Beginning in 1996, genes from bacteria and viruses have been forced into the DNA of soy, corn, cotton, and canola plants, which are used for food. Rhetoric from the US government proclaims that these genetically modified (GM) foods are not significantly different from natural plant foods. Don’t believe it. This assertion is political, not scientific. In fact, FDA scientists had privately warned that splicing foreign genes into crops might produce dangerous side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. But the FDA was under orders from the White House to promote GM foods and the political appointee in charge of creating the FDA policy was the former attorney for the biotech giant Monsanto, and later their vice president. So instead of requiring long-term safety studies as the scientists advised, the FDA waived all safety requirements and allow the foods on the market if the company says it is safe.
I recently worked with more than 30 scientists to gather all the health risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into a single book (Genetic Roulette). We found 65. The FDA scientists’ concerns have now been validated. GMOs are linked to toxic and allergic reactions, thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ tested in lab animals. Children are most at risk from the potential dangers.
Radically different from natural breeding, widespread, unpredictable changes
There are lots of industry-propagated myths about GMOs. They paint a picture of the technology as just an extension of the conventional breeding techniques. But independent scientists roll their eyes at this. It just isn’t so. Genetic engineering transfers genes across natural species barriers. A pig can naturally mate with a pig; and a tomato can mate with a tomato. But pigs don’t naturally mate with tomatoes. With genetic engineering, they can put pig genes into tomatoes and vice versa.
Furthermore, it uses imprecise laboratory techniques that bear no resemblance to natural breeding. (For example, they literally shoot genes into cells using a gene gun.) The process creates massive collateral damage, causing hundreds or thousands of mutations throughout the plant’s DNA. Natural genes can be deleted, permanently turned on or off, and hundreds may be altered.