High Fructose Corn Syrup

A sweetener derived from cornstarch. Cornstarch is composed of a chain of glucose (simple sugar) molecules joined together. Corn syrup, which is basically 100 percent glucose, comes from the breakdown of cornstarch into individual glucose molecules. In order to create high fructose corn syrup, enzymes must be added to corn syrup to change some of the glucose into another simple sugar called fructose. The enzymes, alpha-amylase and glucoamylase, used in HFCS processing have been genetically modified to improve their heat stability for the production of HFCS. (3)

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, most high fructose corn syrups contain either 42 percent or 55 percent fructose. (4) The rest of the HFCS is glucose and water. HFCS 42 is typically what’s used in cereals, processed foods, baked goods and some beverages. HFCS 55 is used mainly in soft drinks. However, some HFCS contains up to 90 percent fructose. (5)

High fructose corn syrup is also called glucose-fructose, isoglucose and glucose-fructose syrup. Some people, especially the companies producing and using HFCS, like to say that it’s no different from regular sugar. But that’s just not true. HFCS contains more fructose than table sugar, which is a dangerous difference.

Author Bill Sanda reports that in 1980, the average American ingested 39 pounds of fructose and 84 pounds of sucrose. By 1994, it was up to 66 pounds of sucrose and 83 pounds of fructose. Today, approximately 25 percent of our caloric intake comes from sugars, the larger portion being fructose. (6)

There are so many reasons why high fructose corn syrup should be banned from our food supply. Here are some of the most highly disturbing high fructose corn syrup facts:

  • Americans consume an average of 50 grams of HFCS every day. (7)
  • HFCS now represents more than 40 percent of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages and is the sole caloric sweetener in soft drinks in the U.S. (8)
  • HFCS has been shown to increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
  • Consumption of HFCS increased more than 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990, far exceeding the intake changes of any other food or food group, and is a main factor in our current obesity epidemic.
  • HFCS can cause leaky gut syndrome.
  • HFCS contains up to 570 micrograms of health-hazardous mercury per gram.
  • HFCS has been shown to promote cancer.
  • The average 20-ounce soda contains 15 teaspoons of sugar, all of it high fructose corn syrup.

Dangers

1. Weight Gain

There is a lot of debate over high fructose corn syrup vs. sugar. Many HFSC supporters want to stay that both are equally bad, but all sweeteners are not created equal when it comes to putting on unwanted pounds. A Princeton University study found that HFCS causes more weight gain than refined sugar does.

Specifically, animal subjects with access to high fructose corn syrup put on significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when overall caloric intake was equal. Furthermore, long-term consumption of high fructose corn syrup was also shown to lead to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdominal region, as well as an increase in triglyceride levels. According to researchers, this study provides insight into factors contributing to the rise of obesity in America. (9)

2. Cancer

With high fructose corn syrup found in so many foods and beverages, it’s no surprise that fructose intake has increased dramatically in recent decades. Research from 2010 published by the American Association for Cancer Research found that the fructose in HFCS promotes cancer growth, specifically pancreatic cancer.

This study actually found that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose and induce rapid reproduction of pancreatic cancer cells. Researchers also found that fructose and glucose metabolism are very different, with fructose causing more negative health reactions than glucose.

This research provides very good reason why cancer patients should not be given anything containing high fructose corn syrup and how avoiding HFCS can possibly disrupt cancer growth. (10) When it comes to cancer prevention and treatment, clearly HFCS is an ingredient that should be aggressively avoided.

3. Fatty Liver and Liver Stress

Fructose is known to stimulate fat accumulation in the liver by increasing fat synthesis yet blocking fat breakdown. In order to chemically create high fructose corn syrup, glucose and fructose, which are naturally linked together, become separated. When HFCS enters your bloodstream, the freed-up fructose travels directly into your liver and overwhelms your liver’s processing capacity.

This then causes unhealthy fat production in your liver called lipogenesis. This can lead to fatty liver disease if more than 5 percent to 10 percent of the liver’s weight becomes fat. It doesn’t stop there, though. Having a fatty liver can lead to serious liver stress, liver damage, obesity, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. (11)

One of several animal studies shows that excessive fructose consumption is associated with dyslipidemia and increased fat deposits in the liver. Dyslipidemia, or having high blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides or both, is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease. This study concludes that the findings support limitation of excessive fructose addition in beverages in order to counteract the current epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes in industrialized countries like the U.S. (12)

4. Increased Cholesterol Levels

Hight fructose corn syrup intake is linked to high cholesterol levels. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that only two weeks of moderate consumption of high fructose corn syrup caused triglycerides and cholesterol levels to rise.

The study split 85 people with generally healthy lipid profiles into four groups. The first three groups consumed drinks sweetened with either 25 percent, 17.5 percent or 10 percent high fructose corn syrup while the fourth group drank something sweetened only with aspartame.

While I would never promote aspartame consumption either, the results showed that LDL or “bad” cholesterol for the aspartame group remained the same before and after the diet. However, for subjects who consumed HFCS-sweetened beverages for two weeks, the results were as follows: The 10 percent group on average went to LDL of 102 from 95, the 17.5 percent to 102 from 93 and the 25 percent group to 107 from 91. (13)

The lead author of the study, Kimber L. Stanhope, a research scientist at the University of California, Davis said, “It was a surprise that adding as little as the equivalent of a half-can of soda at breakfast, lunch and dinner was enough to produce significant increases in risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Our bodies respond to a relatively small increase in sugar, and that’s important information.” (14)

5. Diabetes

A lot of medical professionals think that fructose is better for diabetics than sugar, but every cell in the body can metabolize glucose. Fructose, on the other hand, must be metabolized by the liver. Fructose has been directly linked with diabetes, especially high fructose corn syrup, which contains a great deal of free-floating fructose.

Unlike fruit, which contains fructose yet also has fiber and nutrients to positively affect fructose’s absorption by the body, high fructose corn syrup offers absolutely zero nutritional value. It’s just straight-up questionable sugar and calories, nothing else.

Recent data suggest that fructose consumption in humans leads to increased visceral fat accumulation, impairment in the regulation of fats in the blood (like cholesterol and triglycerides) and decreased insulin sensitivity. Why are these effects of fructose so concerning? All of these side effects have been associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease. (15)

A study published in the journal Global Health shows that countries that mix high fructose corn syrup into processed foods and drinks have higher rates of diabetes than countries that don’t use HFCS. Out of the 43 countries studied, approximately half had little or no high fructose corn syrup in their food supplies. In the other countries, the HFCS content of foods was between about one pound a year per person in Germany to about 55 pounds each year per person in the U.S. The study found that countries using HFCS had diabetes rates about 20 percent higher than HFCS-free countries. (16)

6. High Blood Pressure

Fructose intake from added sugars is associated with high blood pressure levels in humans. The goal of a 2012 study published in Metabolism was to compare the effects of soft drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup vs. sucrose (table sugar).

In a randomized study, researchers had 40 men and women consume 24 ounces of either a HFCS- or sucrose-sweetened beverage. They then collected urine and blood samples over the next six hours to measure blood pressure, heart rate, fructose and several other metabolic biomarkers.

The researchers found that systolic blood pressure maximum levels were higher when HFCS-sweetened beverages were consumed compared to sucrose-sweetened beverages. Overall, they found that compared with sugar, high fructose corn syrup leads to greater fructose exposure to the entire body and significantly different acute metabolic effects. (17)

Research has shown that consuming 60 grams of fructose can increase systolic blood pressure in humans, but this is not seen in subjects given the same exact dose of glucose. In another study, overweight men were given 200 grams of fructose daily for two weeks, and it was observed that they maintained a significant rise in ambulatory blood pressure (blood pressure as you move around) during that time.

Hypertension in response to fructose intake appears to be brought about by increased sodium absorption in the intestine, inhibition of systemic blood vessel function and stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. Fructose-induced increases in uric acid levels in the body may likely play a part as well. Studies in experimental animals have also confirmed that fructose can increase blood pressure. (18)

7. Heart Disease

The fact that HFCS raises blood pressure is reason enough to make it extremely bad for your heart. High blood pressure is part of a cluster of dangerous health issues called metabolic syndrome, which increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Research shows that in subjects who had healthy glucose tolerance and those who had unhealthy glucose tolerance, fructose caused a general increase in both the total serum cholesterol and in the low density lipoproteins (LDL) in most of the subjects, which puts a person at risk for coronary heart disease.

According to a 15-year Harvard study, participants who took in 25 percent or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets included less than 10 percent added sugar. (19) This sugar intake could be from HFCS or from another source of sugar, but it’s why we need to eliminate HFCS from our diets and keep overall sugar intake, even from truly natural sources, at a healthy, low level.

8. Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome is also referred to as increased intestinal permeability. When you have this condition, the “net” in your digestive tract gets damaged, which allows proteins (like gluten), bad bacteria and undigested particles to pass into your bloodstream.

Research done at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that free fructose from HFCS requires more energy to be absorbed by the gut and soaks up two phosphorous molecules from ATP (our body’s energy source). This depletes the energy fuel source in our guts required to maintain the integrity of our intestinal linings. Large doses of free fructose have been shown to literally punch holes in the intestinal lining, creating a leaky gut. (20)

Once these holes in the lining exist, it’s very easy for unwanted toxins and food to enter your bloodstream. These invaders are not meant to be in the bloodstream so they trigger inflammation in the body. Inflammation is at the root of so many health problems including obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia and accelerated aging.

9. Increased Mercury Intake

Multiple studies have found alarming amounts of mercury in products containing high fructose corn syrup, which can contribute to dangerous mercury poisoning. We know that mercury is extremely toxic to our bodies, and it’s especially disturbing for a developing child to be exposed to mercury. Mercury has negative effects on the liver, kidneys, brain and other internal organs.

In a study published in Environmental Health, mercury was detected in almost 50 percent of samples of commercial high fructose corn syrup. Another highly concerning study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found mercury in about a third of 55 popular brand name food and beverage products. These common products all had HFCS as the first or second highest labeled ingredients. Brands behind the products tested included Kraft, Quaker, Hershey’s and Smucker’s. (21)

HFCS vs. Corn Syrup vs. Sugar vs. Natural Sweeteners

No matter the source of sugar, you always should watch that your overall intake of sugar isn’t too high. But the question continues: Is HFCS more of a health risk than other sweeteners?

To help answer this questions, let’s break down the main differences and similarities between the various sweeteners out there. What makes them good, and what makes them bad?

High Fructose Corn Syrup

  • To create HFCS, caustic soda is used to shuck the corn kernel from its starch, and corn syrup is then created. Enzymes (commonly GMO) are introduced to convert the corn syrup’s sugars to super-sweet fructose.
  • The alpha-amylase and glucoamylase used in HFCS processing have been genetically modified to improve their heat stability for the production of HFCS.
  • HFCS contains no enzymes, vitamins or minerals, only sugar and calories.
  • Since HFCS is produced from corn, a natural vegetable, some people try to say that it’s a natural sugar. But there is so much processing that goes on to produce and chemically alter corn to make it into HFCS that it’s so far from natural. Plus, so much of the corn today isn’t even natural itself because it’s being genetically modified by growers for bigger crop yields and more money.
  • HFCS’s flavor is similar to sugar, but HFCS is sweeter and cheaper.
  • Researchers who measured the relative sweetness of natural and artificial sweeteners found HFCS to be 1.5 times sweeter than table sugar. (22)
  • HFCS is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar. (23)
  • Unlike sugar, you’ll never see HFCS in the supermarket because it’s only available to food processors.

Corn syrup

  • Corn syrup is primarily made from the cornstarch of yellow No. 2 dent corn that’s converted to a syrup using sulfur dioxidehydrochloric acid or various enzymes, and water.
  • Cornstarch is converted into ordinary corn syrup through a process called acid hydrolysis.
  • Ordinary corn syrup contains dextrose sugar, which is about three-quarters as sweet as the sucrose sugar in cane or beet sugar.
  • High fructose corn syrup takes corn syrup and makes it even more processed and health-hazardous due to HFCS’s resulting high fructose content.
  • Due to the ample supply of corn in this country, it’s expected that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup will continue to be used extensively in consumable products.

Agave

  • While it’s marketed and consumed today as a “natural” sweetener,” I agree with Dr. Jonny Bowden that agave nectar or agave syrup is basically high fructose corn syrup masquerading as a health food. (24) According to Dr. Bowden, “Research shows that it’s the fructose part of sweeteners that’s the most dangerous. Fructose causes insulin resistance and significantly raises triglycerides (a risk factor for heart disease). It also increases fat around the middle which in turn puts you at greater risk for diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome (AKA prediabetes).”
  • There is a debate in natural health and medical circles whether or not the health claims by manufacturers are true, making agave quite controversial.
  • It’s about 1.5 times sweeter than regular sugar and contains roughly 60 calories per tablespoon, which is about 20 calories more than the same amount of table sugar.
  • Agave nectar is supposedly lower on the glycemic index (a number that represents the effect a particular food has on someone’s blood sugar), but these claims don’t seem to be founded on sound science.
  • Even if agave nectar has a low glycemic index, it’s largely made of fructose, the single most damaging form of sugar.
  • It has the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener on the market.
  • Compared to the 1:1 fructose/glucose ratio of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, agave nearly has a whopping 2:1 ratio.

Sugar

  • Both sugar and HFCS begin out in the field — sugar as sugarcane or the sugar beet and high fructose corn syrup as corn.
  • Common white sugar or table sugar comes from sugarcane that undergoes washing and separation that produces naturally white crystals that are 99.9 percent sucrose. Raw sugar is less processed and contains 96 percent sucrose and 4 percent of plant materials contained in the mother liquid. (25)
  • The fructose in HFCS is a monosaccharide or single sugar molecule while sugar’s sucrose consists of one molecule of glucose linked with one molecule of fructose.
  • HFCS’s fructose can be directly absorbed through your small intestine into your blood while sucrose must be broken down into glucose plus fructose by an enzyme called sucrase present in the walls of your small intestine before the two resulting sugars are absorbed into your blood.
  • Extra calories from sucrose- and fructose-sweetened foods can both increase fat accumulation in your blood, liver and fatty tissues, which increases your risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.
  • Sucanat is a sugar product that comes from dehydrated sugarcane juice and retains all of the nutrients found in natural sugarcane juice, including iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and potassium.
  • Brown sugar has molasses added into it, and it contains calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium while white sugar contains none of these. (26)
  • White sugar and HFCS both provide empty, nutrition-less calories.

Natural Sweeteners (Minus Agave)

  • Raw honey is a great example of a natural sweetener that not only sweetens, but is a true superfood with awesome health benefits. Even though it contains fructose, it’s also loaded with enzymes, antioxidants, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin B6, riboflavin and niacin. Together, these essential nutrients help neutralize free radicals while promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.
  • Stevia is native to South America and has been used for hundreds of years in that region to support healthy blood sugar levels and prompt weight loss.
  • Fruits like dates and bananas make excellent sweeteners. While they do contain naturally occurring fructose, they also contain fiber, vitamins and minerals that make their processing in the body a lot more healthy than the fructose in HFCS or corn syrup. When the sugar in fruit is consumed, it doesn’t exhibit the same negative biological effects as the free high fructose doses found in corn sugars.
  • Even natural sweeteners need to be used in moderation because even natural sugars raise your blood sugar, and high blood sugar levels lead to all kinds of health problems, including diabetes.
  • In moderation, natural sugars, like those from fruit, have proven health benefits for those of us who don’t already have blood sugar problems.

Best Alternatives

Some of the best alternatives to HFCS include TRULY natural sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup. When you’re reading ingredient labels (which I hope you do), look for these natural sweeteners and steer clear of anything that contains high fructose corn syrup.

These are the top 10 sugar substitutes and HFCS alternatives I recommend:

  • Raw Honey (1 tablespoon – 64 calories)
  • Stevia (0 calories)
  • Dates (1 Medjool date – 66 calories)
  • Coconut Sugar (1 tablespoon – 45 calories)
  • Maple Syrup (1 tablespoon – 52 calories)
  • Blackstrap Molasses (1 tablespoon – 47 calories)
  • Balsamic Glaze (1 tablespoon – 20–40 calories depending on thickness)
  • Banana Puree (1 cup – 200 calories)
  • Brown Rice Syrup (1 tablespoon – 55 calories)
  • Real Fruit Jam (varies depending on fruit)

The Nefarious History of High Fructose Corn Syrup

Commercial production of corn syrup began in 1864. By 1967, the Clinton Corn Processing Co. of Iowa had an exclusive license to manufacture and begin shipping an early version of HCFS.

After being classified as “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA in 1976, HFCS began to replace sugar as the main sweetener of soft drinks in the U.S. At the same time, rates of obesity rose. That correlation, in combination with laboratory research and epidemiological studies, suggested a link between consuming large amounts of fructose and elevated blood triglycerides, uric acid levels and weight. Concern about the health effects of HFCS truly is decades old.

Since 1797, U.S. sugar tariffs and quotas have kept imported sugar prices high (up to twice the global price) while subsidies to corn growers keep the price of HFCS’s main ingredient, corn, down. In the 1970s, unfortunately, many companies looking for a cheaper sweetener rapidly adopted HFCS as their sweetener of choice due to its high availability and cheap price tag.

HFC’s source is corn, which is a highly dependable, renewable and abundant agricultural raw material. This has guarded HFCS from the price and availability extremes of sucrose or table sugar. Another reason HFCS is attractive to manufacturers is the fact that it’s stable in acidic foods and beverages.

Yet another big reason that HFCS remains in our consumable products given major health concerns? One word: lobbying. Huge corporations put a lot of time and money into lobbying efforts to ensure that government corn subsidies continue. In this country, the Corn Refiners Association has tried its best to counter negative public perceptions by marketing campaigns describing HFCS as “natural” and by attempting to change high fructose corn syrup’s name and identity to “corn sugar.” Thankfully, products in the U.S. that contain high fructose corn syrup are not allowed to use “natural” in their labeling, but the debate goes on. Earlier in 2016, the FDA was looking for feedback on the use of “natural” on food labeling. Unfortunately, it’s still not clear to everyone, specifically to the powers that be, what should be considered natural these days.

To make things even worse, in recent years physicians are also directly targeted by the people who are behind the creation and continual push of HFCS. One doctor, Dr. Mark Hyman, says that he received a 12-page color glossy monograph from the Corn Refiners Association reviewing the “science” that HFCS was safe and no different than cane sugar. The Corn Refiners Association also warned him of the errors of his ways (his knocking of HFCS) and put him on “notice.” The fight against HFCS is real.

Final Thoughts

  • Avoid any products containing high fructose corn syrup or added fructose, which have many negative health effects on the body.
  • Fruit juice, even the unsweetened variety, naturally contain fructose and should be consumed in very small quantities. Eating a whole fruit with its blood sugar-balancing fiber is a much better option than juice.
  • A big way to avoid high fructose corn syrup is to completely remove ultra-processed foods from your diet.
  • Another great way is to avoid all sweetened soft drinks. The average soda contains toxic levels of HFCS. Opt for naturally carbonated mineral water, herbal tea or green tea instead, but stick to home brews since the majority of commercially bottled iced teas are also loaded with HFCS.
  • Overall, you want to keep your sugar intake low no matter whether the source is natural, “natural” or man-made.
  • High fructose corn syrup definitely tops my list of health-hazardous ingredients to avoid as much as humanly possible.

Source: DrAxe

Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oils (actually seed oils) are one of the unhealthiest oils you can consume. They are rich in trans fat, which is a synthetic fatty acid that inhibits your body’s production of prostacyclin, a factor that keeps your blood flowing smoothly. If your body cannot produce enough prostacyclin, blood clots can form in your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease. Aside from endangering your cardiovascular health, trans fat may even impair your memory. According to a study published in Time, participants who consumed high levels of trans fat remembered 11 fewer words compared to those who consumed lower levels.

Much of the reason why vegetable oils contain trans fat is because they are hydrogenated, a process wherein hydrogen gas is forced into the oil at a high pressure during manufacturing. Companies use this method to extend the shelf life of their products, but at the cost of people’s health.

Furthermore, vegetable oils produce oxidized cholesterol when heated, increasing thromboxane formation, a factor that clots your blood, as well as two toxins: cyclic aldehydes and acrylamide. (Mercola.com)

In light of all this information, which vegetable oils should you avoid? Here are some common vegetable oils and why you should avoid them:

Canola Oil

You may have seen plenty of advertisements that present canola oil as a safe and healthy cooking ingredient. Unfortunately, this is not true, as canola oil can introduce oxidized cholesterol into your body when consumed. See more HERE

Corn Oil

Corn or maize oil is extracted from the germ of corn. It’s mainly used for cooking and is also a key ingredient in margarine and other processed foods.5 Corn oil is also used in various industrial applications, such as stock for biodiesel6 and a constituent in the production of resins, plastics and lubricants, to name a few.7

Despite being generally less expensive than other vegetable oils on the store shelf,8 a huge factor in its price is the staggering amount of subsidies the United States gives to corn to underwrite the cost. Corn is one of the most heavily subsidized crops in the country, raking in over $111.2 billion from the government between 1995 and 2017, according to data from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).9

As you can see, this subsidy on a basically unhealthy food easily undersells healthy choices. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the high consumption of foods derived from subsidized commodities like corn is associated with an increased risk of cardiometabolic disease in adults.10

Moreover, the problem with using corn oil and other vegetable oils for cooking is that they contain perishable bonds that create free radicals in the presence of oxygen, a process also known as autoxidation.11 These free radicals can lead to cholesterol oxidation, which has been linked to an increased risk of diseases such as atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, retinal degeneration, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.12

Corn oil also contains very high amounts of omega-6 fats, which can throw your body’s omega-6 to omega-3 ratio out of balance. Corn oil is reported to have an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 46-to-113 — a far cry from the ideal 1-to-1 ratio. The standard American diet already has far too much omega-6 in it, and the serious distortion of the ratio further increases your risk for many degenerative diseases.14

Uses of corn oil

Apart from serving as a less-than-ideal cooking oil, corn oil is used in manufacturing paint, ink, textiles and insecticides.15 It also sometimes functions as a carrier oil for drug molecules in pharmaceutical products.16

Corn oil is used for skin care products as well, including soaps, balms and other bathing essentials.17 You can also massage it onto your scalp to help strengthen and add shine to your dry hair.18 Here are some of the ways you can use corn oil around your home:

  1. Lubricate a key lock — If you have a sticky key lock at home, wipe the key with corn oil before inserting it into the lock. The oil acts as a lubricant, making it easier for you to turn and pull out the key.19
  2. Clean up watermarks from wooden furniture — Mix equal parts of salt and corn oil then rub it onto the watermarks on your wood furniture. Use a clean cloth to polish it off.20
  3. Coat your snow shovel — Rubbing the oil on your shovel will prevent snow from sticking to it.21

Composition of corn oil

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, industrial and retail corn oil contains 27.5 grams of total monounsaturated fats, 54.6 grams of total polyunsaturated fats and 12.9 grams of total saturated fats per 100-gram serving.22

One important caveat you need to consider regarding this oil is that it’s typically derived from genetically modified (GM) seeds that are designed to resist herbicides like glyphosate.

A study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences demonstrates the toxicity of three GM corn varieties from biotech company Monsanto, now Bayer. Results show that consuming GM corn increases the risk for hepatorenal toxicity and unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences.23

How corn oil is made

To extract corn oil from the corn germ, a combination of continuous screw presses and solvent extraction is used. The initial expeller extracts around 50% of the oil content, while the solvent extraction brings the total yield to 95%. The corn oil is then refined through degumming to remove phosphatides, alkali treatment to neutralize free fatty acids and bleaching to remove trace elements and create a desirable color.

The final steps of the refining process include winterization, a process wherein high melting waxes are removed, and deodorization.24 This entire process may contribute to the potential health risks of corn oil.25

Is corn oil safe?

Corn oil and other polyunsaturated vegetable oils are heavily marketed for “healthful” cooking alongside the vilification of saturated fats, which actually do not cause heart disease and, on the contrary, serve as a healthful addition in your diet.28 Aside from the oxidized oil dangers I discussed in the first section, here are two other issues you should be aware of with corn oil and vegetables oils:

  1. The majority of these vegetables oils in the U.S. are made from genetically modified crops,29 which can contain residues of the herbicide glyphosate and Bt toxin found in GM corn and soy.
  2. They are heavily processed, potentially causing a range of ill health consequences.30

Side effects of corn oil

Some of the worst foods you can consume are those cooked with polyunsaturated vegetable oils like corn oil.31 The introduction of oxidized cholesterol into your system is a big concern, converting your good cholesterol into bad, which leads directly to cardiovascular diseases.32

When heated, corn oil produces harmful chemicals called aldehydes, which have been found to increase the risk for autism spectrum disorder, Parkinson’s disease and gastric, breast and prostate cancer.33 A study published in the Journal of Lipid Research also shows that polyunsaturated fatty acids promote hepatic inflammation.34

If you’re looking for a cooking oil that is less susceptible to heat-induced damage and will not put you at risk of various chronic diseases, consider using coconut oil. Coconut oil contains healthy fats that may help support your heart health,35 thyroid function,36 immune system,37 brain function38 and metabolism,39 among others.

Cottonseed Oil

A fairly common vegetable oil in the U.S. and was used as early as the 1800s.6 It was called “America’s original vegetable oil” and created a high demand among its consumers.7 Cottonseed oil is similar to canola, corn, safflower, soybean and sunflower in terms of its polyunsaturated fat oil composition.8 In its nonhydrogenated form, it can be used for deep frying to lower the amounts of trans fat in fried foods.9 Cottonseed oil may have health-damaging side effects due to the ingredient it’s made from and the manufacturing process used to extract it. Not long after cottonseed oil infiltrated our food supply, diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and autism skyrocketed.a

Among the many crops grown in the United States is cotton. According to the National Cotton Council, roughly 162 pounds of cottonseed are produced for every 100 pounds of fiber.1

The raw cottonseed actually consists of three commodities: linters, which are cotton fibers still clinging to the harvested seeds and which are used to make a variety of products, from paper money to cosmetics to photography film; the hulls, which are pressed into a meal or used as a bulk food in the livestock feed industry; and the kernels inside the hulls, which are crushed to produce the oil.2

As an agriculture product in the U.S., cottonseed oil is considered to be “one of the country’s most important sources for vegetable oil,” according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.3 While cottonseed oil is also touted by the industry to be “cholesterol-free with a high level of antioxidants,” making it a “premium oil” for cooking, baking and use by the processed (snack) food industry,4 fine food magazines such as Bon Appetit warn that it’s one of the top three “least healthy” oils for you.5

Uses of cottonseed oil

Cottonseed oil is known for its culinary purposes. It’s used for frying or baking, and added to salad dressings,10 baked goods, cereals and mayonnaise.11 Because of its neutral taste, cottonseed oil will not mask or overpower the other flavors in your dish, unlike other oils.12 It’s a familiar feature of processed foods,13 like potato chips14 and French fries,15 which I absolutely recommend you avoid if you want to achieve optimal health.

Cottonseed oil is added to margarines, icings and whipped toppings because of its potential to help form beta prime crystal, which gives these food products a smooth and creamy appearance and consistency.16

Cottonseed oil is also added to personal care products such as soap and cosmetics,17 lubricants, nail polish removers, fertilizers18 and laundry detergents.19 This oil is even added to soaps used in washing wool. In the first half of the 20th century, cottonseed oil was also used as an excipient in drugs like penicillin and vaccines, but was replaced by peanut oil after cotton seed allergy reactions began being reported.20

Today cottonseed oil is one of many used as emulsifiers and excipients approved for use in a range of drugs and vaccines.21,22

Composition of cottonseed oil

Cottonseed oil is mainly composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), with linoleic acid making up a majority of its PUFA content.23 Other fatty acids that can be found in cottonseed oil include palmitic acid, myristic acid, palmitoleic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid and linolenic acid. The fatty acid composition of nonhydrogenated cottonseed oil is:24

  • Saturated fat — 27%
  • Monounsaturated fat — 18%
  • Polyunsaturated fat — 55%

When partially hydrogenated, cottonseed oil’s fatty acid profile is altered and its monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) concentrations increase:

  • Saturated fat — 29%
  • Monounsaturated fat — 50%
  • Polyunsaturated fat — 21%

How is cottonseed oil made?

Although cotton farming goes back centuries — with the cultivation of it being evident even in prehistoric times — cottonseed oil production is relegated to more recent history, when it became part of a milling process.25 This is different from mills seen today, which are either screw press or solvent extraction facilities.26 Modern processing of cottonseed oil involves numerous steps, and the main techniques include:27

  • Alkali refining
  • Bleaching
  • Winterization
  • Hydrogenation
  • Deodorization
  • Interesterification

Because it’s naturally stable, cottonseed oil requires less hydrogenation compared to other oils, and this results in lower trans fat levels.28

Does cottonseed oil have any health benefits?

Some of the health benefits you may have heard about cottonseed oil is that it’s “healthy” because of its high unsaturated fat levels that exhibit total cholesterol-, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)- and triglyceride-lowering properties.29 It’s also touted for producing low levels of trans fats when used for deep-frying foods30 and for its low amounts of saturated fat.31

From a nutrition standpoint, cottonseed oil, along with almond oil and wheat germ oil,32 also has high concentrations of vitamin E,33 a nutrient that may play a role in lowering your risk for diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer.

Conventional health experts advise getting vitamin E from vegetable oils like cottonseed oil, because people do not eat foods rich in this nutrient on a daily basis.34,35 It is also believed that vitamin E contributes to the long shelf life of cottonseed oil.36

However, I disagree with these health claims. As much as possible, don’t use vegetable oils like cottonseed oil, whether it’s hydrogenated or not, and whether it’s unrefined or processed. It can negatively impact your health in multiple ways, as explained in the remaining sections. There is only one truly stable and healthful oil to use, and that is high-quality organic coconut oil.

The drawbacks of unrefined and refined cottonseed oil

Initially, cottonseed contains gossypol that’s responsible for the oil’s yellowish color.37 This substance can be toxic to nonruminant animals (only adult cattle and sheep are known to metabolize it38) and reacts with protein and lessens the oil’s nutritional value.39

Increased amounts of gossypol have been linked to adverse effects like breathing problems, anorexia and heart, lung, liver and blood cell problems.40 This compound also triggered reproductive health problems among female nonruminant animals, particularly by disturbing “estrous cycles, pregnancy and early embryo development,” and among male animals by causing infertility, sperm immotility and reduced sperm counts.41

In attempts to make this oil less damaging to your health, manufacturers came up with the following areas of improvement for cottonseed oil production:42

  • Lowering or eliminating gossypol in cottonseed oil
  • Increasing the yield of cottonseed oil extraction
  • Increasing the oil’s PUFAs and vitamin E concentrations
  • Reducing saturated fatty acids

Another step the industry took as far back as 2007 was to implement “educational” marketing campaigns stressing the nutritious aspects of the nonhydrogenated oil, including the fact that “it does not require hydrogenation, the process that produces trans fatty acids,” thus making it “trans fat free.”43,44

And while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils in May 2018,45,46 the makers of Crisco shortening, a hydrogenated product, was already prepared, having introduced a new trans fat-free version of its product, made from sunflower, soy and cottonseed oils, in 2008.47

Even though being trans fat-free is a good thing, USDA data from July 2018 still show that 94% of the cotton crop grown in American soil is actually genetically engineered, which could leave questions as to how safe or nutritious cottonseed oil really is.48

Although GE proponents dismiss the concerns,49,50 GE crops have been linked in the past to possible reproductive problems, organ disruption,51 digestive problems52 and questions about possible allergic reactions.53 Some published reports have also highlighted that cottonseed oil contains a high pesticide load54 and is susceptible to mold contamination.55,56

Source: Mercola.com

in Dr. Weil’s book, Eight Weeks to Optimum Health, one of the first things he asks readers to do is to go through their pantry shelves and throw out anything made with cottonseed oil. The list includes such things as chips, cookies, crackers, bread, salad dressings — even soaps, shampoos, and makeup.

He regards it as unhealthy because it is too high in saturated fat and too low in monounsaturated fat. He also says that cottonseed oil may contain natural toxins and probably has unacceptably high levels of pesticide residues (cotton is not classified as a food crop, and farmers use many agrichemicals when growing it). He warns to be on the lookout for cottonseed oil in packaged foods and avoid products that contain it. Manufacturers like it because it’s cheap, and products that say “may contain one or more of these oils” and list cottonseed, will almost certainly contain it.

Peanut Oil

Of the many kinds of oils1 peanut is a mildly sweet edible oil. Also called groundnut or arachis oil,2 it’s made from Arachis hypogea, a low-growing, annual plant that is a member of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae) family. Despite the word “nut” in its name, peanut is actually a legume and grows underground,3 as opposed to other nuts like walnuts and pecans, which grow on trees (hence are called tree nuts).

Peanuts originated in South America,4 and they have a long place in history. According to the National Peanut Board, peanuts were used as sacrificial offerings by the Incans of Peru, who placed them alongside their mummies to help them cross over into the next life.

Ancient tribes in Central Brazil made a beverage from ground peanuts and maize. This is also where Europeans first came across this plant, and then brought it back to Spain. From there, the humble peanut spread to Asia and Africa, and then eventually to North America.5 As of 2018 the top four producers of peanuts worldwide are China, India, Nigeria and the United States.6

Types of peanut oil

Peanut kernels are eaten boiled or roasted, or crushed or chopped for use in cooking and confectionery. They also can be transformed into other products like peanut butter, peanut flour and peanut oil. According to The Peanut Institute, there are several types of peanut oil sold today:7

Refined peanut oil — This is a processed product that’s largely used in the fast food industry. The refining procedure includes bleaching and deodorizing. Since the process also removes the peanut proteins, this oil is nonallergenic and safe for people with peanut allergies.

According to The Peanut Institute, the refining process also produces an oil that prevents it from absorbing the flavors of the foods cooked in it, making it a favorite for restaurants that need to cook multiple items in the same batch of oil without the foods picking up each other’s flavors.

Gourmet roasted peanut oil — This oil is not refined and is valued because it retains many of the peanut’s nutrients such as pytoesterols and vitamin E. Because it maintains its aromatic flavor, The Spruce Eats8 mentions that this type of peanut oil is often used for flavoring, rather than cooking, sometimes added into dressings, sauces and marinades or drizzled over a salad.

The Spruce Eats also mentions two other peanut oil products that some chefs might choose for certain recipes:

  • Virgin or cold-pressed peanut oil — Since it’s not refined, most of its natural flavors and aromas are still present. It has a light flavor that will not overpower the flavors of other ingredients.
  • Peanut oil blends — These are varieties that have been blended with cheaper oils like soybean oil. As a result, you can buy them at a lower price. The oil it’s blended with usually has a high smoking point as well.

For the best nutrients and unadulterated product, always look for packaging that says “100% peanut oil” on it. That way you don’t have to worry about whether you’re getting soybeans in your oil, which may be tainted with pesticide or herbicide residues.

Uses of peanut oil

Peanut oil is currently one of the most popular oils used in the kitchen, as it can be used for frying, sautéing or simply adding a mild nutty flavor to dishes. Asian cultures, particularly China, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, are fond of using peanut oil in their food preparation.9

Before you liberally use this oil for cooking, though, please remember that it has a high percentage of omega-6 fats, which can upset your omega 3 to 6 ratio, which can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.10 I advise you to limit your use of peanut oil for cooking or frying, and preferably use it without heating.

Peanut oil can also be used for aromatherapy; Stylecraze gives a few other ideas on how to use it:11

  • Moisturize your skin by applying the oil to your face and washing it off after 20 minutes.
  • Apply to your hair to help boost growth, moisturize split ends and regenerate damaged hair.
  • Rub it on your scalp to help address dandruff and ease psoriasis.

Composition of peanut oil

The stability and shelf life of peanut oil are mainly brought on by its fatty acid composition.12 It is composed of 10.7% saturated fats, 71% monounsaturated fats and 20.9% polyunsaturated fats. The main fatty acids are oleic, palmitic and linoleic acids.13

Peanut oil has an extensive shelf life, provided it is stored properly. Unopened peanut oil can stay fresh for up to two years, but if opened, it only stays fresh for six months to one year. Store it in a cool, dry place, such as your pantry, away from sunlight. Make sure the bottle is closed tightly.14

Benefits of peanut oil

Peanut oil may have benefits against diabetes, as suggested by a 2006 animal study. The researchers studied the effect of groundnut oil on lipid profile, blood glucose, lipid peroxidation and antioxidant status among diabetic rats. They found that it “slightly but significantly decreases the blood glucose, HbA1c, lipid peroxidation and lipid profile, and increases antioxidant levels in diabetic rats.”15

Another study found that peanut oil, as well as other peanut products like peanut butter, contain phytosterols (PS), which help reduce the risk of cancer.16

Despite its wealth of uses and potential benefits, peanut oil is not safe for everybody, mainly because of its allergens, which account for the majority of severe food-related allergic reactions.17 They’re also contaminated with a potentially dangerous toxin — more on this below.

Is peanut oil safe?

Having a peanut allergy is no laughing matter, as it’s one of the most severe food allergies known, and can lead to fatal side effects. If you have (or suspect you have) a peanut allergy, I advise you to avoid consuming peanut oil, even in very small amounts — don’t even apply it topically.

Also, keep in mind that peanut oil is added to certain foods, so always read the label when grocery shopping. If you’re dining out, ask your server to check if your food contains or is cooked with peanut, arachis or groundnut oil.

I also advise pregnant women and nursing moms to use peanut oil with caution. Consult your health care provider to find out if it’s safe for you and your infant. If you have sensitive skin, do a skin patch test before using this oil topically.

Another reason why you should be cautious of peanut oil is that this plant is often heavily sprayed with pesticides and contaminated with a mycotoxin called aflatoxin.18 This is a toxic metabolite that comes from certain molds and fungi like Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus.19 They thrive in soil and in moist environments.

Peanuts can become contaminated during preharvest, storage or processing. Aflatoxin may cause side effects such as leaky gut and may even increase your risk of liver cancer.20

Anaphylaxis is a dangerous and sometimes deadly side effect of peanuts and peanut oil. If you have a peanut allergy and have unknowingly ingested or used peanut oil, you may experience severe side effects, such as difficulty breathing, swollen lips and throat, fainting, dizziness and chest congestion. Seek emergency health care immediately, as this can be fatal.21

Safflower Oil

Safflower oil is one of the many edible oils in the market lauded for positive health effects. While there may be some truth to this, there are many potential disadvantages to consider when using this oil. Learn more about my recommendations on safflower oil and discover if its benefits outweigh its risks.

Safflower oil is derived from the seeds of the safflower plant (Carthamus tinctorius L.), an annual broadleaf crop from the Compositae or Asteraceae family:1 Native to many parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the safflower plant is referred to as “kusum” in India (derived from the Sanskrit word “kusumbha”) and as “hongua” in China.

One of the world’s oldest crops, safflower has a history that goes back 4,000 years to ancient Egypt. While the initial evolution of growing safflower oil commercially began in the U.S. Great Plains in 1925, its large-scale production was not in full swing until the 1950s.

India is currently the largest leading commercial producer of safflower oil worldwide, followed closely by California in the United States and Mexico. Western states such as North Dakota and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona and Nebraska also produce substantial amounts of safflower, but on a rather small acreage.

Read More at Mercola.com

Soybean Oil

A popular form of vegetable oils, soybean oil is extracted from soybean seeds.1 There has been much hype about its touted health benefits, but there’s more to soybean oil than what’s advertised on product labels. It could be very problematic to use in cooking, due to manufacturing processes and the presence of genetically engineered varieties. Get the lowdown on this food staple, and why it is one of the worst oils for cooking.

Soybean oil is extracted from soybean (Glycine max) and often has a dark yellow or faint green color. Standard vegetable oil is typically composed of soybean, corn, safflower and palm oils.2

The first domestic use of soybeans is traced to the eastern half of North China in the 11th century B.C., although as early as 2853 B.C., the plant was considered a sacred plant of China along with rice, wheat, barley and millet. By 1895, Chinese soybean production expanded overseas when the Japanese began importing soybean meal to serve as fertilizer.3

Soybean shipments to Europe began around 1908, although Europeans had been aware of soybeans as early as 1712. The story of soybeans in the United States began in the early 1800s, with North Carolina having one of the first soybean plantations.4

As of 2016, Americans were consuming more than 28 billion pounds of edible oils annually, with soybean oil comprising about 80 percent of that number. Worsening the problem further at the time was that soybean oil was highly processed and hydrogenated.5

Among the problems with partially hydrogenated soybean oil is trans fat and the health hazards of the soy itself, as well as the prevalence of genetically engineered soybeans. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 94 percent of soybeans today are grown using herbicide-tolerant seeds.6

Thankfully, in an effort to address health concerns that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) — the primary dietary source of trans fats — could be causing thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year, the FDA decided in 2015 that PHOs no longer should be considered “generally recognized as safe (GRAS), and started a campaign wherein food manufacturers were given three years to phase out trans fat from their products, with the ban officially taking effect on June 18, 2018.

This marked a turning point for public health, as The Washington Post reported that trans fat consumption soon drastically lowered. Between 2015 and 2018, companies were able to remove 98 percent of trans fat from the market.7 Later, in a gesture to allow what they called “an orderly transition in the marketplace,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration extended the date for these foods to get completely off grocery store shelves to January 1, 2020.8

Read More about Soybean Oil at Mercola.com…

Monsanto Corporation

One of the largest pharmaceutical and agricultural companies that producers a wide range of genetically modified foods and seeds, drugs and pesticides and herbicides. This multibillion dollar American company was acquired by Bayer in 2018, has branches in 100 different countries and is the main producer of genetically modified crops and seeds in the world. It’s weedkiller chemicals (specifically Roundup) cause cancer and they gave rise to Agent Orange, saccharin, aspartame, deadly PCBs and pesticides with dioxins. The entire history of Monsanto has been one of creating deadly, toxic chemicals that devastate human populations and then lying about their toxicity (while profiting from their widespread use that poisons the planet). There is no single greater chemical threat to humanity that exists on this planet right now than the Monsanto corporation, and its chemical poisons are faithfully mirrored by the poisonous personalities and sleaze tactics of its attack dogs who troll the internet to discredit all scientists and activists that oppose Monsanto’s “chemical domination” agenda. (Much of Wikipedia is now run by biotech trolls, by the way, who specialize in internet disinfo terrorism tactics like the hit piece recently waged against GM Watch.)

People like to talk nasty about Hugh Grant, Monsanto’s CEO, and obviously a shareholder. The same goes for Bill Gates. He owns millions of shares of Monsanto stock as well. But who are the real owners of Monsanto? The answer might be shocking. The real owners of Monsanto stock are institutions, and people who hide behind those institutions, not individuals like Gates and Grant. According to multiple sources, five investment funds are the top shareholders in Monsanto, with the Vanguard Group, Inc. at the top.

As you can see, the number of shares held by institutions dwarfs the number held by individuals, including those who do Monsanto’s dirty work in the public arena.

The Vanguard Group owns over $3 trillion in investments in different, and mostly hated, companies like Monsanto. They also hold the world’s largest companies such as: Bank of America, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley. State Street Corporation, Vanguard Group, Capital Research Global Investors, and FMR (Fidelity) are all the key owners of – well, essentially the world. And this includes Monsanto. You could say that just four companies control all the big banks and all the major companies on the planet.

Monsanto History

1901: The company is founded by John Francis Queeny, a member of the Knights of Malta, a thirty year pharmaceutical veteran married to Olga Mendez Monsanto, for which Monsanto Chemical Works is named. The company’s first product is chemical saccharin, sold to Coca-Cola as an artificial sweetener.

Even then, the government knew saccharin was poisonous and sued to stop its manufacture but lost in court, thus opening the Monsanto Pandora’s Box to begin poisoning the world through the soft drink.

1920s: Monsanto expands into industrial chemicals and drugs, becoming the world’s largest maker of  aspirin, acetylsalicyclic acid, (toxic of course). This is also the time when things began to go horribly wrong for the planet in a hurry with the introduction of  their polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

“PCBs were considered an industrial wonder chemical, an oil that wouldn’t burn, impervious to degradation and had almost limitless applications. Today PCBs are considered one of the gravest chemical threats on the planet. Widely used as lubricants, hydraulic fluids, cutting oils, waterproof coatings and liquid sealants, are potent carcinogens and have been implicated in reproductive, developmental and immune system disorders. The world’s center of PCB manufacturing was Monsanto’s plant on the outskirts of East St. Louis, Illinois, which has the highest rate of fetal death and immature births in the state.”(1)

Even though PCBs were eventually banned after fifty years for causing such devastation, it is still present in just about all animal and human blood and tissue cells across the globe. Documents introduced in court later showed Monsanto was fully aware of the deadly effects, but criminally hid them from the public to keep the PCB gravy-train going full speed!

1930s: Created its first hybrid seed corn and expands into detergents, soaps, industrial cleaning products, synthetic rubbers and plastics. Oh yes, all toxic of course!

1940s: They begin research on uranium to be used for the Manhattan Project’s first atomic bomb, which would later be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese, Korean and US Military servicemen and poisoning millions more.

The company continues its unabated killing spree by creating pesticides for agriculture containing deadly dioxin, which poisons the food and water supplies. It was later discovered Monsanto failed to disclose that dioxin was used in a wide range of their products because doing so would force them to acknowledge that it had created an environmental Hell on Earth.

1950s: Closely aligned with The Walt Disney Company, Monsanto creates several attractions at Disney’s Tomorrowland, espousing the glories of chemicals and plastics. Their “House of the Future” is constructed entirely of toxic plastic that is not biodegradable as they had asserted. What, Monsanto lied? I’m shocked!

“After attracting a total of 20 million visitors from 1957 to 1967, Disney finally tore the house down, but discovered it would not go down without a fight. According to Monsanto Magazine, wrecking balls literally bounced off the glass-fiber, reinforced polyester material. Torches, jackhammers, chain saws and shovels did not work. Finally, choker cables were used to squeeze off parts of the house bit by bit to be trucked away.”(2)

Monsanto’s Disneyfied vision of the future:

1960s: Monsanto, along with chemical partner-in-crime DOW Chemical, produces dioxin-laced Agent Orange for use in the U.S.’s Vietnam invasion. The results? Over 3 million people contaminated, a half-million Vietnamese civilians dead, a half-million Vietnamese babies born with birth defects and thousands of U.S. military veterans suffering or dying from its effects to this day!

 Monsanto is hauled into court again and internal memos show they knew the deadly effects of dioxin in Agent Orange when they sold it to the government. Outrageously though, Monsanto is allowed to present their own “research” that concluded dioxin was safe and posed no negative health concerns whatsoever. Satisfied, the bought and paid for courts side with Monsanto and throws the case out. Afterwards, it comes to light that Monsanto lied about the findings and their real research concluded that dioxin kills very effectively.

A later internal memo released in a 2002 trial admitted

“that the evidence proving the persistence of these compounds and their universal presence as residues in the environment is beyond question … the public and legal pressures to eliminate them to prevent global contamination are inevitable. The subject is snowballing. Where do we go from here? The alternatives: go out of business; sell the hell out of them as long as we can and do nothing else; try to stay in business; have alternative products.”(3)

Monsanto partners with I.G. Farben, makers of Bayer aspirin and the Third Reich’s go-to chemical manufacturer producing deadly Zyklon-B gas during World War II. Together, the companies use their collective expertise to introduce aspartame, another extremely deadly neurotoxin, into the food supply. When questions surface regarding the toxicity of saccharin, Monsanto exploits this opportunity to introduce yet another of its deadly poisons onto an unsuspecting public.

1970s: Monsanto partner, G.D. Searle, produces numerous internal studies which claim aspartame to be safe, while the FDA’s own scientific research clearly reveals that aspartame causes tumors and massive holes in the brains of rats, before killing them. The FDA initiates a grand jury investigation into G.D. Searle for “knowingly misrepresenting findings and concealing material facts and making false statements” in regard to aspartame safety.

During this time, Searle strategically taps prominent Washington insider Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Gerald Ford and George W. Bush  presidencies, to become CEO. The corporation’s primary goal is to have Rumsfeld utilize his political influence and vast experience in the killing business to grease the FDA to play ball with them.

A few months later, Samuel Skinner receives “an offer he can’t refuse,” withdraws from the investigation and resigns his post at the U.S. Attorney’s Office to go work for Searle’s law firm. This mob tactic stalls the case just long enough for the statute of limitation to run out and the grand jury investigation is abruptly and conveniently dropped.

1980s: Amid indisputable research that reveals the toxic effects of aspartame and as then FDA commissioner Dr. Jere Goyan was about to sign a petition into law keeping it off the market, Donald Rumsfeld calls Ronald Reagan for a favor the day after he takes office. Reagan fires the uncooperative Goyan and appoints Dr. Arthur Hayes Hull to head the FDA, who then quickly tips the scales in Searle’s favor and NutraSweet is approved for human consumption in dried products.This becomes sadly ironic since Reagan, a known jelly bean and candy enthusiast, later suffers from Alzheimers during his second term, one of the many horrific effects of aspartame consumption.

Searle’s real goal though was to have aspartame approved as a soft drink sweetener since exhaustive studies revealed that at temperatures exceeding 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it “breaks down into known toxins Diketopiperazines (DKP), methyl (wood) alcohol, and formaldehyde.”(4), becoming many times deadlier than its powdered form!

The National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) is initially in an uproar, fearing future lawsuits from consumers permanently injured or killed by drinking the poison. When Searle is able to show that liquid aspartame, though incredibly deadly, is much more addictive than crack cocaine, the NSDA is convinced that skyrocketing profits from the sale of soft drinks laced with aspartame would easily offset any future liability. With that, corporate greed wins and the unsuspecting soft drink consumers pay for it with damaged healths.

Coke leads the way once again (remember saccharin?) and begins poisoning Diet Coke drinkers with aspartame in 1983. As expected, sales skyrocket as millions become hopelessly addicted and sickened by the sweet poison served in a can. The rest of the soft drink industry likes what it sees and quickly follows suit, conveniently forgetting all about their initial reservations that aspartame is a deadly chemical. There’s money to be made, lots of it and that’s all that really matters to them anyway!

In 1985, undaunted by the swirl of corruption and multiple accusations of fraudulent research undertaken by Searle, Monsanto purchases the company and forms a new aspartame subsidiary called NutraSweet Company. When multitudes of independent scientists and researchers continue to warn about aspartame’s toxic effects, Monsanto goes on the offensive, bribing the National Cancer Institute and providing their own fraudulent papers to get the NCI to claim that formaldehyde does not cause cancer so that aspartame can stay on the market.

The known effects of aspartame ingestion are: “mania, rage, violence, blindness, joint-pain, fatigue, weight-gain, chest-pain, coma, insomnia, numbness, depression, tinnitus, weakness, spasms, irritability, nausea, deafness, memory-loss, rashes, dizziness, headaches, seizures, anxiety, palpitations, fainting, cramps, diarrhoea, panic, burning in the mouth. Diseases triggered/mimmicked include diabetes, MS, lupus, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, tumours, miscarriage, infertility, fibromyalgia, infant death, Alzheimer’s… Source : U.S. Food & Drug Administration.(5)

Further, 80% of complaints made to the FDA regarding food additives are about aspartame, which is now in over 5,000 products including diet and non-diet sodas and sports drinks, mints, chewing gum, frozen desserts, cookies, cakes, vitamins, pharmaceuticals, milk drinks, instant teas, coffees, yogurt, baby food and many, many more!(6) Read labels closely and do not buy anything that contains this horrific killer!

Amidst all the death and disease, FDA’s Arthur Hull resigns under a cloud of corruption and is immediately hired by Searle’s public relations firm as a senior scientific consultant. No, that’s not a joke! Monsanto, the FDA and many government health regulatory agencies have become one and the same! It seems the only prerequisite for becoming an FDA commissioner is that they spend time at either Monsanto or one of the pharmaceutical cartel’s organized crime corps.

1990s: Monsanto spends millions defeating state and federal legislation that disallows the corporation from continuing to dump dioxins, pesticides and other cancer-causing poisons into drinking water systems. Regardless, they are sued countless times for causing disease in their plant workers, the people in surrounding areas and birth defects in babies.

With their coffins full from the massive billions of profits, the $100 million dollar settlements are considered the low cost of doing business and thanks to the FDA, Congress and White House, business remains very good. So good that Monsanto is sued for giving radioactive iron to 829 pregnant women for a study to see what would happen to them.

In 1994, the FDA once again criminally approves Monsanto’s latest monstrosity, the Synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), produced from a genetically modified E. coli bacteria, despite obvious outrage from the scientific community of its dangers. Of course, Monsanto claims that diseased pus milk, full of antibiotics and hormones is not only safe, but actually good for you!

 Worse yet, dairy companies who refuse to use this toxic cow pus and label their products as“rBGH-free” are sued by Monsanto, claiming it gives them an unfair advantage over competitors that did. In essence, what Monsanto was saying is “yeah, we know rBGH makes people sick, but it’s not alright that you advertise it’s not in your products.”

 The following year, the diabolical company begins producing GMO crops that are tolerant to their toxic herbicide Roundup. Roundup-ready canola oil (rapeseed), soybeans, corn and BT cotton begin hitting the market, advertised as being safer, healthier alternatives to their organic non-GMO rivals. Apparently, the propaganda worked as today over 80% of canola on the market is their GMO variety.

A few things you definitely want to avoid in your diet are GMO soy, corn, wheat and canola oil, despite the fact that many “natural” health experts claim the latter to be a healthy oil. It’s not, but you’ll find it polluting many products on grocery store shelves.

 Because these GM crops have been engineered to ‘self-pollinate,’ they do not need  nature or bees to do that for them. There is a very dark side agenda to this and that is to wipe out the world’s bee population.

 Monsanto knows that birds and especially bees, throw a wrench into their monopoly due to their ability to pollinate plants, thus naturally creating foods outside of the company’s “full domination control agenda.” When bees attempt to pollinate a GM plant or flower, it gets poisoned and dies. In fact, the bee colony collapse was recognized and has been going on since GM crops were first introduced.

To counter the accusations that they deliberately caused this ongoing genocide of bees, Monsanto devilishly buys out Beeologics, the largest bee research firm that was dedicated to studying the colony collapse phenomenon and whose extensive research named the monster as the primary culprit! After that, it’s “bees, what bees? Everything’s just dandy!” Again, I did not make this up, but wish I had!

During the mid-90s, they decide to reinvent their evil company as one focused on controlling the world’s food supply through artificial, biotechnology means to preserve the Roundup cash-cow from losing market-share in the face of competing, less-toxic herbicides. You see, Roundup is so toxic that it wipes out non-GMO crops, insects, animals, human health and the environment at the same time. How very efficient!

 Because Roundup-ready crops are engineered to be toxic pesticides masquerading as food, they have been banned in the EU, but not in America! Is there any connection between that and the fact that Americans, despite the high cost and availability of healthcare, are collectively the sickest people in the world? Of course not!

 As was Monsanto’s plan from the beginning, all non-Monsanto crops would be destroyed, forcing farmers the world over to use only its toxic terminator seeds. And Monsanto made sure farmers who refused to come into the fold were driven out of business or sued when windblown terminator seeds poisoned organic farms.

This gave the company a virtual monopoly as terminator seed crops and Roundup worked hand in glove with each other as GMO crops could not survive in a non-chemical environment so farmers were forced to buy both.

Their next step was to spend billions globally buying up as many seed companies as possible and transitioning them into terminator seed companies in an effort to wipe out any rivals and eliminate organic foods off the face of the earth. In Monsanto’s view, all foods must be under their full control and genetically modified or they are not safe to eat!

 They pretend to be shocked that their critics in the scientific community question whether crops genetically modified with the genes of diseased pigs, cows, spiders, monkeys, fish, vaccines and viruses are healthy to eat. The answer to that question is obviously a very big “no way!”

You’d think the company would be so proud of their GMO foods that they’d serve them to their employees, but they don’t. In fact, Monsanto has banned GM foods from being served in their own employee cafeterias. Monsanto lamely responded “we believe in choice.” What they really means is “we don’t want to kill the help.”

It’s quite okay though to force-feed poor nations and Americans these modified monstrosities as a means to end starvation since dead people don’t need to eat! I’ll bet the thought on most peoples’ minds these days is that Monsanto is clearly focused on eugenics and genocide, as opposed to providing foods that will sustain the world. As in Monsanto partner Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, the wicked witch gives the people the poisoned GMO apple that puts them to sleep forever!

2000s: By this time Monsanto controls the largest share of the global GMO market. In turn, the US gov’t spends hundreds of millions to fund aerial spraying of Roundup, causing massive environmental devastation. Fish and animals by the thousands die within days of spraying as respiratory ailments and cancer deaths in humans spike tremendously. But this is all considered an unusual coincidence so the spraying continues. If you thought Monsanto and the FDA were one and the same, well you can add the gov’t to that sorry list now.

The monster grows bigger: Monsanto merges with Pharmacia & Upjohn, then separates from its chemical business and rebrands itself as an agricultural company. Yes, that’s right, a chemical company whose products have devastated the environment, killed millions of people and wildlife over the years now wants us to believe they produce safe and nutritious foods that won’t kill people any longer. That’s an extremely hard-sell, which is why they continue to grow bigger through mergers and secret partnerships.

Because rival DuPont is too large a corporation to be allowed to merge with, they instead form a stealth partnership where each agrees to drop existing patent lawsuits against one another and begin sharing GMO technologies for mutual benefit. In layman’s terms, together they would be far too powerful and politically connected for anything to stop them from owning a virtual monopoly on agriculture; “control the food supply & you control the people!”

 Not all is rosy as the monster is repeatedly sued for $100s of millions for causing illness, infant deformities and death by illegally dumping all manner of PCBs into ground water, and continually lying about products safety – you know, business as usual.

The monster often perseveres and proves difficult to slay as it begins filing frivolous suits against farmers it claims infringe on their terminator seed patents. In virtually all cases, unwanted seeds are windblown onto farmers’ lands by neighboring terminator-seeded farms. Not only do these horrendous seeds destroy the organic farmers’ crops, the lawsuits drive them into bankruptcy, while the Supreme Court overturns lower court rulings and sides with Monsanto each time.

At the same time, the monster begins filing patents on breeding techniques for pigs, claiming animals bred any way remotely similar to their patent would grant them ownership. So loose was this patent filing that it became obvious they wanted to claim all pigs bred throughout the world would infringe upon their patent.

The global terrorism spreads to India as over 100,000 farmers who are bankrupted by GMO crop failure, commit suicide by drinking Roundup so their families will be eligible for death insurance payments. In response, the monster takes advantage of the situation by alerting the media to a new project to assist small Indian farmers by donating the very things that caused crop failures in the country in the first place! Forbes then names Monsanto “company of the year.” Sickening, but true.

 More troubling is that Whole Foods, the corporation that brands itself as organic, natural and eco-friendly is proven to be anything but. They refuse to support Proposition 37, California’s GMO-labeling measure that Monsanto and its GMO-brethren eventually helped to defeat.

Why? Because Whole Foods has been in bed with Monsanto for a long time, secretly stuffing its shelves with overpriced, fraudulently advertized “natural & organic” crap loaded with GMOs, pesticides, rBGH, hormones and antibiotics. So, of course they don’t want mandatory labeling as that would expose them as the Whole Frauds and Whore Foods that they really are!

 However, when over twenty biotech-friendly companies including WalMart, Pepsico and ConAgra recently met with FDA in favor of mandatory labeling laws, this after fighting tooth and nail to defeat Prop 37, Whole Foods sees an opportunity to save face and becomes the first grocery chain to announce mandatory labeling of their GMO products…in 2018! Uh, thanks for nothing, Whore.

Continued on next page…

Nestle

The world’s largest foodstuff company, a Swiss multinational food and beverage company, has drawn the ire of alternative media and protesters over the years for many reasons, including allegations of child labor on its cacao farming operations and the backlash from comments made by its chairman Peter Brabeck over his controversial views on the privatization of water and his companies monopolization of the natural resource in the poorest of countries. The use of genetically engineered ingredients in its products has also been a sticking point, as the pro-GMO company has spent over a million dollars to oppose mandatory GMO labeling.  Their products include baby food, bottled water, breakfast cereals, coffee and tea, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, frozen food, pet foods, and snacks. Twenty-nine of their brands have sales of over $1 billion a year and have over 8,000 brands. They have 447 factories across 194 countries and employ around 333,000 people. Child labor, unethical promotion, manipulating uneducated mothers, pollution, price fixing and mislabeling – those are not words you want to see associated with your company.

Baby Formula and Boycott

We’re in the ’90s, and this is a sad story about poverty, breastfeeding, and greed. Nestle aggressively pushed their breastfeeding formula in less economically developed countries (LEDCs), specifically targeting the poor. They made it seem that their infant formula was almost as good as a mother’s milk, which is highly unethical for several reasons.

The first problem was the need for water sanitation. Most of the groups they were targeting – especially in Africa – didn’t have access to clean water (many don’t to this day), so it was necessary for them to boil the water. But due to low literacy rates, many mothers were not aware of this, so they mixed the formula with polluted water which put the children at great risks. Nestle seems to have knowingly ignored this and encouraged mothers to use the formula even when they knew the risks. Breastfeeding, one of the most important aspects for an infant, especially in unsanitized areas, was cast aside. Baby formula was “the nearest thing in the world”, and this “splendid triumph of care and science” is “so like mother’s milk that the tiny stomach won’t notice the difference”. But the tiny stomach did notice the difference.

“Breastfeeding is unparalleled in providing the ideal food for infants.The optimal way to feed a baby is exclusive  breastfeeding for the first six months followed by breastfeeding combined with complementary foods until the child is two years old…” –  a 2007 Save the Children report.

Many mothers were able to read in their native language but were still unable to read the language in which sterilization directions were written. Even if mothers understood the need to boil the water, they might not have had the facilities to do so. UNICEF estimates that a formula-fed child living in disease-ridden and unhygienic conditions is between 6 and 25 times more likely to die of diarrhea and four times more likely to die of pneumonia than a breastfed child. Another problem was that mothers tended to use less formula than needed – to make the jar last longer, resulting in many infants receiving inadequate amounts.

But even if the water was boiled, and even if the formula was administered in the right proportion and in the right quantity, it is lacking in many of the nutrients and antibodies that breast milk provides. Breast milk contains the required amount of the nutrients essential for neuronal (brain and nerve) development, and to some extent, protects the baby from many diseases and potential infections. According to the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), Nestle used unethical methods to promote their infant formula to poor mothers in developing countries. But it gets even worse.

Rachael Romero, San Francisco Poster Brigade Boycott Nestle, 1978 poster Courtesy Inkworks Press Archive, Berkeley, CA

IBFAN claims that Nestle distributes free formula samples to hospitals and maternity wards; after leaving the hospital, the formula is no longer free, but because the supplementation has interfered with lactation, the family must continue to buy the formula. Nestle denies those allegations… sort of.

“Nestlé takes reports on non-compliance with the WHO Code very seriously and we have endeavored to investigate all allegations brought to our attention, despite the fact that in many cases we are not provided with accurate details substantiating the accusations. This makes it difficult for us to investigate how, where and when the alleged infringement could have occurred. Some of the allegations are several years old before they are brought to public attention, which also could complicate the investigation.”

Back then, Nestlé’s response was that their critics should focus on doing something to improve unsafe water supplies, which contributed to the health problems associated with bottle feeding. They also later used this approach to promote their bottled water. As The Guardian puts it, “its huge marketing budgets clearly influence peoples’ behavior, even if direct causality can’t be demonstrated.”

Today, several countries and organizations are still boycotting Nestle, despite their claims to be in compliance with WHO regulations. There’s even a committee, the International Nestlé Boycott Committee that monitors their practices. Several universities and student organizations have also joined the boycott, especially in the UK.

There is no clear, public number of lives that were lost due to this aggressive marketing campaign, and of course, Nestle is not directly responsible for their tragedies. But it was easy for them, as it was easy for everybody to see the risks and the negative effects their formula was having. It was easy for them to save many lives, but they chose the money instead. Profits before children – check. Let’s move on.

Nestle and Water

Brown admitted that Nestlé currently wastes about 30% of the 700m gallons of water a year it draws from the ground in California. Image via Sum of Us.

Few people know it, but Nestle is actually the world’s largest producer of bottled water. In fact, they’re so keen on their water business (which also involves many of their other products), that they believe water isn’t a universal right. Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe said:

“There are two different opinions on the matter [or water]. The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs, who bang on about declaring water a public right. That means that as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution.”

Having access to water is not an extreme solution. It’s what we have called a basic need for centuries. Even Brabeck, after the media attack that followed, backed down. He said that he “believes that water is a human right” and “advocates for universal access to safe drinking water”. But his actions, as well as Nestle’s actions, show that that’s just greenwashing.

At the second World Water Forum in 2000, Nestle pushed for making access to drinking water from a “right” to a “need,” a defining change. Meanwhile, Nestle drains the aquifers it controls as much as possible, without any regards to sustainable usage or environmental concerns. A recent case is the California drought – an issue without precedent in the past 1,200 years. But Nestle doesn’t care. Even as Starbucks recently announced they would transfer their Ethos water bottling facility from California to Pennsylvania, Nestle CEO Tim Brown said: “Absolutely not. In fact, if I could increase [water bottling operations], I would.”

Yes, if he could, he’d increase water bottling operations, even though Nestle has been working without a permit since 1988. Inhabitat reports that the company has been sourcing its water from the San Bernardino National Forest without a permit and they’ve been recently been bumped to the front of the queue for permit renewal (which will take around 18 months), and they can keep working in the meantime as long as they pay a laughable $524 annual fee. Also, California doesn’t know how much water Nestle uses, because they have no legal grounds for making the company divulge this information, and Nestle hasn’t published any reports. An independent analysis puts all their water usage at 1 billion gallons a year.

Arguably, that’s not much when you considering that 500 billion gallons of water that will be saved under Gov. Brown’s new water restrictions, but there’s something absurd and immoral about a private company using as much water as they want while the rest of the state is facing severe restrictions.

But other areas in the world have it even worse than California.

In the small Pakistani community of Bhati Dilwan, a former village councilor says children are being sickened by filthy water. Who’s to blame? He says it’s bottled water maker Nestle, which dug a deep well that is depriving locals of potable water.

“The water is not only very dirty, but the water level sank from 100 to 300 to 400 feet,” Dilwan says. (source)

The small village of Bhati Dalwan is suffering a water crisis following the development of a Nestle water bottling facility. Image source.

Indeed, unsustainable usage of aquifer water can lead to a significant decrease in water levels, and can even exhaust the aquifer. That’s right, underground water isn’t the inexhaustible source many people believe it to be. In the case of Bhati Dilwan, people are getting sick because if the community had fresh water piped in, it would deprive Nestle of its money source – bottled water under the Pure Life brand. Greedily using natural resources for profits? Check.

But when Nestle isn’t trying to privatize water or use it without regards to the environment, it’s simply bottling… tap water. A Chicago-based business has sued the company (again), claiming that the five gallon jugs of Ice Mountain Water they bought were nothing else than tap water. It may come as a shock to you, but nearly half of the bottled water in PET plastic bottles is actually from a tap – though Nestle never advertised this. They know what’s likely going to happen though, as this is almost a dress rehearsal of a previous scandal. Twelve years ago Nestle Waters was sued over allegation of false labeling, and ultimately settled for $10 million in charitable contributions and discounts.

Child labor, abuse, and trafficking

Most people love chocolate, but few know the dirty deals behind chocolate production. The 2010 documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate brought attention to purchases of cocoa beans from Ivorian plantations that use child slave labour. The children are usually 12 to 15 years old, and some are trafficked from nearby countries – and Nestle is no stranger to this practice.

Children labor was found in Nestle’s supply chain. Image via Crossing Guard Consulting.

In 2005, the cocoa industry was, for the first time, under the spotlight. The International Labor Rights Fund filed a lawsuit against Nestle (among others) on behalf of three Malian children. The suit alleged the children were trafficked to Côte d’Ivoire, forced into slavery, and experienced frequent beatings on a cocoa plantation. In 2010, the US District Court for the Central District of California determined corporations cannot be held liable for violations of international law and dismissed the suit – a controversial decision which has since been appealed. But even if Nestle wasn’t legally liable for these abuses, they are, at least morally. But that wasn’t the only case of this kind.

A report by an independent auditor, the Fair Labor Association (FLA), says it found “multiple serious violations” of the company’s own supplier code. It was reported that Nestle hadn’t carried out checks against child labor and abuse. Additionally, many injuries caused by machetes, which are used to harvest cocoa pods, have been reported. Nestle’s excuse can be summed up broadly as ‘everybody does it’:

“The use of child labour in our cocoa supply chain goes against everything we stand for,” says Nestle’s Executive Vice-President for Operations Jose Lopez. “No company sourcing cocoa from the Ivory Coast can guarantee that it doesn’t happen, but we can say that tackling child labour is a top priority for our company.”

The FLA reported that Nestle was fully aware of where their cocoa was coming from and under what conditions, but did little to improve conditions. Child slavery and abuse? Check.

Health Threats

In July 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned consumers to avoid eating any varieties of prepackaged Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough due to risk of contamination with E. coli O157:H7 (a foodborne bacterium that causes illness). In the US, it caused sickness in more than 50 people in 30 states, half of whom required hospitalization. In particular, one woman had a fatal infection before the batch was reclaimed.

“The fact that our product was implicated in Linda Rivera’s 2009 illness and tragic passing was obviously of grave concern to all of us at Nestle,” the company said in a statement. “Since then, we have implemented more stringent testing and inspection of raw materials and finished product to ensure the product meets our high quality standards,” which sort of makes you wonder – why weren’t stringent testing and inspections implemented in the first place?

But this is just a minor incident compared to the 2008 Chinese Milk Scandal. Six infants were killed and 860 were hospitalized with kidney problems after Nestle products were contaminated with melamine, a substance sometimes illegally added to food products to increase their apparent protein content.

In October 2008, Taiwan Health ministry announced that six types of milk powders produced in China by Nestlé contained low-level traces of melamine and were removed from the shelves.

The scandal quickly escalated, with China reporting over 300,000 victims, raising concerns about the security of major food companies operating in China. Two people were executed and several life prison sentences were issued, with the World Health Organization (WHO) referring to the incident as one of the largest food safety events it has had to deal with in recent years.

Nestle denied implication and claimed that all its products are clean, but the Taiwan government linked their products to toxic melamine. As a response, Nestle says it has sent 20 specialists from Switzerland to five of its Chinese plants to strengthen chemical testing.

Pollution

As with any “respectable” large company, Nestle has been involved in several incidents regarding pollution. A 1997 report found that in the UK, over a 12 month period, water pollution limits were breached 2,152 times in 830 locations by companies that included Cabdury and Nestle. But again, the situation in China was much worse.

While people in the US and Europe are slowly becoming more environmentally concerned and some are opting for more sustainable sources of water, Nestle has moved to another market – Asia. Alongside companies such as Kraft or Shell, Nestle made several environmental violations.

Nestle Sources Shanghai Ltd’s bottled water manufacturing plant also made the list for starting operation before its wastewater treatment facilities had passed an environmental impact assessment.

“These are only some of the water pollution violations committed by multinational companies in China, since our website has yet to cover information about air and solid waste pollution,” said Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs. “The parent companies in their home countries are models for environmental protection. But they have slackened their efforts in China.”

Another article claims that Nestle capitalizes on China’s already-polluted waters to make a good profit, while Corporate Watch highlights the fact that Nestle continues to extract water illegally from Brazil for their Perrier brand. Although Nestlé lost the legal action, pumping continues as it gets through the appeal procedures, something which can take ten years or more.

Ethiopian Debt

Ethiopia was going through a nation-wide famine. Image via Wikipedia.

In 2002, Nestle made what turned out to be a colossal error: demanding that Ethiopia pay them back a debt of US$6 million. There’s nothing wrong with that per se… if Ethiopia wasn’t facing extreme famine at the time. For a company that has 29 brands that make over $1 billion a year, asking a famine-stricken country to pay you back 6 million seems questionable, to say the least.

Nestle’s claim dates back to the 1970s when the military regime in Addis Ababa seized the assets of foreign companies.

The public roar came almost overnight; with the company receiving 40,000 letters from outraged people, in one of the most famous cases of public opinion beat corporate greed. In the end, Nestle took a U-turn, settling for a partial debt which was also invested in the country’s bouncing back from famine. For Nestle, who initially insisted that the compensation issue was “a matter of principle” and that it was in the best interest of Addis Ababa to settle the demand to repair its record with foreign investors, it was a huge moral defeat. For analysts, it was an exciting case which showed that even giants can falter in the face of public opinion.

“This is a welcome result because it shows that Nestle is not immune to public pressure,” said Phil Bloomer, a senior policy analyst.

A Deal With Mugabe

Striking dubious partnerships to make a profit seems to be a recurring theme. The Swiss multinational made a deal with the wife of the infamous dictator from Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe, buying 1 million liters of milk a year from a farm seized from its rightful owners by Grace Mugabe

Grace has taken over at least six of Zimbabwe’s most valuable white-owned farms since 2002, building a farming empire from illegally confiscated farms, which led to an international boycott, as well as EU and US sanctions. She is known for her ridiculously lavish lifestyle, which includes overseeing the construction of two luxuriant castles. In 2014, she was given a doctorate diploma only three months after signing up for the program. Nestle went forward with the deal though, even as the country’s agriculture-based economy was collapsing and inflation was reaching unheard of levels.

Price Fixing

In Canada, the Competition Bureau raided the offices of Nestlé Canada (along with those of Hershey Canada Inc. and Mars Canada Inc) in an investigation on price fixing. Nestlé and the other companies were subject to class-action lawsuits and ultimately settled for $9 million, without actually admitting liability. Furthermore, former president and chief executive officer of Nestle Canada is facing criminal charges.

In the US, another, larger trial was rejected, because even though it was plausible that the same thing happened in the US, there was no clear evidence of any foul play. The suspicion remained however and still lingers with the company.

Promoting Unhealthy Food and Mislabeling

That Nestle is promoting unhealthy food should come as no surprise, but the level at which they operate it is simply staggering. A recent report by the UK Consumers Association claims that 7 out of the 15 breakfast cereals with the highest levels of sugar, fat, and salt were Nestle products.

“Nestlé claims to be ‘the world’s leading nutrition, health, and wellness company’, but when it comes to food marketing to kids, Nestlé is a laggard, not a leader,” said CSPI nutrition policy director Margo G. Wootan.

Nestle dismissed all responsibility in promoting healthy food. To pour even more salt in the foods wound, mister Brabeck came out with a dismissive interview in the Telegraph, claiming that he is not obese yet ‘every morning I have a tablet of dark chocolate as my breakfast’ and that it is the perfect balance and contains everything he needs for the day. Hey, after all, who would actually think that Nestle’s cereals are healthy, right?

But while Nestle’s labels aren’t simply misleading, they have also been downright false. In November 2002, police ordered Nestle Colombia to decommission 200 tons of imported powdered milk, because they were falsely relabeled, not only as a different, local brand, but also with a different production date. A month later another 120 tons suffered the same fate, causing uproar among the Colombian population.

Nestle bringing old powdered milk from a different country and labeling as local and new is not only unethical and illegal, but it poses health hazards for consumers.

Right now, the company is faced with a Rs 640 crore ($94.6 million) class action lawsuit filed by the Indian government for Nestle’s “unfair trade practices, false labeling and misleading advertisements,” as reported by Reuters and cited by Legally India. This followed a ban in August 2015 (since lifted) against the company’s Maggi instant noodle products, after they were found to contain high levels of lead and mono sodium glutamate.

In 2012, the Fair Labor Association accused Nestlé of violating its own labor code, highlighting the fact that corporate responsibility pledges are toothless without third-party oversight. The stakes for the cocoa industry are high: Worldwide, the commodity is worth nearly $100 billion.

The company’s attitudes toward organized labor, especially in the developing world, are notorious in the labor community. Workers who attempt to organize at Nestlé facilities have been threatened with firing and have also been physically intimidated; in India, for example, Nestlé successfully won a court injunction to ban labor organizing activities near its facilities. Ultimately, workers fought and won, but it wasn’t the first time Nestlé had attempted to crack down on organized labor.

Nestlé, like other multinational firms, also has a history of locating production facilities in nations with lax labor laws. This allows the company to evade close scrutiny of its labor practices. With factories in locations like Colombia, North Korea, and China, Nestlé dodges some accountability—such as the more aggressive oversight seen in the United States, where employees enjoy many more legal protections.

Twitter users witnessed a fascinating and bitter fight between Greenpeace and Nestlé in 2010, when the environmental group went after Nestlé for the use of palm oil in its products, particularly Kit Kats. The ingredient is highly controversial due to issues like rainforest clear-cutting and habitat destruction for a number of animals, including orangutans. The group accused Nestlé of using suppliers known for clear-cutting for the purpose of palm oil harvesting without permits or government oversight.

The company agreed to seek “sustainable” sources for its palm oil and to implement better supply chain management. It pledged to fully address the issue by 2015—but without aggressive monitoring on the part of a neutral organization, it’s difficult to determine whether Nestlé is abiding by its own promises. The Union of Concerned Scientists also expresses concerns about the greenhouse gas emissions associated with palm oil production in Nestlé’s supply chain.

California is the latest victim of Nestlé’s highly profitable bottled water division, but it likely won’t be the last. At NPR in 2013, Thomas Andrew Gustafson explained why bottle water can’t be produced sustainably, but it hasn’t stopped Nestlé and other firms from getting involved in the multibillion dollar industry. The “water footprint” behind a single bottle can be as much as seven times higher than the actual content of the bottle, a chilling thought for environmental advocates.

In California, Nestlé bottles water in desert regions of the state that are already struggling with water shortages, and it refuses to disclose how much it processes at its facilities. In Wisconsin, the firm became involved in a protracted dispute over pristine water sources, while Nestlé has also made itself extremely unpopular in Oregon. Critics also accuse Nestlé of privatizing what should be a free public resource across the United States.

Reporting on the situation in California, David Dayen at Salon notes that Nestlé gets around water usage restrictions by pumping on reservations, which are not accountable to states because of their status as sovereign lands. The water table, however, adheres to no boundaries, and excessive pumping in one area devastates groundwater reserves in another. California’s aquifers are being too quickly drained to recharge themselves, leaving the state thirsty.

For a dramatic illustration of the effect of excessive groundwater usage, researchers suspect that some of the rise in our oceans’ sea level can be attributed to aquifer depletion. Water is flooding out so quickly that instead of returning to the ground, it’s running out to sea.

The longstanding Nestlé boycott, organized in an era when people had to pass information about civic actions along via telephone, letter campaigns, and other sometimes sluggish communications, illustrates how dedicated anti-Nestlé activists were 40 years ago. Today, the campaign demanding reform may be under #noNestle and scattered across the Internet, but it’s even stronger. Widespread horror over the company’s practices in California may prove to be a tipping point, especially for its bottled water arm.

As it turns out, there’s a reason to hate Nestlé for everyone—fun for the whole activist family, if you will. Nestle has shown, time and time again, that they have few ethics and little interest in a real social responsibility. From promoting their formula to uneducated African mothers to lying about production dates, to using water without a permit to dealing with ruthless dictators, putting GMO’s, high fructose corn syrup, and other carcinogens into our foods and hiding it – they have often gone the extra mile to make an extra profit – even when the extra mile meant hurting people, directly or indirectly.

Sources:

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GMO’s

GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. Most GMOs have been engineered to withstand the direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. However, new technologies are now being used to artificially develop other traits in plants, such as a resistance to browning in apples, and to create new organisms using synthetic biology. Despite biotech industry promises, there is no evidence that any of the GMOs currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.

Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In 61 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Increasingly, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.

Myth: GMOs Are Just an Extension of Natural Breeding Techniques

Many GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is just an extension of natural breeding methods, and just as safe. Nothing could be further from the truth — on both counts.

Genetic engineering is radically different from conventional breeding techniques used to improve a crop. For starters, it’s a laboratory-based technique allowing scientists to create a food that could never be created by nature. As explained by Robinson:

“Genetic engineering enables DNA to be transferred not only between different kinds of plants, but even between different kingdoms. You can take DNA from an insect, an animal, a virus or a bacterium, and insert it into the genome of a food crop plant.

This is actually a very imprecise process. The truth is that the genetic engineering process disrupts the genome (organization and function of genes) of the plant. As a result we found time and time again that there are unexpected effects on the plant that is genetically engineered.

They tell us that it’s exactly the same, except for the inserted gene that’s been deliberately put in…But this isn’t the case. The genome is very complex. It’s not like Lego; you can’t just take out one bit, put in another bit, and expect there to be no knock-on effects.”

Unintended and Unforeseeable Side Effects Abound

There have been many occasions where the GE crop has been unexpectedly toxic or allergenic when the non-GE crop had no such issues. The reality is that scientists really don’t know what they’re doing in terms of what side effects are produced by DNA tampering. The effects are very unpredictable.

Genetic engineers are just now starting to admit this. Ironically, many of the drawbacks of genetic engineering, including the fact that it’s imprecise, were not openly admitted until they came out with a new technique, called genome editing and using, for example, CRISPR technology, which is said to be far more precise than earlier methods.

Alas, even genome editing techniques such as CRISPR create off-target effects, according to Robinson. So we’re still far from knowing all there is to know about genetic manipulation.

Why CRISPR Technology Will Not Remove Concerns

While the use of CRISPR-cas 9 allows more precise genetic engineering in one respect, in that you can target a genetic alteration including foreign gene insertion to a specific area of the genome, the potential for unintended effects remain, for the simple fact that when you alter one or two genes in a genome the side effects ripple through the whole genome.

In addition, just as with conventional genetic engineering, genome editing involves using plant tissue culture (plant cells grown under laboratory conditions), which has a wide-scale DNA mutagenic (damaging) effect in its own right. This too can dramatically alter the function of multiple gene functions.

Thus the off-target effects of genome editing and plant tissue culture-induced mutations can combine to bring about alterations in plant biochemistry.

One or more new proteins could be created in the process, which could be toxic or allergenic, or you could change the biochemical pathways of a plant, making it less nutritious or more toxic.

“In addition, most genetically engineered plants are engineered to either express an insecticide or to tolerate being sprayed on by an herbicide (weedkiller).

That means you’ve got the potential toxic effects of the herbicide residues that are sprayed on the plant or of the insecticide that is engineered into the plant,” Robinson notes.

The risk of unintended consequences is so high that even if scientists restricted the genetic engineering to the alteration of just one or two host plant genes or the insertion of genes into a plant into the very same species, say from corn to corn, these problems still would not disappear. As Robinson explains:

“The important thing when you’re genetically engineering a plant is the new context of the gene that you’re putting in. Even if you were to take a gene out of apples and put it into apples, you don’t really know what that’s doing, because all of a sudden the gene is in a new context.”

GMO Creation Is a Cruel and Wasteful Enterprise

Genetic engineering is also a very wasteful process. You create an enormous number of plants that are deformed, infertile, or otherwise not viable, so there’s a lot of waste. When it comes to the creation of GE animals there’s also the moral aspect of creating so many non-viable life forms.

“One of the scientists who I’m in contact with happened to see some GE salmon that were created in the research and development phase. He said it was really shocking, because there were salmon that were green in color. There were salmon that had lumps all over their bodies. All these had to be thrown away… I think it’s a very cruel process, because you’re creating so many non-viable animals, and you have to dispose of them.”

Long-Term Safety Studies Are Sorely Lacking

“GMOs are proven safe,” is the oft-repeated refrain. But where is the actual evidence for this? And what’s the strength of that evidence? While few in number, longer-term animal feeding studies have been published over the past several years showing there’s definite cause for concern. Liver and kidney toxicity and immune reactions tend to be the most prevalent. Digestive system, inflammation and fertility problems have also been seen.

“I think we’re all concerned about the state of people’s immune systems these days. Obviously it is a huge concern. I think any substance you feed to a laboratory animal and get an immune response [from], you really have to ask more questions about it,” Robinson says.

A major part of the problem is that safety studies conducted for regulatory purposes to gain market approval for a GE product are too short to show the damage that could occur from life-long consumption of the GE food. Some independent studies looking at lifetime consumption of GMOs have found rather dramatic health effects, whereas the safety studies used to promote GE foods as safe have all been short-term.

As noted by Robinson, there seems to be an agreement among biotech scientists to not test GE foods longer than 90 days in rats, which is only about seven to nine years in human terms. That’s nothing when you consider the average lifespan is somewhere in the 70’s, and the current generation is fed GMO food from day one.

“Typically, even in industry tests for 90 days in a rat, you can see signs of liver and kidney toxicity, and immune responses… What happens is they just dismiss the findings. They say, ‘These are not biologically relevant findings. We don’t need to do longer testing.’ This is a really an unscientific, worrying phenomenon. We should be doing long-term testing and multigenerational testing as well with all GE foods to get to the bottom of what is going on.”

Making matters worse, carefully calculated barriers have been erected by the GE industry to prevent independent researchers from ever doing those kinds of studies in the first place. Anyone purchasing GE seeds must sign a contract that forbids them from supplying them to researchers who do research, and in most cases the companies refuse to provide seeds to independent researchers.

Myth: Hundreds of Millions of GMO Meals Served With No Adverse Effects

Another completely unscientific and dishonest claim used to justify the use of GMOs is that Americans have eaten hundreds of millions of GMO meals with no ill effects. But who’s actually checking? No one is assessing and keeping tabs of potential side effects. You can’t even make that connection since GE foods are not labeled.

Despite that lack of traceability, health statistics clearly show Americans have been getting increasingly sicker over the past few decades. Chronic diseases are definitely increasing, and children are increasingly coming down with diseases that in the past did not arise until much later in life. No one can say for sure that there’s a link to GMO consumption since they’re not labeled and therefore cannot be tracked, but you certainly cannot ignore the possibility of a link either.

In November 2012, the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology published a paper titled Long Term Toxicity of Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-Tolerant genetically modified maize by Gilles-Eric Seralini and his team of researchers at France’s Caen University. It was a very significant study that made a lot of noise worldwide, the first of its kind under controlled conditions that examined the possible effects of a GMO maize diet treated with Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide.

After the research was completed, it went through rigorous reviews, as well as a four month review process by scientists and researchers. It was eventually approved and published, only to be retracted by request of the Journal. Although hundreds of scientists around the world condemned the retraction, and the researchers addressed the criticisms, it was to no avail.

This major GMO study has now been republished following its controversial retraction (under strong commercial pressure), with even more up to date information and a response to previous criticisms. “We also show that the decision to retract cannot be rationalized on any discernible scientific or ethical grounds. Censorship of research into health risks undermines the value and the credibility of science, thus, we republish our paper.” – Seralini

Myth: Without GE Crops We Cannot Feed the World

Another common claim is that we need GMOs because without them we don’t stand a chance to feed our growing population. This is nothing but a flawed fantasy, and there are at least half a dozen truths that dispel it.

Part of the myth is that GE crops provide greater yield, but they don’t. There is no gene for high yield. The GMO genes inserted are for creating herbicide tolerance or to produce internal insecticide. There is no way of genetically engineering high yield into a crop as it is dependent on complex multi-gene interactions, which GE cannot deliver.

However, conventional breeding methods are helpful for increasing yield as they can introduce the required multi-gene families into the crop. So a high-yielding GE crop is simply a crop that has been conventionally bred to produce high yields. Then the genetic engineers inserted an herbicide-tolerant gene or an insect-resistant gene into that plant.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) even admits that yield is dependent on the background genetics of the crop; it is not dependent on the genetic engineering. In some cases the GE crop ends up yielding less than its non-GE equivalent.

That is certainly the case with GE soy, where there is what is known as a yield drag. It yields less than the non-GM soy. Exactly why is still unknown, but Robinson suggests it may be caused by the disruptive effect of the GE transformation process, or perhaps the GE plant’s energy is somehow used up in resisting herbicide, for example, and therefore has less energy left over for growth.

Soil Destruction Promotes Food Scarcity

GE plants — courtesy of the herbicides used — also destroy the microbial health of the soil. Ultimately, you need the microbes in the soil to nourish the plant, and it’s this symbiotic relationship that provides good yields.

From a long-term strategic perspective, destruction of topsoil is the greatest threat to the future of food, and if we continue in this way, people will starve no matter what GE plants they come up with. It’s a prescription for disaster. Once you implement regenerative agriculture you almost automatically create far greater yields, as these time-honored traditions nourish and build soil health.

“There’s some very good long-term research done at the Rodale Institute which shows that year upon year, the yields with organic systems can go up and up and up, because the soil fertility and health, including microbial life, is being built. Also, organics yield better in drought conditions, because there’s more organic matter in the soil, which acts like a sponge and it can hold water.

If we’re thinking about resilient agriculture that’s going to tide us through climate change and everything else the future can throw at us, it’s really all about agroecology, organic, and building soil. We certainly don’t want to be killing soil by putting glyphosate or other pesticides on it.

We do know that putting glyphosate herbicide on the soil actually ties up trace metal nutrients within the soil. It makes them less available to the plant and less available to us when we eat those plants,” Robinson says.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has also classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. Over 80 percent of GE plants are engineered to tolerate being heavily doused with glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup.

Worryingly, laboratory tests have shown that commercial formulations such as Roundup, which are complex mixtures of chemicals, are up to 1,000 times more toxic than glyphosate in isolation. Roundup gets incorporated into the entire plant and cannot be washed off, so when you eat those plants, you’re eating a general toxin and potential carcinogen.

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