In this interview, Jeffrey Smith, author of the bestseller Seeds of Deception, explains how genetically modified foods cause health problems, and their potential for creating a vast array of unforeseen and surprising illnesses.
He also sheds light on how the corruption within the U.S. government, the FDA and the GMO industry has allowed, and perpetuated, the cover-up.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Jeffrey Smith has written two books about the significant danger genetically modified (GM) foods pose to your health, and the health of the entire planet.
His first book, Seeds of Deception, is the world's bestselling book on the topic. His second, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, provides overwhelming evidence that GMOs are unsafe and should never have been introduced.
He's also the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, whose Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to create the tipping point of consumer rejection of GMOs, forcing them out of our food supply. As a major force riling against GM foods, Smith is responsible for limiting the spread of GM crops in the US, just like others have successfully done in Europe.
Genetically Modified Foods = Toxins in Every Bite?
Corn chips, or tortilla chips, are quite pervasive. Perhaps you've had some yourself this week? Well, let's see how you feel about buying them again once you realize what you're risking by eating them.
In the only human feeding study ever published on genetically modified foods, seven volunteers ate so-called Roundup-ready soybeans. These are soybeans that have herbicide-resistant genes inserted into them in order to survive being sprayed with otherwise deadly doses of Roundup herbicide.
In three of the seven volunteers, the gene inserted into the soy transferred into the DNA of their intestinal bacteria, and continued to function long after they stopped eating the GM soy!
There are serious medical implications to this finding. However, the GM-friendly UK government, who funded the study, chose not to fund any follow up research to see if GM corn -- which are engineered to produce an insecticide called BT toxin -- might also transfer and continue to create insecticide inside your intestines.
These kinds of studies are sorely needed, and fast, because as of right now, about 85 percent of the corn grown in the US is genetically engineered to either produce an insecticide, or to survive the application of herbicide. And about 91-93 percent of all soybeans are genetically engineered to survive massive doses of Roundup herbicide.
What this means is that nearly ALL foods you buy that contain either corn or soy, in any form, will contain GMO unless it's certified organic by the USDA. Other major GM crops include cottonseed and canola.
When trying to avoid these GM crops, you'd also have to avoid all the derivatives of them, which would include items such as maltodextrin, soy lecitin, and high fructose corn syrup.
Other common GM products include:
• Some varieties of zucchini, crookneck squash, and papayas from Hawaii
• Milk containing rbGH
• Rennet (containing genetically modified enzymes) used to make hard cheeses
• Aspartame (NutraSweet)
How Genetic Engineering Works
Many are under the flawed assumption that genetic engineering is a very precise, refined science.
Not so, explains Smith.
"… in order to understand the risks associated with GMOs, I'm going to back up and talk about the process of creating a genetically modified organism because if we understand that, then a whole host of things that can go wrong all of a sudden become clear.
… The biotech industry gives you this impression that it's a very clean process. We just take a gene from a species and carefully splice it into another, and the only thing that's different is it's producing some new beneficial protein to produces some trait.
This is far from the truth.
What they do is – let's say you want to create a corn plant that produces a pesticide. So you go to the soil bacterium called BT for "Bacillus thuringiensis" and you change it so it's more toxic, and you make millions of copies of the gene.
You actually put a piece of a virus there which turns it on, it's called the promoter. It's the "on" switch that turns this gene on, 24/7, around the clock.
You make millions of copies and you put it in a gun and you shoot that gun into a plate of millions of cells, hoping that some of the genes make it into the DNA of some of those cells. Then you clone those cells into plants.
Now the process of insertion and cloning causes massive collateral damage in the DNA that could have higher levels, and do have higher levels, of allergens and toxins.
… Anti-nutrients of soybeans that are genetically engineered have as much as seven times higher the amount of a known allergen cold trypsin inhibitor when compared to non-GM soy, in their cooked state.
There is a new allergen in genetically modified corn. There is a new anti-nutrient in the [GM] soy which blocks the absorption of nutrients.
They don't look for these things. These are found after they're on the market by some few of the independent researchers that are doing their work."
Farmers have long used BT spray on crops, and because it's a natural bacterium, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the biotech companies claim it is safe for human consumption.
However, this too is clearly misguided optimism.
"Based on peer reviewed published studies, animals like mice that were fed BT had damaged tissues and immune responses as powerful as if they've been fed cholera toxin, and then they became multiple-chemically sensitive to where they started to react to formally harmless compounds."
Genetically Engineered Health Problems
It's important to realize that when the BT is spliced into the corn, it's thousands of times more concentrated than the spray version.
According to Smith, thousands of farm workers who harvest BT-cotton in India are complaining of rashes all over their bodies. And animals grazing on BT cotton plants after harvest have died, sometimes within a day or so.
This should tell you something.
Now, some will point out the fact that humans are not dying like flies from eating GM foods. But the death of grazing cattle is likely the result of an acute reaction to large exposure. So, as Smith states, it's still an indicator for what might be happening in the human system, albeit at a much slower rate.
For example, Smith mentions an Italian study where they fed BT corn to mice. As a result, the mice expressed a wide variety of immune responses commonly associated with diseases such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Various types of cancer
- Lou Gehrig's disease
In addition, Smith has documented at least 65 serious health risks from GM products of all kinds.
- Offspring of rats fed GM soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability to reproduce
- Male mice fed GM soy had damaged young sperm cells
- The embryo offspring of GM soy-fed mice had altered DNA functioning
- Several US farmers reported sterility or fertility problems among pigs and cows fed on GM corn varieties
- Investigators in India have documented fertility problems, abortions, premature births, and other serious health issues, including deaths, among buffaloes fed GM cottonseed products
Genetically modified foods are, from my perception, one of the most significant threats that we have against the very sustainability of the human race.
Although Monsanto doesn't believe (or admit) this is a possibility, their shortsighted focus on profits is blinding them to the very real threats that this technology is posing to the viability of the human race.
How Conflicts of Interest May Be Destroying Health of Millions
In this interview, Smith discusses some of the political intricacies involved with GM food labeling, and some of the more shocking conflicts of interest that may be harming literally millions of people.
Back in 1992, the FDA authority responsible for the decision of whether or not to label GM foods turned out to be a former attorney for none other than Monsanto. His name is Michael Taylor.
He went from being Monsanto's attorney to serving as their vice president, and after that he became a policy maker at the FDA.
At this point in time, Taylor serves as the US food safety czar!
Taylor claimed that the agency was not aware of any information showing that GM foods were significantly different than conventional foods, and therefore no testing and no labeling were required.
Since then, documents made public from a lawsuit showed that it was a lie that the policy was clearly fictitious.
In fact, the overwhelming consensus among the FDA's own scientists were that genetically modified foods were inherently dangerous and could create allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems, and of course they should be labeled because they are a food additive and new food additives must be labeled.
However, Smith explains, the FDA was directed by the White House to promote the biotechnology industry, and they knew that if they labeled GM foods, most Americans would avoid it like the plague. So, true to form, they supported the economic interests of the biotech companies at the cost of long-term human and environmental health.
It remains to be seen whether or not this type of blatant conflict of interest will be perpetrated again, allowing genetically modified alfalfa to be brought to market.
There's currently a grassroots movement underway demanding that the Chief Justice force Clarence Thomas to recuse himself in the April Supreme Court consideration of GM alfalfa.
As it turns out, Thomas is also a former Monsanto attorney, who served the biotech giant from 1976 to 1979.
What You Can Do NOW!
The silver lining in all of this, however, is that we actually don't NEED policy changes to kick GMO's out of the market!
The only requirement is getting enough people to consistently avoid buying anything that contain GM-derived ingredients, and the food manufacturers will do the rest.
They WILL respond to market demands, because if they don't they go out of business.
In addition, the natural food industry has decided to turn October of this year into "Non-GMO Month," and October 10th (10/10/10) will be "Non-GMO Day."
I encourage you all to prepare for October by spreading the information about GM foods. Together we CAN make a major difference!
You can also help by donating money to ResponsibleTechnology.org. Your donation will help preserve access to healthy, whole foods for you and for future generations. Let's stop this disaster from happening, and stop this insanity from being coerced upon us.