November 2010 Featured Activist, Jeffrey Smith

Vengeancia (Updated January 2016) Jeffrey M. Smith, Institute For Responsible Technology/Seeds of Deception/Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives joins Thom. Only a few Genetically Modified Organisms are proven safe under European Law. But in America – it’s nearly impossible to know what parts of your meal were made in a lab. So why does America let corporations tell us what is and isn’t safe to eat?

Recently, from Red Ice Radio: ‘We have Jeffrey Smith with us on the program to talk about his bestselling books “Seeds of Deception” and “Genetic Roulette”. Jeffrey has been exposing the shocking facts about how genetically modified organisms have entered our lives with the aid of government and corporations like Monsanto.

He links GMO to toxins, allergies, infertility, infant mortality, immune dysfunction, stunted growth, cancer and death. Listen to this one hour program to learn more about the research and studies that prove that genetically modified foods are detrimental to your health, what foods you need to avoid and how genetically engineered plants now are contaminating the natural biosphere.’

Seeds of Deception You may have heard the FDA and food industry claims that genetically modified (GM) foods are safe, properly tested, and necessary to feed a hungry world. UNTRUE! Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are one of the most dangerous and radical changes to our food supply. These largely unregulated ingredients found in 60-70% of the foods in the US, are well worth the effort to avoid them.

Many consumers in the US mistakenly believe that the FDA approves GM foods through rigorous, in-depth, long-term studies. In reality, the agency has absolutely no safety testing requirements. Instead the agency relies on research from companies like Monsanto, research that is meticulously designed to avoid finding problems.

It’s easy to understand the FDA’s industry-friendly policy on regulation of GMOs when you see the revolving door between agency regulators and the companies they regulate. The White House mandate to the FDA (under the first George Bush) was to promote biotechnology and the person in charge of developing the agency’s policy at that time was a former Monsanto attorney, who later returned to Monsanto as their vice president.

The FDA has claimed it was not aware of any information showing that GM crops were different “in any meaningful or uniform way,” from non-GMO crops and therefore didn’t require testing. But 44,000 internal FDA documents made public by a lawsuit show that this was a complete lie. The overwhelming consensus among the FDA’s own scientists was that GM foods were quite different and could lead to unpredictable and hard-to-detect allergens, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems. It turns out that FDA scientists, who had urged superiors to require long-term studies, were ignored. See, Failed Government Regulation.

Even though evidence of this apparent fraud at the FDA was presented at a Washington, D.C. press conference in 1999 with major media in attendance, the media didn’t alert the public.  In fact, most Americans know so little about this subject, that only about 1 in 4 consumers even know if they’ve ever eaten a GM food in their lives, even though the vast majority of processed foods contain derivatives from the four major GM crops: soy, corn, cottonseed and canola. See, GM Foods at a Glance.

What is a GMO?

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as transgenic organisms.

This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.

What is a gene?

Every plant and animal is made of cells, each of which has a center called a nucleus. Inside every nucleus there are strings of DNA, half of which is normally inherited from the mother and half from the father. Short sequences of DNA are called genes. These genes operate in complex networks that are finely regulated to enable the processes of living organisms to happen in the right place and at the right time.

How is genetic engineering done?

Because living organisms have natural barriers to protect themselves against the introduction of DNA from a different species, genetic engineers must force the DNA from one organism into another. Their methods include:

  • Using viruses or bacteria to “infect” animal or plant cells with the new DNA.
  • Coating DNA onto tiny metal pellets, and firing it with a special gun into the cells.
  • Injecting the new DNA into fertilized eggs with a very fine needle.
  • Using electric shocks to create holes in the membrane covering sperm, and then forcing the new DNA into the sperm through these holes.

Is genetic engineering precise?

The technology of genetic engineering is currently very crude. It is not possible to insert a new gene with any accuracy, and the transfer of new genes can disrupt the finely controlled network of DNA in an organism.

Current understanding of the way in which DNA works is extremely limited, and any change to the DNA of an organism at any point can have side effects that are impossible to predict or control. The new gene could, for example, alter chemical reactions within the cell or disturb cell functions. This could lead to instability, the creation of new toxins or allergens, and changes in nutritional value.

But haven’t growers been grafting trees, breeding animals, and hybridizing seeds for years?

Genetic engineering is completely different from traditional breeding and carries unique risks.

In traditional breeding it is possible to mate a pig with another pig to get a new variety, but is not possible to mate a pig with a potato or a mouse. Even when species that may seem to be closely related do succeed in breeding, the offspring are usually infertile; a horse, for example, can mate with a donkey, but the offspring (a mule) is sterile.

With genetic engineering, scientists can breach species barriers set up by nature. For example, they have spliced fish genes into tomatoes. The results are plants (or animals) with traits that would be virtually impossible to obtain with natural processes, such as crossbreeding or grafting.

What combinations have been tried?

It is now possible for plants to be engineered with genes taken from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Scientists have worked on some interesting combinations:

  • Spider genes were inserted into goat DNA, in hopes that the goat milk would contain spider web protein for use in bulletproof vests.
  • Cow genes turned pigskins into cowhides.
  • Jellyfish genes lit up pigs’ noses in the dark.
  • Artic fish genes gave tomatoes and strawberries tolerance to frost.

Field trials have included:

  • Corn engineered with human genes (Dow)
  • Sugarcane engineered with human genes (Hawaii Agriculture Research Center)
  • Corn engineered with jellyfish genes (Stanford University)
  • Tobacco engineered with lettuce genes (University of Hawaii)
  • Rice engineered with human genes (Applied Phytologics)
  • Corn engineered with hepatitis virus genes (Prodigene)
  • Potatoes that glowed in the dark when they needed watering.
  • Human genes were inserted into corn to produce spermicide.

Does the biotech industry hold any promise?

Genetic modification of plants is not the only biotechnology. The study of DNA does hold promise for many potential applications, including medicine. However, the current technology of GM foods is based on obsolete information and theory, and is prone to dangerous side effects. Economic interests have pushed it onto the market too soon.

Moreover, molecular marker technologies – so called Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) used with conventional breeding – show much promise for developing improved crop varieties, without the potentially dangerous side effects of direct genetic modification.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-WUsaASEkc

 

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