• Twisted Truth: How GMOs Took Over The Food Supply

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    As people evolve if i may say, also the level of risk to our health and the environment also grows. Now adays large companies are now going into genetically modified foods and organism. As for them they saw the result that plants grow bigger so it means they can produce more supply. But they have hidden the truth that this modified foods are not healthy and is casuing a lot of problems. For me this is just all about how much they can earn and to control the medical field becasue of the results in the future.

    Genetically manipulated foods may be one of the most serious threats not only to our environment but to the health and very survival of future generations. Typically, the blame for the promulgation of genetic engineering of our food is placed on chemical companies.

    But there's actually a hidden back story to how genetically engineered foods were able to reach millions of dinner tables.

    Steven Druker, who you may not be aware of, is the attorney who filed a lawsuit in the late '90s challenging the most important action the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken in this area: its presumption that genetically engineered (GE) foods are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) and can enter the market without a shred of safety testing.

    Genetically Engineered Food Blindsided Everyone

    Most people are only superficially aware—if at all—of the background that led up to the FDA's landmark policy statement of 1992 that granted genetically engineered foods GRAS status.

    I myself was unaware of the academic and scientific discussion that was going on some 15 to 20 years prior to the historic and crucial FDA 1992 action that made the commercialization of GE foods possible.

    Steven's book goes into that in great depth, and provides an accurate historical record of the irresponsible behavior of many eminent scientists and scientific institutions in the earlier decades of the genetic engineering revolution, long before Monsanto's lackey Michael Taylor and the hordes of revolving door cronies came into the picture.

    “It was probably not until about late '94 or '95 that I became aware of genetic engineering, and that it was being used by that point to reconfigure the genetic core of many of our foods.

    The goal is, ultimately, to reconfigure the genetic core of almost every edible fruit, vegetable, and grain. That's the grand vision.

    Blatant Misrepresentation of US Food Law

    Steven began researching the matter around 1996, and quickly realized that there is a great gap—both then and now—between the claims made by the proponents of GE foods and the actual facts.

    In May 1992, the FDA made a blanket presumption that GE foods qualified to be categorized “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS). They then said that this meant these foods could be marketed without any safety testing at all.

    “That actually is a blatant misrepresentation of US food law, but that was the FDA claim,” Steven says. “[They claim] there's an overwhelming ‘scientific consensus' they're safe, and so safe that they don't need to be tested. Therefore, the FDA let these foods into our market without the requirement of a smidgen of testing.

    Moreover, they didn't even require these foods be labeled, so the consumers at least would be informed about the major genetic reconfiguration that had occurred. This struck me as not only being unscientific but irresponsible and unethical. At the time, I had a hunch it was also illegal.”

    FDA Scientists Warned of Grave Risks

    Steven decided to launch a lawsuit on his own, and founded a non-profit organization called the Alliance for Bio-Integrity. Fortunately, as word got around, he was contacted by a public interest group in Washington D.C., the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA).

    “They had a very good legal team and they were very interested in taking this on,” he says. “The lawsuit was filed in May 1998, and it quickly accomplished something very major… It forced the FDA, through the discovery process, to hand over more than 44,000 pages of its internal files relevant to the policy that it made on genetically engineered foods.”

    FDA Supports Biotechnology Industry as Matter of Policy

    According to the FDA's own admission, the agency has been operating for years under a policy to promote the US biotechnology industry. They decided it was more important to promote the industry and uphold the fragile image of GE foods rather than tell the truth and acknowledge the scientist warnings. So they covered up these warnings. Had Steven not sued, the warnings of the FDA's own scientists still would be unknown to this day.

    “We wouldn't know the extent to which the FDA has been lying all these years. But fortunately, we do know now,” he says. “And what we know is that although the FDA scientists overwhelmingly concluded and warned their superiors that these foods entail unique risks, that they cannot be presumed safe, and that each one of them should be subjected to long-term rigorous toxicological testing, what the public heard from the FDA was that “The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods developed by these methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.”

    For close to 20 years, the American public has been exposed to these largely experimental, untested foods, which its own scientists said entail unique risks and could not be presumed safe. The FDA claimed GMO's could be presumed safe, and that there was an overwhelming scientific consensus backing up their decision, yet the evidence shows that is a bold-faced lie.  One document (document #8), is a letter from the FDA's biotechnology coordinator to an official of Health Canada, written in the fall of 1991, just six months before the FDA's ruling on GE foods.

    How and Why the Scientific Discussion Was Shifted from Cautious to Confident in Favor of GMO's Safety

    Genetic engineering first became a reality back in the early 1970s, and at the time, it was a radical breakthrough. According to Nobel-laureate biologist George Wald, it was the biggest and most radical human intervention into the natural order that had ever occurred. Even the scientists who were doing it were mindful of how radical it was and how important it was to be careful. Initially, the scientists themselves warned of the dangers of this new technology and how it had to be used with extreme prudence and caution.

    Shifting the Burden of Proof

    These lobbying efforts were not backed by the biotechnology industry, mind you. There was no biotechnology industry at that time. This is a key theme of Steven's book, because it's easy to forget that there was a time before the biotechnology industry, and very few know who the leaders of the genetic engineering establishment were, or why the technology was invented in the first place. As much as most of us despise Monsanto for their reprehensible behavior, they could never have implemented their strategy if it weren't for the prior misbehavior  of the molecular biologists.

    Molecular Biologists Pushed for Genetic Engineering Without Safeguards

    The forerunners of the biotechnology industry were the molecular biology establishment. James Watson, the co-discoverer of the DNA structure, was a member of that establishment and, for obvious reasons, one of the big proponents of genetic engineering. He was one of the scientists who became very vocal, claiming that genetic engineering was safe and that earlier concerns had been exaggerated. And the molecular biologists who were strongly in favor of pushing ahead with genetic engineering without adequate safeguards wielded a great amount of power within the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which is one of the premier scientific organizations in the US.

    Fraudulent Groundwork Set the Framework for Massive GMO Fraud

    Dr. Regal and some of his collaborators managed to put together two major conferences, and were shocked to learn just how many high-risk projects the genetic engineers had in the pipeline, slated for imminent release. Many of these high-risk projects were stopped because of Dr. Regal's efforts. Still, his voice was eventually outweighed by all the others, which resulted in the technological elite we're dealing with today.

    The Spin-Doctors of the '70s

    It's important to understand this, because the fact that regulations on genetic engineering were kept to a bare minimum from the very start is the foundation that set up the framework for the FDA's 1992 ruling. If safety regulations for the industry had been stricter, it's unlikely that they would have been able to pull it off.

    Major GMO Disaster Used as Leverage to Attack Natural Supplements

    While there's no proof that a whole food developed through GE has killed anyone after just a few meals, we do know that a genetically engineered food supplement was acutely toxic – and did take lives. In the 1980's, a supplement of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan, which was produced through genetic engineering, was the first major GMO catastrophe, killing dozens of people who took it. Thousands were seriously sickened, many of whom were permanently disabled. The novel disorder that afflicted these unfortunate people was named eosinophilia–myalgia syndrome (EMS). I was witness to this outbreak while I was a practicing physician.

    “The scientific evidence is very clear: tryptophan supplements were not a problem. To our knowledge, the only tryptophan supplement that ever created a problem was the one that was created through genetically engineered bacteria. As my book demonstrates, when one gathers all of the evidence that we have and puts it all together, then the finger gets pointed pretty strongly at the genetic engineering technology itself as having been the cause for the toxic contamination that caused the major epidemic in 1989 and 1990.”

    The GMO Supplement That Killed Dozens and Injured Thousands

    How was L-tryptophan re-engineered? In the mid-1980s, one of the main developers of L-tryptophan supplements, Showa Denko Corporation in Japan, decided they could turn out more L-tryptophan in the same amount of time if they endowed the bacteria they were using with extra genes. The bacteria naturally have the genetic components to synthesize L-tryptophan. By giving the bacteria an extra copy of those genes, they reasoned that more L-tryptophan would be produced more quickly.

    ‘Disappearing a GMO Disaster'

    Powerful, persistent, and successful misinformation was dispensed to disassociate genetic engineering from the toxic contamination of this L-tryptophan supplement. Consequently, most people—including many scientists—do not know that this lethal epidemic was caused by a genetically engineered food supplement.

    GMOs Infiltrate Agriculture

    In the early 1980s, some large corporations started to become interested in the potential applications of genetic engineering to agriculture. Remember, if that preliminary groundwork by the molecular biologists (discussed earlier) had not been laid and the burden of proof had not already been shifted, Monsanto, Dow, and others  would not have gone ahead to invest in genetically engineered seeds as they would have never been able to get these dangerous products presumed to be GRAS by the FDA.

    But the groundwork was laid and the path forward was opened wide. That's why it's so important to understand that early history. Then, enter Michael Taylor, a partner at a major Washington, D.C. law firm that represented Monsanto. After serving as Monsanto's legal counsel, Taylor was then installed as Deputy Commissioner on Food Policy at the FDA—a position that didn't even exist before Taylor got the job.

    “It was because, I think, as I looked through the records, there were FDA scientists who were objecting to the drafts of the policy statement, saying, “Wait, what's happening to all the scientific elements in this?” … I believe, this is my belief, that Michael Taylor was brought in at that critical junction to start getting things moving in the direction that the Bush White House and the people directing the FDA wanted. But certainly, we can see within the memos… where the clout was. It was coming from the White House and the Office of Management and Budget. The economic and political considerations were trumping the scientific considerations. And the poor FDA scientists were spending their time trying to do their job as scientists, and it turned out it didn't come to anything.”

    GMO FDA Lawsuit Derailed

    So, whatever happened to Steven's lawsuit against the FDA, you might ask? In short, it was stymied. And here's why: As Steven explains, the judge concluded that there was no need for a trial because trials are only necessary when there's a dispute about material facts. Trials are done to clarify the facts. In this case, the critical facts were the very records that the FDA had in its possession as of May 1992, when it released its policy. Since those were the key facts, there was no need for a trial, as everyone agreed on what the records said. After submitting briefs and answers, the judge will ordinarily call for oral arguments, to tease out more information.

    Theatre of the Absurd

    In earlier years, the FDA had taken a supplement off the market claiming it was not GRAS on the basis of testimony of only two experts. Here, the judge acknowledged the plaintiffs had shown that significant disagreement existed within the scientific community by bringing in nine scientists. But then she got tricky.

    As a result, the FDA still clings to its unfounded and thoroughly rebutted presumption that genetically engineered foods are GRAS. However, once you're done listening to Steven's story, or reading his book, you will know the truth of the matter the next time you hear someone talk about ‘overwhelming safety' of GMOs… This is a fascinating book and discussion and it is loaded with so much new information that it turned into the longest interview I have ever done. So we needed to break it into two parts. We will post part two on March 15, 2015.

    His work highlights research which has found tumours, liver and kidney harm in animals given GM feed in trials. And he complains, that researchers who dare to raise these problems have been pilloried.

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    Photo Source: European Commission DG ECHO



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