FACT SHEET ON GENETIC MODIFIED ORGANISMS.

FACT SHEET ON GENETIC MODIFIED ORGANISMS.

by William Olkowski, PhD wo1615@gmail.com, 8.25.12

Compiled from various sources.

GMO = Genetically Modified Organisms; GM   = Genetically Modified; GE    =  Genetically Engineered = GM.

Genetic modifications occur when a foreign gene is inserted into another organism.  This is done with a transporter virus or by physical injection.  The source gene can be from an organism far removed from the targeted species gene and once transported will remain part of the new genome forever.  And that’s the most serious threat, the forever part, but Jeffrey Smith sums up the core of the problem with this technology:

“Inserting transgenes is like throwing darts that can land in more than a billion possible locations in a genome.  At the insertion site, the host’s natural genes may become mutated, deleted, altered or permanently tuned on or off.  In addition, up to 5% of the active genes throughout the genome may change expression levels.  This is evidenced by laboratory tests.  For example, growing GM cells in tissue culture can cause hundreds or thousands of additional genome-wide mutations.  All this can change RNA, proteins, and other substances, including the countless natural products in plants.  Any one might be harmful.”

THE ISSUES POSED BY GM PRODUCTS ARE:

a. Labeling foods containing GM products would alert people to such products but in the US there is no way to determine what is GM or not.  50 other countries have labeling laws.  The US does not.

b. There are an unknown but important set of chemicals now occurring in major foods, like corn, soybeans, wheat and sugar beets, for example.  These are produced like a normal gene produces its products, which include RNA’s, proteins, and other substances, including various proteinaceous poisons.   Herbicides gain entry to food plants by direct absorbtion when a plant is rendered herbicide resistant and thus can be sprayed to kill neighboring weeds.

c. The effects of these chemicals are unknown because they were assumed to be safe so were registered by EPA, but also passed by FDA and encouraged by USDA.  This is an example of what the deregulation mania started by Reagan means.  We need better regulation not deregulation.

d. 6 major pesticide companies with loads of cash are fighting the labeling of foods as GM Foods (=Prop 37), but hundreds of others don’t want labeling. Chief among these NO companies are Monsanto (owned by Pfizer), DuPont, Bayer, Pepsi Cola, Nestle, and others.

e. IT’S OUR RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT IS IN OUR FOODS. Even if you don’t care about potential health effects and don’t believe there is a health concern we have the right to know what’s in our food.  With labeling one can make a choice.  Now we are eating various chemicals without knowing it.  All are untested and some are certainly poisons.

e. Health problems are surfacing of great import, for example,when GM soybeans were introduced into the UK there was a 50% rise in allergies.  Allergies are indications of impact on the immune system which protects against disease causing pathogens.

f. Animal studies show major problems: feeding studies kill lab animals, from bleeding stomachs – a common way to go.

g. Genetic pollution is now widespread, moving from GM plants by way of pollens to weeds, other crops, all over the world.  Genetic pollution is forever.

h. Loss of organic certification from wind blown pollens. Instead of farmers suing because of genetic contamination from GM crops the GM companies claim losses due to patent infringement, an unbelievable consequence of judicial ignorance and misinformation campaigns by super wealthy corporations.

i. Rapid growth of herbicide resistant weeds, thus increasing costs of crop production and increasing soil, water and air concentrations of herbicides, already a big problem.

j. Loss of natural enemies due to loss of lepidopteran hosts.  Contaminated pollens spread gene producing poisons to other plants thereby killing non-target herbivores which support natural enemies, thereby reducing these species which are important natural controls.

WHY IS CA PROPOSITION 37, WHICH WILL FORCE GM FOOD LABELING IMPORTANT? Once CA passes a law requiring labeling, the US will follow suit.  50 other countries have already and consumers can identify such foods and avoid them.