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Story at-a-glance -

  • The UK government’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is the largest funder of Rothamsted Research, which is a leading developer of GM technologies
  • Rothamsted Research has a joint laboratory with China under the direction of Guangyuan He, a researcher whose 2012 study on GM wheat was recently retracted due to fraudulent content “with serious consequences to wheat production and its economic impact”
  • Increasing research demonstrates GM crop dangers to both the environment and human health, but governments around the globe continue to ignore these red flags in favor of industry interests
 

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Has Links to GMOs

June 04, 2013 | 47,986 views

By Dr. Mercola

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is one of seven UK Research Councils, which are funded by the government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Their vision, as stated on their Web site, is "to lead world-class 21st century bioscience, promoting innovation and realizing benefits for society within and beyond the UK."1

The UK government is known to be very receiving to genetically modified organisms (GMO) and last year the UK's Agriculture Biotechnology Council (ABC) even published a new report "Going for Growth," which, according to GMWatch, "calls for GM to be put at the heart of agricultural development in the UK."2

While ABC is not a government authority -- it's a GM industry lobby group that represents the interests of Monsanto, Bayer, DuPont, Syngenta and other biotech giants – the organization met with key UK government officials to present their case, and reportedly "the industry's push for GM is already being welcomed."

This indeed appears to be the case, as now evidenced by a significant connection between BBSRC and a leading biotech research firm, Rothamsted Research.

BBSRC Is Rothamsted's Largest Funder, Tied to Fraudulent Research

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is the largest funder of Rothamsted Research. This publically funded firm is working on developing projects like genetically modified wheat that deters aphids and genetically modifying wheat and other seeds to change the contents of minerals, fatty acids and other nutrients.

Last year a group of 400 protestors, including farmers, politicians and activists, demonstrated outside an open-air test plot for Rothamsted's GM wheat, voicing concerns that it could contaminate other crops and take away consumers' access to non-GM wheat.

Professor Maurice Moloney, head of Rothamsted Research, also authored a statement from the UK's Science Media Centre (which is funded by Monsanto, Syngenta and other biotech giants) that attempted to debunk an independent study demonstrating harm from eating genetically engineered food…

Yet Rothamsted Research is in no place to be discrediting other research. In fact, they have a joint laboratory with China under the direction of Guangyuan He, a researcher whose 2012 study on GM wheat was recently retracted due to fraudulent content "with serious consequences to wheat production and its economic impact."3

This is the same group of researchers who also retracted a separate study on GM wheat last year after claiming they were having trouble replicating the findings.4

Ironically, all the links to Rothamsted's Web pages mentioning its Joint Lab with China and its ties to Guangyuan He were mysteriously no longer working at the time of this writing.5

Government Ties to the Biotech Industry Are Not Confined to the UK…

It's not only the UK government that appears to be selling out its citizens, funding GM research and allowing GM crops to be planted even as mounting evidence points to their significant environmental and human health risks.

In the US, Monsanto―a company that admits it wants to own the world's food supply through its patented genetically engineered seeds―spends millions lobbying Congress each year. Monsanto's legislative agenda also includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -- all of which have a say in whether or not you get to know whether the food you're eating has been genetically engineered.

To get an idea of just how broad and deep Monsanto's reach is, take a look at the following chart. Over the years, this biotech giant has successfully infiltrated an ever-increasing number of high-level federal regulatory positions in the US government, many of which are positions meant to protect your food safety. The bottom line is that the biotech industry is becoming intertwined with vast sections of government's around the globe, successfully blurring the line between the agencies meant to protect the food supply and those who wish to control it…

Why Is Caution Warranted for GMOs?

Many consumers around the globe are still in the dark about the very real risks that GM crops pose. The Canadian news station CBC News recently reported that despite warnings that GM foods could destroy the environment and pose risks to agricultural diversity, most Canadians have "no strong views on the matter." Andreas Boecker, an associate professor at the University of Guelph who has researched consumer acceptance of GM foods, told CBC News:6

"These concerns among farmers and informed groups of consumers do not translate to the average consumer. They are too far removed from the concerns of the farming community… And if you go by shopping behavior most foods that they buy have some share of GMOs."

This is precisely what the biotech industry wants, even as increasing research demonstrates GM crop dangers. One recent study found that rats fed a type of genetically engineered corn that is prevalent in the US food supply for two years developed massive mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and other serious health problems. This was at dietary amounts of about 10 percent. If you live in the US and you eat processed foods, your diet probably contains far more than 10 percent GM foods…

Last year, University of Canterbury Professor Jack Heinemann also released results from genetic research he conducted on a type of GM wheat, which showed with 'no doubt' that molecules created in the wheat, which are intended to silence wheat genes to change its carbohydrate content, may match human genes and potentially silence them. This could lead to significant changes in the way glucose and carbohydrates are stored in the human body, which could be potentially deadly for children and lead to serious illness in adults.

A 2012 nutritional analysis of GMO corn versus non-GMO corn also showed that these two foods are not essentially equal, as both the biotech industry and government agencies like to claim. Instead, shocking differences in nutritional content were found showing non-GMO corn contains 437 times more calcium, 56 times more magnesium, and 7 times more manganese than GMO corn.7

It's important to realize that genetically engineered foods have never been proven safe for human consumption over a lifetime, let alone over generations. 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. Not to mention, there is no safety monitoring. 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, which means we may never know their true consequences, that is, until it's too late.

Did You Know the Purported 'Benefits' of GM Crops Are Largely Untrue?

The authors of the report GMO Myths and Truths8 (who include Michael Antoniou, PhD, a 28-year veteran of genetic engineering technology who has himself invented a number of gene expression biotechnologies, as well as John Fagan, PhD, a leading authority on food sustainability, biosafety, and GMO testing) took a science-based approach to evaluating the available research, and came to the conclusion that most of the scientific evidence regarding safety and increase yield potential do not support the claims made at all.

In fact, the evidence demonstrates that the claims for genetically engineered foods are not just wildly overblown; they simply aren't true. It makes it all the more alarming that the UK and US governments continue to give GM crops a green light when these authors concluded GM crops:

Are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GE crops Can be toxic, allergenic and less nutritious than their natural counterparts Are not adequately regulated to ensure safety
Do not increase yield potential Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant "superweeds," compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops
Have mixed economic effects Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity Do not offer effective solutions to climate change
Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farmed crops Cannot solve the problem of world hunger but distract from its real causes – poverty, lack of access to food and, increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on  

 

According to their report, there are three major potential sources of adverse health effects from genetically engineered foods:

  1. The genetically modified gene product – for example, the Bt toxin in GM insecticidal crops may be toxic or allergenic
  2. The GM transformation process may produce mutagenic effects, gene regulatory effects, or effects at other levels of biological structure and function that result in new toxins or allergens and/or disturbed nutritional value
  3. Changes in farming practices linked to the use of a genetically modified organism may result in toxic residues – for example, higher levels of crop contamination with the herbicide Roundup are an inevitable result of using GM Roundup Ready® crops

In the UK GM Foods Must Be Labeled, But NOT in the US

Even as their government continues to fund and welcome GMOs, residents of the UK at least have the ability to identify foods that contain GMOs by their labels. In fact, this is the case in the entire European Union (EU). According to the Food Standards Agency:9

"In the EU, if a food contains or consists of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or contains ingredients produced from GMOs, this must be indicated on the label. For GM products sold 'loose', information must be displayed immediately next to the food to indicate that it is GM."

This is in stark contrast to the US, where GM foods are still not labeled. But chances are, if you eat processed foods, your diet is chock full of GM ingredients you didn't even know about -- causing equally unknown consequences to your health. GM crops already in production in the US include:10

Alfalfa (first planting 2011) Canola (approx. 90% of US crop) Corn (approx. 88% of US crop in 2011)
Cotton (approx. 90% of US crop in 2011) Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres) Soy (approx. 94% of US crop in 2011)
Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of US crop in 2010) Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres) Animal products (milk, meat, eggs, honey, etc.) because of contamination in feed

 

Common ingredients derived from these ubiquitous GM crops, which are added to the majority of US processed foods, include:11

Amino Acids Aspartame Ascorbic Acid Sodium Ascorbate
Vitamin C Citric Acid Sodium Citrate Ethanol
Flavorings ("natural" and "artificial") High-Fructose Corn Syrup Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein Lactic Acid
Maltodextrins Molasses Monosodium Glutamate Sucrose
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) Xanthan Gum Vitamins Yeast Products

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