvested leghemoglobin from the roots of soy plants, but deemed that method unsustainable. Instead, they turned to genetic engineering, which they use to create a yeast engineered with the gene for soy leghemoglobin.
“This process allows us to make heme at scale with the lowest achievable environmental impact,” according to the company.10 The full ingredients list of their “new” recipe, which was released in January 2019, is as follows:11
“Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12. Contains: Soy”
You can find Impossible products in more than 5,000 restaurants in the U.S., Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore, in locations ranging from fine dining establishments to food trucks and theme parks.12 Even fast food outlets like Burger King and White Castle have jumped on the meatless fake burger bandwagon, with the former featuring the new Impossible Whopper that bills itself as “100% Whopper, 0% Beef.”
The glaring issue with fake foods such as these is that they’re claiming to be a healthier alternative to conventional burgers, but in fact are nothing more than highly processed pseudo-food — not the real food that so many Americans are after.
So How Much Glyphosate Is in Impossible Burgers?
MAA commissioned Health Research Institute Labs (HRI Labs), an independent laboratory that tests both micronutrients and toxins found in food, to determine how much glyphosate is in the Impossible Burger and its competitor, the Beyond Burger, which is made from a heavily processed concoction of ingredients like pea protein isolate, canola oil, gum Arabic, modified food starch and cellulose from bamboo.
Like the Impossible Burger, the Beyond Burger is a far cry from real food. The total result of glyphosate and AMPA, the main metabolite of glyphosate, in the burgers was 11.3 parts per billion (ppb) in the Impossible Burger and 1 ppb in the Beyond Burger.13
It’s a lower level than has been found in some other foods, namely those containing oats. Glyphosate is used as a desiccant on many non-GMO crops, such as wheat, oats and barley, in order to dry them out quickly prior to harvest.
In some cases, non-GMO foods may be even more contaminated with glyphosate than GMO crops like soy, because they’re being sprayed just weeks prior to being made into your cereal, bread, cookies and the like.
Tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed the highest glyphosate level — 2,837 ppb — was found in Quaker Oatmeal Squares breakfast cereal,14 a level that makes Impossible Burger’s glyphosate level seem good by comparison — but that’s precisely the sad point.
Glyphosate has been so heavily used worldwide that it’s being found everywhere, and companies are trying to pass off the fact that this herbicide is in their food as normal and somehow acceptable. No matter the amount, consumers are eating fake burgers that contain herbicide residues, and Impossible Foods wants you to believe that’s just fine.
But consider this: Every time you eat something contaminated with glyphosate, it adds to your daily body burden for that chemical. Impossible Burger’s 11 ppb will add to the possibly 2,837 ppb in your breakfast cereal, along with likely amounts in many other foods you eat on a daily basis. This can all add up to an increased risk of disease. EWG noted:15
“Our recommended maximum daily intake of glyphosate in food is 0.01 milligrams. For a 60-gram portion of food, this daily intake limit translates to a safety standard of 160 ppb of glyphosate. This health benchmark is based on the risks of lifetime exposure, because small, repeated exposures can add up if someone eats food containing glyphosate every day.”
Replacing Animal Foods Isn’t the Solution
After revealing the glyphosate residues in the Impossible Burger, MAA called upon consumers to ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cancel the license for glyphosate in light of the increasing health risks. Impossible Foods responded:16
“Nothing is more important for human health, global food security and the future of the world than replacing the use of animals in food production. In fact, most of the agricultural pesticides used in the US are applied to crops fed to livestock. So no single step would do more to reduce pesticide exposure then eliminating the use of livestock in food production. That’s our mission.”
This again misses the point. It’s clear that alternatives are needed to the concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) involved in producing most meat. Conservation group WWF told The Guardian that they had found that 60 percent of global biodiversity loss is due to meat-based diets straining resources.17,18
However, the solution isn’t to remove animals from the system but rather to include them in accordance with the laws of nature. Rather than housing livestock separately from other animals and crops, livestock is integrated into a symbiotic, complementary system that mimics the way nature works.
Animals are, in fact, a very necessary part of a sustainable agriculture system. Allen Williams, Ph.D., a sixth-generation farmer and chief ranching officer for Joyce Farms, explained, “The way we do this at Joyce Farms is by mimicking the dense herds of grazing ruminants that used to roam across America, grazing and trampling plants into the soil. This trampling provides an armor of plant life for the soil and feeds the soil microbes.”19
Meanwhile, on biodynamic farms, which use no genetic engineering or chemical pesticides, crops and livestock are integrated, animals are treated humanely, and all have access to the outdoors, free-range forage and plenty of space to move around. Further, at least 10 percent of farm acreage is set aside for biodiversity.20
Investors in Impossible Foods Are Far From Agricultural Gurus
Grass fed, regenerative and biodynamic farming is the direction the food supply needs to be moving for true sustainability — a point Impossible Foods is missing entirely. But why would we think otherwise?
The investors in alternative meat products are not exactly gurus in the sustainable agriculture scene — far from it. Take Memphis Meats, which is creating meat replacements grown in a lab via mass culturing stem cells from animals, often in a solution containing bovine serum, hormones, growth factors and other food additives.21
Agricultural giant Cargill Inc. and billionaires Richard Branson and Bill Gates are among those who have given millions to Memphis Meats. Other investors in Memphis Meats include General Electric CEO Jack Welch, venture capital firm DJF (which has also invested in Tesla, SpaceX and Skype) and billionaires Kimbal Musk (brother of tech billionaire Elon Musk) and Kyle Vogt (co-founder of a self-driving car startup).
Similarly, investors in Impossible Foods include Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, UBS, Viking Global Investors, Temasek, Sailing Capital and Open Philanthropy Project (Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook, is one of their main funders22), along with a handful of celebrities and athletes.23
It seems the idea of putting patents on the food system is appealing to a number of billionaire investors, but does the idea of an elite few controlling the food system via patented lab-grown meat and GE meat alternatives sound appealing to you?
Fake Meat Is Highly Processed — See Through the Hype
Fake meat marketers would have you believe that the key to saving the environment and protecting animals is to embrace GE meat alternatives and lab-grown meat, but don’t believe the hype. These products are not natural, nor are they superior to real food grown in accordance with nature.
As for sustainability, Friends of the Earth (FOE), a grassroots environmental group, noted that Impossible Foods is making confusing promotional claims, sustainability among them:24
“The Impossible Burger is marketed as ‘sustainable,’ … despite the lack of data on energy consumption, emissions, or dependency on industrial feedstocks like genetically engineered corn used to feed the genetically engineered yeast that produce key ingredients.”
There’s also a lack of transparency regarding disclosure of processing aids used to make some alternative meat products, as they do not have to be listed on labels.25 These products are manufactured from start to finish and involve the use of man-made ingredients.
The complex mix of nutrients and cofactors that exist in real food cannot be recreated by an assembly of individual components. As a general rule, man-made foods are vastly inferior to natural, whole foods and always will be.
So, if you’re looking for a healthy meal, and one that protects the environment at the same time, look for Demeter (biodynamic) and American Grassfed Association (AGA) certifications, which are both indicative of high-quality, sustainable and environmentally sound food.
Production of cannabis is booming as the medical benefits of CBD (cannabidiol) are increasingly recognized. According to Project CBD, at least 50 conditions1 are believed to be improved by CBD, including pain, seizures, muscle spasms, nausea associated with chemotherapy, digestive disorders, degenerative neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, mood disorders, anxiety, PTSD and high blood pressure.
CBD is nonpsychoactive, nonaddictive, does not produce a “high” and has few to no dangerous side effects. In states where CBD is becoming widely used, there are also few reports of negative social or medical consequences, in fact, CBD has been shown to provide valuable benefits for those struggling with opioid addiction.
At the end of 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration2 modified the Schedule 1 classification for some CBD products, downgrading CBD products from cannabis that contain no more than 0.1%tetrahydrocannabinols (THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis) to Schedule 5,3 which lists drugs considered to have a lower potential for abuse than other controlled drugs.
The popularity of CBD has exploded in recent years. As noted in a May 14, 2019, New York Times article:4,5
“ … [C]annabidiol is everywhere. We are bombarded by a dizzying variety of CBD-infused products: beers, gummies, chocolates and marshmallows; lotions to rub on aching joints; oils to swallow; vaginal suppositories … CVS and Walgreens each recently announced plans to sell CBD products in certain states.”
Discovery of the Human Endocannabinoid System
The New York Times, which covers a lot of ground in its article, goes on to recount some of the history of how scientists discovered what cannabis can do for the human body. In the early 1960s, a chemist named Raphael Mechoulam became the first to map the chemical structures of CBD and THC.
In the 1980s, a St. Louis University Medical School scientist named Allyn Howlett identified the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) in the human brain. We now know there are two types of cannabinoid receptors in the human body, CB1 and CB2, and while CB1 is typically thought of as being primarily in the brain and CB2 primarily in the immune system, both types of receptors are in fact found throughout your body.
We also know the body produces endogenous cannabinoids that influence these receptors, and that this endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an important role in human health, as it regulates homeostasis by orchestrating communication between your bodily systems, such as your respiratory, digestive, immune and cardiovascular systems.
Mechoulam published his discovery of the first endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide, which attaches to the same sites as THC, in 1992.6 As you’d expect, the discovery of the ECS led to drug developments targeting CB receptors.
Results, however, were less than fruitful — turns out there are few truly safe alternatives to cannabis (or hemp, which also contains CBD, but very little if any THC). As reported by The New York Times,7 Sanofi’s weight loss drug Rimonabant, which blocked CB1 receptors, was pulled off the market after just two years, after reports of depression and suicide attempts related to the drug emerged.
“The episode seems to exemplify endocannabinoids’ importance to our sense of well-being and the difficulty of manipulating them therapeutically. Attempts to increase native cannabinoids with synthetic drugs have fared no better.
In 2016, French scientists halted a study of a drug designed to boost endocannabinoids.8 For reasons that remain unclear, six patients who took the medicine, meant to treat pain, were hospitalized. One died,” The New York Times writes.9
How CBD Affects Your Body
While there’s still a lot we don’t know about the exact workings of CBD, research suggests it interacts with many different systems in the body. For example, it increases the number of endogenous cannabinoids, binds to serotonin receptors and stimulates GABA receptors, all of which play roles in mood.
“With more than 65 cellular targets, CBD may provide a kind of full-body massage at the molecular level,” The New York Times states,10 adding, “this biochemical promiscuity is one reason CBD seems so medically promising,” especially when it comes to neurology, as CBD’s ability to re-establish homeostasis appears particularly beneficial for the brain.
While the featured New York Times article centers around the story of a mother seeking to find a medical solution for her son who has severe epilepsy, it also touches on many other medical uses, including current research investigating the use of CBD as a prophylactic to prevent schizophrenia.
Early warning signs of schizophrenia include episodes of delusions, during which the patient is still aware that the experiences aren’t real. A study11 published in 2018 found giving these patients a single 600-milligram dose of CBD helps to normalize some of the abnormal function in the parahippocampal, striatal and midbrain areas that occur during a schizophrenic episode.
Cannabis Products May Be an Answer to the Opioid Epidemic
While THC is psychoactive (creates a “high”), CBD has been shown to counteract the effects of THC. Many cannabis varieties used for recreational purposes, however, have been bred for exceptionally high THC content, which is why recreational marijuana use has become associated with some of the more negative effects of THC.
A study12 on black-market marijuana published in 2016 revealed the THC potency of illicit marijuana has “consistently increased over time since 1995 from ~4% in 1995 to ~12% in 2014,” while “cannabidiol content has decreased on average from ~.28% in 2001 to <.15% in 2014.”
This means the overall change in the THC to CBD ratio has shifted from 14-to-1 to about 80-to-1 over the past couple of decades. Older varieties of cannabis had a ratio closer to 1-to-1.
What’s more, while THC has been shown to trigger heroin-seeking behavior,13 CBD has been found to do the complete opposite,14 which is why CBD is now being investigated as an aid to end addiction to opioids.
The research,15 The New York Times states,16 “indicates that CBD might help recovering opioid addicts avoid relapse, perhaps the greatest challenge they face … And because it’s not habit-forming … CBD might be a badly needed new weapon with which to fight an epidemic that claims more than 130 lives daily in the United States.”
A recent study17,18,19 published in the American Journal of Psychiatry confirms the benefits of CBD for this use yet again, finding:
“Acute CBD administration, in contrast to placebo, significantly reduced both craving and anxiety induced by the presentation of salient drug cues … CBD also showed significant protracted effects on these measures 7 days after the final short-term (3-day) CBD exposure.
In addition, CBD reduced the drug cue-induced physiological measures of heart rate and salivary cortisol levels. There were no significant effects on cognition, and there were no serious adverse effects.”
THC is not all bad though. Certain kinds of pain respond better to THC than CBD, and research20 has shown cancer patients who use cannabis need fewer opioids to manage their pain. THC also appears to be less toxic to older brains, and has been shown to actually rejuvenate the aging brain and reduce plaque buildup associated with Alzheimer’s.
States that have legalized medical cannabis also report fewer opioid-related deaths. Research21 published in 2014 showed that, on average, opioid overdose mortality in these states is 24.8% lower than in states that do not have medical cannabis laws, and that mortality rates from opioids continue to decline over time.
Current Cannabis Drugs
At present, there are two cannabis-related drugs on the market. The first, Marinol, contains synthetic THC and is prescribed for the suppression of nausea and appetite stimulation.
The second, Epidiolex, approved by the FDA in June 2018, is the first CBD-only drug derived directly from the cannabis plant. The featured New York Times article details the behind-the-scenes story of how this drug was developed and brought to market.
The FDA’s downgrading of CBD with minimal THC content to a Schedule 5 drug was in direct response to its approval of Epidiolex, which is approved for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two rare forms of epilepsy.
As explained by The New York Times, the impetus behind the development of this particular drug was two mothers who were experimenting with CBD as treatment for their children’s epilepsy and then got GW Pharmaceuticals involved.
“‘In the modern era, it’s certainly the most striking example of a drug that has gone from patient use to drug development,’ Ken Mackie, a neuroscientist at Indiana University, told me.
And it’s unlikely to be the last such example. Because so many people already use cannabis and think it helps, patients might be, in effect, pioneering new uses through self-experimentation,”Moises Velasquez-Manoff writes in The New York Times,22 adding:
“[M]any who have direct experience with CBD, including a few scientists, do not think it should be available only by prescription. They point out that long before the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, which made marijuana illegal, people used the plant medicinally. Cannabis should not only take its place as an F.D.A.-approved drug, they contend. It should also reclaim its role as a folk remedy.”
Quality Control Is an Issue
While it seems clear CBD can be beneficial for a range of health issues, quality and dosing are important issues that cannot be overlooked. It’s also important to understand that it may not work for everyone.
Dr. Elizabeth Thiele, an epileptologist at Harvard, told The New York Times23 some children experience mood changes on some nonprescription CBD products, and that it can interfere with other medications by changing the rate at which your body breaks them down.
The need for more stringent quality control has already been demonstrated in studies24 showing 26.19% of 84 CBD products tested contained less CBD than advertised, and 42.85% of them contained more. Only 30.95% were accurately labeled.
An earlier study25 found many medical cannabis products sold in dispensaries in California and Washington contained very little CBD, and only 17% were accurately labeled with regard to THC and CBD content; 23% were under labeled and 60% were over labeled with respect to THC. According to the authors:26
“The median THC:CBD ratio of products with detectable CBD was 36:1, 7 had ratios of less than 10:1, and only 1 had a 1:1 ratio. Edible cannabis products from 3 major metropolitan areas, though unregulated, failed to meet basic label accuracy standards for pharmaceuticals.
Greater than 50% of products evaluated had significantly less cannabinoid content than labeled, with some products containing negligible amounts of THC. Such products may not produce the desired medical benefit.
Other products contained significantly more THC than labeled, placing patients at risk of experiencing adverse effects. Because medical cannabis is recommended for specific health conditions, regulation and quality assurance are needed.”
As of January 16, 2019, new cannabis regulations27,28 took effect in California, which include more stringent quality controls. As a result, patients are more likely than ever to get what they pay for from licensed dispensaries in the state. Quality controls include testing for microbes, pesticides and heavy metals.
Heavy metal testing is particularly important for hemp-based CBD products, as the plant is known to extract heavy metals from the soil. In fact, it’s frequently used for bioremediation purposes,29 which is great if the hemp is used for rope, fuel and other nonmedical uses.
When made into medicine, however, this soil-cleansing feature could pose significant problems, as it must be grown in clean soil. As a general rule, I recommend seeking out certified organic CBD products to ensure the least amount of contamination with pesticides and other harmful agricultural contaminants.
Legality of CBD Commerce Remains Confusing
While the sale of CBD products has exploded into a $390 million per year industry and is projected to hit $1.3 billion by 2022, there’s still a lot of confusion around the federal legality of CBD commerce in the U.S.
As noted by STAT News,30 “You wouldn’t know it from their widespread availability on the internet, in health food shops, and increasingly in major retailers, but CBD dietary supplements are technically illegal.” The reason for this is because the FDA still has not clarified whether CBD should be considered a drug or a supplement.
Hemp can now be grown and sold legally per the 2018 Farm Bill, but according to the FDA, CBD from hemp “is still technically illegal as a dietary ingredient,” New Hope Network points out.31 By approving a CBD-only drug (Epidiolex), CBD cannot — per FDA rules — be sold as a supplement, even if it’s derived from legal hemp.
“Lawyers, however, maintain the law is less clear for CBD products marketed as hemp extract, because hemp has been in the food supply long before drug makers started doing CBD clinical trials,” STAT News says.32 For now, FDA has not aggressively gone after CBD products — limiting their action to gong after those making unsubstantiated disease claims — but they could, and this makes many doctors nervous.
“J. Michael Bostwick, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn., who has written about cannabis, calls the hodgepodge of conflicting rules regarding cannabis ‘idiotic,’” Velasquez-Manoff writes.33
“He told me that even physicians willing to oversee patient cannabis use, who live in states where it’s legal, can be reluctant to do so because it remains illegal under federal law.
A doctor’s license to practice medicine comes from the state, but because the license that allows doctors to prescribe medicine is federal, involvement with cannabis could lead to revocation of that license. ‘There’s a lack of clarity about what playing field we’re on,’ Bostwick says.”
What Will the Future of CBD Regulations Hold?
While making CBD products an FDA approved drug is one solution, it’s by far not the only one, Velasquez-Manoff notes in his New York Times article.34 Quality can be ensured in other ways.
In Germany, for example, medical marijuana is overseen by a federal agency responsible for making sure all products are pharmaceutical grade. The Canadian company Tilray also produces medical-grade cannabis products and flowers and ships to any location where they’re federally legal (which currently excludes the U.S.). According to STAT News:35
“[T]he FDA is considering whether it can write a new regulation that would carve CBD out of the existing law. The agency has set up a CBD working group headed by the agency’s principal deputy commissioner, Dr. Amy Abernethy, and the agency’s principal associate commissioner for policy, Lowell Schiller.
The group will be tasked with answering that question. And that same question is sure to loom large at the agency’s May 31 public meeting on CBD — the first of its kind.
‘A key of goal of our upcoming hearing and associated public docket is to identify and collate all available data to help us answer these questions in order to make sure that the American public is protected – including to the extent CBD is being introduced into our food supply or other common consumer products,’ FDA’s Felberbaum said.
It’s entirely new territory for the government. ‘We’ve never done this before,’ Gottlieb said in March. And Gottlieb has warned that the FDA’s process could take longer than three years — a lengthy timeline for an industry that has already seen such rapid growth.
In the meantime, he’s pushed Congress to step in and solve the problem more quickly. ‘The most efficient way to get to a pathway would be through legislation,’ Gottleib said in March. ‘Probably that would just be legislation that would specifically address CBD.’”
The need for clarity was recently highlighted when a 69-year-old woman was arrested and spent 12 hours in jail after Disney World security found CBD oil in her purse.36 The woman said she used it to alleviate arthritis pain. CBD is legal in her home state of North Carolina, widely available in stores across Florida, and she also had a doctor’s note for the CBD oil.
While the drug charges against her were dropped, the question of whether she should have been arrested in the first place loom large. The woman’s attorney has stated he will pursue legal action against Orange County Sherriff’s office and Disney World for “illegal detention, false arrest and violation of her civil rights.”
Who knows, if that case moves forward, it may prompts some clarity or set some kind of legal precedent. Until then, it’s important to realize that even though CBD products are readily available, from a federal standpoint, they’re illegal, so it would be wise not to travel with them.
When Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018 for about $63 billion, you have to wonder whether executives knew the extent of the liabilities they were inheriting. The latest debacle is a collection of veritable hit lists compiled by Monsanto, containing hundreds of names and other personal information about journalists, politicians and scientists, including their opinions about pesticides and genetic engineering.1
Monsanto’s so-called “stakeholder mapping project”2 was first uncovered in France, but now it appears Monsanto likely had multiple lists to track people in countries throughout Europe. Matthias Berninger, Bayer’s head of public affairs and sustainability, told reporters, “It’s safe to say that other countries in Europe were affected by lists … I assume that all EU member states could potentially be affected.”3
Bayer Opens Investigation Into Monsanto Surveillance Project
In May 2019, French prosecutors said they had opened an investigation into Monsanto’s alleged watch lists full of private information pertaining to about 200 people. Bayer stated that it intends to fully support France in its investigations while conducting one of its own.
The seed and pesticide giant hired law firm Sidley Austin LLP for the investigation, which began informing people who were stalked by Monsanto of the issue in late May.4
According to Bayer, “Currently, we have no indication that the preparation of the lists under discussion violated any legal provisions,”5 although Berninger also said, “We consider what we have seen so far to be completely inappropriate.”6 In a conference call, he further stated:7
“There have been a number of cases where — as they would say in football — not the ball was played but the man, or woman, was tackled. When you collect non-publicly available data about individuals a Rubicon is clearly crossed.”
In addition to hiring law firm Sidley Austin to investigate Monsanto’s privacy breaches, Bayer said it had stopped communications and public affairs activity with the public relations agency FleishmanHillard, which was reportedly involved in creating Monsanto’s hit lists — at least for the time being.8 As for their role, FleishmanHillard defended their work, saying it’s been “mischaracterized,” and adding:9
“Corporations, NGOs and other clients rightfully expect our firm to help them understand diverse perspectives before they engage. To do so, we and every other professional communications agency gather relevant information from publicly available sources.
Those planning documents are fundamental to outreach efforts. They help our clients best engage in the dialogue relevant to their business and societal objectives.”
Bayer Inherits Billions in Monsanto Lawsuit Damages
More than 13,400 cases are currently pending against Bayer, alleging that Monsanto’s Roundup caused their cancer and the company failed to warn consumers about cancer risks. In the first three cases to go to trial, jury verdicts have overwhelmingly favored the plaintiffs, leaving Bayer saddled with billions in damages.
In the first trial involving Dewayne Johnson, it was found Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression” and was responsible for “negligent failure” by not warning consumers about Roundup’s carcinogenicity.10 Johnson, who is terminally ill, claimed Roundup caused his Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and the jury agreed.
Monsanto was ordered to pay $289 million in damages to Johnson, although the award was later reduced to $78 million. Bayer appealed the case, asking a court to throw out the judgment on the grounds that Johnson may not live long enough to experience the full pain and suffering that they’re compensating him for. The appeal states:11
“‘[D]amages for future pain and suffering are based upon plaintiff’s probable life expectancy in his or her injured condition … [C]ompensation for pain and suffering is recompense for pain and suffering actually experienced, and to the extent that premature death terminates the pain and suffering, compensation should be terminated’] …”
In the second case, a judge ruled in favor of plaintiff Edwin Hardeman, who alleged his repeated exposures to Roundup, which he used to kill weeds on his 56-acre property, caused him to develop cancer. Bayer was ordered to pay more than $80 million in the case, which also found Monsanto failed to warn consumers that the product carried a cancer risk.12
Hardeman was awarded $75 million in punitive damages, $5.6 million in compensatory damages and $200,000 for medical expenses,13 but Bayer, again, plans to appeal. In the third case, heard before the Alameda County Superior Court of California, a married couple, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, claimed they both developed Non-Hodgkin lymphoma after regular use of Roundup.
The jury decided in the Pilliods’ favor, ordering the chemical giant to pay $2 billion to its victims. Bayer plans to appeal the verdict, and the damages may ultimately be reduced, as it’s generally upheld that punitive damages shouldn’t be more than 10 times higher than compensatory damages. However, the zero for 3 record for Bayer has experts suggesting settlement talks may be in order.14
Bayer Pushed Toward Settlement: 9/11 and BP Oil Spill Lawyer to Mediate Settlement Talks
The Hardeman trial was the first heard in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, where more than 960 Roundup lawsuits are currently pending under U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria.15 Chhabria has now ordered attorneys for Bayer and the plaintiffs to meet for settlement talks, appointing attorney Kenneth Feinberg as the mediator.16
Feinberg has been involved in dispute resolutions in a number of high-stakes cases, including for victims of 9/11 and the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. Bayer said it will act in “good faith” and participate in the mediation, but it doesn’t plan to negotiate until its appeals have run their course, a process that could take years.
Meanwhile, Chris Loder, Bayer vice president for external communications, said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg that the company would “remain focused on defending the safety of glyphosate-based herbicides in court.”17 At the same time, Chhabria scheduled the next Roundup case in his court for February 2020, and said at least 16 additional cases should be ready to go to trial in California before then.18
Bayer’s Value Tanks as Investors Turn on Executives
Since acquiring Monsanto, Bayer’s value has fallen about 45%,19 and at Bayer’s annual general meeting in Bonn, Germany, 55.5% of shareholders voted against ratifying the management’s actions.20
The vote was symbolic in nature and won’t legally change anything but, in 2015, a 39 percent nonapproval vote against Deutsche Bank AG co-CEO Anshu Jain led to him stepping down.21 This isn’t likely to be the outcome in Bayer’s case, however.
“A hasty replacement of the CEO would only increase the risk of a breakup and therefore can’t be in the interest of long-term oriented investors …” Bayer shareholder Janne Werning said.22 Still, it’s been decades since a majority of shareholders have voted against managements’ actions.
As for what compelled the possibly-disastrous Monsanto acquisition in the first place, The Telegraph’s deputy business editor Ben Marlow stated it was part arrogance and greed:23
“On one side was Bayer’s uber-ambitious new boss Werner Baumann, who seemed determined to start his promotion to the top job with an almighty bang, unveiling Germany’s biggest ever takeover, a mere four weeks into the job.
Meanwhile, his opposite number at Monsanto, Hugh Grant, had a mind-boggling $226m (£173m) in shares and severance pay resting on the merger. Perhaps that explains why the boards of both companies were prepared to overlook the financial and legal risks of the tie-up.”
EPA Continues to Protect the Chemical Industry
In their latest review of glyphosate, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft conclusion April 30, 2019, stating the chemical poses potential risks to mammals and birds that eat treated leaves, as well as risks to plants,24 but poses “no risks of concern” for people and “is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”25
Bayer is now using that to its advantage as a “silver bullet” defense of Roundup. Reuters quoted one of Bayer’s lawyers, William Hoffman, who stated, “We have very strong arguments that the claims here are preempted … and the recent EPA registration decision is an important aspect of that defense.”
The news outlet continued, “Preemption is generally regarded as a ‘silver bullet defense’ because it stops claims across the board, said Adam Zimmerman, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.”26
In stark contrast, in March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined glyphosate to be a “probable carcinogen” based on evidence showing the popular weed-killing chemical can cause Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and lung cancer in humans, along with “convincing evidence” it can also cause cancer in animals.
In addition to cancer, increasing research suggests glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is associated with liver disease, including a more severe form of nonalchoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH.27
Roundup Poses Risks of Antibiotic Resistance
There are serious environmental concerns surrounding Roundup use as well, which alone should prompt the EPA to take action. Commonly used herbicides promote antibiotic resistance by priming pathogens to more readily become resistant to antibiotics.28
This includes Roundup (the actual formulation of Roundup, not just its active ingredient glyphosate in isolation), which was shown to increase the antibiotic-resistant prowess of E. coli and salmonella. Further research published in the journal Microbiology set out to determine what ingredients of the commercial herbicide formulations caused the antibiotic resistance effect, with results showing the active ingredients are to blame.29
“Active ingredients induced changes in antibiotic responses similar to those caused by complete formulations. This occurred at or below recommended application concentrations,” the researchers noted.
How to Avoid Glyphosate Exposure as Much as Possible
Bayer continues to assert glyphosate is safe, continuing on Monsanto’s decadeslong crusade to make people believe Roundup herbicide is something they should be spraying with abandon in their backyards (in addition to the exposures they receive from glyphosate residues in food).
You don’t have to fall for the hype, and even though nearly 300 million pounds of glyphosate are used in the U.S. each year,30 you can take steps to reduce your exposure.
In addition to not using the chemical in your home garden, actively seek out and support organic, regenerative farmers, who have decided that avoiding chemical-treated seeds and excessive chemical spraying is essential to staying healthy, nurturing soil health, protecting the environment and growing nutritious food, all at the same time.
Stephanie Seneff, a PhD from MIT University, studies glyphosate, the active ingredient in the pervasive herbicide known as Roundup that’s made by Monsanto, the massive agrochemical giant that was recently purchased by Bayer pharmaceuticals. Dr. Seneff and many other scientists from around the world have published several papers outlining the very clear and very obvious dangers that glyphosate poses to human and environmental health. Not only do we have a wealth of data, but there are also numerous court cases (more than 10,000 pending) that have ruled in favour of the people, linking glyphosate with causing cancer. On top of that, we also have information showing the extreme corruption that exists within these corporations in conjunction with our federal health regulatory agencies that allow substances containing glyphosate to be on the market. This type of corruption is worldwide. For example, the substance was recently relicensed and approved by European Parliament. However, MEPs found the science given to them was plagiarized, full of industry science written by Monsanto.
Glyphosate has been used extensively both as an herbicide and a crop desiccant. It’s highly pervasive in our food supply and is found in many non-organic foods. For example, the non profit group Moms Across America recently discovered glyphosate was present in several popular orange juice brands across America. It’s been found in many popular foods, especially those marketed to children.
Dr. Seneff explains that autism as well as many other neurological diseases begin in the gut, with the disruption of the gut microbiome being a key initiating event in these diseases. In fact, the idea and evidence that autism starts in the gut has been published for decades and reported on by media for the same amount of time. Here is one of the latest examples, but more keep emerging every year.
Here’s a great quote from a recent study published regarding the role of the gut micro-biome in autism:
The gut microbiota is believed to play a pivotal role in human health and disease through involvement in physiological homoeostasis, immunological development, glutathione metabolism, amino acid metabolism, etc., which in a reasonable way explain the role of gut-brain axis in autism. Branded as a neurodevelopmental disorder with psychiatric impairment and often misclassified as a mental disorder, many experts in the field think that a therapeutic solution to autism is unlikely to emerge. (source)
Dr. Seneff’s research has shown that glyphosate disrupts the gut microbiome, and that it “also disrupts peristalsis and the digestion of proteins and fats. Undigested proteins induce a leaky gut barrier and subsequently a leaky brain barrier. Autoimmune attack on the myelin sheaths impairs nerve fibers and disrupts neuron communication channels. Impaired sulfation and methylation pathways, common in autism, can be explained through glyphosate’s insidious, cumulative toxic effects acting as an analogue of the coding amino acid glycine.” (taken from video presentation below)
Some Recent Publications
Below is a few of the papers she’s published on the subject:
S. Seneff, N.J. Causton, G.L. Nigh, G. Koenig and D. Avalon. “Can glyphosateâ€™s disruption of the gut microbiome and induction of sulfate deficiency explain the epidemic in gout and associated diseases in the industrialized world?” Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry 2017; 17: 53-76. (Download)
Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff, “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases” Entropy 2013, 15(4), 1416-1463; doi:10.3390/e15041416 (Download)
Stephanie Seneff, Nancy Swanson and Chen Li. “Aluminum and Glyphosate Can Synergistically Induce Pineal Gland Pathology: Connection to Gut Dysbiosis and Neurological Disease.” Agricultural Sciences2015; 6: 42-70. (Download)
A Very Informative Lecture That Goes Further Into Detail
In the lecture below, Dr. Seneff goes into great detail regarding her research, and explains foods that can potentially help to detoxify the body of glyphosate and other toxic chemicals and potentially help reverse some of the symptoms of autism.
Her Autism Presentations From 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
- Glyphosate and Autism: An Indisputable Link and a Path Towards Healing. Presentation on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at AutismOne in Chicago, IL. (Powerpoint Slides) (PDF Version)
- Glyphosate and the Gut. Presentation on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at AutismOne in Chicago, IL. (Powerpoint Slides) (PDF Version)
- Glyphosate + Aluminum + Mercury + Glutamate = Autism. Presentation on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at AutismOne in Chicago, IL. (Powerpoint Slides) (PDF Version)
- Glyphosate in MMR: Does this explain the autism link? Presentation on Friday, May 26, 2017 at AutismOne in Colorado Springs, CO. (Powerpoint Slides) (PDF Version)
- Glyphosate pretending to be glycine: Devastating consequences. Presentation on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at AutismOne in Chicago (Powerpoint Slides) (PDF Version)
- Presentation on Friday, May 27, 2016 at AutismOne in Chicago (Powerpoint Slides) (PDF Version)
- Presentation on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at AutismOne in Chicago (Powerpoint Slides) (PDF Version)
- Presentation on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at AutismOne in Chicago (Powerpoint Slides) (PDF Version)
- Presentation on glyphosate on May 24, 2014 at AutismOne in Chicago (Powerpoint Slides) (PDF Version) (Video Presentation)
Those of you who have been involved in the past in the battle to protect our children from poorly made vaccines or toxic chemicals in our food or in our water know the power of these industries and how they’ve undermined every institution in our democracy that is supposed to protect little children from powerful, greedy corporations. Even the pharmaceutical companies have been able to purchase congress. They’re the largest lobbying entity in Washington D.C.. They have more lobbyists in Washington D.C. than there are congressman and senators combined. They give twice to congress what the next largest lobbying entity is, which is oil and gas… Imagine the power they exercise over both republicans and democrats. They’ve captured them (our regulatory agencies) and turned them into sock puppets. They’ve compromised the press… and they destroy the publications that publish real science. – Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (source)
At the end of the day, regardless of how substances like glyphosate get into our food or are allowed in our products, it’s us who are using them. This is why awareness is key because WE can choose to stop spraying our lawns, WE can choose to eat organic food, and WE are the ones who need to stop using these products to put them out of business.
TSA-style body scanners are coming to public spaces, and that should scare the hell out of everyone.
Last week the Salt Lake Tribune revealed that the Utah Attorney General and law enforcement are partnering with Liberty Defense, a 3D image scanning company that makes its money from scanning the public in real-time. (3D means capturing rich information (size, shape, depth) about the detection space. It can detect any material that has a physical form.)
|(Natural News) Does junk food make you sad? While the current state of the American food industry is more than enough to make anyone feel depressed, new research from Loma Linda University demonstrates a link between junk-laden diets and psychological distress. Based on their findings, it appears that what you eat can and does affect…|
|(Natural News) The physical health and mental well-being of a person depend a lot on nutrition and the food that he eats. Diet also influences the risk of developing chronic diseases. While the relationship between physical health and diet is well-understood, little is known about how diet and its quality influence the development of mental disorders….|
By Anna Von Reitz
FYI — there are a couple completely wrong-headed memes out there that I hope you will help me correct and pass on to the appropriate people among the White Hats so that everyone is properly advised, but please don’t publish at this point — this is a private discussion, an example of the many different points of view that are brought forward that I have to deal with every day and that deserve to be better known, but for the moment need to be addressed in-house.