Jeffrey M. Smith is the author of the international biotech bestseller “Seeds of Deception: Exposing Corporate and Government Lies about the Safety of Genetically Engineered Food.” He presented his documented evidence to Chefs, regulators, and the press, this past Sunday at Ireland’s National Future of Food Forum chaired by Nobel Laureate John Hume at Brook Lodge in Macreddin, Co. Wicklow. According to Smith, scientists were offered bribes or threatened; evidence was stolen; data was withheld or distorted; government scientists who complained were threatened, stripped of responsibilities, or fired, and the United States Food and Drug Administration withheld information from Congress after a GM food supplement killed about a hundred people and caused between five and ten thousand people to fall sick.
The only published human feeding study confirmed that herbicide tolerant genes from GM soy actually take up residence in our gut bacteria. While the biotech industry had formerly assured us that this was impossible, this recently published evidence has serious implications. If the antibiotic resistant genes used in most GM foods were to jump to bacteria, they might create antibiotic resistant diseases. If the gene that creates the Bt pesticide in corn were to jump to bacteria, it might transform our gut bacteria into living pesticide factories. If the “promoter” used in GM foods to permanently turn on inserted genes were to transfer to bacteria or internal organs, it might create toxins, allergens, carcinogens, or anti-nutrients, awaken dormant viruses embedded in the DNA, or promote genetic mutations. Although the biotech proponents had assured us that the promoter would never transfer from food and would not function in human cells, the Norwegian Institute for Gene Ecology announced at a conference in February that promoters were found in rat organs three days after the rats were fed a single transgenic meal. They also showed that the promoter, used in most GM foods, does work within human cells in a test tube.
While only a pitifully small number of animal feeding safety studies have been conducted, several showed evidence of problems. Rats fed an experimental GM potato developed potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, damaged immune systems, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, and partial atrophy of the liver. Rats fed GM tomatoes developed stomach lesions and seven out of forty died within two weeks. The tomato was approved. Rats fed GM soy showed odd shaped cell nuclei in their livers. Rats fed GM oilseed rape had livers that were 15% heavier, and rats fed GM corn had several unexplained anomalies.
Pigs fed GM corn on several farms in the US Midwest developed false pregnancies. Twelve cows fed GM corn mysteriously died in Germany. And eyewitness reports from all over North American describe how several types of animals, including cows, pigs, geese, elk, deer, squirrels, and rats, when given a choice, avoid eating GM foods.
Since no one is monitoring the human health impacts of GM foods, it might take years to discover most reactions. One epidemic, however, was rare, serious, and fast acting, and therefore more easily discovered. Called EMS, it was traced to a GM brand of the food supplement L-tryptophan. In the 1980’s, the contaminated brand killed about 100 Americans and caused sickness or disability in about five to ten thousand others. (The often-quoted defence by biotech advocates – that a change in the manufacturer’s filter was the cause – is unsupported. We now know that hundreds had fallen sick from GM L-tryptophan during the four years prior to the change in the filter.)
In 2003, thirty-nine Philippinos living next to a Bt cornfield developed skin, intestinal, and respiratory reactions while the corn was pollinating. Preliminary tests of their blood showed an immune response to Bt.
Soon after GM soy was introduced into the UK, soy allergies there skyrocketed by 50%. Perhaps this was due to the significant increase in the allergen trypsin inhibitor in GM soy. Or maybe it’s due to the part of GM soy’s DNA that was damaged due to the process of genetic engineering. No one knows since no follow-up studies have been conducted.
Documents made public from a lawsuit reveal that scientists from the US FDA warned that GM foods might create unpredicted allergies, toxins, antibiotic resistant diseases, and nutritional problems that would be difficult to detect. They urged their superiors to require long-term safety testing. But the person in charge of policy was a former attorney for Monsanto. Further, the White House had instructed the FDA to promote the biotech industry. Therefore, FDA political appointees ignored their scientists and do not require any safety studies.
Jeffrey Smith discusses these and other evidence in Seeds of Deception, now available for the first time in Ireland. According to Michael Meacher, former UK Environment Minister who wrote the foreword to Smith’s book, “[Seeds of Deception] is a brilliant book which combines shrewd dissection of the true nature of GM technology, a devastating critique of the health and environmental hazards of GM crops, and scarifying examples of the manipulation of both science and the media by the biotech industry. . . . What is so exciting about this book is that it is no dry text of scientific exegesis – it positively fizzes with the human drama of the cabals and conspiracies behind the scenes. It is meticulously documented and powerfully written, somewhere between a documentary and a thriller.” –
Jeffrey Smith is the founding director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, a member of the Genetic Engineering Committee of the 700,000 member Sierra Club, and on the Steering Committee of the Genetic Engineering Action Network. Over the past ten months, he has travelled to more than 115 cities on five continents to brief world leaders and the public on the documented risks of genetically modified foods and crops.
Smith’s book Seeds of Deception is on sale at the Cultivate bookshop, 15-19 Essex St. West, Temple Bar, Dublin.
For more information, visit Jeffrey Smith’s web site at http://www.seedsofdeception.com