Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ex Monsanto Employee Says GMO Crops May Cause Disease

There is a perception by many that genetically modified food is a cure all for world poverty and food crises. What if you were to hear that an unintended side effect of eating genetically modified (GMO) foods could be infectious diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, better known as mad cow disease?

This is the threat uncovered by a former Monsanto employee, who has tried and failed to bring such concerns to company management, with the result that an unknown amount of potentially toxic substances is making their way into the food you eat because of the actual technique used by Monsanto to create genetically engineered crops.

Monsanto modifies the genes of existing plants through a technique known as gene insertion. By using a device called a "gene gun" researchers bombard plant tissue with new genes. After firing new genetic material into existing cotton, corn or rice cells, the new genetic information gets imbedded into the existing plant cells resulting in a new variation of the crop (for example it will be resistant to pesticides like RoundUp, allowing farmers to use the chemical to kill off weeds without killing the crop).

The catch is that in addition to inserting the new gene, the technique damages other genes in the plant as well, leading to malformed proteins within the plants DNA. Why does this matter? Diseases such as mad cow disease are caused by certain malformed proteins, and although it would be downright misleading to say that gene insertion causes mad cow disease, it is 100% valid to say that it causes malformed proteins with unknown health effects, and that these new proteins are not being tested or monitored to ensure human safety.

Kirk (a former Monsanto employee) understood that particle bombardment can cause unpredictable changes and mutations in the DNA, which might result in new types of proteins.

Kirk had just been studying mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and its human counterpart, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). These fatal diseases had been tracked to a class of proteins called prions. Short for “proteinaceous infectious particles,” prions are improperly folded proteins, which cause other healthy proteins to also become misfolded. Over time, they cause holes in the brain, severe dysfunction and death.

When Kirk tried to share his concerns with the (Monsanto) scientist, he realized,He had no idea what I was talking about; he had not even heard of prions. “These Monsanto scientists are very knowledge about traditional products, like chemicals, herbicides and pesticides, but they don’t understand the possible harmful outcomes of genetic engineering, such as prion proteins. So I am explaining to him about the potential untoward effects of these foreign proteins, but he just did not understand.”

Worse news still is the amount of time it may take for any health impacts to come to light. Diseases caused by malformed proteins may not show up in humans for decades, in the case of mad cow for up to 30 years. The point being that we are not going to know if the GMO food we are eating today is safe until some time towards the middle of the century.

Not only are Monsanto and biotech industry incapable of ensuring the safety of their products, but this article demonstrates something about the real motivation behind the development of GMO food. Rather than ending world hunger, the true goal is the successful patenting and ownership of our food resources by private corporations. Ask any CEO with a high school education what the perfect money making business is and you will get the following answer - the monopolistic control of a perfectly inelastic good.

What better money making enterprise could there be then having sole ownership over the food we eat?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why more people don't get involved to fight these corporate bastards. They DO NOT have america's best interest at heart... only the $$$$$$.... In Mendocino County California we fought Monsanto and became our nation's first GMO free county! Vermont followed closely by declaring the whole STATE GMO Free zone.... C'mon people... quit letting CORPORATE AMERICA dictate your choices... make healthy choices and stick to organics... closest to the source is best.... Milli from NOR*CAL in AUSTIN

Anonymous said...

We have to wake up to Monsanto and their involvement with 'aspartame' the toxic sweetner too and the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods. Complications are endless and include death (all are listed on google searches), there is even 'aspartame disease!'

Be sure to check out the labels on any 'sugar free' products and fizzy drinks including Coca Cola!

Monsanto know how deadly this product is and yet again are using us as guinea pigs - our health is certainly NOT on their agenda!!

Anonymous said...

We have to wake up now to Monsanto and their involvement with 'aspartame' the toxic sweetner too - the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to our food.

Complications many, including death (all listed on google searches). There is even 'aspartame disease'!!

Check out the labels on 'sugar free' products and fizzy drinks including Coca Cola!

Monsanto know full well how deadly aspartame is and are using us as guinea pigs - our health is NOT on their agenda!!

Anonymous said...

We have to wake up now to Monsanto and their involvement with 'aspartame' the toxic sweetner too - the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to our food.

Complications many, including death (all listed on google searches). There is even 'aspartame disease'!!

Check out the labels on 'sugar free' products and fizzy drinks including Coca Cola!

Monsanto know full well how deadly aspartame is and are using us as guinea pigs - our health is NOT on their agenda!!