Democracy is not a free lunch: Bill C-291 on GMO labelling

Bill C291 (Labelling of GMO)
What the people might do about it
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This was the bill, for mandatory labelling of GMO, that was hugely defeated in the Canadian parliament recently, because most of the conservatives and liberals voted against it, while all of NDP, Bloc Québécois and a handful of Liberals voted for it.

The full list of who voted which way, is available on Govt. web site, and I have downloaded it, converted it to pdf and uploaded it in my website for reference.

Idea is to check how our elected representatives voted and challenge them when they voted against it – and encourage other people to do the same, because of a simple require of our constitution – the MPs were NOT supposed to vote according to their feelings or bias, but were SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT THE WISHES OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS.

In short, if they were unsure of public sentiment, (and polls say an overwhelming percentage of the people wanted GMO labelling), they were supposed to open a channel of communication to assess feelings of the voters of their riding and then vote on the bill accordingly.

My Liberal MP neither checked with the people (I got no notification from her that she was at all interested in my view) and went and voted against the bill.

So, here is one more example of where Canadians might write to their MPs and demand on know what right they had to make unilateral decision without without checking views of the people they represent. According to my understanding of the Canadian constitution, these MPs had absolutely no right to make either an unilateral decision, or to go with the party boss, or to be influenced by industry.

However, it is still our (citizen’s) duty to make this work, and to either force a change in the behaviour of our MPs, or to see that they soon become unemployed politicians.

If the citizens are not ready to take back control of politics of this nation – the citizens do not deserve a functioning democracy.

I shall be writing to my MP, for sure. I shall also be sharing it with the people.

For those that wish to check the link vote list for Bio C-291 – click on the above picture.

Remember Canadians :

Democracy is NOT A FREE LUNCH. We have to earn it.

And while you are at it, you might copy your letter to the MP that sponsored this bill, Pierre-Luc Dusseault of Sherbrooke, Quebec at Pierre-Luc.Dusseault@parl.gc.ca

Glyphosate in food – the good, the bad and the ugly

Excerpts from the book – Poison Foods of North America.


The top five origins whose food samples were the most in number as tested by CFIA are: United States, Unknown, Canada, India and China.

The chart below gives one view of the average glyphosate content in foods from these five origins, calculated as the total glyphosate in all foods divided by the number of food samples that actually contained glyphosate, excluding the clean samples, for each region. This represents the average level of contamination among the contaminated samples. The averages for all samples is the basis by which contamination levels are calculated for the rest of the book. The median line represents sort of the average, but is weighted according to the number of samples. Since number of samples are the highest from the United States, ‘Unknown” and Canada, the median is more influenced by them than by India or China. If there were equal number of samples from all these regions and more so from other countries from the world, the median would have been much lower as an indication of world average. In the chart below, this dotted red line carries a value of 204 as a whole number.

The good the bad and the ugly (median)

Thus, the United States and ‘Unknown’ are seen as sort of average, not an ideal average though. Canada is rated as bad because of having levels of contamination in its food that is 50% worse than even the median. India and China, having much lower levels of contamination, are rated good.

The table/chart below is one way to explain how foods available in Canada that originated in Canada, Unknown, the United States, India and China compare between them, with regard to glyphosate contamination.

The table gives two sets of values for each region. the chart superimposed over the table presents the same two values for each region.

These two values are average level of glyphosate contamination for each region, but calculated in under two different criteria, using two different ratio.

The bottom line, in green represents the values in the second column from left, titled “overall ppb”. This means, all the readings of glyphosate from samples from the region that had any glyphosate, was added, and then divided by the total number of samples, including samples that had no glyphosate.

The upper line, in black, represents the last column from left, where the same total amount of glyphosate was divided by only the number of samples that had any glyphosate.

In other words, the bottom line shows average glyphosate for every sample of the region, irrespective of if they were clean samples or dirty samples, while the top line is the average glyphosate content for only those samples that did have some glyphosate.

These two lines would merge in cases where a region had no clean sample at all, and all the samples contained some glyphosate, or where 100% of the samples were contaminated.

Both of them give varied but statistically significant indication for a consumer, about foods from which countries that are available in Canada, contain how much glyphosate. Foods imported from China ranked fifth number of samples, and proves to be the best food with the least amount of glyphosate in them, in either representation.

This may not be what the people of China are eating, but this is how those varieties that are exported by them to Canada, compare with the rest.


Meanwhile I made a 3 minute video on who the book Poison Foods of North America is for.

Dirty dozen of US foods

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) had nearly 8,000 records of foods tested for presence of glyphosate, which I came to acquire a copy of after years of working on this issue with various levels of the Canadian Government going back some number of years, to the time when Mr. Harper was the Prime Minister. My interactions started with the issues that Canada at the time did not even have a lab that would test foods for glyphosate, which I considered to be an outrageous and unacceptable state of affair. Thankfully, within a year, labs started getting themselves accredited for testing foods for glyphosate, more or less concurrent with the time when World Health Organization classified glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen.

While this matter was kept outside of the media or Government outlets, i was fully aware of a scheme going on to test foods available in Canada, of both Canadian and imported kind, for glyphosate. This started my next level of effort with the Government to get my hands on the food test records. In between all this there has been letters, meetings, petitions and motions initiated by me and sent to Health Ministers spanning two governments, demanding disclosure on various aspects on glyphosate, from its approval for agriculture, to setting of MRLs, to its aerial use over forests, prairies and watersheds. Those details may not have a direct relation with this blog, but all these efforts and years of involvement brought me to where I was three months ago, sitting on a huge pile of test records on foods collection in Canada, and around a thousand and five hundred of those records involved foods originating in the United States, and a similar number for foods grown in Canada. India and China provided the most samples after USA and Canada.

All these records were scanned by me and converted to editable text and numbers using optical character recognition software, and error corrected. Finally, multiple giant spreadsheets were created to sort through the data for analysis. That prompted me to write and publish an online e-Book to alert the people. I named it “POISON FOODS OF NORTH AMERICA”.

The book is over 300 page long and has more than 300 tables, along with charts and images. Many of the tables give the actual raw data with regard to glyphosate content and description of the food sample, its origin etc.

Some of the findings were as expected while some are totally unexpected, and often shocking.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Canada and USA produce the most toxic foods on the planet, with regard to glyphosate contamination.
  2. Within North America, Canada produces foods with significantly higher levels of glyphosate.
  3. Within Canada, the west is where one can find more glyphosate contaminated foods than from other regions within Canada.
  4. Western Canada is ground zero, for finding nasty foods.
  5. Cleanest of food suppliers are Peru, Thailand, France, South Africa, Mexico, and China. China apparently exports cleaner foods than what locals consume inside China. For example, imported foods from China, averaging 3 ppb contamination, is 28 times cleaner than foods produced in the US, and over 45 times cleaner than foods produced in Canada.
  6. Foods imported from Mexico is 70 times cleaner than Canadian foods and over 40 times cleaner than foods originating in the United States.
  7. Conventional foods desiccated by glyphosate is far more contaminated than GM crops that are roundup ready.
  8. Out of the main cereals, rice is about the only one that is more or less without any glyphosate, except for some rice, rice flour or rice based products produced in Canada and the US.
  9. Lentils and chickpea (garbanzo) produced in North America, as well as foods made with these ingredients are highly contaminated with glyphosate.
  10. Although soy flour may contain high glyphosate, tofu made out of soy has none.
  11. Wheat bran produced in Canada has an average of around 2,500 ppb of glyphosate in every sample.

Foods from over sixty nations have been tested, but not all of them contributed large number of samples. However, a few nations did have high sample depth, USA is among them.

The table here was truncated from a long one, with each and every type of food that was recorded by CFIA to have come from the United States. Then, for now, all food types that hat had less than 10 samples were set aside.

Of the remaining samples, how many belonged to which food type was entered in the second column from left, against each food types. How many of that food type proved ‘negative’ or had to glyphosate, was checked. These two figures allowed calculations on what percentage of the samples were dirty (proved positive in glyphosate screening). Then all the glyphosate and AMPA values were added and then divided by the total number of samples for each food type, to get average ppb contamination level, which is shown in the last column.

Then the table was sorted by ppb values in descending order, and included as the first item within the subchapter of foods from the United States.

So this table is the dirty dozen of American foods.

We shall then proceed with looking at more details of some of the dirty dozen that have high glyphosate levels and high enough sample depth to provide a glimpse of what is happening with toxicity in US grown foods.

The top two items in the second table above are in violation of the MRL (Maximum residue Limit) set by the Canadian Government. What is interesting to ponder, or perhaps correspond with the authorities about, is what happens with such violations are noted. Ideally, the product should be withdrawn. Public should be notified and warned not to buy or consume it. Those that already bought this item should be advised to return it to the store and get a refund. The producer should be prosecuted. The issue should be out on mainstream media for public awareness.

None of that, as far as I can remember happened or happens. I do not remember a single instance with I was aware of such foods being recalled or public warned.

So, are we to suppose that those MRLs which are themselves set arbitrarily without providing any proof of their authenticity, are also not being implemented? In our food safety mechanism we might have a reproduction of the “wild west”.

In the case of violations on foods imported, in this case from the US, should the US Government and public also not be notified? Is anybody from the US aware of this situation?

I use the term toxic and poisonous interchangeably to mean the same thing, and I deny the mainstream any right to control the meaning of the terms toxic or poisonous with regard to glyphosate.

As long as the public is denied independently verifiable proof that glyphosate in food is safe at any level, over the lifetime of animals consuming it even in low dose, to me, all talks of glyphosate being safe is worth little more than magic or voodoo.

Mainstream can continue to consider glyphosate as safe, and I shall continue to believe it is the most dangerous synthetic chemical to have entered our food system and threatens to undo the long term health of the human society as well as all flora and fauna of the land.

And thus, the table above is the opening section of the “dirty dozen” of US foods. We shall also have more such tables covering the remaining items in dirty dozens list from USA, Canada, Unknown, and some other countries.

The book is already online, but constantly being improved, proof read, new tables, charts, subjects and value added. All updates should be free for legal owners of previous copies. However, there is a catch. Apparently, free updates are decided on case by case basis by Amazon after receiving an application from the author. Standard guidelines provided by Amazon mentions that additional chapter and added pages do not qualify for free access to later versions of the book by folks that bought an earlier version. I did not know that till I started inquiring with Amazon. Now I am trying to impress upon them that this book is a reference and analysis of the most controvercial herbicide in our food system and there is no other book of this kind, covering data that is not available to anybody else at this point of time. And later versions cover critical data on foods form the US, a significant producer of foods that are contaminated with this herbicide. I hope to impress upon them to make a difference and allow free updates to owners of earlier copies.

Otherwise, I would suggest that potential readers might like to wait for about a weak or two before purchasing the book. For all these confusions, the price of the book is lowered temporarily by a few dollars. It will be back up to around $ 9.99 as soon as sections covering US foods and foods from China and India are completed. Target is by the first week of April, 2017.

The book can be found in Amazon, NAMED “Poison foods of North America”. Book cover, designed by me, is shown here with the link.

I also made a three minute video on the book, as shown below.

 

Lastly, this book is not designed to add to the debate on if glyphosate is safe and at what level. I have no interest to join any such debate. I am uninterested in the opinion of the glyphosate supporting industry and their supportive political and media outlets. I live in a free country and the meaning of any word or term such as toxic or poisonous, is not owned by the industry. The meaning is not even etched in stone and changes with times depending on perception by the people.

So, the mainstream can continue to harp that glyphosate is safe. I shall continue to believe it is dangerous and unsafe at any level of concentration, until proven otherwise by independent verification and the regime of secrecy around it has been dismantled.

So who is this book for? It is for those that have, like me, already decided that glyphosate is a seriously harmful molecule in their food web and they would rather find a way to avoid it right now. Those are the people this book is for.

The mainstream science, media, political class and the regulatory authority has lost public trust on this issue. This book is not aimed at influencing their opinion. This book is for the people – the rest of us.


Tainting the Cornucopia of North America

Dr. Vallianatos, retired US-EPA scientist and author of the book “Poison Spring” read and reviewed this book on Huffington Post. Link.

Poison Foods of Canada

I received over 7,800 records of foods tested by the Canadian Government on glyphosate contamination in foods.
I am writing an e-book on my analysis of the data, and am both shocked and outraged to find that Canadian food is the most poisonous in the entire planet, with US foods running second.

This book is not designed to weigh in on any debate on if glyphosate is safe or not, to be in food.

I have drawn a line in the sand, and decided that one part per billion glyphosate in my food is one part too much. I completely uninterested in what mainstream media or the corporate lobby or the politicians have to say about it, since they refuse to provide any proof that glyphosate in any level of concentration is safe.

This book is for people that already have reached similar decisions, and merely want a tool to navigate their way through the food web, in order to avoid food wit high glyphosate content and to pick out the better ones in hope of avoiding being poisoned by what they eat.

That is who the book is designed for.

Attached nine minute video explains the issue about the book, earmarked to be available by end March or first week of April 2017.

Glyphosate warning on black bean and chickpea flour

Black Bean Flour – a note of caution

Some of these charts will end up in the book, though values might change a bit as more of the records are transcribed.

The large volume of tests on foods of “unknown” origin is becoming vexing. I suspect these are mostly local food, both for the sheer number of samples and also similarity of items and readings with Canada.

So, here I clubbed them together under the name Canada+.

The earlier pie chart was about flour made from black beans. It was made with only US samples in it, since there were very few samples from other countries while a lot were from USA alone. It showed only 9% of all black bean flour from USA was glyphosate free, and 91% had some of it.

And now we have here another chart, a column chart, and covers two countries – USA and Canada+, about the same black beans, but sold as is and not as flour. Total sample number was large, around a hundred between the two nations. Canada+ had about twice as many as US samples which sounded right, for samples being collected in Canada.

The data to be converted into visual charts were not the actual readings per se, but the percentage occurrence of event counts, when glyphosate tests satisfied one of the conditions. The conditions were 1) when a measurable amount of glyphosate was detected, 2) when presence of glyphosate was detected but amount could not be measured and 3) when no presence of glyphosate could be detected. These percentage values of the event counts were tabulated for two regions : USA and Canada+. The chart was then made of the figures, to show how much percentage of black beans from each regions was clean and without glyphosate, and how much was dirty.

In the chart, the bottom section was for the measurable percent, label starting with “>0”. This section represents the high value section, where glyphosate content is too high. This chart assumes no glyphosate is good glyphosate and that there is no safe limit.

The next section was called +ve where result proved positive, or glyphosate was detected, but could not be measured. The last, top most category was -ve or negative, representing percentage of sample that had no detectable glyphosate.

As the chart shows – American readings are better for unprocessed black beans. But even here, more than half of the samples had some glyphosate.

For Canada+ the figures were much worse. Seven out of eight samples would contain glyphosate. In my view Canada becomes a highly toxic source, probably the worst one in the world, with regard to glyphosate contamination in black beans, and USA is next in line. I would not buy black beans from either country unless it is organic, and if I cannot find organic or cannot afford it, I shall not eat black beans. As to other nations, I have not seen much test records from them yet, so cannot comment.

The green tick mark and the red cross marks were added for visual guide and clarity, and to drive the point home.

As Anthony Samsel tells me – a picture is worth a thousand words, and I have already type over 500 words to explain it !!

Chickpea story
I prepared another chart about chickpea flour, and was aiming to pen a small and sad story on this looming tragedy.

This is a major primary food source for people of India, primarily many of the of low wage day labourers of India. They take a fistful of chickpea flour, add a spoonful of water, knead it into a thickish paste, add perhaps a sliver of onion, a touch of salt and a few specs of crushed dried red chilli, and roll it in their palms to turn it into a ball, about the size of a tennis ball – and that is their morning brunch with a glass of water – before going to work. As a child, and also as an adult in more recent years, I have often watched them preparing this meal, sitting on a mat on the ground.
Since the word(s) chick pea, chickpea and garbanzo are often intermixed in the records and both chickpea and garbanzo mentioned in the same product description at times, I combined the chickpea with the garbanzo, for this story. Also, a huge number of samples are marked as of “unknown” origin, which I suspect are all local (Canadian), so I joined them with Canada’s own chickpea flour and called it Canada+.
Dropping a few countries with only one or two samples, I had India with 10, Canada+ with 64 and USA with 9. And I made this chart, based on percentages of >0 (high presence), +ve (positive glyphosate presence) and -ve (negative or no detectable presence).
It turns out, percentages of clean chickpea flour (with no detectable glyphosate) are:
India : 40%
Canada+ : 17%
USA : zero

So, flours made from black bean and chickpea/garbanzo, originating from three countries with reasonable sample numbers are suspect, of which North American samples are arguably much worse than the Indian one, but India too is catching up, with less than half its flour remaining uncontaminated. Also, since the CFIA data does not give brand name or more pinpointed source of their samples, there is no realistic way for a consumer to separate the clean chickpea flour made in Canada or imported from India, from the dirty lot. So buying chickpea flour from these countries become a slow motion game of Russian roulette.

This is a developing tragedy of global implication. And no matter what the government or the industry claims, there are no safe levels of glyphosate. Add to that the fact that hiding safety test documents on glyphosate while allowing its  use, may be legally indefensible.

Tony Mitra.

Glyphosate in corn

Corn has been conspicuous in the CFIA not by its absence, but by absence of glyphosate from it. We understand most of the corn grown on industrial scale in north America as well as elsewhere may be RoundUp ready and laced with glyphosate. And yet, it shows up with relatively low concentration in comparison with some other crops such as say wheat or chick pea.

Corn story, on around 6,000 CFIA test records

While the reason for this deserves to be investigated separately, the CFIA readings as they stand, can also throw light on country specific data as well as data on which kinds of corn based food shows up with how much glyphosate. The table here is based on country profile from some 250 odd tests done on corn based foods out of about 6,000 total tests from CFIA.

The largest block among countries is, again, unknown. I suspect most of these to be of Canadian origin. Anyhow, the general average glyphosate and AMPA count per sample of corn based food tested by CFIA that originated from Canada or “Unknown” are 3. The country at the top of the list is USA, followed by Italy and Mexico.

USA
For USA, glyphosate starts showing up in some corn starch, and a lot of corn based pre-cooked meal, also often described as called cornmeal in one word.

Italy
In the case of Italy, there are many samples of corn based food with no glyphosate. However, their average seems to have been spoiled by a few cases of food items identified as San Zenone Organic Corn pasta, which show over a hundred ppb. So, in the case of this particular food description, even organic is contaminated. Many other kinds of corn based organic and conventional pasta, such as Penne Rigate, gluten free organic corn pasta – are without glyphosate. However, some but not all of the same Penne Rigate, but without the “organic” in it, has glyphosate.

Mexico
Mexico had a near perfect reading of zero glyphosate in foods originating from there. But it has been spoiled by some corn based foods such as taco shells, tortilla and corn chips.

Canada + Unknown
Among corn based foods from “unknown” and Canada,  tortilla, chips, corn flakes and corn bran are among the culprits, having detectable amounts of glyphosate.

Thailand, Philippines & China
Although the sample base is smaller, corn based foods from these countries as tested by CFIA appear to contain no measurable glyphosate or AMPA at all. Out of these, China’s story could be controversial since it is a heavy producer and consumer of glyphosate laced food. We are told that China also grows smaller quantities of organic food and is very careful in ensuring that only organic stuff is exported so that their market and reputation is not spoilt.

Glyphosate Screen Positive
Apart from all above, a large number of glyphosate screen test shows positive (as against negative) for many food types and that includes corn. Most of the positive results come from samples originating from the US, with much lesser numbers from other nations.

You can check a short pdf list of Glyphosate Screen positive items on a related issue – flours made from beans, by clicking here. It also shows the high prevalence of such samples originating from the United States.

Thats it for now.

Some CFIA results need more scrutiny

Data transcribed from the original CFIA records often shed light on items of great concern, either by their presence or their absence

Food items that are getting more worrisome by their absence from the CFIA test records so far received, and that includes over 7,800 records, are bread, sugar, and cooking oils including Canola.

And then there are food items that are included in the CFIA records, but show test results that are surprising, and points to the need for further investigation.

Above table refers.

Wheat
First item is wheat. As it happens, wheat did not show up in the first couple of thousand test records which are sort of listed chronologically, with the first records being the first batch of samples tested, back in 2015, and the last batches were the most recent tests, going to the end of 2016.

Considering the fact that wheat was mostly being desiccated by glyphosate prior harvest, and therefore is one grain that is expected to have high concentration of the molecule, I was highly surprised by not finding wheat as I began transcribing the data.

However, a few thousand records down the line, wheat started appearing, and in really large number. As expected, glyphosate was present and in much higher concentration than in many other food grains, and especially in comparison with rice.

However, not all foods are clearly marked with the cereal or grain that it is made of. Examples are cookies, biscuits, cake, pasta, pizza and the like. So it became necessary to create additional fields or columns, to describe some of the ingredients the food was made of, in order to properly indicate the probable source of the contamination, if there was glyphosate found in it. Also, the same food was described differently in different samples, including using native non-english names, which had to be translated in these additional columns for clarity and proper grouping.

And so, while glyphosate readings were high based on average, there was now a further need to look through the pile and separate out some primary groups to see which one was too high while another might be low, so that readers and consumers might be able to figure out, even within the Wheat group, which kinds are having more glyphosate than others.

And with the huge test numbers, going over a thousand, there is room for a lot of scrutiny here.

Chick pea and garbanzo beans.
These have been a major surprise as some of their glyphosate readings are through the roof. The table above does not include all the chickpea and most of the garbanzo beans, which are similar to chick pea and at times their names have been interchanged in the product description. In other samples both the terms have been used on the same item.

I came to know from different sources in USA and Canada about the practice of desiccating chickpea and garbanzo crops in USA as well as in Canada is the likely cause of the test results.

This item is linked with a wider group of legumes that fall under the category of lentils. India is a heavy consumer and a large producer of lentils. But its domestic demand is reportedly outstripping its production and India is looking to import more lentils. This may be part of the the reason for industrial scale production of the crops in North America, where the crop is desiccated by glyphosate. According to some scientists, if glyphosate is applied for desiccation, the only real active sink for this systemic chemical to go would be to the seed! Some of the scientists are consulted by farming groups in USA and I am told they would like to pass it on these CFIA findings to the growers for their attention.

Other beans with higher readings
Some of the other beans that will be subjected to greater scrutiny are kidney beans, Mung and white beans. Some have high sampling and test numbers with relatively higher ppb readings, while others have smaller sampling and even higher readings. The main thrust would be to see if one can distinguish these crops from one country to another, and if produce from one place is better than those from another, with regard to glyphosate poisoning. As of now, it looks like certified organic is the only sure way of avoiding much of the glyphosate in this group.

Soy Bean and Corn
This two groups are going to be put to some more scrutiny mainly because their readings are so low. We know of RoundUp ready soy being grown in massive scale in North America, Argentina, Brazil etc. We know of it being used in all kinds of human and animal food, from soy milk to tofu to cattle feed. And yet, the soy based items tested by CFIA is perplexingly devoid of glyphosate. This needs to be investigated. Was the sampling done  selectively, or could the method used for detection be faulty and give rise to false negatives and reduced indication of its presence so that it appears to be safe?

We have learned that once glyphosate gets mis-incorporated into animal proteins, it does not show up in spectrograms in its usual place and this can lead to false negatives and erroneous results. We are also learning that the traditional method of using acidulated methanol as a pre-test preparatory procedure is not useful for preparing a sample for testing glyphosate, because while methanol opens up the proteins and releases its glyphosate, that glyphosate reacts with methanol to form compounds that again evade detection, no matter what kind of detection method is applied, i.e. chromatography or ELISA.

I learned that if better methods are used to release glyphosate from these protein compounds, such as proteolysis, then there has been cases of 60 to 120 fold increase in detection of glyphosate.

If that argument is true for animal proteins, could they also be true for plant proteins, especially with regard to soy and corn ? These are areas that I would like to be further educated by scientists.

Also, some of my future correspondence with the Canadian Government might including finding out what methods the labs used for detection of glyphosate in proteins.

Just like Soy Beans, we also know about RoundUp ready Corn and corn being the base ingredient in a very wide range of foods. CFIA has several hundred tests done on hundreds of corn based foods and yet, the average reading is very low.

This is puzzling and needs more scrutiny.

These are preliminary indication of work to do, as far as information can be gathered, on these issues.

Comments welcome.

Wheat bran the most toxic of all American foods?

A shocking revelation

I found the glyphosate in wheat bran, as tested by CFIA, is a shocking story that deserves a section of its own. By “American” in the title, I meant north American which includes Canada. Mexico is out of this comment because Mexico makes so clean foods, as CFIA records show, that it does not belong in the Canada-USA grouping of America.

For the first 3,000 or so records from the CFIA, there was no wheat or wheat byproducts such as flour or bread. This was causing me both frustration and alarm, since most of us were very aware that conventional wheat was being  desiccated by glyphosate (RoundUp herbicide) just before harvest.

Bran, according to Wikipedia, is also known as miller’s bran, is the hard outer layers of cereal grain. It consists of the combined aleurone and pericarp. Therefore, wheat bran is essentially the outer hard layer of wheat kernel.

When wheat is processed to produce flour, this layer becomes a byproduct, and is called bran. In the case of processing wheat to make wheat flour, one gets miller’s or wheat bran. It is supposed to be packed with nutrition, and may offer many dietary benefits.

Wheat bran is commonly found in certain cereals, like Raisin Bran or Bran Flakes, as well as bran muffins, which rose to popularity in the 1980s. Wheat bran is beneficial toward providing digestive regularity and ending constipation because it is very high in dietary fiber. Some also claim that foods containing bran provide a feeling of fullness. This claim may be true, since it tends to absorb water and expand in the digestive system.

Wikipedia

The nutritional benefits of wheat bran are perhaps undisputed. For a time, it was even being touted that it might fight cancer. However, a cup (58 g) of wheat bran does offer significant nutritional pluses. One cup of this product in milk was supposed to contain 99% of the US recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fibre, nine grams of protein, and 34% of the RDA for iron. It was also known to be somewhat high in protein, various minerals and vitamin B6, also low in fat, with little cholesterol, or sugar. A magic food.

Wheat Bran is not a safe food! Not any more.

What happened in North America in the recent years, may have a very far reaching and devastating effect on tis product, by way of massive glyphosate contamination.This has likely not yet fully filtered down to the population, nor its implication sufficiently understood.

Why wheat product was not being tested in the first year of CFIA’s drive to test a wide spectrum of foods available to Canadians is a question only CFIA and the Government of Canada can answer. However, I am happy to find wheat beginning to appear in small samples tested in the second year of CFIA’s efforts, from around the summer of 2016. And the results appear to be shocking.

The table above refers. It has only a few of the most recent wheat bran items transcribed and not the entire lot. But all of them show bad readings and I shall be reporting on them all when I am done transcribing all the data. But these few figures are a good example of what the matter is with wheat in general and wheat bran in particular.

Most of these samples showed up with high measurable amounts of glyphosate and its first metabolite AMPA which is equally nasty. These two figures have been added up in this table to show a combined concentration of glyphosate and AMPA for each sample of wheat bran. Usually the readings show very high levels of glyphosate accompanied by a very small number for AMPA.

We know wheat is heavily desiccated with glyphosate. Now, I wonder if most that that glyphosate, applied just before harvesting, actually accumulates into the wheat bran? Could it be that wheat bran is the primary depository for glyphosate and AMPA? If that is true for wheat, could it also be true for all other grains that are desiccated with glyphosate and what have an identifiable “bran” ?

Guess I shall be looking for these answers elsewhere, to keep me busy.

Meanwhile the table above answers many questions and raises just as many more puzzles and questions. For example, there are wheat bran samples with over 4,000 ppb GLY+AMPA count that are of “unknown” origin. This “unknown” category has been a major irritant for me. I suspect that most of these unmarked food grains are of local (Canadian) grown or from USA. Since both USA and Canada try to protect their own agricultural produce from undue free competition from others, usually transportation of wheat across the border is not permitted by either country, since each of them produce the crop and want to protect its market. That is one reason I suspect most of the “unknown” foods are Canadian, unless the type is something that cannot not grow or is not cultivated in Canada.

Next, most of these samples with high glyphosate content is without any kind of identification mark, such as brand name of the product, or where it was grown or which store or farmer it was collected from. Therefore, it gets nearly impossible for an average consumer to figure out what to buy and what to avoid. This absence of clear identification of a potentially poisonous food item makes the entire class – i.e. wheat bran, a poison pill for me and I am going to avoid it like the plague.

This also proves that there is perhaps a need for grassroots people’s movement to get their local municipalities to start testing a few food items grown locally and sold in local stores, for glyphosate content, every month and making all results public, including brand names and source of the sample. Folks should insist, for example, that the first few food items their municipality tests in the first month should be wheat products such as wheat grains, wheat bran, and bread, that are available in local food stores, and make all results public. Those interested might check a related petition and effort at a movement on this front.

Then there is the question of allowable minimum residue limit (MRL) for glyphosate in wheat bran. From the above table, and going back to the raw data, it gets quite obvious that 4,610 ppb of glyphosate or 28 ppb AMPA is not a violation, but 6630 ppb of glyphosate and 159 ppb of AMPA is a violation. Therefore, the existing MRL lies between 4610 and 6630 ppb for glyphosate in wheat bran, and between 28 and 159 ppb of AMPA in wheat bran.

This observation raises even more questions. First, why is the MRL so low in AMPA and so high in glyphosate? Does the Government have proof that somehow glyphosate is a lot less harmful to us than its first degrading compound, AMPA? From what I hear, there is no evidence that glyphosate is a lot safer in comparison with AMPA and there may not be any provable justification for glyphosate’s MRL to be so much higher than AMPA’s.

Or could it be that the allowable MRL is neither specific to glyphosate nor to AMPA, but the total of both, as is actually shown on the above table? I need to find these answers.

As it is, Health Canada has till date not disclosed the safety test data and documents based on which it is supposed to have approved the use of Glyphosate in Canadian agriculture. My understanding of the law is that it may be illegal to release a product, such as glyphosate, for use in Canada, without disclosing its safety test report and raw data.

I have multiple petitions and ongoing struggles with the Canadian government, spanning two administrations, Harper’s and Trudeau’s, for Health Canada to make public all safety test records and data based on which it approved glyphosate’s use. The government does not deny one’s right to see such document, and yet keep dragging its feet on it. It has been dragging feet for thirty years and counting.
Petition 1
Petition 2 : e-413

Meanwhile, multiple “Access To Information” appeals to various wings of the government for disclosure or records of our foods tested for glyphosate has finally resulted in some success, in me getting over 7,000 records of foods tested by CFIA since 2015. I have so far transcribed only about half of it, and am still checking for errors and typo etc. I intend to publish an e-book of my findings and concerns regarding glyphosate in our food, for which the initial work has started.

Going back to the table above, what happens when the result is found to be in violation? Common sense tells me the product should be taken off the shelves and banned. Also, the public should be notified about it so they can avoid buying it, or return what they already have bought, and claim a refund. Also, folks that have already consumed some of it, should be advised what they need to look out for medically and how to detoxify themselves.

Anybody remembers such as incidence and a warning on wheat bran’s glyphosate content being too high?

There is another issue here. I can see that the allowable MRL is not fixed for all foods. It is argued that the MRL for foods were a lot lower a decade or two ago, and are being constantly raised. Based on what evidence? Has the public been shown this evidence?

The suspicion is, the MRLs are being raised simply because existing limits have already been crossed, so the safe limits are being raised above whatever the current levels turn out to be, so that all foods are still declared safe – never mind the proof and never mind showing such proof to the people.

Once my work in transcribing all the data is done, and I have listed out my range of unanswered questions, I shall be taking these up with the Canadian Government agin. it is a never ending process and highly frustrating since the Government attempts to hide rather than be transparent, o food safety issues, in my experience.

This blog is a kind of space holder for some of the emerging information. I am now convinced, that I myself shall avoid any food that has wheat bran mentioned, like the plague, unless it is certified organic and unless I find CFIA test results of Canadian or US produced wheat bran that is certified organic.

Comments welcome.

Tale of two lentils – Canadian and Indian

Hello folks.

Today I bring to you another fifteen minutes of rant – me talking to myself in a video, about glyphosate poisoning of food, as in north America, specifically from a Canadian’s perspective.

We are supposed to have monthly brainstorming meetings, to appraise each other of what is going on, and to get folk’s opinion on what to do about it all. Each brings his or her own perspective and view point, and we search for a path out of this topic jungle.

The first of these meetings has not yet happened, as Richard Miller is organizing it. Meanwhile, I could not wait and had to come out with his blog and a fifteen minute video – about lentil, as produced in two countries – Canada and India.

This blog and update is prepared after going through the first 3,000 records entered by CFIA, covering almost whole of year 2015. It also reflects my frustration and bafflement as well as the difficulty in dealing with different entries of similar foods using different names or spellings, which makes it harder for the software to analyze the data. There is a famous saying about computerization – garbage in, garbage out. So I had to consider creating an extra column to the side and re-entering some of the sample identifications using more descriptive and standardized terms, which the computer can then pick up and analyze or compare. But doing that for thousands of records is backbreaking, tiring and frustrating.

Frustration also from the fact that I have not found a single regular wheat item or its derivatives such as flour or bread, in the first 3,000 records. I am extremely puzzled and frustrated about it.

But, in absence of any wheat item in the first 3,000 records, the next major food groups turns out to be rice and lentils. Rice turns out to be reasonably clean of glyphosate, though even here, Canadian Rice fair poorly against most others.

But this blog and video is about lentils, which has reasonably high glyphosate content, especially if it is grown in Canada. Samples from United States has not been considered for this graph and video. Perhaps it will be included for comparative study later on. Also, a large group of food samples that contain lentils are marked “unknown”. I might analyze them as described, i.e. “unknown”, which may not be too helpful, but I cannot help that. I suspect most of the unknown samples are of Canadian origin, but cannot prove it.

Readers may have to reach a decision on them by themselves, for now.

Anyhow, the tale of two lentils is as follows:
Canadian lentils have almost 90% samples containing glyphosate, and average content is 282 ppb.
Indian lentils have 40% samples with glyphosate, and average level is 25 ppb.

Tale of two lentils

Demonetization – another set of views received from India.

Prime Minister Modi

I asked three persons in India to give their view of what is going on.. and the response has been varied. One person is a mom and pop kind of businessman in a small town. The other is a media person. The third is a young educated entrepreneur engaged in organic type chemical free farming in rural are and also working with a some local farmers trying to wean them away from chemicals and patented seeds, in a small way.

One of them thought the ruling party did it to win a local election in a populous state, which is now due, among other things. Although a harassment, and likely to cause a sort of recession temporarily in the economy, he did not think this was going to greatly hurt India.. just another example of the rich and powerful politicians doing stupid things.

The newspaper guy thought this is pushed mostly by a foreign investor-banking cabal trying to get their hands on all the small wealth belonging to rural india, etc. In this, he was perhaps pushing the general view from news media, criticizing Modi for some hidden agenda.

But the third person had a different view, and appeared to be have enough details observed, to present a non-mainstream opinion about it all. This is the view that impressed me most, because of the details her had observed, or heard from folks.

Apparently, a large swath of the commercial media is against Modi’s demonetization. However, just like the mainstream media in the west misread ground sentiment about Trump, especially in rural USA, apparently the media is misreading ground sentiment in rural India and even in urban India, about the demonetization effort.

Yes, there are long lines of folks trying to change their money. However, there has not been a single riot in protest, in a country where riots happen at the drop of a hat, and are kept out of media as far as possible. Here, some of the media has been caught on cell phone camera urging folks to show their disappointment in more forceful manner, and asking why they are not angry and protesting it etc – and in almost all cases, the people in the line have shooed these media people away.

In other words, much of the media, not all, are carrying their own agenda. Therefore a similarity with the western neoliberal Hillary-Obama-Warmongering support while pretending to be pro-poor pro-immigrant etc – is interesting.

The main reason people are generally supporting it, is their hope/belief that this will take away that part of the black money in circulation, which promotes and supports the never-ending cycle of corruption through bribery in their daily life. Partially educated common men believe, and perhaps with justification, that this babugiri (bureaucratic corruption) and demand for bribe at every walk of life is the main reason India has not been able to shake off its shackle of poverty and misery in three generation of independence.

This is why a policeman, who pays several lakh or even crore rupee to get a job as a policeman, by borrowing it, a bribe that ended up in the big boss or even the local politician’s pocket, has to be utterly corrupt as a policeman to be able to pay back in his working life. This is just one example of how bribery is affecting every aspect of society. It is this reason why majority of folks facing harassment due cash crunch right now, are still supporting it.

Some small store-wallah are lamenting that their business this month will suffer at least a 20% slow down, and yet are supporting the idea for the hope that bribery will reduce if not be eradicated.

Most of these folks know that taking out some of the black money from the heartland is just one step – many many more need to be taken to eradicate this problem – and it remains to be seen if Modi is up to it, or is in bed with the mega industrialists and avoids going after them for theft of national assets, where proof is available, or where proof is being hidden due to the very corruption we are talking about.

Some of the folks most affected by this sudden demonetization, apart from the hassle the common man faces now to get their old currency deposited and / or converted are:

  • Politicians in general
  • Underground money transfer (hawala) dealers
  • Real estate mafia
  • Dealer of counterfeit currency
  • Terrorist organizations that use this fake money
  • Illegal betting on sports
  • Privatized schools/colleges that demand huge bribes to admit students
  • Fake charity funds and Ponzi schemes.
  • Rich agricultural land owners
  • Film Industry

Common man on the street largely believe, whether true or not, that Modi did not discuss this plan even within his own party of elected MPs, and that is how many of his own party folks are caught wrong footed. He is “believed” to have kept this close to his heart, with a handful of people.

Most of them believe that the media should stop witch hunting Modi on this issue and wait to see what happens, and do some more in depth investigation, especially trying to judge the feelings of the people in the heartland instead of using their own beliefs and passing them as news.

There is apparently a new kind of money laundering going on – the rich are giving 50,000 to each poor villager, to go to bank and deposit, which would escape taxation. Then, when things have settled down, they can keep 10,000 and return the remaining 40K to the rich guy. Officials are finding it nearly impossible to curtail this kind of laundering, but are keeping a tab, where possible.

Also, there are some corners of India which is near tax free due to be backward regions etc etc. North East India has some such pockets, where people can deposit large sumps of money at the bank and convert them in due course to smaller denominations or new currency notes without tax department wanting to apply tax on it. As a result, some charter planes from rich corners of India have been caught, carrying plane load of cash to these regions, for laundering. The travel records of these planes seem to reveal that there already have been dozens of such delivery flights already concluded.

So there is a lot going on that is not reported in the media.

Lastly, the long lines apparently are coming to an end.

This is what I so far learned, apart from what the general media comes out with.

Now, appreciate discussion on it. I would not like being hounded out and my own character being questioned by Facebook liberals for daring to present another view of this critical issue.

Modi may not be pure as driven snow – but there are some in India that are not comparing him with Hitler, but instead comparing him with Lee Kuan Yew’s thirty year battle to clean up corruption from Singapore society, even if his methods were heavy handed.

I’d wait for a bit to see how the chips fall, and if this is indeed an anti-people anti-poor policy to help big banks profit out of little guys earnings, or if it is an effort to restrict runaway corruption in daily life by unscrupulous middle men, or if this is a mixed bag.