Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee. [Leviticus 19:19]

Seed Robbery by Monsanto"Seed sovereignty is the foundation of food sovereignty. Seed freedom is the foundation of food freedom. The great seed robbery threatens both. It must be stopped." Monsanto's crime against India is nothing short of devastating.

Dr. Vandana Shiva, director of the Navdanya Trust gives a chilling account of Monsanto's many crimes. Monsanto owns most of seed market in India and other countries; see exact figures at Health Freedoms.

Monsanto makes Indian farmers sign MoUs (memorandum of understanding) which are strikingly similar to the agreements American farmers must sign to do business with Monsanto. Indian farmers take all the liability even though Monsanto still maintains all property rights to the seed. Monsanto has cross-licensing arrangements with other big GM seed corporations and they share GM seed traits with each other. They do not compete with each other, but with the peasants over the seed supply.

Indian farmers wish to maintain seed resiliency, nutrients, and biodiversity, but Monsanto agreements and seed preclude all of that. India"Ös government-sanctioned corporate GM seed companies steal their genetic seed wealth and sell it back to farmers in an altered, useless form. Plus, Monsanto"Ös bonding with chemical companies warrants farmers"Ö dependence on more chemicals. Just more of the racket. The account below can hardly be touched with a few sentences; please read the greater details below.

~Health Freedoms

Monsanto to Cut Prices on their Genetically Modified Crops

corn fieldMonsanto, the giant biotechnology agriculture company that created genetically modified corn, soybeans and herbicides, isn't riding so high this year in the stocks department, as news comes in that its products aren't working like they'd hoped.

According to the New York Times, weeds are becoming immune to Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, and its latest genetically modified, 8-gene corn is a flop, producing yields no higher than the company's less expensive corn, which contains only three foreign genes.

"Monsanto has already been forced to sharply cut prices on SmartStax and on its newest soybean seeds, called Roundup Ready 2 Yield, as sales fell below projections," the Times said. "And the Justice Department is investigating Monsanto for possible antitrust violations."

"Until now, Monsanto's main challenge has come from opponents of genetically modified crops, who have slowed their adoption in Europe and some other regions. Now, however, the skeptics also include farmers and investors who were once in Monsanto's camp."

Monsanto was named "company of the year" by Forbes Magazine in December. Last week, television stock market commentator Jim Cramer said it "may be the worst stock of 2010," the Times said.

New York Times October 5, 2010

Hi-tech (GMO) crops are bad for the brain

In this lecture, Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, summarizes the contents of his book, which explains how genetically modified ... all ´┐Ż foods cause health problems, and their potential for creating a vast array of unforeseen and surprising illnesses. He also sheds light on how the corruption within the U.S. government, the FDA, and the GMO industry has allowed, and perpetuated, the cover-up.

The following video exposes Fox News in their complicity with Monsanto to prevent a damning exposé on bovine hormone that would have saved the health of countless Americans is uncovered by their own undercover reporters:

Fox News EXPOSED! This Is A Must See! Video

Court ruling: "Falsifying news is not against the law."

Breaking News:

Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit

Published: January 21, 2010

Overruling two important precedents about the First Amendment rights of corporations, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and John Paul Stevens, right.

The 5-to-4 decision was a vindication, the majority said, of the First Amendment?s most basic free speech principle - that the government has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters said that allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace would corrupt democracy...

In this webmaster's humble opinion, this supreme court ruling may constitute a clear and present danger. There were over 2000 comments at that NY Times article, none of them favorable of this ruling. In the physical world, where big corporations like Monsanto decide to censor people who want to present the truth, while big corporations happily go about perpetuating lies and special interests just might incite imminent lawless action. The U.S. Constitution, Freedom and Democracy of the American Republic - and most of all our health is in danger from fascist corporate pandering.

"Miracle" crops, hailed as the answer to global famine, are contributing to widespread brain impairment in the developing world, a new report concludes. It says that the high-yielding rice and wheat varieties that brought about the much-heralded "Green Revolution" are among a range of environmental factors undermining human intelligence.

The study concludes that a deadly combination of soil erosion, pollution and inadequate diet is affecting the intelligence of millions of people, with effects ranging from severe intellectual disabilities to "sub-clinical decline" in whole populations.

The report says that the new crops, unlike their predecessors, fail to take up minerals such as iron and zinc from the soil. So even as people consumed more calories, their intake of these key "micronutrients" fell.

"High-yielding Green Revolution crops were introduced in poorer countries to overcome famine," the report says. "But these are now blamed for causing intellectual deficits, because they do not take up essential micronutrients."

The report is written by Dr. Christopher Williams, a research fellow with the Global Environmental Change Programme. Using already published UN data he has calculated that 1.5 billion people -- one quarter of the earth's population -- are affected by "Green Revolution iron deficiency". He claims the condition impairs the learning ability of more than half of India's school children.

The greatest drops in the intake of iron took place in South and South East Asia, the very areas where the Green Revolution was most successful.

Other UN figures show that half the world's pregnant women are anaemic, because they have too little iron, putting both them and their babies at risk. The condition is thought to be responsible for 200,000 deaths a year.

Related Articles:

Hi-Tech Crop report in The Independent, London

Pollution 'damages intelligence' -- BBC News

"The Environmental Threat to Human Intelligence", by Dr Christopher Williams

Seeds of the world

Nutrient starved soils lead to nutrient starved people.

Health, Human Rights, and GM crops

When corporations rule the world

In 1978, the governments of the world gathered under the aegis of the World Health Organisation to sign the Alma Ata Declaration promising "Health for All by 2000". But this promise was never taken seriously, and was sidelined in subsequent health policy discussions.

In December 2000, 1453 delegates from 75 countries, representing people's movements and other non-government organization across the globe, came together in Savar, Bangladesh for the world's first People's Health Assembly, to reiterate the pledge of "Health for All", declaring health as a basic human right, including the environmental, social and economic conditions that guarantee health. The Assembly documented the adverse impacts of the structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) on people's health, and roundly condemned the international financial institutions - the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation - for pushing SAPs, the governments for imposing the policies on their people, and the big transnational corporations for putting profit before people.

SAPs are supposed to help poor indebted nations restore their balance of payments, reduce inflation and create the conditions for "sustainable growth". Typical measures include devaluation of local currencies, spending cuts in the public sector, privatisation of public services, elimination of subsidies and trade liberalization (removal of all barriers to trade, finance and procurement). In practice, SAPs deprive poor people of basic healthcare, education and other essential services, and leave poor countries wide open to economic exploitation, especially through transnational corporations - based in rich countries in the North operating in the South - that have scant regard for human health or the environment. As a result, peoples' health worsens while the environment is destroyed at an ever-accelerating rate, and the poor countries sink deeper into poverty and indebtedness.

The People's Health Assembly met for the second time this July in Cuenca, Ecuador, when "Health for All" seems even more remote than in 2000. Nevertheless, thirteen hundred delegates from 80 countries came to reaffirm the Alma Ata vision amid deteriorating conditions of health for most of the world's people, which are blamed unequivocally on "neo-liberal policies that transfer wealth from the South to the North, from the poor to the rich, and from the public to private sector."

The delegates were unanimous in opposing the signing of the Free Trade Agreements imposed by the United States government and the international financial institutions that can only further worsen people's health prospects.

Invited to speak on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), I explained to the Assembly why GM food and feed are proving unsafe, because genetic modification goes against the grain of the new science of genetics. I also exposed all the lies and half-truths told by certain scientists that genetic modification is perfectly safe and very precise; and makes environmentally friendly GM crops that improve yield, reduce pesticide use, improve nutrition and so on.

Among the most important conditions for health is people's right to food and adequate nutrition. The People's Charter for Health calls on governments to implement agricultural policies attuned to people's needs, and not to the demands of the market, in order to guarantee food security and equitable access to food. GM crops guarantee neither food security nor equitable access to food, quite the opposite.

In fact, GM crops usurp people's right to food by imposing licence fees on patented seeds and by preventing farmers from saving and exchanging seeds, a practice going back for thousands of years. GM crops are industrial monocultures, only worse. They are more genetically uniform than conventional monocultures, and hence more prone to disease. They are more dependent on external inputs, particularly pesticides; and according to the latest reports by farmers across the world, GM crops require more water and are less tolerant of drought.

Delegates were right to fear that the Free Trade Agreements will mean forced imports of GM seeds and GM food and feed into Latin America, especially as "food aid". The US' agricultural exports are worth more than US$ 50 billion each year, and rejection of GM food and feed across the world is hurting exports.

War on world food rights fought over GM crops

A war on food rights is being fought over GM crops with big agribusiness - supported by the US and US-friendly governments (including the Blair administration) - against the rest of the world; and it is taking place at all levels from the international arena to local communities.

The US government has sued the European Union (EU) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for restricting import of GMOs, and wants the WTO to override the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety - which gives countries the right to regulate and reject GMOs - in order to force GMOs on the world in the name of free trade. The European Commission responded to the WTO complaint by urging European countries to lift their national bans on GMOs. But EU member states stood firm with a clear majority vote in June in favour of keeping the existing national bans.

The US administration is pushing GMOs both officially and through unofficial channels. In July, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a "second generation of India-US collaboration in agriculture." This, after Monsanto's Bt cotton has proven to fail, as reported by both independent and Indian government scientists. Monsanto's Indian subsidiary, Monsanto-Mahyco has shamelessly hyped the GM-cotton seeds, even enlisting a Bollywood star and dancing girls to go on promotional tours in Punjabi villages.

GM crops are also aggressively promoted in Africa. Earlier in July, a team of "international food scientists" was reported complaining that, "regulatory hurdles are preventing African farmers from reaping the benefits of genetically modified foods", but nonetheless the African farmers "have been adopting this technology rapidly". The team's spokesperson, Joel Cohen of the International Food Policy Research Institute, was formerly with USAID, and worked with Monsanto to fund Florence Wambugu to head Monsanto's GM sweet potato project in Kenya, generating fantastic PR for GM crops, although the project turned out to be a total flop at a cost of millions. Florence Wambugu is regularly featured and quoted in top scientific journals including Nature as a scientist speaking on behalf of Africa and in favour of GM crops, despite having been exposed by fellow African scientists on many occasions.

Meanwhile, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded US$ 3.3 million to the Monsanto-backed Donald Danforth Plant Science Centre in Ohio, USA, to genetically engineer cassava; and $16.9 million to Wambugu's African consortium to genetic engineer sorghum for African farmers, also at a US company, Pioneer Hi-Bred, a subsidiary of DuPont based in Des Moines, Iowa.

Within the US, repressive bills have been passed in at least 10 states to block local communities and regions declaring themselves GM-Free, and are clearly targeted at the grassroots uprising against GM crops that has been gaining momentum over the past year.

A Sustainable World is possible

Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, Minister for the Environment, Ethiopia, supported the first public action against commercial GMOs in Germany with the following statement: "Badly informed governments and corrupt members of governments everywhere in the world are the main obstacle to an objective discussion of the true problems of world food supplies. The merciless forces of the free market, which in the wake of globalisation is taking on a cynical, inhuman character, deprive the poorest of the poor of any basis for making a living."

Alan Simpson, Member of UK Parliament, similarly declared at our Sustainable World International Conference in London that, "irreverence, heresy, and the breaking of rules were necessary to raise awareness in the face of deepening water, energy and food insecurity."

Adopting GM crops when oil and water are both rapidly depleting under global warming, and when industrial monoculture is showing all the signs of collapse is a crime against humanity and our planet; especially when we have all the knowledge at our disposal to build a truly sustainable and equitable world.

(All SiS issues and articles can be accessed at

No 27 Autumn 2005
Edited by Mae-Wan Ho
Institute of Science in Society

forwarded by
Zeus Information Service
Alternative Views on Health
info @

All information, data and material contained, presented or provided herein is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed as reflecting the knowledge or opinion of Zeus Information Service.

Monsanto's Genetically Modified Seeds Threaten World Production

TV Propaganda Sponsored & Funded by American Farm Bureau and Monsanto

This fall, Monsanto and the American Farm Bureau Federation (with additional funding from the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, United Soybean Board and U.S. Grains Council) have teamed up to produce a piece of propaganda designed to whitewash the true story of industrial agribusiness in the United States.

America´┐Żs Heartland is a weekly television series that these shills of industrial agriculture intend to offer to more than 300 public television stations for airing in September. The 20 half-hour episodes claim to help ´┐Żraise awareness of the significant contribution American agriculture makes to the quality of life here and abroad.´┐Ż However, the failure to include any group representing America´┐Żs traditional family farmers raises suspicions that the series is nothing more than a public relations ploy by corporate agriculture interests.

We have drafted a letter (below) to alert public television station managers to the bias behind this rogue gallery of corporate players presuming to represent the state of agriculture in rural America. It is critical that those who make programming decisions for America´┐Żs public television stations understand that there is another, more destructive side to industrial agriculture.

Please join us in this effort by having your organization sign on to this letter. Also, pass it along to other organizations that might want to join in. A final letter, signed by all supporting groups, will be distributed to every public television station manager in mid-July.

Please RSVP your support to Chris Cooper at GRACE
ccooper @

Thank you!

GRACE (Global Resource Action Center for the Environment)

In the next few weeks you will be solicited to carry a television program produced by KVIE Public Television entitled America´┐Żs Heartland. Contrary to the producers' press release, this program is not a celebration of our nation's agriculture. Instead, it is a piece of bald-faced propaganda from those who make their money from corporate agriculture´┐Żthe Monsanto Company, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, United Soybean Board and U.S. Grains Council.

The destruction of America´┐Żs rural communities and the disappearance of its small farmers is an important story that needs to be told. This story, one of rural depopulation, dwindling economic opportunities, industrial levels of pollution and their attendant health and social concerns, is the ugly reality of the excesses that come from the unregulated large-scale industrialized agricultural system promoted by corporate America. America´┐Żs Heartland is being produced to put a friendly face on the very forces that are causing these problems.

Policies promoted by Monsanto and the American Farm Bureau, if successful, will place the US food supply into the hands of a few major corporations. This would devastate independent family farmers who will be priced out of the market not because they can´┐Żt compete, but because corporate farms are specifically structured to capture government subsidies.

Lobbyists for corporate agriculture and the Farm Bureau use political pressure to direct federal subsidies to corporate farms where a significant part of these subsidies then flows directly to Monsanto from the purchase of genetically modified seed and artificial hormones (to increase milk production at mega dairies) that put small farmers out of business. The American Farm Bureau, which sells insurance, supports this strategy by investing its assets in corporate agriculture while claiming for lobbying purposes that its 5 million insurance policyholders are active Farm Bureau members. (There are less than 2 million actual farmers in the US and many don´┐Żt belong to the Farm Bureau).

There is a growing backlash in both rural areas and urban and consumer markets against the practices advocated by Monsanto, the Farm Bureau and the owners of factory farms. Shoppers are flocking to organic products in an effort to escape the health consequences of the kind of agriculture these groups promote. Traditional family farmers are working to expose the corporate whitewashing of industrial agriculture. The program you are being asked to show is an important part of a strategy to silence this backlash by making American consumers think that corporate farming practices are harmless and inevitable. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We ask you to please make a fully informed decision about America´┐Żs Heartland and either not air it or, if you elect to show it, schedule it alongside a program presenting the alternative point of view as you would for any other piece of propaganda. There is another side to this story and the public deserves to hear it.



Find out why over seven million people have watched the Meatrix!

Diane Hatz
Director of Marketing and Special Projects
Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE)
215 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1001
New York, NY 10016
tel. 212-726-9161
fax 212-726-9160


  • "Mojo Wire"
  • "A Seedy Business "
  • April 27 1998
  • Leora Broydo
  • Global Pesticide Campaigner and Earth Island Journal
  • "Terminator Seeds Threaten an end to Farming"
  • June 1998, Fall 1998
  • Hope Shand and Pat Mooney
  • Third World Resurgence #92
  • "New Patent Aims to Prevent Farmers From Saving Seeds"
  • Chakravarthi Raghavan
  • The Ecologist
  • "Monsanto: A Checkered History" and "Revolving Doors: Monsanto and the Regulators"
  • September/October 1998
  • Vol. 28, No. 5
  • Brian Tokar


    Over the 12,000 years that humans have been farming, a rich tradition of seed saving has developed. Men and women choose seeds from the plants that are best adapted to their own locale and trade them within the community, enhancing crop diversity and success rates. All this may change in the next couple of years.

    Monsanto Corporation has been working to consolidate the world seed market and is now poised to introduce new genetically engineered seeds that will produce only infertile seeds at the end of the farming cycle. Farmers will no longer be able to save seeds from year to year and will be forced to purchase new seeds from Monsanto each year. {Government subsidies in smaller, third world countries for buying these seeds slowly puts that country further into debt while the corporation slowly gains ownership of the country. See the news marquee below to get an idea of what is happening in the U.S.}

    On March 3, 1998, Delta land and Pine Company, a large American cotton seed company, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that they had been awarded a patent on a technique that genetically disable a seed's ability to germinate when planted a second season. This patent covers not only the cotton and tobacco varieties, but, potentially, all cultivated crops. Scarcely two months after the patent was awarded, Monsanto, the world's third largest seed corporation and second largest agro-chemical corporation, began the process of acquiring Delta Land and Pine and with it the rights to this new technology.

    It is noteworthy that the USDA stands to earn five percent royalties of net sales if this technology is commercialized. Historically, the USDA has received government money for research aimed at benefitting farmers, but recently the USDA has been turning to private companies more often for funding. As a result, for the first time in history, research is being done for the benefit of corporations, sometimes in direct opposition to the farmers' interests.

    In an interview with Leora Broydo, Melvin Oliver, USDA researcher on the patent-producing technique, state that the research is a way to put "billions of dollars spent on research back into the system." When Broydo called back to ask exactly those billions would be recouped by the USDA's patent, Oliver said he had been instructed not to speak to the press any further.

    Dubbed "Terminator Technology" by Hope Shand of the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), Monsanto's new seeds have diverse implications, including the disruption of traditional farming practices around the world, the altering of the earth's biodiversity, and possible impacts on human health.

    Monsanto has euphemistacally called the process by which seeds are disabled the "technology protection system." A primary objective of Terminator technology is to grant and protect corporate rights to charge fees for patents on products that are genetically modified. Terminator technology offers no advantage by itself, but when couple with the production of the strongest, highest yielding seeds, farmers may be compelled to buy single-season plants. Due to the nature of modern farming, many farmers will have little choice. Up to this point the boldest attempt at policing crops has been made by Monsanto, who hires Pinkerton agents to ferret out wayward American farmers who save patented soybean seeds for reuse or trade. However, this method is minimally effective for foreign markets.

    Genetic engineering is still in its early stages and the effects of flooding the environment with extensive transgenic monocrops are unpredictable. Traits from genetically engineered plants can sometimes be passed on to wild relatives in the area causing genetic pollution, which has the potential to alter ecosystems in unknown ways for an indefinite period of time.

    Terminator plants, if introduced on a wide scale, will effectively constrict worldwide worldwide crop diversity by preventing farmers from engaging in the seed selection and cross breeding that has, for thousands of years, given them the ability to adapt crops to local conditions. Crop uniformity increases vulnerability to pests and disease and heightens the potential for mass famine. (Starlink was their snappy comeback.)


    The first seed oil to be created through genetic manipulation, canola is also the focus of a variety of genetic engineering/modification (GE/GM) projects in which genetic material from other species is inserted into the seeds in order to magnify certain traits in the resultant plant.

    Herbicide-resistant GE canola now comprises a large portion of the total canola crop. Apologists point to endorsement by the FDA and the American Dietetic Association that GE canola is nutritionally and environmentally safe and claim that the GE variety means less spraying of herbicides, less chemical runoff and a boon to farmers.

    Percy Schmeiser, a third-generation Saskatchewan farmer, found out the hard way that GE canola may not be a boon to farmers. Pollen from Monsanto's patented GE canola seeds blew onto his land from neighbouring farms; unlike grains, rape and canola plants spread their pollen on the wind. Monsanto's "gene police" then invaded his farm and took seed samples without his permission. Because Schmeiser did not spray his crop with herbicides, a Canadian court ruled that he had taken advantage of Monsanto's GE technology. Schmeiser was ordered to pay $10,000 for licensing fees and up to $75,000 in profits from his 1998 crop. (Does this mean I can charge licensing fees for my germs when I sneeze and it lands on someone else's face?)

    Meanwhile, genetic engineers are involved in projects to make canola oil "even more nutritious" by further reducing the amount of saturates in the fatty acid profile and raising the levels of monounsaturates. This, they claim, will make it possible to reduce the amount of trans fats in the processed oil, presumably because levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which need to be deodorised, will also be lowered. Should the genetic engineers be successful, it might be possible to create a diet in which the vast majority of fatty acids is monounsaturated - something that does not exist in any traditional diet anywhere in the world.

    (Source: Eric Peters, "Let them eat canola", Washington Times, April 29, 2002)

    Update by Hope Shand and Pat Mooney

    "RAFI's story on Terminator seed technology alerted the world to a dangerous new genetic technology that threatens to eliminate the right of farmers to save seeds from their harvest. This technology offers no agronomic benefit to farmers: it is designed simply to increase seed industry profits by forcing farmers to return to the commercial seen market every year.

    "Terminator technology is a threat to global food security because it is aimed for use in Africa, Asia, and Latin America where over 1.4 billion people - primarily poor farmers - depend on farmed saved seed.

    "There is an avalanche of public opposition to this technology. When we learned that Monsanto hand entered into negotiations with the USDA to obtain an exclusive license on the Terminator patent, we launched an international email protest campaign on our website. In recent months over 3,500 people have written to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman from 60 countries urging him to cease negotiations with Monsanto, abandon research on Terminator, and withdraw patent claims that are pending in over 87 countries.

    "The specter of genetic seed sterilization is so serious that the world's largest network of agricultural researchers adopted a policy in October 1998 prohibiting the use of the technology in its Third World plant-breeding programs. India's agriculture minister says he will ban the import of Terminator seeds because of the potential harm to Indian Agriculture..." Click here for more information


    Update by Brian Tokar

    "The Ecologist magazine's special issue on Monsanto has helped crystallize a growing, worldwide opposition to the company's aggressive promotion of its genetically engineered crop varieties. When the Ecologist's printer of 26 years refused to release the magazine and discarded 14,000 copies citing fears of a libel suit the ensuing controversy helped contribute to Monsanto's rapidly deteriorating image all across Europe and worldwide. Public controversies over genetically engineered foods have escalated throughout Europe as well as Latin America, Eastern Asia, and elsewhere. A farmer's movement in southern India burned test plots of Monsanto's pesticide secreting cotton in November of 1998 calling for a worldwide campaign to 'Cremate Monsanto.'

    "The Ecologist story has recieved little play in the United States, outside of alternative outlets such as Z Magazine, the Multinational Monitor, and various electronic mailing lists for opponents of biotechnology. Still, opposition is growing here as well and Monsanto has faced declining stock values and the collapse of its planned merger with the pharmacuetical giant, American Home Products.

    Farmers report persistent problems with Monsanto's genetically engineered corn and cotton varieties, and there is growing evidence that biotech crops contaminate neighboring fields with their pollen. A new coalition of biotech opponents and environmental activists in the Northeast has called for a nationwide campaign against the sale of genetically engineered seeds."

    • Safe Food´┐ŻCampaign 2001: visit the Mothers for Natural Law website and sign the petition for mandatory labeling, safety testing, and a moratorium on genetically engineered foods.

    • New England Resistance Against Genetic Engineering
      c/o Institute for Social Ecology
      P.O. Box 89, Plainfield, VT 05667

    • Biodevastation Network
      c/o Edmonds Institute
      20319-92nd Avenue West
      Edmonds, WA 98020

    • Gateway Green Alliance
      P.O. Box 8094
      St. Louis, MO 63156
    • London based genetics e-mail list:

    • Campaign for Food Safety

    • Rural Advancement Foundation International

    • Petition: Protect Our Nation's Seed Supply from GE Contamination!

      Consumers who want alternatives to genetically engineered (GE) food have sought products grown from traditional, non-GE seeds. Consumers take the availability of such seeds, and the ability of farmers to grow them, for granted.

      The findings of a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists shatter this assumption. Laboratory testing of traditional varieties of corn, soybean, and canola seeds revealed widespread contamination by DNA from commercial GE crops.

      These findings suggest that current federal regulations are inadequate to protect our seed supply from the next generation of GE crops ´┐Ż those engineered to produce drugs and industrial chemicals.

      Sign this petition to protect our nation's seed supply! Urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to amend federal regulations to explicitly protect the seed supply from contamination by engineered pharmaceutical and industrial crops.

    Ruminants as GMO's - Scientists in Europe have created genetically engineered cows that produce a protein in their blood that might be used to treat human cases of melanoma. The protein is itself a lab creation called r28M, a two-way antibody designed to lock on to both melanoma cells and a type of tumor-killing immune cell. According to a report by Dr. Gottfried Brem and colleagues, at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, therapeutic proteins, such as clotting factors for treating hemophilia, can be harvested from the blood of mammals. They theorized that a similar approach could be used to manufacture r28M. The researchers inserted the gene for r28M into early-stage bovine embryos, which were then were implanted into cows. Out of 77 transfers into 31 recipients, there were 13 pregnancies and 11 calves were born alive and healthy. "Having established a successful 'gene farming' procedure for the r28M protein, it should now be possible to evaluate its therapeutic potential in experimental clinical trials," Brem's group writes.

    Planet Ark

    Feeling ill from your genetically altered backyard crop?
    Get the answers you need to take action!,Inc.



    By Jeffrey Smith
    July 16, 2005

    When a German court ordered Monsanto to make public a controversial 90-day rat study on June 20, 2005, the data upheld claims by prominent scientists who said that animals fed the genetically modified (GM) corn developed extensive health effects in the blood, kidneys and liver and that humans eating the corn might be at risk. The 1,139 page research paper on Monsanto's Mon 863 variety also revealed that European regulators accepted the company's assurances that their corn is safe, in spite of the unscientific and contradictory rationale that was used to dismiss significant problems. In addition, the study is so full of flaws and omissions, critics say it wouldn't qualify for publication in most journals and yet it is the primary document used to evaluate the health impacts.

    Mon 863 is genetically engineered to produce a form of a pesticide called bacillus thuringiensis or Bt, designed to attack a corn pest called the root worm. Rats fed Mon 863 developed several reactions, including those typically found with allergies (increased basophils), in response to infections, toxins and various diseases including cancer (increased lymphocytes and white blood cells), and in the presence of anemia (decreased reticulocyte count) and blood pressure problems (decreased kidney weights). There were also increased blood sugar levels, kidney inflammation, liver and kidney lesions, and other changes. According to top research biologist Arpad Pusztai, who was commissioned by the German government to evaluate the study in 2004, based on the evidence no one can say that Mon 863 will cause cancer or allergies or anything specific. The results are preliminary and must be followed-up to rule these out. He warns, however, It is almost impossible to imagine that major lesions in important organs. . . . or changes in blood parameters. . . . that occurred in GM maize-fed rats, is incidental and due to simple biological variability."

    French Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini, a molecular endocrinologist at the University of Caen, agrees that the results indicate a toxic reaction. Seralini is a member of two French government commissions that evaluate GM food, one of which originally rejected a request for approval of the corn variety in October, 2003 due to the adverse findings of the study. Seralini won a French lawsuit allowing him to express his concerns in public, and now Greenpeace has won a German court battle that makes public the data that is the source of his concerns.

    Pusztai and Seralini spoke about the Mon 863 study at a June 22 press conference in Berlin organized by Greenpeace. Both scientists are uniquely qualified to evaluate the study. Seralini studies endocrine disruptors and the impact of pesticides on health. He was one of four experts appointed to respond to the WTO challenge filed by the US against the European Union's policy on GM food and crops. He has read all of the industry's GM-food submissions to Europe as well as all the commentaries on the submissions. Pusztai is the leading authority in his field of protein science (lectins) and had been commissioned by the UK government in the 1990s to develop the ideal testing protocol for all GM foods. Although his protocol was supposed to be adopted by the UK government and eventually in Europe, Pusztai's controversial finding that GM potatoes damaged the health of rats ultimately stopped the work. Pusztai has also been commissioned to evaluate all published studies on GM foods, and has analyzed most of the confidential submissions made by industry.

    Both scientists have expressed alarm about the unsupported arguments that Monsanto and some European regulators use to force product approvals. Now that the Mon 863 study is available, other scientists and the public can evaluate the industry's defense, which Pusztai and Seralini say contradict well established scientific principles. Chief among their concerns are the ways Monsanto explains away statistically significant effects.

    Faulty Comparisons Hide Problems

    In animal feeding studies, researchers attempt to minimize differences between the test animals and the control groups, so that only the impact of the item being analyzed will stand out. In this study therefore, the test rats ate Mon 863 and the control group ate non-GM corn from the same parent line, i.e., corn whose genetics are the same except for the insertion of the genetic material and its impact. When comparing the results of these two appropriate groups, the health impacts were unambiguous and occurred at a rate that the scientific community accepts as not due to chance. But Monsanto and their supporters in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) appear to throw away the accepted methods of science that have been used for decades in order to rationalize the findings.

    1. Researchers used six additional control groups, which were fed commercial corn varieties with entirely different genetics. While such comparisons are appropriate for commercial studies, it is entirely inappropriate for a safety assessment, according to Pusztai. Monsanto claimed that when the changes in the test rats were compared to this much larger, irrelevant control group, many changes were no longer significant.

    2. In spite of the strained logic, many results were still statistically significant when compared to these six other controls and were reported as such by the laboratory that Monsanto used to conduct the study. Monsanto therefore ignored the study's figures and claimed that since the changes in the rats were still within a wide range of reactions that are normal for the animals, they should be considered biologically irrelevant. Using this argument, for example, they declared that a 52% decrease in reticulocytes (immature blood cells) was "ťattributable to normal biological variability. According to Pusztai, an allowance of 5% variability is the norm in food experiments. Similarly, he says that the increase in blood sugar levels by 10% "ťcannot be written off as biologically insignificant, given the epidemic of diabetes.

    To put Monsanto's claims into perspective, suppose that a large number of women who were fed a carefully controlled diet had a 25% increase in breast cancer compared to matched controls on another diet. Using Monsanto's logic, the findings can be dismissed because the increase was still within the normal variability of breast cancer for the whole population.

    3. In spite of the statistical slight-of-hand, several results could still not be dismissed since they were well beyond the range Monsanto had defined as normal. So the company claimed that the potentially dangerous health effects were not considered significant because the reaction among the rats was not consistent between males and females. "This is really ridiculous," says Seralini, because everyone studying cancer and endocrinology, for example, knows that there are differences between genders.

    4. When even the gender defense could not be applied to a particular finding, Monsanto dismissed it since the reactions were not always dose specific. Specifically, the results observed in rats fed a diet that was 11% Mon 863 were sometimes more pronounced than results found in rats fed a 33% diet. Seralini notes that in endocrinology and toxicology research, differences are not always proportional to effects noted. A small dose of a hormone, for example, can cause a woman to ovulate, while a larger dose can make her infertile.

    5. When all other excuses failed, Monsanto claimed that with such a large study, one would expect lots of results to fall in the statistically significant category purely by chance. Thus, no follow-up is required.

    Seralini says, "It is dishonest not to do the tests again if you have statistical significance." Pusztai similarly asks, "What is the point of doing a study if you dismiss the results you find?" He insists that you design a study specifically so that statistical significance indicates biological significance.

    In spite of the fact that Monsanto's explanations were at odds with time-honored principles of science, the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) recommended that Mon 863 be approved. In fact, the agency's justification mimics that of Monsanto, point for point. In spite of EFSA's recommendation to approve Mon 863, the majority of the countries in the EU Council of Ministers voted not to approve the corn on July 24, 2005. But EU law requires a "qualified majority" on such a vote, and so the pro-GM European Commission is now authorized to make the decision and is expected to approve Mon 863 within a few months.

    Mon 863 will not be the first approved GM food in Europe to have shown significant health effects in rats. According to Seralini, an oilseed rape (GT 73), Roundup Ready corn (NK 603), and two Bt corn varieties (Bt11 and Mon 810) all showed statistically significant problems that regulators did not pursue with follow-up research. Seralini said that the effects of the GM crops were similar to that of pesticides. Some included inflammation disorders and problems in the livers and kidneys, the two major organs involved with detoxification. Seralini is part of a research group raising money to do independent research on a GM variety he says showed more than 50 significant rat anomalies.

    GM Food is Prone to Unpredicted Effects

    How can a GM crop create so many significant unpredicted side effects? There are several ways. The process of gene insertion, for example, typically results in hundreds or thousands of mutations throughout the genome. Insertion also changes the amount of protein that natural genes produce (5% of the genes in one study) and can destroy natural genes altogether. The protein created by the inserted gene may also create allergies or toxins. Several studies indicate, for example, that the Bt pesticide may cause allergic or immune system effects. Furthermore, according to Monsanto's submission on Mon 863 to Australia and New Zealand, some of the foreign genetic material that was added into the corn was mutated during the insertion process. This means that the composition of the Bt protein that the corn creates is actually different than the one scientists intended.

    With so many ways to create side effects, many scientists and consumer groups are demanding extensive evaluations and insist that a simple 90-day rat experiment is not competent to protect the public. In the EU, pesticide approvals require research on three types of mammals, with feeding studies ranging from 90 days to two years. Seralini points out that Bt crops create new pesticides. Mon 863, for example, is unique; it differs from the natural version of Bt pesticide in seven ways and should, according to Seralini, require at least the same level of evaluation as chemical pesticides. The same holds true for herbicide tolerant crops, which are engineered to survive large applications of weed killers such as Monsanto's Roundup. Seralini points out that these GM plants have far more herbicide residues in the edible portions and extensive toxicity tests must be performed. But the biotech industry claims that they could not afford to introduce GM crops if they had to pay for the tests normally required for pesticides in Europe. For GM crop approvals in the US, they spend even less. US authorities require only 30-day studies for the Bt plants and no safety tests whatsoever are required for herbicide tolerant varieties.

    Flaws in the Mon 863 Study Should Have Caused It to be Rejected

    According to Pusztai, the quality of Monsanto's study was well below that normally required for a peer reviewed publication. He says, "It is odd, therefore, that it remains the central document considered by government regulatory authorities upon which to make a decision to protect the health of European citizens."

    Several features of the study appear to have been rigged to avoid finding problems. Nutritional studies, for example, typically use young, fast-growing animals, which are sensitive to toxic and nutritional effects. By using a mix of young and old animals, Monsanto's research design may have hidden serious problems. Similarly, they used rats with a huge range of starting weights. According to Pusztai, the starting weights in a rat feeding study should not vary more than 2% from the average. By contrast, the male starting weights in Monsanto's study ranged from 198.4 to 259.8 grams (or 143 to 186 grams according to the conflicting data in the study's appendix). In either case, says Pusztai, the wide range "can make it impossible to find significant differences in animal weights at the end of the experiment."

    Monsanto tested the effects of two diets: in one Mon 863 constituted 33% of the rats' diet, and in the other, it was 11%. Even in the 33% group, GM corn protein comprised only about 15% of the rats' total protein. According to Pusztai, researchers should have started with the maximum amount of corn possible (while maintaining a balanced diet), and then used lower concentrations to evaluate any dose effect. (Since rats are stand-ins for humans, it is interesting to note that African aid recipients typically rely on corn for 90% of their total caloric intake.) Researchers also supplemented the corn with a commercial animal feed. Although its composition wasn't reported, it may have contained GM soy, which could have skewed the results.

    The study relied on analytical methods that are half a century old and ignored powerful new methods, such as profiling techniques, DNA chips, proteomics, and others. They relied on just two observation times (week 5 and week 14), which will not give data about the intervening periods. And the short 90-day time period will miss chronic and reproductive problems, as well as problems in the next generation.

    The analysis of the findings was obscured by using six irrelevant control groups fed commercial diets, as well as data from historical databases. Such comparisons are totally unacceptable in the field of nutrition. According to Pusztai, "The study should have included a control group fed the non-GM parent line, spiked with the Bt obtained from the Mon 863. If rats reacted badly to this diet, it would show that the genetic engineering process and its unpredicted side effects, and not the Bt toxin, were responsible. Pusztai says, "A second parental line spiked with a known toxin would also be useful as a positive control," to make sure the measurements are sensitive enough to detect the expected impact of the toxin. Without this, it is difficult to know if the methods were working properly.

    Monsanto also defended changes in kidney weights by comparing the values with a separate study, which used different corn genetics and a different lab. According to Pusztai, this absurd inter-experimental comparison is never done and should be disregarded.

    Some of the reported weight measurements were also bizarre, suggesting possible problems with animal management or faulty data. One rat dropped 53 grams in one week and gained 102 grams in the next. Some that were heaviest at the beginning of the experiment were the lightest at the end. And the rats hardly grew at all during the last four weeks.

    Overall, the research paper was confusing, conflicting, and poorly reported. It failed to disclose, for example, the nutritional composition of the feed - backed up by chemical analysis - and the methods used to measure changes in the animals. Since these most basic requirements for a nutritional study were not provided, the research cannot be repeated and the results remain suspect.

    Referring to the study as a whole, Pusztai says, "Nutritional scientists and leading journals would not accept these blatant inadequacies and misinterpretations."

    The Politics of Science Fails to Protect the Public

    When Seralini wanted to voice his concerns about the industry's safety studies, he was told by French authorities that he was legally bound to keep even his opinions confidential. A lawsuit eventually granted him the right to speak, but until June 20, 2005, biotech companies were able to keep their feeding studies hidden by claiming that they contained confidential business information. Seralini says that "No one can understand, even among EU regulators, why the composition of the blood of rats that have eaten the GM is secret." The precedent established by the German court may open the door for more biotech studies to be made public. Without disclosure, says Seralini, just a few toxicologists can make the decision without public evaluation. And too often, the decision-making body is heavily influenced by the applying company.

    In his French Commission for Biomolecular Genetics (CBG), for example, the government nominates three candidates for the position of the very important "external referee." That referee studies the application and presents the relevant facts to the 18-member committee. For about ten years, the applicant companies such as Monsanto were able to choose which candidate of the three was to be the referee overseeing their products' approval process. Seralini says, "I had a big fight with the commission" over the conflict of interest. As a result, the government changed the rules, and for the Mon 863 application they allowed the president of the commission the right to choose the referee. The president, however, is a geneticist who works very closely with industry. He appointed the same person that the biotech industry had chosen in the past.

    After the CBG failed to approve Monsanto's corn in 2003, the president asked for an outside scientist to re-evaluate just one of the significant differences - kidney weight. According to Seralini, the consultant ignored the blood and liver disorders entirely. And no additional research was actually conducted; the consultant simply re-examined the same data and declared the results insignificant. The commission scheduled another vote, but failed to achieve a quorum. The president ruled that a quorum would not be needed in the next meeting, and only five members showed up. The president cast the deciding vote that approved Mon 863, 3 votes to 2. The other votes in favor came from the commission's vice-president, who works at an organization that conducts agricultural research, and a scientist. According to Seralini, the scientist is a toxicologist who, oddly enough, is "always against long animal toxicity tests." In fact, he had been part of the French committee that approved Novartis (now Syngenta) E 176 corn after it had been tested for only two weeks with three cows. Actually, there were four cows at the start of the study, but one died and was removed.

    The toxicologist is also on the European Food Standards Agency that endorsed Mon 863. EFSA has come under attack for including primarily pro-GM scientists. According to a November 2008 report by Friends of the Earth, "One member has direct financial links with the biotech industry and others have indirect links. . . . Two members have even appeared in promotional videos produced by the biotech industry." And several members, including the chairman, have been part of an EU-funded project with the stated goal to "facilitate market introduction of GMO's in Europe."

    US Pushes its Agenda, and its Pests, on Europe

    The United States government's support for biotech is no secret. In fact, it is the official policy in several US agencies to promote the industry, and some of them have attempted to push acceptance of GM crops in Europe. In the case of Mon 863, it seems that the corn is designed to solve a European problem that the US introduced. The corn is engineered with a pesticide to attack insects such as Diabrotica. According to Seralini, "Diabrotica is from a very dangerous family of insects for a wide range of crops and was absent from the European countries until the late 1990s, forbidden even in laboratories because it is very difficult to eliminate it with known chemical insecticides." He says it appears to have entered Europe from the US in large numbers during the Balkan war. Specifically, it was widespread around US military airports, whose planes were likely to have carried the pest. It has since spread primarily in Italy, France, and Germany.

    According to Seralini, "Monsanto seems to have anticipated this problem." Before any infestation had been discovered, they were already field testing their corn in France in the late 1990s. Since it takes about five years of local field trials for a GM variety to be accepted in an EU nation, such early testing was necessary.

    In addition to the crop pests, Europe may have also imported the US tradition of approving GM products based on faulty studies. Documents stolen from the US FDA reveal that when Monsanto's researchers intended to illustrate that their GM bovine growth hormone did not interfere with cows'; fertility, they allegedly added cows to the study that were pregnant prior to injection. An FDA whistle-blower also charged that sick cows were removed from industry studies altogether (see Seeds of Deception, chapter 3).

    Critics demand that regulators use independent studies, not industry studies, to prevent manipulation of data. But there are only a few independently funded researchers. Biology professor Bela Darvas of Hungary's Debrecen University is one of them. After discovering that one of Monsanto's Bt corn varieties, Mon 810, is lethal to two Hungarian protected species and one insect classified as a rare, he ran into an unexpected obstacle. Now Monsanto refuses to give him any more Mon 810 corn to use in his tests. They also refused his request for Mon 863.

    Perhaps with the court's release of Monsanto's rat study, the public will demand a more thorough investigation into GM foods and a change in the review and approval process. Until then, Europeans are relatively safe from the unintended effects, since most manufacturers refuse to use even approved GM ingredients there (with the exception of animal feed). Meanwhile, consumers in the US will unwittingly serve as the guinea pigs.

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