Skip to comments.Genetically Modified Corn – Safe or Toxic?
Posted on 03/29/2010 5:32:00 AM PDT by truthfinder9
Pick up a box of cereal or other packaged food at the grocery store, and chances are youre looking at a genetically modified product. The Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit organization that seeks sustainable alternatives to harmful methods of food production technologies, estimates that more than 70 percent of the processed foods in U.S. grocery stores contain some genetically modified ingredients mostly corn or soy. But, in most cases, these modified foods have received only limited testing.
For example, take the three genetically modified corn varieties already being sold by Monsanto that are the subject of new analysis by French scientists. Two of the varieties have been genetically modified to contain unique proteins designed to kill insects that eat them, and the third variety was engineered to tolerate Roundup, Monsantos best-selling herbicide. Foods containing this modified corn are now being eaten by people all around the world, but the French researchers contend that Monsantos studies do not prove the corns are safe to consume.
Under current U.S. law, corporations are not required to make industry-conducted studies public. But, in this case, thanks to a lawsuit and the involvement of European governments and Greenpeace attorneys, these studies were released for independent analysis by scientists not being paid by Monsanto.
The researchers, affiliated with the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering (an independent, nonprofit association dedicated to studying the impacts of genetically modified organisms), published their detailed critique of the Monsanto studies in the International Journal of Biological Sciences (2009; 5:706-726). They concluded that the data which Monsanto claimed proved the corn varieties were safe to eat actually suggest potential kidney and liver problems resulting from consumption of all three modified corn varieties, as well as negative effects in the heart, adrenal glands and spleen. The findings confirm a 2007 report from the same researchers on a single variety of modified corn.
An Apple is an Apple is a Genetically Modified Apple The new report also concludes that the Monsanto rat-feeding studies were so small and so brief that they clearly lack sufficient statistical power to prove the corn varieties are safe. So, why did governments grant permission to farmers to grow this genetically modified corn? Back in 1992, the industry persuaded the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to rule that their crops are substantially equivalent to traditionally bred crops. This assumption that genetically modified foods pose no particular risk has led to our current system of weak regulatory oversight.
According to the nonprofit Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, a project designed to facilitate dialogue about the pros and cons of genetic modification, No single statute and no single federal agency govern the regulation of agricultural biotechnology products. And, compared with the battery of tests demanded of chemical pesticides (evaluation of chronic exposure, carcinogenicity, etc.), the testing requirements for genetically altered crops amount to little more than a polite suggestion
The corporations can pretty much submit whatever they want to the FDA, says Doug Gurian-Sherman, senior scientist at the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists. Some have done animal testing, some have not. The United States does not require more than acute toxicity tests where one high dose is fed to the animals once. Even in Europe, where standards are higher, tests of only 90 days are the longest that are required, which is inadequate.
While the FDA is charged with ensuring finished products containing the modifed proteins are safe to eat, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates the pesticidal protein engineered into the corns. The agency can grant exemptions to even a minimal request for testing, which they did for two of these corn varieties varieties that produce their own pesticides and that show signs of toxicity in the new feeding studies. The new study from France concludes that the public is consuming modified corn varieties which contain novel pesticide residues that may pose grave health risks.
Roundup residues present in one genetically modified corn are much higher than those found to cause toxicity in human embryonic cells and endocrine disruption, says Gilles-Eric Seralini, one of the studys researchers. To learn more, read Roundup Kills More Than Weeds.
Confidential Science In allowing industry to drive the regulation of the technology from which it profits, we are now faced with a reality in which never-before-consumed foods are considered innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof has been dumped on a scientific community that has to beg and litigate to gain access to what the genetic modification giants call trade secrets.
The only solution to this situation is for scientists who work in this field and concerned citizens to demand that the government stop allowing corporate gene giants to have their way. We need laws that require corporations to make their studies public and provide seeds to independent scientists. And, we need laws that require the labeling of foods with genetically modified ingredients, so consumers can make informed choices.
Just as long as they don’t breed wheat gluten into the corn and potatoes I don’t really care.
Not this Cr*p again. This stuff has been on the market for a long time. Virtually EVERYONE in the US has eaten large amounts of it over that time. What use is additional clinical trials testing maybe 200 people. This is just another attack by Greenpeace and the other radical nutjob groups on American industry.
All corn is generically modified. There is no, zero, nada corn that is not genetically modified.
For ages the Hopi have had corn genetically modified to thrive in different parts of the same field.
that’s why they all voted for obama.
Its easy to be a chicken little about GM foods but humans have been modifying food for tens of thousands of years.
Not with weed killer - they didn’t combine plants with weed killer.
Again, the seriousness of the charge proves they are guilty.
People have been cross-breeding foods and animals for thousands of years, not molecularly altering genes. Both are genetics, albeit different kinds of genetics.
Roundup residues present in one genetically modified corn are much higher than those found to cause toxicity in human embryonic cells and endocrine disruption, says Gilles-Eric Seralini, one of the studys researchers.
This is weed killer. This is a new thing in the world.
So that’s why Ethanol sucks!
And let’s be honest, a lot of these chemicals get approved because of big money donations to politicians on both sides of the aisle...
b1) Yes, GreenPeace and some silly Enviro-groups have been targeting Monsanto for quite some time now.
a2) HOWEVER, humans have not been modifying crops to make them toxic to insects through protein modification, modification that has been shown in LONGER tests than those done by Monsanto to have Hepatotoxity.
b2) Just because enviro-whackjobs target Monsanto doesn't mean that that makes the target hysop white! Snakes eat rats, but that doesn't mean the rat is kosher to cuddle with.
I am a fund manager, and thus I am no bleeding heart liberal. However that doesn't mean that I will be all kissy-@$$ on Monsanto just because some Tofu eaters wag a bony finger at it. Monsanto has done some interesting things, ranging from safety tests that are just funny, to some lobby efforts that are exceedingly questionable (like using their lobbying power, both parties, to try and push through Bovine Somatotropin in milk. Bovine Somatotoprin is a sythentic compound used to boost milk production, with the hormone really improving milk yields. The issue is that it has been tied with various types of cancers. Now, I have no problem if people want to drink milk from cows that were given the hormone, as much as I would not like for someone to say that I should not drink organic milk. However, when organic farmers started labeling their milk as sythentic hormone free, Monsanto started massive lobbying to make states BAN producers who made hormone-free milk from saying their milk was hormone free!!!!!!!!! Something about consumers not being properly informed!)
I'm sure the Enviros have villified Monsanto quite a bit, but then again Monsanto is not some 12 yr old flower girl being picked on by neighborhood bullies.
In any event, color me skeptical about the claim of glyphosate residue in the kernels. Glyphosate is applied very early in the growth cycle, maybe two months before formation of the ear. Most likely, somebody decided what they wanted the results of this "test" to be and then applied enough herbicide directly to the ear to achieve that result.
Let’s just go back to manual low-tech farming with plows pulled by oxen and let half the world starve....just think of the benefits to the planet.
I am currently reading Anticancer, A New Way of Life by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber. It is very interesting. He discusses these same issues using scientific and medical data. All of his information is footnoted so you can investigate for yourself. He is a cancer survivor based on diet alteration. He started his exploration after his diagnoses, based on his research that indicated higher cancer rates after WWII and diet alteration after WWII.
Am I concerned about this? Yes, but look at the alternative path. Problems are never completely solved. Yes, we have lost genetic diversity, probably food nutrition is not what is should be, but we do have QUANTITY.
A conservative knows there are trade offs and we do not live in a perfect world.
He started his exploration after his diagnoses, based on his research that indicated higher cancer rates after WWII and diet alteration after WWII.
Why post this crap?
Glyphosate tolerant crops enable farmers to raise food without intensive tillage, leaving the top soil, and its chemical components, in the field rather than the water supply.
then some Canadian scientists began fooling around with the genetics and the damage was done...
“Not with weed killer - they didnt combine plants with weed killer.”
They engineered the plants to be RESISTANT to weed killer, not to produce it. They replaced the gene for an enzyme inactivated by the herbicide with a resistant one. It doesnt modify the herbicide or break it down, so any residue or metabolites present would be there without the modification.
The nice thing about genetically engineered modifications is that you know EXACTLY what changes are made to the organism, right down to the gene sequence, expression levels, as well as the impact on upstream and downstream genes. With natural selection methods you know NOTHING about the changes made.
My mother was extremely ill with an allergic reaction, which traced back to a brand of taco shells contaminated with Starlink corn (which were pulled from the market). Her physician asked if she had been using pesticides, and she had not.
The new study from France concludes that the public is consuming modified corn varieties which contain novel pesticide residues that may pose grave health risks.
Keep in mind that some people can eat almost anything, but peanuts will kill them.
The difference is that corn (especially corn syrup) is in dangnear everything.
The starlink trait was not for herbicide resistance, but modified a protein for corn borer resistance. The modified protein was alleged to be difficult to digest.
I went organic in the last month because of these MSG foods...AND I feel a big time difference. You can’t get completely away from MSG foods, but I do see the difference in how I feel and so does my family. People say it costs more but actually I’m saving money. I purchased a whole chicken and roasted it.and was able to get 2 meals out of it for 5 people because there was soooo much meat. I purchased a huge bag of organic lettuce, still good after 3 weeks. Reports I have read people are getting sick off these foods, cancer, heart disease and respiratory illnesses. It is worth it just for the taste of organic meat and vegs and fruits...big difference.
The “Won” appoints Monsanto fox to guard food safety hen house—
Former Monsanto vice president Michael Taylor.
(after K.(fisting) Jennings was appointed “safe school” czar and many other ridiculous appointments....this kinda gives me pause...)
“This is weed killer. This is a new thing in the world.”
Well no it isn’t new at all. Roundup is Monsanto’s weed killer and the generic form has been used around the would for years. What Monsanto did was make their seeds resistant to Roundup so farmers don’t need to use as much and get bigger yields.
GM seeds are all about productivity. I’m sure if they looked they’d find the same herbicides and pesticides in non-GM plants and maybe more of them.
GM is a good thing for feeding the world in varying climates too. Rice has been modified to grow in normally inhospitable regions, for example.
This is another example the Luddite attitude of the Green leftists. Reduce food and you reduce population. It’s people the greenies really don’t like.
I wish I had the book with me but I loaned it to my mom. Cancer can become more prominent as we live longer. The longer we feed ourselves unhealthy things, the higher our chances are for cancer later in life.
Most importantly, younger people are getting cancer. There is quite an increase (again I don’t have the book to quote the source) in younger people being diagnosed with cancer. I know several people under 50 who have been diagnosed. It is no longer just a disease that strikes the elderly.
“My mother was extremely ill with an allergic reaction, which traced back to a brand of taco shells contaminated with Starlink corn (which were pulled from the market).”
I looked up Starlink corn and it was modified to produce a pesticide. Concern over potential allergenic reactions caused it to be approved for animal feed only but there was at least one incident where it was blended with human food. As you point out, allergic reactions are common even with unmodified foods so I dont see this as a reason to be especially concerned over GM crops.
“The new study from France concludes that the public is consuming modified corn varieties which contain novel pesticide residues that may pose grave health risks.”
Like global warming the “grave health risks” are always just around the corner. How about the grave risks from starvation? Besides, you would be surprised at the really nasty chemicals plants make naturally to protect themselves from insects.
My mother is no corn borer, but she did have a severe (ER time) allergic reaction. Considering she lives 25 miles from the nearest hospital, a trip to the ER is not something done for trivial matters.
BTW, the Japanese refused an entire freighter full of corn contaminated with Starlink as well.
My big beef with GM crops is that farmers have been sued when the GM crop is cross polinated with adjacent fields for patent infringement, even when the contamination of the adjacent crops was undesireable for the farmer.
What this does is open the entire operation to being taken over by Monsanto because natural processes carried the pollen elsewhere.
You might say the farmer adjacent to the GM crop should not plant something susceptible to cross polination, but such crop changes in this area can require a million dollar investment in equipment to plant and harvest another crop.
Planting next to a farmer could be used to sieze land through litigation, or drive the farmer out of business through settlement judgements which would require expensive changes.
Either way, and the control of the US food supply (and a part of the globe as well) ends up in the hands of just a couple corporations.
I don't find that to be a comforting concept.
See post 19. My husband and I decided to make the switch. Regardless of other FReepers calling me a greenie-weenie and telling me there is no difference, we do feel a difference. Plus most organic foods don’t have hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in them. Cancerous tumors feed on these oils. I don’t like the idea of encouraging tumor growth.
MSG is terrible for you. My dad ended up in the ER about a year ago. Turns out the MSG on the Chinese food he had for dinner caused his heart to go into A-fib. That was enough proof for my family to make some changes.
“I went organic in the last month because of these MSG foods...AND I feel a big time difference.”
That’s great. I have no objection to people going organic if that is what they want.
“I have read Reports people are getting sick off these foods, cancer, heart disease and respiratory illnesses.”
Be careful of anecdotal reports like those. People can convince themselves of anything. Like with the silicone breast implant hysteria.
Corn has been resistant to weed killers for, well, nearly forever. 2-4-D is an example of that.
What the scientists did was add one more weed killer to that long line of weed killers that corn is resistant to.
Are you a blonde?
What do you mean by that? All the corn I ever topped was cross-pollinated, but this was 30 years ago, so my memory has faded.
Genetically Modified Corn Safe or Toxic?
Just my $0.02...
The GM food should be checked for safety; in the case of corn/maize
only a few trillion test have been run by consumers that eat it
every day of the year.
But rigorous monitoring should be a part of vetting these materials.
And good labeling should be part of the program.
On the other hand...
I can’t help but wonder if some of the GM-food critics are hoping
their shares in Whole Foods, etc. will go up...and short companies
that utilize GM food in their products.
Just call me cynical.
The study done was done by NGOs that are gunning for GM ag products and the studies are total BS.
I know one of the developers of Round Up and our casual conversations about the chemical lead me to believe that these studies have no basis in facts.
Round Up is a solvent for chloraphyll and that is all it is.
The idea that Round Up would show up in corn ears is absurd. It is water soluble and it disappears during the first rain after application.
This is pure fantasy.
No. Improved sanitation is the biggest contributor. Antibiotics help, but they are not the major source of longer lives.
Selective breeding methods of crops to achieve disease resistance has been going on for thousands of years. Modern genetic modification techniques now allow for the same results in a much shorter period of time. There is no credible scientific evidence to show that the ingestion of GM products is harmful to human health or the environment.
Monsanto has done some interesting things, ranging from safety tests that are just funny, to some lobby efforts that are exceedingly questionable (like using their lobbying power, both parties, to try and push through Bovine Somatotropin in milk. Bovine Somatotoprin is a sythentic compound used to boost milk production, with the hormone really improving milk yields.
Monsanto is an industry dynamo that is creaming their competition. No one in the industry can touch their R&D. For some reason, people like to demonize success. How anyone can criticize this company for creating a method for increasing milk production, or overall food production, is a mystery. Norman Borlaug argued for genetic modification of food and saved hundreds of millions of people, if not billions, from starvation. He had to deal with the same fear mongering by people who held a fraction of his knowledge. Thankfully, he prevailed and became the most famous American no one ever heard of.
The issue is that it has been tied with various types of cancers
People fear things they don't understand. bST is naturally produced by a cow's pituitary gland and is no different than the synthetic hormone dairy cows are injected with. Although it does increase the amount of Insulin Growth Factor (IGF) in milk (IGF is the hormone linked to the cancer you mention) this IGF is digested like all other dietary proteins and any hormonal activity is destroyed in the process. It poses absolutely no risk. If these claims were true, then human colostrum, human breast milk and, in truth, all milk would cause cancer.
Monsanto is no shrinking violet and has stood up to the toxic terrorists and other assorted and sundry enviro-whackos who would ruin a great American company. They do all of this while outperforming the competition in a tough industry. For that, they deserve admiration. They wouldn't be so successful if they weren't delivering products and services people wanted. The anti-industry whackos don't understand this important point. Monsanto, and all companies like them, should be defended by conservatives against those who would vilify them, and vilify industry in general.
First, I’m not a ‘greenie’. Many of my friends call me ‘attilla. However, there are other reasons to take a closer look at GM foods;
GMO Seed Prices Skyrocket and Justice Department
Investigates Monsanto for Antitrust Violation
“Control the oil,you control the nation. Control the food, you control the people.” Henry Kissinger
You realize, don’t you, that you get ten times more glutamate from naturally occurring sources than you do from added sources? You could stop eating and totally avoid it but dying ain’t much of a living.