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Secret Monsanto GE Potato Study Suppressed for 8 Years - Democratic Underground
Secret Monsanto Genetically Engineered Potato Study Suppressed for 8 Years
*** Press Release*** GM Potatoes are "unfit for human consumption" GM Free Cymru, Feb 16, 2007 Straight to the Source
A secret feeding study of Monsanto GM potatoes, conducted in 1998 by the Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and suppressed for 8 years, showed that the potatoes did considerable damage to the organs of the rats in the study (1) (2). In comparison the rats in the "control groups" which were fed on normal potatoes or on a non-potato diet were healthier, and had much less organ and tissue damage. This research, fully supported by Monsanto through the provision of the GM potatoes, was conducted at approximately the same time as Arpad Pusztai's research in the Rowett Institute.
The potatoes used in the study were Monsanto GM NewLeaf potatoes bred in 1995 from the Russet Burbank variety to be resistant to the Colorado Beetle. The GM event was registered as 082, and the potatoes are included in the Bt group of GM crops. They also contain an antibiotic resistance marker gene (3). The potatoes were deregulated in the USA in 1998, without any feeding studies being required. Another line was deregulated in 1999. Even earlier, in 1996, Monsanto started to introduce the potatoes into Russia and Georgia, and probably into many other countries with lax approval regimes as well (4). For some reason (probably to assist in the consent process) Monsanto co-operated in some feeding studies involving rats from the Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. Something "inconvenient" showed up in these feeding studies, but the Institute refused to release all the information into the public domain and in 1999 the researchers presented a "doctored" version of their Report in support of Monsanto's application for Russian commercialization. The consent was duly given in 2000 by the Russian regulators on the basis of this corrupt piece of science.
However, Greenpeace and other consumer groups mounted a protracted and immensely frustrating campaign to obtain a sight of the feeding study Report. In May 2004 the Nikulinski District Court in Russia ruled that information relating to the safety of GM food should be open to the public. On the basis of this ruling Greenpeace tried to obtain the GM potato report; but the Institute and Monsanto refused to release it. So Greenpeace and local activist groups again took the Institute to court, and in October 2005 won a ruling that the Report must be released. At last it was handed over, and examined by Dr Irina Ermakova at the request of Greenpeace. She produced a brief Russian paper on her findings, and we have now produced an English- language version with the kind agreement of Greenpeace (5).
Ironically, the NewLeaf GM potato was a failure, and it proved to give poor yields and to be susceptible to disease in European environments. While Monsanto was enthusiastically promoting its GM potatoes in Eastern Europe, it was having second thoughts in the United States and Western Europe, and pulled out of GM potato development in 2002 (6). The results of the 1998 GM potato rat feeding study may well have had a bearing on that decision.
Dr Irina Ermakova, the Greenpeace consultant, has herself conducted animal feeding experiments with GM materials. In her very restrained commentary on the Russian study (1) she criticized the small scale of the experiment and its design, and was especially critical of the complacent conclusions drawn by the authors from evidence which was actually profoundly worrying. The GM potato was nutritionally inferior to its conventional counterpart and to other Russian potato varieties. The research results showed that both "normal" Russet Burbank potatoes and the GM variety caused "serious morphological changes in the internal organs" of the animals in the trials. They also showed that the group of animals fed on the GM potatoes suffered greater weight loss than the other animals, and statistically significantly greater damage to kidneys, liver and large gut. There was also greater damage to blood serum, testes and prostate. Dr Ermakova concluded: "The GM potatoes were the most dangerous of the feeds used in the trials........ and on the basis of this evidence they CANNOT be used in the nourishment of people."
Given the small scale of the feeding trials (only ten animals in each feeding group) and doubts about the statistical significance of some of the Report's findings, Dr Ermakova stressed the importance of follow-up studies on a larger scale and with more careful experimental design. But no matter what the shortcomings of the work may be, the Institute of Nutrition research did nothing to show that the Monsanto GM potatoes are safe. That should not be a surprise to anybody, since Bt potatoes are classified as pesticides in the US and have never been tested for toxicity or allergenicity (7).
According to Dr Brian John of GM Free Cymru, it is incredible that Monsanto and the Institute of Nutrition have kept the research secret until now. "That obsessive secrecy has clearly been against the public interest," he says, "and it tells us a great deal about Monsanto's priorities. If the company had any regard at all for the health of consumers, it would have published these results world-wide in 1999, and at the very least it would have commissioned follow-up research which might have confirmed or discredited the study's findings. Instead of that, it connived with the Russian researchers to keep the information away from public scrutiny, just as it did with the feeding study results for MON863 maize in 2005. On that occasion too, it took a court case and massive media coverage to obtain sight of the research team's raw data and to reveal evidence of damage to health." (8)
While Monsanto attempted to suppress the information from the 1998 Russian study, it connived in the vilification of Dr Arpad Pusztai, a respectable and careful scientist whose findings were very similar (9) (10). The company must have known that the release of its own feeding study information would have supported his findings and would have contributed to a general understanding on health concerns specific to GM potatoes. "The actions of Monsanto in this case have been utterly reprehensible," says Dr John. "The company has continued to promote its GM potatoes as perfectly harmless, while for eight years it has managed to keep out of the public domain clear evidence that they are harmful to animals and hence to human beings also. And it has got away with it because the science establishment and the GM regulators within the EU -- as in Russia -- cannot see scientific corruption when it is staring them in the face." (11)
Brian John or Ian Panton GM Free Cymru Tel 01239-820470 or 01437-720075
(1) Medical-biological investigations of transgenic potatoes, resistant to the Colorado beetle (under agreement with Monsanto Co.) Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Institute of Nutrition Moscow, 1998. Signed off by VA Tutelian, Deputy Director. Physiological, biochemical and morphological investigations in rats. Full Report 275 pp, including raw data.
(2) The commentary on the rat feeding study by Dr Irina Ermakova is here: www.gmfreecymru.org/
(3) www.agbios.com/dbase.php?action=ShowProd&data=RBMT21-129... Full petition (240 pp) for the deregulation of New Leaf GM potatoes (event 082) in the US: www.agbios.com/docroot/decdocs/05-242-028.pdf
(4) GM potatoes in Georgia: www.foei.org/publications/link/gmo/16.html
"In my case, I never had anything to do with Monsanto, outside of buying chemicals. I never signed a contract. If I would go to St. Louis and contaminate their plots--destroy what they have worked on for 40 years--I think I would be put in jail and the key thrown away," Percy Schmeiser.
24. Percy came out to Calif and is the reason I worked so hard getting an
initiative on the ballet banning the growing of GE crops. (we only got 39% of the vote-not bad for newbie campaigners) When he came out a second time I got to meet him personally and that is when they were waiting for the 1st major court ruling. You could tell that the fight he had to go through took at least 10 years of he and his wife's lives.
Monsanto is one EVIL company that wants to control the world by controlling the food/seed supply.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - An ordinance from a sparsely populated northern California county has some Missouri lawmakers worried that local regulation of genetically modified crops could hamper agriculture's future in the state.
Mendocino County, Calif., banned all genetically modified crops and animals in March 2004, prompting activists to attempt to do the same in four other counties. They were successful in one.
Since then, 14 states have banned local regulation of the types of seeds farmers can use and another five - including Missouri - are considering bans.
The Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would give the state responsibility for the "registration, labeling, sale, storage and planting of seeds," while also barring local governments and the state from adopting regulations that exceed federal requirements. A similar bill is pending in a House committee.
"Seeds of Deception" by Jeffrey Smith. It's a paperback, and written very clearly and very well. It is one of the most amazing books I've read recently, and it has information that everyone should know.
IT is happening in the United Staes - and also our crops of wheat, soybeans, and long grained rice are also genetically tinkered with (though I don't remember if Monsanto is behind all the GMO drops or not)
I keep thinking (and this is pure speculation)_ that one ofthe factors in so many people having acid reflux is that our systems just cannot abide these GMO foods. Almost all processed foods have some GMO in them.
I've never heard of that before, but it totally makes sense. I started having severe reflux in the mid-90's, and only when I eat processed foods, or grains. My whole extended family starting having problems within the last 10 yrs, no matter the age, which is anywhere from 25 to 95. I wish there was some kind of study or link for your speculation, but it DOES make sense.
10. Monsanto has, in the past, attempted to patent native plants used --
-- traditionally for thousands of years. Such as neem, from India. Which Indians have used for many, many purposes for thousands of years. From toothpaste to insecticide, and I know not what in between. Along comes Monsanto, and they file patent applications for it!
31. And many farmers throughout the world have been rightfully enraged
about the tactics of chem/pharm... like prohibiting GMO seed from being gathered by farmers and sold or re-sown -- has caused riots in India. Farmers in Mexico rioted when chem/pharm patented a variety of corn that has been on earth for over a thousand years and a sacred part of Mexico's heritage.
You're correct. There are many instances.
Chem/ pharm is into it all. They now call the industry "life sciences groups". It makes chemicals, drugs, medical technologies, and develops and patents an array of seed stock. It has been buying up seed stocks and seed companies from all over the world for decades.
Unfortunately, as it increasingly influences the way farming is done, the wonderful heirloom seeds are in danger of being lost to the world entirely. Only a handful of people are trying to keep heirloom stocks going. A small example of this is the little company Seeds Of Change... but it's too tiny to do preserve plant diversity except for a few vegetables and fruits.
16. Has there been any other experiments verifying this
The evidence doesn't seem that conclusive.
The research results showed that both "normal" Russet Burbank potatoes and the GM variety caused "serious morphological changes in the internal organs" of the animals in the trials. They also showed that the group of animals fed on the GM potatoes suffered greater weight loss than the other animals, and statistically significantly greater damage to kidneys, liver and large gut. There was also greater damage to blood serum, testes and prostate.
Given the small scale of the feeding trials (only ten animals in each feeding group) and doubts about the statistical significance of some of the Report's findings, Dr Ermakova stressed the importance of follow-up studies on a larger scale and with more careful experimental design
The only statistically signifigant damages were in the kidney, liver, and large gut. The other findings weren't statistically signifigant, so they don't have much weight backing them up. With the small sample sizes, its hard to make any serious conclusions off this one study.
29. Your question is right on. The British government REFUSED to repeat the experiments
to either confirm or disprove the initial studies.
This is unfortunately the stand that many government agencies will take, including our own -- due to the enormous power and influence of the chem/pharm industry. Suppression of scientific data is a huge problem. They would rather have something remain controversial than have the truth come out.
This is an article on this topic by The Independent:
When fed to rats it affected their kidneys and blood counts. So what might it do to humans? We think you should be told
The secret research we reveal today raises the potential health risks of genetically modified foods. Here, environment editor Geoffrey Lean, who has led this paper's campaign on GM technology for the past six years, examines the new evidence. And he asks the questions that must concern us all: why is Monsanto, the company trying to sell GM corn to Britain and Europe, so reluctant to publish the full results of its alarming tests on lab rats? Why are our leaders so keen to buy the unproven technology against the wishes of consumers? And why is the man who first raised these concerns six years ago shunned by the scientific establishment and his former political masters?
Worse, the Government refused to undertake the normal scientific process of repeating Dr Pusztai's experiments in order to either confirm or disprove his findings. Top officials at the then Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food told me that it would be "wrong", "immoral" and "a waste of money" to do so - an extraordinary attitude given the potential threat to public health, should he be right.
Attention then moved away from the health effects of GM food to the infinitely stronger evidence emerging on the environmental impact of GM crops. Study after study - reported in our pages - showed that genes escaped from them to breed superweeds and to contaminate organic and conventional produce. Finally, the Government's own trials - widely expected to support GM crops - found that growing most of them damaged wildlife.
The biotech companies - in stark contrast to their confidence before the start of our campaign - abandoned their plans to grow GM crops in Britain. Six years ago they were awaiting imminent government approval to grow 53 different varieties of them. Not one of these applications now remains, and no new one is expected to be made in the near future. The Independent on Sunday's campaign has been widely praised for its key role in this volte-face.
34. Why are our leaders so keen to buy the unproven technology
against the wishes of consumers?
My best guess: The unproven technology means millions of dollars in profits for big multi-national coporations and, as a general rule, few politician ever get elected or remain in office by getting on the wrong side of big, multi-national corporations. Hence corporate interests trumps consumer interests.
I believe this is one of the best and most important documentary films to be made in many years.
This is an extraordinary film about the creation of the American corporation, its legal organizational model, its global economic dominance and its psychopathic tendencies, and its incredible ambition to influence every aspect of culture in its unrelenting pursuit of profit.
ISIS Press Release 03/05/06 Mass Deaths in Sheep Grazing on Bt Cotton
At least 1 800 sheep reported dead from severe toxicity after grazing on Bt cotton fields in just four villages in Andhra Pradesh India
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho The Bt trail of dead sheep, ill workers and dead villagers over three years
At least 1 820 sheep were reported dead after grazing on post-harvest Bt cotton crops; the symptoms and post-mortem findings strongly suggest they died from severe toxicity. This was uncovered in a preliminary investigation conducted by civil society organisations in just four villages in the Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh in India. The actual problem is likely to be much greater.
This latest report confirms the findings of an earlier fact-finding investigation, also conducted by civil society organisations, on illnesses in cotton farm workers and handlers caused by Bt cotton in another cotton-growing state, Madhya Pradesh, in India (“More illnesses linked to Bt crops”, this series).
And not so long ago, we reported similar illnesses and deaths among villagers in the Philippines linked to exposure to Bt maize since 2003 (“GM ban long overdue, dozens ill and five deaths in the Philippines”, SiS 29).
It cannot be mere coincidence that similar Bt toxins from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis incorporated in the genetically modified crops are involved in all these cases; but the regulators have done nothing. Things are so bad that the European Commission levelled an accusation of bias towards the biotech industry against its own food safety regulatory body (“European Food Safety Authority criticised of GMO bias”, this series).
Grazing lands decline as commercial crops increase
Grazing lands in Warangal district have declined steeply as commercial crop cultivation expanded in recent years, and it has become customary for sheep and goats to be allowed to graze on crop residues after harvest.
This year, there have been several media reports of sharp increases in the deaths of sheep and goats after grazing in Bt cotton fields. There were similar reports in 2005, when complaints were lodged with the Joint Director of Agriculture by a few NGOs, but no action has resulted.
Between February and March 2006, the shepherds of Warangal district again reported high mortality in their flocks after grazing in harvested Bt cotton fields. Some shepherds reported to the animal husbandry department and requested confirmation on whether the deaths were due to grazing on Bt cotton.
Still getting no response, a fact-finding team of five members was constituted by the Andhra Pradesh Shepherds Union: two members from Anthra (NGO working on livestock issues), veterinary scientist Dr. Ramesh and a field researcher Mr. Apparoa; Mr. Jamalaiah, Secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Shepherds Union; and two scientists from the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture working on Bt cotton issues, Mr. S. Ramprasa and Mr. G. Rajashekar.
The team travelled through three mandals in Warangal district on 22 April 2006 and met with shepherds and farmers. The villages visited were Ippagudem in Ghanapur mandal, Valeru and Unkkucherla in Dharmasagaram mandal, and Maadpalli in Hasanparthi mandal.
Twenty-five percent of sheep dead within five to seven days
The Ippagudem village in Ghanapur mandal has 100 households belonging to the shepherd community. Forty shepherds and ten farmers attended the group meeting when the team visited. They said the deaths began after their sheep grazed on Bt cotton leaves or bolls. This year was the first time some of the shepherds and farmers cultivated Bt cotton hybrids, believing in the propaganda that they can get more yield and profit. They started grazing from the end of January to March. The deaths began within a week of continuous grazing on the Bt cotton crop residues. Mr. J. Parmesh, one of the shepherds got diarrhoea after consuming the affected sheep's meat.
The shepherds said that the sheep became “dull/depressed” after 2-3 days of grazing, started coughing with nasal discharge and developed red lesions in the mouth, became bloated and suffered blackish diarrhoea, and sometimes passed red urine. Death occurred within 5-7 days of grazing. Sheep from young lambs to adults of 1.5-2 years were affected.
The shepherds took their sheep to the government veterinary hospital in Warangal for post-mortem, some shepherds also performed their own post-mortem, as is often the practice of shepherds across Andhra Pradesh. They found black patches in the intestine and enlarged bile duct and black patches on the liver. The shepherds said that the Assistant Director of Animal Health Centre in Warangal told them these deaths appeared to be due to grazing on Bt cotton fields, as she has earlier seen such cases. She prescribed some medicines for the sick sheep, but very few sheep responded, and most died.
Of the 2 601 sheep that belonged to 42 shepherds, 651 sheep died, giving an average mortality rate of 25 percent.
A shepherd in another village, Akkapalli reported that he had cultivated Bt cotton the previous year and allowed his sheep to graze, which resulted in deaths. This year, while he still cultivated Bt cotton, he did not allow them to graze on it, and his sheep did not die.
On the way to Dharmasagaram mandal, the team spoke to a shepherd Shri Kochla Malliah, who has 100 sheep, but 5 died after grazing on Bt cotton crop residues. He reported that sheep had also died in adjoining villages Molakagudam, Kunipatti and Kondaparthi.
More deaths and identical symptoms in other villages
Twenty-nine shepherds participated in the meeting in Valeru village in Dharmasagaram mandel. Sheep deaths occurred during February – March 2006. The symptoms described were identical to those reported in the previous village.
Of 2168 sheep owned by the 29 shepherds, 549 sheep died, again giving an average mortality rate of about 25 percent.
In the remaining villages, it was not possible to have a group meeting with the shepherds. But the team was informed that the sheep population is nearly 1 000 in Unkkucherla village, Dharmasagaram mandal, and 150 adult sheep and 70 lambs died within 4 days of grazing on Bt cotton fields between February and March 2006. In Maadipalli village Asanparthi mandal, there are 20 households rearing some 3 000 sheep, and nearly 400 died due to grazing on Bt-cotton fields from the second week of February through to March.
They took their animals to the Warangal veterinary hospital for post-mortem. The Assistant Director at the Animal Health Centre who conducted the post-mortem advised them to stop grazing their sheep on the Bt cotton fields, saying the deaths could be due to the Bt cotton, and prescribed some medicines for the affected sheep.
The team met with the Assistant Director who conducted the post-mortems. When questioned, she replied that while it appeared that the deaths occurred after grazing on Bt cotton fields, and could be due to the effects of Bt toxin, it was not possible to arrive at a definitive conclusion, as farmers also spray different types of insecticides and pesticides on their crops, and this factor confounds the observations. She also said there were no kits or other facilities available within the Department to enable her to arrive at a firm diagnosis that the deaths were due to Bt cotton.
When asked to see the post-mortem results/reports, she said she was not permitted to show them to the team, as permission of the Joint Director was needed. But the Joint Director was not present that day. Demands for in-depth investigation and moratorium on Bt cotton
The team concludes that “The preliminary information gathered from meeting shepherds across 3 mandals, strongly suggests that the sheep mortality was due to a toxin, and most likely Bt toxin from the foliage.” They were impressed that shepherds from villages located at 20-25 km distance from one another, reported an identical history of grazing on the Bt cotton fields continuously, identical symptoms and death within 5-7 days of grazing exclusively on Bt cotton plant residue, primarily on young leaves and pods. The post-mortem symptoms, as observed by the shepherds, suggest “severe irritation of the intestines and associated organs (bile duct, liver) connected to the absorption and assimilation of food and processing of toxins.”
The team is calling for more “in-depth exhaustive investigation on the impact of Bt toxin on the local Indian livestock”, and a “complete moratorium on Bt cotton cultivation until conclusive results show that the Bt toxin is completely harmless”. Furthermore, they call for the shepherds who suffered losses to be compensated.
What is not yet clear from the report is whether all the sheep that did not fall ill or die also grazed on Bt cotton; if not, then the mortality rate is even higher than reported. Source
48. Here is a study using "models of inflammation" to reveal immunoreactivity of proteins
I think you were demanding access to the study conducted by Árpád Pusztai -- however, if you remember -- he was immediately shut down and his papers were not allowed to go into peer review. Worse, British regulators refused to duplicate his study to prove or disprove his results-- as was already reported in articles in this thread.
Meanwhile, I've posted an abstract of anoter study below this URL -- and it is exciting to see that these scientists had the insight to know to look for inflammatory mechanisms.
1: J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Nov 16;53(23):9023-30. Related Articles, Links
Transgenic expression of bean alpha-amylase inhibitor in peas results in altered structure and immunogenicity.
Prescott VE, Campbell PM, Moore A, Mattes J, Rothenberg ME, Foster PS, Higgins TJ, Hogan SP.
Division of Molecular Bioscience, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.
The development of modern gene technologies allows for the expression of recombinant proteins in non-native hosts. Diversity in translational and post-translational modification pathways between species could potentially lead to discrete changes in the molecular architecture of the expressed protein and subsequent cellular function and antigenicity. Here, we show that transgenic expression of a plant protein (alpha-amylase inhibitor-1 from the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L. cv. Tendergreen)) in a non-native host (transgenic pea (Pisum sativum L.)) led to the synthesis of a structurally modified form of this inhibitor. Employing models of inflammation, we demonstrated in mice that consumption of the modified alphaAI and not the native form predisposed to antigen-specific CD4+ Th2-type inflammation. Furthermore, consumption of the modified alphaAI concurrently with other heterogeneous proteins promoted immunological cross priming, which then elicited specific immunoreactivity of these proteins. Thus, transgenic expression of non-native proteins in plants may lead to the synthesis of structural variants possessing altered immunogenicity.
Publication Types: Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
51. Problem-US gov. depends on corps for studies--here are citations for studies done in other countries
where independent studies are more often done, and are less contaminated by corporate influence. By comparison to Scandanavia for example, the U.S. and Britain are much more heavily influenced by corporate science. Part of the trouble is that corporate science is considered to be a trade secret in the U.S. and is normally seen only by federal regulators who are increasingly beholden to and corrupted by the corporations.
To get to the corporate studies to critique them you have to sue the firms in foreign courts where the concepts of "public health" and "public interest" are more respected.
The article below states the key problem which is that "... most of the research in this domain is conducted or financed by the very companies promoting GMO,.... " .
The LeMonde article cites new research that was inspired in part by the problems uncovered by Árpád Pusztai's work. The original is in French, but Truthout has it in English. There are links to both the English and French versions below. I've excerpted paragraphs containing citations of studies that are noticing problems with GMO.
If you are a scientist or researcher you realize that it is nearly impossible to definitively prove CAUSALITY when looking at how novel substances such as synthetic chemicals, genetically modified organisms may be linked to health damage. Science is exceedingly cautious and often takes decades before the pieces of the puzzle fall into a coherent whole. Most of the studies done are very conservative in their conclusions and end up asking that more research be conducted when there are indications that there is reason for concern. This is partly why the concept of the Precautionary Principle has increasingly been endorsed by scientists who see sufficient evidence of potential harm to raise concerns for public health.
The Precautionary Principle is aggressively fought here in the U.S.
Please note that there are few studies available on this issue. This is true of most novel substances which are permitted to be introduced into the world despite lack of scientific proof that they are safe. It often takes decades before harm can be documented and proven.
Now, several recent studies effected by credible researchers and published in scientific reviews tally with one another to throw doubt on GMOs' complete harmlessness. They don't assert that GMOs generate health problems. But at the very least they suggest that GMOs provoke biological impacts that must be more widely studied. This new questioning arises just as the Council of Ministers adopted a proposed law on GMO Wednesday, February 8, and as the World Trade Organization (WTO) handed over an interim report February 7 to the parties in a conflict that opposes the United States, Canada, and Argentina to the European Union on the issue of transgenic plants.
In November 2005, Australian researchers published an article in a scientific review (Vanessa Prescott et al., Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 2005, p. 9023) explaining that the transfer of a gene that expresses an insecticide protein from a bean to a pea had provoked unexpected problems: among the mice fed the transgenic peas, Csiro (the Australian equivalent of the French National Center for Scientific Research, CNRS) researchers observed antibody production, markers of an allergic reaction. The affair, which made headlines in the Australian and English press, led Csiro to stop development of that transgenic pea, while West Australia Minister of Agriculture Kim Chance announced that his government would finance an independent study on feeding animals with GMO: "The state government is aware of the anxiety concerning GMO safety, while most of the research in this domain is conducted or financed by the very companies promoting GMO," Mr. Chance explained in a November 2005 communiqué.
During the summer of 2005, it was an Italian team led by Manuela Malatesta, cellular biologist at the Histological Institute of the University of Urbino, that published intriguing results (European Journal of Histochemistry, 2005, p. 237). In prior studies, that team had already demonstrated that absorption of transgenic soy by mice induces modifications in the nuclei of their liver cells. This summer's publication proved that a return to non-transgenic food made the observed differences disappear. It also showed that several of these changes could be "induced in adult organisms in a very short time."
In Norway, Terje Traavik, scientific director of the University of Tromsö's Institute of Genetic Ecology, just published a study in European Food Research and Technology (January 2006, p. 185): he demonstrates that an element of the genetic structures used to modify a plant, the catalyst 35S CaMV, can provoke gene expression in cultured human cells. Now, according to GMO promoters, that catalyst normally only operates that way in plants.
The increase in these experiments led the FAO (the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization) to organize a seminar on the safety of transgenic food in October 2005, bringing together the best specialists on the question. "What came out of it was that we have to pay attention to this type of study," said FAO seminar coordinator Ezzedine Boutrif. "In several cases, GMOs have been put on the market when the safety issues were not very clear."
The researchers involved in these recent studies declare their neutrality. "I had no preconceived idea about GMOs when I began my research in 2000," says Manuela Malatesta. "I thought they weren't dangerous because we had been eating them for a long time. But there was virtually no scientific literature on the subject. Consequently, we thought it was useful to undertake some studies." For Terje Traavik, the initial motivation was different: "I was doing cancer research using transgenesis. My colleagues and I knew that it would pose a problem if it left the laboratory. That concern convinced us that we needed to study this type of risk."
This work attracts all the more attention in that, in the United States as well as in Europe, research on the impacts of GMO has not been encouraged by governments. Toxicological studies were effected by the companies promoting GMOs, the impartiality of which is debatable, and subsequently examined by commissions. But the latter never reproduced the experiments, which remain secret. Yet those studies sometimes also show notable biological impacts.
On April 23 2004, Le Monde revealed that experts from the Commission on Biomolecular Genetics (CGB) were divided over the effects of a Monsanto corn, MON 863. In the toxicological study that had been communicated to them, it seemed that rats fed with the GMO presented several anomalies: an increase in white blood cell count, blood sugar changes, reduction of red blood cell count, etc. A debate followed between the agencies concerned that led to a favorable CGB opinion. Although the experts re-examined the file, they did not, however, take a new look at the statistical analysis presented by Monsanto.
Associations including Greenpeace demanded publication of the toxicological file so that they can submit it to a second opinion. On June 9, 2005, the Munster, Germany, Court of Appeal ordered its publication.
54. Creating controversy is a tactic long used by industries that produce potentially dangerous products
"Checkbook science" or "Cigarette science" are terms sometimes used to describe it.
Vilifying scientists who raise safety concerns is also a widely feared tactic.
Industry kept the carcinogenicity of dioxin controversial for over three decades while it continued to be put it into many products.
Dioxin is still in many products but most often as an "unintended byproduct" which makes it o.k. as far as U.S. regulators are concerned.
You may disagree with whether these products have been "proven" harmful yet, but maybe you can agree with the idea that they should be proven safe and thoroughly tested before they are marketed. That's not done here in the U.S., and it's a concept only recently adopted by the European Union.
As far as studies are concerned -- instead of short term "acute toxicity" studies, or other short term studies, these novel substances should be screened for chronic, low level exposures over time for a wide range of health issues.
The lack of hard safety data for these substances should be of concern to everyone.
Meanwhile, thanks to this industry, we've all become miniature hazardous waste plants using bodies never designed to deal with novel man-made chemicals and substances.
They have been used throughout the world without any problems, with no study proving that they are dangerous at all.
The only reason you claim that the scientists are vilified is that there scientific tests are up to the standards of the scientific study. This one potato test is not conclusive at all, yet this is the best case they have against GM foods.
63. Food Safety Evaluation of Crops Produced through Biotechnology
Agricultural biotechnology has been widely adopted in agriculture but is also the focus of controversy. Questions have arisen regarding food and environmental safety. In the US, responsibility for ensuring agricultural and environmental safety is delegated to the USDA and EPA, respectively. The FDA has primary responsibility for food safety, with the exception that the EPA has responsibility for the safety of proteins in plants associated with insect defense mechanisms. The food safety assessment, whether performed by the FDA or the EPA, requires evaluation of the safety of 1) the newly added DNA, 2) the safety of the newly introduced gene product and 3) the overall safety of the balance of the food. A paradigm called "Substantial Equivalence" guides the assessment. The principal food safety issues for new varieties crops are 1) potential toxicity of the newly introduced protein(s), 2) potential changes in allergenicity, 3) changes in nutrient composition, 4) unintended effects giving rise to allergenicity or toxicity and 5) the safety of antibiotic resistance marker-encoded proteins included with the transgene. All of these must be taken in the context of the predicted range of dietary exposures. The evaluation seeks to establish that there is a "reasonable likelihood of safety" and that new varieties are as safe as or safer than crops produced by traditional methods. Indeed, after extensive safety testing and some five years of experience with such crops in the marketplace, there is not a single report that would lead an expert food scientist to question the safety of such transgenic crops now in use.
69. sorry gravity, but the JACN has been in hot water a few times over using it's
supplements as platforms for the industry and not disclosing ties to same. i don't know if that's the case here or not, but their track record is less than spectacular. and i would submit to you that the FDA and EPA studies have been less than strenuous, particularly in the case of the FDA which doesn't actually conduct it's own tests but simply *reviews the tests of the producer/ manufacturer. and there are many 'exprt foodscientists' that question the safety of transgenic crops now in use. score of 'em in fact.
* New Research on the Impact of GMOs on Health SOIL ASSOCIATION, GM briefing June 19, 2006
Although some Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have been approved and marketed for several years, there was no body of scientific research on their impact on the biology of living organisms. This is partly because animal feeding trials are not required in the current safety approval process for GMOs in the EU or USA. Only now is a body of evidence starting to emerge from a small number of animal feeding trials into the health effects and progress in the new science of epigenetics. This indicates that genetic engineering is much more unpredictable and risky than traditional breeding. ~snip~ . . . link
72. The article's author (you didn't put quote marks around quote)is an industry shill who loves Olestra
and was on the FDA board that approved it!
Chassy is executive associate director of the biotechnology center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.
His ravings about how wonderful Olestra is should make you a little skeptical.
You know about Olestra right? :puke:
Industry shills are unfortunately very common at universities, and I'm sure that because of it he has no trouble getting corporate funding. Go to his department and run a search on funding and "partners". I'll bet you that he's funded at least in part by that industry.
In the article you quoted Chasssy's statement where he says: "Indeed, after extensive safety testing and some five years of experience with such crops in the marketplace, there is not a single report that would lead an expert food scientist to question the safety of such transgenic crops now in use."
!!!!!!! "...not a single report that would lead to expert food scientist to question the safety...." ??????? !!!!!
This TOTALLY ignores all of the disputes among scientists, researchers and discussion on this topic! Some of those disputes were included in detail and posted on this thread. The man either lives in a dark hole, or is lying.
And so... you think he's credible?
Here's a quote from an article stating that "Bruce M. Chassy, PhD, a member of the committee that reviewed olestra data prior to its approval by the FDA,..."
Besides the fact that Olestra sickens many people, it reduces cartenoids in the body!!!! How anyone in their right mind could give approval to such a substance is fucking incredible!!!
Whew!! I don't usually get that angry! Allow me to take a breath here.
:wow: --- There... that's better.....
Here's what Science in the Public Interest says about Olestra -- a substance that should never, ever have been allowed on the market. Go click on the link that takes you to the Harvard conference if you need a top university to help you...although personally I think Harvard and Yale produce very industry-friendly analyses. However, it offers further proof of how incredibly stupid and terrible this idea is -- but of course your "credible' author was on the FDA board that approved it.
Years ago I started to receive reports about damage to animals fed GMO foods such as maize and tomatoes. Then I received several communications about the work of Senior scientist Arpad Pusztai of Scotland who had published material stating that animals fed GMOpotatoes had developed kidney and blood abnormalities.
Immediately after making his findings public, he was vilified by the science community.
It didn't matter that he was 100% correct in his assessments, and that his methods had been undertaken with great care.
The problem was (and is) that independent science is being crushed underfoot of large corporate interests which are destroying scientists who discover problems with its products.
Independent science is being aggressively suppressed by companies wanting to push products on the public -- while hiding "proprietary" information about safety concerns.
Pusztai now has his own web site where he documents his experience, and illuminates the hypocrisy of The Royal Science Society of Great Britain that vilified him:
A GMO or genetically modified organism is one whose natural genetic material has been modified by having synthetic genetic material inserted into it. That is how we have GM crops grown for food and feed, for fibre and for a range of pharmaceuticals and industrial products in the latest offering, if we don't manage to stop it.
Maybe you have heard the mantra from certain scientists that GM food is perfectly safe because the technology is so very precise and wonderful and the regulation the strictest in the world; that GM is good for biodiversity, increases yield, reduces pesticide use, and so on. All of the claims have been falsified, with data collected by the US Department of Agriculture and by independent scientists .
The World Health Organization has just issued a report, Modern food biotechnology, human health and development: an evidence-based study (23 June 2005) claiming that although there may be potential risks involved in the use of GMOs, the GM crops that are grown today are not likely to present health risks.
Yet there has been a string of incidents indicating GM food and feed are far from safe. These include studies carried out by biotech companies producing the GM crops, which they have kept secret under confidential business information.
* Kidney and blood abnormalities in rats fed one of Monsanto's GM maize in Monsanto's secret dossier.
* Villagers in the south of the Philippines who suffered mysterious illnesses when another GM maize came into flower in a nearby field two years in a row. Antibodies to the Bt protein inserted into the GM maize were found in the villagers.
* A dozen cows that died after eating a third GM maize made by Syngenta, and others in the herd had to be slaughtered because of mysterious illnesses. Autopsies failed to be carried out, which is why Greenpeace and farmers are demonstrating in front of the Robert Koch Institute
* Senior scientist Arpad Pusztai and colleagues in Scotland found young rats fed GM potatoes ended up with damage in every organ system; the most dramatic being an increase in thickness of the stomach lining to twice that in controls. Scientists in Egypt found similar effects in mice fed GM potatoes with another gene.
* The US Food and Drug Administration had data dating back to early 1990s that rats fed GM tomatoes had developed small holes in their stomach.
To cut a long story short, different species of GM food and feed crops with different genes had adversely affected several species of animals.
You don't have to be a scientific genius to see that there may be something in the genetic engineering process itself that's harmful.
So what's wrong with GMOs?
First, new genes and combinations of genes made in the laboratory, which have never existed in billions of years of evolution, are being introduced into our food chain.
Allergies and other toxicities come to mind. In fact, 22 out of 33 proteins incorporated into GM crops were found to have similarities to known allergens, and are therefore suspected allergens.
The synthetic genetic material are introduced into the cells of organisms with invasive methods that are uncontrollable, unreliable and unpredictable, and far from precise.
It ends up damaging the natural genetic material of the organism with many unpredictable, unintended effects, including gross abnormalities that you can see, and metabolic changes that may be toxic that you can't see.
Many foreign synthetic genes are copies of those from bacteria and viruses that cause diseases.
They also contain antibiotic resistance marker genes to help track the movements of the foreign gene inserts and select for cells that have taken up the foreign genes.
Right from the beginning, in the mid1970s, geneticists themselves have worried that releasing those synthetic genetic material runs the risk of creating new viruses and bacteria that cause diseases, and spreading antibiotic resistance to make infections untreatable. As the result of the Asilomar Declaration, a moratorium was imposed. Unfortunately, the moratorium was short-lived, as geneticists were in a hurry for commercial exploitation of genetic engineering.
The dangers arise because the genetic material persists long after the cells or organism is dead, and can be taken up by bacteria and viruses that are in all environments
This process - called horizontal gene transfer and recombination - is the main route to creating dangerous pathogens.
Genetic engineering is nothing if not greatly enhanced horizontal gene transfer and recombination, and nasty surprises have already been sprung.
Researchers in Australia 'accidentally' transformed a harmless mousepox virus into a lethal pathogen that killed all the mice, even those that were supposed to be resistant to the virus. Headlines in the New Scientist editorial: "The Genie is out, Biotech has just sprung a nasty surprise. Next time, it could be catastrophic."
The lead article continued in the same vein: "Disaster in the making. An engineered mouse virus leaves us one step away from the ultimate bioweapon."
The researchers added a gene coding for an immune signalling molecule to the virus, which they thought would boost antibody production; instead, it suppressed immune responses. The researchers had previously put the same gene into a vaccinia virus and found it delayed the clearance of virus from the animals, so it may well have the same immune suppressive effects for all viruses. Imagine what would happen if this gene ever got into a smallpox virus!
More surprisingly, researchers at the University of California in Berkeley found that disrupting a set of disease-causing genes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis , the tuberculosis bacterium, resulted in a hyper-virulent mutant strain that killed all the mice by 41 weeks, while all the control mice exposed to the unmodified bacterium survived.
There is yet another insidious danger.
The synthetic genes created for genetic modification are designed to cross species barriers and to jump into the natural genetic material of cells. Such constructs jumping into the natural genetic material of human cells can trigger cancer.
This is not just a theoretical possibility. It has happened in gene therapy, which is genetic modification of human cells.
In 2000, researchers in the Neckar Hospital in Paris, France treated infants with X- linked Severe Combined Immune Deficiency apparently successfully by isolating bone marrow cells from the patients, applying gene therapy, and then injecting the genetically modified cells back into the patients. But since 2002, 3 infants have developed leukaemia. One child has died. The foreign synthetic gene has inserted near a human gene that controls cell division, making it overactive, resulting in uncontrollable multiplication of the white blood cells.
I have only scratched the surface of the problems and hazards of genetic modification. But you can already see that there has been a massive campaign of misinformation and disinformation on the part of the GM proponents.
The greatest danger, I think, is the mindset of the GM proponents
Genetic engineering of plants and animals began in the mid 1970s under the illusion that the genetic material is constant and static and the characteristics of organisms are hardwired in their genes. One gene determines one characteristic. But geneticists soon discovered to their great surprise that the genetic material is dynamic and fluid, in that both the expression and structure of genes are constantly changing under the influence of the environment. Geneticists have coined the term, "the fluid genome", which encapsulated this major paradigm change. The genome is the totality of all the genetic material in an organism.
The processes responsible for the fluid genome are precisely orchestrated by the organism as a whole in a dance of life that's necessary for survival. In contrast, genetic engineering in the lab is crude, imprecise and invasive. The rogue genes inserted into a genome to make a GMO can land anywhere in any form and has a tendency to be unstable, basically because these rogue genes do not know the language of the dance. Genetic engineers haven't learned to dance with life.
That is why dozens of prominent scientists from seven countries launched ourselves as the Independent Science Panel, to overcome the campaign of disinformation from pro-GM scientists who are working to promote the corporate agenda, and to reclaim science for the public good. We compiled all the evidence against GM crops as well as the evidence on the successes and benefits of all forms of sustainable non-GM agriculture. Based on this evidence, we are calling for a ban on the environmental releases of GM crops and a comprehensive shift to sustainable agriculture. I hope the Assembly will support this call!
For further information please visit the Institute of Science in Society website:
For further information please visit the Institute of Science in Society website: www.i-sis.org.uk
I discovered that web site quite a while ago and really appreciate their articles on sustainable and organic agriculture. They've also got a free email newsletter you can sign up for on the top right of the home page.
See for example:
Br. Paul's Organic Cotton and Vegetable Farm
Jesuit brother breaks all the rules he learned in agricultural college, and shows how to bring food security to the world
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho
Organic cotton is possible and highly profitable
Brother Paul Desmarais of the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre of Lusaka in Zambia is a happy man. He has just demonstrated that cotton can be grown organically, and furthermore, at yields up to more than twice the national average. That is quite an achievement as cotton is notorious for consuming the most agrochemicals of any crop, some 21 percent of that consumed worldwide; and most people have been led to believe that cotton cannot be grown without chemical sprays.
The species inter-planted with the cotton crop are those that attract pests away from the cotton crop or beneficial predators, or provide home for beneficial predators; many species serving both purposes. For example, munsale (sweet sorghum) attracts bollworm and aphids as well as a host of beneficial insects; nyemba (cowpeas) provides a habitat and food source for ants and predatory wasps, and also attracts the pests leafhoppers, aphids and bollworms; sanyembe (sunhemp) is highly attractive to beneficial insects as a border crop and controls nematodes as well. Delele (okra) attracts bollworms, caterpillars and leaf eaters; milisi (maize) traps aphids on tassels and bollworms; mupilu (mustard) attracts beneficial hover flies and parasitic wasps as well as aphids on which they feed. Malanga (sunflower) attracts bollworm moths to lay eggs, and the beneficial lacewings that feed on aphids. A horizontal row containing a mixture of all these were planted for every 20 rows of cotton in the field bordered by sunnhemp on two sides. A host of other species can be planted, adding to the diversity of the farm. A variety of trees, such as Sesbania , Leucaena , and other indigenous species can act as windbreaks and provide habitat for farmers' friends and provide material for composting and making teas.
Br. Paul was raised on a farm in Southwestern Ontario in Canada, one of the most productive farming areas in the country. He says, “My dad used a lot of fertilisers and chemicals. We were modern farmers like many others in the area, quick to adopt new technologies, using more and more fertilisers every year, applying herbicides and spraying for pests in large tomato field.”
Br. Paul majored in plant pathology while studying for his agricultural degree, his studies were focussed on the Green Revolution. He confesses, “When I came to Zambia, I naively thought that I would change things here. During the first 15 years, I promoted the use of fertiliser, chemical spraying in the vegetable gardens and using hybrid seed. It finally dawned on me that we were not going anywhere. Every year farmers were asking for loans to buy seed and fertiliser. Farmers made some money on maize production in only two years out of those 15 years.”
In the 1980s, someone suggested to Br. Paul that he should look at organic agriculture, but he thought it was strictly for a small left-wing group who had enough money to pay for this type of farming. Nevertheless when he returned for home leave in Canada in 1988, he visited organic farmers, and found them to be successful. He studied the principles of organic agriculture in Ontario and adapted them to the situation in Zambia, and has never looked back.
Abundantly productive farms with zero input and zero emission powered by waste-gobbling bugs and human ingenuity Sustainable development is possible
Environmental engineer meets Chinese peasant farmers
It may sound like a dream, but it is possible to produce a super-abundance of food with no fertilizers or pesticides and with little or no greenhouse gas emission. The key is to treat farm wastes properly to mine the rich nutrients that can be returned to the farm, to support the production of fish, crops, livestock and more; get biogas energy as by-product, and perhaps most importantly, conserve and release pure potable water back to the aquifers.
Professor George Chan has spent years perfecting the system; and refers to it as the Integrated Food and Waste Management System (IFWMS).
Chan was born in Mauritius and educated at Imperial College, London University in the UK, specializing in environmental engineering. He was director of two important US federal programmes funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands of the North Pacific. On retiring, Chan spent 5 years in China among the Chinese peasants, and confessed he learned just as much there as he did in University.
He learned from the Chinese peasants a system of farming and living that inspired him and many others including Gunter Pauli, the founder and director of the Zero Emissions Research Initiative (ZERI) (www.zeri.org). Chan has worked with ZERI since, which has taken him to nearly 80 countries and territories, and contributed to evolving IFWMS into a compelling alternative to conventional farming.
The integrated farm typically consists of crops, livestock and fishponds. But the nutrients from farm wastes often spill over into supporting extra production of algae, chickens, earthworms, silkworms, mushrooms, and other valuables that bring additional income and benefits for the farmers and the local communities.
36. I love these ideas for sustainable agriculture. I wish we had a revolution here among scientists
who would break out of their reductionist thinking and away from corporate influence -- and coordinate an effort to put these ideas into place.
The current model of the corporatized farm is the worst system imaginable. It's setup to destroy the soil, the environment, water quality, and the lives of small town America that depended on the small farmer to thrive.
Someday the citizens of the U.S. might finally see the disaster we've created by corporate influence, but right now, I see a brainwashed country that defends these practices using tired phrases repeated over and over like obedient parrots. Words said over and over to convince Americans that our system is number one in the world.
What's so incredibly sad -- is that nutrients in corporate food is much less than food produced by organic methods, but the Dept of Agriculture actually suppresses this information.
In a very real sense, we are literally eating fossil fuels. However, due to the laws of thermodynamics, there is not a direct correspondence between energy inflow and outflow in agriculture. Along the way, there is a marked energy loss. Between 1945 and 1994, energy input to agriculture increased 4-fold while crop yields only increased 3-fold.11 Since then, energy input has continued to increase without a corresponding increase in crop yield. We have reached the point of marginal returns. Yet, due to soil degradation, increased demands of pest management and increasing energy costs for irrigation (all of which is examined below), modern agriculture must continue increasing its energy expenditures simply to maintain current crop yields. The Green Revolution is becoming bankrupt.
oil, Cropland and Water
Modern intensive agriculture is unsustainable. Technologically-enhanced agriculture has augmented soil erosion, polluted and overdrawn groundwater and surface water, and even (largely due to increased pesticide use) caused serious public health and environmental problems. Soil erosion, overtaxed cropland and water resource overdraft in turn lead to even greater use of fossil fuels and hydrocarbon products. More hydrocarbon-based fertilizers must be applied, along with more pesticides; irrigation water requires more energy to pump; and fossil fuels are used to process polluted water.
It takes 500 years to replace 1 inch of topsoil.21 In a natural environment, topsoil is built up by decaying plant matter and weathering rock, and it is protected from erosion by growing plants. In soil made susceptible by agriculture, erosion is reducing productivity up to 65% each year.22 Former prairie lands, which constitute the bread basket of the United States, have lost one half of their topsoil after farming for about 100 years. This soil is eroding 30 times faster than the natural formation rate. 23Food crops are much hungrier than the natural grasses that once covered the Great Plains. As a result, the remaining topsoil is increasingly depleted of nutrients. Soil erosion and mineral depletion removes about $20 billion worth of plant nutrients from U.S. agricultural soils every year.24 Much of the soil in the Great Plains is little more than a sponge into which we must pour hydrocarbon-based fertilizers in order to produce crops.
Every year in the U.S., more than 2 million acres of cropland are lost to erosion, salinization and water logging. On top of this, urbanization, road building, and industry claim another 1 million acres annually from farmland.24 Approximately three-quarters of the land area in the United States is devoted to agriculture and commercial forestry.25 The expanding human population is putting increasing pressure on land availability. Incidentally, only a small portion of U.S. land area remains available for the solar energy technologies necessary to support a solar energy-based economy. The land area for harvesting biomass is likewise limited. For this reason, the development of solar energy or biomass must be at the expense of agriculture.
Modern agriculture also places a strain on our water resources. Agriculture consumes fully 85% of all U.S. freshwater resources.26 Overdraft is occurring from many surface water resources, especially in the west and south. The typical example is the Colorado River, which is diverted to a trickle by the time it reaches the Pacific. Yet surface water only supplies 60% of the water used in irrigation. The remainder, and in some places the majority of water for irrigation, comes from ground water aquifers. Ground water is recharged slowly by the percolation of rainwater through the earth's crust. Less than 0.1% of the stored ground water mined annually is replaced by rainfall.27 The great Ogallala aquifer that supplies agriculture, industry and home use in much of the southern and central plains states has an annual overdraft up to 160% above its recharge rate. The Ogallala aquifer will become unproductive in a matter of decades.28
50. These facts should inspire our generation to stop current practices
It's obvious that we are undermining the foundations that sustain life on this planet. What I don't understand is how and why we have let corporations create the current policies. The answer is probably $$$$ -- but, even so -- isn't there some way to insure that we create policies that are win/win for both the public good and corporations?
When you examine some of the corporate cultures of these large multi-national chem/pharm companies -- it seems they have no interest in win/win solutions and products as too many of them have placed huge burdens on society.
What I object to most of all is the circle of profit created by these win/lose products. Many of these companies profit greatly by the problems created.
Most people don't realize that Monsanto is also deeply connected to the pharma industry. Monsanto merged with pharma giant G.D. Searle, and then with Pharmacia in 2000. Pfizer and Pharmacia merged in 2003.
This is also true of other large so called pharma companies --they also make toxic chemicals, genetically modified organisms -- and now nano technology. My main complaint is that these novel synthetics and bio-engineered organisms never undergo rigorous scientific testing before introducing them widely into the marketplace.
If health problems are created by one end of the business, profits occur on the other.
I remember that the trading posts got the Eskimos up north hooked on trading furs for canned foods - then the depression hit and the Eskimos had not hunted to put aside enough food. The people who normally came in and ran the trading posts didn't get sent in (I suppose they had been laid off) so these proud people starved for several seasons.
What happens when/if the whole world is planted with only these GMO's - and then a depression knocks these companies down to the point that they cannot deliver a pesticide needed for the seed to be viable? Or worse, if the plants are terminator seeds and do not re-seed?
In 2001, we reported on a vitamin drain in America’s vegetables (“Vegetables Without Vitamins,” Life Extension, March 2001). What we found in our unofficial report is now official. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition has published new findings from University of Texas researchers showing diminished levels of six nutrients in vegetables and fruits.1
According to the new report, levels of calcium, riboflavin, vitamin C, iron, potassium, and protein in vegetables and fruits have significantly declined since 1950. This finding holds up even after making numerous statistical adjustments to account for the losses. The report covers only a few common nutrients; potential declines in lesser-known nutrients like lycopene and zeaxanthin are unknown.
When asked about the apparent drain, commercial plant breeders refuse to comment, but clues have emerged as to why today’s vegetables are not what they should be. It has to do with the way commercial growers do business.
From Food to Commodity
Tomatoes that resemble tennis balls, peppers that taste like small rocks, and big, red, flavorless strawberries are all a result of selective breeding for pith and water (pith is defined as the fibrous part of fruits and vegetables, such as the “netting” around orange sections that is usually discarded). Desirable traits for commercial growers who want produce to ship well, look good, and weigh a lot, but undesirable traits for consumers who buy produce as a source of nutrition. Plant jockeys call it “the dilution effect.” More water and pith, less vitamin content.
'I'd like to drink a glass of water and know that the contents are going into my stomach - not my lungs. We are giving very toxic chemicals the ability to go where they've never gone before'
Alex Renton Guardian Unlimited
Far-fetched? The processed-food giant Kraft and a group of research laboratories are busy working towards 'programmable food'. One product they are working on is a colourless, tasteless drink that you, the consumer, will design after you've bought it. You'll decide what colour and flavour you'd like the drink to be, and what nutrients it will have in it, once you get home. You'll zap the product with a correctly-tuned microwave transmitter - presumably Kraft will sell you that, too. This will activate nano-capsules - each one about 2,000 times smaller than the width of a hair - containing the necessary chemicals for your choice of drink: green-hued, blackcurrant-flavoured with a touch of caffeine and omega-3 oil, say. They will dissolve while all the other possible ingredients will pass unused through your body, in their nano-capsules.
The end of cooking? Probably not. Catch me having friends round for a programmable nanocola? Not more than once. But our reaction to some of the dafter promises of the new science is not really relevant. You may not want it, but the food industry does. Every major food corporation is investing in nano-tech - government in Europe has pumped £1.7 billion in research money into the field over the past eight years. Nano-food and nano-food packaging are on their way because the food industry has spotted the chance for huge profi ts: by 2010, the business, according to analysts, will be worth $20 billion annually. And there is already a prototype of a Wonka-esque chewing gum that, using nano-capsules, promises the sensation of eating real chocolate.
The food industry is hooked on nano-tech's promises, but it is also very nervous. At a conference in Amsterdam to discuss nano-technology, food and health, I found representatives of all the big food corporations, mixing with some bumptious academics, all thrilled with their latest nano-applications, and some less gung-ho bioethicists.
The food people included Unilever, Kraft, Cadbury Schweppes, Tate & Lyle and Glaxo-SmithKline: they were very shy and entirely off the record, if they spoke at all. I was having a friendly chat with a research scientist from Numico, the European baby-foods giant (their brands include Milupa and Cow & Gate) until he found out I was a journalist. Then he refused to tell me his name and asked me to erase the word 'Numico' from my notebook. I thought he was going to snatch it away. It's obvious why they were edgy. Consumers are not ready for nano-food. Among some scientists in the field there is a real sense that nano-technology, in food at least, is a revolution that may die in its cradle - rejected by a public that has lost its trust in scientists and its patience with industry's profi t-driven fooling with what we eat.
Jane Akre, a winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize for exposing health risks of rBGH milk, tells the inside story of censorship at Fox News.
After three judges, 27 months of pre-trial wrangling and five weeks of courtroom testimony, the jury finally had its say. On August 28, 2000, it awarded me $425,000 in damages for being fired by TV station WTVT in Tampa, Florida. WTVT is a Fox station owned by Rupert Murdoch. The verdict made me the first journalist ever to win a "whistleblower" judgment in court against a news organization accused of illegally distorting the news.
Notwithstanding being vindicated in court, I have yet to collect a dime of that jury award. There is no telling how long Fox will drag out the appeals process as it seeks to have the judgment overturned by a higher court. Meanwhile, I am still out of work, as is my husband, Steve Wilson, who was also fired on December 2, 1997, for refusing to falsify a news story to appease the powerful Monsanto Corporation.
The story Fox tried to kill involved rBGH milk, which is produced using Monsanto's recombinant bovine growth hormone. We documented how the hormone, which can harm cows, was approved by the government as a veterinary drug without adequate testing of how it affected the children and adults who drink rBGH milk.
56. Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems: "....we are on the cusp of the further perfection of extreme evil..."
The public doesn't hear much about this, but responsible scientists are increasingly horrified by the potential destructiveness of nano technology. This is waaay beyond anything that we've had to deal with so far. No wonder there is a great fear about how this technology may be used. The fact that it is proposed for foods as well -- boggles the mind!
Disarmament Diplomacy Issue No. 65, July - August 2002
Opinion & Analysis
Nanotechnology and Mass Destruction: The Need for an Inner Space Treaty By Sean Howard
"I think it is no exaggeration to say we are on the cusp of the further perfection of extreme evil, an evil whose possibility spreads well beyond that which weapons of mass destruction bequeathed to the nation-states, on to a surprising and terrible empowerment of extreme individuals."
Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, April 2000
This article assesses concerns about the potential development of new weapons and risks of mass destruction made possible by nanotechnology - the rapidly evolving field of atomic and molecular engineering.1 It will argue that such concerns are valid and will need to be addressed by the international arms control and non-proliferation regime. The paper concludes with an appeal for such an engagement to begin sooner rather than later. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are already banned from outer space under the terms of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. Before long, there may be need for an 'inner space' treaty to protect the planet from devastation caused - accidentally, or by terrorists, or in open conflict - by artificial atomic and molecular structures capable of destroying environments and life forms from within.
The Nanotechnology Revolution
Nanotechnology is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "the branch of technology that deals with dimensions and tolerances of less than 100 nanometres, esp. the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules." A nanometre is one billionth (one-thousand millionth) of a metre. Although the potential of atomic engineering on the scale of 1-100 nanometres was foreseen for decades, most famously in a 1959 lecture by the US physicist Richard Feynman,2 serious research was only made possible in the 1980s, primarily through the ability of a new microscope - the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) - to 'click' and 'drag' on individual atoms.3 Numerous universities in North America, Europe and Asia quickly established teams to investigate the possibilities of the new research.
By January 2000, the US government had become sufficiently impressed with the early results to launch a National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)4, with initial funding of $497 million. While other governments are also investing in a range of nanotechnology research5, the US effort is by far the most substantial - and hyped. Launching the programme, President Bill Clinton enthused: "Imagine the possibilities: materials with ten times the strength of steel and only a small fraction of the weight; shrinking all the information housed at the Library of Congress into a device the size of a sugar cube; detecting cancerous tumors when they are only a few cells in size. Some of our research goals may take 20 or more years to achieve, but that is precisely why there is an important role for the federal government."6
A White House Fact Sheet - entitled 'National Nanotechnology Initiative: Leading to the Next Industrial Revolution' - virtually salivated over the prospect of an atomically re-designed world:
"The emerging fields of nanoscience and nanoengineering - the ability to manipulate and move matter - are leading to unprecedented understanding and control over the fundamental building blocks of all physical things. These developments are likely to change the way almost everything - from vaccines to computers to automobile tires to objects not yet imagined - is designed and made. ... Nanotechnology is the builder's new frontier and its potential impact is compelling: this Initiative establishes Grand Challenges to fund interdisciplinary research and education teams...that work for major, long-term objectives."7
The Bush administration's first NNI budget request, for FY 2002, was for $518.9 million, increased by Congress to $604.4 million. The request for the coming fiscal year is $679 million. The range of US government partners involved reflects the technology's potential breadth of application.8 The second largest recipient is the Department of Defense, with $180 million of funding dedicated to elaborating a "conceptual template for achieving new levels of warfighting effectiveness" reflecting "the increasingly critical nature of technological advances".9 None of the funding is currently earmarked specifically for developing new weapons. Studies are, however, already underway (e.g. the research on new types of armour, considered below) and likely to be undertaken to assess the kind of nanotechnological systems which US forces may confront, or equip themselves with, in the future. Such weapons, at least in principle, could include WMD, either in terms of entirely new means of mass destruction, or nanotechnological enhancements to existing WMD.
The incentive for an adversary to pursue the military application of atomic engineering - either on a battlefield or on a massively destructive scale - may, ironically, be increased by the evident enthusiasm of the US military for the new possibilities. As with other advanced technologies, the defensive and offensive utility of nanotechnology is hard to distinguish; from an adversary's point of view, it may even be dangerous to try. Here, for instance, is a recent news story on 'nanoarmour' for US troops:
<<<<<<<<SNIP>>>>>>>>> (highly recommended, although it is a long article)
73. That's why the women in my family only use cosmetics that have guarantees that NO GMO, chemicals, or
any synthetics are used.
At this point I know of one company that does this. I think the products' manufacturer name is Dr. Hauschka, or something like that.
The woman who started the business says most of her products are grown using biodynamic farming methods. The ladies around here smell great, look great, and none of it is synthetic poison or nanotechnology.
There may be other companies that do this the right way.. I really don't know... I'm just relieved that there is one place that takes this seriously and only produces safe products with ingredients only found in nature.
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