|Health Hazards of GM Foods (22/2/2008)
NOTE: For more on Jeffrey Smith's books
Potential Health Hazards of Genetically Engineered Foods
This article discusses the potential health risks of genetically engineered foods (GMOs). It draws on some previously used material because its importance bears repeating. It also cites three notable books and highlights one in particular - Jeffrey Smith's 'Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods.' Detailed information from the book is featured below.
Genetically engineered foods saturate our diet today. In the US alone, over 80% of all processed foods contain them. Others include grains like rice, corn and wheat; legumes like soybeans and soy products; vegetable oils, soft drinks; salad dressings; vegetables and fruits; dairy products including eggs; meat, chicken, pork and other animal products; and even infant formula plus a vast array of hidden additives and ingredients in processed foods (like in tomato sauce, ice cream, margarine and peanut butter). Consumers don't know what they're eating because labeling is prohibited, yet the danger is clear. Independently conducted studies show the more of these foods we eat, the greater the potential harm to our health.
Today, consumers are kept in the dark and are part of an uncontrolled, unregulated mass human experiment the results of which are unknown. Yet, the risks are enormous, it will take years to learn them, and when we finally know it'll be too late to reverse the damage if it's proved conclusively that genetically engineered foods harm human health as growing numbers of independent experts believe. Once GM seeds are introduced to an area, the genie is out of the bottle for keeps. There is nothing known to science today to reverse the contamination already spread over two-thirds of arable US farmland and heading everywhere unless checked.
This is happening in spite of the risk because of what F. William Engdahl revealed in his powerfully important, well documented book titled 'Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation.' It's the diabolical story of how Washington and four Anglo-American agribusiness giants plan world domination by patenting animal and vegetable life forms to gain worldwide control of our food supply, make it all genetically engineered, and use it as a weapon to reward friends and punish enemies.
Today, consumers eat these foods daily without knowing the potential health risks. In 2003, Jeffrey Smith explained them in his book titled 'Seeds of Deception.' He revealed that efforts to inform the public have been quashed, reliable science has been buried, and consider what happened to two distinguished scientists - UC Berkeley's Ignacio Chapela and former Scotland Rowett Research Institute researcher and world's leading lectins and plant genetic modification expert, Arpad Pusztai. They were vilified, hounded, and threatened for their research, and in the case of Pusztai, fired from his job for doing it.
He believed in the promise of GM foods, was commissioned to study them, and conducted the first ever independent one on them anywhere. Like other researchers since, he was shocked by his findings. Rats fed GM potatoes had smaller livers, hearts, testicles and brains, damaged immune systems, and showed structural changes in their white blood cells making them more vulnerable to infection and disease compared to other rats fed non-GMO potatoes. It got worse. Thymus and spleen damage showed up; enlarged tissues, including the pancreas and intestines; and there were cases of liver atrophy as well as significant proliferation of stomach and intestines cells that could be a sign of greater future risk of cancer. Equally alarming, results showed up after 10 days of testing, and they persisted after 110 days that's the human equivalent of 10 years.
Later independent studies confirmed what Pusztai learned, and Smith published information on them in his 2007 book called 'Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods.' The book is encyclopedic in depth, an invaluable comprehensive source, and this article reviews some of the shocking data in it.
Compelling Evidence of Potential GMO Harm
In his introduction, Smith cites the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) policy statement on GM food safety without a shred of evidence to back it. It supported GHW Bush's Executive Order that GMOs are 'substantially equivalent' to ordinary seeds and crops and need no government regulation. The agency said it was 'not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.' That single statement meant no safety studies are needed and 'Ultimately, it is the food producer' that bears responsibility 'for assuring safety.' As a consequence, foxes now guard our henhouse in a brave new dangerous world.
FDA policy opened the floodgates, and Smith put it this way: It 'set the stage for the rapid deployment of the new technology,' allowed the seed industry to become 'consolidated, millions of acres (to be) planted, hundreds of millions to be fed (these foods in spite of nations and consumers objecting, and) laws to be passed (to assure it).' The toll today is contaminated crops, billions of dollars lost, human health harmed, and it turns out the FDA lied.
The agency knew GM crops are 'meaningfully different' because their technical experts told them so. As a result, they recommended long-term studies, including on humans, to test for possible allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems. Instead, politics trumped science, the White House ordered the FDA to promote GM crops, and a former Monsanto vice-president went to FDA to assure it.
Today, the industry is unregulated, and when companies say their foods are safe, their views are unquestioned. Further, Smith noted that policy makers in other countries trust FDA and wrongly assume their assessments are valid. They're disproved when independent studies are matched against industry-run ones. The differences are startling. The former report adverse affects while the latter claim the opposite. It's no secret why. Agribusiness giants allow nothing to interfere with profits, safety is off the table, and all negative information is quashed.
As a result, their studies are substandard, adverse findings are hidden, and they typically 'fail to investigate the impacts of GM food on gut function, liver function, kidney function, the immune system, endocrine system, blood composition, allergic response, effects on the unborn, the potential to cause cancer, or impacts on gut bacteria.' In addition, industry-funded studies creatively avoid finding problems or conceal any uncovered. They cook the books by using older instead of younger more sensitive animals, keep sample sizes too low for statistical significance, dilute