Saturday, December 15, 2012

Here's a WONDERFUL Medical Research Site

I've always been a big fan of WEB MD, but am blown away by this site.  Here's a link to their Multiple Myeloma section.  From there, you can research many diseases and medications.  Where has this been all of my life?  *smiling*


How to Avoid Foods Made with Genetically Modified Organisms [GMOs]

Jump to Guide
By Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance On December 14, 2012 ·

Friday, December 14, 2012

On The Job With Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma occupational risk factors identified
(dailyRx News) Exposure to certain chemicals is thought to be a possible cause of a blood cancer called multiple myeloma. Researchers have honed in on this to see how occupation affects risks.

An international study discovered that people who had worked in certain occupations had higher risks of developing multiple myeloma. These included telegraph and radio operators and people who had worked in the farming, printing or cleaning industries.


Previous research has suggested MM risks may be linked to working with children, live animals, chemicals, dust, contact with meat and ionizing radiation.

Researchers found that certain occupations increased an individual’s risk of multiple myeloma compared to people who had not had that occupation. They found:

General farm workers had a 77 percent increased risk compared to non-farm workers.

If someone had been exposed to chemicals for more than 10 years, they had a 62 percent increased risk of developing multiple myeloma.

Telegraph and telephone operators had a six-fold increased risk.

Printers also had higher risks, though they weren’t considered significant.

Low education level was also associated with a 69 percent increased risk.

The average person's lifetime risk of being diagnosed with multiple myeloma is 1 in 159


Why Baby Carrots Are Killing You

What could I possibly have against these cute little “healthy” snacks that can be found in school lunchboxes across America? It’s back to school time and baby carrots are one snack to keep out of your child’s lunch.

It may shock you that baby carrots do not come out of the ground that way. There is no little baby carrot garden where these are harvested. Manufactured baby carrots are a result of taking all the broken and “ugly” big carrots they can’t put in the package, grinding them all up, processing them into the “baby” carrots and giving them a bath in chlorine to give them a bright happy orange color. There are also “Cut & Peel” baby carrots that are whittled
into a miniature form.

If you look on the package it doesn’t say “Chlorine”, because it was added as part of manufacturing and not added as an ingredient…why is that?

Packaged foods contains lots of chemicals both in the ingredients and in the manufacturing process. The tricky part is chemicals added as part of the manufacturing process are not considered to be an ingredient therefore does not have to be listed on the food label. So there is no way to tell what else is hiding in that box or package.

As defined by the EPA, Chlorine is a pesticide. Its purpose is to kill living organisms. So it would make sense that when you ingest chlorine, it kills some parts of our body like the healthy bacteria in your gut and intestinal flora for instance. Chlorine is a highly toxic, yellow-green gas most heavily used in chemical agents like household cleaners and can be found in the air near industrial areas especially around paper processing plants. Exposure to Chlorine has been linked to health problems such as sore throat, coughing, eye and skin irritation, rapid breathing, narrowing of the bronchi, wheezing, blue coloring of the skin, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, pain in the lung region, severe eye and skin burns, lung collapse, a type of asthma known as Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS).

Chlorine is also added to the public water supply. So not only are you drinking it, but you are absorbing it through the largest organ in your body, your skin. In fact, 2/3 of human absorption of chlorine is from inhaling the steam in the form of chloroform and fast absorption through your open pores in the warm shower or bath. The inhalation of chloroform is a suspected cause of asthma and bronchitis, especially in children… which has increased 300% in the last two decades. Other health risks associated with chloroform is cancer, potential reproductive damage, birth defects, dizziness, fatigue, headache, liver and kidney damage. Chloroform is also found in the air and in food, like baby carrots.

Conclusion: Stick to organically grown whole carrots. They are really easy to find as you can buy them at your local farmers market or grocery store. Wash them and cut them into sticks for your childs lunch box. Carrots are an excellent snack that we enjoy all the time. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Russia Throws Poisonous Meat back to US

Russia throws poisonous meat back to US

U.S. meat supplies to Russia have been banned. The Russian Federation and the United States differ in the assessment of the causes of the situation. Russia claims that the reason for the ban was the presence of ractopamine drug in US meat. America insists that Russia’s actions were a response to the adoption of the Magnitsky Act by the Senate and accuses Russia of violating WTO rules.

On December 7, 2012 Russia’s Federal Agency for Agricultural Control, Rosselhohznadzor, banned the imports of meat containing ractopamine. This is a food additive that allows to reduce the content of fat in beef and pork. The drug is added to food so that animals grow the muscle mass instead of fat. According to researchers, ractopamine affects the human cardiovascular system, and in some cases can cause food poisoning. This drug is banned for use in 160 countries, including China and Russia. It is allowed in 24 countries, including Canada and the United States. Codex Alimentarius of the World Health Organization, adopted in July 2012 in Rome by representatives of 186 countries, allows the contents of ractopamine in meat.

Formally, Russia does not prohibit the delivery of pork and beef from the United States. It only notified a number of countries, including the US of A, of the need to provide documents saying that animals had not been fed ractopamine – the drug that is banned in Russia. However, the warned countries (in addition to the U.S. the list includes Canada, Brazil and Mexico and excludes 20 countries where the drug is used) do not have the appropriate expertise, because there was no need to have it before. Rosselkhoznadzor promised to introduce a transitional period for those countries, until about the end of January 2013. However, specific implementation mechanisms remain unclear.

As for foreign countries, the move of the Russian Agency for Agricultural Control will hit the United States most. Russia is the fourth largest importer of U.S. meat and spends about $500 million a year on it. The Russian market consumes 0.6 percent of all beef and 1.4 percent of pork produced in the United States. More than 200 containers of meat products worth about $20 million are currently on their way to Russia from the United States.

However, the lack of U.S. meat on the Russian market will affect the Russian economy. The pork from the United States comes fourth on the volume of shipments to Russia. In total, the share of imported meat in the Russian market makes up not less than a third.

The United States regards the ban of meat imports as a political move. According to American analysts, Russia has reacted so to the recent adoption of the Magnitsky Act by the U.S. Congress. On December 6, the U.S. Senate almost unanimously (92 votes “for” and 4 – “against”) approved the bill that imposed visa and financial sanctions against Russian officials involved, according to Washington, in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer of Hermitage investment fund. The first three parts of this document are devoted to the interaction of Russia and the U.S. in the WTO. In particular, the bill abolishes the Jackson-Vanik amendment for Russia and Moldova, which was adopted in 1974. It is expected that U.S. President Barack Obama will sign the bill in the near future.

“This seems to be in retaliation to the Senate’s passage of the trade bill with Russia … there is certainly no doubt about it,” Rich Nelson, chief strategist at research and brokerage company Allendale Inc, said.

Russian officials were surprised to know that US analysts associated the ban on meat imports with the Magnitsky Act.

“One can speculate about whether it was done in retaliation or not, but the measure was based on the content of some additives in meat that are contrary to Russian sanitary standards,” deputy director of the Institute of the USA and Canada, Victor Supyan told Pravda.Ru.

Previously, the Russian side promised to take comprehensive, multidimensional and extremely strong measures should the Magnitsky Act be adopted in the USA. Presently, the United States accuses Russia of violating WTO rules. “All WTO members break these rules. This is normal,” Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said in response to similar accusations in November of this year in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper. However, on Saturday, U.S. officials said they were expecting actions from Russia to change the situation. The U.S. side expressed a hope that in the near future Russia would remove the ban on the imports of meat, thus fulfilling its obligations as a WTO member. Russia, in turn, does not see any violations in its actions.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Robin Roberts' next step: 'Returning to work'

10:01AM EST December 10. 2012 - Robin Roberts, who is continuing to recover from her Sept. 20 bone marrow transplant for her rare blood disorder, welcomed some of the Good Morning America gang to her home to trim her Christmas tree and sip spiked punch.

"Best medicine ever," she tweeted, meaning the visit, not the punch.

Josh Elliott, Sam Champion, Lara Spencer and George Stephanopoulos put on Santa hats and opened presents when they stopped by after Thursday's broadcast. Josh and Sam went for the spiked punch, noted Roberts on Twitter.

In footage of the fun that aired this morning on GMA, Roberts, 52, said she is looking forward to her next step — "returning to work." The anchor even said she will welcome the "normalcy" of the alarm going off at 3:45 a.m. No date or time frame for her return was given, though.

On Dec. 1, she was allowed to leave her NYC apartment to travel to Connecticut. And she tweeted last week that her beloved dog, K.J., will be home "soon." All good signs.

GO ROBIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Chemobrain: How much is actually caused by cancer treatments?

Along with chemotherapy’s well-documented side effects of nausea and fatigue, cancer patients also complain about a type of brain fog that sets in clouding their memory, judgement, and cognitive abilities. But a new study presented Friday at a breast cancer conference in San Antonio suggests that the condition -- called “chemobrain” -- may not always be due to the drugs but to the stress and anxiety that comes from receiving the diagnosis and fears of impending treatment.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Conditions recognized as related to exposure to Agent Orange

The following presumptive conditions are recognized by the Veterans Affairs as related to Agent Orange exposure for veterans who served in county in Vietnam during Jan. 9, 1962, through May 7, 1975.
• AL Amyloidosis — A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloidal, enters tissues or organs
• Chronic B-cell Leukemias — A type of cancer which affects white blood cells
• Chloracne (or similar acne form disease) — A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers
• Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 — A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin
• Hodgkin’s Disease — A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia
• Ischemic Heart Disease — A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, that leads to chest pain
• Multiple Myeloma — A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow
• Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma — A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue
• Parkinson’s Disease — A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement
• Peripheral Neuropathy, Acute and Sub acute — A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness.
• Porphyria Cutanea Tarda — A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas.
• Prostate Cancer — Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men
• Respiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer) — Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
• Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma) — A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues


Just hung up the phone with Tulane Cancer Center-

ZERO M-SPIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's 41 months!

This is the best Christmas present that we could hope for.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Iowa livestock producer claims operation lost due to GMO corn

An Iowa man raising cattle and hogs told the Food Nation Radio Network he was forced to quit farming when GMO corn made his animals sterile.
In an interview with Michael Serio, Iowa farmer Jerry Rosman said he lost his family farm due the corn he was feeding his livestock.
Rosman said he used hybrids in the past and started to use GMO corn in feed in 1997 without any trouble, but things changed in 2000 when he switched to a different company’s genetics with a new genetically modified trait.
Starting in 2000, most of Rosman’s animal were unable to reproduce with a low sperm count in males and females showing false pregnancies. The pigs that were reproducing had smaller litters. By adjusting the type of corn used, Rosman concluded the corn with the genetically modified trait he started using in 2000 was causing the problem. Continued losses and his shrinking herd forced him to close his farm two years later.
A 2006 publication from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) reports at least 65 million metric tons of GM corn grains are used in livestock diets annually and extensive testing and a long approval process accompany every GM crop introduction.
The resource explains safety concerns on the use of GM crops as feed ingredients involve three questions:
  • Are GM crops safe as feeds for livestock?
  • Is animal performance affected by GM crops?
  • Could transgenic materials be transferred to and accumulate in milk, meat, and eggs?
  • Interesting comments

Dom's Latest Numbers- Doc is Very Pleased

WBC:          6.6
HCT:          37.1
PLT:          195
ANC:           61
Tulane recently started testing Light Chains.  Once again, his doctor is pleased:

AUG                                                       NOV
Kappa-  18.00                                         Kappa-  15.89
Lambda-   15.60                                      Lambda-  13.42
Ratio-       1.15                                        Ratio-      1.18

These numbers fall into the "Normal Range".

I'm waiting for his M-Spike results, but so far, so good!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Early Christmas Presents- What Fun!

Christine and Troy got me LED Wine Glasses and a set of 9 LED "Ice Cubes".... these pictures don't reflect how beautiful they are!  You can set the cubes to flash or stay on.  The glasses can be set to change colors if you wish.... LOVE THESE!

In PCB, there's a store that sells retro toys.  Dom always pops in to see what's new.  The last time we were there, he asked the manager if he had access to an old-time electric vibrating football game that he had as a child.  No luck.

Then, when Christine and Troy were here, he mentioned it to them.  I got jiggy with it on the computer and found this on Amazon.  He's tickled!

And, of course, I'm absolutely tickled with my Kindle 8.9" HD!

HO HO HO!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

MMRF, GenoSpace to Build Database Containing Multiple Myeloma Discoveries

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and GenoSpace today announced a partnership to create an "information ecosystem" of new discoveries in multiple myeloma to be used by researchers, clinicians, and patients.

The foundation and the company will create a publicly shared database that provides researchers access to data from the MMRF CoMMpass (Relating Clinical Outcomes in Multiple Myeloma to Personal Assessment of Genetic Profile) Study. The database will also give patients access to real-time clinical and community support.

Launched in 2011, the CoMMpass Study is collecting clinical information on and molecular profiling of more than 1,000 newly diagnosed patients. The information for each patient is being collected for a minimum of five years, and centralizing such data could hasten the discovery of new treatment options, diagnostics, biomarkers, and drug targets, MMRF and Genospace said.

In collaboration with GenoSpace and others in the pharmaceutical, academic, and government spaces, MMRF aims to create the largest, consolidated patient information ecosystem "overcoming the hurdles in finding new discoveries for myeloma and potentially other cancers sharing the same molecular targets."

Earlier this week, MMRF announced a collaboration with the US Department of Veterans Affairs on the CoMMpass Study.

Its partnership with GenoSpace supports CoMMpass' mission to elucidate patient disease progression and response to treatments by "filling the need to securely store, enable ready access, visualize, and allow for analysis of the complex data from the CoMMpass Study and other research initiatives in multiple myeloma for academic and industry scientists worldwide," MMRF said in a statement.

"The comprehensive data generated from the MMRF CoMMpass Study will be an invaluable resource for multiple myeloma research, providing a breadth of clinical and molecular data never before captured in this disease," Kathy Giusti, founder and CEO of MMRF and the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC) and a multiple myeloma patient, said. "Conveying this data openly to clinicians and researchers in pursuit of individualized treatment approaches is critical to our mission."

"The next phase in our partnership with the MMRF will be to create tools that empower patients with multiple myeloma to more directly and fully participate in the scientific discovery and clinical research processes," 

GenoSpace Co-founder and CEO John Quackenbush added. "The resources we are creating with MMRF are state of the art and can serve as a model for conducting integrative molecular research in other diseases."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving With Christine and Troy

Hi gang-

Wanted to post a bunch of pics for friends and families.

Thanksgiving week was a blast.  The "kids" flew into NOLA on Sat. night and stayed at the Prince Conti (Our favorite hotel.... just a half block off of Bourbon in a nice area of the Quarter).

Dom and I met up with them on Sunday at The Deja Vu across the street.  Love their food!  Had a great lunch, then we checked into our room.

The 4 of us bar-hopped all day, did alot of shopping, then finally had dinner at Remoulade (The Casual Side of Arnaud's) for the first time.  We wouldn't hesitate to go back.  Yummy!

The four of us headed back home the next morning after a great breakfast at The Deja Vu.  I made some real kick-ass barbecue shrimp for dinner on Monday. NOLA BBQ Shrimp has no bbq sauce in it.... think butter, olive oil, alot of garlic, minced onion, a blast of beer or wine, served with crusty french bread.

They did alot of shooting, we had a bonfire, and a wonderful fireworks display. (Which was a treat for them, as they can rarely have fires in Colorado)

Thanksgiving Day was very pleasant.  Had maw's turkey plates and her sterling silver out.

Sipped on Beaujolais Nouveau all day while cooking:

-22# Turkey covered with cheesecloth, basted with white wine and butter (ala Martha Stewart..... have been hooked on this recipe for at least 15 years)
-Cornbread, Pecan, Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing
-Gravy (the white wine, butter and drippings makes a helluva gravy!)
-Spinach & Artichoke Casserole
-Niece Jennifer's Corn Souffle
-Mashed Potatoes
-Sweet Potato, Pecan, Brown Sugar and Butter Casserole
-Caramelized Balsamic Pearl Onions
-Collin Street Bakery's Fruit Cake  Worth Every Cent!

Listened to the Nutcracker and sipped on champagne with dinner.  Exchanged Christmas Presents, played in the hot tub, had a grand week!

They flew home on Friday morning.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Stop Monsanto's Sneak Attack!

Monsanto wants Congress to pass a law that would make it impossible for organic and non-GMO farmers and seed growers to defend themselves against GMO contamination.

Jump for the EASY petition... it will take 2 minutes, if that!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shocking...Multiple Myeloma... "Aspartame-Cancer Link Exposed: Increasing Your Cancer Risk"

One can of diet soda each day can increase leukemia risk in men and women by 42 percent, 

increase multiple myeloma risk in men by 102%

and increase the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 31 percent in men.

Read more:

Blamed for Bee Collapse, Monsanto Buys Leading Bee Research Firm


Monsanto, the massive biotechnology company being blamed for contributing to the dwindling bee population, has bought up one of the leading bee collapse research organizations. Recently banned from Poland with one of the primary reasons being that the company’s genetically modified corn may be devastating the dying bee population, it is evident that Monsanto is under serious fire for their role in the downfall of the vital insects. It is therefore quite apparent why Monsanto bought one of the largest bee research firms on the planet.


Emerald Coast Cruizin"

We had great fun at Emerald Coast Cruizin' a couple of weeks ago.

Dear friend, Donn, once again gave us VIP tickets to this event.

It was HUGE this year.  I wish that this photo would reflect the entire show.  This was just part of it.

After walking around for awhile, Dom noticed alot of young men on scooters, and thought, "What the hell!".  It was great for his back.   I got my exercise, but was sore for days!
The weather was delightful.  Sunny with low humidity.  I managed to lay in the sun a few days.  The water was pristine, but much too cold to go in.

On the way home, we stopped at the VA Hospital in Biloxi for Dom's obligatory appointment with his VA Oncologist, Dr. Rogers.

It was rather bittersweet.  She was so pleased with his health, that she cut him loose!  Told us that if he ever has to go back on any type of cancer drugs or maintenance, to let her know, and she'll take care of everything.

She is one of our favorite doctors.  We all hugged.  Sounds silly, but we're going to miss that gal!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stem cells for life: Become a bone marrow donor

Did you know November is bone marrow awareness month? There are 18,000 people in the United States waiting for a bone marrow transplant. With less than 2 percent of the country on the bone marrow registry, it has never been more important to consider being a donor.
Each year, 3,000 people die while waiting for a bone marrow match. Such was the case of a Bangor woman, who had cancer of the white blood cells in her bone marrow, who died while waiting to be matched with a donor. On Oct. 14, a bone marrow drive was held at the Bangor YMCA in her honor.
(Note the link on the left side of my page)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Don't Be a Lab Rat

With the number of consumers worried about the health risks of GMO food, many were shocked that California voters didn’t pass Prop 37 in this year’s election. But John W. Roulac, founder and CEO of organic food company Nutiva, has a simple explanation: "Monsanto, Pepsi, General Mills, and their junk food allies want to hide what's in their food."
Nutiva is one of the steering committe members of a new campaign called "GMO Inside,” which aims to educate the public about genetically engineered foods.
“People are unaware that the majority of processed foods on the shelf now have genetically engineered ingredients in them,” says Todd Larsen, campaign director of GMO Inside and corporate responsibility director of Green America. “But there are non-GMO and organic alternatives to these foods.”
Although the agribusiness, food, and chemical giants may continue to fight GMO-labeling efforts ("millions of dollars [were] poured into anti-Prop 37 efforts by major corporations…to misinform and deceive the public about the cost of labeling,” according to a press release about GMO Inside’s founding), there are easy ways you can protect yourself from consuming modified foods.
1. Know that they’re everywhere. "The vast majority of soy, corn, canola, and sugar beet (i.e. sugar) crops in the U.S. are genetically modified,” Larsen says. Anything not label non-GMO or organic that contains any of the following ingredients most likely contains GMOs, he adds.
  • Corn
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Modified corn starch
  • Maltodextrin
  • Vitamin C
  • Soy
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Soy flour
  • Tofu
  • Soy sauce
  • Soy lecithin
  • Vitamin E
  • Added natural flavors
2. If you see "natural” or “100% natural" on a food package, be cautious. There is no legal definition for the word. Opt instead for labels like USDA Organic, which is has one of the most formal guidelines for use.
3. Become a fan of GMO Inside on Facebook, and follow them on twitter andPinterest. You can also pledge with the group to do a certain number of actions each month, as well as download campaign stickers and host GMO-Free Fridays. Or sign up for their newsletter in the loop.
As Roulac says, "We have a right to know what's in our foods. No one deserves to be a lab rat for untested and unsafe GMO foods."

Robin Roberts Cries Talking About Late Mother & Her New Lease On Life

I'm happy that Robin is doing so well!  I got a real chuckle out of her "Early Bird" restaurant visits.  It felt like Christmas when Dr. Safah told us that we could go to see a movie during a matinee....  and go have a pizza in between the lunch and dinner crowds!  FREEDOM AT LAST!

Robin Roberts shared an emotional one-on-one chat with her sister/bone marrow donorSally-Ann on Tuesday's edition of Good Morning America, and we've got the highlights for you right here on
Robin has been battling the blood and bone marrow disorder MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome), leading to her September 20 transplant, which she says she looks as "as a clean slate.

"How many people can say at this point in their lives that they get a do-over, that they get a chance to start again?" Robin said. "And that's how I feel. We're all a little bit stronger -- a little bit stronger than we think we are. And that's all we need."

In the interview, Robin got weepy-eyed when her sister brought up their late mother Lucimarianwho died August 30 -- just before Robin was about to take a medical leave from GMA. She left the show early to spent her mother's final days by her side.

"I do believe it was her way of making sure that all of her children could be taken care of," ateary-eyed Robin said. "This is the first time that I have been through any traumatic experience without her being here and that has weighed on me.

"She was there when I took my first breath and what an honor it was to be there when she took her last.”

Robin, who turns 52 Friday, said she's excited to get to go to early bird specials, where the presence of less people means less risk of running into hazardous germs, per her doctor.

Watch the video on

"I'm going to get to go out [and] be around people!" she said, noting the massive outpouring of support she's received since she got sick.

"I have felt the prayers. I have felt people lifting me up. I put no small measure on that as the reason that I'm doing as well as I am," the inspirational Robin said.
She told her sister that hers "a journey that kind of zig zags, and there are complications, but I feel stronger every day."

Food Labeling: How to Identify Conventional, Organic and GMO Produce

What can you tell from those numbers on fruit and vegetable stickers?
The price look-up (PLU) code system used by most produce distributors has the side benefit of allowing consumers to identify conventional and organic produce at the grocery store. Even though the defeat ofProposition 37 means that genetically engineered information will not be added to labels at this time, PLU codes do have the potential to identify genetically engineered produce. This video shows you how to read PLU codes to unlock the information that is already right at your fingertips.
    Using Price Look-up Codes (PLUs), the Nutshell:
    PLU codes are four digit numbers that identify different types of produce. For example, #4011 is the code for a standard yellow banana.

  • The number 9 prefix added to a PLU signifies that an item is organic. For example, #94011 is the code for an organic yellow banana.

  • A number 8 prefix added to a PLU signifies that an item is genetically engineered (GE). For example, #84011 is the code for a genetically engineered yellow banana.

  • PLU codes and their organic prefixes are in wide use but GE codes are rare at best.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Robin Roberts continues to 'climb that mountain'

NEW ORLEANS -- As Air Force brats, my brother Butch, sisters Robin and Dorothy and I traveled to many diverse places around the world. But the journey we embarked upon this year was unlike any this family has ever experienced.
Robin, the baby sister I had watched grow from a child into a strong, courageous woman who beat breast cancer in 2007, was now, five years later, dealing with an illness I had never heard of -- myelodysplastic syndrome, or pre-leukemia.
But the doctors were hopeful that if Robin could find a genetic match for a bone marrow transplant, she could be cured.
We were ecstatic when I was declared a perfect match and I prayed my body would be able to produce.

Friday, November 16, 2012

What’s Next in the GMO Battle?

On November 6, after spending $46 million burying California’s voters under an avalanche of deception, Monsanto and their buddies in the pesticide and junk food business declared victory. They had defeated the “right to know”, and successfully protected their “right” to keep you in the dark about whether your food is genetically engineered.
Jennifer Hatcher, senior vice president of government and public affairs for the anti-labeling Food Marketing Institute, breathed a sigh of relief after Prop 37 narrowly lost, saying: “This gives us hope that you can… defeat a ballot initiative and go directly to the voters.” But she also expressed concern: “We hope we don’t have too many of them, because you can’t keep doing that over and over again.”
If Ms. Hatcher wants to keep labeling suppressed, it looks like she may be in for a rough couple of years. Because what Monsanto and its allies hadn’t counted on was that despite all their lies and deception, it’s actually pretty hard to convince people that they shouldn’t be allowed to know what they’re eating. And although $46 million managed to put out one fire, it seems to have started about 30 new ones.
Indeed, efforts are already underway to put a similar initiative on the ballot in Washington for the 2013 election (where San Juan County voters chose on November 6 to make growing GMOs illegal in their county). And organizers in 30 other states have also begun building labeling campaigns, under the banner of the Coalition of States for Mandatory GMO labeling.
With 93 percent of the American public supporting the right to know, it looks like it’s going to take a lot more than a one deceptive, high-budget ad campaign to keep those pesky labels at bay.
The War Continues
Many people are choosing to boycott companies that continue to use GMOs and that oppose labeling. Kellogg’s has been a particularly visible target, since the company strives for a healthy image, and yet contributed $632,000 to the fight against Prop 37. For several months, the company’s Facebook page has become something of a marketing embarrassment. It’s plastered with comments by angry consumers calling the company out for fighting GMO labeling, and threatening a boycott until the company changes its ways.
Other consumers are choosing to buy products from companies that are going GMO-free. In fact, consumer demand for non-GMO products is rising fast. The non-profit Non-GMO Project, which offers a third party certification program, has now verified 764 products, and had a record-shattering 189 new enrollment inquiries in October.
More and more people are becoming alarmed about the widespread prevalence of GMOs in the food supply, and are taking steps to steer clear. This could create a tremendous market opportunity for companies that seize the day and get certified. Even shoppers who aren’t terribly concerned about GMOs may be developing more trust in the products that carry the “Non-GMO Project” certification.
For consumers who want to know what is and is not GMO-free, the Food Revolution Network has compiled a collection of resources that includes the non-GMO shopping guide, and the free iPhone and Android app from True Food Network. A list of which foods are likely to contain GMOs is posted by Institute for Responsible Technology here.
A team of organizations, led by Care2 and the Food Revolution Network, have launched a petition demanding that Congress label GMOs that has already generated nearly 50,000 signatures. And efforts of the JustLabelIt petition to the FDA, which launched a year ago and have generated more than 1.3 million signatures, are being renewed in hopes that the FDA might eventually dig itself out of Monsanto’s back pocket.
For the passionate activist, there’s always more you can do, like taking advantage of the educational resources offered for free by the Institute for Responsible Technology, and sharing them with friends. Or lobbying your member of Congress, your mayor, your governor, your local media outlets, or your relatives.
Monsanto would probably like us all to sit alone in the dark, munching on bags of genetically engineered popcorn. But the tide of history is turning, and regardless of how much they spend attempting to deceive us, we will prevail.
Ocean Robbins is founder and co-host (with best-selling author John Robbins) of the 65,000 member Food Revolution Network, an initiative to help you heal your body, and your world… with food. Find out more and sign up here.

Genetically Modified: The 2 Words the Food Industry Spent $45 Million to Avoid Using

Despite significant popular support for the labeling of genetically modified foods in recent polls, when it came time to vote on election day, Californians rejectedProposition 37, which would have required businesses to label products containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Proponents of Proposition 37 argued that the labeling requirements would provide consumers with valuable information that would allow them to make better purchasing decisions. Opponents countered that labels would mislead consumers by creating the impression that GMOs are harmful to human health.

Many attribute the loss to a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign against the proposition funded largely by agriculture and food companies like Monsanto (MON), PepsiCo (PEP), Coca-Cola (KO), Kraft (KRFT), and Kellogg (K). Opponents of Proposition 37 raised at least $45 million to affect voter sentiment, while supporters of the proposed law -- mostly consumer advocacy groups -- raised only about $8 million.

Was it a fair fight?

Prop 37 advocates complain that their defeat wasn't merely due to being outspent, but also due to opponents using deceptive marketing practices to shift public opinion. One example called out was a mailing to state residents which used the FDA logo and a quote saying, "The US Food and Drug Administration says a labeling policy like Prop 37 would be 'inherently misleading.'" FDA spokesperson Morgan Liscinsky later pointed out that the FDA did not make this statement or express any opinion on the proposed legislation.

Valuable Tool or Unnecessary Information?

If Prop 37 had passed, the law would have forbidden food companies from labeling foods with GMO ingredients as "natural," "naturally made," "naturally grown," or "all natural." Businesses would have had to label raw GMO produce as "genetically engineered," and to label all processed foods containing GMOs as "partially produced with genetic engineering," or "may be partially produced with genetic engineering."

The law also would have empowered consumers to stand up to companies that label their products inaccurately by making it possible for them to win lawsuits against food companies without having to prove specific damages resulting from the labeling violation.

While Big Ag argued that studies haven't shown GMOs are harmful to human health, Prop 37 advocates point out that most industry-funded studies last only 90 days. And although the Food and Drug Administration has deemed GMOs safe for human consumption, proponents worry that the FDA doesn't actually test these foods before they go to market, and so they don't have sufficient evidence to declare these goods safe.

Other advocates argue that even if GMOs are safe to eat, mandatory labeling would provide valuable information for consumers who worry about the sustainability of GMO farming, and its potential to breed "superbugs."

The fight over Prop 37 isn't just a California issue: Opponents were worried the law would set a precedent for the rest of the country to pick up the anti-GMO torch. In fact, about 93% of the money raised to turn voters against the law came from outside the state.

Advocates in Washington state, Connecticut, and Vermont are pushing to require labeling in their own states. Others are trying to utilize the national awareness arising from California's campaign to gain signatures on a petition asking the FDA to require labeling of GMO foods nationally.


Pass Agent Orange Act

By Tribune-Review 

Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 8:53 p.m.Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 

With the elections over, the new House and Senate will have their first session in early 2013. They will be faced with many issues — old and new. It is time for the new Congress to put aside politics and become legislators.

There are still two major bills in committee of interest to Vietnam veterans, HR 3612 and SB 1629. These bills would restore Veterans Affairs benefits for Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War.

The current House and Senate still have time to act upon these bills before January. These bills must come out of committee and go to the floor of both houses.

I ask the American people to urge our legislators to act on these bills. The Vietnam veterans who are sick from Agent Orange dioxin exposure need these bills to be passed into law before the new Congress convenes.

A new legislative session will require us advocates for Vietnam veterans to start again. This means longer delays for veterans’ VA approval and thousands won’t be approved because they did not have boots on ground, even though they were awarded the Vietnam Service Medal.

Many sailors, airmen and Fleet Marines who served during that war are sick from exposure to the deadly herbicide. The passage of these bills means these members of the armed forces will receive equality for VA benefits.

John J. Bury
Media, Delaware County
The writer is retired from the U.S. Navy and is a Vietnam veteran.

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