Genetically Modified Organisms: An Agricultural Students Perspective (part 3 or 4)

It is important to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not and does not require safety testing of transgenic GMO crops.  The government simply requires a voluntary consultation process.  The FDA never required safety tests of GMO’s prior to the use of GMO’s.  The FDA’s view of transgenic GMO crops is that the crops are safe unless evidence to the contrary exists.  Without prior safety tests there never was any evidence to the contrary.  Mike Livingston, a government economist, recently stated in a Reuter’s article “We are not characterizing them (GMO crops) as bad or good.  We are just providing information” when discussing a recent report that he coauthored. (Gillam, 2014)  The inability to confidently state the safety of GMO’s is particularly worrisome due to the wide spread use of GMO’s and the collusion that exists between major seed companies, such as Monsanto and the regulatory committees that oversee them.  (Refer to image 2)

A lack of long-term safety testing of these crops prior to release is a major concern for consumers.  The public is essentially the testing ground for these crops.  The Institute for Responsible Technology lists ten reasons to avoid GMO’s.  These reasons are as follows:

1.GMO’s are unhealthy.  

2.GMO’s contaminate – forever.  

3.GMO’s increase herbicide use.  

4.Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects.  

5.Government oversight is dangerously lax.  

6.The biotech industry uses “tobacco science” to claim product safety.

7.Independent research and reporting is attacked and suppressed.  

8.GMO’s harm the environment.  

9.GMO’s do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world. 

10.By avoiding GMO’s you can contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply. (10 Reasons to Avoid GMO; 10 Reasons to Avoid GMO)

There are concerns for human health and the environment.  The Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) cites animal studies showing damage to the multiple organ systems, fertility and aging.  The DNA of GMO’s may cross-pollinate indefinitely through natural processes of plant propagation.  The natural selection of weeds requires the agricultural industry to use increased amounts of herbicide in order to achieve the same amount of weed suppression.  Furthermore, GMO’s potentially have many unknown side effects.  So far, researchers know that transgenic GMO crops have harmed the animal kingdom and soil organisms.  Monarch butterflies populations have decreased 50%.  (10 Reasons to Avoid GMO)  Honeybee populations have suffered colony collapses in recent years as well. 

In addition, “The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report…stated that GM crop yields were “highly variable” and in some cases, “yields declined”… “Assessment of the technology lags behind its development, information is anecdotal and contradictory, and uncertainty about possible benefits and damage is unavoidable.” They determined that the current GMOs have nothing to offer the goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitating social and environmental sustainability.”  (10 Reasons to Avoid GMO)

The close ties of the US government regulatory organizations and Monsanto call into question the ability of the regulatory organizations to faithfully monitor certain corporate food companies.  Additionally, industry purposefully funds research to avoid demonstrating the dangers of GMO’s.  In addition, because of independent research, independent researchers receive threats of gag orders, having funding pulled, and attacks of character and ability.  After several years of widespread use, the discovery of once unknown dangers of GMO’s may now be upon us. (10 Reasons to Avoid GMO)

In 2012, a French study concluded that transgenic GMO’s caused cancer.  The retraction of this study validates the safety of transgenic GMO’s to many.  The study is similar to a previous study, in number of and type of rats, published year’s prior.  (Times, 2013)  The same journal published both studies.  However, the previous study, performed by Monsanto lasted 90 days.  The Monsanto study did not reveal any problems with transgenic GMO’s.  In contrast, the retracted study was for two years.  Therefore, the only difference between the studies was the length of the study.  It is curious that the only study retracted by the journal was the study that portrayed GMO’s as negative. (Hansen, 2013)

End of 3 of 4: References posted at end of 1 of 4

UPDATE: Since the writing of this paper I have discovered that Pamela Ronald (cited in the above paper) retracted two of her pro-GMO studies that have been cited by more than 120 other paper.  The article where I discovered this is here.



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