The Destruction of America by the Internationalist.
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Perhaps it it time for everyone to stop deluding themselves with the
idea that this is the same country that it was just a few decades ago.
The masters of psychology have been working to destroy everything that
American has traditionally represented. If a foreign enemy wanted to
cripple or destroy America then they could not have done a better job.
We are a sick country that a pill will not readily cure. The enemy
within is doing what no nation or people on earth has managed to do
since the inception of this great country.
A Great Man in History said:
America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She well
knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own . . . she
would involve herself . . . in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of
individual avarice, envy, and ambition. . . . She might become the
dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own
spirit. - - - The quote is by John Quincy Adams, Fourth of July speech,
1821. He became our sixth President of the United States.
In the year of 2001 there were more than 70,000,000 American casualties
that had suffered from some form of Food Poisoning - and people wonder
This is part 1 thru 4 of a 6 part series:
Biotechnology is a Vital Issue That Impacts All of Us
By Nathan B. Batalion
Published by Americans for Safe Food. Oneonta, N.Y.
Largely between 1997 and 1999, gene-modified (GM) ingredients suddenly
appeared in two-thirds of all U.S. processed foods. This food alteration
was fueled by a single Supreme Court ruling. It allowed, for the first
time, the patenting of life forms for commercialization.
Since then thousands of applications for experimental GM organisms have
been filed with the U.S. Patent Office alone, and many more abroad.
Furthermore an economic war broke out to own equity in firms that either
have such patent rights or control the food-related organisms to which
they apply. This has been the key factor behind the scenes of the
largest food/agri-chemical company mergers in history.
Few consumers are aware this has been going on and is continuing.
Yet if you recently ate soy sauce in a Chinese restaurant, munched
popcorn in a movie theatre, or indulged in an occasional candy bar --
you've undoubtedly ingested this new type of food. You may have, at the
time, known exactly how much salt, fat and carbohydrates were in each of
these foods because regulations mandates their labeling for dietary
purposes. But you would not know if the bulk of these foods, and
literally every cell had been genetically altered!
In just those three years, as much as one-fourth of all American
agricultural lands, or 70 to 80 million acres, were quickly converted to
raise GM crops.
Yet in most other countries the same approach is subject to moratoriums,
partially banned, restricted or requires labeling -- and with stiff
legal penalties for non-compliance. This refers to laws in Great
Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal,
Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Austria, Portugal --
or in virtually all European nations. The same trend has further spread
to Latin America, the Near East and Asia.
By contrast, an unregulated, quiet, and lightning speed expansion has
been spearheaded in the U.S. by a handful of companies in the wake of
consolidations. We hear from their sales departments that nothing but
positive results will follow for everyone from farmers to middlemen and,
the ultimate, consumers.
This "breakthrough" technology will aid the environment by reducing
toxic chemical use, increasing food production to stave off world
hunger, and leading to an agricultural boom. In addition it will provide
nutritionally heightened and much better storing and tasting foods.
Finally, all of this is based on nothing but "good science," which in
the long run will convince the wary public that GM foods are either
equivalent or better than the ordinary.
The size of a technology's market penetration -- one-fourth of U.S.
agriculture – is not necessarily indicative that the majority of these
claims are true.
Biotechnology attempts a deeper "control" over nature, but a powerful
temporary control is illusionary. For example, a farmer in Ottawa
planted three different kinds of GM canola seeds that came from the
three leading producers (Monsanto's Roundup, Cyanamid's Pursuit, and
Aventis' Liberty). At first, he was happy to see he needed to use less
of costly herbicides. But within just three years, "superweeds" had
taken in the genes of all three types of plants! This ultimately forced
him to use not only more herbicides, but far more lethal products.
The central problem underlying all of this technology is not just its
short-term benefits and long-term drawbacks, but the overall attempt to
"control" living nature based on an erroneous mechanistic view.
"Bioengineering" thus offers a contradiction in terms. "Bio" refers to
life, what is not mechanistically predictable or controllable, and
"engineering" refers to making the blueprints for machines that are
predictable but not alive. They are dead. Thus there is the joining of
what is living with what applies to the opposite.
What is patentable also needs to be mentally "distinctive" -- fixed or
mostly unchanging in our minds to obtain an ownership or right -- to
control patent. Again, something unchanging is not constantly adapting
to its surrounding environment. It is less alive, and strategies to
maintain that are often deadly.
For example, much of GM technology is directed at eliminating
surrounding biological environment such as competing animals and plants
and soaking plants with lethal toxins. Secondly, there are terminator
plants that do not reproduce a second generation -- preventing a
subsequent generation from escaping the controlling patented mold.
In contrast to nature's rainforests teeming with life, GM technology has
planted forests of flowerless, fruitless "terminator trees." They are
not habitats for life but instead exude poisons from every leaf, killing
all but a few insects. Thirdly, GM companies have gone on multi-billion
dollar buying sprees, purchasing seed companies and destroying their
non-patented (potentially competitive) seed stocks.
Time magazine called the widespread consequences of this effort a global
"Death of Birth". All of this is why "biotechnology," in its naked
essence, has been tagged by some as thano- ( meaning death) technology.
No doubt mechanical patterns in nature are real. But they can be a
superficial by-product and not reflective of the deepest or true essence
Hybridizations do work harmoniously with superficial aspects of nature
without fully disturbing the essential life force at the center of each
cell. Also with hybridizations, conscious life makes primary genetic
decisions. We can understand this with an analogy. There is an immense
difference between being a matchmaker and inviting two people for dinner
-- encouraging them to go on a date -- as opposed to forcing the union
or even a date rape.
With biotechnology, roses are no longer crossed with just roses. They
can be mated with pigs, tomatoes with oak trees, fish with asses,
butterflies with worms, orchids with snakes. The technology that makes
this possible is called biolistics -- a gunshot-like violence that
pierces the nuclear membrane of cells. This essentially violates the
consciousness that forms and guides living nature. Some also compare it
to the violent crossing of territorial borders of countries, subduing
inhabitants against their will.
What will happen if this technology is allowed to spread? Fifty years
ago few predicted that chemical pollution would cause so much
environmental harm – with nearly one-third of all species now threatened
with extinction -- or that cancer rates would have doubled and
No one has a crystal ball to see future consequences. Nevertheless,
alarm signals go off when a technology goes directly to the center of
every living cell and under the guidance of a mechanical or non-living
way of restructuring or recreating nature.
The potential harm can far outweigh chemical pollution because chemistry
only deals with things altered by fire, or things that are not alive.
For example, a farmer may use toxic chemicals for many decades, and then
let the land lie fallow for a year or two to convert back to organic
farming. The chemicals tend to break down into natural substances within
months or years. A few may persist for decades. But genetic pollution
can alter the life in the soil forever!
Farmers who view their land as their primary financial asset have reason
to heed this. If new evidence of soil bacteria contamination arises,
which is possible given the numerous (1600 or more) distinct
microorganisms we classify in just a teaspoon of soil, and if that
contamination is not quickly remediable but remains permanent, someday
the public may blacklist farms that have once planted GM crops. No one
seems to have put up any warning signs when selling these inputs to
farmers who own one-fourth of all agricultural tracks in the U.S.
Furthermore, the impact of potential spreading on all ecosystems is
In short these processes involve unparalleled risks.
Voices from many sides echo this view. Contradicting safety claims, no
major insurance company has been willing to limit risks or insure
bio-engineered agricultural products. The reason given is the high level
of unpredictable consequences.
Over 200 scientists have signed a statement outlining the dangers of GM
foods, and The Union of Concerned Scientists (a 1,000 plus member
organization with many Nobel Laureates) has expressed similar
reservations. The (prestigious) medical journal, Lancet, issued a
warning that GM foods should never have been allowed into the food
chain. Britain's Medical Association (the equivalent of the AMA) with
100,000 physicians and Germany's with 325,000 issued similar statements.
In a gathering of political representatives from over 130 nations,
approximately 95 percent insisted on new precautionary approaches. The
National Academy of Science released a report that GM products introduce
new allergens, toxins, disruptive chemicals, soil-polluting ingredients,
mutated species and unknown protein combinations into our bodies and
into the whole environment.
This may also raise existing allergens to new heights as well as reduce
nutritional content. Even within the FDA, prominent scientists have
repeatedly expressed profound fears and reservations. Their voices were
muted not for cogent scientific reasons but due to political pressures
from the Bush administration to buttress the nascent biotech industry.
To counterbalance this, industry-employed scientists have signed a
statement in favor of genetically engineered foods. But are any of these
Looked at from outside of commercial interests, perils are
multi-dimensional. They include the creation of new "transgenic" life
forms -- organisms that cross unnatural gene lines (such as tomato seed
genes crossed with fish genes) -- and that have unpredictable behavior
or replicate themselves out of control in the wild.
This can happen, without warning, inside of our bodies creating an
unpredictable chain reaction. A four-year study at the University of
Jena in Germany conducted by Hans-Hinrich Kaatz revealed that bees
ingesting pollen from transgenic rapeseed had bacteria in their gut with
modified genes. This is called a "horizontal gene transfer." Commonly
found bacteria and microorganisms in the human gut help maintain a
healthy intestinal flora. These, however, can be mutated.
Mutations may be able to travel internally to other cells, tissue
systems and organs throughout the human body.
Not to be underestimated, the potential domino effect of internal and
external genetic pollution can make the substance of science-fiction
horror movies become terrible realities in the future. The same is true
for the bacteria that maintain the health of our soil and are vitally
necessary for all forms of farming -- in fact for human sustenance and
Without factoring in biotechnology, milder forms of controlling nature
have gravitated toward restrictive monocroping. In the past 50 years,
this underlies the disappearance of approximately 95 percent of all
native grains, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetable varieties in the U.S.
GM monoculture, however, can lead to yet greater harm.
Monsanto, for example, set a goal of converting 100 percent of all U.S.
soy crops to Roundup Ready strains by the year 2000. If affected, this
plan would have threatened the biodiversity and resilience of all future
soy farming practices. Monsanto laid out similar strategies for corn,
cotton, wheat and rice. This represents a deep misunderstanding of how
seeds interact, adapt and change with the living world of nature.
One need only look at agricultural history; the havoc created by the
Irish potato blight, the Mediterranean fruit fly epidemic in California,
the current international crisis with cocoa plants, the regional citrus
canker attack in the Southeast, and the 1970s U.S. corn leaf blight.
In the latter case, 15 percent of U.S. corn production was quickly
destroyed. Had weather changes not quickly ensued, most all crops would
have been laid waste because a fungus attacked their cytoplasm
The deeper reason this happened was that approximately 80 percent of
U.S. corn had been standardized to help farmers crossbreed by a method
akin to current genetic engineering. The uniformity of plants then
allowed a single fungus to spread, and within four months destroy crops
in 581 counties and 28 states in the U.S. According to J. Browning of
Iowa State University, "Such an extensive, homogeneous acreage of
plants… is like a tinder-dry prairie waiting for a spark to ignite it. "
The homogeneity is unnatural; a byproduct of deadening nature's
creativity in the attempt to grasp absolute control and can ultimately
yield wholesale disaster. Europeans seem more sensitive than Americans
to such approaches, given the analogous metaphor of German eugenics.
Overall the revolution that is presently trying to overturn 12,000 years
of traditional and sustainable agriculture was launched in 1980 in the
U.S. This was the result of a little-known U.S. Supreme Court decision,
Diamond vs. Chakrabarty, where the highest court decided that biological
life could be legally patentable.
Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty, a microbiologist and employee of General
Electric (GE), developed at the time a type of bacteria that could
ingest oil. GE rushed to apply for a patent in 1971. After several years
of review, the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) turned down the
request under the traditional doctrine that life forms are not
patentable. GE sued and won.
In 1985, the PTO ruled that the Chakrabarty ruling could be further
extended to all plants, seeds, and plant tissues or to the entire plant
Scouring the world for valuable genetic heritage, W.R. Grace applied for
and was DELETE(been) granted 50 U.S. patents on the neem tree in India.
It even patented the indigenous knowledge of how to medicinally use the
tree (what has since been called bio-piracy). Furthermore, on April 12,
1988, the PTO issued its first patent on an animal to Harvard Professors
Philip Leder and Timothy A. Stewart. This involved the creation of a
transgenic mouse containing chicken and human genes.
On October 29, 1991, the PTO granted patent rights to human stem cells
and later human genes. A U.S. company, Biocyte was awarded a European
patent on all umbilical cord cells from fetuses and newborn babies. The
patent extended exclusive rights to use the cells without the permission
of the `donors.'
Finally the European Patent Office (EPO) received applications from
Baylor University for the patenting of women who had been genetically
altered to produce proteins in their mammary glands. Baylor essentially
sought monopoly rights over the use of human mammary glands to
Other attempts have been made to patent cells of indigenous peoples in
Panama, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea. Thus the Chakrabarty
ruling evolved within the decade from the patenting of tiny, almost
invisible microbes to virtually all terrains of life on Earth.
Certain biotech companies then quickly moved to utilize such patenting
for the control of seed stock, including buying up small seed companies
and destroying their non-patented seeds. In the past few years, this has
led to a near monopoly control of certain commodities, especially soy,
corn, and cotton (used in processed foods via cottonseed oil).
As a result, nearly two-thirds of such processed foods showed some GM
ingredient. Yet again without labeling, few consumers in the US were
aware that any of this was pervasively occurring. Industry marketers
found out that the more the public knew, the less they wanted to
purchase GM foods. Thus a concerted effort was organized to convince
regulators not to require such labeling.
Condensed Summary of Hazards
This book reviews and disputes the industry claims that GM foods are the
equivalent of ordinary foods not requiring labeling. It offers an
informative list of at least 50 hazards, problems and dangers.
There is also a deeper philosophical discussion of how the "good
science" of biotechnology can turn out to be thano-technology. When
pesticides were first introduced, they also were heralded as absolutely
safe and a miracle cure for farmers. Only decades later did the
technology reveal its lethal implications.
The following list is divided into easily referred to sections on
health, environment, farming practices, economic/political/social
implications, and issues of freedom of choice. There is a concluding
review of inner concerns -- philosophical, spiritual and religious
issues involving "deep ecology" -- or our overall way of relating to
Furthermore there is a list of practical ideas and resources for
personal, political and consumer action on this vital issue. Finally,
this book as a whole is subject to change as new information becomes
The reader is encouraged to keep in touch with the many Web sites that
have updated information and to contact Americans for Safe Food to offer
new information or feedback to help make this book a timely resource.
" Recombinant DNA technology faces our society with problems
unprecedented not only in the history of science, but of life on Earth.
It places in human hands the capacity to redesign living organisms, the
products of three billion years of evolution.
Such intervention must not be confused with previous intrusions upon the
natural order of living organisms: animal and plant breeding…All the
earlier procedures worked within single or closely related species…Our
morality up to now has been to go ahead without restriction to learn all
that we can about nature. Restructuring nature was not part of the
bargain…this direction may be not only unwise, but dangerous.
Potentially, it could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources
of cancer, novel epidemics."
Dr. George Wald: Nobel Laureate in Medicine, 1967
Higgins Professor of Biology, Harvard University
Health Deaths and Near-Deaths
Recorded Deaths from GM in 1989, dozens of Americans died and several
thousands were afflicted and impaired by a genetically altered version
of the food supplement - L-tryptophan. A settlement of $2 billion
dollars was paid by Showa Denko, Japan's third-largest chemical company.
(Mayeno and Gleich, 1994).
Near-deaths from Allergic Reactions in 1996, Brazil nut genes were
spliced into soybeans by a company called Pioneer Hi-Bred. Some
individuals, however, are so allergic to this nut, they go into
apoplectic shock (similar to a severe bee sting reaction), which can
cause death. Animal tests confirmed the peril and fortunately the
product was removed from the market before any fatalities occurred.
"The next case could be less than ideal and the public less fortunate,"
writes Marion Nestle, head of the Nutrition Department of NYU, in an
editorial to the New England Journal of Medicine. About 25 percent of
Americans have adverse reactions to foods. Eight percent of children and
two percent of adults have food allergies as tested by blood
Direct Cancer and Degenerative Disease Links
In 1994, FDA approved Monsanto's rBGH, a genetically produced growth
hormone, for injection into dairy cows -- even though scientists warned
the resulting increase of IGF-1, a potent chemical hormone, is linked to
400 to 500 percent higher risks of human breast, prostate, and colon
According to Dr. Samuel Epstein of the University of Illinois, it
"induces the malignant transformation of human breast epithelial cells."
Rat studies confirmed the suspicion and showed internal organ damage
with rBGH ingestion. In fact, the FDA's own experiments indicated a
spleen mass increase of 46 percent -- a sign of developing leukemia. The
contention was that the hormone was killed by pasteurization.
But in research conducted by two Monsanto scientists, Ted Elasser and
Brian McBride, only 19 percent of the hormone was destroyed despite
boiling milk for 30 minutes when normal pasteurization is 30 seconds.
Canada, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand have banned rBGR.
The UN's Codex Alimentarius, an international health standards setting
body, refused to certify rBGH as safe. Yet Monsanto continues to market
this product in the US.
Part of the reason may be that the policy in the FDA was initiated by
Margaret Miller, Deputy Director of Human Safety and Consultative
Services, New Animal Drug Evaluation Office, Center for Veterinary
Medicine…. and former chemical laboratory supervisor for Monsanto. She
spearheaded the increase in the amount of antibiotics farmers were
allowed to have in their milk -- by a factor of 100 or 10,000 percent.
Michael Taylor, Esq. was the executive assistant to the director of the
FDA. He drafted the Delaney Amendment that allowed for the minimizing of
cancer risk and was later hired as legal counsel to Monsanto, and
subsequently again became Deputy Commissioner of Policy at the FDA.
Several other GM approved products involve herbicides that are commonly
known carcinogens - bromoxynil used on transgenic cotton and Monsanto's
Roundup or glufonsinate used on GM soybeans, corn, and canola.
Furthermore and according to researcher Sharyn Martin, a number of
autoimmune diseases are enhanced by foreign DNA fragments that are not
fully digested in the human stomach and intestines. DNA fragments are
absorbed into the bloodstream, potentially mixing with normal DNA. The
genetic consequences are unpredictable and unexpected gene fragments
have shown up in GM soy crops.
Indirect, Non-traceable Effects on Cancer Rates
The 20th century saw an incremental lowering of infectious disease rates
-- especially where a single bacteria was overcome by an antibiotic --
but a simultaneous rise in systemic, whole body or immune system
breakdowns, such as with cancer.
Cancer is affected by the overall polluted state of our environment,
including in the air, water, and food we take in. There are unimaginably
many combinations for the 100,000 or so chemicals released into the
The real impact cannot be revealed by a handful of stringent experiments
that isolate just a few controlled factors or chemicals at a time.
Rather all of nature is a testing ground. Scientists a few years ago
were startled that a random combination of chemicals (mostly pesticides)
caused 1000 times more cancer than the sum of the individual chemicals
indicated in separate tests.
More startling was the fact that some chemicals were thought to be
harmless by themselves. Similarly, there is the potential, with entirely
new ways of rearranging the natural order with genetic mutations that
such non-traceable influences can also cause cancer. We definitively
know X-rays and chemicals cause genetic mutations, and mutagenic changes
are behind many higher cancer rates, where cells duplicate out of
If nothing else, this should make us extremely cautious. In the US in
1900, cancer affected approximately one out of every 11 individuals. It
now inflicts one out of two men and one out of three women in their
lifetime. These rates relentlessly shot upward throughout the 20th
Viral and Bacterial Illness
Viruses can mix with genes of other viruses and retroviruses such as
HIV. This can give rise to more deadly viruse -- at rates higher than
previously thought. One study showed that gene mixing occurred in
viruses in just eight weeks (Kleiner, 1997).
This kind of scenario applies to the cauliflower mosaic virus CaMV, the
most common virus used in genetic engineering found in Round Up ready
soy of Monsanto, Bt-maise of Novaris, and GM cotton and canola. It is a
kind of "pararetrovirus" or what multiplies by making DNA from RNA. It
is somewhat similar to Hepatitis B and HIV viruses and can pose immense
In a Canadian study, a plant was infected with a crippled cucumber
mosaic virus that lacked a gene needed for movement between plant cells.
Within less than two weeks, the crippled plant found what it needed from
neighboring genes – evidence of gene mixing. This is significant because
genes that cause diseases are often crippled to make the end product
Results of this kind led the US Department of Agriculture to hold a
meeting in October 1997 to discuss the risks and dangers of gene mixing
and superviruses, but no regulatory action was taken.
Antibiotic Threat - Via Milk
Cows injected with rBGH have a much higher level of udder infections and
require more antibiotics. This leaves unacceptable levels of antibiotic
residues in the milk. Scientists have warned of public health hazards
due to growing antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic Threat - Via Plants
Much of genetic implantation uses a marker to track where the gene goes
into the cell. GM maize plants use an ampicillin resistant gene. In
1998, the British Royal Society called for the banning of this marker as
it threatens a vital antibiotic's use. The resistant qualities of GM
bacteria in food can be transferred to other bacteria in the environment
and throughout the human body.
Resurgence of Infectious Diseases
The Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease journal reported in 1998
that gene technology may be implicated in the resurgence of infectious
diseases. This occurs in multiple ways. There is growing resistance to
antibiotics misused in bioengineering, the formation of new and unknown
viral strains, and the lowering of immunity through diets of processed
and altered foods.
There is also the horizontal transfer of transgenic DNA among bacteria.
Several studies have shown bacteria of the mouth, pharynx and intestines
can take up the transgenic DNA in the feed of animals, which in turn can
be passed on to humans. This threatens the hallmark accomplishment of
the 20th century -- the reduction in infectious diseases that critically
helped the doubling of life expectancy.
Increased Food Allergies
The loss of biodiversity in our food supply has grown in parallel with
the increase in food allergies. This can be explained as follows: the
human body is not a machine-like "something" that can be fed assembly
line, carbon copy foods. We eat for nourishment and vitality. What is
alive interacts or changes with its environment.
Unnatural sameness, required for patenting of genetic foods , are "dead"
qualities. Frequently, foods we eat and crave are precisely those
testing positive for food allergies. Cells in our body recognize this
lack of vitality, producing antibodies and white cells in response.
This is analogous to our brain's cells recognizing and rejecting
mechanically repeated thoughts, or thinking "like a broken record."
Intuitively our body cells and the overall immune system seem to reject
Birth Defects and Shorter Life Spans
As we ingest transgenic human/ animal products there is no real telling
of the impact on human evolution. We know that rBGh in cows causes a
rapid increase in birth defects and shorter life spans.
"Pesticidal foods" have genes that produce a toxic pesticide inside the
food's cells. This represents the first time "cell-interior toxicity" is
being sold for human consumption. There is little knowledge of the
potential long-term health impacts.
A study in the Journal of Medicinal Food (Dr. Marc Lappe, 1999) showed
that certain GM foods have lower levels of vital nutrients -- especially
phytoestrogen compounds thought to protect the body from heart disease
In another study of GM Vica Faba, a bean in the same family as soy,
there was also an increase in estrogen levels, which raises health
issues -- especially in infant soy formulas. Milk from cows with rBGH
contains substantially higher levels of pus, bacteria, and fat.
Monsanto's analysis of glyphosate-resistant soya showed the GM-line
contained 28 percent more Kunitz-trypsin inhibitor, a known
anti-nutrient and allergen.
No Regulated Health Safety Testing
The FDA only requests of firms that they conduct their own tests of new
GM products in what Vice President Quale back in 1992 referred to as a
"regulatory relief program."
The FDA makes no review of those tests unless voluntarily requested by
the company producing the product. Companies present their internal
company records of tests showing a product is safe -- essentially having
the "fox oversee the chicken coup."
As Louis J. Pribyl, an FDA microbiologist explained, companies tailor
tests to get the results they need. They further relinquish
responsibility as Pjil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate
communications expressed it, "Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the
safety of biotech foods. Our interest is in selling…Assuring its safety
is the FDA's job."
But the FDA has not assumed the responsibility. Essentially it is "like
playing Russian roulette with public health," says Philip J. Regal, a
biologist at the University of Minnesota. In his contacts with the FDA,
he noted that in the policy of helping the biotech industry grow
"government scientist after scientist acknowledged there was no way to
assure the health safety of genetically engineered food… [yet] society
was going to have to bear an unavoidable measure of risk."
The situation was summarized by Richard Steinbrecher, a geneticist
working for the Women's Environmental Network, "To use genetic
engineering to manipulate plants, release them into the environment and
introduce them into our food chains is scientifically premature, unsafe
Recently, Monsanto announced it had found "unexpected gene fragments in
their Roundup Ready soybeans. It is well known that modified proteins
exist in GE foods, new proteins never before eaten by humanity. In 1992,
Dr. Louis J. Pribyl of the FDA's Microbiology Group warned (in an
internal memo uncovered in a lawsuit filed) that there is "a profound
difference between the types of expected effects from traditional
breeding and genetic engineering."
He also addressed industry claims of no "pleiotropic" (unintended and/or
uncontrolled) effects. This was the basis for the industry position that
GM foods are "equivalent" to regular foods, thus requiring no testing or
"Pleiotropic effects occur in genetically engineered plants…at
frequencies of 30 percent…increased levels of known naturally occurring
toxicants, appearance of new, not previously identified toxicants,
increased capability of concentrating toxic substances from the
environment (e.g. pesticides or heavy metals), and undesirable
alterations in the level of nutrients may escape breeders' attention
unless genetically engineered plants are evaluated specifically for
Other scientists within the FDA echoed this view -- in contrast to the
agency's official position. For example, James Marayanski, manager of
the FDA's Biotechnology Working Group, warned that there was a lack of
consensus among the FDA's scientists as to the so-called "sameness" of
GM foods compared to non-GM foods.
The reason why this is such an important issue is that Congress mandated
the FDA to require labeling when there is "something tangibly different
about the food that is material with respect to the consequences which
may result from the use of the food."
Radical Change in Diet
Humanity has evolved for thousands of years by adapting gradually to its
natural environment -- including nature's foods. Within just three years
a fundamental transformation of the human diet has occurred. This was
made possible by massive consolidations among agri-business.
Ten companies now own about 40 percent of all U.S. seed production and
sales. The Biotech industry especially targeted two of the most commonly
eaten and lucrative ingredients in processed foods -- corn and soy.
Monsanto and Novartis, through consolidations, became the second and
third largest seed companies in the world.
They also purchased related agricultural businesses to further
monopolize soy and corn production. Again within three years, the
majority of soybeans and one-third of all corn in the US are now grown
with seeds mandated by the biotech firms.
Also 60 percent of all hard cheeses in the US are processed with a GM
enzyme. A percentage of baking and brewery products are GM modified as
well. Most all of US cotton production (where cotton oil is used in
foods) is bioengineered. Wheat and rice are next in line.
In 2002, Monsanto plans to introduce a "Roundup" (the name of its
leading herbicide) resistant wheat strain. The current result is that
approximately two-thirds of all processed foods in the US already
contain GM ingredients - and this is projected to rise to 90 percent
within four years according to industry claims.
In short, the human diet, from almost every front, is being radically
changed with little or no knowledge of the long-term health or
"Genetic Engineering is often justified as a human technology, one that
feeds more people with better food. Nothing could be further from the
truth. With very few exceptions, the whole point of genetic engineering
is to increase sales of chemicals and bio-engineered products to
David Ehrenfield: Professor of Biology, Rutgers University
Toxicity to Soil
The industry marketing pitch to the public is that bioengineered seeds
and plants will help the environment by reducing toxic
herbicide/pesticide use. Isolated examples are given, but the overall
reality is exactly opposite.
The majority of GM agricultural products are developed specifically for
toxin-resistance, namely for higher doses of herbicides/ pesticides sold
by the largest producer companies Monsanto, Dupont Novaris, Dow, Bayer,
Ciba-Geigy, Hoescht, AgroEvo, and Rhone-Poulenc.
Also the majority of research for future products involves transgenic
strains for increased chemical resistance. Not to be fooled, the primary
intent is to sell more, not less, of their products and to circumvent
patent laws. According to an article by R.J. Goldburg, scientists
predict herbicide use will triple as a result of GM products.
As an example of the feverish attempt to expand herbicide use,
Monsanto's patent for Roundup was scheduled to expire. Not to lose their
market share, Monsanto came up with the idea of creating "Roundup Ready"
seeds. It bought out seed companies to monopolize the terrain, then
licensed the seeds to farmers with the requirement that they continue
buying Roundup past the expiration of the patent.
These contracts had stiff financial penalties if farmers used any other
herbicide. As early as 1996, the investment report of Dain Boswell on
changes in the seed industry reported that Monsanto's billion dollar
plus acquisition of Holden Seeds (about one-third of US corn seeds) had
"very little to do with Holden as a seed company and a lot to do with
the battle between the chemical giants for future sales of herbicides
Also as revealed in corporate interviews conducted by Marc Lappe and
Britt Bailey (authors of Against the Grain - Biotechnology and the
Corporate Takeover of your Food), the explicit aim was to control 100
percent of U.S. soy seeds by the year 2000 only to continue to sell
Roundup -- or to beat their patent's expiration.
In fact in 1996, about 5000 acres were planted with Roundup Ready soy
seeds when Roundup sales accounted for 17 percent of Monsanto's $9
billion in annual sales. Not to lose this share but to expand it,
Monsanto saw to it that by 1999, 5000 acres grew to approximately 40
million acres out of a total of 60 million – or the majority of all soy
plantings in the U.S.
Furthermore, Roundup could now be sprayed over an entire field, not just
sparingly over certain weeds. However, the problem with evolving only
genetically cloned and thus carbon-copy seeds and plants is that
historically, extreme monoculture (high levels of sameness in crop
planting) has led to a loss of adaptive survival means -- or where
deadly plant infections have spread like wildfire.
As a separate issue, according to the United States Fish and Wildlife
Service, Monsanto's Roundout already threatens 74 endangered species in
the United States. It attacks photosynthesis in plants non-specifically
-- their quintessential, life-giving way to process sunlight.
Farmers sowing Roundup Ready seeds can also use more of this herbicide
than with conventional weed management. Since the genetically modified
plants have alternative ways to create photosynthesis, they are
hyper-tolerant, and can thus be sprayed repeatedly without killing the
Though decaying in the soil, Roundup residues are left on the plant en
route to the consumer. Malcolm Kane, (former head of food safety for
Sainsbury's chain of supermarkets) revealed that the government, to
accommodate Monsanto, raised pesticide residue limits on soy products
about 300-fold from 6 parts per million to 20 parts.
Lastly, Roundup is a human as well as environmental poison. According to
a study at the University of California, glyphosphate (the active
ingredient of Roundup) was the third leading cause of farm worker
illnesses. At least 14 persons have died from ingesting Roundup.
These cases involved mostly individuals intentionally taking this poison
to commit suicide in Japan and Taiwan. From this we know that the
killing dose is so small it can be put on a fingertip (0.4 cubic
centimeters). Monsanto, however, proposes a universal distribution of
this lethal substance in our food chain. All of this is not shocking,
given Monsanto's history as the company that first distributed PCBs and
vouched for their safety.
Soil Sterility and Pollution
In Oregon, scientists found GM bacterium (klebsiella planticola) meant
to break down wood chips, corn stalks and lumber wastes to produce
ethanol, with the post-process waste to be used as compost, rendered the
soil sterile. It killed essential soil nutrients, robbing the soil of
nitrogen, and killed nitrogen-capturing
A similar result was found in 1997 with the GM bacteria Rhizobium
melitoli. Professor Guenther Stotzky of New York University conducted
research showing the toxins that were lethal to Monarch butterfly are
also released by the roots to produce soil pollution. The pollution was
found to last up to eight months with depressed microbial activity. An
Oregon study showed that GM soil microbes in the lab killed wheat plants
when added to the soil.
Extinction of Seed Varieties
A few years ago Time magazine referred to the massive trend by large
corporations to buy up small seed companies, destroying any competing
stock, and replacing it with their patented or controlled brands as "the
Death of Birth." Monsanto additionally has had farmers sign contracts
not to save their seeds -- forfeiting what has long been a farmer's
birthright to remain guardians of the blueprints of successive life.
It has been shown that genetically modified Bt endotoxin remains in the
soil at least 18 months (according to Marc Lappe and Britt Bailey) and
can be transported to wild plants creating superweeds, resistant to
butterfly, moth, and beetle pests, that can potentially disturb the
balance of nature.
A study in Denmark (Mikkelsen, 1996) and in the UK (National Institute
of Agricultural Botany) showed superweeds growing nearby in just one
generation. A US study showed the superweed resistant to glufosinate to
be just as fertile as non-polluted weeds.
Another study showed 20 times more genetic leakage with GM plants -- or
a dramatic increase in the flow of genes to outside species. Also in a
UK study by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, it was
confirmed that superweeds could grow nearby in just one generation.
Scientists suspect that Monsanto's wheat will hybridize with goat grass,
creating an invulnerable superweed. The National Academy of Science's
study stated that "concern surrounds the possibility of genes for
resisting pests being passed from cultivated plants to their weedy
relatives, potentially making the weed problem worse. This could pose a
high cost to farmers and threaten the ecosystem." (quoting Perry
Adkisson, chancellor emeritus of Texas A&M University, who chaired the
National Academy of Science study panel).
An experiment in France showed a GM canola plant could transfer genes to
wild radishes, what persisted in four generations. Similarly, and
according to New Scientists, an Alberta Canada farmer began planting
three fields of different GM canola seeds in 1997 and by 1999 produced
not one, but three different mutant weeds respectively resistant to
three common herbicides (Monsanto's Roundup, Cyanamid's Pursuit, and
In effect genetic materials migrated to the weeds they were meant to
control. Now the Alberta farmer is forced to use a potent 2,4-D what GM
crops promised to avoid use of. Finally Stuart Laidlaw reported in the
Toronto Star that the Ontario government study indicated herbicide use
was on the rise primarily to the introduction of GM crops.
We can anticipate classic bio-invasions as a result of new GM strains,
just as with the invasions of the kutzu vine or purple loosestrife in
the plant world.
Destruction of Forest Life
GM trees or "supertrees" are being developed that can be sprayed from
the air to kill literally all of surrounding life, except the GM trees.
There is an attempt underway to transform international forestry by
introducing multiple species of such trees.
The trees themselves are often sterile and flowerless. This is in
contrast to rainforests teaming with life, where a single tree can host
thousands of unique species of insects, fungi, mammals and birds in an
interconnected ecosphere. This kind of development has been called
"death-engineering" rather than "life-" or "bio-engineering."
More ominously, pollen from such trees, because of their height, has
traveled as much as 400 miles or 600 kilometers -- roughly one-fifth of
the distance across the U.S.
Monsanto has developed plans with the New Zealand Forest Research Agency
to create still more lethal tree plantations. These super deadly trees
are non-flowering, herbicide-resistant, and with leaves exuding toxic
chemicals to kill caterpillars and other surrounding insects, destroying
the wholesale ecology of
As George McGavin, curator of entomology Oxford University noted, "If
you replace vast tracts of natural forest with flowerless trees, there
will be a serious effect on the richness and abundance of insects…If you
put insect resistance in the leaves as well you will end up with nothing
but booklice and earwigs.
We are talking about vast tracts of land covered with plants that do not
support animal life as a sterile means to cultivate wood tissue. That is
a pretty unattractive vision of the future and I for one want no part of
Insects and Larger Animals
Lab tests indicate that common plant pests such as cottonboll worms,
will evolve into superpests immune from the Bt sprays used by organic
farmers. The recent "stink bug" epidemic in North Carolina and Georgia
seems linked to bioengineered plants that the bugs love. Monsanto, on
their Farmsource Web site, recommended spraying them with methyl
parathion, one of the deadliest chemicals.
So much for the notion of Bt cotton getting US farmers off the toxic
treadmill. Pests the transgenic cotton was meant to kill -- cotton
bollworms, pink bollworms, and budworms -- were once "secondary pests."
Toxic chemicals killed off their predators, unbalanced nature, and thus
made them "major pests."
Fish and marine life are threatened by accidental release of GM fish
currently under development in several countries -- trout, carp, and
salmon several times the normal size and growing up to six times as
fast. One such accident has already occurred in the Philippines --
threatening local fish supplies.
Killing Beneficial Insects
Studies have shown that GM products can kill beneficial insects -- most
notably the monarch butterfly larvae (Cornell, 1999). Swiss government
researchers found Bt crops killed lacewings that ate the cottonworms
that the Bt targeted.
A study reported in 1997 by New Scientist indicates honeybees may be
harmed by feeding on proteins found in GM canola flowers. Other studies
relate to the death of bees (40 percent died during a contained trial
with Monsanto's Bt cotton), springtails (Novartis' Bt corn data
submitted to the EPA) and ladybird beetles.
Poisonous to Mammals
In a study with GM potatoes, spliced with DNA from the snowdrop plant
and a viral promoter (CaMV), the resulting plant was poisonous to
mammals (rats) -- damaging vital organs, the stomach lining and immune
system. CaMV is a pararetrovirus. It can reactivate dormant viruses or
create new viruses, as some presume has occurred with the AIDES
CaMV is promiscuous, which is why biologist Mae Wan-Ho concluded that
"all transgenic crops containing CaMV 35S or similar promoters which are
recombinogenic should be immediately withdrawn from commercial
production or open field trials. All products derived from such crops
containing transgenic DNA should also be immediately withdrawn from sale
and from use for human consumption or animal feed."
Pig number 6706 was supposed to be a "superpig." It was implanted with a
gene to become a technological wonder. But it eventually became a
"supercripple" full of arthritis, cross-eyed, and could barely stand up
with its mutated body. Some of these mutations seem to come right out of
Greek mythology, such as a sheep-goat with faces and horns of a goat and
the lower body of a sheep.
Two US biotech companies are producing genetically modified birds as
carriers for human drug delivery -- with little concern for animal
suffering. Gene Works of Ann Arbor, Michigan has up to 60 birds under
"development." GM products, in general, allow companies to own the
rights to create, direct, and orchestrate the evolution of animals.
Support of Animal Factory Farming
Rather than using the best of scientific minds to end animal factory
farming, rapid efforts are underway to develop gene-modified animals
that better thrive in disease-promoting conditions of animal factory
Carrying GM pollen by wind, rain, birds, bees, insects, fungus,
bacteria, the entire chain of life becomes involved. Once released,
unlike chemical pollution, there is no cleanup or recall possible.
As mentioned, pollen from a single GM tree has been shown to travel
one-fifth of the length of the U.S.
Thus there is no containing such genetic pollution. Experiments in
Germany have shown that engineered oilseed rape can have its pollen move
over 200 meters. As a result German farmers have sued to stop field
trials in Berlin.
In Thailand, the government stopped field tests for Monsanto's Bt cotton
when it was discovered by the Institute of Traditional Thai Medicine
that 16 nearby plants of the cotton family, used by traditional healers,
were being genetically polluted. US research showed that more than 50
percent of wild strawberries growing inside of 50 meters of a GM
strawberry field assumed GM gene markers.
Another showed that 25 to 38 percent of wild sunflowers growing near GM
crops had GM gene markers. A recent study in England showed that despite
the tiny amount of GM plantings there (33,750 acres over two years
compared to 70 to 80 million acres per year in the US), wild honey was
found to be contaminated. This means that bees are likely to pollinate
organic plants and trees with transgenic
Many other insects transport the by-products of GM plants throughout our
environment, and even falling leaves can dramatically affect the genetic
heritage of soil bacteria. The major difference between chemical
pollution and genetic pollution is that the former eventually is
dismantled or decays, while the latter can
reproduce itself forever in the wild.
As the National Academy of Science's report indicated, "the containment
of crop genes is not considered to be feasible when seeds are
distributed and grown on a commercial scale." Bioengineering firms are
also developing fast growing salmon, trout, and catfish as part of the
"blue revolution" in aquaculture. They often grow several times faster
(six times faster for salmon) and larger in size (up to 39 times) so as
to potentially wipe out their competitors in the wild.
There are no regulations for their safe containment to avoid ecological
disasters. They frequently grow in "net pens," renown for being torn by
waves, so that some will escape into the wild. If so, commercial wild
fish could be devastated according to computer models in a study of the
National Academy of Sciences by two Purdue University scientists
(William Muir and Richard Howard). All of organic farming, and farming
per se, may eventually be either threatened or polluted by this
Disturbance of Nature's Boundaries
Genetic engineers argue that their creations are no different than
crossbreeding. However, natural boundaries are violated by crossing
animals with plants; strawberries with fish, grains, nuts, seeds; and
legumes with bacteria, viruses, and fungi -- or human genes with swine.
Unpredictable Consequences of a Gunshot
Approach DNA fragments are blasted past a cell's membrane with a "gene
gun" shooting in foreign genetic materials in a random, unpredictable
According to Dr. Richard Lacey, a medical microbiologist at the
University of Leeds, who predicted mad cow disease, "wedging foreign
genetic material in an essentially random manner…causes some degree of
disruption…It is impossible to predict what specific problems could
result." This view is echoed by many other scientists, including Michael
Hansen, Ph.D., who states that "Genetic engineering, despite the precise
sound of the name, is actually a very messy process."
Impact On Farming
"The decline in the number of farms is likely to accelerate in the
coming years…gene-splicing technologies… change the way plants and
animals are produced."
Decline and Destruction of Self-Sufficient Family Farms
In 1850, 60 percent of the working population in the US was engaged in
agriculture. By the year 1950 it was four percent. Today it is two
percent (CIA World Factbook 1999 - USA).
>From a peak of 7 million farms in 1935, there are now less than
one-third, or 2 million, left. In many urban areas, where family farms
are becoming largely extinct, the situation is more stark. For example,
Rockland Country, New York (one-half hour from New York City) had 600
family farms in 1929. Exactly seventy years later only six remained.
Similar declines have occurred throughout the US and abroad. Of the
one-third remaining US farms, 100,000, or five percent, produce most of
our foods. Agri-corporations have taken economic and legislative power
away from the small, self-sufficient family farms, sometimes via
cutthroat competition (such as legal product dumping below production
costs to gain market share -- legalized by GATT regulations).
The marketing of GM foods augments this centralizing and small-farm
declining trend in the US, as well as on an international level. For
example, two bioengineering firms have announced a GM vanilla plant
where vanilla can be grown in vats at a lower cost, and which could
eliminate the livelihood of the world's 100,000 vanilla farmers -- most
of whom are on the islands of Madagascar, Reunion and Comoros.
Other firms are developing bioengineered fructose, besides chemical
sugar substitutes, that threatens, according to a Dutch study, 1 million
farmers in the Third World. In 1986, the Sudan lost its export of gum
arabic when a New York company discovered a bioengineering process for
producing the same.
Synthetic cocoa substitutes are also threatening farmers. It is
estimated that the biotech industry will find at least $14 billion
dollars of substitutes for Third World farming products. Far beyond
hydroponics, scientists are developing processes to grow foods in solely
laboratory environments -- eliminating the need for seeds, shrubs,
trees, soil and ultimately the farmer.
General Economic Harm to Small Family Farms
GM seeds sell at a premium, unless purchased in large quantities, which
creates a financial burden for small farmers. To add to this financial
injury, Archer Daniels Midland has instituted a two-tier price system
where it offers less to farmers per bushels for GM soybeans because they
are not selling well overseas.
Many GM products, such as rBGH, seem to offer a boom for dairy farmers
-- helping their cows produce considerably more milk. But the end result
has been a lowering of prices, again putting the smaller farmers out of
business. We can find similar trends with other GM techniques, as in pig
and hen-raising, made more efficient. The University of Wisconsin's GM
brooding hens lack the gene that produces prolactin proteins.
The new hens no longer sit on their eggs as long and produce more.
Higher production leads to lower prices in the market place. The end
result is that the average small farmer's income plummeted while a few
large-scale, hyper-productive operations survived along with their
"input providers" (companies selling seeds, soil amendments, and so on).
In an on-going trend, the self-sufficient family farmer is shoved to the
very lowest rung of the economic ladder. In 1910 the labor portion of
agriculture accounted for 41 percent of the value of the finally sold
produce. Now the figure has been estimated at between six to nine
percent in North America. The balance gets channeled to agri-input and
distribution firms, and more recently, to biotech firms. Kristin Dawkins
in Gene Wars: The Politics of Biotechnology, points out that between
1981 and 1987, food prices rose 36 percent, while the percentage of the
pie earned by farmers continued to shrink dramatically.
To Be Continued:
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