Tuesday, October 05, 2010
The American Foodsaw Massacre
What if the scariest horror movie you’ve ever seen was taking place in your local market with everyday shoppers as hapless victims? Well I’m no conspiracy theorist but the case against genetically modified (GMO) foods is starting to look downright bone chilling. And even if monster movies rarely affect me I can’t help but start squirming in my seat at how this story is unfolding.
The results of Pusztai’s work were supposed to become the required testing protocols for all of Europe. But when he fed supposedly harmless GM potatoes to rats, things didn’t go as planned.
Within just 10 days, the animals developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partially atrophied livers, and damaged immune systems. Moreover, the cause was almost certainly side effects from the process of genetic engineering itself. In other words, the GM foods on the market, which are created from the same process, might have similar affects on humans.
Yesterday Mercola published an article on veiled science surrounding GMO foods by Jeffery Smith, executive director of The Institute of Responsible Technology. Smith is no fan is the industry, having penned two books on the subject, Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, so one may take his views as biased. But it pretty straightforward science that he’s presented and, let’s face it, the anecdotal evidence supporting GMO foods is not good. As they’ve become a more established part of what we eat we’ve gotten fatter, less healthy, and our estimated life span has decreased for the first time in modern history, all in spite of massive improvements in medical technology.
Irina Ermakova, a senior scientist at the Russian National Academy of Sciences, was shocked to discover that more than half of the baby rats in her experiment died within three weeks. She had fed the mothers GM soy flour purchased at a supermarket. The babies from mothers fed natural non-GMO soy, however, only suffered a 10% death rate. She repeated her experiment three times with similar results.
Dr. Ermakova reported her preliminary findings at a conference in October 2005, asking the scientific community to replicate her study. Instead, she was attacked and vilified. Her boss told her to stop doing anymore GM food research. Samples were stolen from her lab, and a paper was even set fire on her desk. One of her colleagues tried to comfort her by saying, “Maybe the GM soy will solve the overpopulation problem.”
To conjecture further, I believe it’s possible that GMOs are, eventually, going to become linked to the myriad of food allergies that have sprung up in the past generation. Take the recent case against gluten, for instance, where an Italian study showed examples of elderly people showing no signs of gluten sensitivity a decade ago (after eating pasta their entire lives) suddenly changing. Gluten is the latest rage but we’ve seen similar patterns with peanuts and soy (legumes), as well as many nuts, prior. Since the science used to support these diseases is often shaky (gluten labeling is not government regulated), it seems possible, perhaps even likely, that it’s because we’re barking up the wrong tree. Since GMOs were able to be patented in the 1970s food allergy numbers have skyrocketed so fast we don’t even have proper stats on them.
Epidemiologist Judy Carman used to investigate outbreaks of disease for a state government in Australia. She knows that health problems associated with GM foods might be impossible to track or take decades to discover. Moreover, the superficial, short-term animal feeding studies usually do not evaluate “biochemistry, immunology, tissue pathology, gut function, liver function, and kidney function” and are too short to test for cancer or reproductive or child health.
So who, you might ask, is the axe-wielding psychopath responsible for all this? As you well know this dude is hard to find. He wears a mask and hides out in (genetically modified) corn fields so dense you can’t even hear his chain saw idling. But as the plot thickens more and more evidence leads to a popular clique of characters.
When Ohio State University plant ecologist Allison Snow discovered problematic side effects in GM sunflowers, Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Dow AgroSciences blocked further research by withholding GM seeds and genes.
After Marc Lappé and Britt Bailey found significant reductions in cancer-fighting isoflavones in Monsanto’s GM soybeans, the seed seller, Hartz, told them they could no longer provide samples.
Research by a plant geneticist at a leading US university was also thwarted when two companies refused him GM corn. In fact, almost no independent studies are conducted that might find problems. According to a scathing opinion piece in an August 2009 Scientific American,
“Agritech companies have given themselves veto power over the work of independent researchers ... Only studies that the seed companies have approved ever see the light of a peer-reviewed journal.”
For example, if there was any negatives surrounding GMO production why wouldn’t it show up on foods labels? Only someone very popular would be able to stop this and Monsanto, and perhaps his good friend Dow, are pretty much the homecoming king and queen around here. Not only has Monsanto been able to keep GMO off of labels in the USA, it’s currently trying to force the European Union to eliminate it as well. If these things were ok, we must wonder, why wouldn’t they want us knowing about them? But then we find out Monsanto won’t serve GMO foods to their own executives. Lacking the charm to get us to drink their Kool-aid on our own, they’re trying to force it down our throats.
Good thing the movie’s not over. This rag-tag group of survivors has one, last, desperate plan. Unlike in a zombie armageddon, we have a choice over whether or not to have our brains eaten. As Dr. Mercola says “Together we CAN get GMOs banned from the US. Europe was able to do it over a decade ago without any government assistance. All they did was educate the consumers, and that was enough pressure on the food industry to drop their ploys.
If we band together as an effective army we will be able to do this. Please understand that the VAST majority of people in the US do not want GM foods, so this is an EASY battle to win. All we have to do is a bit of organizational work.”
So bust out your best evil-empire fightin' artillery and lock and load, or just click here for Smith’s Non GMO shopping guide. Remember the bad guys don’t always have to win.