Why Aren’t Americans Screaming “Bloody Murder” about Non-Labeled GM Food?


Guest Rant by Grace Sylke of AquaponicsUSA 

On May 19th this year,
2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine announced their position
regarding GM Food; and it wasn’t pretty. They said in their position paper,
which you can access here

"There is more than a
casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects.” This paper goes
on to explain that based on multiple animal studies, “GM foods pose a serious
health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function,
reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health and are
without benefit, . . .”

This isn’t the first study to report these kinds of
findings. Way back in 1995, a respected Scientist named Arpad Pusztai of
Scotland’s Rowett Institute was awarded a large grant to create a model for
testing genetically modified foods. Mr. Pusztai was eager to do this research
and deeply believed his model would show genetically modified foods were as
their creators, the Monsanto Corporation claimed, perfectly safe for human
consumption. But to his dismay, that is not what he found. After creating a
rigorously thorough testing model using potatoes and adolescent rats as his
subjects, Mr. Pusztai saw that the rats who ate the genetically modified
potatoes had immune system dysfunctions and damaged vital organs. When asked in
an interview if he would eat GM foods himself, he replied: “If I had the choice,
I would certainly not eat it until I see at least comparable experimental
evidence which we are producing for our genetically modified potatoes.”  He went
on to say, “I find that it is very, very unfair to use our fellow citizens as
guinea pigs.”

Soon after making this statement, Mr. Pusztai was fired from
Rowett, forbidden to discuss his research with the threat of a law suit by
Monsanto and subjected to a massive smear campaign on his reputation. By this
time, he was also privy to the fact that GM foods had been secretly approved in
both the UK and the US prior to his becoming involved; and the people had
unknowingly been eating it for over two years. This story was front page news
all over Europe, which explains why there were large demonstrations against GM
food there while we didn’t make a peep in the US. Our access to the information
inundating Europe was suppressed.

Sadly, this spring’s scathing report by the
American Academy of Environmental Medicine about the dangers of GM food has also
been successfully smothered. It certainly was not on front-page news or any of
the TV news stations.

So we continue to dine on these Frankenstein concoctions
with no way to know which of our foods are harboring this deadly genetically
engineered brew. It is my belief that the fields of GM crops that are taking
over our nation and the world while contaminating traditionally farmed crops
would be much reduced if the people were simply given a choice to eat GM foods
or not. Isn’t it time we demand our right to choose? So let’s start screaming,
“Bloody Murder!”

Sources: “Seeds of Deception” by
Jeffrey M Smith
; “ The World According To Monsanto,” a 10-Part You Tube
Documentary; “Position Paper On GM Food” by the American Academy of
Environmental Medicine.


  1. Ugh. Not a good way to start my day. Thank you Grace for this rant.

    Unfortunately until the powers that be in this country are firmly dislodged from the controlling levers of information, the American public will remain largely ignorant. The same public that does not want the government to get involved in Medicare.

  2. Ditto: UGH. But for the opposite reason. So much to take issue with in this, but let me just start with the assertion that Genetic modification is “Without benefit.”
    Um… really?
    Like papayas anyone? They were about to vanish as a crop thanks to a devastating virus — for which resistance has been successfully genetically engineered.
    Anyone have diabetes and need to take insulin? It used to be “harvested” from cattle, and because cow insulin and human insulin is not the same, people had bad reactions. Now genetically engineered bacteria produce insulin identical to our own — saving and improving lives.
    Crop research to develop biofuels to ween us from incredibly destructive fossil fuels? Based on genetic engineering. Rice with vitamin A to save children in the third world from crippling disease and blindness? Genetically engineered.
    People in the third world are starving and desperately need better technology: http://www.spcottawa.on.ca/ofsc/breaking_the_food_chains.html
    As Dr. Wambugu says, the developed world can debate if GM is unnatural, but in Africa “We’re dying. So can we eat first?”

    I don’t have space to go into the claims of health risks to eating GM crops (I’ve got to blog about this) — but I’ll say here that the studies mentioned here and on the sites linked in this post are much like the global warming deniers who find one or two scientists who disagree and try to make it look like there isn’t an overwhelming scientific consensus. Which there is, on both global warming, and GM crops.

  3. The thing I find disturbing about this Rant is that all genetically modified foods are tarred with the same feather. They are certainly not all the same.

    Each genetically modified food has different genes inserted into their original genome. What gene is inserted and where it ends up in the host genome are important considerations regarding whether a GM plant is potentially problematic or beneficial. Each one should be evaluated individually. Otherwise it is simply prejudice against a type of science, without careful evaluation.

    Thanks to Joseph T. for his specific points (while I know a good deal about genetics I have not studied food crops and could probably only have come up with the vitamin A rice on my own).

  4. I would like it if the FDA, or USDA, or whoever it’s supposed to be, would spend some time and money looking into this, and I would like GM foods to be so labeled in stores so I could avoid them. But I wouldn’t be avoiding them because I’m worried about them being harmful nearly so much as because the companies using and promoting them are trying to create monopolies, ruining public goods (like BT) for the entire world by driving the evolution of BT-resistant pests without providing any compensation for doing so, and etc.

    Diana, above, is correct: to say that all GMOs are bad because some of them are bad ignores the specific interactions between plant, genes, and consumer. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the technology; what’s wrong is assuming that because you’ve demonstrated that corn+BT is safe in rats, it therefore follows that rice+soybean glycinin is safe in humans.

    (Unfortunately that works in reverse, too. If corn+BT is harmful to rats, it does not necessarily follow that rice+soybean glycinin is harmful to humans, either.)

    I think what this means is that we’re all totally fucked without serious, concerted, focused political action: the agri/seed/food companies are not going to want to pay for the studies which would determine safety for each combination of organism and inserted gene, because if they were to do so they would price themselves out of the market. So they will resist labeling and testing laws, and U.S. politicians of both parties will roll over, and in sixty years we will be hearing about how nobody could possibly have anticipated whatever the fuck the problem turns out to be.

    You think that’s bad, you should talk to me when I’m feeling cynical and fatalistic. The weird part is, I still like the technology and think it’s potentially wonderful: I just don’t trust the people producing it to have the interests of the public in mind because there’s nothing in it for them if they do.

  5. I’m just beginning to become aware of Monsanto’s sins and I don’t know if my blood pressure can tolerate reading any more. I feel such outrage, but I’m also overwhelmed by outrageous issues, and nearly ready to give up. Still, I’m sending along your article, and I hope people will listen, thanks.

  6. To add genetically modified lemon juice to your wound, I’m hearing that the USDA may want to consider GM crops as organic.

    I think the responses above show why we’re not screaming bloody murder in the U.S.

    We’re overwhelmed and government is not making our choices easier. GM foods just falls lower on the list of bloody murder screamings in a world where we all feel like we’re screaming about something daily.

    None of this stuff is so black and white. I wish we could stop screaming and get down to making practical, meaningful decisions!

  7. Buy and/or grow organic food as much as possible. Support the farmers that want to preserve their right to grow non-GMO crops.

    I think if the USDA allows GM crops to be labeled organic, the organic industry will develop a separate certification that doesn’t include GM. CCOF and other certifiers came out of the natural foods industry before the USDA got involved and they would do it again. Buy organic.

    P.S. The diabetics wouldn’t need insulin if they ate a diet of raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Insulin is a bandaid not a cure.

  8. myrecessionkitchen, I think you have misunderstood diabetes. Some people could avoid developing type II, but not all and you can’t do anything about type I, it just happens to you. It would be like telling someone with MS or lupus that they’d be cured if only they ate 100% raw: totally untrue, unhelpful and insensitive.

  9. myrecessionkitchen, I think you need to research you knowledge, or lack thereof, on diabetes. I am a Type 1, or insulin dependant diabetic. My body does not produce insulin period, something most people don’t have to think about on a daily basis. I do. I have to plan and think about every morsel of food that I consume 24/7.

    While your diet of fruits, vegs and whole grains is beneficial to a diabetic it will by no means remove the need for insulin for a type 1 and some type 11 diabetics.
    To quote you “Insulin is a bandaid not a cure” is wrong and offensive on so many levels.

    Your bandaid is what keeps me and millions of other diabetics alive as there is no cure yet.

  10. I’m going to go out on a politically incorrect limb here.

    Why is Monsanto developing GM foods? So people won’t starve, right? Why are people starving? Because more and more farmland is being turned into houses filled with more and more people (well, in this country that’s the case).

    The world population exploded long ago and isn’t sustainable. Until we (every last one of us on the planet) vow to bring population down to sustainable numbers, we’ll be in this dilemma.

    But governments need lots of people to fight in wars, religious leaders need souls to save and a decrease in population will wreak havoc on the current economic system. So people are encouraged to continue to overpopulate.

    An elderly gentleman came to speak to the Master Gardeners and told us that anyone under age 50 better learn to grow their own food. It’s going to be a necessity in the future.

  11. Aunt Ida speaks the truth.

    Call me cynical, but the thought that GM crops will solve Africa’s food problems is a joke. This supposes that regular forms of agriculture are operating at maximum potential and are unable to meet the demand. I find that idea highly unlikely in Africa. Is there a single country in Africa that is a net food exporter? Africa’s problems are far to complex and deep rooted to think GM foods will save Africa from itself or overcome the natural handicap of large swaths of desert and tropical climates which are not best suited to industrial agriculture.

    I don’t see a swipe at science in this rant. I see a call for more science. Pesticides were a great idea when they first came out. So was asbestos and so was Vioxx. Antibiotics are a good thing, but we are now finding their overuse has some negative effects. Placing these type of things into the living system of the environment were they can interact in ways we may not understand carries risk. We have ample proof of that.

    Now with GMO’s you are talking about altering the very building blocks of life and then setting them loose where they can interact in the environment, unchecked and in unknown ways. These new sliced in genes are in essence software for a protein factory. You got the intended result. What else did you get that you might not have been looking for in this new code?

    We all know Monsanto and Dekalb’s prime directive isn’t, “We must save Africa”. So before they run off and try and save Africa with GMO’s, just maybe they need to prove with repeatable scientific peer reviewed proof that they will not kill Madagascar as a result of their noble efforts.

  12. I agree, if GMO is so wonderful for us (cough), then label appropriately so we can make our own choices.

    Not that I eat there, but after reading one of Michael Pollan’s books I wonder if the average American knows that all McDonald’s fries are made from GMO potatoes that are grown specifically for them (Monsanto).

    If these products are so great why do they go to such lengths to not tell us which ones they are and to hide the information from us so that we can make our own choices?

  13. Re Elephant’s Eye’s comment about labeling: Apparently a farmer did try and experiment with completely labeling of all the produce in his farm stand — he listed if they were gm, and all the insecticides sprayed on every crop, the amount of fuel used to produce the crop, etc. People saw that the organic had more insecticides, and burnt more fossil fuels than the GM… and bought the GM crops. A label law would be fantastic, but lets label ALL the inputs, not just picking on genetic engineering.

  14. And here I was thinking what was going to save Africa from starvation was a stable, uncorrupt government.
    Zambia used to be the bread-basket of Africa, and then Mugabe came along.

  15. So:
    – no pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides
    – no fertilizer
    – no antibiotics
    – no GM
    – no monoculture
    – no internal combustion engines

    Does that just about sum it up?

    Nothing says “progressive” like returning to stone-age technology.

    The real irony is that they think it is the other side that is anti-science. Hah!

  16. I can’t believe some of the responses to this article — which was basically asking for “truth in labeling” in our foods. I don’t care what some Nobel Laureate, or the head of some large government-sponsored organization like the FDA or USDA say, they’ve already proved their lack of trustworthiness by “toeing the party line.”

    If someone puts ” tiGH – The Tilapia Growth hormone gene cassette for Tilapia, Oreochromis hornorum hybrids is made up of : P: Human Cytomegalovirus G: Tilapia growth hormone cDNA and T: Simian virus 40 poly A site” into the Tilapia that I eat, (and possibly the vegetables I eat for all I know), I think I should have the right to know about it and they should have the duty and the honesty to put it right there on the label, not keep it hidden from me. There’s more at my website, but I’ll let you read it for yourself — http://jimsfish.webs.com/bluetilapia.htm

    I agree with the rant, but I would take it even farther to make these big Agri-companies say exactly what genes and genetics are actually used to create this so-called organic food and what it supposedly will do that is beneficial to the planet now, as well as what it will do to humans and their pets in another 10,20,30, or 50 years in the future!

    As far as the cost of finding out the results of the kinds of problems that they are possibly creating for the future, that’s called Research and Development (R&D) costs, which are tax write offs – i.e.nothing out of their pockets in the long run, but out of the taxpayer’s pockets, which should have been done BEFORE this witches brew was ever foisted off onto millions of unsuspecting consumers with the government’s ( and the lobbyists for Monsanto, et al) blessing!

    If you’re sitting there piddling in your britches with excitement over the wonders of genetic science, go ahead and eat that stuff — for all you know it’s just more soylent green — but as for me and mine, keep your Monsanto-stained hands off my food!
    Jim’s Online Fish Shop

  17. For someone like me, who cannot eat wheat, dairy or soy, this story is a nightmare.

    Further, I have to wonder if one reason I can no longer eat certain foods is because of genetic modification that’s already happened. How could I possibly know?

  18. Hello,

    I also think it is a very bad idea to further develop GM foods and strongly believe that GM experiments should immediately stop. There is still enough land on the Earth where good quality crops can be grown with minimal chemical assistance.

    Instead we seem to encourage the production of GM foods, without possibly knowing the full consequences, which is an extremely dangerous road to take.

    If GM foods are supposed to increase food production, then why don’t we just use the land that is lying fallow in our countryside, in our cities, in our own back yard? In each country there are thousands of acres of land just being wasted. Do we need 100,000s of golf courses or would it be better to reduce the vast number of golf courses in favour of land for argiculture?

    We each need to lobby our respective leaders and ask what is this GM and what are the negatives, because few advocates of GM food seem willing or able to state the serious side effects GM food has on our enviroment, wildlife and our food with which we feed our children. If nothing else, we need to know if any adverse effects can be reversed by the time our children have grown and have kids of their own.


  19. While feeding Africa, you need to remember that mealie meal (corn meal in USA) is a staple food for black Africans. That could mean a working class family would eat it three times a day, with variations, if they could afford three meals. And what effect on human health might consuming that amount have??? We are not talking about eating corn on the cob occasionally here.

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