Click Fraud Monitoring
Select Page

GMO

GMO: Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) or living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. This in turn creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding methods. These organisms have been engineered to withstand direct application of an herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. However, new technologies are now being used to artificially develop other traits in plants, such as a resistance to browning in apples, and to create new organisms using synthetic biology. Despite biotech promises, there is currently no evidence that GMO’s that are currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance or enhanced nutrition. Genetically modified crops also are responsible for the emergence of “superweeds” and “superbugs,” which can only be killed with highly toxic poisons. GMOs also sneak into food in the form of processed crop derivatives derived from other forms of genetic engineering, such as synthetic biology. Some examples are: hydrolyzed vegetable protein corn syrup, molasses, sucrose, textured vegetable protein, flavorings, vitamins, yeast products, artificial flavors, oils & fats, proteins, and sweeteners. For Answers to any questions you may have please call Dr. Jimenez at 915-850-0900


Genetically Modified (GM) Food Nation: The History

Genetically Modified (GM) Food Nation: The History

The late nineties were an era of strong debate on the issue of genetically modified food and organisms in the UK. Controversy surrounded both the scientific and political aspects of GM, with government advisory bodies being accused of biased behavior and concerns being raised over the ethical issues of the science behind GM. At lunch, a bowl of good vegetable-based soup (home-made or Simply Organic’s naturally!) counts for another 1 or 2 portions and each one of our Pure & Pronto ready meals counts for a whopping 3 portions. Add a piece of fruit or two during the day and a salad or veg in the evening and you’re already at 6 or 7 portions of fruit and veg for the day – well above the 5.

At the same time there was substantial media coverage of scientific advances including cloning and the BSE crisis that fueled public concern into the governance of such issues. It was in this climate of debate, concern and contestation that the UK Government launched GM Nation, a national debate about the future of genetically modified crops and food in the UK.

Objectives: Genetically Modified Foods

geneticallyThe stated aims of the GM Nation debate were twofold: to promote an innovative, effective and deliberative program of debate on GM issues, framed by the public, against the background of the possible commercial production of GM crops in the UK and the options for possibly proceeding with this; and through the debate provide meaningful information to Government about the nature and spectrum of the public views, particularly at grass roots level, on the issue to inform decision-making.

We aim to develop business performance by ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of people development relevant to our industry.

Eat your fruit and veg – you’re aiming for at least 5 portions a day but it’s not as hard as you might think. A glass of pure fruit juice and a handful of dried fruit added to your cereal at breakfast each count as 1 portion.

The focus of the debate was very much on empowering the public to lead the discussion and enabling wide participation, not just involving the usual suspects. The Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission were clear in their recommendations for a wider public debate that it should not require a simple yes or no decision. Instead it stated it should “establish the nature and full spectrum of the public’s views on GM and the possible commercialization of GM crops, and any conditions it might want to impose on this”.

If you’re a journalist but you don’t like talking to pr people (even though ours are very nice), you can e-mail Chris or Gerry direct:

Is it time we faced up to the reality of GM in modern world?

The Government has given the go-ahead for the first growing trials of GM wheat. Farming Editor Peter Hall looks at the latest developments in this highly emotive topic.

The Question: Why So Much Disagreement?

There is so much disagreement about the benefits and risks of GM because there are so many different views surrounding it. Some focus on the benefits and view it as a natural development of existing plant breeding, while others say that such views do not take into account the genuine concerns of the public and that risks and benefits have not been scrutinized enough.

The debate was criticized for not having enough time or funding to give it the publicity it would need in order to reach a truly representative cross-section of the UK public, including at grass roots level. The lack of results from the scientific and economic studies meant that there was no new information available to feed into the debate. However feedback forms were generally positive about the debate and the chance to express views on such a controversial issue.

Details of Parliamentary and other events, including Labour Party Conference, the All Party Group on Advertising and the Debating Group.

Results: Genetically Modified Foods

Those who had strong opposing views on GM and surrounding issues tended to agree with the outcomes and some did not pay too much attention to the process issues. However, independent evaluators tended to disregard the outcomes as not valid and focused on the process. The general view was therefore not a positive one. Taking these together, the Food Standards Agency outlined a precautionary, evidence-based approach, taking a case-by-case methodology for the future development of GM crops in the UK which was a component of all these different reports. They said that whilst there was no scientific case for a blanket approval of all the uses of GM, there was also no scientific case for a blanket ban on the use of genetic modification.

Written by: History Of GM Nation Website

Chiropractic Care For The Boomers

GM Crops: The  Limitations, Risks, And Alternatives

GM Crops: The Limitations, Risks, And Alternatives

GM Crops: Proponents claim that genetically modified (GM) crops:

 

  • are safe to eat and more nutritious
  • beneft the environment
  • reduce use of herbicides and insecticides
  • increase crop yields, thereby helping farmers and solving the food crisis
  • create a more affuent, stable economy
  • are just an extension of natural breeding, and have no risks different from naturally bred crops.

However, a large and growing body of scientifc research and on-the-ground experience indicate that GMOs fail to live

up to these claims. Instead, GM crops:

 

  • can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts
  • can disrupt the ecosystem, damage vulnerable wild plant and animal populations and harm biodiversity
  • increase chemical inputs (pesticides, herbicides) over the long term
  • deliver yields that are no better, and often worse, than conventional crops
  • cause or exacerbate a range of social and economic problems
  • are laboratory-made and, once released, harmful GMOs cannot be recalled from the environment.

The scientifically demonstrated risks and clear absence of real benefits have led experts to see GM as a clumsy, outdated technology. They present risks that we need not incur, given the availability of effective, scientifically proven, energy-efficient and safe ways of meeting current and future global food needs.

This paper presents the key scientific evidence – 114 research studies and other authoritative documents – documenting the limitations and risks of GM crops and the many safer, more effective alternatives available today.

Is GM An Extension Of Natural Plant Breeding?

Natural reproduction or breeding can only occur between closely related forms of life (cats with cats, not cats with dogs; wheat with wheat, not wheat with tomatoes or fish). In this way, the genes that offspring inherit from parents, which carry information for all parts of the body, are passed down the generations in an orderly way.

GM is not like natural plant breeding. GM uses laboratory techniques to insert artificial gene units to re-program the DNA blueprint of the plant with completely new properties. This process would never happen in nature. The artificial gene units are created in the laboratory by joining fragments of DNA, usually derived from multiple organisms, including viruses, bacteria, plants and animals. For example, the GM gene in the most common herbicide resistant soya beans was pieced together from a plant virus, a soil bacterium and a petunia plant.

The GM transformation process of plants is crude, imprecise, and causes widespread mutations, resulting in major changes to the plant’s DNA blueprint1. These mutations unnaturally alter the genes’ functioning in unpredictable and potentially harmful ways2, as detailed below. Adverse effects include poorer crop performance, toxic effects, allergic reactions, and damage to the environment.Are GM foods safe to eat?Contrary to industry claims, GM foods are not properly tested for human safety before they are released for sale3 4. In fact, the only published study directly testing the safety of a GM food on humans found potential problems5. To date, this study has not been followed up. Typically the response to the safety question is that people have been eating GM foods in the United States and elsewhere for more than ten years without ill effects and that this proves that the products are safe. But GM foods are not labelled in the US and other nations where they are widely eaten and consumers are not monitored for health effects.

Because of this, any health effects from a GM food would have to meet unusual conditions before they would be noticed. The health effects would have to:

• occur immediately after eating a food that was known to be GM (in spite of its not being labeled). This kind of response is called acute toxicity.

• cause symptoms that are completely different from common diseases. If GM foods caused a rise in common or slow-onset diseases like allergies or cancer, nobody would know what caused the rise.

• be dramatic and obvious to the naked eye. Nobody examines a person’s body tissues with a microscope for harm after they eat a GM food. But just this type of examination is needed to give early warning of problems such as pre-cancerous changes.

To detect important but more subtle effects on health, or effects that take time to appear (chronic effects), long-term controlled studies on larger populations are required.

Under current conditions, moderate or slow-onset health effects of GM foods could take decades to become known, just as it took decades for the damaging effects of trans-fats (another type of artificial food) to be recognized. ‘Slow poison’ effects from trans-fats have caused millions of premature deaths across the world6 .

Another reason why any harmful effects of GM foods will be slow to surface and less obvious is because, even in the United States, which has the longest history of GM crop consumption, GM foods account for only a small part of the US diet (maize is less than 15% and soya bean products are less than 5%).

Nevertheless, there are signs that all is not well with the US food supply. A report by the US Centers for Disease Control shows that food-related illnesses increased 2- to 10-fold in the years between 1994 (just before GM food was commercialized) and 19997 . Is there a link with GM food? No one knows, because studies on humans have not been done.

Animal Studies On GM Foods Give Cause For Concern

Although studies on humans have not been done, scientists are reporting a growing number of studies that examine the effects of GM foods on laboratory animals. These studies, summarized below, raise serious concerns regarding the safety of GM foods for humans as well as animals.

Small Animal Feeding Studies

• Rats fed GM tomatoes developed stomach ulcerations8

• Liver, pancreas and testes function was disturbed in mice fed GM soya9 10 11

• GM peas caused allergic reactions in mice12

• Rats fed GM oilseed rape developed enlarged livers, often a sign of toxicity13

• GM potatoes fed to rats caused excessive growth of the lining of the gut similar to a pre-cancerous condition14 15

• Rats fed insecticide-producing GM maize grew more slowly, suffered problems with liver and kidney function, and showed higher levels of certain fats in their blood16

• Rats fed GM insecticide-producing maize over three generations suffered damage to liver and kidneys and showed alterations in blood biochemistry17

• Old and young mice fed with GM insecticide-producing maize showed a marked disturbance in immune system cell populations and in biochemical activity18

• Mice fed GM insecticide-producing maize over four generations showed a buildup of abnormal structural changes in various organs (liver, spleen, pancreas), major changes in the pattern of gene function in the gut, reflecting disturbances in the chemistry of this organ system (e.g. in cholesterol production, protein production and breakdown), and, most significantly, reduced fertility19

• Mice fed GM soya over their entire lifetime (24 months) showed more acute signs of aging in their liver20

• Rabbits fed GM soya showed enzyme function disturbances in kidney and heart21.

Feeding Studies With Farm Animals

Farm animals have been fed GM feed for many years. Does this mean that GM feed is safe for livestock? Certainly it means that effects are not acute and do not show up immediately. However, longer-term studies, designed to assess slow-onset and more subtle health effects of GM feed, indicate that GM feed does have adverse effects, confirming the results described above for laboratory animals.

The following problems have been found:

• Sheep fed Bt insecticide-producing GM maize over three generations showed disturbances in the functioning of the digestive system of ewes and in the liver and pancreas of their lambs22.

• GM DNA was found to survive processing and to be detectable in the digestive tract of sheep fed GM feed. This raises the possibility that antibiotic resistance and Bt insecticide genes can move into gut bacteria23, a process known as horizontal gene transfer. Horizontal gene transfer can lead to antibiotic resistant disease causing bacteria (“superbugs”) and may lead to Bt insecticide being produced in the gut with potentially harmful consequences. For years, regulators and the biotech industry claimed that horizontal gene transfer would not occur with GM DNA, but this research challenges this claim

• GM DNA in feed is taken up by the animal’s organs. Small amounts of GM DNA appear in the milk and meat that people eat24 25 26. The effects on the health of the animals and the people who eat them have not been researched.

Do Animal Feeding Studies Highlight Potential Health Problems For People?

Before food additives and new medicines can be tested on human subjects, they have to be tested on mice or rats. If harmful effects were to be found in these initial animal experiments, then the drug would likely be disqualified for human use. Only if animal studies reveal no harmful effects can the drug be further tested on human volunteers.

But GM crops that caused ill effects in experimental animals have been approved for commercialization in many countries. This suggests that less rigorous standards are being used to evaluate the safety of GM crops than for new medicines.

In fact, in at least one country – the United States – safety assessment of GMOs is voluntary and not required by law, although, to date, all GMOs have undergone voluntary review. In virtually all countries, safety assessment is not scientifically rigorous. For instance, the animal feeding studies that GM crop developers routinely conduct to demonstrate the safety of their products are too short in duration and use too few subjects to reliably detect important harmful effects.27

While industry conducts less than rigorous studies on its own GM products, 28 it has, in parallel, systematically and persistently interfered with the ability of independent scientists to conduct more rigorous and incisive independent research on GMOs. Comparative and basic agronomic studies on GMOs, assessments of safety and composition, and assessments of environmental impact have all been restricted and suppressed by the biotechnology industry.29 30

Patent rights linked with contracts are used to restrict access of independent researchers to commercialized GM seed. Permission to study patented GM crops is either withheld or made so difficult to obtain that research is effectively blocked. In cases where permission is finally given, biotech companies keep the right to block publication, resulting in much significant research never being published.31 32

The industry and its allies also use a range of public relations strategies to discredit and/or muzzle scientists who do publish research that is critical of GM crops.33

Are GM Foods More Nutritious?

There are no commercially available GM foods with improved nutritional value. Currently available GM foods are no better and in some cases are less nutritious than natural foods. Some have been proven in tests to be toxic or allergenic.

Examples include:

• GM soya had 12–14% lower amounts of cancer-fighting isoflavones than non-GM soya34

• Oilseed rape engineered to have vitamin A in its oil had much reduced vitamin E and altered oil-fat composition35

• Human volunteers fed a single GM soya bean meal showed that GM DNA can survive processing and is detectable in the digestive tract. There was evidence of horizontal gene transfer to gut bacteria36 37. Horizontal gene transfer of antibiotic resistance and Bt insecticide genes from GM foods into gut bacteria is an extremely serious issue. This is because the modified gut bacteria could become resistant to antibiotics or become factories for Bt insecticide. While Bt in its natural form has been safely used for years as an insecticide in farming, Bt toxin genetically engineered into plant crops has been found to have potential ill health effects on laboratory animals38 39 40

• In the late 1980s, a food supplement produced using GM bacteria was toxic41, initially killing 37 Americans and making more than 5,000 others seriously ill.

• Several experimental GM food products (not commercialized) were found to be harmful:

• People allergic to Brazil nuts had allergic reactions to soya beans modified with a Brazil nut gene42

• The GM process itself can cause harmful effects. GM potatoes caused toxic reactions in multiple organ systems43 44. GM peas caused a 2-fold allergic reaction – the GM protein was allergenic and stimulated an allergic reaction to other food components45. This raises the question of whether GM foods cause an increase in allergies to other substances.

Can GM Foods Help Alleviate The World Food Crisis?

The root cause of hunger is not a lack of food, but a lack of access to food. The poor have no money to buy food and increasingly, no land on which to grow it. Hunger is fundamentally a social, political, and economic problem, which GM technology cannot address.

gm crops GM-quote.jpg

Recent reports from the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization have identified the biofuels boom as the main cause of the current food crisis46 47. But GM crop producers and distributors continue to promote the expansion of biofuels. This suggests that their priority is to make a profit, not to feed the world.

GM companies focus on producing cash crops for animal feed and biofuels for affluent countries, not food for people.

GM crops contribute to the expansion of industrial agriculture and the decline of the small farmer around the world. This is a serious development as there is abundant evidence that small farms are more efficient than large ones, producing more crops per hectare of land48 49 50 51 52.

Do GM Crops Increase Yield Potential?

At best, GM crops have performed no better than their non-GM counterparts, with GM soya beans giving consistently lower yields for over a decade54. Controlled comparative field trials of GM/non-GM soya suggest that 50% of the drop in yield is due to the genetic disruptive effect of the GM transformation process55. Similarly, field tests of Bt insecticide-producing maize hybrids showed that they took longer to reach maturity and produced up to 12% lower yields than their non-GM counterpart56.

A US Department of Agriculture report confirms the poor yield performance of GM crops, saying, “GE crops available for commercial use do not increase the yield potential of a variety. In fact, yield may even decrease…. Perhaps the biggest issue raised by these results is how to explain the rapid adoption of GE crops when farm financial impacts appear to be mixed or even negative57.”

The failure of GM to increase yield potential was emphasized in 2008 by the United Nations International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report58. This report on the future of farming, authored by 400 scientists and backed by 58 governments, stated that yields of GM crops were “highly variable” and in some cases, “yields declined”. The report noted, “Assessment of the technology lags behind its development, information is anecdotal and contradictory, and uncertainty about possible benefits and damage is unavoidable.”

Failure To Yield

The definitive study to date on GM crops and yield is “Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops”. Published in 2009, the study is authored by former US EPA and Center for Food Safety scientist, Dr Doug Gurian-Sherman. It is based on published, peer-reviewed studies conducted by academic scientists and using adequate experimental controls.

In the study, Dr Gurian-Sherman distinguishes between intrinsic yield (also called potential yield), defined as the highest yield which can be achieved under ideal conditions, with operational yield, the yield achieved under normal field conditions when the farmer factors in crop reductions due to pests, drought, or other environmental stresses.

The study also distinguishes between effects on yield caused by conventional breeding methods and those caused by GM traits. It has become common for biotech companies to use conventional breeding and marker assisted breeding to produce higher-yielding crops and then finally to engineer in a gene for herbicide tolerance or insect resistance. In such cases, higher yields are not due to genetic engineering but to conventional breeding. “Failure to Yield” teases out these distinctions and analyses what contributions genetic engineering and conventional breeding make to increasing yield.

Based on studies on corn and soybeans, the two most commonly grown GM crops in the United States, the study concludes that genetically engineering herbicide-tolerant soybeans and herbicide-tolerant corn has not increased yields. Insect-resistant corn, meanwhile, has improved yields only marginally. The increase in yields for both crops over the last 13 years, the report finds, was largely due to traditional breeding or improvements in agricultural practices.

The author concludes: “commercial GE crops have made no inroads so far into raising the intrinsic or potential yield of any crop. By contrast, traditional breeding has been spectacularly successful in this regard; it can be solely credited with the intrinsic yield increases in the United States and other parts of the world that characterized the agriculture of the twentieth century.”59

Critics of the study have objected that it does not use data from developing countries. The Union of Concerned Scientists responds that there are few peer-reviewed papers evaluating the yield contribution of GM crops in developing countries – not enough to draw clear and reliable conclusions. However, the most widely grown food/feed crop in developing countries, herbicide-tolerant soybeans, offers some hints. Data from Argentina, which has grown more GM soybeans than any other developing country, suggest that yields for GM varieties are the same or lower than for conventional non-GE soybeans.60

“If we are going to make headway in combating hunger due to overpopulation and climate change, we will need to increase crop yields,” says Dr Gurian-Sherman. “Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down.”61

If GM cannot improve intrinsic (potential) yield even in the affluent United States, where high-input, irrigated, heavily subsidized farming is the norm, it would seem irresponsible to assume that it would improve yields in the developing world, where increased food production is most needed. Initiatives promoting GM crops for the developing world are experimental and appear to be founded on expectations that are not consistent with data obtained in the West.

In the West, crop failure is often underwritten by governments, which bail out farmers with compensation. Such support systems are rare in the developing world. There, farmers may literally bet their farms and their entire livelihoods on a crop. Failure can have severe consequences.

Three GM Crops For Africa

GM sweet potato The virus-resistant sweet potato has been the ultimate GM showcase project for Africa, generating a vast amount of global media coverage. Florence Wambugu, the Monsanto trained scientist fronting the project, has been proclaimed an African heroine and the savior of millions, based on her claims about the GM sweet potato doubling output in Kenya. Forbes magazine even declared her one of a tiny handful of people around the globe who would “reinvent the future”.62 It eventually emerged, however, that the claims being made for the GM sweet potato were untrue, with field trial results showing the GM crop to be a failure.63 64

In contrast with the unproven GM sweet potato variety, a successful conventional breeding program in Uganda had produced a new high-yielding variety which is virus resistant and has “raised yields by roughly 100%”. The Ugandan project achieved success at a small cost and in just a few years. The GM sweet potato, in contrast, in over 12 years in the making, consumed funding from Monsanto, the World Bank, and USAID to the tune of $6 million.65

GM Cassava

The potential of genetic engineering to massively boost the production of cassava – one of Africa’s most important foods – by defeating a devastating virus has been heavily promoted since the mid-1990s. There has even been talk of GM solving hunger in Africa by increasing cassava yields as much as tenfold.66 But almost nothing appears to have been achieved. Even after it became clear that the GM cassava had suffered a major technical failure67, media stories continued to appear about its curing hunger in Africa.68 69 Meanwhile, conventional (non-GM) plant breeding has quietly produced virus resistant cassavas that are already making a remarkable difference in farmers’ fields, even under drought conditions.70

Bt Cotton

In Makhatini, South Africa, often cited as the showcase Bt cotton project for small farmers, 100,000 hectares were planted with Bt cotton in 1998. By 2002, that had crashed to 22,500 hectares, an 80% reduction in 4 years. By 2004, 85% of farmers who used to grow Bt cotton had given up. The farmers found pest problems and no increase in yield. Those farmers who still grew the crop did so at a loss, continuing only because the South African government subsidized the project and there was a guaranteed market for the cotton.71

A study published in Crop Protection journal concluded, “cropping Bt cotton in Makhathini Flats did not generate sufficient income to expect a tangible and sustainable socioeconomic improvement due to the way the crop is currently managed. Adoption of an innovation like Bt cotton seems to pay only in an agro-system with a sufficient level of intensification.”72

How Will Climate Change Impact Agriculture?

Industrial agriculture is a major contributor to global warming, producing up to 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, and some methods of increasing yield can exacerbate this negative impact. For example, crops that achieve higher intrinsic yield often need more fossil fuel based nitrogen fertilizer, some of which is converted by soil microbes into nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas nearly 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Minimizing global agriculture’s future climate impact will require investment in systems of agriculture less dependent on industrial fertilizers and agroecological methods of improving soil water-holding capacity and resilience.

GM seeds are created by agrochemical companies and are heavily dependent on costly external inputs such as synthetic fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides. It would seem risky to promote such crops in the face of climate change.

Peak Oil & Agriculture

According to some analysts, peak oil, when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, has already arrived. This will have drastic effects on the type of agriculture we practice. GM crops are designed to be used with synthetic herbicides and fertilizers. But synthetic pesticides are made from oil and synthetic fertilizer from natural gas. Both these fossil fuels are running out fast, as are phosphates, a major ingredient of synthetic fertilizers.

Farming based on the current US GM and chemical model that depends on these fossil fuel-based inputs will become increasingly expensive and unsustainable. The statistics tell the story:

In the US food system, 10 kcal of fossil energy is required for every kcal of food consumed.73

• Approximately 7.2 quads of fossil energy are consumed in the production of crops and livestock in the U.S. each year.74 75

• Approximately 8 million kcal/ha are required to produce an average corn crop and other similar crops.76

• Two-thirds of the energy used in crop production is for fertilizers and mechanization.77

Proven technologies that can reduce the amount of fossil energy used in farming include reducing fertilizer applications, selecting farm machinery appropriate for each task, managing soil for conservation, limiting irrigation, and organic farming techniques.78

In the Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trial (FST), a comparative analysis of energy inputs conducted by Dr David Pimentel of Cornell University found that organic farming systems use just 63% of the energy required by conventional farming systems, largely because of the massive amounts of energy required to synthesize nitrogen fertilizer, followed by herbicide production.79

Studies show that the low-input organic model of farming works well in African countries. The Tigray project in Ethiopia, part-funded by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), compared yields from the application of compost and chemical fertilizer in farmers’ fields over six years. The results showed that compost can replace chemical fertilizers and that it increased yields by more than 30 percent on average. As side-benefits to using compost, the farmers noticed that the crops had better resistance to pests and disease and that there was a reduction in “difficult weeds”.80

GM Crops & Climate Change

Climate change brings sudden, extreme, and unpredictable changes in weather. If we are to survive, the crop base needs to be as flexible, resilient and diverse as possible. GM technology offers just the opposite – a narrowing of crop diversity and an inflexible technology that requires years and millions of dollars in investment for each new variety.

Each GM crop is tailor-made to fit a particular niche. With climate change, no one knows what kind of niches will exist and where. The best way to insure against the destructive effects of climate change is to plant a wide variety of highperforming crops that are genetically diverse.

GM companies have patented plant genes that they believe are involved in tolerance to drought, heat, flooding, and salinity – but have not succeeded in using these genes to produce a single new crop with these properties. This is because these functions are highly complex and involve many different genes working together in a precisely regulated way. It is beyond existing GM technology to engineer crops with these sophisticated, delicately regulated gene networks for improved tolerance traits.

Conventional natural cross-breeding, which works holistically, is much better adapted to achieving this aim, using the many varieties of virtually every common crop that tolerate drought, heat, flooding, and salinity.

In addition, advances in plant breeding have been made using marker-assisted selection (MAS), a largely uncontroversial branch of biotechnology that can speed up the natural breeding process by identifying important genes. MAS does not involve the risks and uncertainties of genetic engineering.

The controversies that exist around MAS relate to gene patenting issues. It is important for developing countries to consider the implications of patent ownership relating to such crops.

Non-GM Successes For Niche Crops

If it is accepted that niche speciality crops may be useful in helping adaptation to climate change, there are better ways of creating them than genetic engineering. Conventional breeding and marker-assisted selection have produced many advances in breeding speciality crops, though these have garnered only a fraction of the publicity given to often speculative claims of GM miracles.

An example of such a non-GM success is the “Snorkel” rice that adapts to flooding by growing longer stems, preventing the crop from drowning.81 While genetic engineering was used as a research tool to identify the desirable genes, only conventional breeding – guided by Marker Assisted Selection – was used to generate the Snorkel rice line. Snorkel rice is entirely non-GM. This is an excellent example of how the whole range of biotechnology tools, including GM, can be used most effectively to work with the natural breeding process to develop new crops that meet the critical needs of today.

Are GM Crops Environmentally Friendly?

Two kinds of GM crops dominate the marketplace:

• Crops that resist broad-spectrum (kill-all) herbicides such as Roundup. These are claimed to enable farmers to spray herbicide less frequently to kill weeds but without killing the crop

• Crops that produce the insecticide Bt toxin. These are claimed to reduce farmers’ need for chemical insecticide sprays.

Both claims require further analysis.

GM Crops & Herbicide Use

The most commonly grown herbicide-resistant GM crops are engineered to be resistant to Roundup. But the increasing use of Roundup has led to the appearance of numerous weeds resistant to this herbicide82. Roundup resistant weeds are now common and include pigweed83, ryegrass84, and marestail85. As a result, in the US, an initial drop in average herbicide use after GM crops were introduced has been followed by a large increase as farmers were forced to change their farming practices to kill weeds that had developed resistance to Roundup86 87. Farmers have increased radically the amounts of Roundup applied to their fields and are being advised to use increasingly powerful mixtures of multiple herbicides and not Roundup alone88 89.

All of these chemicals are toxic and a threat to both the farmers who apply them and the people and livestock that eat the produce. This is the case even for Roundup, which has been shown to have a range of damaging cellular effects indicating toxicity at levels similar to those found on crops engineered to be resistant to the herbicide90.

A Canadian government study in 2001 showed that after just 4-5 years of commercial growing, herbicide-resistant GM oilseed rape (canola) had cross-pollinated to create “superweeds” resistant to up to three different broadspectrum herbicides. These superweeds have become a serious problem for farmers both within91 92 and outside their fields93.

In addition, GM oilseed rape has also been found to crosspollinate with and pass on its herbicide resistant genes to related wild plants, for example, charlock and wild radish/turnip. This raises the possibility that these too may become superweeds and difficult for farmers to control94. The industry’s response has been to recommend use of higher amounts and complex mixtures of herbicides95 96 and to start developing crops resistant to additional or multiple herbicides. These developments are clearly creating a chemical treadmill that would be especially undesirable for farmers in developing countries.

Insecticide-Producing GM Crops

Bt insecticide-producing GM crops have led to resistance in pests, resulting in rising chemical applications97 98 99.

In China and India, Bt cotton was initially effective in suppressing the boll weevil. But secondary pests, especially mirids and mealy bugs, that are highly resistant to Bt toxin, soon took its place. The farmers suffered massive crop losses and had to apply costly pesticides, wiping out their profit margins100 101 102 103. Such developments are likely to be more damaging to farmers in developing countries, who cannot afford expensive inputs.

The claim that Bt GM crops reduce pesticide use is disingenuous, since Bt crops are in themselves pesticides. Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen, France states: “Bt plants, in fact, are designed to produce toxins to repel pests. Bt brinjal (eggplant/aubergine) produces a very high quantity of 16-17mg toxin per kg. They affect animals. Unfortunately, tests to ascertain their effect on humans have not been conducted.”104

GM Crops & Wildlife

Farm-scale trials sponsored by the UK government showed that the growing of herbicide-resistant GM crops (sugar beet, oilseed rape) can reduce wildlife populations105 106.

The Case Of Argentina

In Argentina, the massive conversion of agriculture to GM soya production has had disastrous effects on rural social and economic structures. It has damaged food security and caused a range of environmental problems, including the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds, soil depletion, and increased pests and diseases107 108.

GM Crops, Non-Target Insects & Organisms

Bt insecticide-producing GM crops harm non-target insect populations, including butterflies109 110 111 and beneficial pest predators112. Bt insecticide released from GM crops can also be toxic to water life113 and soil organisms114. One study reveals more negative than positive impacts on beneficial insects from GM Bt insecticide-producing crops.115

Can GM & Non-GM Crops Co-Exist?

The biotech industry argues that farmers should be able to choose to plant GM crops if they wish. It says GM and non-GM crops can peacefully “co-exist”. But experience in North America has shown that “coexistence” of GM and non-GM crops rapidly results in widespread contamination of non-GM crops.

This not only has significant agroecological effects, but also serious economic effects, damaging the ability of organic farmers to receive premiums, and blocking export markets to countries that have strict regulations regarding GM contamination.

Contamination occurs through cross-pollination, spread of GM seed by farm machinery, and inadvertent mixing during storage. The entry of GM crops into a country removes choice – everyone is gradually forced to grow GM crops or to have their non-GM crop contaminated.

Here are a few examples of GM contamination incidents:

• In 2006 GM rice grown for only one year in field trials was found to have widely contaminated the US rice supply and seed stocks116. Contaminated rice was found as far away as Africa, Europe, and Central America. In March 2007 Reuters reported that US rice export sales were down by around 20 percent from those of the previous year as a result of the GM contamination117.

• In Canada, contamination from GM oilseed rape has made it virtually impossible to cultivate organic, nonGM oilseed rape118

• US courts reversed the approval of GM alfalfa because it threatened the existence of non-GM alfalfa through cross-pollination119

• Organic maize production in Spain has dropped significantly as the acreage of GM maize production has increased, because of cross-pollination problems120

• In 2009, the Canadian flax seed export market to Europe collapsed following the discovery of widespread contamination with an unauthorized GM variety121.

• In 2007 alone, there were 39 new instances of GM contamination in 23 countries, and 216 incidents have been reported since 2005122.

Alternatives To GM

Many authoritative sources, including the IAASTD report on the future of agriculture123, have found that GM crops have little to offer global agriculture and the challenges of poverty, hunger and climate change, because better alternatives are available. These go by many names, including integrated pest management (IPM), organic, sustainable, low-input, non-chemical pest management (NPM) and agroecological farming, but extend beyond the boundaries of any particular category. Projects employing these sustainable strategies in the developing world have produced dramatic increases in yields and food security124 125 126 127 128 129.

Strategies employed include:

• Sustainable, low-input, energy-saving practices that conserve and build soil, conserve water, and enhance natural pest resistance and resilience in crops

• Innovative farming methods that minimize or eliminate costly chemical pesticides and fertilizers

• Use of thousands of traditional varieties of each major food crop, which are naturally adapted to stresses such as drought, heat, harsh weather conditions, flooding, salinity, poor soil, and pests and diseases130

• Use of existing crops and their wild relatives in traditional breeding programs to develop varieties with useful traits

• Programs that enable farmers to cooperatively preserve and improve traditional seeds

• Use of beneficial and holistic aspects of modern biotechnology, such as Marker Assisted Selection (MAS), which uses the latest genetic knowledge to speed up traditional breeding131. Unlike GM technology, MAS can safely produce new varieties of crops with valuable, genetically complex properties such as enhanced nutrition, taste, yield potential, resistance to pests and diseases, and tolerance to drought, heat, salinity, and flooding132.

Organic & Low-Input Methods Improve Yields In Africa

There seems little reason to gamble with the livelihoods of poor farmers by persuading them to grow experimental GM crops when tried-and-tested, inexpensive methods of increasing food production are readily available. Several recent studies have shown that low-input methods such as organic can dramatically improve yields in African countries, along with other benefits. Such methods have the advantage of being knowledge-based rather than costly input-based. As a result they are more accessible to poor farmers than the more expensive technologies (which often have not helped in the past).

A 2008 United Nations report, “Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa”, looked at 114 farming projects in 24 African countries and found that organic or near-organic practices resulted in a yield increase of more than 100 percent. In East Africa, a yield increase of 128 percent was found.133 The Foreword to the study states: “The evidence presented in this study supports the argument that organic agriculture can be more conducive to food security in Africa than most conventional production systems, and that it is more likely to be sustainable in the long term.”134

Organic & Low-Input Methods Improve Farmer Incomes In Developing Countries

Poverty is a major contributory factor to food insecurity. According to the 2008 United Nations report, “Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa”, organic farming has a positive impact on poverty in a variety of ways. Farmers benefit from:

• cash savings, as organic farming does not require costly pesticides and fertilizers;

• extra incomes gained by selling the surplus produce (resulting from the change to organic);

• premium prices for certified organic produce, obtained primarily in Africa for export but also for domestic markets; and

• added value to organic products through processing activities.

These findings are backed up by studies from Asia and Latin America that concluded that organic farming can reduce poverty in an environmentally friendly way.135

A recent study found that certified organic farms involved in production for export were significantly more profitable than those involved in conventional production (in terms of net farm income earnings).136 Of these cases, 87 per cent showed increases in farmer and household incomes as a result of becoming organic, which contributed to reducing poverty levels and to increasing regional food security.

Who Owns The Technology?

In considering which agricultural technologies will most benefit the developing world, it is crucial to ask who owns those technologies. The “Gene Revolution” that is proposed for Africa will be rolled out via public-private partnerships. The public side of such partnerships will be provided by Africa, whereas the private side will be provided by biotechnology companies based in the United States and Europe.

The transgenes used in creating GM crops are patented and owned by biotech companies. In the United States and Canada, companies have launched lawsuits against farmers whose crops were alleged to contain a company’s patented GM genes. Farmers’ claims that they have not intentionally planted GM crops have proved no defense in court against large fines being imposed.

When farmers buy GM seed, they sign a technology agreement promising not to save and replant seed. They have to buy new seed each year from the biotech company, thus transferring control of food production from farmers to seed companies. Consolidation of the seed industry increasingly means that farmers have little choice but to buy GM seed. Centuries of farmer knowledge that went into creating locally adapted and varied seed stocks are wiped out.

In contrast, low-input and organic farming methods do not involve patented technologies. Control of food production remains in the hands of farmers, keeping farmer skills alive and favoring food security.

Conclusion

GM crop technologies do not offer significant benefits. On the contrary, they present risks to human and animal health, the environment, farmers, food security, and export markets. There is no convincing reason to take such risks with the livelihoods of farmers when proven successful and widely acceptable alternatives are readily and cheaply available. These alternatives will maintain the independence of the food supply from foreign multinational control and offer the best insurance against the challenges of climate change.

Blank
References:

1. The Mutational Consequences of Plant Transformation. Latham
J.R. et al. J Biomed Biotech. 2006, Article ID 25376, 1-7, 2006.
2. Transformation-induced mutations in transgenic plants: Analysis
and biosafety implications. Wilson A.K. et al. Biotechnol Genet Eng
Rev., 23: 209-234, 2006.
3. Safety testing and regulation of genetically engineered foods. Freese
W and Schubert D. Biotechnol Genet Eng Rev., 21: 299-324, 2004.
4. GMO in animal nutrition: potential benefits and risks. Pusztai A.
and Bardocz S. In: Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals, eds. R.
Mosenthin, J. Zentek and T. Zebrowska, Elsevier Limited, pp. 513-
540, 2006.
5. Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human
gastrointestinal tract. Netherwood T. et al. Nat Biotech., 22: 204-
209, 2004.
6. Experts Weigh In: Will Trans Fat Bans Affect Obesity Trends? Meir
Stampfer. DOC News, Volume 4 (Number 5): p. 1, 1 May 2007.
7. Food related illness and death in the United States. Mead P.S. et al.
Emerging Infectious Diseases, 5: 607-625, 1999.
8. Food Safety – Contaminants and Toxins. Unpublished study
reviewed in J.P.F. D’Mello, CABI Publishing, 2003.
9. Fine structural analysis of pancreatic acinar cell nuclei from mice fed
on GM soybean. Malatesta M. et al. Eur J Histochem., 47: 385-388, 2003.
10. Ultrastructural morphometrical and immunocytochemical
analyses of hepatocyte nuclei from mice fed on genetically modified
soybean. Malatesta M et al. Cell Struct Funct., 27: 173-180, 2002.
11. Ultrastructural analysis of testes from mice fed on genetically
modified soybean. Vecchio L. et al. Eur J Histochem., 48: 448-454, 2004.
12. Transgenic expression of bean alpha-amylase inhibitor in peas
results in altered structure and immunogenicity. Prescott V.E. et al. J
Agric Food Chem., 53: 9023-9030, 2005.
13. Biotechnology Consultation Note to the File BNF No 00077.
Office of Food Additive Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied
Nutrition, US Food and Drug Administration, 4 September 2002.
14. GMO in animal nutrition: potential benefits and risks. Pusztai
A. and Bardocz S. In: Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals, eds.
R. Mosenthin, J. Zentek and T. Zebrowska, Elsevier Limited, pp. 513-
540, 2006.
15. Effects of diets containing genetically modified potatoes
expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine. Ewen S.W.
and Pusztai A. The Lancet, 354: 1353-1354, 1999.
16. New analysis of a rat feeding study with a genetically modified
maize reveals signs of hepatorenal toxicity. Séralini, G.-E. et al. Arch.
Environ Contam Toxicol., 52: 596-602, 2007.
17. A three generation study with genetically modified Bt corn in
rats: Biochemical and histopathological investigation. Kilic A and
Akay MT. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 46: 1164-1170, 2008.
18. Intestinal and Peripheral Immune Response to MON810 Maize
Ingestion in Weaning and Old Mice. Finamore A et al. J. Agric. Food
Chem., 56: 11533-11539, 2008.
19. Biological effects of transgenic maize NK603xMON810 fed
in long term reproduction studies in mice. Velimirov A et al.
Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, Familie und Jugend Report,
Forschungsberichte der Sektion IV Band 3/2008, Austria, 2008.
http://bmgfj.cms.apa.at/cms/site/attachments/3/2/9/ CH0810/
CMS1226492832306/forschungsbericht_3-2008_letztfassung.pdf
20. A long-term study on female mice fed on a genetically modified
soybean: effects on liver ageing. Malatesta M. et al. Histochem Cell
Biol., 130: 967-977, 2008.
21. Genetically modified soya bean in rabbit feeding: detection of
DNA fragments and evaluation of metabolic effects by enzymatic
analysis. R. Tudisco et al. Animal Science, 82: 193-199, 2006.
22. A three-year longitudinal study on the effects of a diet
containing genetically modified Bt176 maize on the health status
and performance of sheep. Trabalza-Marinucci M. et al. Livestock
Science, 113: 178-190, 2008.
23. Fate of genetically modified maize DNA in the oral cavity and
rumen of sheep. Duggan P.S. et al. Br J Nutr., 89: 159-166, 2003.
24. Detection of genetically modified DNA sequences in milk from the
Italian market. Agodi A. et al. Int J Hyg Environ Health, 209: 81-88, 2006.25. Assessing the transfer of genetically modified DNA from feed to
animal tissues. Mazza R. et al. Transgenic Res., 14: 775-784, 2005.
26. Detection of Transgenic and Endogenous Plant DNA in Digesta
and Tissues of Sheep and Pigs Fed Roundup Ready Canola Meal.
Mazza R. et al. J Agric Food Chem. 54: 1699-1709, 2006.
27. How Subchronic and Chronic Health Effects can be Neglected
for GMOs, Pesticides or Chemicals. Séralini, G-E, et al. International
Journal of Biological Sciences, 2009; 5(5):438-443.
28. How Subchronic and Chronic Health Effects can be Neglected
for GMOs, Pesticides or Chemicals. Séralini, G-E, et al. International
Journal of Biological Sciences, 2009; 5(5):438-443.
29. Under wraps – Are the crop industry’s strong-arm tactics and
close-fisted attitude to sharing seeds holding back independent
research and undermining public acceptance of transgenic crops?
Waltz, E., Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 27, No. 10, October 2009.
30. Crop Scientists Say Biotechnology Seed Companies Are
Thwarting Research. Pollack, A., New York Times, 20 February 2009.
31. The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science –
Part 1: The Development of a Flawed Enterprise. Lotter, D., Int. Jrnl.
of Soc. of Agr. & Food, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2007, pp. 31–49.
32. The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science
– Part 2: Academic Capitalism and the Loss of Scientific Integrity.
Lotter, D., Int. Jrnl. of Soc. of Agr. & Food, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2008, pp.
50–68.
33. Biotech proponents aggressively attack independent research
papers: GM crops: Battlefield. Waltz, E., Nature 461, 2009, 27–32.
34. Alterations in clinically important phytoestrogens in genetically
modified, herbicide-tolerant soybeans. Lappe M.A. et al. J Med Food,
1: 241-245, 1999.
35. Seed-specific overexpression of phytoene synthase: increase in
carotenoids and other metabolic effects. Shewmaker CK et al. Plant
J, 20: 401-412, 1999.
36. Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human
gastrointestinal tract. Netherwood T. et al. Nat Biotech., 22: 204-
209, 2004.
37. The fate of transgenes in the human gut. Heritage J. Nat Biotech.,
22: 170-172, 2004.
38. Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac Protoxin is a Potent Systemic and
Mucosal Adjuvant. Vázquez RI et al. Scand J Immunol., 49: 578-584,
1999.
39. Intragastric and intraperitoneal administration of Cry1Ac
protoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis induces systemic and mucosal
antibody responses in mice. Vázquez-Padrón, RI et al. Life Sci., 64:
1897-1912, 1999.
40. Cry1Ac Protoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis sp. kurstaki HD73
Binds to Surface Proteins in the Mouse Small Intestine. VázquezPadrón,
RI et al. Biochem Biophys Res Comm., 271: 54-58, 2000.
41. Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome and tryptophan production: a
cautionary tale. Mayeno A.N and Gleich G.J. Tibtech, 12: 346-352,
1994.
42. Identification of a Brazil-nut allergen in transgenic soybeans.
Nordlee J.E. et al. N England J Med., 334: 688-692, 1996.
43. GMO in animal nutrition: potential benefits and risks. Pusztai
A. and Bardocz S. In: Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals, eds.
R. Mosenthin, J. Zentek and T. Zebrowska, Elsevier Limited, pp. 513-
540, 2006.
44. Effects of diets containing genetically modified potatoes
expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine. Ewen S.W.
and Pusztai A. The Lancet, 354: 1353-1354, 1999.
45. Transgenic expression of bean alpha-amylase inhibitor in peas
results in altered structure and immunogenicity. Prescott V.E. et al. J
Agric Food Chem., 53: 9023-9030, 2005.
46. A Note on Rising Food Prices. Donald Mitchell. World Bank
report, 2008. http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Environment/
documents/2008/07/10/Biofuels.PDF
47. Soaring Food Prices: Facts, Perspectives, Impacts and Actions
Required. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation
conference and report, Rome, 3-5 June 2008. http://www.fao.org/
fileadmin/user_upload/foodclimate/HLCdocs/HLC08-inf-1-E.pdf
48. Small Is Beautiful: Evidence of Inverse Size Yield Relationship
in Rural Turkey. Ünal, FG. The Levy Economics Institute of Bard
College, October 2006, updated December 2008. http://www.levy.
org/pubs/wp_551.pdf.
49. Farm Size, Land Yields and the Agricultural Production function:
An Analysis for Fifteen Developing Countries. Cornia, G. World
Development, 13: 513-34, 1985.
50. Rural market imperfections and the farm size-productivity
relationship: Evidence from Pakistan. Heltberg, R. World
Development 26: 1807-1826, 1998.
51. Is there a future for small farms? Hazell, P. Agricultural
Economics, 32: 93-101, 2005.
52. Is Small Beautiful? Farm Size, Productivity and Poverty in Asian
Agriculture. Fan S and Chan-Kang C. Agricultural Economics, 32:
135-146, 2005.
53. Hope for Africa lies in political reforms. Daniel Howden, Africa
correspondent, The Independent (London), 8 September 2008,
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/danielhowden-hope-for-africa-lies-in-political-reforms-922487.html
54. Evidence of the Magnitude and Consequences of the Roundup
Ready Soybean Yield Drag from University-Based Varietal Trials in
1998. Benbrook C. Benbrook Consulting Services Sandpoint, Idaho.
Ag BioTech InfoNet Technical Paper, Number 1, 13 Jul 1999. http://
www.mindfully.org/GE/RRS-Yield-Drag.htm
55. Glyphosate-resistant soyabean cultivar yields compared with
sister lines. Elmore R.W. et al. Agronomy Journal, 93: 408-412, 2001.
56. Development, yield, grain moisture and nitrogen uptake of
Bt corn hybrids and their conventional near-isolines. Ma B.L. and
Subedi K.D. Field Crops Research, 93: 199-211, 2005.
57. The Adoption of Bioengineered Crops. US Department of
Agriculture Report, May 2002, www.ers.usda.gov/publications/
aer810/aer810.pdf.
58. International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and
Technology for Development: Global Summary for Decision Makers
(IAASTD); Beintema, N. et al., 2008. http://www.agassessment.org/
index.cfm?Page=IAASTD%20Reports&ItemID=2713
59. Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically
Engineered Crops. Doug Gurian-Sherman. Union of Concerned
Scientists, April 2009, p. 13
60. Roundup ready Soybeans in Argentina: farm level and aggregate
welfare effects. Qaim, M. and G. Traxler. 2005. Agricultural Economics
32: 73–86.
61. Doug Gurian-Sherman, quoted on Union of Concerned
Scientists website, http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/
science_and_impacts/science/failure-to-yield.html.
62. Millions served. Lynn J. Cook. Forbes magazine, 23 December
2002.
63. GM technology fails local potatoes. Gatonye Gathura. The Daily
Nation (Kenya), 29 January 2004.
64. Monsanto’s showcase project in Africa fails. New Scientist, Vol.
181, No. 2433, 7 February 2004.
65. Genetically modified crops and sustainable poverty alleviation
in sub-Saharan Africa: An assessment of current evidence. Aaron
deGrassi. Third World Network-Africa, June 2003.66. Plant Researchers Offer Bumper Crop of Humanity. Martha
Groves. LA Times, 26 December 1997.
67. Danforth Center cassava viral resistance update. Donald
Danforth Plant Science Center, 30 June 2006.
68. Can biotech from St. Louis solve hunger in Africa? Kurt
Greenbaum. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 9 December 2006.
69. St. Louis team fights crop killer in Africa. Eric Hand. St. Louis
Post-Dispatch, 10 December 2006.
70. Farmers get better yields from new drought-tolerant cassava.
IITA, 3 November 2008; Cassava’s comeback. United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organisation, 13 November 2008.
71. A Disaster in Search of Success: Bt Cotton in Global South. Film
by Community Media Trust, Pastapur, and Deccan Development
Society, Hyderabad, India, February 2007.
72. Impact of Bt cotton adoption on pesticide use by smallholders:
A 2-year survey in Makhatini Flats (South Africa). Hofs, J-L, et al.
Crop Protection, Volume 25, Issue 9, September 2006, pp. 984–988.
73. Food, energy and society. Pimentel, D., and M. Pimentel. Niwot:
Colorado University Press, 1996. Cited in Energy efficiency and
conservation for individual Americans. D. Pimentel, Environ Dev
Sustain, 1996.
74. Energy and economic inputs in crop production: Comparison
of developed, developing countries. Pimentel, D., Doughty, R.,
Carothers, C., Lamberson, S., Bora, N., & Lee, K. In L. Lal, D. Hansen,
N. Uphoff, & S. Slack (Eds.), Food security & environmental quality in
the developing world (pp. 129–151). Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2002.
75. U.S. energy conservation and efficiency: Benefits and costs.
Pimentel, D., Pleasant, A., Barron, J., Gaudioso, J., Pollock, N., Chae,
E., Kim, Y., Lassiter, A., Schiavoni, C., Jackson, A., Lee, M., & Eaton, A.
Environment Development and Sustainability, 6, 279–305, 2004.
76. Ethanol production using corn, switchgrass, and wood; and
biodiesel production using soybean and sunflower. Pimentel, D., &
Patzek, T. Natural Resources Research, 14(1), 65–76, 2005.
77. Energy and economic inputs in crop production: Comparison
of developed, developing countries. Pimentel, D., Doughty, R.,
Carothers, C., Lamberson, S., Bora, N., & Lee, K. In L. Lal, D. Hansen,
N. Uphoff, & S. Slack (Eds.), Food security & environmental quality in
the developing world (pp. 129–151). Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2002.
78. Energy efficiency and conservation for individual Americans. D.
Pimentel et al. Environ Dev Sustain., Vol. 11, No. 3, June 2009.
79. Environmental, Energetic, and Economic Comparisons of
Organic and Conventional Farming Systems. Pimentel, D. et al.
Bioscience, Vol. 55, No. 7, July 2005, pp. 573–582, http://www.bioone.
org/doi/full/10.1641/0006-3568(2005)055%5B0573%3AEEAECO%5
D2.0.CO%3B2#references
80. The impact of compost use on crop yields in Tigray,
Ethiopia. Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD). Edwards,
S. Proceedings of the International Conference on Organic
Agriculture and Food Security. FAO, Rom, 2007, ftp://ftp.fao.org/paia/
organicag/ofs/02-Edwards.pdf.
81. The ethylene response factors SNORKEL1 and SNORKEL2
allow rice to adapt to deep water. Hattori, Y. et al. Nature, Vol 460,
20 August 2009: 1026–1030.
82. Glyphosate-Resistant Weeds: Current Status and Future
Outlook. Nandula V.K. et al. Outlooks on Pest Management, August
2005: 183–187.
83. Syngenta module helps manage glyphosate-resistant weeds.
Delta Farm Press, 30 May 2008, http://deltafarmpress.com/mag/
farming_syngenta_module_helps/index.html.
84. Resistant ryegrass populations rise in Mississippi. Robinson R.
Delta Farm Press, Oct 30, 2008. http://deltafarmpress.com/wheat/
resistant-ryegrass-1030/
85. Glyphosate Resistant Horseweed (Marestail) Found in 9 More
Indiana Counties. Johnson B and Vince Davis V. Pest & Crop, 13
May 2005. http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/pestcrop/2005/issue8/
index.html
86. Genetically Engineered Crops and Pesticide Use in the United
States: The First Nine Years. Benbrook CM. BioTech InfoNet
Technical Paper Number 7, October 2004. http://www.biotech-info.
net/Full_version_first_nine.pdf
87. Agricultural Pesticide Use in US Agriculture. Center for Food
Safety, May 2008, www.centerforfoodsafety.org/pubs/USDA%20
NASS%20Backgrounder-FINAL.pdf.
88. A Little Burndown Madness. Nice G et al. Pest & Crop, 7 Mar
2008. http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/pestcrop/2008/issue1/
index.html
89. To slow the spread of glyphosate resistant marestail, always
apply with 2,4-D. Pest & Crop, issue 23, 2006. http://extension.entm.
purdue.edu/pestcrop/2006/issue23/table1.html
90. Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in
Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells. Benachour, N. and
Gilles-Eric Séralini. Chem. Res. Toxicol., 2009, 22 (1), pp 97–105.
91. Genetically-modified superweeds “not uncommon”. Randerson
J. New Scientist, 05 February 2002. http://www.newscientist.com/
article/dn1882-geneticallymodified-superweeds-not-uncommon.html
92. Elements of Precaution: Recommendations for the Regulation
of Food Biotechnology in Canada. An Expert Panel Report on the
Future of Food Biotechnology prepared by The Royal Society of
Canada at the request of Health Canada Canadian Food Inspection
Agency and Environment Canada, 2001. http://www.rsc.ca//files/
publications/ expert_panels/foodbiotechnology/GMreportEN.pdf
93. Gene Flow and Multiple Herbicide Resistance in Escaped Canola
Populations. Knispel AL et al. Weed Science, 56: 72-80, 2008.
94. Do escaped transgenes persist in nature? The case of an
herbicide resistance transgene in a weedy Brassica rapa population.
Warwick SI et al. Molecular Ecology, 17: 1387-1395, 2008.
95. A Little Burndown Madness. Nice G et al. Pest & Crop, 7 Mar
2008. http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/pestcrop/2008/issue1/
index.html
96. To slow the spread of glyphosate resistant marestail, always
apply with 2,4-D. Pest & Crop, issue 23, 2006. http://extension.entm.
purdue.edu/pestcrop/2006/issue23/table1.html
97. First report of field resistance by the stem borer, Busseola fusca
(Fuller) to Bt-transgenic maize. Rensburg J.B.J. S. Afr J Plant Soil., 24:
147-151, 2007.
98. Resistance of sugarcane borer to Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ab
toxin. Huang F et al. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 124:
117-123, 2007.
99. Insect resistance to Bt crops: evidence versus theory. Tabashnik
BE et al. Nat Biotech., 26: 199-202, 2008.
100. Transgenic cotton drives insect boom. Pearson H. NatureNews.
Published online 25 July 2006. http://www.nature.com/
news/2006/060724/full/news060724-5.html
101. Bt-cotton and secondary pests. Wang S et al. Int. J.
Biotechnology, 10: 113-121, 2008.
102. India: Bt cotton devastated by secondary pests. Bhaskar
Goswami. Grain, 01 Sept 2007. http://www.grain.org/
btcotton/?id=398
103. Bt cotton not pest resistant. Gur Kirpal Singh Ashk. The Times
of India, 24 Aug 2007, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/
Bt_cotton_not_pest_resistant/articleshow/2305806.cms
104. Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini, in an interview with Savvy Soumya
Misra, Down to Earth, 15 April 2009, http://downtoearth.org.in/full6.
asp?foldername=20091031&filename=inv&sec_id=14&sid=1105. Transgenic crops take another knock. Giles J. NatureNews,
published online: 21 March 2005. http://www.nature.com/
news/2005/050321/full/050321-2.html
106. Effects on weed and invertebrate abundance and diversity of
herbicide management in genetically modified herbicide-tolerant
winter-sown oilseed rape. Bohan DA et al. Proc R Soc B, 272: 463-
474, 2005.
107. Argentina’s bitter harvest. Branford S. New Scientist, 17 April
2004.
108. Rust, resistance, run down soils, and rising costs – Problems
facing soybean producers in Argentina. Benbrook C.M. AgBioTech
InfoNet, Technical Paper No 8, Jan 2005.
109. Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae. Losey J.E. et al.
Nature, 399: 214, 1999.
110. Field deposition of Bt transgenic corn pollen: lethal effects on
the monarch butterfly. Hansen L. C. and J. Obrycki J. Oecologia, 125:
241-245, 2000.
111. The effects of pollen consumption of transgenic Bt maize
on the common swallowtail, Papilio machaon L. (Lepidoptera,
Papilionidae). Lang A and Vojtech E. Basic and Applied Ecology, 7:
296-306, 2006.
112. A meta-analysis of effects of Bt cotton and maize on nontarget
invertebrates. Marvier M. et al. Science, 316: 1475-1477, 2007.
113. Toxins in transgenic crop byproducts may affect headwater
stream ecosystems. Rosi-Marshall E.J. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.
USA, 104: 16204-16208, 2007.
114. Impact of Bt Corn on Rhizospheric and Soil Eubacterial
Communities and on Beneficial Mycorrhizal Symbiosis in
Experimental Microcosms. M. Castaldini M. et al. Appl Environ
Microbiol., 71: 6719-6729, 2005.
115. The impact of transgenic plants on natural enemies: a critical
review of laboratory studies. Lövei, G.L. and S. Arpaia, 2004.
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata vol. 114: 1–14.
116. Risky business: Economic and regulatory impacts from the
unintended release of genetically engineered rice varieties into the
rice merchandising system of the US. Report for Greenpeace, 2007.
117. Mexico Halts US Rice Over GMO Certification. Reuters, 16
March 2007.
118. Organic farmers seek Supreme Court hearing. Press release,
Organic Agriculture Protection Fund Committee, Saskatoon,
Canada, 1 August 2007.
119. The United States District Court for the Northern District
of California. Case 3:06-cv-01075-CRB Document 199 Filed
05/03/2007: Memorandum and Order Re: Permanent Injunction.
120. Coexistence of plants and coexistence of farmers: Is an
individual choice possible? Binimelis, R., Journal of Agricultural and
Environmental Ethics, 21: 437-457, 2008.
121. CDC Triffid Flax Scare Threatens Access To No. 1 EU Market.
Allan Dawson. Manitoba Co-operator, 17 September 2009; Changes
Likely For Flax Industry. Allan Dawson. Manitoba Cooperator, 24
September 2009.
122. Biotech companies fuel GM contamination spread. Greenpeace
International, 29 February 2008. http://www.greenpeace.org/
international/news/gm-ge-contamination-report290208
123. International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge,
Science and Technology for Development: Global Summary
for Decision Makers (IAASTD); Beintema, N. et al., 2008.
http://www.agassessment.org/index.cfm?Page=IAASTD%20
Reports&ItemID=2713
124. Applying Agroecology to Enhance the Productivity of Peasant
Farming Systems in Latin America. Altieri M.A. Environment,
Development and Sustainability, 1: 197-217, 1999.
125. More Productivity with Fewer External Inputs: Central
American Case Studies of Agroecological Development and their
Broader Implications. Bunch R. Environment, Development and
Sustainability, 1: 219-233, 1999.
126. Can Sustainable Agriculture Feed Africa? New Evidence
on Progress, Processes and Impacts. Pretty J. Environment,
Development and Sustainability, 1: 253-274, 1999.
127. Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa. United
Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations
Environment Programme, 2008. http://www.unep-unctad.org/cbtf/
publications/UNCTAD_DITC_TED_2007_15.pdf
128. Ecologising rice-based systems in Bangladesh. Barzman M. &
Das L. ILEIA Newsletter, 2: 16-17, 2000. http://www.leisa.info/index.
php?url=magazine-details.tpl&p[_id]=12434
129. Genetic diversity and disease control in rice. Zhu Y et al.
Nature, 406: 718-722, 2000.
130. Lost Crops of Africa, Vol.1: Grains. National Research
Council (Washington DC, USA) Report, 1996. http://www7.
nationalacademies.org/dsc/LostCropsGrains_Brief.pdf
131. Marker-assisted selection: an approach for precision plant
breeding in the twenty-first century. Collard BCY and Mackill DJ.
Phil Trans R Soc B, 363: 557-572, 2008.
132. Breeding for abiotic stresses for sustainable agriculture.
Witcombe J.R. et al. Phil Trans R Soc B, 363: 703-716, 2008.
133. “Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa”. Foreword by
Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, and Achim
Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP. United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD), 2008, p. 16, http://www.unep-unctad.org/
cbtf/publications/UNCTAD_DITC_TED_2007_15.pdf
134. “Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa”. Foreword by
Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, and Achim
Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP. United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD), 2008, http://www.unep-unctad.org/cbtf/
publications/UNCTAD_DITC_TED_2007_15.pdf
135. Certified organic export production. Implications for economic
welfare and gender equity among smallholder farmers in tropical
Africa. UNCTAD. 2008, http://www.unctad.org/trade_env/test1/
publications/UNCTAD_DITC_TED_2007_7.pdf; The economics
of certified organic farming in tropical Africa: A preliminary
analysis. Gibbon P and Bolwig S. 2007. SIDA DIIS Working Paper
no 2007/3, Subseries on Standards and Agro-Food-Exports (SAFE)
No. 7; Organic Agriculture: A Trade and Sustainable Development
Opportunity for Developing Countries. Twarog. 2006. In UNCTAD.
2006. Trade and Environment Review, UN, 2006, http://www.unctad.
org/en/docs/ditcted200512_en.pdf.
136. The economics of certified organic farming in tropical Africa: A
preliminary analysis. Gibbon P and Bolwig S. 2007. SIDA DIIS Working
Paper no 2007/3, Subseries on Standards and Agro-Food-Exports
(SAFE) No. 7; Certified organic export production. Implications for
economic welfare and gender equity among smallholder farmers in
tropical Africa. UNCTAD. 2008, http://www.unctad.org/trade_env/
test1/publications/UNCTAD_DITC_TED_2007_7.pdf.

Close Accordion
The Health Risks Of Genetically Modified (GM) Foods

The Health Risks Of Genetically Modified (GM) Foods

GMOs: We all know stories of tobacco, asbestos, and DDT. Originally declared safe, they caused widespread death and disease. Although their impact was vast, most of the population was spared. The same cannot be said for sweeping changes in the food supply. Everyone eats; everyone is affected. The increase in several diseases in North America may be due to the profound changes in our diet. The most radical change occurred a little over a decade ago when genetically modified (GM) crops were introduced. Their influence on health has been largely ignored, but recent studies show serious problems. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been linked to thousands of toxic or allergic-type reactions, thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ and system studied in lab animals.1 Nearly every independent animal feeding safety study shows adverse or unexplained effects.

GM foods were made possible by a technology developed in the 1970s whereby genes from one species are forced into the DNA of other species. Genes produce proteins, which in turn can generate characteristics or traits. The promised traits associated with GMOs have been sky high—vegetables growing in the desert, vitamin fortified grains, and highly productive crops feeding the starving millions. None of these are available. In fact, the only two traits that are found in nearly all commericialized GM plants are herbicide tolerance and/or pesticide production.

Herbicide tolerant soy, corn, cotton, and canola plants are engineered with bacterial genes that allow them to survive otherwise deadly doses of herbicides. This gives farmers more flexibility in weeding and gives the GM seed company lots more profit. When farmers buy GM seeds, they sign a contract to buy only that seed producer’s brand of herbicide. Herbicide tolerant crops comprise about 80% of all GM plants. The other 20% are corn and cotton varieties that produce a pesticide in every cell. This is accomplished due to a gene from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt, which produces a natural insect-killing poison called Bt- toxin. In addition to these two traits, there are also disease resistant GM Hawaiian papaya, zucchini and crook neck squash, which comprise well under 1% of GMO acreage.

GMOs: The FDA’s “Non-Regulation” Of GM Foods

GMOs Bell peppersRhetoric from the United States government since the early 1990s proclaims that GM foods are no different from their natural counterparts that have existed for centuries. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has labeled them “Generally Recognized as Safe,” or GRAS. This status allows a product to be commercialized without any additional testing. According to US law, to be considered GRAS the substance must be the subject of a substantial amount of peer-reviewed published studies (or equivalent) and there must be overwhelming consensus among the scientific community that the product is safe. GM foods had neither. Nonetheless, in a precedent-setting move in 1992 that some experts contend was illegal, the FDA declared that GM crops are GRAS as long as their producers say they are. Thus, the FDA does not require any safety evaluations or labeling of GMOs. A company can even introduce a GM food to the market without telling the agency.

Such a lenient approach was largely the result of the influence of large agricultural corporations According to Henry Miller, who had a leading role in biotechnology issues at the FDA from 1979 to 1994, “In this area, the US government agencies have done exactly what big agribusiness has asked them to do and told them to do.”2 The Ag biotech company with the greatest influence was clearly Monsanto. According to the New York Times, “What Monsanto wished for from Washington, Monsanto and, by extension, the biotechnology industry got. . . . When the company abruptly decided that it needed to throw off the regulations and speed its foods to market, the White House quickly ushered through an unusually generous policy of self-policing.”3

This policy was heralded by Vice President Dan Quayle on May 26, 1992. He chaired the Council on Competitiveness, which had identified GM crops as an industry that could boost US exports. To take advantage, Quayle announced “reforms” to “speed up and simplify the process of bringing” GM products to market without “being hampered by unnecessary regulation.”4 Three days later, the FDA policy on non-regulation was unveiled.

The person who oversaw its development was the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Michael Taylor, whose position had been created especially for him in 1991. Prior to that, Taylor was an outside attorney for both Monsanto and the Food Biotechnology Council. After working at the FDA, he became Monsanto’s vice president. The Obama administration has put Talyor back into the FDA as the US Food Safety Czar.

The FDA Covers Up Health Risks

GMOs FDA press conferenceTaylor’s GMO policy needed to create the impression that unintended effects from GM crops were not an issue. Otherwise their GRAS status would be undermined and they would need the extensive testing and labels that are normally required for food additives. But internal memos made public from a lawsuit showed that the overwhelming consensus among the agency scientists was that GM crops can have unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. Various departments and experts spelled these out in detail, listing allergies, toxins, nutritional effects, and new diseases as potential dangers. They urged superiors to require long-term safety studies.5 In spite of the warnings, according to public interest attorney Steven Druker who studied the FDA’s internal files, “References to the unintended negative effects of bioengineering were progressively deleted from drafts of the policy statement (over the protests of agency scientists).”6

FDA microbiologist Louis Pribyl, PhD, wrote about the policy, “What has happened to the scientific elements of this document? Without a sound scientific base to rest on, this becomes a broad, general, ‘What do I have to do to avoid trouble’-type document. . . . It will look like and probably be just a political document. . . . It reads very pro-industry, especially in the area of unintended effects.”7

The scientists’ concerns were not only ignored, their very existence was denied. The official FDA policy stated, “The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.”8 In sharp contrast, an internal FDA report stated, “The processes of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different and according to the technical experts in the agency, they lead to different risks.”9 The FDA’s deceptive notion of no difference was coined “substantial equivalence” and formed the basis of the US government position on GMOs.

Many scientists and organizations have criticized the US position. The National Academy of Sciences and even the pro-GM Royal Society of London10 describe the US system as inadequate and flawed. The editor of the prestigious journal Lancet said, “It is astounding that the US Food and Drug Administration has not changed their stance on genetically modified food adopted in 1992. . . . The policy is that genetically modified crops will receive the same consideration for potential health risks as any other new crop plant. This stance is taken despite good reasons to believe that specific risks may exist. . . . Governments should never have allowed these products into the food chain without insisting on rigorous testing for effects on health.”11 The Royal Society of Canada described substantial equivalence as “scientifically unjustifiable and inconsistent with precautionary regulation of the technology.” 12

GMOs Are Inherently Unsafe

safety signThere are several reasons why GM plants present unique dangers. The first is that the process of genetic engineering itself creates unpredicted alterations, irrespective of which gene is transferred. The gene insertion process, for example, is accomplished by either shooting genes from a “gene gun” into a plate of cells, or using bacteria to infect the cell with foreign DNA. Both create mutations in and around the insertion site and elsewhere.13 The “transformed” cell is then cloned into a plant through a process called tissue culture, which results in additional hundreds or thousands of mutations throughout the plants’ genome. In the end, the GM plant’s DNA can be a staggering 2-4% different from its natural parent.14 Native genes can be mutated, deleted, or permanently turned on or off. In addition, the insertion process causes holistic and not-well-understood changes among large numbers of native genes. One study revealed that up to 5% of the natural genes altered their levels of protein expression as a result of a single insertion.

The Royal Society of Canada acknowledged that “the default prediction” for GM crops would include “a range of collateral changes in expression of other genes, changes in the pattern of proteins produced and/or changes in metabolic activities.”15 Although the FDA scientists evaluating GMOs in 1992 were unaware of the extent to which GM DNA is damaged or changed, they too described the potential consequences. They reported, “The possibility of unexpected, accidental changes in genetically engineered plants” might produce “unexpected high concentrations of plant toxicants.”16 GM crops, they said, might have “increased levels of known naturally occurring toxins,” and the “appearance of new, not previously identified” toxins.17 The same mechanism can also produce allergens, carcinogens, or substances that inhibit assimilation of nutrients.

Most of these problems would pass unnoticed through safety assessments on GM foods, which are largely designed on the false premise that genes are like Legos that cleanly snap into place. But even if we disregard unexpected changes in the DNA for the moment, a proper functioning inserted gene still carries significant risk. Its newly created GM protein, such as the Bt-toxin, may be dangerous for human health (see below). Moreover, even if that protein is safe in its natural organism, once it is transferred into a new species it may be processed differently. A harmless protein may be transformed into a dangerous or deadly version. This happened with at least one GM food crop under development, GM peas, which were destroyed before being commercialized.

FDA scientists were also quite concerned about the possibility of inserted genes spontaneously transferring into the DNA of bacteria inside our digestive tract. They were particularly alarmed at the possibility of antibiotic resistant marker (ARM) genes transferring. ARM genes are employed during gene insertion to help scientists identify which cells successfully integrated the foreign gene. These ARM genes, however, remain in the cell and are cloned into the DNA of all the GM plants produced from that cell. One FDA report wrote in all capital letters that ARM genes would be “A SERIOUS HEALTH HAZARD,” due to the possibility of that they might transfer to bacteria and create super diseases, untreatable with antibiotics.

Although the biotech industry confidently asserted that gene transfer from GM foods was not possible, the only human feeding study on GM foods later proved that it does take place. The genetic material in soybeans that make them herbicide tolerant transferred into the DNA of human gut bacteria and continued to function18. That means that long after we stop eating a GM crop, its foreign GM proteins may be produced inside our intestines. It is also possible that the foreign genes might end up inside our own DNA, within the cells of our own organs and tissues.

Another worry expressed by FDA scientists was that GM plants might gather “toxic substances from the environment” such as “pesticides or heavy metals,”19 or that toxic substances in GM animal feed might bioaccumulate into milk and meat products. While no studies have looked at the bioaccumulation issue, herbicide tolerant crops certainly have higher levels of herbicide residues. In fact, many countries had to increase their legally allowable levels—by up to 50 times—in order to accommodate the introduction of GM crops.

The overuse of the herbicides due to GM crops has resulted in the development of herbicide resistant weeds. USDA statistics show that herbicide use is rapidly accelerating. Its use was up by 527 million pounds in the first 16 years of GM crops (1996-2011). Glyphosate use per acre on Roundup Ready soybeans was up by 227% while use on non-GMO soy acreage decreased by 20% over the same time period. The rate of application is accelerating due in large part to the emergence of herbicide tolerant weeds, now found on millions of acres. According to a study by Charles Benbrook, the incremental increase per year was 1.5 million pounds in 1999, 18 million in 2003, 79 million in 2009, and about 90 million in 2011. And as Roundup becomes less effective, farmers are now using more toxic herbicides, such as 2-4D.

The pesticide-producing Bt crops do reduce the amount of sprayed on insecticides, but the total amount produced by the crops is far greater than the amount of displaced spray. For example, Bt corn that kills the corn rootworm produces one to two pounds of Bt toxin per acre, but reduces sprayed insecticides by only about 0.19 pounds. SmartStax corn with eight genes produces 3.7 pounds of Bt toxin per acre, but displaces only 0.3 pounds of sprayed insecticides. 20

All of the above risks associated with GM foods are magnified for high-risk groups, such as pregnant women, children, the sick, and the elderly. The following section highlights some of the problems that have been identified.

GM Diet Shows Toxic Reactions In The Digestive Tract

gmos digestive abdomenThe very first crop submitted to the FDA’s voluntary consultation process, the FlavrSavr tomato, showed evidence of toxins. Out of 20 female rats fed the GM tomato, 7 developed stomach lesions.21 The director of FDA’s Office of Special Research Skills wrote that the tomatoes did not demonstrate a “reasonable certainty of no harm,”22 which is their normal standard of safety. The Additives Evaluation Branch agreed that “unresolved questions still remain.”23 The political appointees, however, did not require that the tomato be withdrawn.1

According to Arpad Pusztai, PhD, one of the world’s leading experts in GM food safety assessments, the type of stomach lesions linked to the tomatoes “could lead to life-endangering hemorrhage, particularly in the elderly who use aspirin to prevent [blood clots].”24 Dr. Pusztai believes that the digestive tract, which is the first and largest point of contact with foods, can reveal various reactions to toxins and should be the first target of GM food risk assessment. He was alarmed, however, to discover that studies on the FlavrSavr never looked passed the stomach to the intestines. Other studies that did look found problems.

Mice fed potatoes engineered to produce the Bt-toxin developed abnormal and damaged cells, as well as proliferative cell growth in the lower part of their small intestines (ileum).25 Rats fed potatoes engineered to produce a different type of insecticide (GNA lectin from the snowdrop plant) also showed proliferative cell growth in both the stomach and intestinal walls (see photos).26 Although the guts of rats fed GM peas were not examined for cell growth, the intestines were mysteriously heavier; possibly as a result of such growth.27 Cell proliferation can be a precursor to cancer and is of special concern.

GMOs Rat GM Potato InfoGM Diets Cause Liver Damage

The state of the liver—a main detoxifier for the body—is another indicator of toxins.

  • Rats fed the GNA lectin potatoes described above had smaller and partially atrophied livers.28
  • Rats fed Monsanto’s Mon 863 corn, engineered to produce Bt-toxin, had liver lesions and other indications of toxicity.29
  • Rabbits fed GM soy showed altered enzyme production in their livers as well as higher metabolic activity.30
  • The livers of rats fed Roundup Ready canola were 12%–16% heavier, possibly due to liver disease or inflammation.31
  • Microscopic analysis of the livers of mice fed Roundup Ready soybeans revealed altered gene expression and structural and functional changes (see photos).32 Many of these changes reversed after the mice diet was switched to non-GM soy, indicating that GM soy was the culprit. The findings, according to molecular geneticist Michael Antoniou, PhD, “are not random and must reflect some ‘insult’ on the liver by the GM soy.” Antoniou, who does human gene therapy research in King’s College London, said that although the long-term consequences of the GM soy diet are not known, it “could lead to liver damage and consequently general toxemia.”33
  • Rats fed Roundup Ready soybeans also showed structural changes in their livers. 34

GMOs Liver Cells Soy Fed Mice

GMOs Livers Soy Fed RatsGM Fed Animals Had Higher Death Rates & Organ Damage

In the FlavrSavr tomato study, a note in the appendix indicated that 7 of 40 rats died within two weeks and were replaced.35 In another study, chickens fed the herbicide tolerant “Liberty Link” corn died at twice the rate of those fed natural corn.36 But in these two industry-funded studies, the deaths were dismissed without adequate explanation or follow-up.

In addition, the cells in the pancreas of mice fed Roundup Ready soy had profound changes and produced significantly less digestive enzymes;37 in rats fed a GM potato, the pancreas was enlarged.38 In various analyses of kidneys, GM-fed animals showed lesions, toxicity, altered enzyme production or inflammation.39,40 Enzyme production in the hearts of rabbits was altered by GM soy.41 And GM potatoes caused slower growth in the brain of rats.42 A team of independent scientists re-analyzed the raw data in three Monsanto 90-day rat feeding studies and saw signs of toxicity in the liver and kidneys, as well as effects in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen, and blood.43 In one of the only long-term feeding studies, rats fed Roundup Ready corn for three years for 24 months (or even just low concentrations of Roundup in their drinking water) suffered significant damage to their kidneys, livers, and pituitary glands. They also died prematurely and had many massive tumors—as large as 25% of their body weight.44

Reproductive Failures & Infant Mortality

The testicles of both mice and rats fed Roundup Ready soybeans showed dramatic changes. In rats, the organs were dark blue instead of pink (see photos on next page).45 In mice, young sperm cells were altered.46 Embryos of GM soy-fed mice also showed temporary changes in their DNA function, compared to those whose parents were fed non-GM soy.47 Female rats fed GM soy showed changes in their uterus, ovaries, and hormonal balance.48 By the third generation, most hamsters fed GM soy were unable to have babies. The infant mortality was 4-5 times greater than controls, and many of the GMO-fed third generation had hair growing in their mouths.49

GMOs Testicles of Rats

An Austrian government study showed that mice fed GM corn (Bt and Roundup Ready) had fewer babies and smaller babies.50 More dramatic results were discovered by a leading scientist at the Russian National Academy of sciences. Female rats were fed GM soy, starting two weeks before they were mated.

  • Over a series of three experiments, 51.6 percent of the offspring from the GM-fed group died within the first three weeks, compared to 10 percent from the non-GM soy group, and 8.1 percent for non-soy controls.
  • “High pup mortality was characteristic of every litter from mothers fed the GM soy flour.”51
  • The average size and weight of the GM-fed offspring was quite a bit smaller (see photo on next page).52
  • In a preliminary study, the GM-fed offspring were unable to conceive.53After the three feeding trials, the supplier of rat food used at the Russian laboratory began using GM soy in their formulation. Since all the rats housed at the facility were now eating GM soy, no non-GM fed controls were available for subsequent GM feeding trials; follow-up studies were canceled. After two months on the GM soy diet, however, the infant mortality rate of rats throughout the facility had skyrocketed to 55.3 percent (99 of 179).54
GMOs 20 Day old rat 19 day old rat

Farmers Report Livestock Sterility & Deaths

gmos pigsAbout two dozen farmers reported that their pigs had reproductive problems when fed certain varieties of Bt corn. Pigs were sterile, had false pregnancies, or gave birth to bags of water. Cows and bulls also became sterile. Bt corn was also implicated by farmers in the deaths of cows, horses, water buffaloes, and chickens.55

When Indian shepherds let their sheep graze continuously on Bt cotton plants, within 5-7 days, one out of four sheep died. There was an estimated 10,000 sheep deaths in the region in 2006, with more reported in 2007. Post mortems on the sheep showed severe irritation and black patches in both intestines and liver (as well as enlarged bile ducts). Investigators said preliminary evidence “strongly suggests that the sheep mortality was due to a toxin. . . . most probably Bt-toxin.”56 In a small feeding study, 100% of sheep fed Bt cotton died within 30 days. Those fed natural plants had no symptoms.

Buffalo that grazed on natural cotton plants for years without incident react to the Bt variety. In one village in Andhra Pradesh, for example, 13 buffalo grazed on Bt cotton plants for a single day. All died within 3 days.57 Investigators in the state of Haryana, India, report that most buffalo that ate GM cottonseed had reproductive complications such as premature deliveries, abortions, infertility, and prolapsed uteruses. Many young calves and adult buffaloes died.

GM Crops Trigger Immune Reactions & May Cause Allergies

gmos cropsAllergic reactions occur when the immune system interprets something as foreign, different, and offensive, and reacts accordingly. All GM foods, by definition, have something foreign and different. And several studies show that they provoke reactions. Rats fed Monsanto’s GM corn, for example, had a significant increase in blood cells related to the immune system.58 GM potatoes caused the immune system of rats to respond more slowly.59 And GM peas provoked an inflammatory response in mice, suggesting that it might cause deadly allergic reactions in people.60

It might be difficult to identify whether GM foods were triggering allergic responses in the population, since very few countries conduct regular studies or keep careful records. One country that does have an annual evaluation is the UK. Soon after GM soy was introduced into the British diet, researchers at the York Laboratory reported that allergies to soy had skyrocketed by 50% in a single year.61 Although no follow-up studies were conducted to see if GM soy was the cause, there is evidence showing several ways in which it might have contributed to the rising incidence of allergies:

  • The only significant variety of GM soy is Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” variety, planted in 89% of US soy acres. A foreign gene from bacteria (with parts of virus and petunia DNA) is inserted, which allows the plant to withstand Roundup herbicide. The protein produced by the bacterial gene has never been part of the human food supply. Because people aren’t usually allergic to a food until they have eaten it several times, it would be difficult to know in advance if the protein was an allergen. Without a surefire method to identify allergenic GM crops, the World Health Organization (WHO) and others recommend examining the properties of the protein to see if they share characteristics with known allergens. One method is to compare the amino acid sequence of the novel protein with a database of allergens. If there is a match, according to the WHO, the GM crop should either not be commercialized or additional testing should be done. Sections of the protein produced in GM soy are identical to shrimp and dust mite allergens,62 but the soybean was introduced before WHO criteria were established and the recommended additional tests were not conducted. If the protein does trigger reactions, the danger is compounded by the finding that the Roundup Ready gene transfers into the DNA of human gut bacteria and may continuously produce the protein from within our intestines.63
  • In addition to the herbicide tolerant protein, GM soybeans contain a unique, unexpected protein, which likely came about from the changes incurred during the genetic engineering process. Scientists found that this new protein was able to bind with IgE antibodies, suggesting that it may provoke dangerous allergic reactions. The same study revealed that one human subject showed a skin prick immune response only to GM soy, but not to natural soy.64 These results must be considered preliminary, as the non-GM soy was a wild type and not necessarily comparable to the GM variety. Another study showed that the levels of one known soy allergen, called trypsin inhibitor, were as much as seven times higher in cooked GM soy compared to a non-GM control.65 This was Monsanto’s own study, and did use comparable controls.
  • GM soy also produces an unpredicted side effect in the pancreas of mice—the amount of digestive enzymes produced is dramatically reduced.66 If a shortage of enzymes caused food proteins to breakdown more slowly, then they have more time to trigger allergic reactions. Thus, digestive problems from GM soy might promote allergies to a wide range of proteins, not just soy.
  • The higher amount of Roundup herbicide residues on GM soy might create reactions in consumers. In fact, many of the symptoms identified in the UK soy allergy study are among those related to glyphosate exposure. [The allergy study identified irritable bowel syndrome, digestion problems, chronic fatigue, headaches, lethargy, and skin complaints, including acne and eczema, all related to soy consumption. Symptoms of glyphosate exposure include nausea, headaches, lethargy, skin rashes, and burning or itchy skin. It is also possible that glyphosate’s breakdown product aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), which accumulates in GM soybeans after each spray, might contribute to allergies.]

It is interesting to note that in the five years immediately after GM soy was introduced, US peanut allergies doubled. It is known that a protein in natural soybeans cross-reacts with peanut allergies, i.e. soy may trigger reactions in some people who are allergic to peanuts.67 Given the startling increase in peanut allergies, scientists should investigate whether this cross-reactivity has been amplified in GM soy.

Roundup, tumors, etc.

BT-Toxin, Produced In GM Corn & Cotton, May Cause Allergies

gmos Bt-toxin-crystalsFor years, organic farmers and others have sprayed crops with solutions containing natural Bt bacteria as a method of insect control. The toxin creates holes in their stomach and kills them. Genetic engineers take the gene that produces the toxin in bacteria and insert it into the DNA of crops so that the plant does the work, not the farmer. The fact that we consume that toxic pesticide in every bite of Bt corn is hardly appetizing.

Biotech companies claim that Bt-toxin has a history of safe use, is quickly destroyed in our stomach, and wouldn’t react with humans or mammals in any event. Studies verify, however, that natural Bt-toxin is not fully destroyed during digestion and does react with mammals. Mice fed Bt-toxin, for example, showed an immune response as potent as cholera toxin, 68, became immune sensitive to formerly harmless compounds,69 and had damaged and altered cells in their small intestines.70 A 2008 Italian government study found that Bt corn provoked immune responses in mice.71 Moreover, when natural Bt was sprayed over areas around Vancouver and Washington State to fight gypsy moths, about 500 people reported reactions—mostly allergy or flu-like symptoms.72,73 Farm workers and others also report serious reactions7475767778 and authorities have long acknowledged that “people with compromised immune systems or preexisting allergies may be particularly susceptible to the effects of Bt.”79

The Bt-toxin produced in GM crops is “vastly different from the bacterial [Bt-toxins] used in organic and traditional farming and forestry.”80 The plant produced version is designed to be more toxic than natural varieties,81 and is about 3,000-5,000 times more concentrated than the spray form. And just like the GM soy protein, the Bt protein in GM corn varieties has a section of its amino acid sequence identical to a known allergen (egg yolk). The Bt protein also fails other allergen criteria recommended by the WHO, i.e. the protein is too resistant to break down during digestion and heat.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology showed that when Bt-toxin derived from Monsanto’s corn was exposed to human cells, the toxin disrupts the membrane in just 24 hours, causing certain fluid to leak through the cell walls. The authors specifically note, “This may be due to pore formation like in insect cells.” In other words, the toxin may be creating small holes in human cells in the same manner that it kills insects. The researchers “documented that modified Bt toxins [from GM plants] are not inert on human cells, but can exert toxicity.”82 A 2011 Canadian study conducted at Sherbrooke Hospital discovered that 93% of the pregnant women they tested had Bt-toxin from Monsanto’s corn in their blood. And so did 80% of their unborn fetuses. 83

If Bt-toxin causes allergies, then gene transfer carries serious ramifications. If Bt genes relocate to human gut bacteria, our intestinal flora may be converted into living pesticide factories, possibly producing Bt-toxin inside of us year after year. The UK Joint Food Safety and Standards Group also described gene transfer from a different route. They warned that genes from inhaled pollen might transfer into the DNA of bacteria in the respiratory system.84 Although no study has looked into that possibility, pollen from a Bt cornfield appears to have been responsible for allergic-type reactions.

In 2003, during the time when an adjacent Bt cornfield was pollinating, virtually an entire Filipino village of about 100 people was stricken by mysterious skin, respiratory, and intestinal reactions.85 The symptoms started with those living closest to the field and spread to those further away. Blood samples from 39 individuals showed antibodies in response to Bt-toxin, supporting—but not proving—a link. When the same corn was planted in four other villages the following year, however, the symptoms returned in all four areas—only during the time of pollination.86

Bt-toxin might also trigger reactions by skin contact. In 2005, a medical team reported that hundreds of agricultural workers in India are developing allergic symptoms when exposed to Bt cotton, but not when
axposed to natural varieties.87 They say reactions come from picking the cotton, cleaning it in factories, loading it onto trucks, or even leaning against it. Their symptoms are virtually identical to those described by the 500 people in Vancouver and Washington who were sprayed with Bt.

Government Evaluations Miss Most Health Problems

gmos Example FDA Decision Making ProcessAlthough the number of safety studies on GM foods is quite small, it has validated the concerns expressed by FDA scientists and others. Unfortunately, government safety assessments worldwide are not competent to even identify most of the potential health problems described above, let alone protect its citizens from the effects.88

A 2000 review of approved GM crops in Canada by professor E. Ann Clark, PhD, for example, reveals that 70% (28 of 40) “of the currently available GM crops . . . have not been subjected to any actual lab or animal toxicity testing, either as refined oils for direct human consumption or indirectly as feedstuffs for livestock. The same finding pertains to all three GM tomato decisions, the only GM flax, and to five GM corn crops.” In the remaining 30% (12) of the other crops tested, animals were not fed the whole GM feed. They were given just the isolated GM protein that the plant was engineered to produce. But even this protein was not extracted from the actual GM plant. Rather, it was manufactured in genetically engineered bacteria. This method of testing would never identify problems associated with collateral damage to GM plant DNA, unpredicted changes in the GM protein, transfer of genes to bacteria or human cells, excessive herbicide residues, or accumulation of toxins in the food chain, among others. Clark asks, “Where are the trials showing lack of harm to fed livestock, or that meat and milk from livestock fed on GM feedstuffs are safe?”89

Epidemiologist and GM safety expert Judy Carman, PhD, MPH, shows that assessments by Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) also overlook serious potential problems, including cancer, birth defects, or long-term effects of nutritional deficiencies. 90

“A review of twelve reports covering twenty-eight GM crops – four soy, three corn, ten potatoes, eight canola, one sugar beet and two cotton—revealed no feeding trials on people. In addition, one of the GM corn varieties had gone untested on animals. Some seventeen foods involved testing with only a single oral gavage (a type of forced-feeding), with observation for seven to fourteen days, and only of the substance that had been genetically engineered to appear [the GM protein], not the whole food. Such testing assumes that the only new substance that will appear in the food is the one genetically engineered to appear, that the GM plant- produced substance will act in the same manner as the tested substance that was obtained from another source [GM bacteria], and that the substance will create disease within a few days. All are untested hypotheses and make a mockery of GM proponents’ claims that the risk assessment of GM foods is based on sound science. Furthermore, where the whole food was given to animals to eat, sample sizes were often very low—for example, five to six cows per group for Roundup Ready soy—and they were fed for only four weeks.”91

Dr. Carman points out that GM “experiments used some very unusual animal models for human health, such as chickens, cows, and trout. Some of the measurements taken from these animals are also unusual measures of human health, such as abdominal fat pad weight, total de-boned breast meat yield, and milk production.” In her examination of the full range of submittals to authorities in Australia and New Zealand, she says that there was no proper evaluation of “biochemistry, immunology, tissue pathology, and gut, liver, and kidney function.”92 Writing on behalf of the Public Health Association of Australia, Dr. Carman says, “The effects of feeding people high concentrations of the new protein over tens of years cannot be determined by feeding 20 mice a single oral gavage of a given high concentration of the protein and taking very basic data for 13-14 days.”93

The FDA’s Fake Safety Assessments

gmos Safety assessmentSubmissions to the US Food and Drug Administraion (FDA) may be worse than in other countries, since the agency doesn’t actually require any data. Their policy says that biotech companies can determine if their own foods are safe. Anything submitted is voluntary and, according to former Environmental Protection Agency scientist Doug Gurian-Sherman, PhD, “often lack[s] sufficient detail, such as necessary statistical analyses needed for an adequate safety evaluation.” Using Freedom of Information Requests, Dr. Gurian-Sherman analyzed more than a fourth of the data summaries (14 of 53) of GM crops reviewed by the FDA. He says, “The FDA consultation process does not allow the agency to require submission of data, misses obvious errors in company- submitted data summaries, provides insufficient testing guidance, and does not require sufficiently detailed data to enable the FDA to assure that GE crops are safe to eat.”94 Similarly, a Friends of the Earth review of company and FDA documents concluded:

“If industry chooses to submit faulty, unpublishable studies, it does so without consequence. If it should respond to an agency request with deficient data, it does so without reprimand or follow-up. . . . If a company finds it disadvantageous to characterize its product, then its properties remain uncertain or unknown. If a corporation chooses to ignore scientifically sound testing standards . . . then faulty tests are conducted instead, and the results are considered legitimate. In the area of genetically engineered food regulation, the ‘competent’ agencies rarely if ever (know how to) conduct independent research to verify or supplement industry findings.” 95

At the end of the consultation, the FDA doesn’t actually approve the crops. Rather, they issue a letter that includes a statement such as the following:

“Based on the safety and nutritional assessment you have conducted, it is our understanding that Monsanto has concluded that corn products derived from this new variety are not materially different in composition, safety, and other relevant parameters from corn currently on the market, and that the genetically modified corn does not raise issues that would require premarket review or approval by FDA. . . . As you are aware, it is Monsanto’s responsibility to ensure that foods marketed by the firm are safe, wholesome and in compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.”96

Company Research Is Secret, Inadequate & Flawed

GMOs FDA health inspectorsThe unpublished industry studies submitted to regulators are typically kept secret based on the claim that it is “confidential business information.” The Royal Society of Canada is one of many organizations that condemn this practice. They wrote:

“In the judgment of the Expert Panel, the more regulatory agencies limit free access to the data upon which their decisions are based, the more compromised becomes the claim that the regulatory process is ‘science based.’ This is due to a simple but well- understood requirement of the scientific method itself—that it be an open, completely transparent enterprise in which any and all aspects of scientific research are open to full review by scientific peers. Peer review and independent corroboration of research findings are axioms of the scientific method, and part of the very meaning of the objectivity and neutrality of science.”97

Whenever private submissions are made public through lawsuits or Freedom of Information Act Requests, it becomes clear why companies benefit from secrecy. The quality of their research is often miserable, incompetent, and unacceptable for peer-review. In 2000, for example, after the potentially allergenic StarLink corn was found to have contaminated the food supply, the corn’s producer, Aventis CropScience, presented wholly inadequate safety data to the EPA’s scientific advisory panel. One frustrated panel member, Dean Metcalfe, MD,—the government’s top allergist—said during a hearing, “Most of us review for a lot of journals. And if this were presented for publication in the journals that I review for, it would be sent back to the authors with all of these questions. It would be rejected.”98

Unscientific Assumptions Are The Basis Of Approvals

Professor Clark, who analyzed submissions to Canadian regulators, concluded, “Most or all of the conclusions of food safety for individual GM crops are based on inferences and assumptions, rather than on actual testing.” For example, rather than actually testing to see if the amino acid sequence produced by their inserted gene is correct, “the standard practice,” according to research analyst William Freese, “is to sequence just 5 to 25 amino acids,”99 even if the protein has more than 600 in total. If the short sample matches what is expected, they assume that the rest are also fine. If they are wrong, however, a rearranged protein could be quite dangerous.

Monsanto’s submission to Australian regulators on their high lysine GM corn provides an excellent example of overly optimistic assumptions used in place of science. The gene inserted into the corn produces a protein that is naturally found in soil. Monsanto claimed that since people consume small residues of soil on fruits and vegetables, the protein has a history of safe consumption. Based on the amount of GM corn protein an average US citizen would consume (if all their corn were Monsanto’s variety), they would eat up to 4 trillion times the amount normally consumed through soil. In other words, “for equivalent exposure” of the protein from soil “people would have to eat . . . nearly as much as 10,000kg [22,000 pounds, every] second 24 hours a day seven days a week.”100

Studies Are Rigged To Avoid Finding Problems

gmos analysis microsopeIn addition, to relying on untested assumptions, industry-funded research is often designed specifically to force a conclusion of safety. In the high lysine corn described above, for example, the levels of certain nutritional components (i.e. protein content, total dietary fiber, acid detergent fiber, and neutral detergent fiber) were far outside the normal range for corn. Instead of comparing their corn to normal controls, which would reveal this disparity, Monsanto compared it to obscure corn varieties that were also substantially outside the normal range on precisely these values. Thus, their study found no statistical differences by design.

When Monsanto learned that independent researchers were to publish a study in July 1999 showing that GM soy contains 12%-14% less cancer-fighting phytoestrogens, the company responded with its own study, concluding that soy’s phytoestrogen levels vary too much to even carry out a statistical analysis. Researchers failed to disclose, however, that they had instructed the laboratory to use an obsolete method of detection—one that had been prone to highly variable results.101

When Aventis prepared samples to see if the potential allergen in StarLink corn remained intact after cooking, instead of using the standard 30-minute treatment, they heated corn for two hours.102

To show that pasteurization destroyed bovine growth hormone in milk from cows treated with rbGH, scientists pasteurized the milk 120 times longer than normal. Unable to destroy more than 19%, they then spiked the milk with a huge amount of the hormone and repeated the long pasteurization, destroying 90%.103 (The FDA reported that pasteurization destroys 90% of the hormone.104) To demonstrate that injections of rbGH did not interfere with cow’s fertility, Monsanto apparently added cows to the study that were pregnant prior to injection.105

And in order to prove that the protein from their GM crops breaks down quickly during simulated digestion, biotech companies used thousands of times the amount of digestive enzymes and a much stronger acid compared to that recommended by the World Health Organization.106

Other methods used to hide problems are varied and plentiful. For example, researchers:

  • Use highly variable animal starting weights to hinder detection of food-related changes
  • Keep feeding studies short to miss long-term impacts
  • Test effects of Roundup Ready soybeans that have not been sprayed with Roundup
  • Avoid feeding animals the actual GM crop, but give them instead a single dose of the GM protein that was produced inside GM bacteria
  • Use too few subjects to derive statistically significant results
  • Use poor statistical methods or simply leave out essential methods, data, or statistics
  • Use irrelevant control groups, and employ insensitive evaluation techniques

Roundup Ready Soybeans: Case Study Of Flawed Research

gmos soybeansMonsanto’s 1996 Journal of Nutrition studies on Roundup Ready soybeans107,108 provide plenty of examples of scientific transgressions. Although the study has been used often by the industry as validation for safety claims, experts working in the field were not impressed. For example, Dr. Arpad Pusztai was commissioned at the time by the UK government to lead a 20 member consortium in three institutions to develop rigorous testing protocols on GM foods—protocols that were never implemented. Dr. Pusztai, who had published several studies in that same nutrition journal, said the Monsanto paper was not “up to the normal journal standards.” He said, “It was obvious that the study had been designed to avoid finding any problems. Everybody in our consortium knew this.” Some of the flaws include:

  • Researchers tested GM soy on mature animals, not young ones. Young animals use protein to build their muscles, tissues, and organs. Problems with GM food could therefore show up in organ and body weight. But adult animals use the protein for tissue renewal and energy. “With a nutritional study on mature animals,” says Dr. Pusztai, “you would never see any difference in organ weights even if the food turned out to be anti-nutritional. The animals would have to be emaciated or poisoned to show anything.”
  • If there were an organ development problem, the study wouldn’t have picked it up since the researchers didn’t even weigh the organs.
  • In one of the trials, researchers substituted only one tenth of the natural protein with GM soy protein. In two others, they diluted their GM soy six- and twelve-fold. 109 Scientists Ian Pryme, PhD, of Norway and Rolf Lembcke, PhD, of Denmark wrote, the “level of the GM soy was too low, and would probably ensure that any possible undesirable GM effects did not occur.”
  • Pryme and Lembcke, who published a paper in Nutrition and Health that analyzed all published peer-reviewed feeding studies on GM foods (10 as of 2003), also pointed out that the percentage of protein in the feed used in the Roundup Ready study was “artificially too high.” This “would almost certainly mask, or at least effectively reduce, any possible effect of the [GM soy].” They said it was “highly likely that all GM effects would have been diluted out.” 110
  • Proper compositional studies filter out effects of weather or geography by comparing plants grown at the same time in the same location. Monsanto, however, pooled data from several locations, which makes it difficult for differences to be statistically significant. Nonetheless, the data revealed significant differences in the ash, fat, and carbohydrate content. Roundup Ready soy meal also contained 27% more trypsin inhibitor, a potential allergen. Also, cows fed GM soy produced milk with a higher fat content, demonstrating another disparity between the two types of soy.
  • One field trial, however, did grow GM and non-GM plants next to each other, but this data was not included in the paper. Years after the study appeared, medical writer Barbara Keeler recovered the data that had been omitted. It showed that Monsanto’s GM soy had significantly lower levels of protein, a fatty acid, and phenylalanine, an essential amino acid. Also, toasted GM soy meal contained nearly twice the amount of a lectin—a substance that may interfere with the body’s ability to assimilate other nutrients. And the amount of trypsin inhibitor in cooked GM soy was as much as seven times higher than in a cooked non-GM control.
  • The study also omitted many details normally required for a published paper. According to Pryme and Lembcke, “No data were given for most of the parameters.”
  • And when researchers tested the effects of Roundup Ready protein on animals, they didn’t extract the protein from the soybeans. Instead, they derived it from GM bacteria, claiming the two forms of protein were equivalent. There are numerous ways, however, in which the protein in the soy may be different. In fact, nine years after this study was published, another study showed that the gene inserted into the soybeans produced unintended aberrant RNA strands, meaning that the protein may be quite different than what was intended.111

In Pryme and Lembcke’s analysis, it came as no surprise that this Monsanto study, along with the other four peer-reviewed animal feeding studies that were “performed more or less in collaboration with private companies,” reported no negative effects of the GM diet. “On the other hand,” they wrote, “adverse effects were reported (but not explained) in [the five] independent studies.” They added, “It is remarkable that these effects have all been observed after feeding for only 10–14 days.”112

Toxic GM Foods Could Have Been Approved

Two GM foods whose commercialization was stopped because of negative test results give a chilling example of what may be getting through. Rats fed GM potatoes had potentially precancerous cell growth in the stomach and intestines, less developed brains, livers, and testicles, partial atrophy of the liver, and damaged immune systems.113 GM peas provoked an inflammatory response in mice, suggesting that the peas might trigger a deadly anaphylactic shock in allergic humans.114 Both of these dangerous crops, however, could easily have been approved. The problems were only discovered because the researchers used advanced tests that were never applied to GM crops already on the market. Both would have passed the normal tests that companies typically use to get their products approved.

Ironically, when Monsanto was asked to comment on the pea study, their spokesperson said it demonstrated that the regulatory system works. He failed to disclose that none of his company’s GM crops had been put through such rigorous tests.

Rampant, Unrelenting Industry Bias

Industry-funded research that favors the funders is not new. Bias has been identified across several industries. In pharmaceuticals, for example, positive results are four times more likely if the drug’s manufacturer funds the study.115 When companies pay for the economic analyses of their own cancer drugs, the results are eight times more likely to be favorable.116 Compared to drug research, the potential for industry manipulation in GM crop studies is considerably higher. Unlike pharmaceutical testing, GM research has no standardized procedures dictated by regulators. GM studies are not usually published in peer-reviewed journals and are typically kept secret by companies and governments. There is little money available for rigorous independent research, so company evidence usually goes unchallenged and unverified. Most importantly, whereas drugs can show serious side-effects and still be approved, GM food cannot. There is no tolerance for adverse reactions; feeding trials must show no problems.

Thus, when industry studies show problems (in spite of their efforts to avoid them), serious adverse reactions and even deaths among GM-fed animals are ignored or dismissed as “not biologically significant” or due to “natural variations.” In the critical arena of food safety research, the biotech industry is without accountability, standards, or peer-review. They’ve got bad science down to a science.

Promoting & Regulating Don’t Mix

While such self-serving behavior may be expected from corporations, how come government bodies let such blatant scientific contortions pass without comment? One reason is that several regulatory agencies are also charged with promoting the interests of biotechnology. This is the official position of the FDA and other US government bodies, for example. Suzanne Wuerthele, PhD, a US EPA toxicologist, says, “This technology is being promoted, in the face of concerns by respectable scientists and in the face of data to the contrary, by the very agencies which are supposed to be protecting human health and the environment. The bottom line in my view is that we are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences.”117

Canadian regulators are similarly conflicted. The Royal Society of Canada reported that, “In meetings with senior managers from the various Canadian regulatory departments . . . their responses uniformly stressed the importance of maintaining a favorable climate for the biotechnology industry to develop new products and submit them for approval on the Canadian market. . . . The conflict of interest involved in both promoting and regulating an industry or technology . . . is also a factor in the issue of maintaining the transparency, and therefore the scientific integrity, of the regulatory process. In effect, the public interest in a regulatory system that is ‘science based’. . . is significantly compromised when that openness is negotiated away by regulators in exchange for cordial and supportive relationships with the industries being regulated.”118

Many scientists on the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) GMO Panel are personally aligned with biotech interests. According to Friends of the Earth (FOE), “One member has direct financial links with the biotech industry and others have indirect links, such as close involvement with major conferences organized by the biotech industry. Two members have even appeared in promotional videos produced by the biotech industry. . . . Several members of the Panel, including the chair Professor Kuiper, have been involved with the EU-funded ENTRANSFOOD project. The aim of this project was to agree [to] safety assessment, risk management, and risk communication procedures that would ‘facilitate market introduction of GMOs in Europe, and therefore bring the European industry in a competitive position.’ Professor Kuiper, who coordinated the ENTRANSFOOD project, sat on a working group that also included staff from Monsanto, Bayer CropScience, and Syngenta.” In a statement reminiscent of the deceptive policy statement by the FDA, the FOE report concludes that EFSA is “being used to create a false impression of scientific agreement when the real situation is one of intense and continuing debate and uncertainty.”119

The pro-GM European Commission repeats the same ruse. According to leaked documents obtained by FOE, while they privately appreciate “the uncertainties and gaps in knowledge that exist in relation to the safety of GM crops, . . . the Commission normally keeps this uncertainty concealed from the public whilst presenting its decisions about the safety of GM crops and foods as being certain and scientifically based.” For example, the Commission privately condemned the submission information for one crop as “mixed, scarce, delivered consecutively all over years, and not convincing.” They said there is “No sufficient experimental evidence to assess the safety.”120

With an agenda to promote GM foods, regulators regularly violate their own laws. In Europe, the law requires that when EFSA and member states have different opinions, they “are obliged to co-operate with a view to either resolving the divergence or preparing a joint document clarifying the contentious scientific issues and identifying the relevant uncertainties in the data.”121 According to FOE, in the case of all GM crop reviews, none of these legal obligations were followed.122 The declaration of GRAS status by the FDA also deviated from the Food and Cosmetic Act and years of legal precedent. Some violations are more blatant. In India, one official tampered with the report on Bt cotton to increase the yield figures to favor Monsanto.123 In Mexico, a senior government official allegedly threatened a University of California professor, implying “We know where your children go to school,” trying to get him not to publish incriminating evidence that would delay GM approvals.124 In Indonesia, Monsanto gave bribes and questionable payments to at least 140 officials, attempting to get their genetically modified (GM) cotton approved.125

Manipulation Of Public Opinion

gmos manipulationWhen governments fail in their duty to keep corporations in check, the “protector” role should shift to the media, which acts as a watchdog to expose public dangers and governmental shortcomings. But mainstream media around the world has largely overlooked the serious problems associated with GM crops and their regulation. The reason for this oversight is varied and includes contributions from an aggressive public relations and disinformation campaign by the biotech industry, legal threats by biotech companies, and in some cases, the fear of losing advertising accounts. This last reason is particularly prevalent among the farm press, which receives much of its income from the biotech industry.

Threatening letters from Monsanto’s attorneys have resulted in the cancellation of a five-part news series on their genetically engineered bovine growth hormone scheduled for a Fox TV station in Florida, as well as the cancellation of a book critical of Monsanto’s GMO products. A printer also shredded 14,000 copies of the Ecologist magazine issue entitled “The Monsanto Files,” due to fear of a Monsanto lawsuit. (See the chapter “Muscling the Media” in Seeds of Deception126 for more examples.)

The methods that biotech advocates use to manipulate public opinion research has become an art form. Consumer surveys by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), for example,whose supporters include the major biotech seed companies, offers conclusions such as “A growing majority of Americans support the benefits of food biotechnology as well as the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) labeling policy.” But communications professor James Beniger, who was past president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, described the surveys as “so biased with leading questions favoring positive responses that any results are meaningless.”127 The 2003 survey, for example, included gems such as:

“All things being equal, how likely would you be to buy a variety of produce, like tomatoes or potatoes, if it had been modified by biotechnology to taste better or fresher?” and

“Biotechnology has also been used to enhance plants that yield foods like cooking oils. If cooking oil with reduced saturated fat made from these new plants was available, what effect would the use of biotechnology have on your decision to buy this cooking oil?”128

A similar tactic was used at a December 11, 2007 focus group in Columbus, Ohio “designed” to show that consumers wanted to make it illegal for dairies to label their milk as free from Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine hormone rBST. The facilitator said, “All milk contains hormones. There is no such thing as hormone-free milk. The composition of both types of milk is the same in all aspects. Now what do you think of a label that says ‘no added hormones?’ Don’t you think it is deceiving and inappropriate to put ‘rBST-free’ on labels?” Not only was the facilitator “leading the witness,” he presented false information. Milk from cows treated with rBST has substantially higher levels of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1,129 which has been linked to higher risk of cancer,130 and higher incidence of fraternal twins.131 It also has higher levels of bovine growth hormone, pus, and in some cases, antibiotics.

Another example of manipulated consumer opinion was found in a 2004 article in the British Food Journal, authored by four advocates of genetically modified (GM) foods.132 According to the peer-reviewed paper, when shoppers in a Canadian farm store were confronted with an informed and unbiased choice between GM corn and non-GM corn, most purchased the GM variety. This finding flew in the face of worldwide consumer resistance to GM foods, which had shut markets in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere. It also challenged studies that showed that the more information on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) consumers have, the less they trust them.133 The study, which was funded by the biotech-industry front group, Council for Biotechnology Information and the industry’s trade association, the Crop Protection Institute of Canada (now Croplife Canada), was given the Journal’s prestigious Award for Excellence for the Most Outstanding Paper of 2004 and has been cited often by biotech advocates.

Stuart Laidlaw, a reporter from Canada’s Toronto Star, visited the farm store several times during the study and described the scenario in his book Secret Ingredients. Far from offering unbiased choices, key elements appeared rigged to favor GM corn purchases. The consumer education fact sheets were entirely pro-GMO, and Doug Powell, the lead researcher, enthusiastically demonstrated to Laidlaw how he could convince shoppers to buy the GM varieties. He confronted a farmer who had already purchased non-GM corn. After pitching his case for GMOs, Powell proudly had the farmer tell Laidlaw that he had changed his opinion and would buy GM corn in his next shopping trip.

Powell’s interference with shoppers’ “unbiased” choices was nothing compared to the effect of the signs placed over the corn bins. The sign above the non-GM corn read, “Would you eat wormy sweet corn?” It further listed the chemicals that were sprayed during the season. By contrast, the sign above the GM corn stated, “Here’s What Went into Producing Quality Sweet Corn.” It is no wonder that 60% of shoppers avoided the “wormy corn.” In fact, it may be a testament to people’s distrust of GMOs that 40% still went for the “wormy” option.

Powell and his colleagues did not mention the controversial signage in their study. They claimed that the corn bins in the farm store were “fully labelled”—either “genetically engineered Bt sweet corn” or “Regular sweet corn.” When Laidlaw’s book came out, however, Powell’s “wormy” sign was featured in a photograph,134 exposing what was later described by Cambridge University’s Dr. Richard Jennings as “flagrant fraud.” Jennings, who is a leading researcher on scientific ethics, says, “It was a sin of omission by failing to divulge information which quite clearly should have been disclosed.”135

In his defence, Powell claimed that his signs merely used the language of consumers and was “not intended to manipulate consumer purchasing patterns.” He also claimed that the “wormy” corn sign was only there for the first week of the trial and was then replaced by other educational messages. But eye witnesses and photographs demonstrate the presence of the sign long after Powell’s suggested date of replacement.136

Several scientists and outraged citizens say the paper should be withdrawn, but the Journal refused. In fact, the Journal’s editor has not even agreed to reconsider its Award for Excellence. A blatant propaganda exercise still stands validated as exemplary science.

Critics & Independent Scientists Are Attacked

gmos scientistOne of the most troubling aspects of the biotech debate is the attack strategy used on GMO critics and independent scientists. Not only are adverse findings by independent scientists often suppressed, ignored, or denied, researchers that discover problems from GM foods have been fired, stripped of responsibilities, deprived of tenure, and even threatened. Consider Dr. Pusztai, the world’s leading scientist in his field, who inadvertently discovered in 1998 that unpredictable changes in GM crops caused massive damage in rats. He went public with his concerns, was a hero at his prestigious institute for two days, and then, after the director received two phone calls allegedly from the UK Prime Minister’s office, was fired after 35 years and silenced with threats of a lawsuit. False statements were circulated to trash his reputation, which are recited by GMO advocates today.

After University of California Professor Ignacio Chapela, PhD, published evidence that GM corn contaminated Mexico’s indigenous varieties, two fictitious internet characters created by Monsanto’s PR firm, the Bivings Group, initiated a brutal internet smear campaign, lying about Dr. Chapela and his research.

Irina Ermakova, PhD, a leading scientist at the Russian National Academy of Sciences, fed female rats GM soy and was stunned to discover that more than half their offspring died within three weeks—compared to only 10% from mothers fed non-GM soy. Without funding to extend her analysis, she labeled her work “preliminary,” published it in a Russian journal, and implored the scientific community to repeat the study. Two years later, no one has repeated it, but advocates use false or irrelevant arguments to divert attention from the shocking results and have tried to vilify Dr. Ermakova.

A New Zealand MP testified at the 2001 Royal Commission of Inquiry on Genetic Modification, “I have been contacted by telephone and e-mail by a number of scientists who have serious concerns . . . but who are convinced that if they express these fears publicly. . . or even if they asked the awkward and difficult questions, they will be eased out of their institution.” Indeed in 2007, after Professor Christian Velot, PhD, raised the difficult questions on GMOs at public conferences, his 2008 research funds were confiscated, his student assistants were re-assigned, and his position at the University of Paris-Sud faces early termination.

We Are The Guinea Pigs

gmos family eatingSince GM foods are not properly tested before they enter the market, consumers are the guinea pigs. But this doesn’t even qualify as an experiment. There are no controls and no monitoring. Given the mounting of evidence of harm, it is likely that GM foods are contributing to the deterioration of health in the United States, Canada, and other countries where it is consumed. But without post- marketing surveillance, the chances of tracing health problems to GM food are low. The incidence of a disease would have to increase dramatically before it was noticed, meaning that millions may have to get sick before a change is investigated. Tracking the impact of GM foods is even more difficult in North America, where the foods are not labeled.

Regulators at Health Canada announced in 2002 that they would monitor Canadians for health problems from eating GM foods. A spokesperson said, “I think it’s just prudent and what the public expects, that we will keep a careful eye on the health of Canadians.” But according to CBC TV news, Health Canada “abandoned that research less than a year later saying it was ‘too difficult to put an effective surveillance system in place.’” The news anchor added, “So at this point, there is little research into the health effects of genetically modified food. So will we ever know for sure if it’s safe?”137

Not with the biotech companies in charge. Consider the following statement in a report submitted to county officials in California by pro-GM members of a task force. “[It is] generally agreed that long-term monitoring of the human health risks of GM food through epidemiological studies is not necessary because there is no scientific evidence suggesting any long-term harm from these foods.”138 Note the circular logic: Because no long-term epidemiological studies are in place, we have no evidence showing long- term harm. And since we don’t have any evidence of long-term harm, we don’t need studies to look for it.

What are these people thinking? Insight into the pro-GM mindset was provided by Dan Glickman, the US Secretary of Agriculture under President Clinton.

“What I saw generically on the pro-biotech side was the attitude that the technology was good, and that it was almost immoral to say that it wasn’t good, because it was going to solve the problems of the human race and feed the hungry and clothe the naked. . . . And there was a lot of money that had been invested in this, and if you’re against it, you’re Luddites, you’re stupid. That, frankly, was the side our government was on. Without thinking, we had basically taken this issue as a trade issue and they, whoever ‘they’ were, wanted to keep our product out of their market. And they were foolish, or stupid, and didn’t have an effective regulatory system. There was rhetoric like that even here in this department. You felt like you were almost an alien, disloyal, by trying to present an open-minded view on some of the issues being raised. So I pretty much spouted the rhetoric that everybody else around here spouted; it was written into my speeches.”139

Fortunately, not everyone feels that questioning GM foods is disloyal. On the contrary, millions of people around the world are unwilling to participate in this uncontrolled experiment. They refuse to eat GM foods. Manufacturers in Europe and Japan have committed to avoid using GM ingredients. And the US natural foods industry, not waiting for the government to test or label GMOs, is now engaged in removing all remaining GM ingredients from their sector using a third party verification system. The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America will circulate non-GMO shopping guides in stores nationwide so that consumers have clear, healthy non-GMO choices. With no governmental regulation of biotech corporations, it is left to consumers to protect ourselves.

For a guide to avoiding GMOs, go to www.NonGMOShoppingGuide.com.

International bestselling author and independent filmmaker Jeffrey M. Smith is the Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology and a leading spokesperson on the health dangers of GMOs. His first book, Seeds of Deception, is the world’s bestselling book on the subject. His second, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, identifies 65 risks of GMOs and demonstrates how superficial government approvals are not competent to find most of them. Mr. Smith has pioneered the Campaign for Healthier Eating in America, designed to create the tipping point of consumer rejection against GMOs. See www.ResponsibleTechnology.org, www.NonGMOShoppingGuide.com.

Blank
References:

1 Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA USA 2007
2 Kurt Eichenwald, et al, New York Times, “Biotechnology Food: From the Lab to a Debacle,” January 25, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/25/business/25FOOD.html?pagewanted=all
3 Kurt Eichenwald, et al, New York Times, “Biotechnology Food: From the Lab to a Debacle,” January 25, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/25/business/25FOOD.html?pagewanted=all
4 Dan Quayle, “Speech in the Indian Treaty Room of the Old Executive Office Building,” May 26, 1992.
5 For copies of FDA memos, see The Alliance for Bio-Integrity, www.biointegrity.org
6 Steven M. Druker, “How the US Food and Drug Administration approved genetically engineered foods despite the deaths one had caused and
the warnings of its own scientists about their unique risks,” Alliance for Bio-Integrity, http://www.biointegrity.org/ext-summary.html
7 Louis J. Pribyl, “Biotechnology Draft Document, 2/27/92,” March 6, 1992, www.biointegrity.org
http://www.biointegrity.org/FDAdocs/04/view1.html
8 “Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties,” Federal Register 57, no. 104 (May 29, 1992): 22991.
9 Linda Kahl, Memo to James Maryanski about Federal Register Document “Statement of Policy: Foods from Genetically Modified Plants,”
Alliance for Bio-Integrity(January 8, 1992) http://www.responsibletechnology.org/fraud/fda-quotes
10 See for example, “Good Enough To Eat?” New Scientist (February 9, 2002), 7.
11 “Health risks of genetically modified foods,” editorial, Lancet, 29 May 1999.
12 “Elements of Precaution: Recommendations for the Regulation of Food Biotechnology in Canada; An Expert Panel Report on the Future of
Food Biotechnology prepared by The Royal Society of Canada at the request of Health Canada Canadian Food Inspection Agency and
Environment Canada” The Royal Society of Canada, January 2001.
13 J. R. Latham, et al., “The Mutational Consequences of Plant Transformation,” The Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2006, Article ID
25376: 1-7; see also Allison Wilson, et. al., “Transformation-induced mutations in transgenic plants: Analysis and biosafety implications,”
Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews – Vol. 23, December 2006.
14 P. H. Bao, S. Granata, S. Castiglione, G. Wang, C. Giordani, E. Cuzzoni, G. Damiani, C. Bandi, S. K. Datta, K. Datta, I. Potrykus, A.
Callegarin and F. Sala, “Evidence for genomic changes in transgenic rice (Oryza sativa L.) recovered from protoplasts” Transgen Res 5 (1996):
97-103.; M. Labra, C. Savini, M. Bracale, N. Pelucchi, L. Colombo, M. Bardini and F. Sala, “Genomic changes in transgenic rice (Oryza sativa L.)
plants produced by infecting calli with Agrobacterium tumefaciens,” Plant Cell Rep 20 (2001): 325-330.
15 “Elements of Precaution: Recommendations for the Regulation of Food Biotechnology in Canada; An Expert Panel Report on the Future of
Food Biotechnology prepared by The Royal Society of Canada at the request of Health Canada Canadian Food Inspection Agency and
Environment Canada” The Royal Society of Canada, January 2001.
16 Edwin J. Mathews, Ph.D., in a memorandum to the Toxicology Section of the Biotechnology Working Group. Subject: Analysis of the Major
Plant Toxicants. Dated October 28, 1991
17 Division of Food Chemistry and Technology and Division of Contaminants Chemistry, “Points to Consider for Safety Evaluation of
Genetically Modified Foods: Supplemental Information,” November 1, 1991, http://www.responsibletechnology.org/fraud/fda-quotes
18 Netherwood et al, “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract,” Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2.
19 Division of Food Chemistry and Technology and Division of Contaminants Chemistry, “Points to Consider for Safety Evaluation of
Genetically Modified Foods: Supplemental Information,” November 1, 1991, www.biointegrity.org
20 Charles Benbrook, “Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. – the first sixteen years,” ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
EUROPE, Vol. 24:24 doi:10.1186/2190-4715-24-24, 28 September 2012. http://www.enveurope.com/content/24/1/24/abstract.
21 Department of Veterinary Medicine, FDA, correspondence June 16, 1993. As quoted in Fred A. Hines, Memo to Dr. Linda Kahl. “Flavr Savr
Tomato: . . . Pathology Branch’s Evaluation of Rats with Stomach Lesions From Three Four-Week Oral (Gavage) Toxicity Studies . . . and an
Expert Panel’s Report,” Alliance for Bio-Integrity (June 16, 1993) http://www.biointegrity.org/FDAdocs/17/view1.html
22 Robert J. Scheuplein, Memo to the FDA Biotechnology Coordinator and others, “Response to Calgene Amended Petition,” Alliance for BioIntegrity
(October 27, 1993) http://www.responsibletechnology.org/fraud/fda-quotes
23 Carl B. Johnson to Linda Kahl and others, “Flavr Savr™ Tomato: Significance of Pending DHEE Question,” Alliance for Bio-Integrity
(December 7, 1993) http://www.responsibletechnology.org/fraud/fda-quotes
24 Arpad Pusztai, “Genetically Modified Foods: Are They a Risk to Human/Animal Health?” June 2001 Action Bioscience
www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/pusztai.html
25 Nagui H. Fares, Adel K. El-Sayed, “Fine Structural Changes in the Ileum of Mice Fed on Endotoxin Treated Potatoes and Transgenic
Potatoes,” Natural Toxins 6, no. 6 (1998): 219–233.
26 Stanley W. B. Ewen and Arpad Pusztai, “Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat
small intestine,” Lancet, 1999 Oct 16; 354 (9187): 1353-4.
27 Arpad Pusztai, “Facts Behind the GM Pea Controversy: Epigenetics, Transgenic Plants & Risk Assessment,” Proceedings of the Conference,
December 1st 2005 (Frankfurtam Main, Germany: Literaturhaus, 2005). http://www.oeko.de/oekodoc/277/2006-002-en.pdf
28 Arpad Pusztai, “Can science give us the tools for recognizing possible health risks of GM food,” Nutrition and Health, 2002, Vol 16 Pp 73-84.
29 John M. Burns, “13-Week Dietary Subchronic Comparison Study with MON 863 Corn in Rats Preceded by a 1-Week Baseline Food
Consumption Determination with PMI Certified Rodent Diet #5002,” December 17, 2002
http://www.monsanto.com/pdf/products/fullratstudy863.pdf
30 R. Tudisco, P. Lombardi, F. Bovera, D. d’Angelo, M. I. Cutrignelli, V. Mastellone, V. Terzi, L. Avallone, F. Infascelli, “Genetically Modified
Soya Bean in Rabbit Feeding: Detection of DNA Fragments and Evaluation of Metabolic Effects by Enzymatic Analysis,” Animal Science 82
(2006): 193–199.
31 Comments to ANZFA about Applications A346, A362 and A363 from the Food Legislation and Regulation Advisory Group (FLRAG) of the
Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) on behalf of the PHAA, “Food produced from glyphosate-tolerant canola line GT73.”
32 M. Malatesta, C. Caporaloni, S. Gavaudan, M. B. Rocchi, S. Serafini, C. Tiberi, G. Gazzanelli, “Ultrastructural Morphometrical and
Immunocytochemical Analyses of Hepatocyte Nuclei from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” Cell Struct Funct. 27 (2002): 173–180
33 Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA USA 2007
34 Irina Ermakova, “Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards,” Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels, June
12, 2007
35 Arpad Pusztai, “Can Science Give Us the Tools for Recognizing Possible Health Risks for GM Food?” Nutrition and Health 16 (2002): 73–84.
36 S. Leeson, “The Effect of Glufosinate Resistant Corn on Growth of Male Broiler Chickens,” Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences,
University of Guelph, Report No. A56379, July 12, 1996.
37 Malatesta, et al, “Ultrastructural Analysis of Pancreatic Acinar Cells from Mice Fed on Genetically modified Soybean,” J Anat. 2002
November; 201(5): 409–415; see also M. Malatesta, M. Biggiogera, E. Manuali, M. B. L. Rocchi, B. Baldelli, G. Gazzanelli, “Fine Structural
Analyses of Pancreatic Acinar Cell Nuclei from Mice Fed on GM Soybean,” Eur J Histochem 47 (2003): 385–388.
38 Arpad Pusztai, “Can science give us the tools for recognizing possible health risks of GM food,” Nutrition and Health, 2002, Vol 16 Pp 73-84
39 R. Tudisco, P. Lombardi, F. Bovera, D. d’Angelo, M. I. Cutrignelli, V. Mastellone, V. Terzi, L. Avallone, F. Infascelli, “Genetically Modified
Soya Bean in Rabbit Feeding: Detection of DNA Fragments and Evaluation of Metabolic Effects by Enzymatic Analysis,” Animal Science 82
(2006): 193–199.
40 John M. Burns, “13-Week Dietary Subchronic Comparison Study with MON 863 Corn in Rats Preceded by a 1-Week Baseline Food
Consumption Determination with PMI Certified Rodent Diet #5002,” December 17, 2002
http://www.monsanto.com/pdf/products/fullratstudy863.pdf
41 R. Tudisco, P. Lombardi, F. Bovera, D. d’Angelo, M. I. Cutrignelli, V. Mastellone, V. Terzi, L. Avallone, F. Infascelli, “Genetically Modified
Soya Bean in Rabbit Feeding: Detection of DNA Fragments and Evaluation of Metabolic Effects by Enzymatic Analysis,” Animal Science 82
(2006): 193–199.
42 Arpad Pusztai, “Can science give us the tools for recognizing possible health risks of GM food,” Nutrition and Health, 2002, Vol 16 Pp 73-84
43 de Vendômois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, Séralini GE. A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J
Biol Sci 2009; 5:706-726. Available from http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm
44 Séralini, G.-E., et al. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food
Chem. Toxicol. (2012), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005
45 Irina Ermakova, “Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards,” Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels, June
12, 2007
46 L. Vecchio et al, “Ultrastructural Analysis of Testes from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” European Journal of Histochemistry
48, no. 4 (Oct–Dec 2004):449–454.
47 Oliveri et al., “Temporary Depression of Transcription in Mouse Pre-implantion Embryos from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,”
48th Symposium of the Society for Histochemistry, Lake Maggiore (Italy), September 7–10, 2006.
48 Flávia Bittencourt Brasil, et al, “The Impact of Dietary Organic and Transgenic Soy on the Reproductive System of Female Adult Rat,” The
Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology Volume 292, Issue 4, pages 587-594, April 2009
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ar.20878/abstract
49 Jeffrey M. Smith, “Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality,” based on correspondence with study authors and press
reports, Institute for Responsible Technology http://www.responsibletechnology.org/article-gmo-soy-linked-to-sterility
50 Alberta Velimirov and Claudia Binter, “Biological effects of transgenic maize NK603xMON810 fed in long term reproduction studies in
mice,” Forschungsberichte der Sektion IV, Band 3/2008. Report-Federal Ministry of Health, Family and Youth. 2008.
http://www.biosicherheit.de/pdf/aktuell/zentek_studie_2008.pdf
51 I.V.Ermakova, “Genetically Modified Organisms and Biological Risks,” Proceedings of International Disaster Reduction Conference (IDRC)
Davos, Switzerland August 27th – September 1st, 2006: 168–172. http://eco-irina-ermakova.narod.ru/eng/art/art16.html
52 Irina Ermakova, “Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary
studies,” Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4–9.
53 Irina Ermakova, “Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards,” Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels, June
12, 2007
54 I.V.Ermakova “GMO: Life itself intervened into the experiments,” Letter, EcosInform N2 (2006): 3–4.
55 Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA USA 2007
56 “Mortality in Sheep Flocks after Grazing on Bt Cotton Fields—Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh” Report of the Preliminary Assessment,
April 2006, http://gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/6416-mortality-in-sheep-flocks-after-grazing-on-bt-cotton-fields-warangal-districtandhra-pradesh-2942006

57 Personal communication and visit by Jeffrey Smith with village members, near Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, January 2009.
58 John M. Burns, “13-Week Dietary Subchronic Comparison Study with MON 863 Corn in Rats Preceded by a 1-Week Baseline Food
Consumption Determination with PMI Certified Rodent Diet #5002,” December 17, 2002
http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/content/sci_tech/prod_safety/fullratstudy.pdf, see also Stéphane Foucart, “Controversy Surrounds a GMO,”
Le Monde, 14 December 2004; and Jeffrey M. Smith, “Genetically Modified Corn Study Reveals Health Damage and Cover-up,” Spilling the
Beans, June 2005, http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/Newsletter/June05GMCornHealthDangerExposed/index.cfm
59 Arpad Pusztai, “Can science give us the tools for recognizing possible health risks of GM food,” Nutrition and Health, 2002, Vol 16 Pp 73-84
60 V. E. Prescott, et al, “Transgenic Expression of Bean r-Amylase Inhibitor in Peas Results in Altered Structure and
Immunogenicity,” Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry (2005): 53.
61 Yearly food sensitivity assessment of York Laboratory, as reported in Mark Townsend, “Why soya is a hidden destroyer,” Daily Express,
March 12, 1999.
62 G. A. Kleter and A. A. C. M. Peijnenburg, “Screening of transgenic proteins expressed in transgenic food crops for the presence of short amino
acid sequences indentical to potential, IgE-binding linear epitopes of allergens,” BMC Structural Biology 2 (2002): 8–19.
63 Netherwood et al, “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract,” Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2.
64 Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, “Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An
immunologic comparison,” Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 26, no. 3 (May–June 2005): 210-216(7).
65 Stephen R. Padgette et al, “The Composition of Glyphosate-Tolerant Soybean Seeds Is Equivalent to That of Conventional Soybeans,” The
Journal of Nutrition 126, no. 4, (April 1996); including data in the journal archives from the same study; see also A. Pusztai and S. Bardocz,
“GMO in animal nutrition: potential benefits and risks,” Chapter 17, Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals (Elsevier, 2005).
66 Manuela Malatesta, et al, “Ultrastructural Analysis of Pancreatic Acinar Cells from Mice Fed on Genetically modified Soybean,” Journal of
Anatomy 201, no. 5 (November 2002): 409; see also M. Malatesta, M. Biggiogera, E. Manuali, M. B. L. Rocchi, B. Baldelli, G. Gazzanelli, “Fine
Structural Analyses of Pancreatic Acinar Cell Nuclei from Mice Fed on GM Soybean,” Eur J Histochem 47 (2003): 385–388.
67 See for example, Scott H. Sicherer et al., “Prevalence of peanut and tree nut allergy in the United States determined by means of a random digit
dial telephone survey: A 5-year follow-up study,” Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, March 2003, vol. 112, n 6, 1203-1207); and Ricki
Helm et al., “Hypoallergenic Foods—Soybeans and Peanuts,” Information Systems for Biotechnology News Report, October 1, 2002.
68 Vazquez et al, “Intragastric and intraperitoneal administration of Cry1Ac protoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis induces systemic and mucosal
antibody responses in mice,” Life Sciences, 64, no. 21 (1999): 1897–1912; Vazquez et al, “Characterization of the mucosal and systemic immune
response induced by Cry1Ac protein from Bacillus thuringiensis HD 73 in mice,” Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 33 (2000):
147–155.
69 R. I. Vázquez, L. Moreno-Fierros, L. Neri-Bazán, et al., “Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac Protoxin Is a Potent Systemic and Mucosal Adjuvant,”
Scandinavian Journal of Immunology 49 (1999): 578–84. See also Vazquez-Padron, RI. Et al. (2000b) Characterization of the mucosal and
systemic immune response induced by Cry1Ac protein from Bacillus thuringiensis HD 73 in mice. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological
Research 33, 147-155.
70 Nagui H. Fares, Adel K. El-Sayed, “Fine Structural Changes in the Ileum of Mice Fed on Endotoxin Treated Potatoes and Transgenic
Potatoes,” Natural Toxins 6, no. 6 (1998): 219–233.
71 Alberto Finamore, et al, “Intestinal and Peripheral Immune Response to MON810 Maize Ingestion in Weaning and Old Mice,” J. Agric. Food
Chem., 2008, 56 (23), pp 11533–11539, November 14, 2008
72 Washington State Department of Health, “Report of health surveillance activities: Asian gypsy moth control program,” (Olympia, WA:
Washington State Dept. of Health, 1993).
73 M. Green, et al., “Public health implications of the microbial pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis: An epidemiological study, Oregon, 1985-86,”
Amer. J. Public Health 80, no. 7(1990): 848–852.
74 M.A. Noble, P.D. Riben, and G. J. Cook, “Microbiological and epidemiological surveillance program to monitor the health effects of Foray
48B BTK spray” (Vancouver, B.C.: Ministry of Forests, Province of British Columbi, Sep. 30, 1992).
75 A. Edamura, MD, “Affidavit of the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division. Dale Edwards and Citizens Against Aerial Spraying vs. Her
Majesty the Queen, Represented by the Minister of Agriculture,” (May 6, 1993); as reported in Carrie Swadener, “Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.),”
Journal of Pesticide Reform, 14, no, 3 (Fall 1994).
76 J. R. Samples, and H. Buettner, “Ocular infection caused by a biological insecticide,” J. Infectious Dis. 148, no. 3 (1983): 614; as reported in
Carrie Swadener, “Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.)”, Journal of Pesticide Reform 14, no. 3 (Fall 1994)
77 M. Green, et al., “Public health implications of the microbial pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis: An epidemiological study, Oregon, 1985-86,”
Amer. J. Public Health, 80, no. 7 (1990): 848–852.
78 A. Edamura, MD, “Affidavit of the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division. Dale Edwards and Citizens Against Aerial Spraying vs. Her
Majesty the Queen, Represented by the Minister of Agriculture,” (May 6, 1993); as reported in Carrie Swadener, “Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.),”
Journal of Pesticide Reform, 14, no, 3 (Fall 1994).
79 Carrie Swadener, “Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.),” Journal of Pesticide Reform 14, no. 3 (Fall 1994).
80 Terje Traavik and Jack Heinemann, “Genetic Engineering and Omitted Health Research: Still No Answers to Ageing Questions, 2006. Cited in
their quote was: G. Stotzky, “Release, persistence, and biological activity in soil of insecticidal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis,” found in
Deborah K. Letourneau and Beth E. Burrows, Genetically Engineered Organisms. Assessing Environmental and Human Health Effects (cBoca
Raton, FL: CRC Press LLC, 2002), 187–222.
81 See for example, A. Dutton, H. Klein, J. Romeis, and F. Bigler, “Uptake of Bt-toxin by herbivores feeding on transgenic maize and
consequences for the predator Chrysoperla carnea,” Ecological Entomology 27 (2002): 441–7; and J. Romeis, A. Dutton, and F. Bigler, “Bacillus
thuringiensis toxin (Cry1Ab) has no direct effect on larvae of the green lacewing Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae),”
Journal of Insect Physiology 50, no. 2–3 (2004): 175–183.
82 Mesnage R, Clair E, Gress S, Then C, Székács A, Séralini, GE. (2012). Cytotoxicity on human cells of Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac Bt insecticidal
toxins alone or with a glyphosate-based herbicide. J. Appl. Toxicol. doi: 10.1002/jat.2712
83 Aris 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 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21338670
84 N. Tomlinson of UK MAFF’s Joint Food Safety and Standards Group 4, December 1998 letter to the U.S. FDA, commenting on its draft
document, “Guidance for Industry: Use of Antibiotic Resistance Marker Genes in Transgenic Plants.”
85 Jeffrey M. Smith, “Bt-maize (corn) during pollination, may trigger disease in people living near the cornfield,” Press Release, February 2004,
http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/health-risks/articles-about-risks-by-jeffrey-smith/Genetically-Engineered-Foods-May-CauseRising-Food-Allergies-Genetically-Engineered-Corn-June-2007;
and Allen V. Estabillo, “Farmer’s group urges ban on planting Bt corn; says it
could be cause of illnesses,” Mindanews, October 19, 2004 http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/43-2004/5635-farmers-group-urges-ban-onplanting-bt-corn-20102004
86 Mae-Wan Ho, “GM Ban Long Overdue, Dozens Ill & Five Deaths in the Philippines,” ISIS Press Release, June 2, 2006. http://www.isis.org.uk/GMBanLongOverdue.php
87 Ashish Gupta et. al., “Impact of Bt Cotton on Farmers’ Health (in Barwani and Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh),” Investigation Report, Oct–
Dec 2005.
88 Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA USA 2007
89 E. Ann Clark, “Food Safety of GM Crops in Canada: toxicity and allergenicity,” GE Alert, 2000.
http://www.plant.uoguelph.ca/research/homepages/eclark/safety.htm
90 FLRAG of the PHAA of behalf of the PHAA, “Comments to ANZFA about Applications A372, A375, A378 and A379.”
91 Judy Carman, “Is GM Food Safe to Eat?” in R. Hindmarsh, G. Lawrence, eds., Recoding Nature Critical Perspectives on Genetic Engineering
(Sydney: UNSW Press, 2004): 82–93.
92 Judy Carman, “Is GM Food Safe to Eat?” in R. Hindmarsh, G. Lawrence, eds., Recoding Nature Critical Perspectives on Genetic Engineering
(Sydney: UNSW Press, 2004): 82–93.
93 FLRAG, “Comments to ANZFA about Applications A346, A362 and A363,” http://www.iher.org.au/
94 Doug Gurian-Sherman, “Holes in the Biotech Safety Net, FDA Policy Does Not Assure the Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods,” Center
for Science in the Public Interest, http://www.cspinet.org/new/pdf/fda_report__final.pdf
95 Bill Freese, “The StarLink Affair, Submission by Friends of the Earth to the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel considering Assessment of
Additional Scientific Information Concerning StarLink Corn,” July 17–19, 2001.
96 FDA Letter, Letter from Alan M. Rulis, Office of Premarket Approval, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA to Dr. Kent Croon,
Regulatory Affairs Manager, Monsanto Company, Sept 25, 1996. See Letter for BNF No. 34 at
http://www.fda.gov/Food/Biotechnology/Submissions/ucm161107.htm
97 “Elements of Precaution: Recommendations for the Regulation of Food Biotechnology in Canada; An Expert Panel Report on the Future of
Food Biotechnology prepared by The Royal Society of Canada at the request of Health Canada Canadian Food Inspection Agency and
Environment Canada” The Royal Society of Canada, January 2001. http://www.canadians.org/food/documents/rsc_feb05.pdf
98 FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), Open Meeting, July 17, 2001. http://www.epa.gov/scipoly/sap/meetings/2001/july/julyfinal.pdf
99 Bill Freese, Crop testing, New Scientist, Letter to the Editor, issue 2530, December 17, 2005
100 M. Cretenet, J. Goven, J. A. Heinemann, B. Moore, and C. Rodriguez-Beltran, “Submission on the DAR for application A549 Food Derived
from High-Lysine Corn LY038: to permit the use in food of high-lysine corn, 2006, www.inbi.canterbury.ac.nz
101 Marc Lappé and Britt Bailey, “ASA Response,” June 25, 1999, www.environmentalcommons.org/cetos/articles/asaresponse.html
102 Bill Freese, “The StarLink Affair, Submission by Friends of the Earth to the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel considering Assessment of
Additional Scientific Information Concerning StarLink Corn,” July 17-19, 2001
103 Paul P. Groenewegen, Brian W. McBride, John H. Burton, Theodore H. Elsasser. “Bioactivity of Milk from bST-Treated Cows.” J. Nutrition
120, 1990, pp. 514-519
104 Judith C. Juskevich and C. Greg Guyer. “Bovine Growth Hormone: Human Food Safety Evaluation.” Science, vol. 249. August 24, 1990, pp.
875-884
105 Pete Hardin, “rbGH: Appropriate Studies Haven’t Been Done,” The Milkweed, July 2000
106 See for example, Doug Gurian-Sherman, “Holes in the Biotech Safety Net, FDA Policy Does Not Assure the Safety of Genetically Engineered
Foods,” Center for Science in the Public Interest, http://www.cspinet.org/new/pdf/fda_report__final.pdf
107 S. R. Padgette, N. B.Taylor, D. L. Nida, M. R. Bailey, J. MacDonald, L. R. Holden, R. L. Fuchs, “The composition of glyphosate-tolerant
soybean seeds is equivalent to that of conventional soybeans,” J. Nutr. 126 (1996):702–716.
108 B. G. Hammond, J. L. Vicini, G. F. Hartnell, M. W. Naylor, C. D. Knight, E. H. Robinson, R. L. Fuchs, and S. R. Padgette, “The feeding
value of soybeans fed to rats, chickens, catfish, and dairy cattle is not altered by genetic incorporation of glyphosate tolerance,” J. Nutr. 126
(1996): 717–727.
109 A. Pusztai and S. Bardocz, “GMO in animal nutrition: potential benefits and risks,” Chapter 17, Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals
(Elsevier, October 2005). earlier
110 Ian F. Pryme and Rolf Lembcke, “In Vivo Studies on Possible Health Consequences of Genetically Modified Food and Feed—with Particular
Regard to Ingredients Consisting of Genetically Modified Plan Materials,” Nutrition and Health 17(2003): 1–8.
111 Andreas Rang, et al, “Detection of RNA variants transcribed from the transgene in Roundup Ready soybean,” Eur Food
Res Technol 220 (2005): 438–443.
112 Ian F. Pryme and Rolf Lembcke, “In Vivo Studies on Possible Health Consequences of Genetically Modified Food and Feed—with Particular
Regard to Ingredients Consisting of Genetically Modified Plan Materials,” Nutrition and Health 17(2003): 1–8.
113 Arpad Pusztai, “Can science give us the tools for recognizing possible health risks of GM food,” Nutrition and Health, 2002, Vol 16 Pp 73-84;
Stanley W. B. Ewen and Arpad Pusztai, “Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small
intestine,” Lancet, 1999 Oct 16; 354 (9187): 1353-4; Arpad Pusztai, “Genetically Modified Foods: Are They a Risk to Human/Animal Health?”
June 2001 Action Bioscience http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/pusztai.html; and A. Pusztai and S. Bardocz, “GMO in animal nutrition:
potential benefits and risks,” Chapter 17, Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals, R. Mosenthin, J. Zentek and T. Zebrowska (Eds.) Elsevier,
October 2005
114 V. E. Prescott, et al, “Transgenic Expression of Bean r-Amylase Inhibitor in Peas Results in Altered Structure and Immunogenicity,” Journal
of Agricultural Food Chemistry (2005): 53.
115 J. Lexchin, L. A. Bero, B. Djulbegovic, and O. Clark, “Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and research outcome and quality: systematic
review,” BMJ 326 (2003):1167–1176.
116 Mark Friedberg, et al, “Evaluation of Conflict of Interest in Economic Analyses of New Drugs Used in Oncology,” JAMA 282 (1999):1453–
1457.
117 Suzanne Wuerthele quoted here: http://archive.sare.org/sanet-mg/archives/html-home/23-html/0195.html
118 “Elements of Precaution,” The Royal Society of Canada, January 2001. http://www.canadians.org/food/documents/rsc_feb05.pdf
119 Friends of the Earth Europe, “Throwing Caution to the Wind: A review of the European Food Safety Authority and its work on genetically
modified foods and crops,” November 2004.
120 European Communities submission to World Trade Organization dispute panel, 28 January 2005, reported in Hidden uncertainties – risks of
GMOs, 23 April 2006, Friends of the Earth / Greenpeace http://www.non-gm-farmers.com/news_print.asp?ID=2731
121 EU Regulation 178/2002 (Article 30.4)
122 Friends of the Earth Europe, “Throwing Caution to the Wind: A review of the European Food Safety Authority and its work on genetically
modified foods and crops,” November 2004.
123 “Greenpeace exposes Government-Monsanto nexus to cheat Indian farmers: calls on GEAC to revoke BT cotton permission,” Press release,
March 3, 2005, http://www.greenpeace.org/india_en/news/details?item_id=771071
124 Jeffrey M. Smith, Seeds of Deception, (Iowa: Yes! Books, 2003), 224.
125 “Monsanto Bribery Charges in Indonesia by DoJ and USSEC,” Third World Network, Malaysia, Jan 27, 2005,
http://www.mindfully.org/GE/2005/Monsanto-Indonesia-Bribery27jan05.htm
126 Jeffrey M. Smith, Seeds of Deception, Yes! Books, Fairfield, Iowa 2003
127 Karen Charman, The Professor Who Can Read Your Mind, PR Watch Newsletter Fourth Quarter 1999, Volume 6, No. 4
128 http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/41-2002/3068-support-for-food-biotechnology-holds-in-the-us-
129 Estimates of increased IGF-1 levels vary considerably. In Mepham et al, “Safety of milk from cows treated with bovine somatotropin,” The
Lancet 2 (1994):197, IGF-1 levels were up to 10 times higher. The methods used may also underestimate IGF-1 levels considerably. See Samuel
S. Epstein, “Unlabeled Milk From Cows Treated With Biosynthetic Growth Hormones: A Case of Regulatory Abdication,” International Journal
of Health Services 26(1996): 173–185; and Samuel S. Epstein, What’s In Your Milk? (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada:Trafford Publishing,
2006), 197–204.
130 For a review of literature linking elevated levels of IGF-1 with increased risks of breast, colon and prostate cancers, see Samuel S. Epstein,
What’s In Your Milk?, 197–204.
131 Gary Steinman, “Mechanisms of Twinning VII. Effect of Diet and Heredity on the Human Twinning Rate,” Journal of Reproductive
Medicine, May 2006; S.E. Echternkamp et al, “Ovarian Follicular Development in Cattle Selected for Twin Ovulations and Births,” Journal of
Animal Science 82 no. 2 (2004): 459–471; and S. E. Echternkamp et al, “Concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I in blood and ovarian
follicular fluid of cattle selected for twins,” Biology of Reproduction, 43(1990): 8–14.
132 Powell D.A.; Blaine K.; Morris S.; Wilson J., Agronomic and consumer considerations for Bt and conventional sweet-corn, British Food
Journal, Volume: 105, Issue: 10, Page: 700-713 (Nov 2003)
133 GM Nation? The findings of the public debate, http://www.gmnation.org.uk/ut_09/ut_9_6.htm#summary
134 To see the Toronto Star photo in Laidlaw’s book, go to http://www.gmwatch.org/p1temp.asp?pid=72&page=1 or
http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/Shane_Morris
135 Corn Fakes, Private Eye, No. 1194, 28 September-11 October 2007 http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/46-2007/7525-award-winningpaper-qa-flagrant-fraudq-cambridge-expert-2692007
136 Tim Lambert, Would you eat wormy corn?, September 7 2007
http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/09/would_you_eat_wormy_sweet_corn.php
137 “Genetically modified foods, who knows how safe they are?” CBC News and Current Affairs, September 25, 2006.
138 Mike Zelina, et al., The Health Effects of Genetically Engineered Crops on San Luis Obispo County,” A Citizen Response to the SLO Health
Commission GMO Task Force Report, 2006.
139 Bill Lambrecht, Dinner at the New Gene Café, St. Martin’s Press, September 2001, pg 139
Photo credits
Stanley W. B. Ewen and Arpad Pusztai, “Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small
intestine,” Lancet, 1999 Oct 16; 354 (9187): 1353-4.
M. Malatesta, C. Caporaloni, S. Gavaudan, M. B. Rocchi, S. Serafini, C. Tiberi, G. Gazzanelli, “Ultrastructural Morphometrical and
Immunocytochemical Analyses of Hepatocyte Nuclei from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” Cell Struct Funct. 27 (2002): 173–180
Irina Ermakova, “Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards,” Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels, June 12,
2007
Irina Ermakova, “Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary
studies,” Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4–9.

Close Accordion