France considers emergency ban on Monsanto’s genetically modified corn after study links cancer

Eating GMO foods dangerous?

by Green Monkey

In light of the recent news from France that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready variety of corn has been linked to significant increases in cancer in long term animal feeding trials (which Monsanto itself refused to perform).  I think it is important for Barbados Free Press readers to be fully aware of the risks they are potentially running by eating corn or processed foods from North American food manufacturers who now use large quantities of genetically modified crops from Monsanto and other GMO suppliers in their products.

Green Monkey

France to prove study linking GM corn to cancer

France has asked its national health body to verify a study released this week linking Monsanto’s NK603 genetically modified corn to cancer in rats, saying the results of the probe could lead to an “emergency suspension” of NK603 imports.

France’s government on Wednesday asked a health watchdog to carry out a probe, possibly leading to EU suspension of a genetically-modified corn, after a study in rats linked the grain to cancer.

Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll, Ecology Minister Delphine Batho and Health and Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine said they had asked the National Agency for Health Safety (ANSES) to investigate the finding.

“Depending on ANSES’ opinion, the government will urge the European authorities to take all necessary measures to protect human and animal health,” they said in a joint statement…

… continue reading this news at France24: France to prove study linking GM corn to cancer

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37 Comments

Filed under Agriculture, Consumer Issues, Health, Science

37 responses to “France considers emergency ban on Monsanto’s genetically modified corn after study links cancer

  1. rastaman

    Wonder where the importers will get non GMO corn from?

  2. 144

    MY HUSBAND’S BEEN SAYING FOR YEARS THAT THIS WOULD HAPPEN

  3. Green Monkey

    Video reporting on the French scientist’s concerns after conclusion of the first ever long term feeding trial of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn to some unfortunate lab rats:

  4. St George's Dragon

    For those who are interested in informed analysis of this study read this:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22287-study-linking-gm-crops-and-cancer-questioned.html
    As with all such news presented as “fact” things are actually a little more complicated than first presented. It is wise in cases like this to check who the author is before accepting stories at face value.
    The scientific group which has produced these results has a history of being anti-GM. They may be correct in their analysis, but they sure don’t look unbiased.
    Unfortunately, only time will tell what the real answer is.

  5. Anonymous

    Drinking spirits on a very regular basis is the only known antidote to all that plagues one’s gut. The older the spirit, the better it works…I say so.

  6. Green Monkey

    Unfortunately, only time will tell what the real answer is.

    So then its only fair that multi-national, corporate behemoths like Monsanto and the other pushers of improperly tested GMO products get to use the consuming public from infants in arms to senior citizens as their unpaid lab rats for an indeterminate amount of time in order to test the safety of the products they have been using their economic clout to force into the world’s food supply. Well that’s how “Free Enterprise” American style works I guess.

    It would be one thing if GM products had been labelled giving consumers the right to decide whether or not they wanted to be a an unpaid human lab rat for Monsanto, but in the US and Canada Monsanto and food vendors are spending millions to fight any attempt by the public to make food producers put labels on their products which would indicate that they contained GMOs.

    Documentary: The World According to Monsanto:

    There’s nothing they are leaving untouched: the mustard, the okra, the bringe oil, the rice, the cauliflower. Once they have established the norm: that seed can be owned as their property, royalties can be collected. We will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed, they control food, they know it – it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs. It’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world. The story starts in the White House, where Monsanto often got its way by exerting disproportionate influence over policymakers via the “revolving door”. One example is Michael Taylor, who worked for Monsanto as an attorney before being appointed as deputy commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991. While at the FDA, the authority that deals with all US food approvals, Taylor made crucial decisions that led to the approval of GE foods and crops. Then he returned to Monsanto, becoming the company’s vice president for public policy.

    Thanks to these intimate links between Monsanto and government agencies, the US adopted GE foods and crops without proper testing, without consumer labeling and in spite of serious questions hanging over their safety. Not coincidentally, Monsanto supplies 90 percent of the GE seeds used by the US market. Monsanto’s long arm stretched so far that, in the early nineties, the US Food and Drugs Agency even ignored warnings of their own scientists, who were cautioning that GE crops could cause negative health effects. Other tactics the company uses to stifle concerns about their products include misleading advertising, bribery and concealing scientific evidence.

  7. Green Monkey

    The proponents of GM will try to claim that we have no choice but to embrace the GM revolution to feed the world’s teaming billions. Don’t let Monsanto executives, sales reps and the US diplomats arm twisting foreign countries on Monsanto’s behalf BS you with that one either.

    Do we kneed GM?

    While often speculative claims of potential GM “miracles” win vast amounts of column inches, the non-GM success stories generally get minimal if any reporting in the popular media. Without GM’s often exaggerated crisis narratives and claimed silver bullet solutions, it seems there is no story!

    The biotechnology industry and its PR people are keen to keep it that way, particularly because the non-GM solutions are often way ahead of the work on GM. They also bring none of the uncertainties that surround GM.

    All of this makes keeping track of the many non-GM success stories especially important.

    The GM breakthroughs that never were

    Another reason it’s important is because – thanks to the lack of success with GM “solutions” – non-GM success stories can end up being claimed as GM breakthroughs!

    A classic instance is provided by the UK Government’s former chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, who has repeatedly used non-GM breakthroughs as evidence of why we need to embrace GM. In one case, King claimed a big crop yield increase in Africa was due to GM, when it did not involve the use of any GM technology at all. On another occasion, King claimed a big success for GM flood resistant rice when what he was referring to was in reality a non-GM crop!

    In both cases King was under pressure to provide compelling examples of why GM crops were needed. But far from King’s examples showing why we need to embrace GM, they show the exact opposite, i.e. that we need to stop being distracted by GM and to get the funding and support behind the non-GM solutions to the problems we so badly need to address.

    http://www.gmwatch.org/need-gm-articles/12348-do-we-need-gm-introduction

  8. St George's Dragon

    I don’t think GM can be put back in the box. We have the beginnings of a technology to alter plants (and animals) on demand and it will be difficult, if not impossible to uninvent that.
    Monsanto chose to go a route of licensing their crops. Great for their profits, not so good for the poor farmer who has to buy new seed every year.
    It will be interesting to see what happens when the box gets opened wider and GM technology becomes more widespread.
    We have to separate two things. Are we against big businesses like Monsanto or are we against GM?
    What if a strain of rice was developed which contained vitamin A (rice does not normally contain this vitamin and a deficiency causes blindness and death in many rice consuming areas of the world). What if the plan was to give it away free to farners? Would we ban it knowing that it could save many people from blindness or death?
    That is a real question, as this rice has been developed and is being trialled.
    I am not sure I would want to be the one to ban it, and be held responsible for not saving thousands of people from misery and death.

  9. Green Monkey

    Right now I am against both GM and Monsanto. I’m against GM because reputable, well qualified, independent scientists (i.e. scientists not being paid by or receiving funding directly or indirectly from GM pushing corporations) have indicated that with the current level of technology it does not appear to be safe. When they run their own tests (very hard to do because the GMO seed suppliers do their best to keep them from getting hold of GM seeds to use in independently run trials) there are almost always negative health effects found.

    Scientist: GM food safety testing is “woefully inadequate”

    According to Judy Carman, Ph.D., very little safety testing is done on genetically modified foods, and when it is done, biotechnology companies conduct minimal testing.

    Dr. Carmen says that more extensive independent testing of GM foods is needed to ensure they are safe. Her recommendations seem prophetic in light of a recent Austrian government study that found reduced fertility in mice fed GM corn.

    Dr. Carman is director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, Inc., a non-profit research institute based in Australia focusing on the safety of genetically modified food. She earned a doctorate degree in medicine from the University of Adelaide in the areas of metabolic regulation, nutritional biochemistry, and cancer. She has investigated outbreaks of disease for an Australian state government.

    Ken Roseboro, editor of The Organic & Non-GMO Report, interviewed Dr. Carman during her recent visit to the United States.

    Can you tell me a about your research on the health impacts of GM foods?

    We are conducting one of the very few first long-term, independent animal feeding studies with GM foods. To date, most of these types of studies have been done by biotechnology companies or scientists associated with biotechnology companies.

    Of the few independent studies being done, a study by the Austrian government recently made public found reduced fertility in mice fed GM corn. Another recent study done in Italy showed immune system problems in mice fed GM corn.

    The studies done by biotechnology companies tend to show no health problems associated with eating GM food. The independent studies are finding adverse effects
    .
    http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/dec08/gm_food_safey_testing_inadequate.php

    I am against Monsanto because they have a track record of using lies and deceit in the past to bypass government environmental laws and regulations while they now supply by far the majority of GM seeds on the market and have refused to do the long term, animal feeding trials on the crops grown from their seeds (as the independent French scientific team was able to do). They also spend millions on lobbying to keep the politicians from passing laws in the US and Canada which would inform consumers that they were eating GM products. I think this is because they know people don’t trust them (hardly surprising given their track record) and would, if given a choice, tend to avoid GMOs in food, and also if GM foodstuffs were labelled, it would be much easier for health authorities to link any increases in diseases in the general population to those who consumed GMOs as opposed to those who did not.

  10. Green Monkey

    Looks like the vitamin A or “golden” rice is another scam to get the world hooked on expensive but questionable bio-tech solutions to problems for which simpler, safer and more effective solutions are available.

    The Golden Rice Scandal Unfolds

    Golden Rice, genetically modified to make pro-vitamin A in the endosperm (the grain remaining after polishing), was announced with great fanfare in 2000 as a cure for widespread vitamin A deficiency in developing countries.

    The project had already cost US$100 million, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the European Community Biotech Programme and the Swiss Federal Office for Education and Science, and could cost as much again to develop. It was tied up in at least 70 patent claims on genes, DNA sequences and constructs, a problem only partly solved in the “ground-breaking deal” worked out by Dubock (see above)..

    Condemnation was swift and widespread, not least because it was absurd to offer Golden Rice as the cure for vitamin A deficiency when there are plenty of alternative, infinitely cheaper sources of vitamin A or pro-Vitamin A, such as green vegetables and unpolished coloured rice (especially black and purple varieties [11], which would be rich in other essential vitamins and minerals, and hence much more nutritious. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) started a project in 1985 to deal with vitamin A deficiency using a combination of food fortification, food supplements and general improvements in diets by encouraging people to grow and eat a variety of green leafy vegetables. One main discovery from the project was that the absorption of pro-vitamin A depends on the overall nutritional status, which in turn depends on the diversity of the food consumed [12].

    The main cause of hunger and malnutrition in the Third World is the industrial monocultures of the Green Revolution, which obliterated agricultural biodiversity and soil fertility, resulting in ever-worsening mineral and micronutrient deficiencies in our food. Golden Rice, like other GM crops, is industrial monoculture only worse, and will exacerbate this trend, as well as the destruction of agricultural land, and the impoverishment of family farmers that also accompanied the Green Revolution [13] (see Beware the New “Doubly Green Revolution”, SiS 37).

    snip

    The main reason for Golden Rice was revealed in the unusually long news feature article [16] accompanying the scientific publication [8] which stated: “One can only hope that this application of plant genetic engineering to ameliorate human misery without regard to short-term profit will restore this technology to political acceptability.”

    A detailed audit on the project [14] (The ‘Golden Rice’, An Exercise in How Not to Do Science, ISIS Report) uncovered “fundamental deficiencies” from the scientific and social rationale to the science and technology involved. It was being promoted “to salvage a morally as well as financially bankrupt agricultural biotech industry.” The situation has changed little since.

    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/goldenRiceScandal.php
    </blockquote.

  11. Green Monkey

    Meet Monsanto’s number one lobbyist: Barack Obama

    ………………………………On the campaign trail, Obama said: “Let folks know when their food is genetically modified, because Americans have a right to know what they’re buying.”

    Making the distinction between GMO and non-GMO was certainly an indication that Obama, unlike the FDA and USDA, saw there was an important line to draw in the sand.

    Beyond that, Obama was promising a new era of transparency in government. He was adamant in promising that, if elected, his administration wouldn’t do business in “the old way.” He would be “responsive to people’s needs.”

    Then came the reality.

    After the election, and during Obama’s term as president, people who had been working to label GMO food and warn the public of its huge dangers were shocked to the core. They saw Obama had been pulling a bait and switch.

    The new president filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA:

    http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=4tixiugab&v=0017tAQmPa9WeYpMvc_8glVB5G-W7TZsu-onL1izumx3ja9jftvmdOKjO5D9jJKpv0Dfv5NJNQwxEi2KdssQBvFNgwoYZUpbP2aUIOJDK_8iqc%3D

  12. St George's Dragon

    There are lots of anti-GM websites which publish what look like well thought-out and researched articles.
    If you are anti-GM and want to remain so, then these will agree with your views.
    If you want unbiased information you need to read things like New Scientist or to a lesser extent Scientific American.
    They tend to understand the science and unpick it.
    I am out of this thread.

  13. Green Monkey

    There are lots of anti-GM websites which publish what look like well thought-out and researched articles.

    And thank God for that. Here’s a refresher of what it means to have only the profit-driven, corporate media to rely on as the main source of news.

    CONTROLLED MEDIA Money Trumps Journalism: Monsanto Has Fox News Kill story linking Monsanto’s genetically engineered veterinary bovine growth hormone treatment to increased cancer risks for consumers.

  14. Robert D. Lucas, PH.D. Food biotechnologist

    Genetically modified(GMF) foods have been subjected to extensive and intensive testing,As a matter of fact,several of the food-crop plants obtained by conventional testing, contain natural occuring toxins some of which are carcinogenic. In any event,in the food industry, chemical and microbical risk assessments are done on novel food products.GMF are novel food products. In animal assays for carcinogens, test animals are subjected to levels of the test-substance at several thousand times the levels of ingestion humans would normally be expected to exposed to. One of the fundamental problems in extrapolating animal test results, to the human situation, is the difference in the physiology between animals and humans.It does not follow that, because a test substance causes cancer in animals, it is going to do the same in humans. In chemical risk assessment, there is the no observable effect level (NOEL).This is the level at which no adverse effect is obtained. NOEL is not observed when screening for possible carcinogenic effect.The animal is fed the test substance in increasing amounts until an adverse effect is obtained. For example, chlorine is used to prevent water-borne illnesses at a level of about 200ppm in potable water. If used at 1000 ppm, chlorine is carcinogenic. No one is talking about not chlorinating water. Additionally, the Europeans are opposed to the use of GMF. The opposition is not based on rational scientific facts . The FAO and WHO amongst others have issued staements to the fact that, GMF are safe.
    Robert D. Lucas, Ph.D.
    Food Biotechnologist.

  15. Robert D. Lucas, PH.D. Food biotechnologist

    Errata:Intensive testing. As a matter…
    ….. be expected to be

  16. Green Monkey

    Mr. Lucas, would something like the appearance of novel, new proteins in GM cotton crops (as described below) bother you and would the fact that Monsanto’s refused to test for harmful side effects on animals if the post-harvest GM cotton plants or seeds were fed to cows bother you. like it bothered one former Monsanto employee? Just curious.

    Possible Toxins in GM Plants

    In the summer of 1997, Kirk spoke with a Monsanto scientist who was doing some tests on Roundup Ready cotton. Using a “Western blot” analysis, the scientist was able to identify different proteins by their molecular weight. He told Kirk that the GM cotton not only contained the intended protein produced by the Roundup Ready gene, but also extra proteins that were not normally produced in the plant. These unknown proteins had been created during the gene insertion process.

    Gene insertion was done using a gene gun (particle bombardment). Kirk, who has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, understood this to be “a kind of barbaric and messy method of genetic engineering, where you use a gun-like apparatus to bombard the plant tissue with genes that are wrapped around tiny gold particles.” He knew that particle bombardment can cause unpredictable changes and mutations in the DNA, which might result in new types of proteins.

    The scientist dismissed these newly created proteins in the cotton plant as unimportant background noise, but Kirk wasn’t convinced. Proteins can have allergenic or toxic properties, but no one at Monsanto had done a safety assessment on them. “I was afraid at that time that some of these proteins may be toxic.” He was particularly concerned that the rogue proteins “might possibly lead to mad cow or some other prion-type diseases.”

    Kirk had just been studying mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and its human counterpart, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). These fatal diseases had been tracked to a class of proteins called prions. Short for “proteinaceous infectious particles,” prions are improperly folded proteins, which cause other healthy proteins to also become misfolded. Over time, they cause holes in the brain, severe dysfunction and death. Prions survive cooking and are believed to be transmittable to humans who eat meat from infected “mad” cows. The disease may incubate undetected for about 2 to 8 years in cows and up to 30 years in humans.

    When Kirk tried to share his concerns with the scientist, he realized, “He had no idea what I was talking about; he had not even heard of prions. And this was at a time when Europe had a great concern about mad cow disease and it was just before the noble prize was won by Stanley Prusiner for his discovery of prion proteins.” Kirk said “These Monsanto scientists are very knowledge about traditional products, like chemicals, herbicides and pesticides, but they don’t understand the possible harmful outcomes of genetic engineering, such as pathophysiology or prion proteins. So I am explaining to him about the potential untoward effects of these foreign proteins, but he just did not understand.”

    snip

    “I had great issue with this,” he said. “I had worked for Abbot Laboratories doing research, doing test plots using Bt sprays from bacteria. We would never take a test plot and put into the food supply, even with somewhat benign chemistries. We would always destroy the test plot material and not let anything into the food supply. Now we entered into a new era of genetic engineering. The standard was not the same as with pesticides. It was much lower, even though it probably should have been much higher.”

    Kirk complained to the Ph.D. in charge of the test plot about feeding the experimental plants to cows. He explained that unknown proteins, including prions, might even effect humans who consume the cow’s milk and meat. The scientist replied, “Well that’s what we’re doing everywhere else and that’s what we’re doing here.” He refused to destroy the plants.

    Kirk got a bit frantic. He started talking to others in the company. “I approached pretty much everyone on my team in Monsanto.” He was unable to get anyone interested. In fact, he said, “Once they understood my perspective, I was somewhat ostracized. It seemed as if once I started questioning things, people wanted to keep their distance from me. I lost the cooperation with other team members. Anything that interfered with advancing the commercialization of this technology was going to be pushed aside.”

    He then approached California Agriculture Commissioners. “These local Ag commissioners are traditionally responsible for test plots and to make sure test plot designs protect people and the environment.” But Kirk got nowhere. “Once again, even at the Ag commissioner level, they were dealing with a new technology that was beyond their comprehension. They did not really grasp what untoward effects might be created by the genetic engineering process itself.”

    More at:
    http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_1823.cfm

  17. rastaman

    @Green monkey: What else do you expect Robert Lucas to say.

  18. Green Monkey

    @rastaman: You know if Lucas and like minded individuals could grow these GM crops keeping their genes and traits isolated from the rest of the food supply so no unplanned cross-pollination could ever occur transferring genes from GM crops into our traditional, non-GM plants and crops, traditionally grown crops remained available, and the stuff on the supermarket shelves was labelled so I and the other like minded individuals could personally avoid it, I would have no objection if the Robert Lucas’s of this world wanted to eat this stuff for breakfast, lunch, mid-morning snack, afternoon tea and dinner 365 days a year. If they want to volunteer as lab rats for the Monsantos, Cargills and DuPonts of this world, let them have at it.

    However, when some of the same governments that travel halfway around the world bombing and shooting people to bring them “freedom” and “democracy” tell me I have no choice but to like it or lump it and accept that Monsanto and like minded corporations can pollute the world’s food supply with inadequately tested GM crops while at the same time Monsanto makes a concerted effort to monopolize the seed business by buying up seed companies left right and center, so they can take traditional crop seeds off the market to farmers while they get to push their patented GM seeds and the associated chemicals needed to allow the crops to grow in a mono-culture environment, and I and the rest of us pee-ons have no choice but to take part in their uncontrolled scientific experiment by eating these products, I do tend to resent it just a little bit.

    The US and a few allies (come on down Canada, Argentina) seem intent on putting the world in a choke hold and forcing them to accept these improperly tested and potentially dangerous crops contaminating our foods. Here’s how it works:

    WTO, GMO and Total Spectrum Dominance

    WTO rules put free-trade of agribusiness above national health concerns.
    March 2006
    by William F Engdhal

    In February, a private organization with unique powers over world industry, trade and agriculture, issued a Preliminary Draft Ruling on a three-year-old case. The case was brought by the Bush Administration in May 2003 against European Union rules hindering the spread of genetically-engineered plants and foods. The WTO ruling, which is to be final in December, will have more influence over life and death on this planet than most imagine.

    The ruling was issued by a special three-man tribunal of the World Trade Organization, in Geneva Switzerland. The WTO decision will open the floodgates to the forced introduction of genetically-manipulated plants and food products– GMO, or genetically-modified organisms as they are technically known– into the world’s most important agriculture production region, the European Union.

    The WTO case arose from a formal complaint filed by the governments of the United States, Canada and Argentina—three of the world’s most GMO-polluted areas.

    snip

    The four WTO controlling countries, known as the QUAD countries, are USA, Canada, Japan and the EU. In the QUAD, in turn, the giant agri-business multinationals exercise controlling influence, most clearly in Washington.

    The WTO is designed to impose the wishes of giant private companies over the legitimate democratic will of entire nations and duly-elected governments. WTO has one mission: enforce rules of a ‘free trade,’ an agenda which is in no way genuinely ‘free’ but rather suits the needs of agribusiness giants.

    Under the secretive WTO rules, countries can challenge another’s laws for restricting their trade. The case is then heard by a tribunal or court of three trade bureaucrats. They are usually influential corporate lawyers with pro-free trade bias. The lawyers have no conflict of interest rules binding them, such that a Monsanto lawyer can rule on a case of material interest to Monsanto.

    Further, there is no rule that the judges of WTO respect any national laws of any country. The three judges meet in secret without revealing the time or location. All court documents are confidential and are not published unless one party releases it. It is a modern version of the Spanish Inquisition, but with far more power.

    http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/GMO/World_Trade_Order/world_trade_order.html

  19. DR. Robert D. Lucas

    Reply to Geen Momkey by Dr. Robert Lucas
    I normally do not reply to what I have written. I am replying specifically to Green Monkey’s(GM) first response to my blog. First of all, GM displays gross ignorance of agriculture, biochemistry and recombinant DNA technology. Cotton is normally used in the textile industry. Therefore, there is no particular need to do testing for exogenous DNA. In the case where cotton seed oil is used, the method of extraction of the oil is of importance. If the oil is used for human consumption, the method of oil extraction inactivates any extraneous proteins. In the case of cotton seed oil being used as binder in animal rations, the level of testing used is admittedly not as rigorous as is the case, when used for humans.This is the case where ever GM foods are used for animal rations. Since the use of GM food is wide spread, humans have been such foods for almost twenty years, without any untoward effects. Yes Green Monkey, you have been cosuming GM foods GM corn, soy, and canola oils are ubiquitous in the food industry today. in the USA.. Most of the corn and soy used for animal rations in barbados are GM.. Additionally, if your were more attuned to the sciences, you would have realised that, there is no risk free situation in life. For example, in pasteurization of milk, only pathogenic bacteria are destroyed. Other less harmful bacteria survive the process.Even in the case of diabetics, the insulin used in Barbados , is derived from genetically modified E.coli bacteria. It always amazes, the level of hatred of disregard displayed to the educated in Barbados.

  20. DR. Robert D. Lucas

    errata: monkey.

  21. DR. Robert D. Lucas

    and disregard.

  22. Green Monkey

    @Robert Lucas PhD

    If GM foods were having a deleterious effect on human health, it could easily go unreported because GMO have intentionally been mixed into the food supplies so it would be just about impossible to isolate a control sample of consumers who did not eat GMOs to compare their disease rates to another group which habitually ate GMOs.

    We do know that medical and health authorities have been warning us in recent years over alarming trends and accelerating increases in various degenerative and non-communicable diseases in some of our western societies. How can we be sure that the widespread consumption of GMOs in our diet is not contributing to these increases? Our politicians and so-called regulators like the FDA would like us to believe that we can rely on the studies performed by scientists working for the GMO producers (or maybe institutions that draw their funding from mega-biotech corporations like Monsanto, including many university agriculture departments) that these foodstuffs are safe. Even the editors at Scientific American says this is not good enough.

    Do Seed Companies Control Research
    By Scientific American Editors (Aug 2009)
    snip
    …………….. For a decade their user agreements have explicitly forbidden the use of the seeds for any independent research. Under the threat of litigation, scientists cannot test a seed to explore the different conditions under which it thrives or fails. They cannot compare seeds from one company against those from another company. Andperhaps most important, they cannot examine whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended environmental side effects (my emphasis /GM).

    Research on genetically modified seeds is still published, of course. But only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal. In a number of cases, experiments that had the implicit go-ahead from the seed company were later blocked from publication because the results were not flattering. (my emphasis /GM) “It is important to understand that it is not always simply a matter of blanket denial of all research requests, which is bad enough,” wrote Elson J. Shields, an entomologist at Cornell University, in a letter to an official at the Environmental Protection Agency (the body tasked with regulating the environmental consequences of genetically modified crops), “but selective denials and permissions based on industry perceptions of how ‘friendly’ or ‘hostile’ a particular scientist may be toward [seed-enhancement] technology.”

    Shields is the spokesperson for a group of 24 corn insect scientists that opposes these practices. Because the scientists rely on the cooperation of the companies for their research—they must, after all, gain access to the seeds for studies—most have chosen to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. The group has submitted a statement to the EPA protesting that “as a result of restricted access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the tech­nol­ogy.”

    It would be chilling enough if any other type of company were able to prevent independent researchers from testing its wares and reporting what they find—imagine car companies trying to quash head-to-head model comparisons done by Consumer Reports, for example. But when scientists are prevented from examining the raw ingredients in our nation’s food supply or from testing the plant material that covers a large portion of the country’s agricultural land, the restrictions on free inquiry become dangerous.

    More at:
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=do-seed-companies-control-gm-crop-research

    Regarding the issue of GMOs in animal feed their are also anecdotal reports of farmers finding animals sometimes sicken and/or die after eating GM products.

    DOCTORS WARN: AVOID GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS
    By Jeffrey Smith

    On May 19th, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on “Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.”[1] They called for a moratorium on GM foods, long-term independent studies, and labeling. AAEM’s position paper stated, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. They conclude, “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation,” as defined by recognized scientific criteria. “The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.”

    More and more doctors are already prescribing GM-free diets. Dr. Amy Dean, a Michigan internal medicine specialist, and board member of AAEM says, “I strongly recommend patients eat strictly non-genetically modified foods.” Ohio allergist Dr. John Boyles says “I used to test for soy allergies all the time, but now that soy is genetically engineered, it is so dangerous that I tell people never to eat it.”

    snip

    In India, animals graze on cotton plants after harvest. But when shepherds let sheep graze on Bt cotton plants, thousands died. Post mortems 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.”[21] In a small follow-up feeding study by the Deccan Development Society, all sheep fed Bt cotton plants died within 30 days; those that grazed on natural cotton plants remained healthy.

    In a small village in Andhra Pradesh, buffalo grazed on cotton plants for eight years without incident. On January 3rd, 2008, the buffalo grazed on Bt cotton plants for the first time. All 13 were sick the next day; all died within 3 days.[22]

    Bt corn was also implicated in the deaths of cows in Germany, and horses, water buffaloes, and chickens in The Philippines.[23]

    In lab studies, twice the number of chickens fed Liberty Link corn died; 7 of 20 rats fed a GM tomato developed bleeding stomachs; another 7 of 40 died within two weeks.[24] Monsanto’s own study showed evidence of poisoning in major organs of rats fed Bt corn, according to top French toxicologist G. E. Seralini.[25]

    snip

    Warnings by government scientists ignored and denied

    Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had warned about all these problems even in the early 1990s. According to documents released from a lawsuit, the scientific consensus at the agency was that GM foods were inherently dangerous, and might create hard-to-detect allergies, poisons, gene transfer to gut bacteria, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged their superiors to require rigorous long-term tests.[27] But the White House had ordered the agency to promote biotechnology and the FDA responded by recruiting Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, to head up the formation of GMO policy. That policy, which is in effect today, denies knowledge of scientists’ concerns and declares that no safety studies on GMOs are required. It is up to Monsanto and the other biotech companies to determine if their foods are safe. Mr. Taylor later became Monsanto’s vice president.

    snip

    Dangerously few studies, untraceable diseases

    AAEM states, “GM foods have not been properly tested” and “pose a serious health risk.” Not a single human clinical trial on GMOs has been published. A 2007 review of published scientific literature on the “potential toxic effects/health risks of GM plants” revealed “that experimental data are very scarce.” The author concludes his review by asking, “Where is the scientific evidence showing that GM plants/food are toxicologically safe, as assumed by the biotechnology companies?”[28]

    Famed Canadian geneticist David Suzuki answers, “The experiments simply haven’t been done and we now have become the guinea pigs.” He adds, “Anyone that says, ‘Oh, we know that this is perfectly safe,’ I say is either unbelievably stupid or deliberately lying.”[29] (my emphasis /GM)
    http://www.newswithviews.com/Smith/jeffrey125.htm

    To the lurkers on this thread, this issue is not about using technology to feed the world’s hungry. It is about giving a few extremely influential and powerful corporations the power to exert a monopolistic control of the world’s food supply chain from the patented, terminator seed that goes into the ground to the cornflakes on your breakfast table. My advice get a hold of the books Seeds of Destruction and Genetic Roulette and see what they are preparing for humanity’s future.

  23. Green Monkey

    Hi BFP, my last post a few minutes ago has been held for moderation. Could you release it please?

  24. Green Monkey

    Genetic Roulette documentary (17-minute trailer).

  25. Green Monkey

    Hi BFP, I just posted a link to a Youtube video in this thread and noticed it was held for moderation. Could you release it please?
    Thanks

  26. BFP

    Done!

    How’s that for fast service, Green Monkey?

    🙂

    clive

  27. Green Monkey

    Thanks Clive, that was very NISE of you,

    The seed emergency: The threat to food and democracy
    Patenting seeds has led to a farming and food crisis – and huge profits for US biotechnology corporations.

    By Dr. Vandana Shiva

    New Delhi, India – The seed is the first link in the food chain – and seed sovereignty is the foundation of food sovereignty. If farmers do not have their own seeds or access to open pollinated varieties that they can save, improve and exchange, they have no seed sovereignty – and consequently no food sovereignty.

    The deepening agrarian and food crisis has its roots in changes in the seed supply system, and the erosion of seed diversity and seed sovereignty.

    Seed sovereignty includes the farmer’s rights to save, breed and exchange seeds, to have access to diverse open source seeds which can be saved – and which are not patented, genetically modified, owned or controlled by emerging seed giants. It is based on reclaiming seeds and biodiversity as commons and public good.
    Farmer suicides spike in India

    The past twenty years have seen a very rapid erosion of seed diversity and seed sovereignty, and the concentration of the control over seeds by a very small number of giant corporations. In 1995, when the UN organised the Plant Genetic Resources Conference in Leipzig, it was reported that 75 per cent of all agricultural biodiversity had disappeared because of the introduction of “modern” varieties, which are always cultivated as monocultures. Since then, the erosion has accelerated.

    The introduction of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement of the World Trade Organisation has accelerated the spread of genetically engineered seeds – which can be patented – and for which royalties can be collected. Navdanya was started in response to the introduction of these patents on seeds in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade – a forerunner to the WTO – about which a Monsanto representative later stated: “In drafting these agreements, we were the patient, diagnostician [and] physician all in one.” Corporations defined a problem – and for them the problem was farmers saving seeds. They offered a solution, and the solution was to make it illegal for farmers to save seed – by introducing patents and intellectual property rights [PDF] on those very seeds. As a result, acreage under GM corn, soya, canola, cotton has increased dramatically.

    snip

    An article in Forbes, titled “Why Uncle Sam Supports Franken Foods”, shows how agribusiness is the only sector in which US has a positive trade balance. Hence the push for GMOs – because they bring royalties to the US. However, royalties for Monsanto are based on debt, suicidal farmers and the disappearance of biodiversity worldwide.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/02/201224152439941847.html

  28. Green Monkey

    The article in Forbes “Why Uncle Sam Supports Franken Foods” mentioned by Dr. Vandana Shiva in the post above suggests that the merciless and unremitting campaign waged by the US government to force Monsanto’s potentially dangerous, patented GM seeds onto a largely reluctant world population is related to the royalty payments that are collected by Monsanto which help shore up the US agricultural sector – according to Forbes, the only sector of the US economy with a positive trade balance.

    The following article suggests that the US dollar’s value today relies mainly on its status as the world reserve currency which is now on increasingly shaky ground. This would add even more impetus for the US to “do whatever it takes” to keep up world demand for US dollars.

    Dollar Hegemony in the Empire of the Damned
    by Colin Todhunter

    Many commentators and economists wonder if the US is able to turn its ailing economy around. The reality is that it is bankrupt. However, as long as the dollar remains the world currency, the US can continue to pay its bills by simply printing more money. But once the world no longer accepts the dollar as world reserve currency, the US will no longer be able to continue to pay its way or to fund its wars by relying on what would then be a relatively valueless paper currency.

    And the US realises this. Today, more than 60 per cent of all foreign currency reserves in the world are in US dollars, and the US will attempt to prevent countries moving off the dollar by any means possible. It seems compelled to do this simply because its economic infrastructure seems too weak and US corporate cartels will do anything to prevent policies that eat into their profits or serve to curtail political influence. They serve their own interests, not any notional ‘national interest’.

    Pail (sic – should be Paul) Graig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, notes that much of the most productive part of the US economy has been moved offshore in order to increase corporate profits. By doing so, the US has lost critical supply chains, industrial infrastructure, and the knowledge of skilled workers. According to Roberts, the US could bring its corporations back to America by taxing their profits abroad and could also resort to protective tariffs, but such moves would be contrary to the material interests of the ruling oligarchy of private interests, which hold so much sway over US politics.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/dollar-hegemony-in-the-empire-of-the-damned/

  29. Green Monkey

    Which Science or Scientists Can You Trust?

    This is an edited version of Michael Meacher’s (a former UK environment minister /GM) keynote address to the Green Network Conference, Science, Medicine and the Law, 31 January to 2 February 2005, Royal Institute of British Architecture, London, UK, which will be published in issue 26 of Science in Society

    snip

    No wonder that there is a pervasive mistrust of science and scientists. But the roots for this go deep.

    First, the Rothschild revolution under Thatcher made the funding of science much more subservient to business interests. Over the past two decades, getting finance for scientific inquiry inimical to the commercial and political establishments has become increasingly difficult. The science is owned by a tiny number of very large companies and they only commission research which they believe will further their own commercial interests. And when that turns out not to be the case, as when research turns up results which may be embarrassing to the company, they are most often dubbed “commercially confidential” and never published.

    In addition, companies have learned that small investments in endowing chairs, sponsoring research programmes or hiring professors for out-of-hours projects can produce disproportionate payoffs in generating reports, articles, reviews and books, which may not be in the public interest, but certainly benefit corporate bottom lines. The effects of corporate generosity – donating millions for this research laboratory or that scientific programme – can be subtly corrosive. Other universities regard the donor as a potential source of funds and try to ensure nothing is said which might jeopardise big new cash possibilities. And academics raising embarrassing questions (as they should) – such as who is paying for the lab; how independent is the peer review; who profits from the research; is the university’s integrity compromised? – would soon learn that keeping their heads down is the best way not to risk their career, let alone future research funding. The message is clear: making money is good, and dissent is stifled. Commerce and the truth don’t readily mix.

    A second reason why there is such pervasive mistrust of science and scientists is that the scientists staffing the official advisory committees and Government regulatory bodies in a significant number of cases have financial links with the industry they are supposed to be independently advising on and regulating. A recent study found that of the five scientific committees advising ministers on food and safety, 40% of committee members had links with the biotechnology industry, and at least 20% were linked to one of the Big Three – Monsanto, AstraZeneca, or Novartis. Nor is that an accident. The civil servants who select scientists for those bodies tend to look for a preponderant part of the membership, and particularly the chairperson, to be ‘sound’, i.e., can be safely relied on not to cause embarrassment to the Government or industry if difficulties arise.

    snip

    And on spin, how many times have we heard the false argument that is still regularly deployed by ACRE, the Government’s main GM advisory committee, when it announces that, “there is no evidence that this GM product is any greater risk to human health than its non-GM counterpart”. In fact they have not sought such evidence directly, merely relied on the biotech companies telling them that their GM product was ‘substantially equivalent’ to its alleged non-GM analogue.

    More at: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/WSoSCYT.php

  30. Green Monkey

    Yet Another Reason GMOs Suck

    The U.S. is suffering the worst drought in 50 years. But crop damage may well have been avoided if high quality non-GM (genetically modified) varieties were available to farmers. Further evidence is emerging that glyphosate-tolerant crops are ill-equipped to deal with drought, while high quality non-GM varieties are flourishing. Monopoly of the seed industry has left farmers unable to get non-GM varieties, despite the drought having global repercussions including steep rises of cereal prices and reduced meat production in many countries.

    In a commentary circulated by GM Watch (UK), Howard Vlieger, a co-founder and agroecological farming advisor of Verity Farms in drought-stricken South Dakota in the U.S., provides evidence from a farmer who has grown both GM and Verity Farms’ non-GM varieties of soybean and corn side by side. Non-GM soybean, grown in agroecological conditions to promote soil biodiversity and nutritional content is shown next to Monsanto’s GM triple-stack GM corn, which is glyphosate-tolerant and additionally expresses two Bt insecticidal toxins, grown using conventional chemical industrial methods that include the use of Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide, Roundup. The non-GM varieties appear greener, fuller and healthier. These impressions are backed up by the far superior yield reported of non-GM corn, which averaged 100-120 bushels per acre (BPA) compared to the 8-12 BPA to 30-50 BPA of GM corn.

    The large yield differential was confirmed in a new set of harvest data provided by Vlieger (with accompanying photographic identification) for three fields surrounding Verity Farm, all growing Smart Stack RR corn. All were harvested for corn silage as the yields were too poor to harvest the grain. The federal crop insurance adjuster appraised yields were respectively 12 bushels per acre (BPA), 27 BPA and 28 BPA. The Non-GMO corn on Verity Farm across the road yielded 108 BPA.

    The findings were replicated with soybean crops.

    SNIP

    Many farmers are fully aware of the control of the seed industry by multinational corporations like Monsanto. Prior to the mid-20thcentury, the majority of seeds were in the hands of farmers or public-sector plant breeders. Now, agritech giants have used intellectual property laws to commodify the worlds’ seed supply and turn seeds into private property to be bought and sold for profit.

    As a result, not only are they flooding the market with patented GM seeds and preventing farmers from saving them each year, they are also diminishing the supply of non-GM seeds. Monsanto is now the largest seed company in the world followed by DuPont and Syngenta; they have all acquired or created “partnerships” with independent seed companies that sell both GM and non-GM seeds. As highlighted recently by Pierre Patriat, director of APROSMAT, the association of seed producers of the Brazilian soy-producing state of Mato Grosso in Brazil, farmers are faced with little choice but to grow GM varieties, which is posing a serious threat to the country’s food security and sovereignty.

    More at:
    http://www.nationofchange.org/yet-another-reason-gmos-suck-1349875727

  31. 194

    Video: Stop Monsanto From Poisoning Hawai’i: Genetic Engineering Chemical Warfare

    For over 20 years, Hawai’i has been the global center for the open-field testing of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), including pharmaceutical crops. Over 5,000 experimental tests have been conducted by Monsanto, Dow, Dupont/Pioneer, Syngenta and BASF that spray chemicals on an almost daily basis on our most valuable lands. They are supported by tax-breaks, and beneficial relationships with landowners, regulators and politicians. We estimate GMO companies own or lease 40,000 — 60,000 acres that are sprayed with over 70 different chemicals.

    A new vision for Hawai’i would promote small farms that grow chemical-free produce, employ our youth and restore the indigenous ahupua’a system. Hawai’i has less than 3,000 acres of certified organic farmland, which is 0.27% of Hawaiian farmland.

    Kamehameha Schools is Hawaii’s largest private landowner. Despite Kamehameha’s public statements about sustainability and conservation, they lease substantial amounts of land to multi-national biotech firms, including Monsanto, Dow, Dupont/Pioneer and Syngenta for GMO open field tests and seed corn production.

    Kamehameha is the only institution with the land, capital and resources to reduce our food imports, that are now over 90%, and ensure that Hawai’i does not run out of food in case of natural disasters or rising oil prices.

  32. Green Monkey

    Video below explains how the USA’s Food and Drug Administration ignored the objections of FDA scientists and allowed Monsanto, the former chemical company with a record of environmental pollution and which once said DDT, PCBs and Agent Orange were safe, to declare GMOs were safe and introduce them into the food supply without labeling and without the long term safety testing the FDA’s own scientists said was necessary to protect the public.

  33. Green Monkey

    New Report Shreds Claims that GE Crops Reduce Pesticide Use

    SNIP

    According to the author, Charles Benbrook, a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University:

    “Contrary to often-repeated claims that today’s genetically-engineered crops have, and are reducing pesticide use, the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds in herbicide-resistant weed management systems has brought about substantial increases in the number and volume of herbicides applied.

    If new genetically engineered forms of corn and soybeans tolerant of 2,4-D are approved, the volume of 2,4-D sprayed could drive herbicide usage upward by another approximate 50 percent. The magnitude of increases in herbicide use on herbicide-resistant hectares has dwarfed the reduction in insecticide use on Bt crops over the past 16 years, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.”

    According to Benbrook, rapidly increasing weed resistance is now driving up the volume of herbicide needed by about 25 percent annually. In a statement to Reuters,2 Benbrook said:

    “Things are getting worse, fast. In order to deal with rapidly spreading resistant weeds, farmers are being forced to expand use of older, higher-risk herbicides. To stop corn and cotton insects from developing resistance to Bt, farmers planting Bt crops are being asked to spray the insecticides that Bt corn and cotton were designed to displace.”

    Insanity Level: Full Steam Ahead

    One of those higher-risk chemicals is 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) – one of the ingredients in Agent Orange, which was used to defoliate battle fields in the jungles of Vietnam, with horrendous consequences to the health of those exposed. If you want to see some of its effects on children who were exposed in the womb, you can do so on DigitalJournalistDOTorg3 – but I warn you the photos are very graphic and upsetting.

    Link to original:
    (Includes link to an audio interview with Dr Charles Benbrook discussing how the widespread use of Roundup Ready (glyphosate tolerant) GM crops over a number of years has lead to substantially increasing quantities and more dangerous varieties pesticides being applied to farmers’ fields – contrary to the promises and claims of genetic engineering promoters.)

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/10/20/ge-crops-increase-pesticide-use.aspx?e_cid=20121020_DNL_art_1

  34. Green Monkey

    The video I posted at the very start of this thread (which now shows as unavailable) was a full 1hr 24min copy of the video documentary Genetic Roulette. After I posted the video it was withdrawn from Youtube, so the link to the video stopped working. Later on in the thread I was able to post a 17minute trailer for the documentary which took some clips from the video to give a brief look at some of the implications of allowing improperly tested (for long term health effects) GMOs in our food supply, especially so in light of increasing inflammatory type, chronic health problems and infertility issues now showing up in the US population after that country has allowed widespread entry of GMO food products into the market place starting in the early 1990s.

    However it appears that the makers of Genetic Roulette, i.e. “The Institute for Responsible Technology” , have now allowed the full version to be made freely available to youtube users again.

    You can view the full documentary here:

  35. cherri

    THOSE WHO BELEIVE IN GMO
    should become the guinea pigs and leave others out.

  36. Green Monkey

    Just as an FYI, I see from the Genetic Roulette Movie web site that the full Genetic Roulette video posted just above has been made available to internet users for free on Youtube only up to Oct 31, thanks to some financial supporters of the documentary who have arranged for this to happen. After that you might find you will have to pay a small fee of a few dollars to watch by streaming video, or alternatively you could purchase the documentary on DVD.

    I imagine shorter excerpts taken from the video will remain available on Youtube as before.

    In the meantime here’s another like minded video on the topic GMO Foods: Science, PR, and Public Backlash from Global Research TV.

  37. Pingback: The Monsanto Monster: Genetically Modified Food | moralmatters.org