The Problem With GMOs
As gardeners and farmers we have a special role in relation to GMOs. Wil we grow them for our crops? Do we want to feed them to our family? I've put this page together as a starting point for those who want to learn more about GMOs and the problems they cause.
Everything about GMOs is problematic and contrary to the natural world that God has created.
“A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms.” Institute for Responsible Technology http://responsibletechnology.org/gmo-education/
Scientists use several methods to accomplish genetic engineering. This science is fairly new and the full effects of it are only beginning to come to light. The Institute for responsible technology list several techniques that scientists use to genetically modify organisms:
- Using viruses or bacteria to “infect” animal or plant cells with the new DNA.
- Coating DNA onto tiny metal pellets, and firing it with a special gun into the cells.
- Injecting the new DNA into fertilized eggs with a very fine needle.
- Using electric shocks to create holes in the membrane covering sperm, and then forcing the new DNA into the sperm through these holes.
The most widely used commercial GMOs have been genetically engineered so they can withstand the onslaught of chemical herbicides they are sprayed with, or to produce their own insecticide. The biotech industry has made many claims and promises, but the fact remains that out of all the GMOs on the market, none of them have proven to increase yield, offer drought tolerance, or more nutritional value. There are no consumer benefits.
It has been found that chemicals like glysophate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Round-up, and the most common herbicide, actually build up in our bodies, even breast milk. In an effort to bring about a full-fledged study and scientific review of the accumulation of glysophate in the body, Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse, commissioned testing on breast milk and urine samples.
“The levels found in the breast milk testing of 76 ug/l to 166 ug/l are 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides (Glyphosate is both a pesticide and herbicide). They are however less than the 700 ug/l maximum contaminant level (MCL) for glyphosate in the U.S., which was decided upon by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on the now seemingly false premise that glyphosate was not bio-accumulative.
Glyphosate-containing herbicides are the top-selling herbicides in the world and are sold under trademarks such as Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’. Monsanto’s sales of Roundup jumped 73 percent to $371 million in 2013 because of its increasing use on genetically engineered crops (GE Crops).” Moms Across America, http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/glyphosate_testing_results
Earth Open Source Research Director Claire Robinson stated:
“Regulators and industry always say it is the dose that makes the poison, and even the increasing levels of glyphosate currently found in food and feed and the environment are not a problem. However, that argument only holds true if glyphosate doesn’t build up in the human body and is excreted as fast as we take it in. These breast milk results suggest glyphosate may bio-accumulate. That means that our body tissues might be exposed to higher levels than the so-called safe levels set by regulators. So the regulations are not protecting us.”
It is nearly impossible to trust the regulatory agencies when they are headed by former Monsanto employees. Michael Taylor, former lawyer for Monsanto is the Food Safety Czar for the FDA. He has had quite the career moving back and forth between Monsanto and U.S government agencies:
1976 to 1980 – Staff attorney for the FDA and executive assistant to the FDA commissioner.
1981 to 1991 –Worked for the private law firm King & Spalding, one client was Monsanto. It was during this time that he established and led King and Spalding’s food and drug law practice. During this time he also wrote the article "The De Minimis Interpretation of the Delaney Clause: Legal and Policy Rationale" in the Journal of the American College of Toxicology. In this article he argued to allow known carcinogen in food as long as they are under 1ppm.
1991 to 1994 –US Food and Drug Administration
1994 to 1996 –Untied States Department of Agriculture
1996 to 2000 –Worked for Monsanto as Vice President for Public Policy
2000 to 2009 –Center for Risk Management. Here he worked to change policy on food regulations.
2009 to present –FDA as the Food Safety Czar, Deputy Commissioner for Foods
Is this the only former Monsanto employee working for a government agency? And what about Du-pont, Syngenta, Bayer and the other GMO developing chemical companies? How many people do they have planted in influential positions and government agencies? If GMOs are safe then why is it necessary for all this coercion?
It has been found, that since GMOs have been introduced there has been a significant rise in food allergies and other major health problems. This is no surprise when you look at the following examples from Jeffery M. Smith, founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology.
“GM corn and cotton are engineered to produce their own built-in pesticide in every cell. When bugs bite the plant, the poison splits open their stomach and kills them. Biotech companies claim that the pesticide, called Bt—produced from soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis—has a history of safe use, since organic farmers and others use Bt bacteria spray for natural insect control. Genetic engineers insert Bt genes into corn and cotton, so the plants do the killing. The Bt-toxin produced in GM plants, however, is thousands of times more concentrated than natural Bt spray, is designed to be more toxic, has properties of an allergen, and unlike the spray, cannot be washed off the plant.
Moreover, studies confirm that even the less toxic natural bacterial spray is harmful. When dispersed by plane to kill gypsy moths in the Pacific Northwest, about 500 people reported allergy or flu-like symptoms.”
Find the rest of his article at http://responsibletechnology.org/doctrs-warn/ as well as many other great articles and information on GMOs.
The Center for food Safety lists multiple “unexpected effects” and “health risks posed by genetic engineering” including: toxicity, allergic reactions, immuno-suppression, Cancer, and loss of Nutrition. Stating that:
“Genetically engineered foods are different from other foods. Genetic engineering allows, for the first time, foreign genes, bacterial and viral vectors, viral promoters and antibiotic marker systems to be engineered into food. These genetic “cassettes” are new to the human diet and should be subject to extensive safety testing. Instead, in 1992 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ruled, without any scientific basis, that genetically engineered foods present no different risks than traditional foods. FDA’s own scientists ridiculed this unscientific agency view of genetic engineering. “What happened to the scientific elements in [the] document?,” one asked. FDA scientists consistently stated that “[t]here is a profound difference between the types of unexpected effects from traditional breeding and genetic engineering. ... [T]his difference should be and is not addressed.””
Truly the worst finding of all, GMOs can live and reproduce inside of us. Jeffery M. Smith explains this in his article as well.
“The only published human feeding study revealed what may be the most dangerous problem from GM foods. The gene inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function. This means that long after we stop eating GMOs, we may still have potentially harmful GM proteins produced continuously inside of us. Put more plainly, eating a corn chip produced from Bt corn might transform our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories, possibly for the rest of our lives.”
The vast majority in America want GMOs to be labeled. It is hard to compete with Monsanto’s lobbyist and money. Multiple states have tried to get GMO labeling laws on the books but every time Monsanto comes in with a massive counter campaign to mislead the people and beat the effort to label GMOs in food. After this occurred in several states, they took their effort to congress.“;
In 2014, Vermont became the first state to require mandatory GMO labeling. Connecticut and Maine have also passed GMO labeling laws that will go into effect once neighboring states pass similar laws and other states are currently looking to pass GMO labeling legislation.
In response to these state efforts, Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) introduced federal legislation developed by food companies that we in the consumer rights community have dubbed the “Deny Americans the Right-to-Know” Act (DARK Act). This anti-GMO labeling bill passed the House of Representatives in 2015 and Senator Roberts introduced similar legislation in 2016 that was DEFEATED on March 16th. This is not the end of the fight and we need to continue pressing for mandatory GMO labeling on the package. Senate Republicans will continue to push their agenda of a voluntary standard and we need to keep the pressure on our elected officials that more than 90% of Americans support mandatory GMO labeling, not voluntary.” http://www.justlabelit.org/dark-act/
Out of all countries Americas is very much behind in this matter.
“Currently, 64 countries around the world require labeling of genetically modified foods. Unlike most other developed countries – such as 28 nations in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and even China – the U.S. has no laws requiring labeling of genetically modified foods.” http://www.justlabelit.org/right-to-know-center/labeling-around-the-world/
A federally mandated law to label GMOs may seem like the best option upon first glance but may not be the case. Remember Michael Taylor, Food safety Czar and Monsanto aficionado- he would be the one in charge of this new regulation. Not the person anybody should trust to tell them if anything is GMO free. Perhaps this would be better handled at a state level. Multiple state are working on this. It is important to share with the people around you about the devastating effects of GMOs so they can make better decisions when shopping and on legislation. The most effective way to provoke companies to change is to stop buying products with GMOs in them. Educate yourself and encourage others to do so as well.
The question must be asked, who are the giant chemical/agribusinesses looking out for? You? Me? Farmers? NO. They are looking out for themselves. Increased profit and control of the food supply by placing patents on their GMOs. There is no argument for putting patents on any form of life. It is wrong and that is it. Many scientist are speaking out against this, including Plant Biologist Jonathan R. Latham, PhD:
“Science is not the only grounds on which GMOs should be judged. The commercial purpose of GMOs is not to feed the world or improve farming. Rather, they exist to gain intellectual property (i.e. patent rights) over seeds and plant breeding and to drive agriculture in directions that benefit agribusiness. This drive is occurring at the expense of farmers, consumers and the natural world. US Farmers, for example, have seen seed costs nearly quadruple and seed choices greatly narrow since the introduction of GMOs. The fight over GMOs is not of narrow importance. It affects us all.” - See more at: http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/phd-plant-biologist-speaks-out-against-gmos/#sthash.Z6dOxHC1.dpuf
The more GMOs are developed, and the longer they are out there reproducing, the harder it is going to be to reign them in. As it is right now, it will take generations to get them out of the system. There has to be a serious effort made by all consumers to put a stop to all GMOs and take back the control of what we eat and feed our children.