Monday, April 20, 2009

GMOs and JEWS ... Muslims, Christians, Hindus by Linn Cohen-Cole

Linn is an American grandmother who keeps late hours working night into day to educate us lot by her research on GMOs, corporations taking over our entire food systems and about small and family farms in the USA. The intense support she provide to groups supporting ecological farmers and farming is a refreshing awakening call to consumers.

Linn is the most inspiring agent of change.

Thought provoking research as always from a dedicated Linn. Can't thank her enough.

Sangita Sharma

GMOs violate fundamental religious principles across all four major world religions:


What does Kosher even mean if there is human DNA in rice?

[T]hese age-old laws continue to have a significant impact on the way many observant Jews go about their daily lives. One of the more well-known restrictions is the injunction against mixing meat with dairy products. Not only do most Jews who observe kashrut avoid eating any meat and milk products together, many also wait a certain amount of time-30 minutes to a few hours-between eating meat and dairy. Everything the foods touch must be kept completely separate. A fully kosher household, for example, might have two or more different sets of flatware, tableware and cooking ware for making and serving meat dishes separate from dairy-based dishes. ...Outside the house, some Jews keep kosher by eating only at kosher restaurants....

Rice pudding - a sweet concoction of milk and human DNA - becomes a profound religious violation.

And how does one organize a kosher kitchen to keep milk and "meat" from touching the same utensils when 70% of food in the grocery now contain GMOs? Corn and soy, the two major US crops, are the bases of our processed food diet, yet are genetically contaminated with Bt, a bacteria. Bacteria is animal, not vegetable. Must one get down to DNA to sort things out in a kosher kitchen?

Corn engineered with human genes (Dow)
Sugarcane engineered with human genes (Hawaii Agriculture Research Center)
Corn engineered with jellyfish genes (Stanford University)
Rice engineered with human genes (Applied Phytologics)
Corn engineered with hepatitis virus genes (Prodigene)

And how would one do that?

Or must observant Jews simply accept Monsanto (and others) has made a mockery of Jewish dietary laws, making them not only impossible but subjecting Jews to the nightmare of keeping milk separate from ... human DNA?

Lubavitch Rabbi Yossi Serebryanski ..., a kosher supervisor ... said he has "stopped eating tomatoes and only eats potatoes he knows are organic. ... he fears that genes from non-kosher foods, such as pigs or insects, could be implanted in vegetables and Jews may unwittingly break kosher laws by eating them."... One Jewish man has even sued the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) for failing to require labeling of products containing genetically modified foods, on the grounds that because of the laws of kilayim , his religious freedoms as a Jew are being violated if he cannot distinguish between GMO foods and non-GMO foods.


Muslims are already studying dietary religious issues with GMOs.

According to the Islamic Jurisprudence Council (IJC), foods derived from biotechnology-improved (GMO) crops are halal - fit for consumption by Muslims. Some scholars, though, have suggested that foods derived from biotechnology-improved crops could possibly become haram (non-halal) if they contain DNA from forbidden foods. For example, swine DNA in soy could make the soy product haram. This issue is still the subject of some debate among scholars and certifying organizations. Should a product be brought to market with a gene from a haram source, today it would at least be considered Mashbooh -- questionable -- if not outright haram.

What is considered a haram source?

(1) [A]nything that is harmful to the human body is Haram; (See the list of diseases above.)

(2) Four types of food are clearly Haram-carrion, blood, swine, and dog flesh, and anything immolated to anyone other than God. (Where would food from human DNA fall?)


"One cannot use with impunity the different categories of beings, whether living or inanimate – animals, plants, the natural elements – as one wishes, according to one's own economic needs." Pope John Paul II, 1987 Social Concern of the Church, # 34

"Common good: ... The ethic of the common good is recognized in the social teaching as a restraint on the operations of the free market. It raises questions such as: can seeds of life be patented or subjected to "terminator" processes if this endangers the common good? The Church's Social Teaching (CST) says no!

"Option for the poor:
CST emphasises ... political decisions governing policies in and between countries must ... be made on the basis of ... a priority question: what impact does this have on the poor...? ...

First, ... commercially promoted GMOs [are] based on an industrial model of agriculture [favoring] large farms ... at the expense of smaller family farms. ... The ancient tradition of saving seeds each year for replanting is abrogated. In Zambia, it threatens the continued existence of the small-scale farmers ....

"Secondly, the frequently advanced grounds for introducing GMO crops – that its supposed increase in productivity will lessen the problems of hunger – is open to direct challenge. ... It is clear that hunger is not primarily a matter of scarce food resources but of the economic structures ... and accessibility .... In short, hunger is directly related to poverty. ... "In Africa ... more than two thousand native ... plants ... have been feeding people for thousands of years, but most are receiving no scientific attention whatsoever ..."

[D]ecisions that can be made responsibly and effectively at the local level should not be taken by a higher level. The presumption is that those closer to the issues will have both the wisdom and the concern to make the best decisions. ... [T]his principle still has political and ethical value. Indeed, in the age of globalisation, it assumes a fundamental importance relating to ... national sovereignty.

"Zambia ... faced in 2002 ... a food shortage because of poor weather conditions. The President had to resist very strong international pressures, primarily ... from the USA, to introduce GMO crops before any adequate bio-safety policy was in place. After a thorough study ... – paid for by the USA – the President was ridiculed for accepting ... that study and maintaining ... the "precautionary principle."

This is the recognition of the interconnectedness -- ethical as well as empirical -- of personal and institutional activities that make up the social fabric of human existence. ... When economic activity undercuts community ... then solidarity is destroyed.

"This understanding of solidarity ... drives the ... papal concerns about ... globalisation. ...Zambia's resistance to GMOs is a classic example of ... forces of globalisation ... trivializ[ing] Zambian concerns and marginalize Zambian decisions. ... [E]xclusive ... non-solidarity-oriented globalisation [was] strongly criticised by the Vatican at WTO meeting in Cancun."


Food is the essence of life, from which things unfold. "Everything is centered in food, the evil deeds of man resort to their food."

"A love of nature and the importance of living a simple, natural life are the basis of Hinduism .... Like Buddhism, ... and other religions that promote a vegetarian lifestyle, the Hindu faith encompasses a number of health beliefs and dietary practices arising from the idea of living in harmony with nature and having ... respect for all of God's creations. ...

"Hindus believe ... food affects both body and mind. Food is ... a source of the body's chemistry, which affects one's consciousness and emotions. Thus, expression of the soul depends on the body, which depends on the food. A proper diet is considered vital for spiritual development in Hinduism. Hindus believe that for true service to God, purity of food is necessary to maintain the desirable state of mind that leads to enlightenment. Food is consumed not only to survive.... By eating a purer quality of food ... one can ensure a pure heart, long life, cheerful spirit, strength, health, happiness and delight. Good and pure food promotes a peaceful-not agitated-mind ... needed to see the Truth as the Truth.

In Hindu religion, there is a story of "parallel creation" engineered by Rishi Aagust, and how he was stopped ...from interfering in the existing Creation. Hinduism does not sanction human beings donning the mantle of spiritual authority, and this applies to the manipulation of species and their genetics.

"The [US] declared a war on Indian rice ... in the early 1960s when ... Dr M.S. Swaminathan, stole the gene bank of rice, evolved over decades by Dr Riccharia, and passed it over to the Americans. Activists say that Monsanto, operating through its Indian Joint Venture partners ...have committed crimes against humanity with the full connivance of [Indian] officials.

"India had 120,000 varieties of rice seeds; today, no more than 50 are available."

What does "vegetarian" even mean if rice has human DNA in it and brinjal (eggplant) has Bt spliced into its DNA?

In a country like India for which rice is not only a staple but possesses deep religious significance, this treatment of it defies the limits of outrage. And it was just such outrage over contamination through pig and cow fat (used in British cartridges) which triggered the massive rebellion in 1857 against the British.

When GMOs aren't being associated with a threat to fertility, or with diabetes, allergies, asthma,, cancers, and deaths, or with biosurfdom, if not outright destruction of farmers, or bribery, or takeover of universities, and land grant colleges, or removing democracy itself,,

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