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GMO Food Health Disaster

by: Jeffrey M. Smith

Eating Genetically Modified (GM) Foods may cause disease

GMO Foods may be one of the greatest health disaster in the American diet. Within 9 years of their introduction in 1996, multiple chronic illnesses jumped from 7 percent to 13 percent of the population,[1] food allergies doubled in less time, and many other ailments have been on the rise.

Millions may already be suffering health problems caused by genetically modified organisms (GMO's) in their diet. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has urged doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients, and cites animal studies that show how GMO's cause disorders such as vital organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system problems, accelerated aging, infertility, and dysfunctional regulation of insulin and cholesterol.

GMO's might cause infertility or hurt newborns

When GM soy flour was added to the diets of female rats, most of their babies died within three weeks—compared to only a 10 percent death rate among mothers fed natural soy.[2] The GM-fed offspring were smaller, and later had problems getting pregnant.[3]

When male rats were fed GM soy, their testicles changed from the normal pink color to dark blue.[4] Mice testicles also showed changes, including damaged young sperm cells.[5]

Baby rats from moms that ate GM soy were smaller than those fed natural soy. More than half the GM soy group died within three weeks. Irina Ermakova, 2005-2007.

The DNA in mice embryos functioned differently when their parents ate GM soy.[6] And an Austrian government study reported that mice fed GM corn had fewer and smaller babies.[7]

About two dozen US farmers say that thousands of their pigs became sterile after consuming certain GM corn varieties. Some had false pregnancies, others gave birth to bags of water.

Cows and bulls also became infertile when fed the same corn.[8] Investigators in the state of Haryana, India, report that most buffalo that ate GM cottonseed had reproductive complications such as premature deliveries, abortions, infertility, and prolapsed uteruses. Many calves died.[9]

GM corn contains a toxic pesticide in every bite

Some GM varieties produce poison—their DNA creates an insect killing “Bt-toxin” in every cell. Monsanto and others claim that the toxin is safe for humans and mammals because the gene that produces it comes from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis.

Farmers have long used these natural bacteria as a pesticidal spray. But when the spray was widely dispersed to fight gypsy moths in Washington and Vancouver, about 500 people reported allergic and flu-like symptoms.[10]

Close-up of testicles: Rats fed Non-GM Soy vs GM Soy.

Genetic engineers insert the bacteria’s toxin-creating gene into corn and cotton plants, which produce a more toxic poison. It’s thousands of times more concentrated than the spray and cannot be washed off.

Now, thousands of Indian farm laborers who are exposed to Monsanto’s Bt cotton plants are suffering from the same symptoms as those in the Pacific Northwest.[11]

In addition, thousands of sheep, goats, and buffalo have died after grazing on Bt cotton plants.[12] Countless other livestock have suffered reproductive disorders, skin disruptions, and upper respiratory ailments.

In one small feeding study, all the sheep that consumed Bt plants died within a month. Those that ate natural plants remained healthy.[13]

Bt corn is also linked to animal deaths in Germany[14] and The Philippines,[15] and according to an Italian government study, evokes serious immune responses in mice.[16] Even Monsanto’s 90-day rat feeding studies with Bt corn showed vital organ damage and signs of toxicity.[17]

GMO's might cause allergies

Soon after GM soy was introduced to the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50 percent.[18] There are many reasons why people may be more reactive to GMO's.

bulletGM soy, corn, and papaya fail the allergy screening protocol recommended by the World Health Organization; their GM proteins have properties of known allergens.[19]
bulletThe widespread collateral damage resulting from the process of creating GMO's can introduce new allergens or elevate existing ones. GM corn contains a new unintended allergen[20] and GM soy has up to seven times more of the soy allergen trypsin inhibitor.[21]
bulletPreliminary allergy tests confirm that some people have skin prick reactions to GM soy, but not to a wild natural variety.[22]
bulletConsuming GMO's may also provoke allergies to other foods.
bulletMice not only reacted to Bt-toxin[23] and an experimental GM pea,[24] they then started reacting to other foods that previously had no impact.
bulletGM soy drastically reduces digestive enzymes in mice.[25] If your digestive ability is also impaired, you could become allergic to many types of food.

GMO's have higher residues of poisonous herbicide

The primary reason crops are engineered is to allow them to drink poison. They’re called herbicide tolerant, and are inserted with bacterial genes that allow them to survive otherwise deadly doses of toxic herbicide.

Biotech companies sell the seed and herbicide as a package. Monsanto sells Roundup Ready crops and Roundup herbicide. Bayer CropScience sells Liberty Link crops and Liberty herbicide.

Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on these poison drinking GMO's.[26]

Because weeds are becoming resistant to the overused herbicide, farmers are spraying considerably more each year. The last 2 years of the 13-year study alone accounted for 46 percent of the increased herbicide use.

GM genes can convert your intestinal bacteria into living factories that continuously produce pesticides or other harmful products

The ONLY published GMO human feeding study (that’s right, there’s only one) confirmed that genes transfer from GM soybeans into the DNA of bacteria living inside our small intestines and continue to function.[27]

Human subjects that ate Roundup Ready soybeans ended up with “Roundup Ready gut bacteria”—unkillable with Roundup. If the pesticide-producing Bt gene in corn chips were also to transfer, it could turn your intestinal flora into living pesticide factories—possibly for the long term.

GMO's are approved without adequate safety studies

n 1992, the Food and Drug Administration claimed they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different from conventionally grown foods. Therefore absolutely no safety studies were required.

But secret internal memos made public by a lawsuit show that the actual consensus among FDA scientists was that GMO's can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies.

Sadly, the FDA official in charge of policy ignored the warnings. He was Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney and later their vice president.

Because of him, the same biotech companies who have been found guilty of hiding toxic effects of their chemical products are now in charge of determining whether their GM foods are safe. A close look at their so-called GMO safety studies shows how they rig research to avoid problems. They’ve got bad science down to a science.

Tragically, Michael Taylor, who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death in human history, is now back at the FDA as the US Food Safety Czar.

GMO's cause irreversible genetic pollution

GMO's cross pollinate and spread into the environment. A total recall is impossible.

The self-propagating genetic pollution already released will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste.

GMO's work against feeding a hungry world

The most authoritative evaluation of agriculture, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development,[28] determined that the current GMO's have nothing to offer the goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitating social and environmental sustainability.

The report was a three-year collaborative effort with 900 participants and 110 countries, and was co-sponsored by all the majors, e.g. the World Bank, FAO, UNESCO, WHO. In reality, GMO's reduce yield,[29] increase farmers’ dependence on multinationals, reduce biodiversity, increase herbicide use, and take money away from more successful and appropriate methods.

In developing nations, GMO's can be catastrophic.

In India, for example, Monsanto convinced hundreds of thousands of farmers to take out high interest loans to pay for expensive GM cotton seeds and associated chemicals. Inconsistent yields left desperate farmers unable to even pay back their loans. The UK Daily Mail estimates that an astounding 125,000 indebted GM cotton farmers committed suicide.[30]

By avoiding GMO's, you help create a tipping point to drive them out of our food supply

Because GMO's give no consumer benefits, if even a small percentage of us start rejecting brands that contain them, GM ingredients will become a marketing liability. Food companies will kick them out.

The tipping point can come quickly.

In Europe, for example, within 10 weeks of a high profile GMO safety scandal that hit the papers in 1999, virtually every major food company committed to stop using GM foods. In the US, a consumer rebellion against genetically modified bovine growth hormone used on dairy cows has also reached a tipping point. Drugged milk and/or yogurt has been rejected by Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Dannon, Yoplait, and about 60 of the top 100 dairies so far.

The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to achieve a tipping point against GMO's in the US. The number of non-GMO shoppers needed is probably just 5 percent of the population.

They key is to educate consumers about the documented health dangers and provide a Non-GMO Shopping Guide, to make avoiding GMO's much easier. Thus, by choosing healthier non-GMO brands, and telling others about GMO's so they can do the same, we can quickly reclaim a non-GMO food supply.

Visit the Campaign’s website for GMO educational materials to read, watch, listen to, and pass onto others.

Take Action Against GM Alfalfa Now … We Need Your Help!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is, for the first time, conducting an analysis known as an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a GM crop. This crop is Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup Ready alfalfa, and we need your help to voice your opinion and help keep this plant from getting approved.

In 2006, the Center for Food Safety sued the USDA for illegally approving GM alfalfa. Federal courts agreed and banned GM alfalfa until the USDA could provide an EIS -- which they did in December 2009.

There is now a comment period open to the public, but it ends on March 3, 2010 -- so time is running out.

The USDA’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement admits that if GM alfalfa is approved:

bulletGM contamination of non-GM and organic alfalfa crops will occur
bulletGM contamination will economically impact small and family farmers
bulletForeign export markets will be at risk due to rejection of GM-contaminated products
bulletFarmers will be forced to use more toxic herbicides to remove old stands of alfalfa

Yet, the USDA has brushed off these concerns as insignificant, and intends to approve GM alfalfa anyway. They even went so far as to say in the EIS that consumers don't care if their organic food is GM contaminated and neither do organic farmers!

This case is not only important for the future of GM alfalfa … the final decision on this case could have broad implications for the future of all GM crops.

So please call your Congressional Representatives today and ask them to urge Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack to deny approval of Monsanto's GM alfalfa.

To do so, call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senator/Representative’s office. You can find the name of your Senator/Representative here.

When you speak with the agriculture staff person (or leave a message), be sure to let them know that you DO NOT support the deregulation of GM alfalfa. You can also mention these reasons, which were compiled by the Center for Food Safety, as to why:

bulletGM contamination of non-GM and organic crops would be inevitable
bulletYou won’t buy products that are GM-contaminated
bulletAlfalfa is a major food source for livestock and GM alfalfa would destroy the integrity of organic dairy products
bulletYou support the rights of farmers to grow the crops of their choice, and GM contamination makes that impossible
bulletGM crops increase pesticide use, harming human health and the environment
bulletAsk your Representative and Senators to contact Secretary Vilsack and urge him to deny USDA approval of Monsanto's GM alfalfa

You can also submit your comments online here, and the True Food Network has compiled a sample email that you can use for inspiration

Again, the deadline for public comment is March 3, so please let your opinion be heard. Tell your Representative and Senators that the USDA is wrong -- you DO care if your organic food is contaminated with GM crops, and you do NOT support the approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered Roundup Ready alfalfa.

About the Author

International bestselling author and filmmaker Jeffrey M. Smith is the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of GMO's. His first book, Seeds of Deception, is the world’s bestselling and #1 rated book on the subject. His second, Genetic Roulette, documents the health dangers of GMO's and why current assessments are not competent to protect consumers.

He is the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, which runs the Campaign for Healthier Eating in America, and lives with his wife in Iowa—surrounded by genetically modified corn and soybeans.


[1] Kathryn Anne Paez, et al, Rising Out-Of-Pocket Spending For Chronic Conditions: A Ten-Year Trend, Health Affairs, 28, no. 1 (2009): 15-25

[2] Irina Ermakova, “Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies,” Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4–9.

[3] Irina Ermakova, “Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards,” Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels, June 12, 2007

[4] Irina Ermakova, “Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards,” Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels, June 12, 2007

[5] L. Vecchio et al, “Ultrastructural Analysis of Testes from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” European Journal of Histochemistry 48, no. 4 (Oct–Dec 2004):449–454.

[6] Oliveri et al., “Temporary Depression of Transcription in Mouse Pre-implantion Embryos from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” 48th Symposium of the Society for Histochemistry, Lake Maggiore (Italy), September 7–10, 2006.

[7] Alberta Velimirov and Claudia Binter, “Biological effects of transgenic maize NK603xMON810 fed in long term reproduction studies in mice,” Forschungsberichte der Sektion IV, Band 3/2008

[8] Jerry Rosman, personal communication, 2006

[9] Personal communication with investigative team, and transcript of videotaped interviews

[10] Washington State Department of Health, “Report of health surveillance activities: Asian gypsy moth control program,” (Olympia, WA: Washington State Dept. of Health, 1993); see also M. Green, et al., “Public health implications of the microbial pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis: An epidemiological study, Oregon, 1985-86,” Amer. J. Public Health 80, no. 7(1990): 848–852.

[11] Ashish Gupta et. al., “Impact of Bt Cotton on Farmers’ Health (in Barwani and Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh),” Investigation Report, Oct–Dec 2005; see also numerous articles, such as Sunday Indian, October, 26, 2008

[12] See for example, “Mortality in Sheep Flocks after Grazing on Bt Cotton Fields—Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh” Report of the Preliminary Assessment, April 2006

[13] DDS researchers, personal communication and site visit

[14] “Cows Ate GM Maize & Died,” ISIS Press Release, January 13, 2004

[15] Mae-Wan Ho, “GM Ban Long Overdue, Dozens Ill & Five Deaths in the Philippines,” ISIS Press Release, June 2, 2006

[16] Alberto Finamore, et al, “Intestinal and Peripheral Immune Response to MON810 Maize Ingestion in Weaning and Old Mice,” J. Agric. Food Chem., 2008, 56 (23), pp 11533–11539, November 14, 2008

[17] Stéphane Foucart, “Controversy Surrounds a GMO,” Le Monde, 14 December 2004; referencing, John M. Burns, “13-Week Dietary Subchronic Comparison Study with MON 863 Corn in Rats Preceded by a 1-Week Baseline Food Consumption Determination with PMI Certified Rodent Diet #5002,” December 17, 2002 ; and de Vendômois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, Séralini GE. A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:706-726.

[18] Yearly food sensitivity assessment of York Laboratory, as reported in Mark Townsend, “Why soya is a hidden destroyer,” Daily Express, March 12, 1999.

[19] Gendel, “The use of amino acid sequence alignments to assess potential allergenicity of proteins used in genetically modified foods,” Advances in Food and Nutrition Research 42 (1998), 45–62

[20] See L Zolla, et al, "Proteomics as a complementary tool for identifying unintended side effects occurring in transgenic maize seeds as a result of genetic modifications,” J Proteome Res. 2008 May;7(5):1850-61 ; Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, “Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An immunologic comparison,” Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 26, no. 3 (May–June 2005): 210-216(7).

[21] A. Pusztai and S. Bardocz, “GMO in animal nutrition: potential benefits and risks,” Chapter 17, Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals, R. Mosenthin, J. Zentek and T. Zebrowska (Eds.) Elsevier, October 2005

[22] Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, “Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An immunologic comparison,” Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 26, no. 3 (May–June 2005): 210-216(7).

[23] Vazquez et al, “Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac protoxin is a potent systemic and mucosal adjuvant,” Scandanavian Journal of Immunology 49 (1999): 578–584. See also Vazquez-Padron et al., 147 (2000b).

[24] V. E. Prescott, et al, “Transgenic Expression of Bean r-Amylase Inhibitor in Peas Results in Altered Structure and Immunogenicity,” Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry (2005): 53.

[25] Malatesta, et al, “Ultrastructural Analysis of Pancreatic Acinar Cells from Mice Fed on Genetically modified Soybean,” J Anat. 2002 November; 201(5): 409–415; see also M. Malatesta, M. Biggiogera, E. Manuali, M. B. L. Rocchi, B. Baldelli, G. Gazzanelli, “Fine Structural Analyses of Pancreatic Acinar Cell Nuclei from Mice Fed on GM Soybean,” Eur J Histochem 47 (2003): 385–388.

[26] Charles Benbrook, “Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years,” November 2009, The Organic Center

[27] Netherwood et al, “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract,” Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2.

[28] http://www.agassessment.org/

[29] Doug Gurian-Sherman, Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops, Union of Concerned Scientists April 2009 

[30] Andrew Malone, Daily Mail, Nov. 3, 2008

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