Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"Nucleotides are not permitted in organic products."

Via Twitter user @mem_somerville, a lawsuit from the Organic Consumers Association against two formula manufacturers.

If you'd like to read some high-test chemophobia, these lawsuits (PDFs) are a great place to start. 


  1. Interesting. Some of the next-gen pesticides that academa and the major multinationals are looking at are based on RNA interference and could involve actually spraying dsRNA over a field to target specific weeds, insects, etc. I know one hope is that this technology will be available for organic farmers because of how safe, "natural," and nonhazardous it will be.

  2. These statements about hazards of contained chemicals are intentionally misleading. But the lawsuit is about the advertising misuse of the word "organic" as in organic food, for a product containing a number of ingredients made by processes that are non-compliant with that label. I think they have a ground to sue.

  3. That gets a huge facepalm, no question. It's always depressing when people clearly don't understand what's already in their food.

    That being said... I'm a synthetic nucleotide chemist and a DNA repair biochemist, and I wouldn't trust a food company with adding nucleotides to their products. Here's one possible scenario: a food company decides to supplement their product with dGMP or dGTP. It's well known that dGTP can be oxidized to 8-oxo-dGTP (a mutagenic nucleotide). There's an enzyme (NUDT1 in humans) that sanitizes the cellular nucleotide pool by breaking down 8-oxo-dGTP into the monosphosphate form, which can't be incorporated into DNA. But if a buildup of 8-oxo-dGTP overwhelms the ability of NUDT1 to sanitize the nucleotide pool, somatic mutations due to the misincorporation of 8-oxo-dGTP into cellular DNA are very likely to be the result. So if a food company left their guanine nucleosides or nucleotides sitting around to oxidize and then threw them into the food as supplements, you could hypothetically increase the consumers' risk of cancer (most likely of the colon).

    A second (simpler) scenario is that the food company supplements their product with a large amount of several nucleotides (either RNA or DNA), in such a combination that they disrupt the normal ratio of bases present in the cellular nucleotide pool. Getting the nucleotide pool out of balance is another good way to induce mutations, and can potentially cause protein biosynthetic collapse.

  4. When one reads this story, am I the only one hearing the voice of the Nucleotide Nazi (as per Seinfeld): "No Nucleotides for you!!" ? Inquiring minds want to know.....

    1. You aren't the only one now... damn you.

  5. Well I certainly won't let any of those nasty nucleotides in MY body, no sir!

  6. Nucleotides? They're nuclear, right? No way I want any of those in my body! I don't want a Chernobyl in my stomach!

  7. Fun fact: biodegradeable plastics all come from GMO precursors, so if you compost them, you can't use that compost to grow anything certified organic.

    They should really change the name from "certified organic" to "certifiable organic"


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