By Jeffrey M. Smith
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has called on all physicians to prescribe diets without genetically modified (GM) foods to all patients.1 They called for a moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), long-term independent studies, and labeling, stating,
"Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.
…There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation…"
Former AAEM President Dr. Jennifer Armstrong says,
"Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions."
Renowned biologist Pushpa M. Bhargava also believes that GMOs are a major contributor to the deteriorating health in America.
Pregnant Women and Babies at Great Risk
GM foods are particularly dangerous for pregnant moms and children. After GM soy was fed to female rats, most of their babies died—compared to 10 percent deaths among controls fed natural soy.2 GM-fed babies were smaller, and possibly infertile.3
Testicles of rats fed GM soy changed from the normal pink to dark blue.4 Mice fed GM soy also had altered young sperm.5
Embryos of GM soy-fed parent mice had changed DNA.6 And mice fed GM corn had fewer, and smaller, babies.7
In Haryana, India, most buffalo that ate GM cottonseed had reproductive complications such as premature deliveries, abortions, and infertility; many calves died.
About two dozen US farmers said thousands of pigs became sterile from certain GM corn varieties. Some had false pregnancies; others gave birth to bags of water. Cows and bulls also became infertile.8
In the US, incidence of low birth weight babies, infertility, and infant mortality are all escalating.
Food that Produces Poison
GM corn and cotton are engineered to produce a built-in pesticide called Bt-toxin—produced from soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis. When bugs bite the plant, poison splits open their stomach and kills them. Organic farmers and others use natural Bt bacteria spray for insect control, so biotech companies claim that Bt-toxin must be safe.
The Bt-toxin produced in GM plants, however, is thousands of times more concentrated than natural Bt spray. It is designed to be more toxic,9 has properties of an allergen, and cannot be washed off the plant.
Moreover, studies confirm that even the less toxic natural spray can be harmful. When dispersed by planes to kill gypsy moths in Washington and Vancouver, about 500 people reported allergy or flu-like symptoms.10,11 The same symptoms are now reported by farm workers from handling Bt cotton throughout India.12
GMOs Provoke Immune Reactions
GMO safety expert Arpad Pusztai says changes in immune status are "a consistent feature of all the [animal] studies."13
From Monsanto’s own research to government funded trials, rodents fed Bt corn had significant immune reactions.14 15
Soon after GM soy was introduced to the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50 percent. Ohio allergist Dr. John Boyles says
"I used to test for soy allergies all the time, but now that soy is genetically engineered, it is so dangerous that I tell people never to eat it."
GM soy and corn contain new proteins with allergenic properties.16 and GM soy has up to seven times more of a known soy allergen.17 Perhaps the US epidemic of food allergies and asthma is a casualty of genetic manipulation.
Animals Dying in Large Numbers
In India, animals graze on cotton plants after harvest. But when shepherds let sheep graze on Bt cotton plants, thousands died. Investigators said preliminary evidence "strongly suggests that the sheep mortality was due to a toxin. . . . most probably Bt-toxin."18 In one small study, all sheep fed Bt cotton plants died; those fed natural plants remained healthy.
In an Andhra Pradesh village, buffalo grazed on cotton plants for eight years without incident. On January 3rd, 2008, 13 buffalo grazed on Bt cotton plants for the first time. All died within three days.19
Bt corn is also implicated in the deaths of cows in Germany, and horses, water buffaloes, and chickens in the Philippines.20 In lab studies, twice the number of chickens fed Liberty Link corn died; 7 of 40 rats fed a GM tomato died within two weeks.21
Worst Finding of All—GMOs Remain Inside You
The only published human feeding study revealed that even after you stop eating GMOs, harmful GM proteins may be produced continuously inside of you; genes inserted into GM soy transfer into bacteria inside your intestines and continue to function.22
If Bt genes also transfer, eating corn chips might transform your intestinal bacteria into a living pesticide factory.
Warnings by Government Scientists Ignored and Denied
According to documents released from a lawsuit, scientists at the FDA warned that GM foods might create allergies, poisons, new diseases, and nutritional problems.23 But the White House ordered the agency to promote biotechnology, and Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, headed up the FDA’s GMO policy.
That policy declares that no safety studies on GMOs are required. Monsanto and other producers determine if their foods are safe.
Taylor later became Monsanto’s vice president, and was reinstalled at the FDA in 2009 by the Obama administration as the US Food Safety Czar.
How You Can Opt Out of Being a Guinea Pig
Biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute says,
"If there are problems [with GMOs], we will probably never know because the cause will not be traceable and many diseases take a very long time to develop."
In the nine years after GM crops were introduced in 1996, Americans with three or more chronic diseases jumped from 7 percent to 13 percent.24 But without any human clinical trials or post marketing surveillance, we may never know if GMOs are a contributor.
Citizens need not wait for more research to take the doctors’ advice: avoid GMOs.
For your convenience, I have prepared this Non-GMO Shopping Guide using information from the Center for Food Safety and Institute for Responsible Technology. Even a small percentage of people choosing non-GMO brands could force the food industry to remove all GM ingredients.
Thus, the AAEM’s non-GMO prescription may be a watershed for the US food supply.
Tell the USDA that you DO care about GE contamination of organic crops and the food you eat! Let the USDA know that you WILL reject GE Contaminated Alfalfa and Alfalfa-Derived Foods and that GE Alfalfa will significantly increase the use of pesticides, resulting in harm to human health and the overall environment.
Also, send the FDA your feedback now!
To learn more about the health dangers of GMOs, and what you can do to help end the genetic engineering of our food supply, please visit www.ResponsibleTechnology.org.
Keep Fighting for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods
While California Prop. 37 failed to pass last November, by a very narrow margin, the fight for GMO labeling is far from over. The field-of-play has now moved to the state of Washington, where the people's initiative 522, "The People's Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act," will require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it contains genetically engineered ingredients. As stated on LabelitWA.org:
"Calorie and nutritional information were not always required on food labels. But since 1990 it has been required and most consumers use this information every day. Country-of-origin labeling wasn't required until 2002. The trans fat content of foods didn't have to be labeled until 2006. Now, all of these labeling requirements are accepted as important for consumers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says we must know with labeling if our orange juice is from fresh oranges or frozen concentrate.
Doesn't it make sense that genetically engineered foods containing experimental viral, bacterial, insect, plant or animal genes should be labeled, too? Genetically engineered foods do not have to be tested for safety before entering the market. No long-term human feeding studies have been done. The research we have is raising serious questions about the impact to human health and the environment.
I-522 provides the transparency people deserve. I-522 will not raise costs to consumers or food producers. It simply would add more information to food labels, which manufacturers change routinely anyway, all the time. I-522 does not impose any significant cost on our state. It does not require the state to conduct label surveillance, or to initiate or pursue enforcement. The state may choose to do so, as a policy choice, but I-522 was written to avoid raising costs to the state or consumers."
Remember, as with CA Prop. 37, they need support of people like YOU to succeed. Prop. 37 failed with a very narrow margin simply because we didn't have the funds to counter the massive ad campaigns created by the No on 37 camp, led by Monsanto and other major food companies. Let's not allow Monsanto and its allies to confuse and mislead the people of Washington and Vermont as they did in California. So please, I urge you to get involved and help in any way you can, regardless of what state you live in.
- No matter where you live in the United States, please donate money to these labeling efforts through the Organic Consumers Fund.
- If you live in Washington State, please sign the I-522 petition. You can also volunteer to help gather signatures across the state.
- For timely updates on issues relating to these and other labeling initiatives, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
- Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the Washington initiative.