Genetically modified organisms ... they're a hot topic depending on who you ask. Yet one major point that those who oppose their use or the irresponsibility and lack of concern from the government is that GMO is irrefutably dangerous to the well-being of humans, animals, biodiversity and our food supply.
These claims can easily be backed by scientific evidence that has piled up around the genetically engineered seeds and the chemicals that farmers must use with them. The picture isn't pretty and this really rankles the corporate interests that be, such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow and others who have put billions of dollars and years of political campaigning behind these technologies.
One such study occurred in 2009 through 2011, (and published in 2012) when Gilles-Eric Seralini, a French scientist who took Monsanto's genetically engineered NK603 Corn seed and Roundup (glyphosate), and showed the world the horrifying results from the long-term two year study. While Monsanto's own internal studies claim that their seeds and chemicals pose no risk whatsoever, GMO-fed rats of the Sprague-Dawley strain became cancerous, impotent, mortality was increased, and fur grew in the mouth, among other frightening findings. This study was the first of its kind to become well known for directly linking GMO's to cancer.
Of course, the interests that be, mainly American companies, came swooping down from on high refuting these scientific findings as flawed or rigged. Unfortunately for Monsanto, who has the biggest stake to lose by this information, called Seralini and his team of scientists out. Seralini has the backing of his team and the University of Caen, France which doesn't bode well for the so-called accusations that would make it seem that the science was conducted by a group of crackpot junk scientists.
Monsanto claims that the strain of rat that Seralini used is flawed and already had a tendency to developing cancer, even though the Sprague-Dawley strain is the same strain of rat used by Monsanto in their own studies! So Monsanto 0 for 1. They said that he used too few rats, but again, Seralini used the same number of rats (10) for his two year study that Monsanto used for their much shorter 90 day study. Monsanto 0 for 2. Well, this seems to be the best they could come up with, because they never accused him for plagiarizing or using unethical practices. So, what really makes them so angry?
What Seralini did was to break new (mainstream) ground which strongly suggests a formidable link to GMO's, the applied chemicals, and the growth of cancer in living beings. While this should be enough for anyone to cringe the next time they eat, Seralini conducted this within proper scientific channels, using best practices with a team, and proved a scientific hypothesis which Monsanto vehemently protests for their obvious interests in both the biotechnology industry and their links in government.
Luckily, Seralini is not American, otherwise Monsanto may have already been able to suppress the research and perhaps imprison him for infringement. Interestingly enough, hundreds of American farmers and activists are constantly in legal limbo with Monsanto in court all year, every year due to patent infringement cases and other issues surrounding the GMO creations.
Yet what is most fascinating about this is that because of Monsanto's claims and the longstanding bans and or regulations against GMO in the European Union, the E.U. has decided to fund to replicate the two-year study in a much larger trial. They will use several strains of rats, a larger population and they will feed the rats several strains of genetically engineered crops. What will most likely be hailed as proving the science correct, assuming the research will not be co-opted by special interest, is a major breakthrough in research which will help protect the future of humanity and its food supply as well as nature.
So, as we can deduce, Monsanto and others have ties and strong corporate interests throughout America and the world which would control partly or entirely the use of GMO for food. The complicity even goes into the food producers and industry advocates which control what makes it to the store shelf. While the political links are invariably shown, the science has only compounded the evidence of a coverup of massive proportions, of government complicity and a battle to control America's farmland. Want proof?
Tom Vilsack, U.S. Agricultural Secretary previously worked as a lobbyist for the biotechnology industry in Iowa which one of the main contributors to lobbies was Monsanto. Deputy FDA Director Michael R. Taylor recently worked at the law firm which represents Monsanto Company. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas worked for Monsanto as a lawyer in the 1970's and has continued interest and support in court for GMO technology. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used to run GMO pioneer G.D. Searle & Company, which was bought by Monsanto in 1985, and later changed hands to pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in 2003!
For reference, the European Union and most other European countries, Russia, China, Japan, countries in continental Africa, Asia and in the Middle East and most South American nations have outright bans, or severe restrictions on the growth, implementation and study of genetically modified organisms used for commercial purposes and in the food supply. No such restrictions or any type of regulation in the federal government (USDA, FDA, EPA etc.) exist in the United States, with the exception of certified organic programs and third-party testing (like the Non-GMO Project), which are entirely voluntary.
With new research coming out and being conducted like the study to replicate Seralini's findings in the E.U. and showing that our food is not so good as we thought, what might be our next step here in America? Labeling? Regulation? Well, I could laugh, but that's another story. Just take careful bites while you stop and think.
Sam Ludtman lives in Reno.