A Moratorium On Genetically
Manipulated (GMO) Foods
By F. William Engdahl
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has just issued a call for an immediate moratorium on Gene ti cally Manipulated (GMO) Foods.
In a just-released posi ti on paper on GMO foods, the AAEM states that ‘GM foods pose a serious health risk’ and calls for a moratorium on GMO foods. Ci ti ng several animal studies, the AAEM concludes ‘there is more than a casual associa ti on between GMO foods and adverse health effects’ and that ‘GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune func ti on, reproduc ti ve health, and metabolic, physiologic and gene ti c health.’ The report is a devasta ti ng blow to the mul ti billion dollar interna ti onal agribusiness industry, most especially to Monsanto Corpora ti on, the world’s leading purveyor of GMO seeds and related herbicides.
In a press release dated May 19, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, which describes itself as ‘an interna ti onal associa ti on of physicians and other professionals dedicated to addressing the clinical aspects of environmental health,’ called immediately for the following emergency measures to be taken regarding human consump ti on of GMO foods:
* A moratorium on GMO food; implementa ti on of immediate long term safety tes ti ng and labelling of GMO food.
* Physicians to educate their pa ti ents, the medical community and the public to avoid GMO foods.
* Physicians to consider the role of GMO foods in their pa ti ents’ disease processes.
* More independent long term scien ti fic studies to begin gathering data to inves ti gate the role of GMO foods on human health.
The AAEM chairperson, Dr Amy Dean notes that ‘Mul ti ple animal studies have shown that GM foods cause damage to various organ systems in the body. With this moun ti ng evidence, it is impera ti ve to have a moratorium on GM foods for the safety of our pa ti ents’ and the public’s health.’ The President of the AAEM, Dr Jennifer Armstrong stressed that ‘Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their pa ti ents, but need to know how to ask the right ques ti ons. The most common foods in North America which are consumed that are GMO are corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed oil.’ The AAEM’s posi ti on paper on Gene ti cally Modified foods can be found at http:aaemonline.org.
The paper further states that Gene ti cally Modified Organisms (GMO) technology ‘abrogates natural reproduc ti ve processes, selec ti on occurs at the single cell level, the procedure is highly mutagenic and rou ti nely breeches genera barriers, and the technique has only been used commercially for 10 years.’
The AAEM paper further states, ‘several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consump ti on including infer ti lity, immune dysregula ti on, accelerated aging, dysregula ti on of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regula ti on, cell signalling, and protein forma ti on, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointes ti nal system.’
They add, ‘There is more than a casual associa ti on between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causa ti on as defined by Hill’s Criteria in the areas of strength of associa ti on, consistency, specificity, biological gradient, and biological plausibility. The strength of associa ti on and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.’
GMO is toxic
The AAEM paper should give grounds for official rethinking of the current quasi laissez faire regulatory stance to GMO in which the solemn word of the GMO seed companies such as Monsanto is regarded as scien ti fically valid proof of safety. The AAEM study is worth ci ti ng in detail in this regard:
‘Specificity of the associa ti on of GM foods and specific disease processes is also supported. Mul ti ple animal studies show significant immune dysregula ti on, including upregula ti on of cytokines associated with asthma, allergy, and inflamma ti on. Animal studies also show altered structure and func ti on of the liver, including altered lipid and carbohydrate metabolism as well as cellular changes that could lead to accelerated aging and possibly lead to the accumula ti on of reac ti ve oxygen species (ROS).Changes in the kidney, pancreas and spleen have also been documented. A recent 2008 study links GM corn with infer ti lity, showing a significant decrease in offspring over ti me and significantly lower litter weight in mice fed GM corn. This study also found that over 400 genes were found to be expressed differently in the mice fed GM corn. These are genes known to control protein synthesis and modifica ti on, cell signalling, cholesterol synthesis, and insulin regula ti on. Studies also show intes ti nal damage in animals fed GM foods, including prolifera ti ve cell growth and disrup ti on of the intes ti nal immune system. ‘
The AAEM study also reviewed the biotechnology industry claims that GMO foods can feed the world through produc ti on of higher crop yields. It cited contrary evidence that the opposite appeared to be true, namely that over ti me GMO harvest yields were lower than conven ti onal yields and required over ti me, more not less, highly toxic herbicidal chemicals such as glyphosate. The report noted, ‘The several thousand field trials over the last 20 years for genes aimed at increasing opera ti onal or intrinsic yield (of crops) indicate a significant undertaking. Yet none of these field trials have resulted in increased yield in commercialized major food/feed crops, with the excep ti on of Bt corn.’ However, the slight yield gain for Bt corn they report was ‘largely due to tradi ti onal breeding improvements,’ and not to GMO.
They conclude that because GMO foods ‘pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune func ti on, reproduc ti ve health, and metabolic, physiologic and gene ti c health and are without benefit, the AAEM believes that it is impera ti ve to adopt the precau ti onary principle, which is one of the main regulatory tools of the European Union environmental and health policy and serves as a founda ti on for several interna ti onal agreements. The most commonly used defini ti on is from the 1992 Rio Declara ti on that states: ‘In order to protect the environment, the precau ti onary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabili ti es. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scien ti fic certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effec ti ve measures to prevent environmental degrada ti on.’
Under intense public pressure, the German Minister of Agriculture recently issued a prohibi ti on of plan ti ng for Monsanto MON810 GMO corn. Unfortunately, two weeks later she permitted plan ti ng of GMO potato seeds. Amflora, a gene ti cally modified potato manufactured by chemicals giant BASF (a joint venture GMO partner of Monsanto), was declared by the German Ministry as posing ‘no danger for human health or the environment,’ The Ministry cited ‘in-depth examina ti on’ and talks with scien ti fic and economic experts as basis for the reckless decision.
The publica ti on of the sensa ti onal cri ti que of GMO by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine has been greeted with stone silence by most major US media and interna ti onal press.
GMO poli ti cs
As I describe in great detail in my book, Seeds of Destruc ti on: The Hidden Agenda of Gene ti c Manipula ti on, , GMO was released on the general public in the early 1990’s in the USA under an execu ti ve decision by then President George Herbert Walker Bush, reportedly following closed door mee ti ngs with leading Monsanto execu ti ves. President Bush mandated that there should be no special health and safety tests done by any US Government agency before releasing GMO for food consump ti on. It came to be known as the Doctrine of Substan ti al Equivalence.
The US Government, on urging of Monsanto and the GMO lobby, further decided that labelling of a food product as ‘GMO free’ should be prohibited, using the vaguely formulated and en ti rely unscien ti fic ‘doctrine’ proclaimed by President Bush in 1992, namely that GMO plants and non-GMO or ordinary plants were ‘substan ti ally equivalent’ and hence needed no special tes ti ng before being released to the public.
That Substan ti al Equivalence Doctrine, despite the fact that it directly contradicts the demand of the GMO companies for exclusive patent rights to their GMO seeds as being ‘unique’ and different from ordinary seeds, enabled Monsanto, Dow Chemicals, DuPont and other GMO patent holders to proliferate their products with no control. Most Americans naively believe that the Government Food and Drug Administra ti on and US Department of Agriculture are there to make certain industrial food products are confirmed fully safe for human and for animal consump ti on before licensing.
That de facto prohibi ti on on labelling GMO foods has meant that most Americans have no idea how much of their daily diet from store-bought Corn Flakes to soybeans to corn and addi ti ves in every food on the supermarket shelf contained GMO contamina ti on.
Coincident with the mass introduc ti on of GMO into the human and animal diet in the United States beginning the end of the 1990’s, there have been reported epidemic levels of allergic outbreaks in humans, strange diseases and numerous other health issues. The fact it is forbidden by Federal law to label GMO products means most health professionals are not even aware there might be any connec ti on to a GMO diet for millions of Americans. The US popula ti on, since the 1992 ruling of President Bush-a ruling reaffirmed by presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and now by Barack Obama and his pro-GMO Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack-has been in effect treated as human guinea pigs in mass experimenta ti on for substances never independently proven in long-term (ten years or longer) studies to be safe.
It remains to be seen if the scien ti fic cri ti que of the AAEM is given the atten ti on it warrants.
F. William Engdahl is author of Seeds of Destruc ti on: The Hidden Agenda of Gene ti c Manipula ti on (<http://www.globalresearch.ca/>www.globalresearch.ca). He also authored A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Poli ti cs and the New World Order (Pluto Press). His newest book, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order (Third Millennium Press) is now in print and will be available by mid-June. He may be contacted over his website, www.engdahl.oilgeopoli ti cs.net.