Posts Tagged ‘gmo’
Insecticidal Bt toxins such as those produced in genetically engineered plants can be detrimental to human cells. This is a result of recent research led by researchers at the University of Caen (France).
Their experiments showed that toxins produced in, for example, the genetically engineered maize MON810, can significantly impact the viability of human cells. The effects were observed with relatively high concentrations of the toxins, nevertheless there is cause for concern.
According to companies like Monsanto, which produces genetically engineered maize with these toxins, the toxins are supposed to be active only against particular insects and should have no effect on mammals and humans at all.
For the first time, experiments have now shown that they can have an effect on human cells. These kinds of investigations are not a requirement for risk assessment in Europe or in any other region.
Another finding of the researchers concerns a herbicide formulation sold under the brand name Roundup. Massive amounts of this herbicide are sprayed on genetically engineered soybean crops and its residues can be found in food and feed.
According to the new publication, even extremely low dosages of Roundup (glyphosate formulations) can damage human cells. These findings are in accordance with several other investigations highlighting unexpected health risks associated with glyphosate preparations.
“We were very much surprised by our findings. Until now, it has been thought almost impossible for Bt proteins to be toxic to human cells. Now further investigations have to be conducted to find out how these toxins impact the cells and if combinatorial effects with other compounds in the food and feed chain have to be taken into account,” says Gilles-Eric Séralini from the University of Caen, who supervised the experiments. “In conclusion, these experiments show that the risks of Bt toxins and of Roundup have been underestimated.”
Bt toxins and tolerance to herbicides are broadly used in genetically engineered plants. Bt proteins only naturally occur in soil bacteria. By introducing the modified toxin gene into the plants, the structure of the toxins is modified and may thereby cause selectivity to be changed. The content of the proteins within the plants is highly variable.
Many genetically engineered plants contain several Bt toxins at the same time. For example, SmartStax produces six different Bt toxins and therefore has a higher overall content of the proteins. In addition, it was made tolerant to herbicides.
So far, there has been no investigation of the combinatorial effects of these toxins and residues from spraying, or their potential risks for human health, which was considered unlikely. The researchers have now shown that interactivity does occur. Under the specific conditions of their experiment, the modified Bt toxin lowered the toxicity of Roundup.
Further investigations are necessary to examine other potential combinatorial effects under varying conditions.
“These results are pretty worrying. Risk assessment requirements for genetically engineered plants and pesticides need to be rigidly enforced. In the light of these findings, we think that the commercialization of these plants is not in accordance with EU regulations”, says Christoph Then at Testbiotech.
Testbiotech is closely following risk assessment at the European Food Safety Authority EFSA and has repeatedly brought attention to gaps in risk assessment.
The research was supported by GEKKO foundation (Germany). The Committee for Research and Independent Investigation on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN) Association (France) and Testbiotech (Germany) were involved in planning the experiments and the discussion of results. Findings were published after peer review process.
Molecular engineers working in laboratories for Monsanto, the giant American biotech company, aregene-splicing vegetable seedlings with poisonous pesticides and herbicidesso the plants are inherently protected from the insects and worms that might damage them.The majority of products Americans eat daily contain some form of GMO soy, corn, canola (rapeseed) oil or cotton seed oil. Research shows that consuming the popular herbicide/pesticideRoundupleads to themutation of cellsin the human body, in turn fueling the development of malignant tumors and other various forms of cancer.
In other words, as the plants grow up from the ground, they already contain genes from toxic concoctions, therefore helping corporations and their “cooperating” farmers maximize profits. Some countries are terrified and outraged, knowing there arenot sufficient studies on the long term effectsfrom this bio-engineering “guessing game,” and are boycotting American exports of major vegetables, dairy, and meat products for this specific reason, including Germany.
Consider this: What if over half of all the food being sold in grocery stores contained pesticides that you couldn’t taste or smell, withno warnings on the labels, and then you got cancer from eating them after ten years? Or, what if a pregnant mother could get her baby vaccinated in the womb with an insecticide, so that no insects would ever bite the child after it was born? Would anyone be crazy enough to do it, especially if it was FDA approved?
More than 85% of all corn, soy and canola oil are GMO
The bad news is in, and it may not be changing for quite awhile. GMO vegetables and all of their by-products are not labeled as GMO in the United States.Currently, 93% of soy, canola and cottonseed oil, 86% of corn, 95% of sugar beets, 13% of squash, and rice is on the cutting board now. As much as 77% of the world’s soy is GMO also. Think for a moment about all of the popular products that have some kind of processed soy or corn in them; it would take an entire book to list them all. GM potatoes and tomatoes have been taken off the market.
To appreciate the size of thishealth and environmental disaster, one should understand the 96% rule. For the first time ever, science has created models that combine the clinical and genetic similarities of rodents, great apes and humans for determining the odds of acquiring cancer.
A comparison of genetic blueprints with that of the human genome shows that our closest living relatives share 96% of our DNA (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3…). Before now, scientists had hypothesized that it was only about 35%. The FDA and CDC quite often denounce research regarding popular cancer causing foods, additives, and artificial sweeteners because tests are only run on rats and mice, but not humans. Now we know we are affected by toxins, just like the other animals.
To pour salt in the wound, GMO pesticides not onlykill most of the nutrients in foods,but most GMO plants die after one year and new seeds must be purchased from Monsanto. It’s all part of the money making scheme (http://paraschopra.com/publications…).
What’s the cure? Eat only organic food from local farmers markets and health-food grocery stores. And if you say it’s more expensive, you’re wrong. Surgery and chemotherapy for stomach, kidney and colon cancer far exceed the price of non-GMO foods, drinks, candy and gum (and that’s with health insurance). Also, let your voice be heard about GMO labeling. (MillionsagainstMonsanto.com)
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A recent study published in the journal Environment International has found that within the body of published literature on genetically-modified organisms (GMO), there exists almost an equal number of both studies suggesting they are safe and identical to natural varieties, and studies suggesting they are questionable and even dangerous. And among those studies that claim GMOs to be safe, the vast majority are funded by biotechnology companies that either produce the involvedGMOs, or have a vested interest in their promotion.
Jose Domingo and Jordi Gine Bordonaba from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili Laboratory of Toxicology and Environmental Health conducted areviewof available published GMOstudiesin databases like PubMed and Scopus. They found that the overall number of studies involving GMOs has increased since 2006 when the group last conducted an investigation. But such studies tend to focus mainly on corn and soy, two of the most widely propagatedGMOcrops, and were largely conducted by thebiotechnologycompanies that created them.
Though all the reviewed studies were published in credible, peer-reviewed journals, both sides of the GMO debate are represented, which raises an interesting and obvious point about the credibility of the peer-review process in general. And interestingly, some authors of the studies that proposed GMOs to be assafeas conventional varieties have since expressed concern about the limited findings of their studies, suggesting that additional long-term reviews be conducted to verify without a doubt that GMOs are safe for human consumption.
One study published in 2009 in the journalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutritionactually cites animal toxicity studies in which GMOs inflicted organ and other bodily damage, including hepatic, pancreatic, renal and reproductive failures. The same study points to GMOs causing increases in insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1 levels), a protein implicated in causing cancer (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/…).
Conclusively, the new study demonstrates clearly that there is a lack of solid evidence proving GMOs to be safe. No long-term studies have ever been conducted to prove that GMOs do not cause harm to theenvironment, to animals, or to humans. On the contrary, there are plenty of independent studies that continue to legitimately question thesafetyof GMOs, and why they have been allowed into thefoodsupply without proper review.
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Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are becoming the hottest trend in agriculture, which is becoming more and more like patent medicine (aka Big Pharma) every day. If you can patent it and put it on the market, you can make billions. So it is with drugs, so it’s becoming with foods. Three new GM foods you may not know about are getting close to market readiness right now.
The news about Frankenfish and Enviro-Pigs has made the rounds and hit the mainstream. While these two have been in the limelight, three others are sneaking up through the genetic modification shadows.
Super Chicken Eggs
According to a paper from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida,1 biotechnology is being used to develop genetically modified chickens that produce “super eggs.” These eggs have compounds that can be harvested to fight a range of diseases including diabetes, viruses, and even tooth decay.
Ultimately, the idea behind these super eggs is to create food products that contain the medicines built-in and for consumption. Someday soon, you may see eggs on the shelf that offer “superior tooth decay protection” or “help fight the cold and flu.” Who knows what the ingredients would include?
Non-Browning Apples (Frankenapples)
When you cut an apple, it eventually turns brown. This is unappetizing to the common never-picked-my-own consumer. Can apple pie be tasty if it’s not filled with pristine, white apples? Well, if these genetic modifiers have their way, that won’t be an issue any longer. Okanagan Specialty Fruits in British Columbia has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approval on a new GMO apple that doesn’t turn brown after being cut open.2
Apparently, apples that don’t brown is a big business opportunity because one of the fastest-growing markets is the “cut apple” market in which pre-sliced apples are sold to consumers. These are usually refrigerated and packaged in nitrogen-filled or vacuum-selaed bags or, as in the case of one company, doused in calcium and ascorbic acid. Restaurants like McDonald’s (the term “restaurant” is used loosely) sell these to consumers as part of “healthy” meal choices on the menu. Imagine if their Frankenapples could stay fresh-looking almost indefinitely?
DNA manipulation is being used to attempt to make hyper-producing plum tomato seeds that increase yields by 50%.3 A team at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has produced a strain of hyper-tomatoes by altering the gene that tells plants how many flowers to generate. They plan to apply the same technique to melons and soybeans.
Nothing like larger quantities of food at the grocery store with even less nutritional value than before thanks to GMO technology!
1 – Designer and Specialty Eggs by Jacqueline Jacob and Richard Miles, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Univ. of Florida
2 – Are You Ready for the Genetically Modified “Frankenapple”? by Eric Steinman, Care2.com
3 – From Superseeds to Mutant Tomatoes by Robin Finn, New York Times