Del Monte Fresh Produce has won approval from the USDA to ship genetically engineered pineapple into the US.
The Del Monte Fresh Produce Co., based in the Cayman Islands, has developed a transgenic pineapple that has tissue of a "novel rose color."
The company has altered the fruit to "overexpress" a gene derived from the tangerine and to suppress other genes, increasing accumulation of lycopene, according to its submission to the USDA.
The plant's flowering cycle has also been changed to provide for more uniform growth and quality.
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has found that the "Rosé" cultivar is a regulated transgenic crop but does not require a biotechnology permit to export the crop to the US.
The transgenic fruit "does not have the ability to propagate and persist in the environment once they have been harvested," according to USDA APHIS.
According to Del Monte's submission, pineapples are commercially grown in a "monoculture" that prevents seed production, as the plant's flowers aren't exposed to compatible pollen sources.
Even if a seed did form, it would be unlikely to germinate and grow without human intervention, the company said. Temperatures in most of the US are not hospitable to pineapples, and importation into Hawaii is already banned for plant sanitation reasons.
Del Monte's submission notes that the company is still seeking approvals from the US Food and Drug Administration, which also regulates transgenic food, and the government of Costa Rica, where the crop is grown.
The food system in place today is "fundamentally safe." Food processors swab products with a sponge, ship it to laboratories for testing, and cross their fingers that nothing went wrong. This process takes several days and puts producers in a precarious position. Do they ship potentially contaminated food and hope for the best or hold onto products for several days -- costing valuable shelf life -- until results come back?
DNA vaccines hold promise of overcoming the downsides of traditional vaccinations, potentially allowing for effective defense against HIV and other viral infections. Delivering DNA snippets that code for viral proteins into the insides of cells is a bit tricky and currently requires using electroporation to open pores within cell walls. The technique is not terribly effective and can be painful on the patients. Now researchers from MIT are reporting in Nature Materials the development of a new skin patch, which they like to call a “multilayer tattoo,” capable of delivering DNA vaccines in a more civilized fashion.
The team embedded the vaccine within multiple layers of a polymer film which sits on top of a bed of microneedles that painlessly create a passageway into the body. The polymer film begins degrading once in contact with water and safely releases its cargo.
From the study abstract in Nature Materials:
Films transferred into the skin following brief microneedle application promoted local transfection and controlled the persistence of DNA and adjuvants in the skin from days to weeks, with kinetics determined by the film composition. These ‘multilayer tattoo’ DNA vaccines induced immune responses against a model HIV antigen comparable to electroporation in mice, enhanced memory T-cell generation, and elicited 140-fold higher gene expression in non-human primate skin than intradermal DNA injection, indicating the potential of this strategy for enhancing DNA vaccination.
Perhaps the number one health concern over GM technology is its capacity to create new allergens in our food supply. Allergic reactions typically are brought on by proteins. Nearly every transfer of genetic material from one host into a new one results in the creation of novel proteins. Genetic engineering can increase the levels of a naturally occurring allergen already present in a food or insert allergenic properties into a food that did not previously contain them. It can also result in brand new allergens we’ve never before known.
2. Antibiotic Resistance
Genetic engineers rely heavily on antibiotics to guide experiments. It works like this: Not all host cells will take up foreign genes, so engineers attach a trait for a particular type of antibiotic resistance to the gene they introduce into host cells. After they’ve introduced the gene into the cells, they douse all the cells with the antibiotic to see which ones survive. The surviving cells are antibiotic-resistant, and therefore engineers know they have taken up the foreign gene.
Overuse of antibiotics can potentially cause the development of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Several health organizations, including the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association, have spoken out about the need for the use of these antibiotics to be phased out of the process of making GM foods. Food Patriot Sam Spitz’ harrowing story provides a scary, precautionary warning of how antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” can affect your health.
3. Pesticide Exposure
The majority of GM crops in cultivation are engineered to contain a gene for pesticide resistance. Most are “Roundup Ready,” meaning they can be sprayed with Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide Roundup without being harmed. The idea is that if the crop itself is immune to Roundup, you can spray it to kill any weeds endangering the plant without worrying about harming your crop. Sound like a good thing? Only if increased human exposure to pesticides is a good thing. Glyphosate has been linked to numerous health problems in animal studies, among them birth defects, reproductive damage, cancer and endocrine disruption.
4. Unpredictability and the Unknown
Foreign genetic material in a host can cause other genetic material in that host to behave erratically. Genes can be suppressed or overexpressed, causing a wide variety of results. One consequence of overexpression, for example, can be cancer. Nutritional problems can also result from the transfer. In one example, cows that ate Roundup Ready soybeans produced milk with more fat in it. In another example, milk from cows injected with a genetically engineered growth hormone was found by a number of researchers, including those published in the journal Lancet, to have substantially higher levels of a compound known as insulin-like growth factor-1, which is linked to human breast, colon and prostate cancers. The milk also has higher levels of bovine growth hormones in it, along with pus and sometimes antibiotics. GM crops have been linked to health problems as diverse as reproductive damage, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. Concerned scientists have been outspoken about these risks.
DNA is complex, and we have yet to understand all the potential complex interactions. The potential hazards are difficult to predict and identify immediately. Additionally, the United States regulatory system is set up to deal with problems occurring with GM foods only after they occur. But what if, instead, we invoked the precautionary principle, an international agreement that calls for intelligent caution when it comes to new science and technologies? Thankfully, you can protect yourself and your family by taking action against GMO foods. Choose organic foods wherever possible (this app can help you determine which foods to avoid), support farms that refuse to grow GMO foods, and pressure your lawmakers to force agriculture companies to label GMOs. The right to know is one we must be outspoken to protect.
(Medical Xpress)—Nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while leaving surrounding cells unharmed, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.
Consumer group SumOfUs is urging the FDA to reject a dairy industry petition currently being considered by the agency, which asks that the requirement to label milk and other dairy products as "artificially sweetened" be dropped when they contain sweeteners like aspartame ...
The dairy industry petition at the heart of this debate was filed in 2009 by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation, and was acknowledged by the FDA last week. Since then, the agency has welcomed comments, information and data to be submitted by the public.
Many of these comments are critical of the dairy industry petition; they range from dismayed to incensed.
Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Low-income households in Egypt are being hit by soaring food prices, placing a major strain on many poor families in the country, who are struggling to put basic staples on the table.
Inside a small Cairo apartment, Howeida Nageh is dicing a few tomatoes in her kitchen. Her three sons have arrived home from school and they are hungry. Yet, the only food available is these tomatoes and a piece of bread -- and this will be the boys' only meal for the day.
"Things are too expensive," says Nageh, whose husband left her to raise her three boys alone. "I used to take two onions and cut them over two tomatoes, cook and eat them. Now the price of onions has increased -- instead of using two, three or four onions, I now just take one and choose the smallest one," adds Nageh, whose largest source of income is the $30 a month she receives from the government.
Unless you're the rare individual who would choose Dippin' Dots over a scoop of vanilla, most people don't like to tinker with tradition—especially when it comes to their food.
So it's not surprising that the idea of genetically-engineered (GE) food strikes a lot of Americans as, well, sketchy. Whether that assessment is fair is another question. And the answer depends on whom you ask. To some, genetically modified foods portend environmental and health hazards; to others, they're a boon that could feed the world's growing population with needed nutrients and crops that withstand insects and pesticides. Either way, you're bound to hear plenty more on the subject, which has gained attention amid a swell of efforts calling for federal and state labeling of genetically-engineered foods. The latest of these came on Wednesday with the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, which was introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and would require food manufacturers to label genetically engineered products accordingly.
Many of us are concerned about genetically-engineered (or GE) food crops that have been on grocery store shelves for years. Now there's another GE food of concern -- cloned livestock such as pigs, cows and sheep. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has ruled that meat and dairy from cloned animals are safe to eat, clearing the way for GE animal products to enter the nation's food supply.
However, scientists, environmentalists, health professionals, and consumer advocates argue that more research is needed before GE meat or dairy become part of the food supply.
Did you know that some varieties of beef on the market today come from cattle that has been deliberately modified to grow abnormally large muscles for beef production? A recent segment aired by the National Geographic Channel offers a glimpse into the eerie production of so-called "super cows," which intentionally bear a defective gene that allows them to grow atypically large with a "double muscle" build.
This somewhat "mutant" cattle breed is officially known as the Belgian Blue, and its origins date back to the early 1800s when Belgian scientists and farmers decided to breed native cattle with Shorthorn and possibly Charolais cattle varieties to create a stronger and more beefy crossbreed. Over time, cattle breeders would select the strongest and largest animals of each variety and breed them together to create allegedly superior offspring.
"Selective breeding ... is used by farmers to enhance desirable characteristics in their animals," explains the National Geographic Channel about the process. "[It's] all about managing sex. To create these Belgian Blues over 100 years, farmers have only allowed the cows and bulls with the greatest muscle mass to mate. And the result is a bull that weighs over a ton."
The dairy industry’s big idea is to start adding aspartame to the milk that it sells to schools. You know this stuff by its brand names: NutraSweetTM, EqualTM. Their logic is simply to make milk sweeter without adding calories, so more kids will prefer milk products while adults can feel better about purchasing them, because they are lower in calories.
Milk from goats that were genetically modified to produce higher levels of lysozyme, a human antimicrobial protein, has proved effective in treating diarrhea in young pigs and may one day be used to help prevent human diarrheal diseases that each...
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Check out these incredibly common, incredibly disgusting food additives such as crushed beetles and beaver anal glands that are in many common foods, such as Starbucks smoothies, yogurt and jellybeans.
The recent horse meat contamination scandal is sending shock waves across the United Kingdom and the entire world, and rightly so. But did you know that appalling ingredients lurk in everyday foods, and they're far from making headline news? Ammonia-cleansed pink slime meat created quite the fuss among the media and parents in the past year. That's great, because really, who wants their kids eating pink slime? However, pink slime meat may honestly be the least of your worries. From GMOs to arsenic to chemical food colors to mountains of pesticides - the American food system was hardly clean before the pink slime story broke. There's always been potentially harmful and gross issues with the same food system almost all of us buy from and serve up to our families daily. From mashed cochineal beetles (shown above) in your Starbucks smoothie to rodent hair to antifreeze, many of the foods you eat everyday contain some truly horrendously disgusting ingredients. Keep reading to see 6 of the ickiest additives added to everyday food products.
Most of us know, all too well, that losing even a little bit of sleep can sap us of energy and make us feel far less productive in all that we do. But emerging research suggests that too little sleep may also affect the food choices we make and how much we eat and potentially contribute to excess intake and eventual obesity.
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