No Proof GM Crops are Safe
Opinion by Kevin Brown
In 1992, President George W.H. Bush made an executive order stating that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are “substantially equivalent” to ordinary seeds and crops. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) then adopted a policy permitting the production of GM organisms without independent testing.
In the late 1990s, Arpad Pusztai, a molecular biologist and GMO supporter, found that rats fed GM potatoes had “…smaller livers, hearts, testicles and brains, damaged immune systems, and showed structural changes in their white blood cells….” Pusztai expressed his concerns on a British television program and was promptly suspended and forced to retire from his position. Dr. Pusztai’s research was later peer reviewed and published in The Lancet, according to organicconsumers.org.
Dr. Judy Carman, associate professor of Flinders University in Australia and a team of seven scientists published a long-term, peer-reviewed toxicology study on GM-fed pigs. The study revealed that 134 of the pigs had serious digestive and reproductive damage plus damage to liver, uterus, and stomach, while the control group had none. More about this study can be found at responsibletechnology.org/posts/this-little-piggy-was-fed-gmos.
At least one GM organism has been restricted owing to the danger of harming humans. StarLink, a type of Bt corn patented by Aventis, incorporating the protein Cry9C, is banned for human consumption because it’s a potential human allergen. Nevertheless, in 2005, aid sent by the UN World Food Programme and the U.S. to Central American nations was found to be highly contaminated with StarLink corn, with 80 percent of the 50 samples tested coming back positive. Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador refused the aid. In 2010, StarLink was found in taco shells and other corn products here in the U.S. It was taken off the market. But this year Saudi Arabia, a country that prohibits the import of GM animal and plant products for agricultural use, found a bunch of the stuff in their food supply, according to greenmedinfo.com.
So, there is definitely cause for concern. There is a sound and compelling reason to stop further GMO use now and have non-industry experts study the actual products that are being patented and distributed.
GM is permitted by fiat, but it’s not properly tested by scientists who operate outside the industry, and some of it has a potential for harming humans.
Regarding the regulatory process, it has been noted that Bt soy, corn, and canola, are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as “bio-pesticides,” on the one hand, yet the USDA and FDA classify them as “safe” and “substantially equivalent” to non-GM crops. Furthermore, a new study suggests that, in the process of controlling one species of pest, another, different species may take over the degradation of the plant, according to greenmedinfo.com.
Three things are clear. We don’t know if GM products are safe for human or animal consumption, and it needs to be studied. Controlling the dissemination of GMs has been mismanaged. And the use of inserted genes will possibly backfire on the environment.
Organic methods pose no such threats.
We don’t know if any of the foods we eat are safe…GMO or otherwise. Even locally grown produce has the potential to sicken us if contaminated by snails or various sources of E.coli. Locally caught fish can make us sick if they carry certain bacteria…been there and done that! I could go on and on about the hazards of foods. So I guess the alternative is to starve? One certainty in life: living is dangerous and is going to get you killed.
I submit you should apply the same level of scrutiny and your demand for proving negatives to everything we put in our mouths, food or otherwise. Talk of unproven, how about these so-called E-cigarettes that are nothing if not a drug delivery system. We got sick as pups a while back on sugar-free chocolate candy from Hershey that was sweetened with lasitol…which is a drug (look it up).
The real issue with GMO products, and this is where honest GMO opponents should be directing their efforts, is the badly broken patent system that rewards the GMO developers and penalizes growers that get accidentally contaminated with GMO genetic material. Maybe not as flashy or as likely to get a crowd of know-nothings to march, but it is the real bread and butter issue that should be getting the attention.