Genetically Engineered Food Lies
Genetically Engineered Food Lies – The Atlantic (1) recently reported on the findings of new research into the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically engineered foods.
The authors of the report GMO Myths and Truths (2) took a science-based approach to evaluating the available research, and came to the conclusion that most of the scientific evidence regarding safety and increase yield potential do not support the claims made at all. In fact, the evidence demonstrates that the claims for genetically engineered foods are not just wildly overblown; they simply aren’t true...
The featured article summarizes the evidence presented, which shows that genetically engineered (GE) crops:
- Are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GE crops
- Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts
- Are not adequately regulated to ensure safety
- Do not increase yield potential
- Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it
- Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant “superweeds”, compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops
- Have mixed economic effects
- Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity
- Do not offer effective solutions to climate change
- Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farmed crops
- Cannot solve the problem of world hunger but distract from its real causes – poverty, lack of access to food and, increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on
The authors of this critical report include Michael Antoniou, PhD, who heads the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King’s College at London School of Medicine in the UK. He’s a 28-year veteran of genetic engineering technology who has himself invented a number of gene expression biotechnologies; as well as John Fagan, PhD, a leading authority on food sustainability, biosafety, and GMO testing.
If you want to get an in-depth understanding of genetically engineered foods, read their report (3), which covers the ins-and-outs of genetic engineering and the disturbing findings of a large number of scientific studies.
Three Sources of Adverse Health Effects from Genetically Engineered Foods
According to their report (4), there are three potential sources of adverse health effects from genetically engineered foods:
- The genetically modified (GM) gene product – for example, the Bt toxin in GM insecticidal crops – may be toxic or allergenic
- The GM transformation process may produce mutagenic effects, gene regulatory effects, or effects at other levels of biological structure and function that result in new toxins or allergens and/or disturbed nutritional value
- Changes in farming practices linked to the use of a genetically modified organism (GMO) may result in toxic residues – for example, higher levels of crop contamination with the herbicide Roundup are an inevitable result of using GM Roundup Ready® crops
To give you an example of these adverse health effects, when Monsanto’s genetically engineered Bt corn was approved, Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assured everyone that only insects would be hurt by the Bt toxin produced by these plants. The Bt-toxin, they claimed, would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system and would not have any impact at all.
They were proven wrong when doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found the toxin circulating in the blood stream of pregnant women and their babies, as well as in non-pregnant women (5). Shockingly, the toxin was identified in 93 percent of pregnant women, 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies, and 67 percent of non-pregnant women tested.
The Bt crop varieties were first introduced to the market in 1996, and since then, many of the disorders that have subsequently been linked to Bt crops have risen exponentially. The fact that the toxin is flowing through our blood supply and passes through the placenta is a potent indicator that the Bt crop varieties cannot be considered harmless at all. For example, government-sponsored research in Italy (6) showed a wide range of immune responses in mice fed Monsanto’s Bt corn. The specific cytokines (interleukins) that were elevated are also found to be higher in humans who suffer from a wide range of disorders as indicated in the following chart.
|IL-6||Rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, various types of cancer (multiple myeloma and prostate cancer)|
|IL-13||Allergy, allergic rhinitis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)|
|MIP-1b||Autoimmune disease and colitis.|
|IL-12p70||Inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis|
Syngenta Charged for Covering up Livestock Deaths from GE Corn
Over the years, genetically engineered crops have proven disastrous for animals. Most recently, the Swiss biotech company Syngenta had criminal charges filed against it by a German farmer. Sixty-five of his cows died after he fed them Syngenta’s genetically modified Bt corn. He alleges the company not only knew the corn could be lethal to livestock, but was also covering up deaths that occurred during clinical trials.
According to a recent press release by GM Watch (7), the lawsuit asserts that Syngenta committed a grave criminal offense by deliberately withholding the results of a feeding trial in which four cows died in two days. The deaths prompted the company to halt the test. No health problems or deaths were reported in the control group, which was not fed the genetically engineered Bt 176 corn.
Other health ramifications from the Bt 176 corn have also been found. In April 2004, Spain banned Syngenta’s Bt 176 corn on the grounds that it may confer resistance to the antibiotic ampicillin (8). As of December that same year, the EU decided to prohibit genetically engineered crops with antibiotic resistance genes, and cultivation of Bt 176 crops were subsequently discontinued in the EU in 2007. However, similar varieties, such as Bt 11 sweet corn (9) are still cultivated for both animal and human consumption…
The Health Effects of GE Feed on Livestock
As reported by Institute of Science in Society (10), mysterious animal deaths are not limited to Syngenta’s Bt 176 corn. Thousands of livestock deaths have been reported across India as a result of grazing on genetically engineered Bt cotton, for example.
“Shepherds’ own observations and post-mortem analysis carried out in the laboratory revealed abnormal liver, enlarged bile ducts and black patches in the intestine. The shepherds said that the sheep became “dull/depressed” after 2-3 days of grazing, started coughing with nasal discharge and developed red lesions in the mouth, became bloated and suffered blackish diarrhea, and sometimes passed red urine.
Death occurred within 5-7 days of grazing. Sheep from young lambs to adults of 1.5-2 years were affected.
One shepherd reported getting diarrhea from eating the meat of an affected sheep. The vets declared that the toxicity could be due to the Bt toxin but this could not be proven as results were confounded by additional pesticides used on the fields. The shepherds were however, advised against letting the sheep graze on any more Bt cotton plants,” Institute of Science in Society writes (11).
The Philippines have also reported cases of villagers suffering health effects from surrounding Bt crop fields. In 2006, the blood of 38 individuals was analyzed and all tested positive for antibodies specific to Cry1Ab, suggesting an immune reaction to the Bt toxin.(12)
GE Crops Seriously Threatens Reproductive Health
According to Dr. Don Huber, an expert on the toxicity of genetically engineered plants, a new organism linked to GE crops appears to be the cause of high reproductive failure in livestock. The organism was initially identified by veterinarians around 1998—about two years after the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans, which is one of the staple feeds. The vets were puzzled by sudden rates of miscarriages. While sporadic at first, the phenomenon has continued to increase in severity.
In an interview last year, Dr. Huber stated:
“We [recently] received a call from a county extension educator, indicating that he has a dairy that has a 70 percent [spontaneous] abortion rate. You put that on top of 10 to 15 percent of infertility to start with, and you’re not going to have a dairy very long. In fact, a lot of our veterinarians are now becoming very concerned about the prospects for being able to have replacement animals.”
According to a recent report by the European GM Watch (13), Russian scientists have also jumped into the fray, proving the existence of “very serious health risks for animals given genetically modified (GM) feed.” This announcement was reportedly made during a press conference of the National Association for Genetic Security (NAGS). As a result of the findings, the Russian Parliament is considering a new veterinary law, which could potentially include a ban on genetically engineered animal feed.
“According to the authors; a number of pathological changes were discovered in the experimental animals that consumed the GM feed,” GM Watch reports. “A delay in development and growth was detected, plus a distortion of the sex ratio in breeds with an increase in the proportion of females, reducing the number of pups per litter, up to their complete lack in the second and third generation…
According to the President of NAGS Alexander Baranov, the main negative impact of GM feed, which was discovered during the investigation, is a “ban on reproduction,” making it almost impossible to obtain third-generation animals. “The results of our study confirmed the findings of European scientists who pointed out the negative impact on the health of animals from the GM ingredients in feed of animals,” Baranov, said. “We used soybean meal, which is widely used in Russia for fattening livestock. Soya of the line 40-3-2, contained in extracted meal, which is allowed in Russia. It is also for use in human food.” he added.”
How to Protect Your Health
Until genetically engineered foods are labeled, your BEST strategy is to buy USDA 100% Organic products whenever possible, as these do not permit genetically engineered ingredients, or buy whole fresh produce and meat from local farmers.
The majority of the genetically engineered ingredients you’re exposed to are via processed foods, so by cooking from scratch with whole foods, you can be sure you’re not inadvertently consuming something laced with altered ingredients. When you do purchase processed food, avoid products containing anything related to corn or soy that are not 100 percent organic, as any foods containing these two non-organic ingredients are virtually guaranteed to contain genetically engineered ingredients, as well as toxic herbicide residues.
One of the Primary Food Filters we employ to help us select only the best foods for thriving health and better #BloodSugarControl is to determine the farming practices used to grow or raise the food. Conventional farming practices repeatedly have been shown to not only compromise the quality of the food, but also deplete the soil an increase our toxic burden.
The foods we eat have a significant impact on our mycotoxin exposure. Our Primary Food Filters downloadable, printable special report will fully equip you to make the best food and ingredient choices following the Health-e-Solutions lifestyle.
- i The Atlantic June 19, 2012
- ii GMO Myths and Truths Report
- iii See ref 2
- iv See ref 2
- v A, Leblanc S. Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Reprod Toxicol (2011), doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2011.02.004
- vi Finamore A, Roselli M, Britti S, Monastra G, Ambra R, Turrini A and Mengheri E. (2008). Intestinal and peripheral immune response to MON810 maize ingestion in weaning and old mice. J Agric Food Chem, 16 November 2008
- vii GM Watch May 2, 2012
- viii Acbio.org.za, BT-Maize 176 / Syngenta, May 14, 2004
- ix Checkbiotech.org, May 26, 2004, Syngenta`s enhanced sweet corn moving with the markets
- x Institute of Science in Society June 13, 2012
- xi See ref 10
- xii Institute of Science in Society February 6, 2006
- xiii GM Watch June 19, 2012
- xiv GMO Journal June 21, 2012
- xv See ref 14
- xvi Food & Water Watch Issue Brief November 2010