Tufts University’s Director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute (Timothy Wise) points out:
There is no … consensus on the safety of GM food. A peer-reviewed study of the research, from peer-reviewed journals, found that about half of the animal-feeding studies conducted in recent years found cause for concern. The other half didn’t, and as the researchers noted, “most of these studies have been conducted by biotechnology companies responsible of commercializing these GM plants.”
The only consensus that GM food is safe is among industry-funded researchers.
A senior scientist at MIT has declared that we are facing an epidemic of autism that may result in one half of all children being affected by autism in ten years.
Dr. Stephanie Seneff, who made these remarks during a panel presentation in Groton, MA last week, specifically cites the Monsanto herbicide, Roundup, as the culprit for the escalating incidence of autism and other neurological disorders. Roundup, which was introduced in the 1970’s, contains the chemical glyphosate, which is the focal point for Seneff’s concerns. Roundup was originally restricted to use on weeds, as glyphosate kills plants. However, Roundup is now in regular use with crops. With the coming of GMO’s, plants such as soy and corn were bioengineered to tolerate glyphosate, and its use dramatically increased. From 2001 to 2007, glyphosate use doubled, reaching 180 to 185 million pounds in the U.S. alone in 2007.
If you don’t consume corn- on- the -cob or toasted soybeans, however, you are hardly exempt from the potential affects of consuming glyphosate. Wheat is now sprayed with Roundup right before it is harvested, making any consumption of non- organic wheat bread a sure source for the chemical. In addition, any products containing corn syrup, such as soft drinks, are also carrying a payload of glyphosate.
According to studies cited by Seneff, glyphosate engages “gut bacteria” in a process known as the shikimate pathway. This enables the chemical to interfere with the biochemistry of bacteria in our GI tract, resulting in the depletion of essential amino acids .
Monsanto has maintained that glyphosate is safe for human consumption, as humans do not have the shikimate pathway. Bacteria, however, does—including the flora that constitutes “gut bacteria.”
It is this ability to affect gut bacteria that Seneff claims is the link which allows the chemical to get on board and wreak further damage. The connection between intestinal flora and neurological functioning is an ongoing topic of research. According to a number of studies, glyphosate depletes the amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine, which can then contribute to obesity, depression, autism, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
A culture of denial over the horizontal spread of genetically modified nucleic acids prevails in the face of direct evidence that it has occurred widely when appropriate methods and molecular probes are used for detection.
This article has been sent to Dr Kaare Nielsen in his capacity as a member of the European Food Safety Authority GMO Panel and he is given the right to reply.
A culture of denial over the horizontal spread of GM nucleic acids
The first genetically modified (GM) crop was commercially approved and released into the environment 20 years ago. From the beginning, some of us have been warning repeatedly of hidden dangers from the unintended horizontal transfer of GM DNA (transgenes). A comprehensive review  Gene Technology and Gene Ecology of Infectious Diseases, ISIS scientific publication) and successive updates were submitted to the World Health Organization (WHO) and regulatory agencies in the US, UK and European Union (see  Ban GMOs Now, ISIS Report); all to no avail.
The position taken by regulators and their scientific advisors today is perhaps best represented in a recent publication  with lead author Kaare Nielson at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who both advises Genøk-Centre for Biosafety and serves as member of the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) GMO panel.
The paper, entitled “Detecting rare gene transfer events in bacterial populations”, recognizes that horizontal gene transfer is part of the risk assessment for GMOs, and that the large-scale cultivation of GM-plants on more than 170 m ha worldwide results in “multitudinous opportunities for bacterial exposure to recombinant DNA and therefore opportunities for unintended horizontal dissemination of transgenes.” It admits that horizontal gene transfer has indeed been demonstrated in the laboratory. “But in natural settings, negative or inconclusive evidence has been reported from most sampling-based studies of agricultural soils, runoff water and gastrointestinal tract contents.”
It tells us that horizontal gene transfer research “suffers from significant methodological limitations, model uncertainty and knowledge gaps.” In particular, on account of the “low mechanistic probability of horizontal transfer…in complex environments”, it would take “months, years, or even longer for the few initially transformed cells to divide and numerically out-compete non-transformed members of the population” for them to be “detectable.” The rest of the paper mentions a mathematical model based on those very assumptions, the most important being the very low probability of horizontal transfer; which has been contradicted by empirical evidence, most decisively from a study in China reported in 2012 .
I have reviewed the positive and circumstantial evidence for horizontal transfer of GM nucleic acids thoroughly in . The present report updates on important new developments.
Recently, an NGO (non-governmental organization) in Russia—the National Association for Genetic Safety–began working closely with the Russian Duma to enact a set of laws criminalizing the introduction of harmful genetically-modified crops (GM or GMO crops) as well as withholding information on harmful effects of such crops. Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated he will sign such legislation, saying Russia can grow enough food for itself without genetic engineering it.
“If Americans like to eat such foods, they can eat them,” Putin is reported to have said. But with GMO companies in the U.S. massively campaigning to hide GMO content—do Americans really know what they are eating?
I believe Russia and, increasingly, countries elsewhere, are on the right track in this regard. And I base this belief on my first-hand observations from the inception of GMO crops—and the original promises made and assurances given for this technology—to the much different reality I see today.
As founder and editor of the weekly biotechnology newsletter–BioEngineering News–I covered GMOs and ag-biotech from 1980 through 1993 and was the first journalist allowed (under a secrecy agreement) to cover a Gordon Research Conference. This groundbreaking conference, on Plant Genetic Engineering, was at U.C. Davis in the early 1980s. I have also had hands-on research experience, including lab courses on plant tissue culture in which I cloned a variety of plants from jojoba to redwood.
The original promise of genetic engineering was that crops could be grown without fertilizer or pesticides, in salt water if fresh water was scarce, and that the nutritional content could be altered at will by the addition of genes for amino acids (the building blocks of protein) such as L-lysine and genes coding for vitamins, such as vitamin A. In this “brave new world” hunger and malnutrition would be eliminated by massively higher crop yields. And there would be no down side: We were assured that there would be no actual or consequential harmful effects from such alterations.
Many Americans are not aware that the system of clinical trials and double-blind studies for new drugs means that it can cost $30- to $60-million to get a single new drug through FDA-mandated clinical trials. And, still, how many horror stories have we heard of dangerous drug side effects? Imagine if NO clinical trials were required for new drugs and only some rudimentary safety testing was necessary? Would you feel safe taking a new drug?
The agriculture section of the Ecology Branch of the Green Shadow Cabinet opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as the latest Free Trade Agreement (FTA) assault against food sovereignty, where the profits of multinational companies are placed ahead of the food security needs of individual nations. The TPP seeks to revive the stalled expansion of the World Trade Organization.
The TPP is a trade agreement under secret negotiation by by Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. Japan will join at the next meeting).
Access to food is a basic human right. Instead, TPP expands the notion that food is just another commodity subject to economic speculation and exploitation solely to increase the profits of multinational corporations. TPP promotes export-oriented food production, its passage will increase global hunger and malnutrition, alienate millions from their productive assets and resources; land, water, fish, seeds, technology and generations of cultural knowledge.
In order to guarantee the independence and food sovereignty of all of the world's peoples, it is essential that food is produced though diversified, community based production systems. Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to control their own food and agriculture; to protect and regulate domestic agricultural production and trade in order to achieve sustainable development objectives; to determine the extent to which they want to be self reliant; to restrict the dumping of agricultural products in their markets, and; to guarantee local fisheries-based communities the right to manage their aquatic resources.
This award winning documentary film explores the growing global threat of genetically engineered trees to our environment and to human health. The film features renowned geneticist and host of PBS' The Nature of Things David Suzuki, who explores the unknown and possibly disastrous consequences of improperly tested GE methods. Many scientists and activists are interviewed in the film, which serves as an effective and succinct tool for understanding the complex issue of GE trees. The film includes the testimony of many experts on the subject and serves as a valuable tool to inform students and those interested in environmental issues. The film has been well used in public forums, government as well as college and high school classrooms.
A breakthrough report on the nutritional density of genetically-modified (GM) corn crops demolishes all existing claims that GMOs are “substantially equivalent” to non-GMOs. Entitled 2012 Nutritional Analysis: Comparison of GMO Corn versus Non-GMO Corn, the paper reveals not only that GMO corn is greatly lacking in vitamins and minerals compared to non-GMO corn, but also that it is highly toxic and filled with deadly crop chemicals like glyphosate (Roundup).
The owners of the blog MomsAcrossAmerica.com say the report was shared with them by De Dell Seed Company, Canada’s only non-GMO corn seed supplier, which obtained it from a Minnesota-based agricultural company called ProfitPro. Overall, the paper found that non-GMO corn is 20 times richer in nutrition, energy and protein compared to GMO corn.
Concerning energy content, as measured in terms of ERGS, non-GMO corn was found in tests to give off 3,400 times more energy per gram, per second compared to GMO corn, an astounding variance. And as far as its overall percentage of organic matter is concerned, non-GMO corn was determined to have nearly twice as much of this vital component compared to GMO corn.
Non-GMO corn contains substantially more potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulfur and manganese
The field comparison also evaluated individual nutrient deviations, which revealed some shocking facts. Potassium, which is necessary for energy production and proper cellular function, is barely even present in GMO corn, having clocked in at 0.7 parts per million (ppm). In non-GMO corn, however, potassium levels were more than 13 times higher, testing at 9.2 ppm.
In the typical slippery nature of Monsanto’s legislation-based actions, the biotech giant is now virtually guaranteed the ability to recklessly plant experimental GM crops without having to worry about the United States government and its subsequent courts. The Monsanto Protection Act buried deep within the budget resolution has passed the Senate, and now nothing short of a presidential veto will put an end to the ruling.
In case you’re not familiar, the Monsanto Protection Act is the name given to what’s known as a legislative rider that was inserted into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill. Using the deceptive title of Farmer Assurance Provision, Sec. 735 of this bill actually grants Monsanto the immunity from federal courts pending the review of any GM crop that is thought to be dangerous. Under the section, courts would be helpless to stop Monsanto from continuing to plant GM crops that are thought even by the US government to be a danger to health or the environment.
It is a lobbyist-created recurring nuisance that has been squashed in previous legislation thanks to outcry from not only grassroots but major organizations. Last time we saw The Center for Food Safety, the National Family Farm Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists all come out against the Monsanto Protection Act from the 2012 Farm Bill.
Monsanto has long been trying to establish control over the seeds of the plants that produce food for the world. They have patented a number of genetically altered food crops, which can only be grown with proper license, and the seeds for which must be purchased anew each year.
Alas, genetically engineered (GE) crops cannot be contained. And rather than being found guilty of contaminating farmers' property, Monsanto has successfully sued hundreds of unsuspecting farmers for patent infringement when unlicensed GE crops were found growing in their fields. Many farmers have subsequently, quite literally, lost their farms.
Percy Schmeiser of Saskatchewan, Canada, is but one of Monsanto's victims, but contrary to so many others, he refused to quietly tolerate the injustice. In a classic case of David versus Goliath, Schmeiser fought back against one of the most powerful businesses in the world.