The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods Part 1 of 3
|By: Crusador Interviews Jeffrey SmithSource: www.healthtruthrevealed.comNovember 1, 2007|
CRUSADOR Interviews Best-Selling Author Jeffrey Smith
Jeffrey Smith is a leading spokesperson on the health dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). His globally respected research captured public attention in 2003 with his first book on the serious yet unknown side effects of genetically engineered foods, Seeds of Deception.
Recently, Smith introduced his latest book on the subject titled Genetic Roulette. According to Smith, when you eat genetically modified food you are gambling with every bite. In his power-packed new book, the biotech industry’s claim… that genetically modified (GM) foods are safe is shattered. Smith documents 65 health risks with GM foods that Americans eat every day. What you will discover will shock you, anger you, and hopefully, prompt you to take action as a consumer to put a stop to this reckless science that treats humans as guinea pigs.
Smith has counseled world leaders from every continent, influenced the first state laws regulating GMOs, and is now uniting leaders for The Campaign For Healthier Eating in America, a revolutionary industry and consumer movement to remove all GMOs from the natural food industry.
CRUSADOR editor Greg Ciola recently met with Jeffrey Smith in person at the conference of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine in Orlando, Florida to discuss his new book and some of the dangers with genetically modified foods.
Crusador: Jeffrey, it’s good to be with you. Why did you write your new book Genetic Roulette and what’s the difference between this one and your previous book, Seeds of Deception?
Well, Seeds of Deception is laid out in story format, and it relies on experiences of scientists who were threatened, fired, stripped of responsibilities, forced out, or bribed, research that was rigged, reporters who were muzzled or threatened, and regulatory agencies that were hijacked by the biotech industry. Woven into the stories was the science of genetically engineered foods and the health risks. The combination was a success. It became the world’s best-selling book on GMOs, translated into ten languages. But it was very hard to extract information from it as a reference because it was all imbedded in stories. That’s what led me to write Genetic Roulette.
I realized that what I wanted to do was to provide a book that easily and irrefutably won the argument that genetically engineered foods are not safe. My challenge was to design a book that could be read quickly by a busy politician, policy-maker, superintendent of schools, or CEO, and yet also have the in-depth information about the science so that their staffers or scientists can read it. Thus, it’s laid out so that you can scan it very quickly and get the whole picture at once or go in-depth and read the details.
There are 65 two-page spreads, each devoted to a different risk of genetically engineered foods. The left side is an executive summary with a conclusion, bullet points, and a quote from a scientist. The right side is detailed, referenced text. People can simply flip through and read just the left side and be overwhelmed at the thousands of sick, sterile, and dead animals, thousands of people linking toxic and allergic responses to genetically engineered products, and discover the reasons why genetically engineered foods are so unsafe. Or, they can dig deeper into the science and the faulty claims by the biotech companies presented on the right side.
Crusador: It’s interesting that your book came out when it did. I received an email several months ago from a supplier of genetically engineered seeds. He read one of the stories you wrote that was posted on our website. He was furious and basically said there’s no evidence of any harm with this technology, so quit trying to scare people or stop a proven technology. In your new book you cover some of the serious side effects that are occurring with this technology that shows clear evidence of harm in humans and animals. Can you discuss some of these problems?
There are two main types of genetically engineered crops. One produces its own pesticide and one is engineered not to die when sprayed with herbicide. If we look at the pesticide-producing crops, there’s overwhelming evidence that the pesticide that’s in every cell of the plant, in every bite that we eat – in Bt corn, for example – has an allergic and toxic response. It’s been traced to death in animals, sterility problems, mysterious illnesses in humans when they breathe in the Bt pollen, and allergic reactions in workers who handle Bt cotton. Even Monsanto’s own study showed dramatic indications of toxicity in rats that were fed their genetically engineered corn.
With the Roundup Ready soybeans, which are engineered not to die when sprayed with Roundup herbicide by Monsanto, there’s evidence of both allergenic and toxic reactions as well. Soon after GM soy was introduced to the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50%. We know from one study that there’s an allergenic protein that was found to be unique in the GM soy and not in non-GM soy, and at least one subject showed a skin prick response to the GM and not the non-GM soy. We also know a naturally-occurring allergen in soy was as much as sevenfold higher in cooked soy, in Monsanto’s own study, compared to non-GM soy.
We also see reproductive problems. Mice fed GM soy had changes in their testicles, which suggests possible problems in the sperm cells. The young embryo offspring of mice that were fed GM soy had changes in DNA expression compared to those whose parents were fed natural soy. With rats whose mothers were fed GM soy, 56% of the offspring died within three weeks compared to 9% of those whose mothers ate non-GM soy. After the study was completed, the rat food used by that laboratory began incorporating GM soy. Within two months of all the rats in the facility eating a GM soy diet, infant mortality skyrocketed to above 50%. This is the same GM soy that’s planted in 89% of the soy fields in the U.S.
Crusador: How is it that these products are allowed to be on the market with all of this evidence of harm?
Well, there are a couple of things. First of all, the biotech companies have hijacked the regulatory agencies. This was clear when thousands of documents were made public from a lawsuit in the 1990s showing that the scientists at the FDA had warned their superiors that GM foods might create allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems; and urged them to require long-term safety studies. But the person who was hired to be in charge of policy was Monsanto’s former attorney and later Monsanto’s vice president, and he overruled the warnings of the scientists. He created a policy in which the industry completely self-regulates and the FDA requires no safety studies whatsoever. This was because the White House had instructed the FDA to promote the biotechnology industry.
The second reason is that there is a very in-depth and effective public relations mechanism which spouts misinformation and disinformation constantly throughout the world. You hear complete distortions that GMOs are safe — and they’re not; that they’re appropriate to feed the world – and they’re not; that they improve yields – and on average they don’t; that they’re safe for the environment – which they’re not. You hear this over and over again and it’s not only among the general public, but also among politicians.
For example, Dan Glickman, former secretary of agriculture under Clinton said, “what I saw generically from the pro biotech side was the attitude that the technology was good and that it was almost immoral to say that it wasn’t good because it was going to solve the problems of the human race.”
Crusador: Let’s pick up his statement. It’s easy to prove that this technology is not going to solve the problems of the human race. This is a dangerous technology; they’re doing something with science that would never happen in nature on its own. You’re dealing with corporations that are really interested more, it appears to me, in hijacking the food supply and patenting all these products that people use on a daily basis in order to control the seeds, the food, and the farmers. It’s all about control, and they use this jargon about feeding the world and helping the environment as a tool of deception. Isn’t that true?
When Arthur Andersen Consulting Group asked Monsanto’s executives, years ago, to describe their ideal future, Monsanto described – in 15 to 20 years – a world in which 100% of all commercial seeds were genetically engineered and patented. Andersen Consulting created a plan to try and achieve that. Other companies have the same goal. The biotech industry bought up a huge percentage of the world’s seed supply. So the concept of control as you mentioned is accurate.
In addition, there are 1.4 billion farmers that save seeds each year and Monsanto and others want to create a terminator technology which causes the harvest to be sterile and un-plantable, forcing these farmers to have to go back to the biotech seed dealers for their seeds each year. So it’s an enormous control issue. There are also patent issues where a seed blows onto your field and grows in your field. If you happen to inadvertently replant it with your other seeds, you can get sued and pay fines and lose the rights to your own plants.
Crusador: That’s happening on a big scale, from what I understand. There are hundreds of lawsuits against farmers for that very issue; aren’t there?
As of a couple of years ago, there was about 190 lawsuits already filed and many more settlements, and Monsanto already gained $15 million from farmers that they had threatened, many of which say they had never done the things that Monsanto claimed that they had done.
Crusador: You stated that the FDA essentially turned over the regulation of this technology to the biotech companies themselves. What kind of safety studies have they done to validate, or prove to the world, that this technology is entirely safe for humans to ingest?
There have been very few safety studies, and the ones conducted by industry are clearly rigged to avoid finding problems. They use small sample sizes, short duration; mature animals instead of the young, sensitive ones. They use bogus control groups. They use insensitive or obsolete detection methods, poor statistical analysis, and poor reporting. They have got bad science down to a science.
In Part 3 of my book Genetic Roulette, I go into detail about how industry-funded research is rigged. It shows clearly that they’re not interested in proper science. They’re interested in producing a pre-determined conclusion of safety. However, when they get something approved, they don’t use peer-reviewed studies – they use their lousy science and typically keep it secret, hidden from the public, claiming that disclosure would be confidential business information.
Well, two industry studies have been made public from lawsuits. One, for the Flavr Savr tomato, which is no longer on the market, showed that 7 of 20 rats developed stomach lesions. Another 7 of 40 died within two weeks of eating the tomato. Another study revealed that rats fed Monsanto’s pestidice creating “Bt” corn showed toxic and other reactions.
There are only about two dozen peer-reviewed, published animal feeding safety studies on GMOs. There are GM foods introduced to the market without ever being tested properly on animals or even fed to humans before-they don’t actually do clinical feeding trials. The only human feeding study ever conducted and published showed that the genes that were inserted into soybeans to cause them to be herbicide tolerant transferred into human gut bacteria and was integrated stably into the DNA. This means that long after you stop eating a genetically engineered food, your own gut bacteria may be producing these foreign proteins, including the possibility of producing the Bt toxin – a pesticide. This means that eating a GM corn chip could theoretically turn your intestinal flora into living pesticide factories, possibly for the long-term.
In general, the FDA allowed the products to be on the market without this type of testing because it was declared that it was “generally recognized as safe.” According to many attorneys, this declaration was illegal, nonetheless, the U.S. set the precedent for the world, creating a myth that the foods were equivalent and did not need to be substantially tested. What we see now from mounting evidence is that they’re quite dangerous, that there is an enormous number of ways that unpredicted side effects can and do occur, and that they may be responsible for many of the worsening health statistics in the United States over the last ten years.