Genetic Roulette: Avoid Genetically Engineered Foods
Adopted from Weston A. Price Newsletter
Millions of people are looking for foods without genetically modified organisms (GMOs); thousands of doctors are prescribing non-GMO diets; and even celebrities like Danny DeVito, Bill Maher, and Dick van Dyke chimed in with their demands that these products be labeled.
As the movement swells, proponents of GMOs have become more aggressive at suppressing adverse data and promoting their myths, desperate to stem the anti- GMO tide. They continue to proclaim that the technology is precise, environmentally friendly, and needed to feed the world, in spite of evidence that shows just the opposite. But what is working against them more than anything else is the new data confirming that GMOs are dangerous to our health. In fact the evidence is so compelling, genetically engineered foods may soon be credited with promoting a wide range of serious diseases on the rise in the US and elsewhere.
Industry-Manipulated Approval Process in the United States
One would hope that every precaution would have been taken before allowing GMOs in our food and environment. After all, any health issue could theoretically impact everyone who eats. And once GMO crops are released into the environment, the pollen and seed movement contaminate the natural gene pool on a permanent basis. Moreover, the stated goal of the leading biotech company, Monsanto, was to genetically engineer all commercial seeds in the world. This would permanently replace the products of billions of years of evolution and thousands of years of agricultural crop development with a new, untested technology, promoted by the same company that told us Agent Orange, PCBs, and DDT were safe. But with the safety of the food supply and the integrity of our ecosystem at stake, just the opposite happened. All precaution was thrown to the wind and the US government engaged in what arguably can be called the greatest gamble of our lives. The story at the FDA is exemplary.
In the early 1990s, scientists at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) repeatedly warned their superiors that GM foods could create serious health problems. According to secret documents later made public from a lawsuit, the scientific consensus at the agency was that GM foods were inherently dangerous and might create hard-to-detect allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged their superiors to require rigorous long-term tests. But the White House under George H. W. Bush had ordered the agency to promote biotechnology; the FDA responded by recruiting Monsanto’s former attorney, Michael Taylor, to head up the formation of policy on GMOs. That policy, which is in effect today, denies knowledge of the agency scientists’ concerns. In fact, it falsely claims that the FDA is not aware of any information that shows GMOs to be significantly different. On that basis, no safety studies on GM foods are required. The government leaves it up to GMO companies, including Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Syngenta, and Bayer, to determine if their own foods are safe.
After overseeing GMO policy at the FDA,
Mr. Taylor worked on GMO issues at the
US Department of Agriculture, and then
later became Monsanto’s vice president
and chief lobbyist. In the summer of 2009,
he was appointed by the Obama administration as the US food safety czar back at
Animal Feeding Studies Indicate Health Issues
Based on their review of this body of research, in May 2009 the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) publicly condemned GMOs in our food supply, saying they posed “a serious health risk.” They called on the US government to implement an immediate moratorium on all GM foods and urged physicians to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients.
“Several animal studies,” according to their policy paper, reveal a long list of disorders, including: “infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, [faulty] insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.” The policy boldly concludes, “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects.” Based on established scientific criteria, “there is causation.”
Rising Disease Rates Correlate with GMO Introduction
Unfortunately, no system of post market surveillance on the health impacts of GMOs has been set up anywhere in the world. Although correlation clearly does not imply causation, the deteriorating health of Americans since GMOs were introduced in 1996 does raise important questions. Within nine years, the incidence of people with three or more chronic diseases nearly doubled – from 7% to 13%. Visits to the emergency room due to allergies more than doubled from 1997 to 2002. And overall food related illnesses doubled from 1994 to 2001, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Physicist Nancy Swanson compiled numerous charts showing high correlations between GMO production (or Roundup herbicide use) and the incidence of numerous disorders in the US. (See charts: thyroid cancer, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, acute kidney injury, diabetes, end stage renal disease, reproductive disorders, autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, senile dementia, inflammatory bowel disease, peritonitis, chronic constipation, irritable bowel, intestinal infection, and rheumatoid arthritis.)
Tragically, there is no systematic, well-funded investigation to explore links between GMO consumption and any disease. “The experiments simply haven’t been done and we now have become the guinea pigs,” says renowned Canadian geneticist David Suzuki. He adds, “Anyone that says, ‘Oh, we know that this is perfectly safe,’ I say is either unbelievably stupid or deliberately lying.”
Numerous US Physicians Now Blame GMOs
Based on evaluations of GMO research presented at medical conferences, as well as recommendations by their peers, thousands of US physicians now prescribe non-GMO diets to all their patients. The Institute for Responsible Technology has started hearing reports and collecting case studies from physicians, patients, and consumers about significant and often dramatic improvements in health and alleviation of symptoms from of a wide variety of diseases and disorders after removing GMOs.
Michelle Perro, MD, who has regularly been named one of America’s Top Pediatricians, says she believes that the novel proteins found in GMOs “may be responsible in part for the profound increase in allergies and immune dysfunction that I am witnessing.”
Emily Lindner, MD, who practices internal medicine in Chicago, says, “When my patients stop eating GMOs, they get better.” She says, “I tell my patients to avoid genetically modified foods because in my experience, with those foods there is more allergies and asthma,” as well as digestive issues such as gas, bloating, irritable bowel, colitis, and leaky gut. “And what emanates from that,” she says, “is everything. Lots of arthritis problems, autoimmune diseases, anxiety … neurological problems; anything that comes from an inspired immune system response.”
Livestock Health Improves
People who switch to non-GMO diets often do so by buying organic foods – which are not allowed to use GMOs. This raises a critical point in the analysis. Were the health recoveries stemming from eliminating GMOs or from the reduction in chemicals and increased nutrition found in organics? Similarly, since most GMOs in our diet are found in processed foods, some people reduced GMOs by cooking from scratch. Thus they simultaneously eliminate numerous additives that also may contribute to disorders. It is difficult, therefore, to isolate the influence of GMOs in the presence of these other potential co-factors.
Fortunately, the experience of numerous veterinarians and farmers around the world gives us insight. When they take livestock off GMO soy or corn and substitute the non- GMO equivalent, they don’t have these confounding co-factors. The animals are not eating organic, there’s no change in nutrients or additives, and the results are breathtaking.
When a Danish pig farmer switched to non-GMO soy in April 2011 for his 450 sows and their offspring, within two days the animals’ serious diarrhea problems virtually disappeared. During the following year, death from ulcers and other digestive problems, which had claimed 36 pigs over the previous two years, vanished. Conception rate was up, litter size was up, diseases were down, and birth defects were eliminated.
An Iowa farmer saw immediate changes in his 3000 pig nursery after switching to non-GMO corn last December. Not only was there a dramatic drop in rate of disease and medicine bills, he says, “Our pigs are happier and more playful.”
A feedlot operator with 5,000 head of cattle also switched to non-GMO corn and reported, “We’ve had a lot less pneumonia and health issues since that time.” Like the pig farmer, the behavior changed noticeably. His “cattle have been a lot calmer.” Many farmers who were struggling with large rates of infertility and miscarriages say they turned the situation around after switching to non-GMO feed.
Renowned veterinarian and author Michael W. Fox, whose syndicated newspaper column has 25-30 million readers, says that when GMOs were introduced, cats and dogs started suffering from much higher rates of allergies, itching, and gastrointestinal problems. He has a file draw full of letters from happy pet owners confirming that his advice to switch the pets to non-GMO and organic feed cleared up the problem.
Repeating Symptoms: From Lab Rats to Consumers
What is striking about all these reports is the similarity of experiences. Many of the same categories of disorders identified in animal feeding studies by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, e.g. gastrointestinal, immune, and reproductive, also clear up in humans and livestock when they switch to a non- GMO diet. Moreover, these same problems are on the rise in the US population since GMOs were introduced in 1996.
Overlapping Causative Factors
It’s difficult to know whether the negative impact of GMOs is due to the inserted gene and its protein, unexpected changes in the plant due to the process of genetic engineering, or the added toxic chemicals like Roundup that is sprayed on the GM crop and absorbed into the food. The affects may also be due to a combination of causative factors. In a French two year feeding study published in 2012, for example, rats suffered from multiple massive tumors, shorter life spans, and organ damage. The research design used several different treatment groups: those fed Roundup Ready corn that had been sprayed with Roundup, those fed Roundup Ready corn without Roundup applied, and those fed just Roundup with no added GMO corn. All three groups suffered from these maladies to various degrees, while the controls fared much better. Thus, each component had a negative impact and the actual harm to humans and animals eating GMOs may be due to the synergy of causes.
Tipping Point Against GMOs
Rising in the US Population Although governments have not been fully responsive to the mounting evidence of harm from GMOs, consumers are reacting in greater numbers. The impact can be significant and world-changing. In Europe, for example, after the media publicized significant health risks of GMOs in early 1999, a tipping point of consumer rejection forced the food companies to commit to remove GM ingredients in that continent. Now consumer rejection in the US appears to be setting the stage for the removal of GMOs in this country as well.
Consumer concern over GMO health risks has driven unprecedented demand for non-GMO products. In fact 2012 sales of non-GMO labeled products in the United States increased more than any other health and wellness category, according to 2012 Nielsen Health and Wellness Claims Performance Report. An executive at the national food store chain Whole Foods said that when a product becomes verified as non-GMO, sales increase by 15-30%. While the tipping point has largely been achieved within the natural products sector, the conventional food industry is undergoing the most decisive test yet. In January, Post announced that one of its varieties of Grape Nuts cereal became Non-GMO Project verified. That ushered in a new phase called “The Battle for Market Share.” If sales shift towards the non-GMO product variety and away from competing brands, then marketers for every other brand category will be inspired to quickly eliminate GMOs before their competitor does it first.
Making a Choice for Ourselves and Our Future
The current situation is dangerous. GMOs are likely promoting the rise of numerous diseases in humans and animals, and creating widespread chemical and genetic pollution in the environment. Those who call for more science are ironically labeled by the biotech industry as “anti-science.” And the scientists who do discover safety problems or even express concerns are typically attacked and dismissed.
Fortunately, US citizens are no longer accepting the baseless claims that GMOs are safe. As they wake up to the risks of GMOs, they take matters into their own hands and seek non-GMO alternatives. According to a Hartman Group 2013 survey, 39% of us say we are trying to reduce or avoid GMOs – up from about 17% in 2007. If the food industry responds in America like they did in Europe, consumers will ultimately move the market and protect themselves from the risks of this dangerous technology.
To avoid GMOs, visit www.NonGMOShoppingGuide.com, or download the free iPhone app ShopNoGMO. To get a crash course on the health dangers, watch the award winning film Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of Our Lives at www.GeneticRouletteMovie.com. For updates, sign up for the free newsletter at www.Responsibletechnology.org. Safe eating.