For the 99.9999% of us that are not molecular biologists, understanding the health issues created by genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods are difficult at best.
Thierry Vrain PhD was a research soil biologist that worked for Agriculture Canada in the late 1980s through 2001. His job was to assure consumers that foods with GMO components were safe. After retiring, Dr. Vrain read many of the studies done in Europe, Russia, Japan and China that showed serious health issues in laboratory animals that consumed foods with GMO content.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on research projects and advertising sponsored by Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, BASF and other agriculture companies to assure us that foods containing GMO products are safe.
Enough money was funneled into Congress to create special protection for Monsanto and other agribusiness companies to protect them from liabilities from GMO foods. There was a time when the USDA research scientists suggested that GMO foods be tested and labeled. That was before the big payoffs through industry lobbyists and PAC contributions.
The Vancouver Sun ran an article on April 29, 2013 in which Dr. Vrain stated
“I have in the last 10 years changed my position. I started paying attention to the flow of published studies coming from Europe, some from prestigious labs and published in prestigious scientific journals that questioned the impact and safety of engineered food.
I refute the claims of the biotechnology companies that their engineered crops yield more, that they require less pesticide applications, that they have no impact on the environment and of course that they are safe to eat.”
One of the approaches taken by the agribusiness companies to obtain patents for their seeds and plants is to claim that these plants act as insecticides. They have been modified to kill the insects that eat the plants. How can a plant that kills insects be safe for human consumption? The modifications done to the plants to make them toxic does not have intelligence to kill an insect but not harm a human being.
Russia has banned some strains of GMO corn based upon the effects of the corn on laboratory rats. These effects included damage to the kidneys and liver, large tumors, reduced fertility, and finally much shorter life spans than those feed non-GMO corn. What is good for Monsanto, Dow and DuPont is not necessarily good for the rest of us.
In addition to the health risks, the US and Canada are highly dependent upon export of grains around the world. If these GMO products are banned, the economic impact on the US and Canada will be huge. The largest producers of GMO foods are the US, Brazil, Argentina and Canada.
In the attached interview of Dr. Vrain by Tony Mirta, Dr. Vrain explains the origins of genetic engineering and the fallacy of the assumption that the modification of one gene results in the generation of one new protein.
“Genetic engineering is 40 years old. It is based on the naive understanding of the genome based on the One Gene – one protein hypothesis of 70 years ago, that each gene codes for a single protein. The Human Genome project completed in 2002 showed that this hypothesis is wrong.
The whole paradigm of the genetic engineering technology is based on a misunderstanding. Every scientist now learns that any gene can give more than one protein and that inserting a gene anywhere in a plant eventually creates rogue proteins. Some of these proteins are obviously allergenic or toxic.”
“In 2009 the American academy of Environmental Medicine called for a moratorium of GM foods, safety testing and labeling. Their review of the available literature at the time noted that animals show serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.”
You can read the Vancouver Sun article at:
There is no doubt that there is enough evidence generated by peer reviewed studies that independent scientific studies are warranted, and GMO labeling should be adopted in the US. This is one more example of the power of economic interests to override the will of the people seeking to achieve the full protection of our food supply and environment.