The 8 Myths of GMOs
There are 8 big myths currently circulating on the subject of genetically modified crops. Biotech companies spend over $250 million dollars each year advertising the benefits of GM crops to the general public, when in fact, not only have those benefits turned out to be serious liabilities, but they also come at a cost not only our health, but environmental damage so catastrophic that not even the biotech companies themselves can control the repercussions.
Let's take a look at what the biotechs don't advertise, and determine for ourselves any benefit a genetically modified food can offer us:
Myth #1: GMOs pose no health dangers...
The Problem With Current US Studies: Patents
Any independent organization who wants to conduct a study on GM crops must receive permission from the biotech company that developed the crop, because they own patents on the crop. Under US patent and trademark laws, it is extremely difficult for independent scientists to conduct any studies on GM products because the intellectual property is protected. The patent holders are under no obligation to grant any permission for these studies.
Recognizing this obvious conflict with regard to public safety, the government intervened, but did not address the problem. Now, the biotech companies can:
- Work with specific universities of their own choice who perform the studies.
- Have the studies conducted under secrecy agreements, whose terms are allowed to be kept confidential from the public.
- Perform the studies themselves and develop their own study standards.
An independent scientist or food safety group still cannot simply request to do a food safety study. Approval is required from the biotech company who developed the crop. Common sense tells us that the biotech industry should not be allowed to develop their own standards, nor should they be exempt from allowing independent studies to be conducted.
All claims that GM foods are safe are either made by biotech scientists with biotech biases, or are made by companies funded by the biotechs.
- A study published in Food Policy conducted a "conflict of interest" study on biotechs and GMOs. In the study, a researcher read through 97 research studies to determine whether findings were favorable, neutral, or had adverse effects. A separate scientist then looked for financial conflicts (from those who paid for the studies) and professional conflicts (if a scientist worked for a biotech company). They concluded that for studies where a financial conflict exists, there was no significant difference. But for professional conflicts, they discovered there were 41 papers where there was a professional conflict and that all 41 were favorable towards GMs. In the 51 remaining, 39 did not find problems with the GMOs but 12 did. These finding are statistically significant.
Any study where there is a professional conflict of interest affects the outcome of the study, and should be considered null and void.
What Independent Studies Actually Show
A substantial body of scientific evidence from independent studies outside of the US reveals that there may be serious health hazards resulting from the consumption of GMOs. The scientists conducting these studies are beginning to sound the alarm bells. Publicly funded research is now showing gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, organ damage, birth defects, infertility, and cancer directly related to consuming GMOs.
Not surprisingly, none of these studies are funded by biotech companies, nor have they been conducted in the US. Scientists and weed experts are a large body of people producing evidence against GM crops, but in the US, media outlets and the government are refusing to publicize these findings because large institutions are becoming increasingly more reliant upon biotech funding. A study questioning the safety of GMOs, regardless of who publishes the study and how well it is done, is deemed either "highly controversial" or is immediately discredited.
When GMOs are questioned, the backlash is incredibly powerful, with the intent to destroy the study and the reputation of those creating it. Any study results that do make it to the public eye are claimed as an unfounded hysterical outcry.
Here are just a few examples of health studies on GM products:
Seralini & team study...
The FCT appointed an Associate Editor for biotechnology, Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto scientist and long-time associate of a lobby group funded by the biotechs, to be the gatekeeper on whether studies on GMOs will be published or not. Months after his arrival, the Seralini study was retracted on the rationale that the findings were "inconclusive."
Fortunately, the study was finally republished by Environmental Sciences Europe in May, 2014.(2)
150 scientists worldwide condemned the retraction of the Seralini GMO study. A former member of the editorial board of FCT, Marcel Roberfroid, condemned the retraction in a letter to the editor of the journal, stating, “Your decision, which can be interpreted as a will to eliminate scientific information that does not help supporting industrial interests is, in my view, unacceptable.” Critics of the retraction have said that it violates the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), of which FCT is a member.(3)
The Shameful Behavior of Nature Biotechnology
The editor of Nature Biotechnology wrote to Dr. Ermakova, inviting her to write about her findings in a "letter to the editor." Not being an appropriate method of producing formal study results, Ermakova requested that she submit a peer reviewed paper, as most scientists do. The editor refused her request, and instead, asked for responses to specific questions they posed, stating that the questions and answers would be published as an article. The editor also stipulated that the summary be conducted over the phone, and that only a summary was required. They refused to accept any details on the study.
It is well-known in the scientific community that this is not an appropriate method for sharing study results. Before publishing the article (and unbeknownst to Dr. Ermakova), the editor sent the article out to 4 known pro-GM scientists who criticized all of Dr. Ermakova's statements, and the article with the criticisms from the scientists was then published. These critics admitted in their critique that they had no experience in the field of animal experiments. Dr. Ermakova was then refused the opportunity to reply to the critique. The evidence that Dr. Ermakova provided to substantiate her statements was completely removed, making it appear like the study conclusions were her own ideas and opinions, rather than scientific study data.
It is generally accepted that if a critique to a scientific paper is published, the person who is being criticized be given the opportunity to respond. Dr. Ermakova was initially denied this opportunity. She was finally allowed the response she demanded, but then the critics were again allowed to criticize her responses, and again she was not allowed to respond to their statements. These critics repeatedly criticized Ermakova for only presenting a summary of points, rather than giving details, even though the editor had refused to accept these details and would accept only a summary from Ermakova.
The attitude of Nature Biotechnology was both unprofessional in its treatment of Dr. Ermakova, and very unscientific in its approach to presenting data. It completely destroyed any chance of Dr. Ermakova publishing her work in any scientific peer review journal, and damaged her ability to receive the further funding she required to evaluate the damaged organs.
After publishing his research, Dr. Carrasco was on his way to present his findings at a public meeting and was attacked. A gang surrounded his car, trapping him for 2 hours.
The Argentinian government depends on the GM soy industry as they receive 1/3 of the revenue as tax from its exports. Dr. Carrasco's findings were unwelcomed and he fell under intense pressure. The irony is that even the biotech industry's own experiments on glyphosate show that it causes birth defects on laboratory animals.
Shane Morris GM corn study...
The paper was based on a "study" conducted at a local store. In the store where both the GM and non-GM corn was sold, the GM corn displayed the sign "no chemical pesticide sprays used." But the bin selling the non-GM corn had a list of the chemical pesticides used in its production, and asked "would you eat wormy sweet corn?" on a huge sign suspended from the ceiling. Pro-GM literature was also provided in the store. A farmer at the store purchased natural corn after an attempt was made to try and convince him to purchase the GM corn.
Presenting a huge bias is a fundamentally unscientific way of conducting a consumer preference study, and yet formed the basis of the "award-winning" paper that was written. It was a clear violation of scientific principles and when the truth came out, the public was outraged. Morris has been internationally condemned for co-authoring the fraudulent paper, and for attempting to shut down the GMWatch and GM-Free Ireland websites after they published reports about the scandal.(7)
Canadian study on GM corn...
Publicly funded science shows that BT toxin can be toxic to both mice and rats. In insects, the BT protein creates holes in their guts (gut permeability). Bacteria can then enter these holes and reach the bloodstream, a condition called leaky gut. When it was discovered that the BT toxin was entering the blood of Canadian women, the insect study poses a plausible explanation as to how this occurred.
Pusztai and the Rowett Institute receiving numerous phone calls from government, industrial, NGO and media organisations. Pusztai was then suspended and misconduct procedures were used as the excuse to seize his data and ban him from speaking publicly. His annual contract was not renewed.
When it comes to GMOs, here is a clear impact on human health. Industrial, chemical, and GM agriculture zones correlate with epidemics of chronic disease that include cancer. The pockets of cancer rates are high in these zones. In Argentina, round-up ready soy is the only soy grown there, and the glyphosate (the active ingredient in roundup) sprayed onto it is being blamed for the dramatic increase in devastating birth defects, cancer, sterility, and miscarriages.
GM products aside, the highly toxic pesticide Roundup poses its own health concerns. It is a broad spectrum pesticide and antibacterium that affects the cells throughout our body and causes endocrine disruption. This product is now used indiscriminately by both farmers and the general public.
Myth #2: GM crops will lead to less pesticide use...
Because pesticide use would be dramatically reduced, two huge benefits would result:
- Less pesticide usage would save farmers money
- Less pesticide usage would benefit the environment.
Unfortunately, not only has the opposite occurred, but it has occurred with disastrous consequences. When you try to suppress the systems of nature, they will respond simply because they cannot be controlled or contained in this manner. Organisms adapt to their environment, and the weeds and insects, of course, adapted! GE technology failed as natural resistance to their pesticides evolved.
The problem has become so serious that farmers have had to request "emergency exemptions" from the EPA to use untested stronger and more dangerous herbicides on resistant crops.
As a result of this lack of foresight, we now have hundreds of species of "superweeds" that are resistant to herbicides, and insects that are resistant to pesticides. Within only 7-8 years, a new breed of superweeds appeared that are highly resistant to roundup. Farmers are now having to spray huge quantities of roundup, much more than they did previously, to try and control the new strains of aggressive bugs and weeds that have evolved. This dramatic increase in pesticide usage has reached epidemic levels, contaminating our air and our water supply, as well as our food chain.
Not only are we using much more toxic pesticides,
but we are also dealing with stronger & more aggressive superweeds
Scientists state there has been a 400 million pound increase in the use of weed killers since the introduction of GM plants built to withstand the pesticides. In Argentina alone, millions and millions of gallons of roundup are now required, causing over 21 new species of weeds to appear that are Roundup resistant.
BT corn and cotton crops that have been developed with an insecticide built into them (effectively, they contain their own bug-killer), have now led to insect resistance. Larger populations of bugs are now appearing, breeding to produce insects that are resistant to the insecticide engineered in the BT crops. The seeds now have to be coated in additional insecticidal seed treatment to cope with pests that the toxin fails to kill - an additional (and hidden) insecticide use.
Agent Orange Corn
At this point, even the biotech companies recognize there is a major problem to now contend with as a result of their serious misjudgment. Unable to control the new strains of weeds and insects, their response is to now focus on developing increasingly toxic solutions to deal with these superweeds and superpests. These more toxic products will result in predictably higher future profit margins as farmers will need to purchase the more toxic pesticides (from the biotechs) to spray on their crops. The result is that very dangerous products such as Dicamba and 2,4-D will have far reaching consequences.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Dicamba and 2,4-D (known as Agent Orange, or 24D) are potent neurotoxic chemicals. Agent Orange was used in Vietnam and is an extremely dangerous and highly toxic product, but despite these dangers, a new 2,4-D resistant corn is being developed that many scientists are calling "agent orange corn." This crop is being engineered to withstand the extremely high usage of the highly toxic 2,4-D. If approved, the consequences are very disturbing to consider. We definitely do know it will appear in our air and drinking water, and that the exposure to the general public will be dramatically increased.
2,4-D has now become a very common ingredient in pesticides sold for home and harden use, and the public has absolutely no idea how dangerous it is, especially for children and pets. Using 4 or more applications of 2,4-D each year increases the risk of canine malignant lymphoma 2-fold (Journal of the National Cancer Institute).
- The Vietnamese government estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed and another 1/2 million children born with birth defects as a result of the US military's use of agent orange.
- The Red Cross states that there are over 1,000,000 disabled in Vietnam today because of agent orange.
People are being led to believe that GMOs have reduced pesticide use, instead of understanding that crops are not only now resistant to current pesticides, but that more of it is needed in much more toxic versions to kill the superweeds that have grown as a result of the GMOs. There is clearly no happy ending to this cycle if we continue down the current path of GE crops.
In a continual show of short-sightedness, biotech companies are now looking at "stacking" chemicals (using several highly toxic chemicals) in newer crops to develop more insect and weed resistance. The toxic pollution in our water and food, and the impact on the environment and human health, is devastating.
More Pesticides = Skyrocketing Profits
From a biotech standpoint, Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, has seen substantial profit from increased pesticide usage. In hindsight, it has successfully developed plants that require more and more of its own pesticides, predictably skyrocketing their own product sales. Sadly, farmers fall prey to this vicious cycle and become a victim of the process. Every few years, they must switch insecticides and herbicides because of the developing chemical resistance.
|According to Dave Mortensen, Ph.D., professor of Weed & Applied Plant Ecology at Penn State University, 800,000 million more pounds of these newer and highly toxic products will be used in farming. There is no real future, except transitioning ito sustainable, long-term farming rather than the disastrous route of GM products.|
Where Does This Take Us?
We can now look forward to superweeds that will become supertrees requiring chainsaws and machetes, not chemicals. When we understand the truth, it becomes very difficult to accept the disastrous impact of this chemical experiment on nature. Soaking our food chain in more and more toxic insecticides will take chronic disease to new and unprecedented levels.
At the end of the day, the claim by Monsanto and other biotech companies that GM products will reduce pesticide usage has absolutely and conclusively been proven as false.
Myth #3: GM crops have been rigorously tested by the FDA...
The FDA has tested none of the GM crops for
their toxicity, nor for their potential as allergens.
At a bare minimum, a rigorous safety and inspection system needs to exist where the government stipulates studies that need to be done, and protocols that need to be followed. If a biotech company is allowed to determine its own studies with its own rules and its own protocols, with no independent verification on the validity of these studies, or verification of no fraud involved, then the public has a right to be extremely concerned. This is the real reason that GMOs should be labeled to allow the public to decide whether or not they want to participate in the gene-altering food experiment.
Because of a lack of FDA mandated studies or approved protocols, the biotech companies themselves are free to make their own safety determination and present their own study findings to the FDA. Unfortunately, in an attempt to lull the public into a false sense of security, articles and publications make completely false statements claiming that the FDA has, in fact, tested such products. We are even being told there is a "scientific consensus" that GM crops are safe for human, animal, and environmental health based on a complete lack of any independent, long-term health studies.
|Scientific American False Statements!
A blatant example of false statements regarding the FDA testing of GMOs was published in Scientific American, who claimed that the FDA had tested all GM products on the market to determine whether or not they were toxic or allergenic.
It also stated that labeling gives consumers the “false impression that GMO foods are not safe.” As they have never been tested to BE safe, there are no grounds to make such a statement.
GMOs Are Biologically Different
Biotech corporations themselves maintain the stance that there is no need for safety testing or labeling of GM products because they are considered equivalent to their conventional counterpart (i.e. GM crops are no different from non-GM crops). At the same time, biotech corporations recognize the significant difference, claim patents on these differences, and receive substantial profits based on the unique nature of these products. It is the unique nature of the product that grants it a patent, and holds the potential for a tremendous source of profit. Biotechs can't have it both ways. Are GM seeds the same as conventional seeds? Or are they unique?
A genetically modified organism is biologically unique, and there should be no question or confusion on this fact. Companies have patented such processes as "completely new" because they are new. Because of this, independent safety assessments should be required before such foods can be released to the public. But these safety assessments simply do not exist.
Rigged or Questionable Research
The lobby for biotechnology is very powerful in North America. The biotech industry and chemical giants spends hundreds of millions of dollars influencing scientists, doctors, governments, lobbyists, and regulatory agencies that their products are safe. Large sums of money are donated to labs and universities to research GM products, but the researchers then fall victim to a conflict of interest. Their findings must support their funders, or the funding would obviously stop. The result is that studies are generated that show only positive results.
Many GM safety studies are heavily biased and are conducted by the companies who either sell GMOs, or who are funded by the biotech industry. As the studies are not standardized, the biotech companies can present only the data they want to present to regulators, and remove anything that is questionable or objectionable. If animals fed GM crops during a study die for unknown reasons, the animals can simply be replaced in the study with another animal, with no word or explanation as to what caused the death. Data can be selectively submitted, resulting in highly flawed studies. Such an approach is never acceptable in controlled studies, and yet it is common in GMO safety studies that are published.
Many studies conducted by public institutions on GM products are funded by biotech companies. Novartis and Monsanto gave a donation/grant of $50,000 to Berkeley University, specifying they themselves had the first right of refusal to examine research information for 3 months. Anything they felt was proprietary, the University would not be allowed to publish. The fact that the University is a public university publishing papers for the public good raises an important ethics question. A similar donation/grant in the amount of $500,000 million was made to British Petroleum (BP), who is working to creating biofuels.
Studies or Opinions?
We have to be very careful when we look at studies, because many studies are "opinion" pieces. When you drill down into the data being presented, there is often little data (and sometimes none!) to support those opinions. Blindly trusting peer reviewed publications and study conclusions can lead us down the wrong path. Often, the study conclusions presented to the public contradicts the data in the study itself. The assumption is made that the general public will not read the actual study (most people don't), and instead, read only the conclusion and believe it. This is a very easy way to lull the public into a false sense of security.
|The Snell Review - Misrepresentation of GMO Studies
The Snell Review is an example that is often cited of long-term feeding studies of animals and GM crops. The conclusion presented was that GM crops were safe, when in fact, the studies cited in the review do not show anything of the kind. On the contrary, studies included point to possible toxicity from GM crops fed to animals. These findings were referred to as "weaknesses" in the studies, yet these same "weaknesses" are common in other studies that highlight the same concerns.
Selective elements of the studies were focused on, and then presented as opinions and conclusions. Some of the reviews were not even on long-term toxicology studies of animals fed GM crops, but rather on animal production studies for farming in general, and performed over a very short periods of time (this is because commercial farm animals do not live very long - a cow is commonly killed very young for meat production).
The conclusions were a major misrepresentation of the studies on GMO toxicity.
Myth #4: Those demanding labeling are "Anti-Science"...
Governments In Over 60 Other Countries Require GMO Labeling
Can these countries all be accused of anti-science? They include Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, where the government has mandated that GM products be clearly labeled to help the public make an informed decision on GM purchases. The irony is that some of the biggest food corporations in the world, including Nestle, Kraft, Coca Cola, Pepsi, and Kellogg, already label their products in the other countries that require it... but not in the United States. Every single member of the Grocery Manufacturer's Association labels its GM foods in over 60 countries. But not in the United States... We label gluten, fat content, sodium content, and yet there is an uproar about labeling GMOs.
The reason that the governments of these countries label GMOs is because they recognize that we have no idea of the long-term health impact of eating these crops. Other countries such as Ecuador have taken it one step further and completely banned them, not allowing them into their food supply.
Until safety assessments are conducted,
labeling GMOs is the only protection.
The labeling will not change the cost of doing business, despite the false statements to the contrary. It didn't in other countries. The only thing that will change is that the consumer may choose against purchasing genetically modified products, reducing the multi-billion dollar profit margin of the biotech companies. And how dare we want such a thing!
Consumers in other countries have the protection from their government that US consumers do not, and this stark realization is seriously eroding the trust that consumers have in federal agencies to protect them and their food supply. Similar to the pharmaceutical industry, consumers and human rights organizations are beginning to distrust federal agencies who protect an industry at odds with the health and welfare of the general public. Why do consumers worldwide have access to GE product label warnings, yet food manufacturers in the US can legally refuse to label these foods? Why are companies that label their GMOs in other countries fighting so hard against labeling them in the US?
Many Oppose GM Products, Including Scientists
Many scientists oppose GM products and the impact they have on the environment.
- When the World Food Prize was awarded to 3 chemical company executives (including a Monsanto executive), the backlash from the scientific community was substantial. In response, nearly 100 global luminaries in the food world signed a statement of protest, stating the award to these executive was an affront to the safe, ecological farming practices scientifically proven to promote nutrition and sustainability.
- Over 2,000,000 people in 52 countries marched in opposition to genetically modified foods with the message "GMOs - A perfect example of the wrong way to go."
- The UNEP (UN Environmental Program) published a document that stated the answer in Africa is not biotech foods, but rather sustainable ecological solutions.
- The IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science & Technology for Development) published findings based on a 4-year process supported by more than 500 scientists. Their findings reflected that the answer for agriculture is not technology, genetic engineering, or nano-technology, but rather agroecological approaches.
Why GMOs Need to be Labeled
The reason that labeling on these products exists in other countries is in no way an attack on technology. It exists because there is a complete lack of health studies that prove GMOs are safe. The US is the only country that does not require safety assessments of GM products. Until independent, publicly funded testing clearly shows that there are no long-term health risks from GM crops, they need to be labeled to allow the public to choose whether or not they want to be part of the experiment. Even some of the biggest GM proponents also agree on this point.
If GMOs are not labeled, then people should question what it is the biotechs have to hide. Once GM products are labeled, there will be a tracking mechanism to help independent scientific bodies discover any correlation between the difference in how GMOs impact our health vs. non-GMOs. This tracking mechanism is something that the biotech companies are working very hard to prevent.
Labeling has nothing to do with not wanting genetic foods in the food chain. It is simply about choice, as opposed to force. It is about not letting the 5 big food companies that produce most of our food taking that choice away from us. It is a basic fundamental right we should have that when we pay for our food, we know what we are putting into our bodies. Labeling is the very least that should be done on the topic of genetically modified foods.
Myth #5: Genetically engineered crops will feed the world...
- 85% of Corn (the majority is used in processed food, animal feed, pet food, and to fuel cars)
- 91% of Soybeans (the majority is used in processed food, soy food, animal feed, pet food, and oil)
- 88% of Cotton (feeds no-one)
- Canola (one of the many oils used in food)
Much of the soy produced is exported to China and Europe to feed cattle. To fulfill the claim that GM crops will feed the world, they would have to produce more than the conventional (non-GM) version of corn and soybeans. But they are not engineered for a higher yield. They are engineered to resist the application of herbicides, and to produce their own internal insecticide (which is why the EPA labels GM corn as an actual pesticide). Any yield increases are due to conventional breeding improvements, not improvements related to genetic engineering.
Drought & Flood Tolerance
Non-GM crops are more drought tolerant than their GM counterpart. The reason GM products are not more drought or flood tolerant than non-GM crops is because this cannot be achieved by moving around genes. Conventional breed techniques by farmers leads to such tolerance and resilience over time. GM products are not more beneficial from this standpoint.
- The Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed government data and data from official peer reviewed publications. It compared GM and non-GM crops grown in the same conditions to compare the resulting yield. In carefully controlled trials, the GM yield was found to be no better than the non-GM yield. In some crops such as soy, the opposite occurred, and there was a yield drop in the GM version due to the unexpected effects of genetic modification.
Farmers also reported that yields were higher with non-GM seeds and that money was being lost on corn that was genetically engineered. Biotech companies then responded by mixing the GM seeds with the non-GM seeds. Rather than solve the problem, they effectively prevented any clear comparison of GM vs. non-GM crops, and no way of invalidating the farmer's original claim.
- A study published by Rodale compared conventional vs. organic corn production over 30 years. In normal years, conventional systems yielded 10% more than organic crops, but in drought conditions, the organic crops produced more yield. The water-holding capacity was greater and the plants were more efficient in their use of water in the organic crops. A natural ecosystem creates its own process to self-regulate growth. Farming methods in existence for over 5,000 years use time-tested principles that govern the sustainability of their system, yet biotech companies looks at these systems as primitive and peasant-like.
Farms who use agroecological methods preserve millions of crops, insects, and animals. It becomes very clear that GM crops are not a solution for feeding people that do not have enough food. It is a local food system that is the culturally appropriate answer, not an industrialized and highly chemicalized global food system that contributes to chronic disease and a shortened life span.
GMOs are absolutely not necessary for feeding the world. This claim is simply propaganda and public relations. We have very clear evidence that GM products that are totally dependent on chemicals are part of the problem, and do not play any part in the solution.
AquaAdvantage - The False Promise of Genetically Engineered Salmon
Genetically modified salmon is an experiment in which salmon can be brought to market weight in half the time of conventional salmon. The reality is that this comparison is only true when comparing GE salmon with wild salmon. Factory-farmed salmon reaches market weight much quicker than wild salmon, with some types growing just as fast as the GE salmon. This effectively cancels out the entire reason for developing the GE salmon to begin with.
Current data suggests that GE salmon may also pose food safety risks, as well as seriously threaten the wild salmon industry. At a hearing on the subject in 2010, Senior Scientist Michael Hanson with Consumers Union stated:
"The Environmental Assessment (EA) states the FDA has found that the salmon is safe to eat. However, we are deeply concerned that the potential of these fish to cause allergic reactions has not been adequately researched. The FDA has allowed this fish to move forward based on tests of allergenicity of only 6 engineered fish - and these tests actually did show an increase in allergy-causing potential."
Myth #6: GM crops will benefit small farmers...
- Royalties which had to be paid to Monsanto.
- The mass quantity of herbicides required to farm the GM crops
- Small farms under 500 hectares cannot afford the expensive machinery required to maintain GM crops
In India, 50% of the farmers committed suicide because of the stress induced from falling into economic debt resulting from using GM crops. In the US, hundreds of small farmers also go out of business each year for the same reason.
There is no evidence whatsoever that small farmer's benefit from GM crops. The opposite has proven to be true.
Myth #7: Organic food can't feed the world - it's not sustainable...
Pimentel & Pimentel
In the US alone, we have 1 million people hungry, and 40 million are food-insecure. Yet the American public throws away mass quantities of food each year. The food wastage in the US could feed a country the size of Africa. The problem is not that we do not have enough food. Hunger is more a political problem than a food production problem.
The yearly livestock production in the US alone consumes 7 times more grain than the entire US population. The acreage wasted on growing genetically modified corn and soy to feed farm animals alone (animals which should be pasture-raised as they are in every other country, and never fed this processed diet to begin with), could end world hunger.
The billions of dollars spent developing and marketing genetically modified food could be spent on much healthier and more environmentally responsible food production. It could also be spent educating consumers on the subject of nutrition, and the fact that the top three chronic diseases in the western world, namely heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, are entirely preventable by our diet choices.
Myth #8: GM crops are more nutritious than conventional crops...
When GM crops are grown with herbicides, it tends to destroy the health of the growing soil and, which damages future crop growth. The minerals in the soil are also immobilized and important nutrients do not reach the plant that are needed for efficient growing and resistance to disease. The livestock and humans that eat these crops are now eating a less nutritious food. The shortage of minerals we now see in many genetically modified and non-organic fresh produce items is now resulting in various nutritional deficiencies. Monsanto's pesticide, Roundup, kills the beneficial bacteria in soil, contributing to the destruction of vitamin B12.
In a nutritional analysis of GM corn vs. non-GM corn in 2012, nutritional differences revealed that non-GM corn had 437 times more calcium and 56 times more magnesium than its GM counterpart.
The Body Healer Protocol...
Trying to develop a product by injecting it with synthetic nutrients shows a complete lack of understanding that a natural, whole food is balanced because of how nature has packaged it, and because of the highly complex interaction between the nutrients and chemicals inherent within the food. Trying to isolate certain nutrients is a nonsensical approach to health and shows the arrogance of scientists who feel they can do a better job than the natural world.
GMOs & Antibiotic Resistance
An antibiotic-resistant gene is placed in the GM plant, along with an herbicide-resistant gene. This means that the cells in genetically modified crops are bred to be antibiotic-resistant. Unfortunately, these antibiotic-resistant genes can then be picked up by bacteria in the soil and find their way into our water supply and our bodies. We are colonizing our healthy gut bacteria with antibiotic resistant bacterial genes.
- The Chinese tested multiple samples of public water and found that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are now in their rivers, with the conclusion that it originated from local genetically engineered crops.
- In a study in Europe on beets, the antibiotic marker genes transferred to soil bacteria under lab conditions.
Centers For Disease Control (CDC)
The biotech industry originally claimed that the transfer of antibiotic-resistant genes could not happen, and that genes in food could not be transferred to either our intestines, or to the environment. This has been conclusively proved as untrue, yet no responsibility is accepted on the part of the biotech industry for this misjudgment.
There is a serious ramification to this problem. We are becoming more antibiotic resistant, which means that if we have an infection and are prescribed antibiotics, or are in a life-or-death situation requiring antibiotics to save our lives, they may no longer work. During severe illnesses, treatment options become much more limited. Antibiotic resistance is now a recognized problem in the medical field.
Each year in the US, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result.(8) Many more people die from other conditions that are complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection.
The Asthma Connection
Many children have food allergies now that did not exist a decade ago. Indisputably, food allergies are skyrocketing, leading parents to wonder what could be causing such a dramatic change. Our parents and grandparents had little to no memories of kids with debilitating intolerances and serious allergies to foods such as peanuts. Today, kids all over America are now developing allergies so serious that they are rushed to emergency rooms.
Allergies are a Reaction to Proteins Found Within a Food
The DNA of an organism contains instructions for making proteins, but when food is genetically engineered, the altered DNA can, in turn, create new proteins. GM foods are designed to produce their own insecticidal toxins and introduce foreign proteins into our food chain that never existed before. Because the DNA of GM foods have been altered, the new proteins created may create new allergies to that GM food that did not previously exist, or allergies to other food proteins. Children are especially susceptible as 70% of a child's immune system is found within their digestive tract.
- A 2005 allergy and asthma study found that human subjects exhibited an immune response to GM soy, but not to non-GMO soy. This is because GM soy contains a different protein.(9)
It is becoming more and more difficult to refute the possibility that the proteins engineered in GM foods could be a cause of food allergies, asthma, autism, and other conditions. The biotech industry does recognize the correlation between the emergence of GM foods, and allergies and other health conditions, but dismiss it as mere coincidence. Due to a lack of any long-term independent health studies, there is no ability to compare the effects of GM corn vs. non-GM corn.
In the absence of these studies, the only way to tell if GM foods contribute to health conditions is to completely remove them from the diet and see if the health condition improves or clears up. If you live in most countries around the world, including Europe, Australia, or Japan, this is not very difficult as GM foods are clearly labeled. But making this distinction is much more difficult if you live in the US, because the right to recognize GM foods is taken away from you. Labeling in the US is critical to give people the choice to opt out of these foods and their potentially hazardous health implications, rather than be part of one huge chemistry experiment.
Genetically modified foods are now filling the supermarket shelves, and experts claim they are now in over 75% of processed and refined foods. Learn about how you can avoid purchasing any food that contains GMOs.
- Understanding GMOs
- The 8 myths of GMOs
- How to avoid GMOs at the market
- Health dangers of foods sprayed with pesticides
- The Dirty Dozen: What they are & why you should avoid them
- The standard American diet: Fast-track to chronic disease
- Irradiated foods
- Microwaves - why you should ditch them
- Get off the diet merry-go-round
- Is your diet healthy? See how it stacks up
- Healthy food choices for children
- Healthy food choices for pets
View Sources & References
- The Food Revolution Network, John & Ocean Robbins
- Wormy corn image, sourced from ScienceBlogs
- (1) Seralini & Team - Studies on GMOs
- (2) Long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerantgenetically modified maize
- (3) Global scientists condemn retraction of Seralini GMO study
- (4) Influence of GM soya on the birth weight & survival of rat pups
- (5) Glyphosate, the main chemical in Roundup, causes malformation & birth defects
- (6) Agronomic & consumer considerations for BT & conventional sweet corn
- (7) Shane Morris Scandal / Institute of Science in Technology
- (8) CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
- (9) Genetically modified & wild soybeans: An immunologic comparison, Allergy Asthma Proc. 2005 May-Jun;26(3):210-6.
- Institute For Responsible Technology
- Food Democracy NOW!
- Organic Consumers Association