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by Tammera J, Karr, PhD, BCIH, BCHN, Certified Gluten Practitioner
Oregon made the headlines over what is supposed to be a discontinued venture. NPR reported on May 30th a farmer in Eastern Oregon found GMO wheat in his fields, and has no idea how it got there. According to the NPR report, wheat growers are worried about how their customers in Asia and Europe will react. Export markets are the main reason why genetically engineered wheat isn’t on the market in the United States.
The biotech company Monsanto did create varieties of wheat that tolerate the weedkiller glyphosate, or Roundup — just as it created “Roundup Ready” corn, soybeans, cotton and canola. It also carried out field trials of this wheat in 16 different states. But the country’s wheat growers told the company No. “We are not in favor of commercializing any biotech trait unless it’s gone through regulatory approvals in the U.S. and in other countries,” says Steve Mercer, vice president of communications for US Wheat Associates. Many countries, including some that import wheat from the U.S., are quite hostile to genetically engineered crops. Monsanto supposedly dropped the wheat project and ended its field trials of wheat in 2005.
Nobody knows how this wheat got to the farm in Oregon, Monsanto ended their trials in 2001, after all such trials, the genetically engineered crops are supposed to be completely removed. Also, nobody knows how widely this genetically engineered wheat has spread, and whether it’s been in fields of wheat that were harvested for food. (here is a thought – birds, wildlife, trucks and machinery – equipment has to be washed before entering a fire area or work site to remove noxious weed seeds, shared farm equipment could be a carrier, along with migratory birds and wildlife.)
According to the USDA, even if it has escaped, there’s no danger to public health. Still, if further tests show this unapproved wheat has spread into the food supply, it could play havoc with wheat sales. In 2006, traces of genetically engineered rice — also unapproved — were discovered in large parts of the American rice harvest. That discovery shut down America’s rice exports to some countries. Exporters lost millions of dollars. The wheat harvest is much bigger.
On May 31st, less than twenty four hours after the news broke on the GMO wheat in Oregon, the headlines read – Japan Suspends Wheat Imports From Pacific Northwest States… For anyone who loves the diversity of Oregon, and has traveled to the regions outside of the Willamette valley, you know thousands of acres in every direction along the northeastern border plateau lands, are rolling hills of “wheat.” Washington equally has thousands of acres invested in Wheat.
Additionally in Eastern Oregon, ranchers are seeding with wild grasses to prevent soil erosion and create habitat for grouse, sage hens, quail, deer, antelope and elk. As a kid, I remember BLM planting crested wheat by airplane and equipment to provide habitat. Now, I’m no farmer, but this worries me, and my livelihood isn’t dependent on it. Farmers have a hard enough time making a living without markets closing their doors over “Monsanto’s” little oopses.
Soda Mouth’ or ‘Meth Mouth: When I saw this headline, I couldn’t pass it up. Once again NPR reported on, Mohamed Bassiouny, a researcher and professor of dentistry at Temple University in Philadelphia. After two decades of examining patients in dental clinics in Philadelphia and in Appalachia, where he worked as a volunteer, he says he has observed striking similarities between the lesions on the teeth of crack and methamphetamine addicts, and those on the teeth of people addicted to soda. (I like this guy!, no sugar coating here.)
In his paper, he describes three cases of severe dental erosion. (If you go online you can see the VERY graphic photos) One person had been using methamphetamine for three years, a second had used crack cocaine for 18 years, and a third person, a woman, reported consuming two liters of diet soda daily for the past three to five years. All three were adults who lived in cities with fluoridated water, and had similar socio-economic backgrounds. All three had lesions on their teeth that “had almost identical features,” Bassiouny writes.
Appalachia, according to Bassiouny, is “ground zero” for soda addiction. Some people he treated consumed more than a dozen 12-ounce cans of soda a day. (And we wonder why diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, chronic pain and heart disease is pandemic in the United States? How much of this soda is paid for with welfare moneys?)
“What I saw in Appalachia really crystallized for me the extreme erosion associated with the acids in the beverage,” says Bassiouny. Citric acid, a preservative that enhances flavor and shelf life in soda, is the main culprit. It erodes the enamel and eventually the dentin — the core of the tooth. Energy drinks and citrus juices also contain high levels of citric acid, though beverage companies aren’t required to disclose exactly how much on drink labels.
“It all contributes to the damaging effect on dentition,” says Bassiouny. It means even if you limit your soda intake to one can a day, you should avoid other beverages that could contain citric acid to lessen, not eliminate the damage.
The other question not looked at in this study is what about the teeth of children who are still developing? Every day we see toddlers to teens walking around with these beverages. It is currently estimated that 60% of teenage girls are osteoporotic, primarily from soda replacing other healthier beverages in the diet. The American Beverage Association won’t concede beverages are ruining people’s teeth, according to NPR.
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