Just when you think you’ve had enough with three-letter acronyms, I’m about to throw another one at you — GMO (genetically modified organism). In simple terms, GMOs are basically experimental plants or animals that have been genetically engineered in a laboratory with DNA from other plants, animals, bacteria and viruses. The seeds of GMO crops are bred to be resistant to a powerful herbicide called Roundup Ready, so when the chemical is sprayed on the plant, it will kill any pest that is threatening to harm the plant without killing the plant itself. GMO foods are touted as being able to produce bigger yielding crops that are more disease resistant, thus ensuring that the ever-increasing population of the world will have an adequate food supply. Sounds like a noble cause, right? Unfortunately, the GMO “experiment” has turned out to be nothing but a way for huge corporations to make billions of dollars at the expense of the environment, the human population and the food chain itself. So why are more and more GMO foods being pushed through the FDA, even though there are many studies that have linked them to cancer and infertility and numerous other health problems? You have to take a look back at history to find out why.
In the early 1970s scientists were getting into the game of genetic engineering. It was a very new and uncharted territory. Experiments were conducted in sealed laboratories for safety concerns. The citizens of Cambridge, Massachusetts (home to MIT and Harvard) even forbade these laboratories within their city limits. Extra care was taken because no one knew for sure what the outcome of these “experiments” would be and how they would affect the human population.
By the late 1970s and early 1980s, the concerns about genetic engineering and its implications had all but disappeared. Where there was once trepidation and caution regarding genetic engineering, there was now enthusiasm about the wonders of this new biotechnology. Why the sudden change? In 1976, virologists at the NIH (National Institutes of Health) were asked to study the danger of gene splicing in relation to bacteria and microbes. Here’s the short version of that study:
“They were to snip out from a virus a gene that causes tumors when the virus infects mice. They were to paste that gene into bacteria and then see whether the bacteria could cause tumors in other animals. If so, it would not only be evidence that some kinds of gene-splicing might turn cancer into a communicable disease, it would also be evidence that genes unleashed into microbes could spread beyond anyone’s recall.”
The committee debated what kind of bacteria to use in the test. Scientifically the answer was obvious; you seek out the worst case. You use bacteria likely to thrive and infect the test animals. But the virologists had more than science in mind. They worried about politics, about public controversy, about their own work being regulated. So they chose to use weakened bacteria that were unlikely to do harm.
In short, they fudged the test. Here are some of the things they said, recorded in the transcript of the meeting. “By using known pathogens, it seems to me we go politically in the wrong direction even though scientifically it does make more sense.” “If we want to get these experiments done so we can go about our work quickly, maybe one shouldn’t introduce problems of this level.” “It’s molecular politics, not molecular biology, and I think we have to consider both, because a lot of science is at stake.”
They wanted “a slick New York Times kind of experiment.” But even the weakened bacteria they ended up using did infect some test animals with tumors. That result, says Wright, “had the NIH campus buzzing at the time.” –How It Happened That We Don’t Regulate Biotech, by Donella Meadows, Tide Pool, August 18, 2000.
Even with the scientific evidence proving the link that genetically engineering viruses and bacteria did cause tumors in rats, the results of the study were never published. Instead, the NIH went on record and stated that “this form of research” was perfectly safe. Case closed. Genetic engineering could now be unleashed on an unsuspecting public by corporations with very few limitations on its use. (For more indepth reading on this subject, Click Here.)
Does this sound familiar? The vaccine industry essentially does the same thing when testing vaccines on the general population. They only recruit healthy volunteers for their studies in order to minimize the side effects experienced and, subsequently, reported. Then these vaccines are marketed to the most vulnerable people in the population without truly having been studied on this segment of the populace.
Unfortunately, the 1976 and 1979 NIH studies, along with deregulation laws that were passed by bought-off legislators, allowed the floodgates to open and during the 1980s and 1990s, GMOs were allowed to infiltrate the food supply to a massive degree. Chemical companies that created DDT and Agent Orange aggressively marketed aspartame and bovine growth hormone and were now gaining a stronger foothold over our food supply.
In 1992, U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle announced that GMO foods would not be “hampered by unnecessary regulation,” which allowed Monsanto to alleviate the burden of independent testing or labeling of GMO foods for the American public. This guy can’t even spell potato and he thought himself an authority on genetic engineering!
The official position of the FDA became this: “The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way, or that, as a class, foods developed by the new techniques present any different or greater safety concern than foods developed by traditional plant breeding.” Basically, the FDA was stating that they would ignore all independent research about the health hazards of GMOs and only choose to believe the fake and fraudulent studies done only by a government-run entity.
Then in 2007, it was reported that more than 185,000,000 lbs. of Roundup were applied to U.S. crops. News stories about the environmental impact of such a massive amount of pesticides being used started to get out. People started asking questions and demanding answers as to why so much poison was being allowed onto our food every year. What did George Bush do to combat this negative press? He halted reporting of the herbicide’s application rates. If it’s not reported then there’s no problem, right?
The results of deregulation of GMOs and fraudulent studies have left us with this:
– In 2010, more than 365 million acres were planted worldwide with genetically engineered (GMO) seeds.
– The U.S. leads the world with more than 165 million acres of GMO crops, mostly Roundup Ready® crops.
– Monsanto owns patents on the genes of more than 93% of soybeans, 80% of corn, and 95% of sugar beets planted in the U.S. — all genetically modified to be resistant to the weed killer Roundup.
ARE GMOs REALLY THAT BAD?
In one word, Yes.
A growing body of scientific evidence has shown that the overuse of Roundup and Glyphosate has created severe micronutrient deficiencies in the soil. This is leading to micronutrient-deficient fruits and vegetables. The apple your grandmother ate when she was a child was far superior nutrient-wise to the apples of today.
Nutritional deficiencies in the Roundup Ready GMO corn and soybean feed, have been associated with a sharp rise in animal infertility. If animals that are eating GMO corn are experiencing infertility, what does that say about humans who are doing the same?
On January 17, 2011 internationally recognized plant pathologist Dr. Don Huber, wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack warning of the discovery of a new pathogen, and a possible link between Roundup Ready® (GMO) corn and soybeans and severe reproductive problems in livestock, as well as widespread crop failure. Here is a link to the full text of his letter to the USDA and a cover letter he sent to the EU and UK commissions.
Glyphosate, the main component in Roundup Ready, is even contributing to escalating rates of mental illness and obesity through the depletion of beneficial gut flora that directly regulate these functions.
In a study just reported on this past September, rats were fed a diet of GMO corn. Consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused these rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death.
Monsanto continues to make the claim that their Roundup products are completely safe for both animals and humans. However, many environmentalists, scientists , activists, and even doctors say otherwise. Glyphosate radically affects the metabolism of plants in a negative way. It is a systemic poison preventing the formation of essential amino acids, leading to weakened plants which ultimately die from it.
The impact on the environment is becoming just as dire. Butterflies and bee colonies are disappearing at an alarming rate. Both of these species are essential to pollinate crops. Many fear their dwindling numbers are due to enormous pesticide exposure.
President Obama has been just as lax when it comes to GMO food safety and labeling. Back in 2007, candidate Obama declared that foods that include ingredients from genetically modified crops should be labeled. As president, he vowed he would strive to “let folks know when their food is genetically modified, because Americans have a right to know what they’re buying.” He has not lived up to this promise. Under his administration, the USDA has been green-lighting GMO crops left and right, all the while knowing that these crops are harmful to the environment and human health. He has appointed former Monsanto lobbyists to key positions in his administration. His official stance on all things GMO has been to uphold the FDA’s position, stated way back in 1992, that the agency is “not aware” of information suggesting a difference between GMO food versus non-GMO food. That was in 1992, 20 years ago! He has decided to ignore new definitive studies about the dangers of GMOs in favor of campaign contributions. Powerful lobbying efforts have indeed worked by these huge corporations regarding GMOs. Monsanto has spent millions of dollars on lobbying to make sure they get the legislation they need passed.
In contrast to her husband, Michelle Obama has championed the whole foods movement and has spoken extensively on the importance of children eating fresh fruits and vegetables and getting adequate exercise. She even has an organic garden right at the White House! There are garden tours available for school children to come to the White House to learn about gardening and where their food comes from. When questioned about why the lack of pesticides and chemical use, she stated she didn’t think it was a good idea for children to be exposed to chemicals while playing in the dirt. I think she needs to be pushing her agenda a little harder so her husband can get on the same page!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Support labeling of GMOs in your state. Some states now have passed or are in the process of voting on legislation that would require products to be labeled as containing GMOs. Click Here to see where your state is regarding GMO legislation.
Buy organic produce from your local farmers. Get to know them. Talk to them about the practices they use to produce their food. You can usually find them at farmers’ markets all across the country. By supporting them, you are giving them money to operate their farms that they so desperately need. We need to support them wholeheartedly.
Boycott companies and products that use GMOs. This can be really hard since GMO corn seems to be in everything. Do what you can. Once these business start to lose money, they may just be persuaded to change their ways and use non-GMO ingredients. Support companies that use non-GMO foods.
VOTE! The only way to effect real change is to vote the worst offenders out of office. Call your local politicians and inform them they won’t be getting your vote if they continue to take millions of dollars from lobbyists and ignore the health warnings of GMO foods.
TMR will be presenting an informative eConference on GMOs, Organics, and Food Allergies: How To Feed Your Family Without Losing Your Mind on October 7, 2014.
This conference will feature six dynamic and internationally renowned experts in the areas of nutrition, children’s health and the science of food to empower us with education so we can make great food choices for our families. Not only will this conference tackle the issues of what to avoid, covering the topics of GMOs and RoundUp in our food, but we will also go in depth to the sources of the explosion in children’s food allergies and what happens to children’s growth and development when they eat food they can’t digest. Getting down to brass tacks, we offer a live cooking demonstration and some reality-based logistics on budget and time when cooking for special diets. This eConference will be packed with science based nutrition information to help you feel confident and calm about nurturing the people you love with food.
Click HERE for registration information.