Rats, Round-up herbicide and Genetically Modified Corn

What is happening to our bodies?

Everybody has an agenda, but the wonderful thing about the internet is that information is no longer restricted and controlled by ‘official’ gate-keepers. As a sovereign human being I am able to examine all the information and then make up my own mind.

What do I think about genetically modified organisms? I’m not sure yet… but I’m getting nervous with the more information I receive from all sides and from the observations I make myself.

Not that it’s related to GMO corn or Round-up, I am curious about the apparent drastic reduction in the age at which females usually experience their first menses. One of the girls in our extended family is just entering puberty. She’s eight years old, just turned.

Tell me if I’m wrong folks, but I don’t think that happened twenty or thirty years ago, at least not with the frequency we hear about now.

What is happening to our bodies… and why?

14 Comments

Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Consumer Issues, Science

14 responses to “Rats, Round-up herbicide and Genetically Modified Corn

  1. Green Monkey

    The 1hr 24min documentary Genetic Roulette has been made available for free viewing through Oct 31st, After that you might have to pay a charge of a few dollars to view by streaming video from the Genetic Roulette Movie web site or purchase the documentary on DVD.

    The documentary, among other things, explains that as health authorities note increasing incidences of decreased fertility, auto-immune type disorders and chronic, non-communicable diseases in North American society twenty years after the first introduction of genetically engineered food on grocery store shelves, these types of disorders are the same type of problems that independent researchers conducting animal feeding trials with GMOs in lab rats etc, found in their own test subjects.

    Take the time to watch the video today and find out why medical doctors and credentialed scientists are speaking out and stating their belief that their is strong evidence that GMOs in our food can be linked to human health problems, and at the very least should not be unleashed into our food supply without much more rigorous testing for long term health effects.

  2. As long as the population continue to be proud of purchasing the poisonous garbage imported from the industrialized countries and look on such as some sort of status symbol, and refuse to plant their own food, they have to be prepared for extreme illhealth. Who knows, maybe they will be proud of that also.

  3. St George's Dragon

    For those who are interested in a balanced view and want to read about the science behind this stuff look at this: http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-content/genetic-roulette/
    For those who want to blindly believe that GM food is the devil incarnate, don’t stress your brain.

  4. 158

    Now I now why my doggie has two heads…not that the gyurls complaining, I ‘fraid it go get damage.

  5. Silent Bob

    You might be able to make up your own mind, but do you understand any of the issues? All food has health risks associated with it… there is no food that is “safe”.

    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10977&page=40

    Conventional plant production occasionally generates foods with undesirable traits, some of which are potentially hazardous to human health. Most crops naturally produce allergens, toxins, or other antinutritional substances

    If you are going to get hysterical about GM, get hysterical about everything… cause none of your conventional food has been tested for safety.

  6. Green Monkey

    @Silent Bob,
    If GMOs are so benign why do you suppose the FDAs own scientists argued that they were potentially dangerous and warned the FDA management that they should not be released into the food supply without rigorous, long term testing for the possible negative side effects? Were the FDA’s own scientists incompetent?

    Fact is the GM technology brings a whole new level of hazards to food crops, especially when you create foods whose cells produce their own insecticides..

    Is the GM corn you are eating “eating you”?

    Any lurkers on this thread should check out the Genetic
    Roulette documentary linked above (and look for the GMO Ticking Time Bomb videos on Youtube) and come to their own decision as to who makes the most sense, the scientists and medical doctors who are warning that releasing GMOs into the environment and into the food supply without long term feeding trials and safety testing is irresponsible and hazardous to human health or whether the scientists working for Monsanto and other bio-tech pushing companies (or working in universities and research institutes dependent on donations and financial support from bio-tech companies) make the most sense.

  7. Silent Bob

    @Green Monkey – Talk about advancing a Straw Man argument I never said they were safe, just that conventional food has risks associated with it as well. And while GM food has at least been tested, conventional food varieties have never been.

    GM food needs to be tested for safety on a case by case basis, and it is, there has never been food that has been so extensively studied for safety as gm food.

    Speaking as someone who has been poisoned by eating eggplants (yes they are poisonous) I would like to see more conventional food tested for safety.

    If you want to find where the majority of our health problems lie you need look no further than the increasing obesity epidemic and the rise of inflammation cause foods (like conventional and gm Corn) which skew our omega oil intake ratio drastically away from what we need,

  8. Green Monkey

    SilentBob writes:

    GM food needs to be tested for safety on a case by case basis, and it is, there has never been food that has been so extensively studied for safety as gm food.

    I guess that is a major point of our disagreement then. I (and the scientists and medical doctors seen in the videos like Genetic Roulette linked above and GMO Ticking Time Bomb) believe that the idea that GM foods undergo extensive safety testing is more myth and bio-tech industry propaganda than fact.

    For one thing it is absolutely beyond ludicrous that in the USA the FDA claims that the GMO pushers (not the FDA) are responsible for verifying that their products are safe for human consumption while a high level Monsanto executive is on record as stating that their interests and effort as a company is in making money, not in assuring the safety of the products they produce as that is the FDA’s job (emphasis added /GM). In this matter the European Food Safety Authority is apparently equally as naive and incompetent as the FDA. See below:

    GMO MYTHS AND TRUTHS REPORT

    2.1 MYTH:
    GM foods are strictly regulated for safety

    TRUTH:
    GM food regulation in most countries varies from non-existent to weak

    “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.”
    – Philip Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications1 (the FDA is the US government’s Food and Drug Administration, responsible for food safety)

    “Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety.”
    – US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)2

    “It is not foreseen that EFSA carry out such [safety] studies as the onus is on the [GM industry] applicant to demonstrate the safety of the GM product in question.”
    – European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)3

    Industry and some government sources claim that GM foods are strictly regulated.4 But GM food regulatory systems worldwide vary from voluntary industry self-regulation (in the US) to weak (in Europe). None are adequate to protect consumers’ health.

    http://earthopensource.org/index.php/2-science-and-regulation/2-1-myth-gm-foods-are-strictly-regulated-for-safety

    Judy Carmen PhD (Doctorate degree in medicine from the University of Adelaide in the areas of metabolic regulation, nutritional biochemistry, and cancer) would also take issue with your claim that GM foods receive thorough testing for safety before being unleashed on the public.

    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.

    snip

    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.

    snip

    GM foods are widely consumed in the United States, and the US government opposes labeling GM foods. What are your thoughts about that?
    The big surprise is the lack of GM food labeling here. In Australia, we hear all the time from the US that you are the land of the free. I find it amazing that Americans have no choice about eating GM foods. The most basic democratic right is being denied to you. For those who don’t want to eat GM food, it is being shoved down your throats against your will because it seems that nearly all foods have ingredients from GM corn or soy.

    With every US citizen exposed to GM foods, if something goes wrong it could go very badly wrong. If one person in a thousand in the US gets sick from GM foods, that’s 300,000 people sick.

    GM food advocates often claim that “no one in the US has ever gotten sick from eating GM foods.”
    It’s rubbish to say that no one ever has ever gotten sick eating GM foods. The fact is that no one knows. Since GM foods have been introduced, millions of Americans have been hospitalized and millions have died, and no one has investigated to see if any of those cases have been due to eating GM foods. The HIV/AIDS epidemic went unnoticed for decades, and the relationship between smoking and lung cancer went undetected for generations.

    With the current level of safety testing, if GM foods do cause human health problems, it will be very difficult to determine this, even though there may be many cases of illness.

    What type of safety testing do you think should be done on GM crops?
    We need long-term safety tests that are relevant to human health done by people independent of GM vested interests. The safety testing done now is woefully inadequate (emphasis added /GM). Biotechnology companies often don’t even use the whole GM grain in feeding studies. Instead they tend to only use a protein extract that doesn’t even come from the GM plant. The feeding tests are also only done for few days or a few weeks.

    Safety tests should involve comparing animals fed GM foods with animals fed the equivalent non-GM food. The animals should be fed long enough and involve tests that, at a minimum, measure risks of cancer and allergy and threats to reproduction and organ health.

    http://www.non-gmoreport.com/articles/dec08/gm_food_safey_testing_inadequate.php

  9. Green Monkey

    Monsanto has been carrying out a campaign against farmers whose non-GM farms have been polluted by pollen from GM crops blowing on the wind from neighboring farms growing Monsanto’s patented GM seeds. When the pollen from GM crops pollinate the non GM crops and pass on the patented traits of the GM crops to heretofore non-GM plants, Monsanto will sue these farmers for having crops on their land that contain Monsanto’s patented traits without having paid royalties to Monsanto.

    Even though the farmers might have had no desire to have Monsanto’s GM traits in their crops and the way they see it their crops have been polluted by these unwanted GM traits, Monsanto will sue the non-GM farmer claiming patent infringement. Because Monsanto is a very powerful and wealthy corporation many farmers will not attempt to go up against them in court even though they might feel they are the aggrieved party having had their pure, non-GM crops pollinated by Monsanto’s GM crops. They figure they don’t have the money or the resources to fight against a giant like Monsanto, so they come to a settlement and pay Monsanto royalties and destroy the seeds that they were planning to save to replant, as they are now subject to Monsanto’s claim that because the contain the patented GM traits, they are bound by Monsanto’s rule that they cannot be saved and replanted.

    Because of these bullying tactics against small family farms, many farmers figure its not worth the risk to continue growing traditional, non-GM crops if the vagaries of nature and the wind will leave them open to a law suit from Monsanto. Which is no doubt why Monsanto puts so much effort into their efforts to sue farmers whose crops have been unknowingly polluted by Monsatno’s GM crops’ pollen. One small farmer that stood up to Monsanto’s bullying tactics was Canadian, canola farmer Percy Schmeiser of Saskatchewan whose own canola crops got polluted by having wind blown Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crop pollen blown onto his land. His struggle for justice against the Monsanto behemoth was made into a video. You can view it online at the link below for free until Nov 10th. (As a side note the Genetic Roulette video above has had the free viewing period extended until Nov 6th.)

    David vs. Monsanto—The Story of How a Lone Farmer Prevailed Against One of the Most Powerful Companies on the Planet

    By Dr. Mercola

    Monsanto has long been trying to establish control over the seeds of the plants that produce food for the world. They have patented a number of genetically altered food crops, which can only be grown with proper license, and the seeds for which must be purchased anew each year.

    Alas, genetically engineered (GE) crops cannot be contained. And rather than being found guilty of contaminating farmers’ property, Monsanto has successfully sued hundreds of unsuspecting farmers for patent infringement when unlicensed GE crops were found growing in their fields. Many farmers have subsequently, quite literally, lost their farms.

    Percy Schmeiser of Saskatchewan, Canada, is but one of Monsanto’s victims, but contrary to so many others, he refused to quietly tolerate the injustice. In a classic case of David versus Goliath, Schmeiser fought back against one of the most powerful businesses in the world.

    David versus Goliath

    It all began in 1998, at which time Schmeiser had grown canola on his farm for 40 years. Like any other traditional farmer, he used his own seeds, saved from the previous harvest.

    But, like hundreds of other North American farmers, Schmeiser ended up being sued by Monsanto for ‘patent infringement’ when more than 320 hectares were found to be contaminated with Roundup Ready canola—the biotech giant’s patented canola, genetically engineered to tolerate otherwise lethal doses of glyphosate.

    The company sought damages totaling $400,000. Most farmers end up settling, but Schmeiser was angry enough to fight back, and countersued Monsanto for:

    Libel, by publicly accusing him of committing illegal acts
    Trespassing
    Improperly obtaining samples of his seed from a local seed plant
    Callous disregard for the environment by introducing genetically modified crops without proper controls and containment
    Contamination of his crops with unwanted GE plants

    Rest of the article and embedded video at:
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/11/03/david-versus-monsanto.aspx?e_cid=20121103_DNL_art_1

    Another video on the impact of Monsanto’s bullying tactics and attempt to control the seed supply is the video Bitter Seeds which shows how the poor, peasant farmers in India were taken in when Monsanto and it’s local, Indian seed supply partners exaggerated claims that Monsanto’s patented GM seeds would require less agro-chemical inputs and produce more bountiful crops than their traditional GM seeds. Because the patented, GM seeds were vastly more expensive than the traditional, non-GM seeds and required more of the expensive chemical fertizer and pesticide inputs to grow, many farmers were forced into taking on spiraling debt loads with the hope that some day the bountiful crops would come in as promised, and they could afford to pay back the banks and loan sharks for the loans they had taken out to put their crops into the ground. Unfortunately, Indian farmers have been driven to suicide in increasing numbers when the bountiful crops promised by the GM seed salesmen never materialized. The traditional seeds have been taken off the market as Monsanto and its local partners control the seed supply, so the Indian farmers have no choice but to keep on a perpetual debt treadmill to afford the GM seeds and the associated chemicals.

    You can watch the video Bitter Seeds at http://vimeo.com/52083871#at=0

  10. Silent Bob

    @Green monkey all your copy and paste hasn’t really answered any of the points I have raised about the safety of conventional food. You say no ones has tested GM food for safety, no one has tested conventional food for safety!

    Secondly, do not conflate the argument against Agro buisness with the argument about GM food. They are not the same thing. There is a GM rice, “golden rice” which if it was allowed to be released could greatly improve the nutrition of the poor in SE asia, http://www.goldenrice.org/.

    Not all GM is equal, and by ignoring the benefits of GM you are condemning millions to poorer nutrition, you are deny farmers the tools that will be needed to achieve greater yields on less water with less fertiliser inputs.

    These are agronomic trait that may be impossible to obtain without the use of GM technology.

    What you anti GM zealots have been unable to provide despite GM crops being in production of over 12 years you have not been able to provide any independently verifiable evidence for human harm, or a mechanism by which human harm is being caused, yes you have lots of maybe and ifs and could, but if the level of risk associated with GM food bothers you, I suggest you don’t drink the water, you don’t get in car, that you don’t take any medicine and that you don’t use a cell phone or a computer.

  11. Green Monkey

    Silent Bob now says: “What you anti GM zealots have been unable to provide despite GM crops being in production of over 12 years you have not been able to provide any independently verifiable evidence for human harm.”

    The burden of proof should not be on the doubters to prove that GMOs are harmful. It should be on the GMO pushers, playing at sorcer’s apprentices with mother nature by altering millions of years of evolution in the blink of an eye, to prove that these novel, new creations are safe. These GM products cannot be recalled once released into the natural world. (We have seen that GM crops cannot be prevented from cross pollinating with non GMO crops and passing on their traits to the traditional crops over very wide distances, even though some farmers did not need or want these traits in their crops – see the Percy Schmeiser David vs Monsnto video linked in my previous post.) We do know that scientific studies of feeding trials on lab animals especially when they are done by independent scientists with no ties to the GMO pushing corporations (nor with ties to labs and universities funded by GMO pushing corporations) tend to find significant health issues turning up in the lab animals fed GM products vs. the control groups fed non-GM products.

    Here’s just a partial list of problems with GMOs found in various animal feeding trials:

    3.1.1. Feeding studies on laboratory and farm animals

    Feeding studies on laboratory and farm animals show that GM foods can be toxic or allergenic:

    Mice fed GM soy showed disturbed liver, pancreas and testes function. The researchers found abnormally formed cell nuclei and nucleoli in liver cells, which indicates increased metabolism and potentially altered patterns of gene expression.5,6,7

    Mice fed GM soy over their lifetime (24 months) showed more acute signs of ageing in the liver than the control group fed non-GM soy.8

    Rabbits fed GM soy showed enzyme function disturbances in kidney and heart.9

    Female rats fed GM soy showed changes in uterus and ovaries compared with controls fed organic non-GM soy or a non-soy diet. Certain ill effects were found with organic soy as well as GM soy, showing the need for further investigation into the effects of soy-based diets (GM and non-GM) on reproductive health.10

    A review of 19 studies (including industry’s own studies submitted to regulators in support of applications to commercialise GM crops) on mammals fed with commercialised GM soy and maize that are already in our food and feed chain found consistent toxic effects on the liver and kidneys. Such effects may be markers of the onset of chronic disease, but long-term studies, in contrast to these reported short- and medium-term studies, would be required to assess this more thoroughly. ,Unfortunately, such long-term feeding trials on GMOs are not required by regulators anywhere in the world.11 (my emphasis /GM)

    Rats fed insecticide-producing MON863 Bt maize grew more slowly and showed higher levels of certain fats (triglycerides) in their blood than rats fed the control diet. They also suffered problems with liver and kidney function. The authors stated that it could not be concluded that MON863 maize is safe and that long-term studies were needed to investigate the consequences of these effects.12

    Rats fed GM Bt maize over three generations suffered damage to liver and kidneys and alterations in blood biochemistry.13

    A re-analysis of Monsanto’s own rat feeding trial data, submitted to obtain approval in Europe for three commercialised GM Bt maize varieties, MON863, MON810, and NK603, concluded that the maize varieties had toxic effects on liver and kidneys. The authors of the re-analysis stated that while the findings may have been due to the pesticides specific to each variety, genetic engineering could not be excluded as the cause.14 The data suggest that approval of these GM maize varieties should be withdrawn because they are not substantially equivalent to non-GM maize and are toxic.

    Old and young mice fed GM Bt maize showed a marked disturbance in immune system cells and in biochemical activity.15

    Full list of problems revealed in animal feeding trials with GMOS at this link:

    http://earthopensource.org/index.php/3-health-hazards-of-gm-foods/3-1-myth-gm-foods-are-safe-to-eat

    Regarding the argument that “we have been eating GMOs for so many years, we would know if there was a problem with them having negative effects on human health”:

    Well thanks to the USA’s FDA ignoring and hiding from the public the advice of its own scientists at the time and declaring there was no substantial difference between GM and the equivalent non-GM products (although differences were still substantial enough that Monsanto and others were allowed to slap patents on their GM products), GMOs were unleashed on the public at large without the rigorous, long term testing the FDA’s own scientists were calling for, and the entire population of the US, Canada and many other countries in the world have been made into human guinea pigs. It’s pretty obvious that When you are doing an experimental feeding trial of a possible toxin with, for example, guinea pigs in a lab, it is important to have a control group or population of similar guinea pigs set aside that is not fed the suspect product in order to compare results with the guinea pigs that are fed the suspect product. In the case of us humans there has been no such control group, so it is rather hard to determine just how much sicker we might be today because we’ve been eating GMOs simply because in general there is no clearly defined group from the same population who have not been eating GMOs.

    However, it is interesting to note that the Genetic Roulette documentary does indicate that some auto-immune related disorders and infertility problems etc. have increased after the introduction of GM products into the food supply and the rates at which Americans are getting sick today with chronic, non-communicable diseases is higher than the Europeans who tend to avoid GM products and can do so to a larger extent than Americans because EU food labelling laws require GM products to be labelled as such.

    As author Tom Philpott puts it in the article Long-term study: GMOs lower fertility in mice:

    For years, the industry has fought back suspicion of GMO-linked health trouble by essentially saying: Hey, hundreds of million of Americans eat GMOs every day — if there were a problem, don’t you think we’d know it by now?

    The GMO industry was essentially allowed to conduct an uncontrolled experiment on a population already consuming a highly processed diet low on key micronutrients and full of pesticide residues. Chronic diet-realted (sic) maladies were already on the rise.

    I can see how adding yet one more toxic element to the diet could largely escape notice. The Austrian study should sound a warning call: It’s time to fund serious independent research of GMOs.

    Let’s hope Obama keeps key federal agencies like FDA, EPA, and USDA free of GMO industry influence. (Well good luck with that last one buddy, LOL. /GM)

    http://grist.org/article/gm-oh-no/

    Regarding the golden rice issue, that appears to me and some scientists to be another high-tech, bio-tech solution in search of a problem where other simpler, cheaper and more effective non-GM solutions are already available:

    The ‘Golden Rice’ – An Exercise in How Not to Do Science

    The ‘golden rice’ – a GM rice engineered to produce pro-Vitamin A – is being offered to the Third World as cure for widespread vitamin A deficiency.

    The audit uncovers fundamental deficiencies in all aspects, from the scientific/social rationale to the science and technology involved. It is being promoted in order to salvage a morally as well as financially bankrupt agricultural biotech industry.

    The scientific/social rationalization for the project exposes a reductionist self-serving scientific paradigm that fails to see the world beyond its own narrow confines. The ‘golden rice’ is a useless application. Some 70 patents have already been filed on the GM genes and constructs used in making the ‘golden rice’. It is a drain on public resources and a major obstruction to the implementation of sustainable agriculture that can provide the real solutions to world hunger and malnutrition.

    SNIP

    ‘Golden rice’ was engineered to produce pro-vitamin A or b-carotene (the substance that makes carrots orange) in the endosperm, i.e., the part of the rice grain that remains after it has been polished. The scientific paper started with a review of the literature to rationalize why such GM rice is needed and of benefit for the Third World. The paper was accompanied by an unusually long news feature entitled, ‘The Green Revolution Strikes Gold’, which reinforced the rationalization for the project, explaining the remarkable feat of technology involved and stated that the scientists intend to make the ‘golden rice’ “freely available to the farmers who need it most.” The last sentence in this glowing report, however, gave the game away: “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.”

    What were the reasons for the scientists to embark on the project? It is important to know, as these reasons may have been used to persuade funders to support the project in the first place, and funders ought to bear as much of the responsibility.

    The first reason given is that the aleurone layer (in unpolished rice) is usually removed by milling as it turns rancid on storage, especially in tropical areas; and the remaining endosperm lacks pro-vitamin A. The researchers are tacitly admitting that at least some varieties of unpolished rice will have pro-vitamin A. The reason rice is milled is to prolong storage for export, and to suit the tastes of the developed world. So why not give the poor access to unpolished rice? A proportion of every rice harvest could be kept unpolished and either given freely to the poor, or sold at the cheapest prices. But the scientists have not considered that possibility. Unpolished rice is in fact part of the traditional Asian diet until the Green Revolution when aggressive marketing of white polished rice created a stigma of unpolished rice. However, most rural communities still consume unpolished rice and now that consumers have become aware of its nutritional value, unpolished rice is becoming sought after.

    “Predominant rice consumption”, the researchers claim, promotes vitamin A deficiency, a serious health problem in at least 26 countries, including highly populated areas of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Some 124 million children worldwide are estimated to be vitamin A deficient. (Actually, the latest figures quoted in a press release from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is 250 million preschool children.) The scientists seem to be unaware that people do not eat plain rice out of choice. The poor do not get enough to eat and are undernourished as well as malnourished. The 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 is that the absorption of pro-vitamin A depends on the overall nutritional status, which in turn depends on the diversity of the food consumed. (my emphasis /GM)

    (My comment on the above /GM: So my take on this is that just using genetic engineering techniques to shove more pro-vitamin A into the rice won’t do much good if it can’t be absorbed properly because those consuming the rice are deficient in other necessary nutrients /GM)

    “Predominant rice consumption” is most likely to be accompanied by other dietary deficiencies. A recent study by the Global Environmental Change Programme concludes that predominant consumption of Green Revolution crops is responsible for iron deficiency in an estimated 1.5 billion, or a quarter of the world’s population. The worst affected areas are in rice-growing regions in Asia and South-East Asia where the Green Revolution had been most successful in increasing crop yield.

    Research institutions such as IRRI have played the key role in introducing Green Revolution crops to the Third World. IRRI was founded in 1959 under an agreement forged by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations with the Philippine government, and its lease for operation expires in 2003. At its recent 40th anniversary celebration, hundreds of Filipino rice farmers protested against IRRI for introducing GM crops, blaming IRRI, among other things, for promoting the Green Revolution and causing massive loss of biological diversity in rice paddies throughout Asia.

    It is clear that vitamin A deficiency is accompanied by deficiencies in iron, iodine and a host of micronutrients, all of which comes from the substitution of a traditionally varied diet with one based on monoculture crops of the Green Revolution. The real cure is to re-introduce agricultural biodiversity in the many forms of sustainable agriculture already being practiced successfully by tens of millions of farmers all over the world. (my emphasis /GM.)

    SNIP

    Finally, why is it necessary to genetic engineer rice? “Because no rice cultivars produce [pro-vitamin A] in the endosperm, recombinant technologies rather than conventional breeding are required.” This is the conclusion to the whole fallacious reasoning process. It amounts to this: rice is polished, which removes pro-vitamin. A, therefore a hundred million dollars (much of it tax-payers’ money) are needed to put pro-vitamin A into polished rice. A more likely explanation is that the geneticists are looking for funding to do their research, and have constructed, as best they could, a series of rationalizations for why they should be supported. Neither the scientists nor the funders have looked further beyond the technology to people’s needs and aspirations, or to what the real solutions are.

    Full article at: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/rice.php

  12. Silent Bob

    You can’t prove that ANYTHING is safe, you can only show that something has not caused any harm yet. People cannot prove that mother’s milk is safe. Asking to prove that GM is safe is illogical and unscientific, and has never been required for any food or medicine or technology in the history of mankind.

    What you could do is ask is do we see any evidence of harm? And that argument has not been convincingly made, certainly some GMO are bad and you know what? They failed testing and we not released. You cannot make claims about all GMOs because they are all different.

    Now as for you you claim about playing Sorcerer’s apprentice and altering millions of years of evolution in the blink of an eye, this is exactly what has been done in the conventional breeding programs for all modern crops.

    As for your tenuous link between consumption of GM crops in the population, we have also been driving more, exercising less, the climate has become warmer, population dynamics have changed.

    Correlations does not equal causation. What you have there is not evidence, it is not even anecdote, it is pure speculation with luddite overtones.

    When I hear these so called scientist talk about the dangers of GM I agree with them, introducing a new gene or two or three into a plant can have unexpected consequences, but during conventional breeding you are often not introducing one or two or three genes, but several thousand!

  13. Palfree

    Global risk expert speaks out on the danger of GMOs.

    Last week the maverick biologist and billionaire entrepreneur Craig Venter tweeted: “Golden rice vitamin A could prevent blindness in 250000 children/year. Anti GMO people check your morals.” https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/372779980230369280

    The global risk expert and the Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, responded on Twitter:

    “Pro GMO people, check your understanding of 1) Risk & probability and 2) invoking ‘morals’ as a tactic while endangering people.”

    “Point 2: There are other alternatives with controlled & known side effects.”

    He also told Venter, a synthetic biologist with massive vested interests in the acceptance of genetic engineering and no background in risk (nor toxicology for that matter!):

    “@JCVenter In other words it is not rigorous to make something with fat-tailed risks look like the ‘only’ alternative to [blindness] when it is not.”

    “Fat-tailed risks” means that when things go bad, they can go catastrophically bad.

    Taleb has outlined his strong concerns about GM before. Below is what he wrote a couple of months ago. There are graphs in the original text, which are available at the link.

    Continued here:
    http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2013/15032-expert-who-predicted-global-economic-crash-thinks-risks-from-gmos-too-great