By Dr. Mercola
I’ve warned you of the potential dangers of genetically engineered (GE) foods for many years now, pointing out that such crops might have wholly unforeseen consequences. In recent years, such suspicions have increasingly proven correct.
One of the latest pieces of evidence supporting the suspicion that GE crops are in no way, shape or form comparable to their natural counterparts is a nutritional analysis that shows just how different they really are.
Inherent differences are essentially implied by the fact that GE crop seeds can be patented in the first place. And in many ways, I believe Monsanto is slowly but surely inching its way toward patenting nature itself, in the same way others are fighting to maintain patent rights for human DNA.1
These companies are trying to patent “life,” and they likely will unless they’re stopped by the courts. But it’s quite clear that humans cannot outsmart nature.
The latest nutritional analysis of GE corn couldn’t be more relevant as the recently passed Agricultural Appropriations Bill (HR9332) included a hotly detested provision (Section 735) that places Monsanto above the law. As noted by the featured article:3
“With the recent passing of the Monsanto Protection Act, there is no question that mega corporations like Monsanto are able to wield enough power to even surpass that of the United States government.
The new legislation provides Monsanto with a legal safeguard against federal courts striking down any pending review of dangerous genetically modified crops. It is ironic to see the passing of such a bill in the face of continuous releases of GMO dangers.”
At present, the only way to avoid GMOs is to ditch processed foods from your grocery list, and revert back to whole foods grown according to organic standards.
Analysis Finds Monsanto’s GE Corn Nutritionally Inferior and High in Toxins
A report given to MomsAcrossAmerica4 by an employee of De Dell Seed Company (Canada's only non-GMO corn seed company) offers a stunning picture of the nutritional differences between genetically engineered (GE) and non-GE corn. Clearly, the former is NOT equivalent to the latter, which is the very premise by which genetically engineered crops were approved in the first place.
Here’s a small sampling of the nutritional differences found in this 2012 nutritional analysis:
- Calcium: GMO corn = 14 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 6,130 ppm (437 times more)
- Magnesium: GMO corn = 2 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 113 ppm (56 times more)
- Manganese: GMO corn = 2 ppm / Non-GMO corn = 14 ppm (7 times more)
GMO corn was also found to contain 13 ppm of glyphosate, compared to zero in non-GMO corn. This is quite significant and well worth remembering.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “safe” level for glyphosate in American water supplies is 0.7 ppm. In Europe, the maximum allowable level in water is 0.2 ppm. Organ damage in animals has occurred at levels as low as 0.1 ppm... At 13 ppm, GMO corn contains more than 18 times the “safe” level of glyphosate set by the EPA.
This is truly disturbing when you consider the fact that in countries like Argentina, glyphosate is blamed for the dramatic increase in devastating birth defects as well as cancer. Sterility and miscarriages are also increasing. This may be due to its similarity to DDT, which is well-known to cause reproductive problems, among other things.
Another health hazard associated with glyphosate is its effect on gut bacteria. Not only does it promote the growth of more virulent pathogens, it also kills off beneficial bacteria that might keep such pathogens in check—both in the soil, and in the gut of animals or humans that ingest the contaminated crop.
It's important to understand that the glyphosate actually becomes systemic throughout the plant, so it cannot be washed off. It's inside the plant. And once you eat it, it ends up in your gut where it can wreak total havoc with your health, considering the fact that 80 percent of your immune system resides there and is dependent on a healthy ratio of good and bad bacteria.
An additional disturbing piece of information is that GMO corn contained extremely high levels of formaldehyde. According to Dr. Huber, at least one study found that 0.97 ppm of ingested formaldehyde was toxic to animals. GMO corn contains a staggering 200 times that amount! Perhaps it’s no wonder that animals, when given a choice, avoid genetically engineered feed.
Next Up: Genetically Engineered Apples, Using New GE Technique
Besides so-called Roundup Ready crops, genetically engineered to resist otherwise lethal doses of glyphosate, there are other types of GE food crops. Another equally troublesome one is Bt crops, engineered in such a way as to contain a toxic protein within the plant itself. These were created by inserting a foreign gene into the plant in question.
Now we’re looking at yet another type of genetic engineering technology: RNA interference (RNAi), also known as post transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS).
According to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA),5 apples modified using this technique are slated for approval by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) sometime this year. The apple will not require approval by the FDA, which is responsible for human food and animal feed. It only needs approval by the USDA, which is responsible for protecting agriculture from pests and plant diseases.
The new GMO Arctic® Apple does not turn brown when sliced or bitten into. For the cosmetic “advantage” of these genetically engineered apples, you get to be a test subject for yet another untested genetic modification technology. How’s that for a bargain?
According to OCA, non-organic apples are already among the most pesticide-laden foods sold. In the Pesticide Action Network’s analysis of the most recent USDA data, apples tested positive for 42 different pesticides, including two endocrine disrupting pesticides (organophosphate and pyrethroid). The additional risk of untested tinkering with the RNA is not a step in the right direction if we want safer, healthier foods. The OCA writes:6
“[U]nlike the case with GMO corn or salmon, scientists aren’t injecting pesticides or genes from foreign plants or animals into the genes of apples to create the Frankenapple. While most existing genetically engineered plants are designed to make new proteins, the Arctic Apple is engineered to produce a form of genetic information called double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). The new dsRNA alters the way genes are expressed. The result, in the Arctic Apple’s case, is a new double strand of RNA that genetically 'silences' the apple’s ability to produce polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme that causes the apple to turn brown when it’s exposed to oxygen.
Harmless? The biotech industry, OSF and some scientists say yes. But others, including Professor Jack Heinemann (University of Canterbury, New Zealand), Sarah Agapito-Tenfen (from Santa Catarina University in Brazil) and Judy Carman (Flinders University in South Australia), say that dsRNA manipulation is untested, and therefore inherently risky.
Recent research has shown that dsRNAs can transfer from plants to humans and other animals through food. The biotech industry has always claimed that genetically engineered DNA or RNA is destroyed by human digestion, eliminating the danger of these mutant organisms damaging human genes or human health. But many biotech scientists say otherwise. They point to evidence that the manipulated RNA finds its way into our digestive systems and bloodstreams, potentially damaging or silencing vital human genes.”
OCA also points out the indirect health consequences. The chemical compound used in the RNA manipulation process is one that also combats plant pests. So what might conceivably happen when you compromise the fruit’s ability to fend off insects? As noted by OCA, most likely, growers will have to start using more pesticides—on a fruit that’s already among the most heavily sprayed. In the end, all those pesticides end up in your body and, certainly, avoiding toxic exposures is important if you want to protect your health.
Despite What You Are Told GE Crops Are NOT the 'Most Tested' Product in the World
It’s important to realize that genetically engineered (GE) foods have never been proven safe for human consumption over a lifetime, let alone over generations. Monsanto and its advocates claim genetically engineered crops are “the most-tested food product that the world has ever seen.” What they don’t tell you is that:
- Industry-funded research predictably affects the outcome of the trial. This has been verified by dozens of scientific reviews comparing funding with the findings of the study. When industry funds the research, it’s virtually guaranteed to be positive. Therefore, independent studies must be done to replicate and thus verify results
- The longest industry-funded animal feeding study was 90 days, which recent research has confirmed is FAR too short. In the world’s first independently funded lifetime feeding study, massive health problems set in during and after the 13th month, including organ damage and cancer
- Companies like Monsanto and Syngenta rarely if ever allow independent researchers access to their patented seeds, citing the legal protection these seeds have under patent laws. Hence, independent research is extremely difficult or nearly impossible to conduct. If these scientists get seeds from a farmer, they sue them into oblivion as one of their favorite tactics is to use the legal system to their advantage. Additionally, virtually all academic agricultural research is controlled by Monsanto as they are the primary supporters of these departments and none will risk losing their funding from them
- There is no safety monitoring. Meaning, once the GE item in question has been approved, not a single country on earth is actively monitoring and tracking reports of potential health effects
Middle School Student’s Brilliant Experiment
Speaking of research; while there’s no research to support the long-term safety of GMOs, studies do show that organic foods are safer than their conventional counterparts in terms of toxic exposure, and likely far more nutritious as well.
Three years ago, middle school student Ria Chhabra created a science fair project to help settle a debate between her parents, revolving around whether or not organic foods have merit. Now 16 and a sophomore at Clark High School in Plano, Texas, Ria’s continued research into the effect of organic food on fruit flies has earned her top honors in a national science competition, and her work was recently published in the respected scientific journal, PloS One.7 As reported by the New York Times:8
“The research, titled Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila Melanogaster, tracked the effects of organic and conventional diets on the health of fruit flies. By nearly every measure, including fertility, stress resistance and longevity, flies that fed on organic bananas and potatoes fared better than those who dined on conventionally raised produce.
While the results can’t be directly extrapolated to human health, the research nonetheless paves the way for additional studies on the relative health benefits of organic versus conventionally grown food...
The difference in outcomes among the flies fed different diets could be due to the effects of pesticide and fungicide residue from conventionally raised foods. Or it could be that the organic-fed flies thrived because of a higher level of nutrients in the organic produce. One intriguing idea raises the question of whether organically raised plants produce more natural compounds to ward off pests and fungi, and whether those compounds offer additional health benefits to flies, animals and humans who consume organic foods.”
While the scientific merit of organic food continues to be studied and debated among scientists and laypeople alike, the issue has been settled in the Chhabra household. According to Ria, all the fresh produce the family buys is now organic.
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.
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.