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The Health Hazards of GM Corn

January 09, 2010 | 59,218 views
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A study demonstrates the toxicity of three genetically modified corn varieties from the American seed company Monsanto, according to the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering.

"For the first time in the world, we've proven that GMO are neither sufficiently healthy nor proper to be commercialized ... Each time, for all three GMOs, the kidneys and liver, which are the main organs that react to a chemical food poisoning, had problems," said Gilles-Eric Séralini, an expert member of the Commission for Biotechnology Reevaluation.

The researchers based their analyses on the data supplied by Monsanto to health authorities to obtain the green light for commercialization, but they draw different conclusions after new statistical calculations.

Vote with Your Pocketbook, Every Day

Remember, the food companies on the left of this graphic spent tens of millions of dollars in the last two labeling campaigns—in California and Washington State—to prevent you from knowing what's in your food. You can even the score by switching to the brands on the right; all of whom stood behind the I-522 Right to Know campaign. Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference.

I-522 poster

As always, I encourage you to continue educating yourself about genetically engineered foods, and to share what you've learned with family and friends. Remember, unless a food is certified organic, you can assume it contains GMO ingredients if it contains sugar from sugar beet, soy, or corn, or any of their derivatives.

 

If you buy processed food, opt for products bearing the USDA 100% Organic label, as organics do not permit GMOs. You can also print out and use the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology. Share it with your friends and family, and post it to your social networks. Alternatively, download their free iPhone application, available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications. For more in-depth information, I highly recommend reading the following two books, authored by Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology:

For timely updates, join the Non-GMO Project on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter. Please, do your homework. Together, we have the power to stop the chemical technology industry from destroying our food supply, the future of our children, and the earth as a whole. All we need is about five percent of American shoppers to simply stop buying genetically engineered foods, and the food industry would have to reconsider their source of ingredients—regardless of whether the products bear an actual GMO label or not.

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Monsanto’s own study has come back to bite them.

And rightly so—they clearly concealed the results of this study, massaging the data until they could slide it by as supporting the safety of their product.

It took an independent team of researchers to reexamine data and get the truth out.

Isn’t it interesting that every time Monsanto conducts scientific research on its own products, the conclusions are that they are safe? But each time independent scientists study them, all kinds of horrific side effects are uncovered.

Some former Monsanto employees report that anything that interferes with advancing the commercialization of their biotechnology is pushed aside.

One former Monsanto scientist said he knew of several fellow Monsanto researchers involved in feeding studies who have all (secretly) switched to organic milk.

What does that tell you?

If You Plant It, They Will Come

The United States has planted more GM crops than any other country every year since 1996, when GM crops were first made available commercially.

It’s bad enough that the United States allows GM crops to be grown at all—and it’s even worse that we grow two-thirds of the GM crops worldwide.

By far, corn is the crop taking up the most acreage.

The 2007 U.S. corn crop was one for the record books at 13.1 billion bushels of production, eclipsing the previous high set in 2004 of 11.8 billion bushels, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The 2007 production level was up 24 percent from 2006[i].

Corn has exploded as a result of our dependence upon high fructose corn syrup, as well as its use in ethanol, although corn-based biofuel appears to be on the decline due to its excessive carbon footprint.

United States Rather Slow to “Get It”

The US is painfully slow to wise up about the damaging effects of GM corn.

Germany recently banned the GM corn variety called MON 810, which had been the only remaining GM crop permitted in that country. MON 810 had already been banned in Austria, Hungary, Greece, France and Luxembourg.

What do they know that we don’t?

We are still reserving tens of millions of acres for genetically modified corn!

The Scientific Studies Couldn’t Be Clearer

Biology professor Bela Darvas of Hungary‘s Debrecen University discovered that Monsanto’s Mon 810 corn is lethal to two Hungarian protected species and one insect classified as rare. Now Monsanto refuses to give Darvas any more Mon 810 to use in his studies.

They also refused his request for Mon 863, another GM variety.

So, not only has MON 810 been shown to cause serious damage to animals, but it may also wipe out protected plant and insect species.

A mountain of evidence now exists about the troubling effects of GM corn:

  • Rats fed GM corn have kidney, liver, and blood abnormalities whereas rats fed non-GM corn had normal organs and blood.

  • GM corn has led to serious reproductive problems in mice. Mice fed Monsanto’s GM corn showed lower fertility and had offspring with lower body weight.

  • An Italian study in 2008[ii] found significant disturbances in the immune function of mice fed GM corn. 

  • Another study showed that mice fed bt corn (bt stands for “bacterial toxin”— engineered to manufacture a natural bacterial toxin) suffered multiple immune system responses, “as if they were eating the pure bt toxin alone.”

  • Several US farmers reported sterility and fertility problems among pigs and cows fed GM corn.

  •  In Germany, twelve cows that had eaten GM corn mysteriously died.

  • In feeding trials with chickens, twice the number of chickens died when fed GM corn as those fed non-GM corn.

Adding to the potential devastation is the fact that corn is a wind-pollinated plant, which means it can spread from one acre to another. While growers of GM food often say their crops will be contained and unable to contaminate nearby fields, from an environmental perspective, contamination between GM and non-GM crops is generally acknowledged to be unavoidable.

What can stop windstorms, tornadoes or other weather from blowing GM pollen or seeds onto non-GM crops?

Not a whole lot.

The environmental impact of GM crops may be worse than the health impact. Genetic pollution is self-propagating. It is altering our biosphere in ways that could outlast climate change and nuclear waste.

You can’t “recall” genes from the environment—just like putting the genie back in the bottle.

Although Monsanto doesn’t believe (or admit) this is a possibility, their shortsighted focus on profits is blinding them to the very real threats this technology is posing to the viability of the human race.

Monsanto’s influence in the government is legendary. Consequently, policy makers have not heeded the warnings to do long-term safety testing.

How Genetic Modification is Actually Executed

The making of a GM seed isn’t the highly precise operation you might expect.

According to Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, once a gene is identified that creates a protein that they want, it is shot into the DNA with a “gun.”

They don’t care where the gene ends up...as long as it attaches somewhere.

This blasting creates all manner of problems. In fact, collateral damage is a given—5 percent of the surrounding genes can be disrupted! The DNA is sometimes truncated, sometimes mutated, creating proteins that are different and predictably unpredictable.

Is it any wonder, then, how genetically modified foods carry with them so many unintended and devastating consequences?

According to Jeffrey Smith, the most common result of GM is surprise side effects. These side effects come in four main categories:

  1. Allergenic

  2. Toxic

  3. Carcinogenic

  4. Anti-nutritional

To bump up the desired GM effects, developers have been inserting what’s called a “promoter,” which has been derived from a virus. A promoter acts like a switch to turn on the gene it’s attached to. And the promoter’s action is not confined to the gene it rides in on—it’s been known to turn on other genes around it, permanently, at high volume.

It can turn on an allergen, a toxin, a carcinogen—we don’t know—it’s genetic roulette.

The promoters could switch on dormant viruses, producing super-diseases. One pesticide-tolerant gene called “the liberty link” could turn your body into a pesticide factory for life. The viral gene might transfer to your body a permanent suppression of your viral defenses.

We just don’t know.

And the reason we don’t know is that the government refuses to demand the rigorous testing of these GM products BEFORE permitting them into your food supply.

A Bad Gut Feeling

GM industry representatives falsely claim that when you eat a genetically modified food, the DNA is destroyed by digestion.

Researchers have now proven this is false.

British researchers demonstrated that GM DNA from crops can find its way into human gut bacteria, creating health risks. The concern is that the antibiotic marker genes inserted with the GM material could cause a person to be resistant to antibiotic medicines.[iii]

The study by Newcastle University in the UK was conducted on 7 human volunteers who, in the past, had their lower intestines removed and now use colostomy bags. After eating a meal containing GM soy, researchers were surprised to find that a relatively large proportion of GM DNA survived the digestive process.

In 3 of the 7 volunteers, they found bacteria had taken up the herbicide-resistant gene from the GM food at a very low level.

And this was after only one GM meal.

Not only that, but researchers also found “Roundup ready” gut bacteria from past GM soybean consumption. This was NOT from the current experiment—it was evidence that similar gene transfer had occurred in the past, from prior consumption of GM “Roundup ready” soy. (Roundup ready is the term used to mean soy that was engineered to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup.)

Michael Antonio, a senior lecturer in molecular genetics at King’s College Medical School in London, said this study was significant because the researchers demonstrated that you can get GM plant DNA in your gut bacteria, which was previously considered impossible.

This is the first clear evidence that antibiotic marker genes can jump to the bacteria in your stomach and increase your risk for an antibiotic-resistant infection.

The Mission to Exterminate GM From Our Food Supply

There are two strategies the non-GM movement is working on to rid our food supply of GM products:

  1. Labeling all foods for their GM/non-GM status

  2. Educating the public so that it will choose non-GM foods over GM foods.

The labeling campaign is making progress, thanks to the persistence of Jeffrey Smith and the Institute for Responsible Technology, an organization whose goal is to end the genetic engineering of our food supply and the outdoor release of GM crops. If you would like to sign the petition to President Obama in support of mandatory labeling of GM foods, click here.

But don’t wait for the labels to protect yourself and your family.

Nearly all GM foods can be avoided by steering clear of four basic food products:

  1. Corn

  2. Soy

  3. Cottonseed

  4. Canola

Additionally, avoid the following produce that is commonly GM by purchasing only organic varieties:

  • Zucchini

  • Crookneck squash

  • Hawaiian papaya

  • Sugar derived from sugar beets (new GM crop as of 2009)

For your convenience, I have prepared this Non-GMO Shopping Guide using information from the Center for Food Safety and Institute for Responsible Technology.

According to Jeffrey Smith, when people are educated about GM foods and provided a choice of products to buy, surveys show that at least 90 percent will opt for non-GM. 

Therefore, between labeling products and a massive education campaign, GM foods will become a thing of the past. Once the tipping point is reached, the demand for non-GM products will be so fierce that market forces will smother the GM market once and for all.


[+] Sources and References