We already knew Monsanto is blocking independent GMO research in the U.S. (L.A. Times op-ed) and there are numerous examples of Monsanto gaming regulatory systems. Now Ken Rosenboro of The Organic and Non-GMO Report tells us there’s peer-reviewed research that says:
…the technology is based on obsolete science, that biotechnology companies such as Monsanto have too much influence on government regulators and “public” universities, and that university scientists are ignoring the health and environmental risks of GM crops.The research is published as two papers by Don Lotter in the International Journal of the Sociology of Agriculture and Food:
Part 1: The Development of a Flawed Enterprise
Part 2: Academic Capitalism and the Loss of Scientific Integrity
In a 7 August 2009 article in FoodFirst, The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science, Don Lotter explains what’s in those two papers:
The search for solutions to hunger, poverty and climate change has brought new intensity to the debate over genetically modified crops. Biotechnology is expected to be a central building block in the State Department’s food security strategy, and prominent legislation in the Senate could mandate biotechnology research be a permanent part of US foreign aid. Meanwhile high profile defeats for the biotech industry are mounting. [editor’s note]
A major conflict over this issue has developed. On one side are scientists, universities and corporations who have invested nearly 25 years and tens of billions of dollars in the genetic engineering of crop plants. One the other side is a flood of evidence that the process of food plant transgenics (genetic engineering) is deeply and fatally flawed and has been resting on a theoretical foundation that has crumbled away as the science of genetics reinvents itself.
What’s the flaw?
From the beginning, the entire crop transgenics enterprise has been based on the now-discredited “one-gene one-protein” theory that one gene leads to the production of one protein. The fatal blow to this one-gene one-protein model came in 2003 with the shocking results of the Human Genome Project which showed that humans have vastly fewer genes than previously believed. As a result of this, the project scientists now report that the genomes of higher organisms (including plants); are not what scientists had believed them to be, and that “genes appear to operate in a complex network, and interact and overlap with one another and with other components in ways not yet fully understood.” They conclude that these findings challenge scientists “to rethink some long-held views about what genes are and what they do.”Life is a network, right down to the genetic level! Imagine that! It’s downright… ecological!
To quote renowned cellular biologist Barry Commoner, commenting on the results of the Human Genome Project: “The fact that one gene can give rise to multiple proteins … destroys the theoretical foundation of a multibillion dollar industry, the genetic engineering of food crops.”
So what is big agro using for guinea pigs in their flawed research?
Numerous scientific studies show that the process of the genetic engineering of plants is associated with genome-wide mutations, large-scale rearrangements or deletions of plant chromosomal DNA as well as insertion of superfluous DNA.1 The main change to food resulting from this genomic disruption is that novel proteins are produced – proteins that have never been in the human digestive system. These are often common food proteins that have a changed configuration such that the human body does not recognize them and reacts as if it is a disease. Allergies are just one of the outcomes.That’s right: guinea pigs R us.
Meanwhile, what do even prominent scientists get for pointing out problems with GMO crops?
For example, in the late 1990s, one of Europe’s top genetic engineers, Dr. Árpád Pusztai, found that the process of genetic engineering of the potato caused test rats to develop potentially precancerous cell growth in the digestive tract; inhibited development of the brain, liver, and testicles; caused partial atrophy of the liver; enlarged pancreas and intestines; and immune system damage. Pusztai’s subsequent termination from his senior position at a UK research institute following the release of his research results is discussed in my paper along with other examples of bias against and mistreatment of scientists whose research does not support transgenics. Pusztai’s paper in The Lancet, considered the top medical journal in the world, remains a landmark in food transgenics.2That’s right: fired for publishing the truth.
Meanwhile, not only have no studies ever been done that demonstrate the safety of GMO foods, but there are no systematic studies or monitoring being done to detect any widespread damages from GMO foods:
Commenting on the lack of safety data on transgenic foods in the Journal of Medicinal Food,4 David Schubert, head of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute in California, wrote in 2008: “There are, in fact, no data comparing the food safety profiles of GM versus conventional breeding, and the ubiquitous argument that ‘since there is no evidence that GM products make people sick, they are safe’ is both illogical and false. There are, again, simply no data or even valid assays to support this contention. Without proper epidemiological studies, most types of harm will not be detected, and no such studies have been conducted.”It’s like finding a way to cause tsunamis and having no tsunami monitoring system.
Wait, it gets evenkbetter:
However, DNA from GM foods can actually insert itself into a completely different species when a part of the foreign gene package used to make the process of genetic engineering work, encounters a “DNA hotspot.” These “hotspots” make it easier for foreign DNA to “jump” from one species to another—meaning it is possible for genes from GM corn to “jump” to the bacteria naturally present in our stomachs. This is a very serious flaw with health implications that have not been adequately researched.That’s right: in modern big agro world, GMO DNA may genetically engineer your gut.
So how does big agro sell this stuff? Lotter states outright the big lie of big agro:
“Genetic engineering is needed to feed a hungry world” is one of the main public relations thrusts of the biotechnology industry. However, in addition to the serious genetic flaws and food safety issues, transgenic crops have been shown in study after study to produce no more food than their nontransgenic counterparts.5 Furthermore, most developing countries do not want their future food security tied to crops patented by large corporations from developed countries — a scenario that could drain economy via royalty payments.Not only can this stuff poison us and our whole ecology, it is also a drain on the economy. It doesn’t even make business sense.
And do we actually need GMO to feed the world?
In 2008 over 400 agricultural experts from some 40 countries, sponsored by the UN, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization, finalized a framework for future food security. Significantly, transgenic crops were not included in that framework, known as the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD).6 It is well established in research that current state-of-the-science methods utilizing non-transgenic crops — essentially a combination of sustainable agricultural and classic Green Revolution methods — can quite adequately satisfy world food needs into the future without the need for transgenic crops.No, we don’t need GMO; we need local food that we can eat.