We reject genetically modified foods and support labeling of same.
So we urge you to join us in supporting the Yes on 522 campaign to require labeling of GM foods in Washington State … home to Bellingham, our own coastal base.
Vital Choice supports GM-food labeling for two reasons: Lack of required, thorough safety studies and generally lax U.S. regulation.
U.S lacks serious labeling, testing, and monitoring laws
Industry research has often been woefully inadequate to establish safety.
Testing isn’t even required when a biotech firm asserts that a new GM crop carries no human allergens and is “substantially identical” to its non-GM counterparts.
Current science and technology lack the capacity to ensure that GM crops are “substantially identical” to non-GM ones in safety and nutrition terms.
In part, this is because researchers aren’t even close to understanding the infinitely complex interplay among genes, and may never be.
Accordingly, stringent labeling, testing, and monitoring must be required of GM foods.
Absent those laws, we can’t possibly know the truth about the safety of any specific GM food product ... and animal test results often do not match what humans experience.
The existing evidence of possible harm is enough to demand much more pre-market safety research, and tougher regulations overall.
Now, a large, lifelong animal study reveals alarming evidence of intestinal harm from GM crops.
And it occurred among pigs … animals whose digestive tracts resemble people’s guts very closely.
GM feed crops inflamed pigs’ intestines and enlarged uteruses
Independent scientist from Australia and America report the disturbing results of a very credible study in a common breed of pigs raised on large farms in Iowa.
The team included scientists from Australia’s University of Adelaide, Flinders University, and Institute of Health and Environmental Research … plus Iowa-based veterinarians experienced with commercial pigs.
The scientists divided 168 pigs into two groups:
Half ate a diet of non-GM soy and corn.
Half ate an equivalent mixture of GM Roundup Ready soy and BT corn.
Roundup Ready soy resists the herbicide glyphosate and Bt corn is a GM strain engineered to produce bacterial proteins that damage insects’ intestines.
The pigs spent 22.7 weeks indoors on concrete floors, and lived under other conditions typical of factory-style “confined feeding operations” (CFOs).
The Iowa veterinarians performed necropsies (animal autopsies) on all of the pigs, but didn’t know which pigs ate GM or conventional feed.
Between the two groups, there were no significant differences in weight, blood chemistry, feed intake, mortality … or intestinal inflammation.
However, pigs fed genetically modified corn and soybeans were more than twice as likely to develop severely inflamed stomachs, versus the animals given non-GM feed.
Specifically, as the authors wrote, “Pigs fed the mixed GM soy and GM corn diet showed 2.6 times the rate of severe stomach inflammation compared to non-GM fed pigs.” (Carman JA et al 2013)
And the uteri of female pigs fed GM crops were 25 percent heavier than the uteri of female pigs in the non-GM group.
The authors expressed worry: “Given the widespread use of GMO feed for livestock as well as humans this is a cause for concern.” (Carman JA et al 2013)
As they stressed, “Humans have a similar gastrointestinal tract to pigs, and these GM crops are widely consumed by people, particularly in the USA, so it would be be prudent to determine if the findings of this study are applicable to humans.”
They also offered very reasonable regulations (Carman JA et al 2013):
“The results indicate that it would be prudent for GM crops that are destined for human food and animal feed, including stacked GM crops, to undergo long-term animal feeding studies preferably before commercial planting, particularly for toxicological and reproductive effects.”
By “stacked GM crops” they meant two or more GM crops consumed in a person or animal’s regular diet.
One GM crop may be safe when eaten alone, but might produce negative effects when eaten along with certain other GM crops.
How can anyone argue against this kind of sensible precaution … one that would not involve undue cost or time, given the short lifespans of pigs and other animals?
Why would GM corn or soy induce severe inflammation?
The study authors pinned possible blame on two CRY-type proteins produced within Bt corn.
Organic and conventional farmers have long sprayed crops with the spores or proteins produced by a microbe (Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt), as a safe, natural alternative to synthetic, neurotoxic pesticides.
CRY proteins destroy insects’ digestive tracts, though it's thought that humans and other mammals – such as pigs – aren’t harmed because they lack the necessary gut environment and receptors.
Spores or CRY proteins from Bt microbes do not persist on plants sprayed with them.
But livestock and people do consume the Bt proteins in GM corn engineered to produce them ... and consumption of Bt proteins may present health risks: See “ Genetically Modified Corn Found Toxic to Animals” and “Natural Pesticide from GM Crops Found in Fetuses”.
In addition to those studies, French scientists reported this year that the CRY1Ab protein produced from Bt corn harmed human kidney cells in the test tube:
“Here, we document that modified Bt toxins are not inert on human cells, but can exert toxicity, at least under certain in vitro conditions.” (Mesnage R et al. 2013)
Hopefully, increasing demands for labeling of GM foods will prompt Congress and industry to get serious about GM crop safety.
- Carman JA et al. A long-term toxicology study on pigs fed a combined genetically modified (GM) soy and GM maize diet. Journal of Organic Systems, 8(1), 2013. Accessed at http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/81/abstracts/8106.html
- Mesnage R, Clair E, Gress S, Then C, Székács A, Séralini GE. Cytotoxicity on human cells of Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac Bt insecticidal toxins alone or with a glyphosate-based herbicide. J Appl Toxicol. 2013 Jul;33(7):695-9. doi: 10.1002/jat.2712. Epub 2012 Feb 15.