Here’s Why More Than 35 Countries Have Banned Genetically Modified Crops From Their Country
By: Arjun Walia
The global resistance against Genetically Modified Crops is growing at an exponential rate. A few years ago, you were almost ridiculed for suggesting that GM foods could be a problem, and now scientists and researchers are presenting information that has 19 new countries joining an already long list of nations to completely ban, or have severe restrictions on, GMOs — as well as the pesticides that go with them.
For those of you who do not know, GMO crops have had their DNA artificially altered, which is a process that would not happen in nature. This is done by introducing genes from a completely different species in order to boost the plant’s resistance to pests or herbicides, or create some other desired effect.
“By slipping it into our food without our knowledge, without any indication that there are genetically modified organisms in our food, we are now unwittingly part of a massive experiment. The FDA has said that genetically modified organisms are not much different from regular food, so they’ll be treated in the same way. The problem is this, geneticists follow the inheritance of genes, what biotechnology allows us to do is to take this organism, and move it horizontally into a totally unrelated species. Now David Suzuki doesn’t normally mate with a carrot and exchange genes, what biotechnology allows us to do is to switch genes from one to the other without regard to the biological constraints. It’s very very bad science, we assume that the principals governing the inheritance of genes vertically, applies when you move genes laterally or horizontally. There’s absolutely no reason to make that conclusion.” – Geneticist David Suzuki
Again, we are talking about more than three dozen countries. That’s more than half of the countries within the European Union, some of which include: Germany, France, Scotland, France, Italy, Austria, Greece, Poland, and Belgium. The magnitude of this resistance cannot be ignored.
Here is a current list of countries that have banned the growth of these crops. Other countries not on the list have restrictions on them, and some still allow the import of these crops. But the trend seems to be a complete ban as the years move on. It’s a complicated issue, especially when you ponder the fact that science has now been heavily politicized. More on that later in the article.
HEALTH/ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS MIXED WITH SCIENTIFIC FRAUD
So why are these countries doing this? Two of the main reasons have to do with environmental and health-related concerns. Alongside all of these troubles (according to Reuters), some countries simply want to take time to do proper research — flying in the face of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decree that GMOs are completely safe. There are many who disagree with this assertion.
“As part of the process, they portrayed the various concerns as merely the ignorant opinions of misinformed individuals – and derided them as not only unscientific, but anti-science. They then set to work to convince the public and government officials, through the dissemination of false information, that there was an overwhelming expert consensus, based on solid evidence, that GMOs were safe.” – Jane Goodall (source)
The quote above from Goodall comes from Steven M. Druker who, in 1996, did something very few Americans were doing then — learn the facts about the massive venture to restructure the genetic core of the world’s food supply. The problem of unawareness still exists today, but it’s getting much better thanks to activists like Druker.
Druker, being a public interest attorney and the Executive Director of the Alliance For Bio-Integrity, initiated a lawsuit in 1998 that forced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to divulge its files on genetically engineered foods. In 2015 he published a book on the lawsuit. In the book, Druker provides details of his experience, and he’s also released the documents on his website showing the significant hazards of genetically engineering foods and the flaws present in the FDA’s policy.
The book has some very impressive reviews. For example, David Schubert, Ph.D., molecular biologist and Head of Cellular Neurobiology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, said that this “incisive and insightful book is truly outstanding. Not only is it well-reasoned and scientifically solid, it’s a pleasure to read – and a must-read.”
Stephen Naylor, Ph.D., CEO and Chariman of Mai Health Inc., an individual who spent 10 years as a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and pharmacology, stated that Druker’s “meticulously documented, well crafted, and spell binding narrative should serve as a clarion call to all of us.”
Joseph Cummins, Ph.D. and professor emeritus of genetics at Western University in London, Ontario, believes that Druker’s book is a “landmark” and that “it should be required reading in every university biology course.”
In publishing his book and filing this lawsuit, Druker exposed how the agency covered up the warnings of its own scientists about the risks, lied about the facts, and then ushered these foods onto the market in violation of federal law.
It’s also noteworthy to mention that Druker has actually served on the food safety panels at conferences held by the National Research council and the FDA, presented lectures at numerous universities, met with government officials throughout the world, and conferred at the White House Executive Offices with a task force of President Clinton’s Council on Environmental Quality.
Let’s not forget all of the science cited by these other countries.
A great example is a study that was published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe. The WHO has never cited any long term studies that prove the safety of GMOs. When a study was finally conducted, it found severe liver and kidney damage, as well as hormonal disturbances, in rats fed GM maize in conjunction with low levels of Roundup — levels that were below those permitted in most drinking water across Europe. The rats also developed large cancer tumors.(source)
Other studies have found instances of adverse microscopic and molecular effects of some GM foods in different organs or tissues. They also determined that no standardized methods to evaluate the safety of GM foods have been established. Many studies have emphasized that more scientific effort is needed in order to build confidence in the evaluation and acceptance of GM foods. (source)(source)
Studies have also linked GMO animal feed to severe stomach inflammation and enlarged uteri in pigs. (source)
Here’s what Irina Ermakova, VP of Russia’s National Association for Genetic Safety, said last year when Russia was mulling over the decision to ban GMOs:
It is necessary to ban GMOs, to impose moratorium (on) it for 10 years. While GMOs will be prohibited, we can plan experiments, tests, or maybe even new methods of research could be developed. It has been proven that not only in Russia, but also in many other countries in the world, GMOs are dangerous. Methods of obtaining the GMOs are not perfect, therefore, at this stage, all GMOs are dangerous. Consumption and use of GMOs obtained in such way can lead to tumors, cancers and obesity among animals. Bio-technologies certainly should be developed, but GMOs should be stopped…. [We] should stop it from spreading. (source)
Keep in mind that we are talking about GM crops, which are sprayed with billions of pounds of toxic chemicals every year. These chemicals have been linked to a number of diseases, ranging from autism, to cancer, to Alzheimer’s disease and more.
“Children today are sicker than they were a generation ago. From childhood cancers to autism, birth defects and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. Our assessment of the latest science leaves little room for doubt; pesticides are one key driver of this sobering trend.” – October 2012 report by Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) (source)(source)
A new study published in the Journal of Organic Systems last September examined US government databases, and researchers searched for GE (Genetically Engineered) crop data, glyphosate application data, and disease epidemiological data while performing a “correlation analysis” on a total of 22 different diseases.
Researchers reached an alarming conclusion:
These data show very strong and highly significant correlations between the increasing use of glyphosate, GE crop growth and the increase in a multitude of diseases. Many of the graphs show sudden increases in the rates of diseases in the mid-1990s that coincide with the commercial production of GE crops. The probabilities in the graphs and tables show that it is highly unlikely that the correlations are a coincidence. The strength of the correlations shows that there is a very strong probability that they are linked somehow.” (source)
Correlation doesn’t mean causation, but using the Bradford Hill criteria, it’s easy to see why so many scientists/countries are opposing GMOs.
The shift toward organic food is strong and growing; it’s what consumers are demanding. After all, who wants pesticides accumulating in their body, especially ones that have been incontrovertibly linked to several diseases?
For example, a recent study conducted by researchers from RMIT university, published in the journal Environmental Research, found that an organic diet for just one week significantly reduced pesticide exposure in adults by 90%. (source)
Another study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, indicated that among individuals eating similar amounts of vegetables and fruits, the ones who reported eating organic produce had significantly lower OP pesticide exposure than those who normally consume conventionally grown produce. You can read more about that here.
These chemicals are manufactured by big bio-tech corporations like Monsanto, and the fact that they’ve been cauGlyphosateght lying doesn’t help their credibility one bit. For example, a new study published in the journal Biomedical Research International shows that Roundup herbicide is 125 times more toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate studied in isolation. (source) Roundup was also (finally) linked to cancer recently by the WHO, although a number of scientists had already provided tremendous amounts of proof for this:
There is convincing evidence that glyphosate also can cause cancer in laboratory animals. On the basis of tumours in mice, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) originally classified glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic to humans. A US EPA report and several more recent positive results conclude that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Glyphosate also caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells, although it gave negative results in tests using bacteria. One study in community residents reported increases in blood markers of chromosomal damage (micronuclei) after glyphosate formulations were sprayed nearby.” (source)
Studies that link Genetically Modified (GM) food to multiple human health ailments are not the only thing that has millions of people questioning the production of GM food. There is fact that previously classified secret government documents exist which show how the Bush administration developed ways to retaliate against countries that were refusing to use GM seeds. If information about our food needs to be concealed from the public domain, then something has gone seriously wrong with the food industry. It’s great to have an organization like WikiLeaks shed some light into a world that’s been hidden from us for so many years.
The cables reveal that the State Department was lobbying all over the world for Monsanto and other major biotech corporations., and that American diplomats requested funding to send lobbyists for the biotech industry to meet with politicians and agricultural officials in “target countries.” These included countries in Africa, Latin America, and Europe.
A non-profit consumer protection group called Food & Water Watch published a report showing the details of the partnership between the federal government and a number of biotech companies who have pushed their GMO products on multiple countries for a number of years:
In the past decade, the United States has aggressively pursued foreign policies in food and agriculture that benefit the largest seed companies. The U.S. State Department has launched a concerted strategy to promote agricultural biotechnology, often over the opposition of the public and governments, to the near exclusion of other more sustainable, more appropriate agricultural policy alternatives.
Agricultural development is essential for the developing world to foster sustainable economies, enhance food security to combat global hunger and increase resiliency to climate change. Addressing these challenges will require diverse strategies that emphasize sustainable, productive approaches that are directed by countries in the developing world.
The U.S. State Department has also lobbied foreign governments to adopt pro-agricultural biotechnology policies and laws, operated a rigorous public relations campaign to improve the image of biotechnology and challenged commonsense biotechnology safeguards and rules — even including opposing laws requiring the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.
Here is one cable (out of many) from Morocco.
Here is a 2008 cable that summarizes a French documentary called “The World According to Monsanto,” which attacks the U.S. biotech industry and the fact that Monsanto and the U.S. Government constantly swap employees and positions.
This is just one example that clearly shows how giant corporations essentially dictate government policy. These food corporations are responsible for pushing independent agriculturists out of business. They control the world’s seed supply, forcing farmers to become dependent on their seed. Monsanto and corporations like it have created patented GMO seeds and are preventing farmers from seed saving and sharing, resulting in a dependence on their genetically modified product.
“Between 2007 and 2009, the State Department sent annual cables to ‘encourage the use of agricultural biotechnology,’ directing every diplomatic post worldwide to “pursue an active biotech agenda” that promotes agricultural biotechnology, encourages the export of biotech crops and foods and advocates for pro-biotech policies and laws.” (source)
“The US Department of State is selling seeds instead of democracy. This report provides a chilling snapshot of how a handful of giant biotechnology companies are unduly influencing US foreign policy and undermining our diplomatic efforts to promote security, international development and transparency worldwide. This report is a call to action for Americans because public policy should not be for sale to the highest bidder.” – Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch Executive (source)
One of the most revealing cables is from 2007, and it looks at French efforts to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety. Here is a cable that shows Craig Stapleton, former ambassador to France under the Bush administration, asking Washington to punish the EU countries that did not support the use of GM crops:
“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices.”
The U.S. government was not only working for the biotech industry. They were also threatening other governments who did not comply. Think about that for a moment. Over the years, the United States government and Monsanto have collectively pushed their GMO agenda upon the rest of the world. Why? Do you really think it is to help feed the world? This could easily be achieved if we came together and pooled our resources. The entire planet could have access to organic food and it could be done for free.
A SHIFT IN CONSCIOUSNESS ENCOMPASSES EVERYTHING
It’s quite amazing to see what has happened over the past ten years alone. The birth of social media networks has brought forth a wealth of new information in the form of alternative media. While there may be many “fake news” sites out there, there are also many valid information sources that have created awareness and sourced their work properly. They shared information that mainstream media would not share. After all, mainstream media is owned by a handful of corporations, and also heavily influenced by government and corporate agendas.
Our world has been drenched in secrecy, and more people are having a hard time trusting mainstream media networks. It’s simply best to let people decide for themselves and examine the sources for themselves, rather than having somebody on television telling the world “what is.”
The fact that billions of people every year were accessing information about corporate and government fraud, and information that is not always presented to the world, just goes to show how big this shift in consciousness is. New ideas are being presented that challenge old beliefs, and more people are starting to question the world around them and the entire human experience.
What are we really doing here? A lot of people see a clear need for change, and recognize that if we continue to follow our ways with regards to politics, finance, health, environment, education, and more, we’re not really going forward.
Our souls are craving a new human experience, and creating awareness about several aspects of that human experience, like GMOs, for example, plays a key role in changing it. So when it comes to GMOs, vote with your dollar!
Don’t let “fake news” labels determine your truth. Don’t let someone else make your decisions for you. Examine the sources for yourself, think critically, and make your own decisions. We do not need another entity, like Snopes, telling us what is and what isn’t. It’s time to think for ourselves, and stop letting the government, corporations, and politicians do it for us.
We can’t continue to put change in their hands; we have to put it in our own.
About the Author: Arjun Walia – I joined the CE team in 2010 shortly after finishing university and have been grateful for the fact that I have been able to do this ever since 🙂 There are many things happening on the planet that don’t resonate with me, and I wanted to do what I could to play a role in creating change. It’s been great making changes in my own life and creating awareness and I look forward to more projects that move beyond awareness and into action and implementation. So stay tuned 🙂 firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on the image below to visit TLB Project on twitter …