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In the ongoing fight of David (the general public) vs Goliath (GMO corporate citizens like Monsanto) the beautiful state of Vermont, the House of Representatives voted 114 to 30 in favor of a bill that calls for mandatory labeling of foods sold in Vermont that contain genetically engineered ingredients. It would also ban GMO-containing foods from being marketed as "natural" or "all natural." The same bill was passed by the state Senate by a vote of 26 to 2.

The Organic Consumers Association is calling this the first potential no-strings-attached GMO labeling law because it doesn't require other states to sign similar laws to force the law into effect. GMO-labeling laws passed in Connecticut and Maine do. That power in numbers strategy is designed to prevent lawsuits, but Vermont lawmakers believe they crafted a strong law. Nevertheless, the legislature did create a fund to help cover legal costs if they are sued over the right-to-know-what's-in-your-food law.

The law is expected to go into effect on July 1, 2016.

Depending on the poll, about 90 percent of consumers want genetically modified foods labeled. Regardless many processed companies and the corporations that sell transgenic seeds and agri-chemicals have spent hundreds of millions of dollars into defeating labeling initiatives. Monsanto, Dow, and other chemical companies persuaded voters in Washington and California to vote against labeling laws using scare tactics like telling people food prices will skyrocket, a claim that has been debunked. Monsanto and other chemical companies are now setting their sites stopping a GMO planting ban initiative in a single Oregon county. The state is expected to introduce a GMO labeling ballot initiative in November.

Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. It is a post emergent herbicide that is non-selective. Meaning it will kill all green plants that you apply it to including grass, broad leaf weeds and some woody plants.

Commercial glyphosate is composed of other chemicals all with the purpose of making the herbicide more easy to use. These products are generally not placed on the label. Estimates are that over 99% of the product is composed of these inert products, of which little research has been conducted.

The toxicity of glyphosate alone is much less than the toxicity of commercial glyphosate used by consumers, due to the so-called “inert” ingredients in the commercial formulation. For example the surfactanct polyethoxylated tallowamine has an acute lethal dose three times that of glyphosate alone and destroys red blood cells. Yet toxicity studies used to regulate the product only examine the “active” ingredient only and not the formulation.

Examinations of the effects of Roundup™ on human lymphocytes have shown an increase in the frequency of sister chromatid exchanges, genetic exchanges during cell division resulting in point mutations. A 2008 scientific study has shown that Roundup formulations and metabolic products cause the death of human embryonic, placental, and umbilical cells in vitro, even at low concentrations. The effects were not proportional to the main active ingredient concentrations (glyphosate), but dependent on the nature of the adjuvants used in the Roundup formulation

Commercial Glyphosate Trade Names
Roundup
Buccaneer
Razor Pro
Genesis Extra II
Roundup Pro Concentrate
Rodeo
Aquaneat
Aquamaster
Non-target Damage

Glyphosate has been shown to kill beneficial insects including parasitoid wasps, lacewings and ladybugs. Other insect populations have been drastically reduced by glyphosate applications, which negatively impacts on birds and small insect-eating mammals. These changes in plant communities impact birds’ sources of food, shelter and nest support.

Glyphosate in its commercial form is 20 to 70 times more toxic to fish than glyphosate alone. It is also increasingly toxic at higher temperatures. This is significant when one considers that glyphosate is a defoliant and the lack of plant cover increases the temperature of waterways. Sublethal effects on fish include erratic swimming, gill damage, and changes in liver structure.

Glyphosate also impacts non-target plant species in several important ways. In low doses it decreases both the number of seeds germinating and the seedling weight as compared to untreated plants. It also affects the ability of bacteria located on the nodules of leguminous plants to perform nitrogen fixation, an essential process converting nitrogen from an unusable form to a compound that is able to be used by the plant. Studies have shown that at typically application rates, glyphosate inhibits up to 70% of nitrogen fixation.

Corn and soybeans, are some of the food crops that have been genetically modified with genes that convey resistance to the herbicide Roundup™. The subsequent development of resistance in some weed species is now emerging as a costly problem.

Early Symptoms of Glyphosate Poisoning

According to the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, early symptoms of glyphosate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms. Both organizations also advise that poisoning can occur by absorption through the skin or eye contact, therefore the area of absorption may also be irritated. The individual may develop a rash or an itchy, red patch where the chemical originally made contact. If ingested, the poisoning would mimic food poisoning and cause stomach cramps and possible throat irritation.

Acute symptoms of glyphosate exposure include, destruction of red blood cells, lung dysfunction, low blood pressure, kidney damage, erosion of gastrointestinal tract, dizziness, fever, and nausea.

Resources
In our food: a recent study found that Glyphosate residues in the main foods of the Western diet – sugar, wheat, and genetically modified corn and soy – inhibit critical enzymes in mammals [which] manifests slowly over time, as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.
Source: http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416

A study done in Germany in 2012 found glyphosate in all of the urine samples it took from non-agricultural workers in Berlin, at levels 5-20 times the limit for drinking water.
Source: http://www.ithaka-journal.net/herbizide-im-urin?lang=en

In humans: in June 2013, another study found traces of glyphosate in the urine samples of individuals across 18 countries in Europe.
Summary: http://gmoevidence.com/dr-hans-wolfgang-hoppe-glyphosate-found-in-human-... Original Study Report: http://gmoevidence.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/glyphosate_studyresult...

Glyphosate is a genotoxic endocrine disruptor to human cells and gut bacteria
Human Cells: http://www.barnstablecounty.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/gasnier-toxic...

Gut Bacteria: our gut bacteria was recently discovered to contain the very same metabolic pathway in plants that is being targeted and disrupted by Glyphosate—in direct opposition to Monsanto’s claims that the human body did not contain this pathway:
http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/4/1416 (watch a full video presentation on this topic).

Two decades after the advent of “RoundUp Ready” crops and their dominance in the agricultural marketplace, the evidence of their falsehoods abound: multiple studies have found significant levels of glyphosate in streams, soil, air, rainwater, and groundwater:
Wastewater: http://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/glyphosate_wastewater.html
Rain and Streams: http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=2909
Groundwater: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22101424
Soil: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/124999079/Effects-of-Glyphosate-and-Foliar-A... (slideshow; see presentation here; view report here)
Atmosphere, Soil and Surface Water: http://environment.gov.ab.ca/info/library/6444.pdf
Mississippi and Iowa Streams: https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2009AM/finalprogram/abstract_162346.htm
Mississippi Air and Rain: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24549493

According to the USGS, more than 88,000 tons of glyphosate were used in the United States in 2007, up from 11,000 tons in 1992. Since the advent of “super weeds,” the use of glyphosate (and other even stronger weed killers) has risen significantly.
Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/31/us-glyphosate-pollution-idUSTR...

Superweeds: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.html
International Database on Glycines (Glyphosate family): http://www.weedscience.com/summary/MOA.aspx?MOAID=12
Iowa State: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/CropNews/2011/0120hartzler.htm
University of Arkansas: http://bumperscollege.uark.edu/test_cses2012/1946.php
National Academy of Sciences Report: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12804

Three studies linking glyphosate exposure with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma:

2001: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/10/11/1155.long
2002: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12148884
2003: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1740618/

Recent study linking glyphosate exposure to kidney disease in multiple countries:
2014: http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/news/sri-lanka,-kidney-disease-linked...

Glyphosate Detected in Pregnant Women: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22261298
EPA Study Outline and Schedule: http://pesticidetruths.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Reference-glyphosa...

Glyphosate causes DNA damage: Inhalation of glyphosate was observed to cause DNA damage after short exposure to concentrations that correspond to the 450-fold dilution of spraying most commonly used in agriculture:
Study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22331240

Additional Resources
1]Franz, J.E., M.K. Mao, and J.A. Sikorski. 1997. Glyphosate: A unique global herbicide. ACS Monograph 189. Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society.

[2] Sawada, Y., et al. 1988. Probable toxicity of surface-active agent in commercial herbicide containing glyphosate. Lancet 1(8580):299.

[3] Tominack, R.L. et al. 1991. Taiwan National Poison Center: Survey of glyphosate-surfactant herbicide ingestions. Clin. Toxicol. 29(1):91-109.

[4] Talbot, A.R. et al. 1991. Acute poisoning with a glyphosate-surfactant herbicide (“Roundup”): A review of 93 cases. Human Exp. Toxicol. 10:1-8.

[5] Savitz, D.A. et al. 1997. Male pesticide exposure and pregnancy outcome. Am. J. Epidemiol. 146: 1025-1036.

[6] Vigfusson, N.V. and E.R. Vyse. 1980. The effect of the pesticides, Dexon, Captan, and Roundup on sister-chromatid exchanges in human lymphocytes in vitro. Mut. Res. 79:53-57.

[7] Bolognesi, C. et al. 1995. Mutagenicity testing of nine herbicides and pesticides currently used in agriculture. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 25:148-153.

[8] Hassan, S.A. et al. Results of the fourth joint pesticide testing programme carried out by the IOBC/WPRS working group “Pesticides and Beneficial Organisms”. J. Appl. Ent. 105:321-329.

[9] Santillo, D.J., D.M. Leslie, and P.W. Brown. 1989. Responses of small mammals and habitat to glyphosate application

[10] Folmar, L.C., H.O. Sanders, and A.M. Julin. 1979. Toxicity of the herbicide glyphosate and several of its formulations to fish and aquatic invertebrates. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 33:355-361.

[11] Liong, P.C., W.P. Hamzah, and V. Murugan. 1988. Toxicity of some pesticides towards freshwater fishes. Malaysian Agric. J. 54(3):147-156.

[12] Neskovic, N.K. et al. 1996. Biochemical and histopathological effects of glyphosate on carp, Cyprinus carpio L. Bull. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 56:-295-302.

[13] Locke, D., J.A. Landivar, and D. Moseley. 1995. The effects of rate and timeing of glyphosate applications on defoliation efficiency, regrowth inhibition, lint yield, fiber quality and seed quality. Proc. Beltwide Cotton Conf. National Cotton Council of America: 1088-1090.

[14] Eberback, P.L. and L.A. Douglas 1983. Persistence of glyphosate in a sandy loam. Soil Biol. Biochem. 15(4):485-487.

In North America, we spend almost 90 percent of our food budget on processed food which contains a staggering number of artificial food additives, preservatives, colours and flavour enhancers. The Centre for Science in the Public Interest compiled a list of common food additives. There is a short description for each additive and a safety rating for each.

So what's wrong with a bit of flavour enhancement? When it comes to commercial food, its so dangerous your health and the health of your children may be suffering as a consequence. A carefully designed randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal The Lancet may have finally shifted the tide. It concluded that a variety of common food dyes, and the preservative sodium benzoate – found in many soft drinks, fruit juices and salad dressings – do cause some children to become measurably more hyperactive and distracted.

The seven ingredients tested in the study included:
• Sodium benzoate (E211)
• Sunset yellow (E110)
• Quinoline yellow (E104)
• Carmoisine (E122)
• Tartrazine (E102)
• Ponceau 4R (E124)
• Allura red AC (E129)

The results of this study have already prompted the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) to issue an immediate advisory to parents, warning them to limit their children's intake of additives if they notice an effect on behavior. Read the labels on food products and find out what is in the foods you buy.

Additives to Avoid
1. Sodium Nitrate (also called Sodium Nitrite)
This is a preservative, coloring, and flavoring commonly added to bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, smoked fish, and corned beef. Studies have linked eating it to various types of cancer.
2. BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene are used to preserve common household foods. They are found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. They are oxidants, which form potentially cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.
3. Propyl Gallate
Another preservative, often used in conjunction with BHA and BHT. It is sometimes found in meat products, chicken soup base, and chewing gum. Animals studies have suggested that it could be linked to cancer.
4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and restaurant food. It can cause headaches and nausea, and animal studies link it to damaged nerve cells in the brains of infant mice.
5. Trans Fats
Trans fats are proven to cause heart disease. Restaurant food, especially fast food chains, often serve foods laden with trans fats.
6. Aspartame
Aspartame, also known by the brand names Nutrasweet and Equal, is a sweetener found in so-called diet foods such as low-calorie desserts, gelatins, drink mixes, and soft drinks. It may cause cancer or neurological problems, such as dizziness or hallucinations.
7. Acesulfame-K
This is a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baked goods, chewing gum, and gelatin desserts. There is a general concern that testing on this product has been scant, and some studies show the additive may cause cancer in rats.
8. Food Colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6
Five food colorings still on the market are linked with cancer in animal testing. Blue 1 and 2, found in beverages, candy, baked goods and pet food, have been linked to cancer in mice. Red 3, used to dye cherries, fruit cocktail, candy, and baked goods, has been shown to cause thyroid tumors in rats. Green 3, added to candy and beverages, has been linked to bladder cancer. The widely used yellow 6, added to beverages, sausage, gelatin, baked goods, and candy, has been linked to tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney.
9. Olestra
Olestra, a synthetic fat found in some potato chip brands, can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and gas. Olestra also inhibits healthy vitamin absorption from fat-soluble carotenoids that are found in fruits and vegetables.
10. Potassium Bromate
Potassium bromate is used as an additive to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls. It is known to cause cancer in animals, and even small amounts in bread can create a risk for humans.
11. White Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Watch out for foods with added sweeteners such as baked goods, cereals, crackers, sauces and many other processed foods. It is unsafe for your health, and promotes bad nutrition. HFCS is the number one source of calories in North America. The accumulated scientific evidence demonstrates it causes far more damage than white sugar.
12. Sodium Chloride
A dash of sodium chloride, more commonly known as salt, can bring flavor to your meal. But too much salt can be dangerous for your health, leading to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. However, unprocessed salts, like unrefined sea salts and Himalayan salt can be an important part of a healthy diet.

If you ever doubted the power of one consider this. The world's largest beverage-maker, Coca-Cola, plans to remove a controversial ingredient from some of its US and Canada drink brands by the end of this year, following an online petition.

Brominated vegetable oil or BVO is used as a stabiliser in fruit-flavoured drinks to help prevent ingredients from separating. Medical researchers at the Mayo Clinic state excessive consumption of soft drinks containing BVO has been linked to negative health effects, including reports of memory loss and skin and nerve problems.

Coca-Cola's decision to remove BVO from its drink reflects a growing move among companies to reconsider certain practices due to public pressure. The campaign against the use of BVO was begun by Sarah Kavanagh, a teenager from Mississippi, who questioned why the ingredient was being used in drinks targeted at health-conscious athletes. Thousands of people have since signed her online petition on Change.org to have BVO removed from drinks.

Currently, BVO, is found in Coca-Cola fruit and sports drinks such as Fanta and Powerade. In Japan and the European Union, the use of BVO as a food additive is not allowed and Coca-Cola's rival Pepsi has plans to remove the ingredient from its entire product portfolio. BVO was dropped from the US Food and Drug Administration's "Generally Recognised as Safe" list of food ingredients in 1970. However, drinks companies in the US and Canada are allowed to use BVO at up to 15 parts per million.

Carbendazim is a fungicide of major concern. It is suspected that the chemical has hormone disrupting effects. It has been highlighted by Friends of the Earth as one of their ‘filthy four’ pesticides as it could be harmful to human health and the environment.

Developed by chemical giants, BASF (now part of Bayer) and Dupont, carbendazim is used to control a broad range of diseases on arable crops which include cereals, oilseed rape, fruits, vegetables and ornamentals. The global market is worth over $200 million at user level -- equivalent to over 12,000 tones of active ingredient.

Carbendazim is a suspected endocrine disruptor. It has been included by the European Commission on a priority list of chemicals that are believed to affect hormone function. Friends of the Earth have found evidence that carbendazim can damage the development of mammals in the womb.

Carbendazim has been in the news because of issues over residues in foodstuffs. It is one of the twelve most commonly detected pesticides in EU monitoring programmes. In 2000, it was found in baby food made by Heinz and Milupa and sold in Tesco and Waitrose. Additionally, in 2000, one third of all pears, 16% of apples tested, and over a quarter (27%) of apple juice samples contained carbendazim residues. Although carbendazim was only found in low doses on all the samples, it is an issue because babies are especially vulnerable, and apples and pears are amongst those foodstuffs most commonly eaten by toddlers.

Animals exposed to carbendazim in the womb have serious deformities such as lack of eyes and hydrocephalus (water on the brain). Carbendazim can disrupt the development of sperm and damage testicular development in adult rats. For example one study of benomyl (which has carbendazim as its main metabolite) found ‘testicular atrophy and degeneration and foetotoxicity’.

However, despite the known effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals, on wildlife, in providing their opinion on carbendazim the Scientific Committee on Plants found there were only minor signs of reproductive toxicity at high doses and no effects on development in the absence of maternal and/or paternal toxicity.

The term “genetically modified organism” (GMO) occurs when genetic material has been changed in a way that does not occur naturally. It can also can be referred to as genetically engineered (GE) or transgenic.

The genetically engineered seeds that are destined to be in our food, have their DNA artifically altered in the laboratory using genes from bacteria or viruses to create plant breeds that do not occur in Nature. Most of the GMO seeds are genetically manipulated to either produce their own pesticides inside the cells of the plant (systemic) or it is engineered to withstand heavy doses of chemical pesticides in order to survive in the field. As a result, GMOs are implicated in ecological and environmental issues the collapse of biodiversity and the disappearance of pollinators.

Roundup, the chemical sprayed on most GMOs, has been linked to cancer, DNA damage, premature births, ADHD and the permutation of the endocrine pathways which can lead to obesity, heart problems, circulation issues and diabetes. Yet, the U.S. EPA has raised the allowable levels of glphyosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, in our food.

GMO ingredients have never been adequately tested for long-term impacts on public health despite hitting the market in 1996.

The transgenic food industry  has led to one of the most persistent debates about mandatory labelling. How can consumers make a conscious choice if they can’t understand the components that are in the food they are about to purchase or how these mysterious ingredients may affect your health or the health of your family.

A strong movement of opposition to genetic engineering in agriculture has developed throughout the world. The movement has led to a moratorium in the EU toward imported genetically modified (GM) products, as well as to acts of open opposition. In the United States opposition to transgenic crops and mandatory labeling is also mounting.

Unlike most other developed countries—such as the 15 nations in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and China—the U.S. and Canada has no laws requiring labeling of GE foods. Yet polls have repeatedly shown that the overwhelming majority of citizens in these two countries believe GE foods should be labeled. Health Canada, which shares responsibility with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for food labelling policies, does allow food makers to voluntarily mention whether their foods contain GM ingredients but these 'standards' are not effective.

The agrochemical industry is valued at over $42 billion and operates with impunity while over 355,000 people die from pesticide poisoning every year, and hundreds of thousands more are made ill. In addition, pesticide corporations have put livelihoods and jobs in jeopardy, including, farmers, beekeepers and fishermen.

In polls taken in the U.S. and Canada, over 80% of participants want food containing GMO ingredients labeled. Consumers have a right to know what they are eating, but it’s increasingly evident that we’re not getting any help in that regard from our regulators. So it’s up to us to know what to look for so we can make informed purchasing decisions. Avoiding GE ingredients isn’t easy and once you make the transition from purchasing food without transgenic ingredients, you’ll be surprised how much of it is on grocery shelves and in your kitchen. Estimates indicate that more than 75 percent of the food in supermarkets is genetically engineered or contains transgenic ingredients and that doesn’t include meat products.

The most reliable way to avoid transgenic ingredients in your food is to be on the lookout for the four most common transgenic ingredients:

Field corn and corn-derived ingredients:
The U.S. is the world’s largest corn producer. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, last year, American farmers planted more corn than any other crop, covering 95 million acres. (USDA 2013a). Almost 90 percent of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered (USDA 2013b). Most of the transgenic crop is cultivated for animal feed, but nearly 12 percent is processed into corn flour, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, masa, corn meal and corn oil. All of those transgenic products end up in foods consumed by humans (EPA 2013). Assume that when these ingredients are listed on the food labels of processed food, they are genetically engineered. Be on the lookout for GMO sweet corn or table grown in both Canada and the US. It’s making its way into grocery stores and farmers markets and it doesn’t have to be labelled.

Soybeans and soybean-derived ingredients:
Soybeans are the second most planted American crop, covering more than 76 million acres last year (USDA 2013a). Almost 93 percent of soybeans grown in that country has been genetically engineered (USDA 2013b). Soybean-based products and soybean-derived ingredients are common on supermarket shelves. Assume processed food products that contain soy proteins, soybean oil, soy milk, soy flour, soy sauce, tofu or soy lecithin are transgenic unless they are certified organic or GE-free.

Sugar:
Roughly 55 percent of the sugar produced in the U.S. comes from sugar beets, 95 percent of which have been genetically engineered (USDA 2013c). If a product label does not specify that it has been made with “pure cane” sugar, chances are very likely that the sugar is genetically engineered beet sugar.

Vegetable Oils:
Assume that vegetable oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil and corn oil are genetically engineered. Nearly 90 percent of American oilseed production is soybeans, of which almost 100 percent is genetically engineered (USDA 2013b). The remaining 10 percent of oilseed crops are cottonseed, sunflower seed, canola, rapeseed, and peanut. Canola and cottonseed oil are primarily from transgenic crops. More than 90 percent of corn oil is derived from genetically engineered corn.

For all the empty promises the bioseed corporations have made to try and convince consumers that GMO food is safe, a study from University of Sherbrooke, in Quebec, Canada is perhaps the most telling.

Genetically modified crops include genes extracted from bacteria to make them resistant to pest attacks. The toxin is derived from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Corporate scientists who engineer these bioseeds claim there is no danger to the environment or to human health maintaining that the Bt toxin poses no danger to human health as the protein breaks down in the human gut. But the presence of this toxin in human blood clearly demonstrates that this does not happen.

The study covered 30 pregnant women and 39 women who had come for tubectomy at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS) in Quebec. The scientists from University of Sherbrooke detected the insecticidal protein, Cry1Ab circulating in the blood of pregnant and non-pregnant women. Alarmingly, they also detected the toxin in fetal blood, implying it could pass on to the next generation.

None of these women had worked or lived with a spouse working in contact with pesticides. The women were all consuming typical Canadian diet that included GM foods such as soybeans, corn and potatoes. Blood samples were taken before delivery for pregnant women and at tubal ligation for non-pregnant women. Umbilical cord blood sampling was done after birth.

Cry1Ab toxin was detected in 93 per cent and 80 per cent of maternal and fetal blood samples, respectively and in 69 per cent of tested blood samples from non-pregnant women. Earlier studies had found trace amounts of the Cry1Ab toxin in gastrointestinal contents of livestock fed on GM corn. This gave rise to fears that the toxins may not be effectively eliminated in humans and there may be a high risk of exposure through consumption of contaminated meat.

The research paper has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in the journal Reproductive Toxicology.

Ractopamine is banned from food production in at least 160 countries around the world, including countries across Europe, Russia, mainland China and Republic of China (Taiwan), due to its suspected health effects. Yet, the majority of North Americans are unaware that the drug is used in meat production.

Since 1998, more than 1,700 people have reportedly been "poisoned" from eating pigs fed the drug. If imported meat is found to contain traces of the drug, it is turned away, while fines and imprisonment result for its use in banned countries. Fear that the ractopamine ban might be lifted brought thousands of demonstrators onto the streets in Taiwan last year, demanding that the ban remain in place.

Ractopamine is a beta agonist drug that increases protein synthesis, thereby making the animal more muscular. This reduces the fat content of the meat and increases the profit per animal. The drug, which is also used in asthma medication, was initially recruited for use in livestock when researchers discovered that it made mice more muscular. Other adverse reactions to beta-agonist drugs include increased heart rate, insomnia, headaches, and tremors.

Beta-agonist drugs, as a class, have been used in US cattle production since 2003. The drug is administered in the days leading up to slaughter, and as much as 20 percent of it can remain in the meat you buy. While other drugs require a clearance period of around two weeks to help ensure the compounds are flushed from the meat prior to slaughter (and therefore reduce residues leftover for human consumption), there is no clearance period for ractopamine.

Six different additives are used in medicated feed for cattle in Canada.

Three of those — lasalocid sodium, salinomycin sodium and monensin sodium — are antimicrobial drugs that fall into the category of drugs that have no therapeutic use for humans, says the Beef Cattle Research Council.

Chlortetracycline hydrochloride is antimicrobial closely related to tetracyclines, which are antibiotics used in human medicine, but for which there are alternatives according to the Research Council.

Melengestrol acetate is a steroidal growth promoter and ractopamine hydrochloride is a non-antimicrobial drug given to promote lean weight gain.

According to Health Canada, natural hormones progesterone, testosterone and estradiol and synthetic
hormones zeranol and trenbolone are all approved for use as growth promoters in beef cattle. Growth hormones generally promote muscle growth and improve feed conversion, the amount of weight an animal gains per unit of feed consumed.

Medical Associations on both sides of the Canadian/US border are against antimicrobial feed additives and have repeatedly called for a ban on antibiotic use without a prescription.

Why You Should Stick with Meat from your Local Farmer!
Spoiler Alter: After reading this you may never look at your meat aisle in the same way again. This stuff is nasty reading but goes a long way to explain why factory farming of animals may be linked to a looming public health crisis.

Animals raised for meat eat more than 30 million pounds of antibiotics a year. Most supermarket meat today comes from operations that routinely feed animals low doses of antibiotics. This constant contact with drugs helps bacteria learn how to outsmart the meds, creating dangerous strains of hard-to-kill superbugs.

About 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S. go to nonorganic farm animals to help speed livestock growth and counteract filthy, stressful housing situations that debilitate the animals' immune systems.

MRSA kills more people than AIDS, and it's in your meat. Forcing animals to eat drugs is creating a silent crisis. A 2011 study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases took the gross-out factor to a whole new level. Researchers found that half of the U.S. supermarket meat sampled contained staph infection bacteria, including the hard-to-kill and potentially lethal MRSA. Turkey products were most likely to harbor staph bacteria, followed by pork and chicken products.

Prozac may have been part of your chicken's diet. Earlier in 2012, Johns Hopkins University study studied the feathers of imported chickens to figure out what the birds ingested before slaughter. They found traces of antidepressants, painkillers, banned antibiotics, and allergy medication. According to scientists, Prozac is sometimes used to offset anxiety common in factory farm conditions. (Stress can slow birds' growth, hurting profits.) Scientists also uncovered caffeine in about 50 percent of samples taken. Why? Caffeine keeps chickens awake so they can grow faster.

You could be eating animal worming medication. The U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered traces of harmful veterinary drugs and heavy metals in U.S. beef, including:

1. Ivermectin, an animal wormer that can cause neurological damage in humans.
2. Flunixin, a veterinary drug that can cause kidney damage, stomach, and colon ulcers, as well as blood in the stool of humans.
3. Penicillin, a drug that can cause life-threatening reactions in people who are allergic to it.
4. Arsenic, a known carcinogen that is allowed in some nonorganic animal feeding operations. (It is commonly fed to chickens, and chicken litter, or feces, is sometimes fed to feedlot cattle—and the majority of supermarket and fast-food beef in this country comes from feedlot operations.)
5. Copper, an essential element we need for our survival but that's harmful when too much accumulates in our bodies.

Certain beef is more likely to harbor deadly E. coli germs. It's natural for cows to eat grass, but not grains. Still, most cows today are raised in feedlots, where they chomp down lots of grain to speed growth. This changes the natural chemistry in a cow's gut, making it easier for potentially deadly E. coli O157:H7 strain to survive.

Supermarket chicken could be fueling urinary tract infections. Investigating disease-causing bacteria on grocery store meat and comparing it to urine samples of women diagnosed with UTIs, researchers found that in 71 percent of cases, the E. coli bacteria collected from women with UTIs matched the strain detected on supermarket chicken. "People are eating a lot more chicken because it's often perceived as healthier," says Amy Manges, PhD, associate professor in the department of epidemiology, biostatistics and occupational health at McGill University in Montreal. "But what people don't realize is that chicken is pretty heavily contaminated with bacteria in general, and those bacteria tend to be drug resistant."

All the antibiotics that are pumped into cattle, and other modern-day farming practices, lead to tough, chewy steaks, says Sarah Klein, a senior attorney in the food-safety program at Center for Science in the Public Interest. So, increasingly, slaughterhouses have adopted the process of mechanically tenderizing steaks and other high-quality cuts of beef. Doing so involves driving blades and needles into steak—which in turn, drive any bacteria living on the surface of a steak deep into the flesh. When you get an undercooked steak, for instance, if you like to order yours rare or medium, all that bacteria inside the meat is still alive, whereas before, it would have been seared off when the outside was cooked, she says. More than half of the 82 outbreaks linked to steak in the past ten years can be linked to E. coli, a bacterium that's usually only found on the exterior of whole cuts of meat. Plants aren't required to label mechanically tenderized meat, so you don't know which cuts to handle with care and which are ok to order a little pink.

Antibiotics are used on conventional farms to make animals grow faster. And emerging research suggests antibiotics could be making us fatter, too, disrupting the natural balance of beneficial gut bacteria. "For many years now, farmers have known that antibiotics are great at producing heavier cows for market," explains Jan Blustein, MD, PhD, professor of population health and medicine at NYU School of Medicine. "While we need more research to confirm our findings, this carefully conducted study suggests that antibiotics influence weight gain in humans, especially children, too."