Vote for Your Family’s Health on November 6!October 29, 2012
Californians have a chance to help the whole country. But fear-based propaganda threatens to torpedo it all. Don’t let Monsanto win!
Proposition 37, California’s initiative to label all genetically engineered foods, may well be the single most important local proposition ever created, because if it passes, it will have a cascade effect throughout the nation. Unfortunately, the opposition is exceedingly well-funded, and they have mounted a disinformation campaign to dissuade people from voting in favor of Prop 37.
One of its more prominent voices is Keith Kloor, a journalist and former editor at Audubon magazine, who recently wrote a piece in Slate calling GMO opponents “the climate skeptics of the Left.” Kloor calls the anti-GMO camp “anti-science,” yet he only has one source that claims GMOs are safe—Pamela Roland, a scientist who received $825,000 from Monsanto and Pioneer Hi-Bred International for her work on the rice gene. As we noted in September, conflicts of interest between GMO industry and universities (like UC Davis, where Roland teaches) are rampant.
“Don’t worry,” Kloor concludes. “Genetically modified corn isn’t going to give you cancer.” Perhaps. Cancer does seem to be the one health problem GMOs haven’t been linked to—so far.
Here is a list of peer-reviewed studies of GMOs indicating that genetically engineered or modified foods are toxic or highly allergenic. Allergies have already skyrocketed in the US, and with the introduction of GE soy in the UK, soy-related allergies rose to 50%. GMO corn is implanted with the Bt toxin (Bacillus thuringiensis) as a biological pesticide. Mammals that ingest Bt toxin develop liver and kidney toxicity.
Scientists are seeing birth defects, high infant mortality rates, fertility problems, and sterility in hamsters, rats, mice, and livestock fed GMO soy and corn, and some hamster pups even began growing hair inside their mouths. Studies indicate other serious health risks as well: immune system dysregulation, with changes in the number of immune response cells showing up in the gut, spleen, and blood—all of which points to an allergenic and inflammatory response to GMOs; increased aging (especially in the liver); dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation; and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen, and gastrointestinal system.
Kloor offers no rebuttal to any of this. But then he couldn’t, because he is not a scientist. He is a journalist. By the way, who is paying him? We don’t know. We sent him a message asking him to confirm that he has received no money from GMO interests. He did not respond. One would think that if he hadn’t received any money from GMO interests, he would want to say that. But we can’t be sure.
There is more to keep in mind on the science front: a recent animal study found that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used pesticide) often leaves a residue on Roundup Ready crops—and this can affect testosterone levels and sperm counts. It is actually toxic to testicle cells, and significantly lowers testosterone synthesis.
The tragic fact is that there really haven’t been any long-term human studies demonstrating the safety of GMOs, and of the few studies that have been conducted on the safety of GMOs, most were industry-funded. So when scientists who are not on Monsanto’s payroll are asked if GMOs are safe, the answer is a decided No.
Monsanto essentially claims they don’t have to do safety studies and human trials because, they say, GMO is considered “substantially equivalent” to non-GMO foods. Not true. GE crop technology thwarts the natural reproductive process. Because it shares genetic combinations across different species, it circumvents the mechanisms which nature has built in to protect against dangerous combinations. Natural breeding evolved over thousands of years, whereas GMO technology has been used commercially for only a little over a decade. Moreover, GE soy, canola, corn, and experimental rice varieties have nutritional, size, and textural differences. GMOs are clearly not “substantially equivalent” to non-GMOs.
There are terrible environmental hazards as well. On the other hand, GMO crops have caused a massive worldwide increase in the use of the toxic glyphosate herbicide. This in turn has spawned “superweeds”—weeds that have become resistant to the herbicide, requiring even harsher and more toxic poisons to control, like the herbicide 2,4-D, one of the active ingredients in the infamous Vietnam era-defoliant Agent Orange that is responsible for so many shocking health problems in veterans. Moreover, GE crops can contaminate non-GE crops, affecting the livelihood of conventional and organic farmers.
The opposition claims that GMO are good because they will reduce world hunger. WRONG. GMOs do not generate higher crop yields. The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report detailing over twenty years of research and thirteen years of commercialization in the US, and found that GE soybeans do not produce increased yields at all, and GE corn has only marginally increased yield. Moreover, a 590-page report from the World Bank and the UN concluded that GE crops have no role to play in relieving world poverty. The limited number of GMO crop varieties would not reduce food scarcity: crops have to be adapted to local conditions, be supported by local infrastructure, and be within the capacity of the local farmers to implement them—none of which is happening.
The opposition claims that labeling will increase costs. WRONG. A recent cost analysis proved that no cost will be transferred to the consumer. They also claim that Prop 37 will lead to opportunistic lawsuits. WRONG. There are safeguards built into the proposition to prevent that.
In a singularly dirty (and quite illegal) move, opponents allegedly sent out notices bearing the FDA official seal. The mailing reads, “The US Food and Drug Administration says a labeling policy like Prop 37 would be “inherently misleading.” But that is entirely false and fabricated. FDA did not make this statement and does not take a position on Prop 37.
Here’s the kicker: Monsanto even supported GMO labeling in Britain, which completely undermines their arguments to prevent labeling in the US.
Labeling of GMO is important as a consumer choice issue. And once consumers are informed, it will very likely decrease demand for genetically modified foods, which is why the opposition is so scared. You may recall that in 1994, the president of a Monsanto subsidiary was quoted as saying, “If you put a label on genetically engineered food, you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.” People don’t want to consume GMOs, and they want to know what they’re eating.
Polls show that over 90% of Americans believe that GMOs should be labeled.
If you don’t live in California, please forward this to friends who do.
If you DO live in California, vote for your family’s health on November 6! Support Prop 37, and help your fellow Americans get one step closer to GMO labeling!