By Dr. Mercola
Roundup Ready soy is now being cultivated on a massive scale across the globe, along with the exponentially increasing use of the herbicide Roundup. Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" soy beans are genetically modified to survive otherwise lethal doses of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the company's herbicide Roundup.
It's a win-win for Monsanto. But it's a loss for just about everyone else.
One of the countries most affected by genetically engineered soy is Argentina, whose population is being sickened by massive spraying of herbicides across the country's Pampas (the country's "fertile plain").
Argentina's Pampas used to be dotted with dairy and vegetable farms, but now, large-scale soybean monoculture blankets most of their cultivated land, making them especially susceptible to the damaging effects of genetically engineered soy. The impact can be better appreciated by considering the following statistics:
- Soy is the main income source for landowners and the state—soybeans are considered a "gold mine" by Argentinians; soy exports generate 16,000 million dollars a year
- The area cultivated with soy has reached 19 million hectares, representing 56 percent of Argentina's cultivated land1
- 98 percent of Argentina's soybean production is genetically modified2
- 190 million liters of glyphosate (the active agent in Roundup) are sprayed in Argentina annually, which is leading to not only illness among the population but to widespread deforestation, as trees are among the victims these herbicides leave in their wake of destruction
Soya burgers are a staple of today's Argentinian diet. Argentinian children were consuming so much genetically engineered soy that they began developing breasts from the estrogenic effects, before authorities stepped in with warnings.
Studies also strongly suggest that the glyphosate that these crops are doused with can cause cancer and birth deformities; both of which are occurring at increasing rates in areas where spraying is done. Sterility and miscarriages are also increasing. Experts warn that in 10 to 15 years, rates of cancer, infertility, and endocrine dysfunction could reach catastrophic levels in Argentina. But few people are listening.
'It's Food for Today, Hunger and Cancer for Tomorrow'
The immediate symptoms are always the same for Argentinian bystanders in the spray zone: dizziness, allergic reactions and itching, mouth swelling, and general malaise that's similar to the feeling of coming down with the flu. People are warned to stay inside when spraying is underway, but they report getting sick in spite of this confinement.
When those affected visit their physicians, they're told it's "all in their heads." Authorities also turn a deaf ear—as does the government when it's presented with scientific evidence of the dangerous effects of Monsanto's products for their people and environment. Fortunately, increasing numbers of scientists are now starting to speak out. For example, the engineers' school in Santiago del Estero announced that chemicals are causing 100 babies to be born with deformities every year. One of the most influential studies was conducted by one of Argentina's leading scientists, Andres Carrasco, who works in Argentina's Ministry of Science.
Andrés Carrasco Attacked for Exposing the Truth
Embryonic specialist Andres Carrasco decided to investigate the health effects of glyphosate for himself after hearing so many reports by desperate peasant and indigenous communities who were suffering from exposure to toxic herbicides. According to Dr. Carrasco, his studies show glyphosate exposure can cause defects in the brain, intestines, and hearts of amphibian fetuses, and these results can be applied to humans. Moreover, the amount of Roundup used on genetically engineered soy fields was as much as 1,500 times greater than that which created the defects.
According to an article in Grain, the biotech industry "mounted an unprecedented attack on Carrasco, ridiculing his research and even issuing personal threats." In addition, four men arrived unannounced at his laboratory and were extremely aggressive, attempting to interrogate Carrasco and obtain details of his study.
"It was a violent, disproportionate, dirty reaction," he said. "I hadn't even discovered anything new, only confirmed conclusions that others had reached."
The conclusions to which Carrasco is referring are those from independent researchers who have found strong evidence glyphosate causes the following:
Carrasco's and others' work point to the fact that the public, in Argentina and elsewhere, is being subject to a massive biological experiment involving the effects of genetic manipulation of the food supply. Genetically engineered food products have NEVER been tested for safety—so the long-term effects are largely unknown. The warnings science has provided demand a thorough investigation into just how much glyphosate human beings and animals can safely ingest. At present, no such investigation has taken place, and most regulatory agencies choose instead to rely in industry studies claiming glyphosate is safe.
Roundup has been shown to be lethal to amphibians. Are we next? Where is the tipping point for the human race? How much more can we tolerate in the adulteration of our food supply?
Why We MUST Insist on Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods
Labeling may be the only way to stop the proliferation of genetically engineered foods in the U.S., but simple petitions will likely fail. We strongly supported state initiatives, such as California's ballot initiative to require labeling for genetically engineered foods sold in their state.
Many don't fully appreciate the strategy of seeking to have genetically engineered foods labeled in California. The belief is that large food companies would refuse to have dual labeling; one for California and another for the rest of the country. It would be very expensive, not to mention a logistical nightmare. To avoid the dual labeling, many would likely opt to not use genetically engineered ingredients in their product, especially if the new label would be the equivalent of a skull and crossbones. This is why we were so committed to this initiative.
Powerful confirmation of this belief occurred in early 2012 when both Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo Inc. chose to alter one of their soda ingredients as a result of California's labeling requirements for carcinogens:3
"Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. are changing the way they make the caramel coloring used in their sodas as a result of a California law that mandates drinks containing a certain level of carcinogens bear a cancer warning label. The companies said the changes will be expanded nationally to streamline their manufacturing processes. They've already been made for drinks sold in California."
This is a PERFECT example of the national impact a California labeling law can, and no doubt WILL, have. While California is the only state requiring the label to state that the product contains the offending ingredient, these companies are switching their formula for the entire US market, rather than have two different labels. According to USA Today:
"A representative for Coca-Cola, Diana Garza Ciarlante, said the company directed its caramel suppliers to modify their manufacturing processes to reduce the levels of the chemical 4-methylimidazole, which can be formed during the cooking process and as a result may be found in trace amounts in many foods. 'While we believe that there is no public health risk that justifies any such change, we did ask our caramel suppliers to take this step so that our products would not be subject to the requirement of a scientifically unfounded warning,' Garza-Giarlante said in an email."
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Learn More About Genetically Engineered Foods
Due to lack of labeling, many Americans are still unfamiliar with what genetically engineered foods are. We have a plan to change that, and I urge you to participate and to continue learning more about genetically engineered foods and helping your friends and family do the same.
To start, please 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. You can also download a free iPhone application, available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.
Your BEST strategy, however, is to simply buy USDA 100% Organic products whenever possible, (as these do not permit genetically engineered ingredients) or buy whole fresh produce and meat from local farmers. The majority of the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) you're exposed to are via processed foods, so by cooking from scratch with whole foods, you can be sure you're not inadvertently consuming something laced with altered ingredients. When you do purchase processed food, avoid products containing anything related to corn or soy that are not 100 percent organic, as any foods containing these two non-organic ingredients are virtually guaranteed to contain genetically engineered ingredients, as well as toxic herbicide residues.
To learn more about genetically engineered foods, I highly recommend the following films and lectures: