By: Kenneth G. Eade
The score in the war against genetically engineered foods is currently Big Industrial Chemical Companies 100- consumers zero. Counting small victories such as the defeat of the Monsanto Protection Act and the Vermont labeling law (currently in litigation) the public has not done so well in protecting themselves from the genetically engineered foods that were snuck onto their tables without their knowledge or permission and with no safety testing. Now the "GMOs are safe" agenda is being touted in children's schools.
I read with outrage a report in the Inquisitr, which can be read here that science school books provided to children in public schools are teaching children that GMOs produce more food, have more nutrients, fight disease and insects, and need fewer chemical pesticides; all of which claims have been disproven time and time again. The book, noticed by a vigilant parent of a sixth grader in Missouri, Monsanto's home state, is called Science: A Closer Look, published by Mc Graw Hill.
Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, DuPont and the other biotech giants have made genetically modified foods into a multi-billion dollar industry, making bold, unsupported claims that they will solve world malnutrition and increase crop yields. In reality, these genetically engineered seeds are made by the same companies who make pesticides and fertilizer, and who are now coming close to controlling the world's food supply, with the help of governments; especially the U.S. government. Here are some of their unsupported claims:
GMOs will end world hunger -- LIE!
GMO crops have been conclusively proven to be irrelevant in the feeding of the worlds' hungry, according to a statement signed by 24 delegates from 18 African countries to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. An I-Stat report, sponsored by the United Nations and the World Health Organization, authored by more than 400 scientists and signed on by 58 countries, concluded that genetically modified foods produce no greater yields and can have no possible contribution to end world hunger.
They do not produce greater yields, according to a comprehensive 2009 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, which demonstrated that GMO soybean and corn produced no increase in intrinsic yield over conventional soybean and corn. And a 2008 study demonstrated that organic farming methods with little or no chemical fertilizer and pesticide use was able to increase crop yields by 116%. GMO crops are mostly engineered to contain their own pesticides or to be resistant to herbicides, or both. None of this translates to the end to world hunger and, even if they did produce higher yields, this would not impact world hunger at all, because the world already produces enough food to feed the world's population. World hunger is a socio-political and economic problem that GMOs will not solve. After all, they are not going to give them away, are they?
GMOs will reduce pesticide use -- LIE!
Actually, GMOs are still treated with pesticides. The most popular GMO products are created by Monsanto called, "Roundup Ready" plants. These products are genetically engineered to not be killed by Roundup (glyphosate) so farmers can merely spray it on the plants, and it will kill all the weeds, but not the plants. Once sprayed on the plants, the Roundup enters the plants and is consumed by humans or animals who consume product, which causes the above-referenced long term health problems. Moreover, a 2012 study concluded that the rise of glyphosate-resistant "super weeds" has actually increased pesticide use in the last 15 years. The study estimated that if new strains of GMO corn and soybeans are approved for commercial use, herbicide use could increase by 50%.
Since chemical companies invented genetically engineered seeds designed to withstand heavy sprayings of glyphosate, global use of Roundup and related weed killers has jumped to nearly 900 million pounds annually. That is due to the fact that, since the crops are engineered to be resistant to Roundup, it can be sprayed on the entire field, not just on the weeds, making it much easier for farmers to manage weed kills. Glyphosate is a systemic chemical, meaning once sprayed, it travels up inside of the plants that people and animals eat and they consume the glyphosate as well as the nutrients in the plants. As more farm fields have converted to GMO crops, federal regulators at the EPA (and former employees of Monsanto) have quietly allowed an increase in the levels of glyphosate allowed in our food, something from which we should see tragic long term consequences.
GMOs are safe to eat- LIE!
The FDA does not test the safety of GMO crops. Instead, all GMO foods are assumed to be safe unless there is already evidence to the contrary. The FDA relies on self-reported data from the companies that manufacture the crops as to their safety. Moreover, due to legal and copyright restrictions surrounding GMO patents, independent scientists must ask for the chemical companies' permission before publishing research on their products. As a result, almost all of the long-term animal feeding studies that have ever been conducted on GMO feed have been carried out by the biotech companies themselves, with their own rules and using their own standards of reporting. What few independent studies have been conducted have shown a range of adverse health effects from reduced fertility to immune system dysfunction, liver failure, obesity and cancer.
All of Monsanto's Roundup Ready crops are known to be laced with glyphosate, which causes the destruction of beneficial microfloral bacteria necessary to digestion, and results in conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
Virtually all of the genetically engineered (GMO) Bt corn grown in the U.S. is treated with neonicotinoid pesticides. A 2012 study found high levels of clothianidin in pneumatic planter exhaust. In the study, it was found that the insecticide was present in the soil of unplanted fields nearby those planted with Bt corn and also on dandelions (a favorite of bees) growing near those fields. Once in the soil, the pesticide remains for many years, and is absorbed by any new plant life.
The Bt toxin essentially pokes "holes" in the cells of insects' stomachs, killing them, and has been found to poke holes in human cells as well. In one study, it was found in the blood of 93% of pregnant women tested, and in the blood of 80% of their unborn fetuses, which gets into the brains of the fetuses, due to the fact that there is no blood-brain barrier at that stage of development.
Peer reviewed studies are rare in the case of GMOs, as the only ones who have the desire or the budget to perform them are the same chemical companies which fund most of the scientific research. However, the few independent studies that have been done all point to the danger of GMOs.
Specificity of the association of GMO foods and specific disease processes is also supported. Multiple animal studies show significant immune dysregulation, including upregulation of cytokines associated with asthma, allergy, and inflammation. Animal studies also show altered structure and function of the liver, including altered lipid and carbohydrate metabolism as well as cellular changes that could lead to accelerated aging. Changes in the kidney, pancreas and spleen have also been documented.
A 2008 study links Bt corn with infertility, showing a significant decrease in offspring over time and significantly lower litter weight in mice fed Bt corn. American pig farmers have reported infertility and false pregnancies in their livestock after feeding them Bt corn. The study also found that over 400 genes were found to be expressed differently in mice fed Bt corn. These are genes known to control protein synthesis and modification, cell signaling, cholesterol synthesis, and insulin regulation. Studies also show intestinal damage in animals fed GMO foods, including proliferative cell growth and disruption of the intestinal immune system.
Because of this mounting data, it is biologically plausible for genetically modified foods to cause adverse health effects in humans. In spite of this risk, the biotech industry claims that GMO foods can feed the world through production of higher crop yields. However, a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists reviewed 12 academic studies and indicates otherwise: "The several thousand field trials over the last 20 years for genes aimed at increasing operational or intrinsic yield (of crops) indicate a significant undertaking. Yet none of these field trials have resulted in increased yield in commercialized major food/feed crops, with the exception of Bt corn." However, it was further stated that the increase in yields was largely due to traditional breeding improvements.
Therefore, because GMO foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health and are without any of their claimed benefits, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) believes that it is imperative to adopt the precautionary principle, which is one of the main regulatory tools of the European Union environmental and health policy and serves as a foundation for several international agreements. The most commonly used definition is from the 1992 Rio Declaration that states: "In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation."
GMO technology is the same as conventional breeding techniques -- LIE!
The chemical industry argues that there is no difference between conventional breeding techniques and genetic engineering except for the time frame involved. What used to take years and years can now be accomplished in a laboratory in a short time, they say. This is not true. Conventional breeding takes one strain of a certain crop, such as corn, and breeds it with another strain of that same crop. Genetic engineering takes genetic material from one species, such as a bacteria or an animal, and forces it into the genetic material of a crop, such as corn or cotton. This can be done by a variety of techniques, such as the use of gene guns to fire the genetic material into the cell of the target organism, a process that leads to random and unintended genetic mutations.
There is no need to label GMOs -- LIE!
The argument for why companies should not have to label GMOs is ridiculous. They simply think the public should not know what they are eating because it would "scare them." On the other hand, there are people who think that all foods should list what they are composed of, such as has been long required by law in food labeling.
There is an excellent short video by the Corbett Report exposing the myths of GMOs that can be found at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptDd9ftNaq8. But the best responses that have been made in response to the GMO arguments were made by 14 year old activist, Rachel Parent, who challenged a GMO proponent on his own show and destroyed him as well as all the arguments. You can see the video at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIXER_yZUBg
Rachel has formed a group called "Kid's Right to Know," at www.kidsrightotknow.com which does a better job of educating children on what GMOs are and their potential health risks than the propaganda now being spread in our public schools. Parents should object to GMO propaganda being spouted in their kid's schools and, instead, turn to reliable resources like Rachel's for information.
Kenneth Eade (www.kennetheade.com) is the best-selling author of "Bless the Bees: The Pending Extinction of our Pollinators and What You Can Do to Stop It," and the children's counterpart, "A, Bee, See: Who are our Pollinators and Why are they in Trouble," as well as the first GMO Thriller, "An Involuntary Spy.
Originally Published: OpEdNews