Genetic Modification News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on genetically modified organisms
Americans overwhelmingly support labeling foods that have been genetically modified or engineered, according to a New York Times poll conducted this year, with 93 percent of respondents saying that foods containing such ingredients should be identified. Three-quarters of Americans expressed concern about genetically modified organisms in their food, with most of them worried about the effects on people’s health. Thirty-seven percent of those worried about G.M.O.’s said they feared that such foods cause cancer or allergies. Among those with concerns, 26 percent said these foods are not safe to eat, or are toxic, while 13 percent were worried about environmental problems that they fear might be caused by genetic engineering. Nearly half of Americans said they were aware that a large amount of the processed or packaged foods they now buy at the grocery store contains genetically modified ingredients. Overall concern was higher among women than men, perhaps not surprisingly, as more women identify themselves as the principal grocery shopper in the household. Americans were almost equally divided about eating genetically modified vegetables, fruits and grains, with about half saying they would not eat them. They were even less comfortable about eating meat from genetically engineered animals: three-quarters said they would not eat G.M.O. fish, and about two-thirds said they would not eat meat that had been modified.
Note: Explore over 40 scientific studies that have demonstrated the health dangers of GM foods. Despite overwhelming public support for labelling of GMOs, the GM lobby has spent huge amounts of money to keep US states from enacting labelling laws. Sadly, they have largely been successful. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
French scientists said on [September 19] that rats fed on Monsanto's genetically modified corn or exposed to its top-selling weedkiller suffered tumors and multiple organ damage. Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and colleagues said rats fed on a diet containing NK603 - a seed variety made tolerant to dousings of Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller - or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the United States, died earlier than those on a standard diet. The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology and presented at a news conference in London. The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group. GMOs are deeply unpopular in Europe and many other countries, but dominate key crops in the United States after Monsanto in 1996 introduced a soybean genetically altered to tolerate Monsanto's Roundup weed killer. Seralini was part of a team that has voiced previous safety concerns based on a shorter rat study in a scientific paper published in 2009. This new study takes things a step further by tracking the animals throughout their two-year lifespan. Seralini believes his latest lifetime rat tests give a more realistic and authoritative view of risks than the 90-day feeding trials that form the basis of GM crop approvals, since three months is only the equivalent of early adulthood in rats.
Note: For alarming photos and more from the above long-term study on the dangers of GM food, click here. For an incisive, powerful 13-minute video revealing the disturbing results of this first long-term scientific study on GMOs, click here. For an excellent article and a great two-minute video clearly explaining the major dangers of GM food, click here. For a powerful summary of the health risks from GM foods, click here.
An unprecedented agricultural experiment is being conducted at America's dinner tables. While none of the processed food we ate 20 years ago contained genetically engineered ingredients, now 75 percent of it does - even though the long-term human health and environmental impacts are unknown. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't require labeling of genetically engineered foods. In 1992, the FDA ruled that genetically engineered foods didn't need independent safety tests or labeling requirements before being introduced. But one of its own scientists disagreed, warning there were "profound differences" with genetically engineered foods. Genetically engineered seed manufacturers were allowed to sell their products without telling consumers. A 2006 survey found that 74 percent of Americans had no idea that genetically engineered foods were already being sold. About 94 percent of U.S. grown soybeans are genetically engineered and contain a gene that protects them against glyphosate, now the nation's most widely used pesticide. Almost all the research on the safety of genetically engineered foods has been conducted by the companies that sell them. A recent poll found 93 percent of Americans think genetically engineered foods should be labeled. This month, 384,000 people signed a Just Label It (www.justlabelit.org) petition urging the FDA to mandate genetically engineered food labeling nationally.
Note: Over one million people have now signed the above-mentioned petition. Please join in signing and making your voice heard at this link. For powerful, verifiable information showing scientific studies which revealed lab animals died after ingesting GMOs, click here. For other major media articles on the many dangers of GM food, click here.
There is more than a casual association between GM [Genetically Modified] foods and adverse health effects. There is causation [as] confirmed in several animal studies. Specificity of the association of GM foods and specific disease processes is also supported. In spite of this risk, the biotechnology industry claims that GM foods can feed the world through production of higher crop yields. However, a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists reviewed 12 academic studies and indicates otherwise: "The several thousand field trials over the last 20 years ... indicate a significant undertaking. Yet none of these field trials have resulted in increased yield ... with the exception of Bt corn." Therefore, because 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, ... because GM foods have not been properly tested for human consumption, and because there is ample evidence of probable harm, the AAEM asks:  Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.  Physicians to consider the possible role of GM foods in the disease process.  Our members, the medical community, and the independent scientific community to gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption and health effects.  For a moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term independent safety testing, and labeling of GM foods, which is necessary for the health and safety of consumers.
Note: Why was this not reported in the mainstream media? A top academy of physicians states our health is being endangered by GM foods, yet no one is reporting this. For how our media is bought off in matters like this, click here. For a powerful essay showing blatant corruption of the science around GMOs and FDA complicity, click here. For key media articles on this vital topic, click here.
In late 1986, four executives of the Monsanto Company, the leader in agricultural biotechnology, paid a visit to Vice President George Bush at the White House. In the weeks and months that followed, the White House complied, working behind the scenes, to help Monsanto — long a political power with deep connections in Washington — get the regulations that it wanted. It was an outcome that would be repeated, again and again, through three administrations. What Monsanto wished for from Washington, Monsanto — and, by extension, the biotechnology industry — got. Even longtime Washington hands said that the control this nascent industry exerted over its own regulatory destiny — through the Environmental Protection Agency, the Agriculture Department and ultimately the Food and Drug Administration — was astonishing. Dr. Louis J. Pribyl, one of 17 government scientists working on a policy for genetically engineered food, ... knew from studies that toxins could be unintentionally created when new genes were introduced into a plant's cells. The government was dismissing that risk and any other possible risk as no different from those of conventionally derived food. That meant biotechnology companies would not need government approval to sell the foods they were developing. "This is the industry's pet idea, namely that there are no unintended effects that will raise the F.D.A.'s level of concern," Dr. Pribyl wrote in a fiery memo to the F.D.A. scientist overseeing the policy's development. "But time and time again, there is no data to back up their contention."
Note: For a powerful essay showing the grave risks and dangers of GMOs, click here. Explore over 40 scientific studies that have demonstrated the health dangers of GM foods. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on genetically modified foods, click here.
Genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides. The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides. Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents ... shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise. The United States and Canada have gained no discernible advantage in yields - food per acre - when measured against Western Europe. Also, a recent National Academy of Sciences report found that “there was little evidence” that the introduction of genetically modified crops in the United States had led to yield gains beyond those seen in conventional crops. At the same time, herbicide use has increased in the United States. And the United States has fallen behind Europe’s biggest producer, France, in reducing the overall use of pesticides, which includes both herbicides and insecticides. Pesticides are toxic by design ... and have been linked to developmental delays and cancer. The same companies make and sell both the genetically modified plants and the poisons.
Note: Explore over 40 scientific studies that have demonstrated the health dangers of GM foods. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and the GMO controversy.
The world is awash in glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, produced by Monsanto. It has now become the most heavily-used agricultural chemical in the history of the world. A study published Tuesday ... reveals that Americans have applied 1.8 million tons of glyphosate since its introduction in 1974. Worldwide, 9.4 million tons of the chemical have been sprayed onto fields. That’s ... enough to spray nearly half a pound of Roundup on every cultivated acre of land in the world. And it’s troubling, considering that in March 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer unanimously determined that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans. Research has also shown that glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it interferes with the proper functioning and production of hormones, in human cell lines. The mass-spraying of glyphosate has [also] led to the explosion of resistant weeds, which have evolved to survive despite being sprayed. Already, weeds resistant to the herbicide are found on half of all American farmers’ fields. Glyphosate was once only used on a small-scale. However, in the 1990s, Monsanto began introducing genetically modified crops that were resistant to the herbicides, such as Roundup Ready corn and soybeans. Since then, its use has skyrocketed. At the same time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has relaxed its rules. Fifty times more glyphosate is allowed on corn grain now than in 1996.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Major lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Consumer advocates, environmental groups, fishermen and retailers reacted strongly to the federal government’s announcement Thursday approving genetically modified salmon for consumer use. The landmark approval - the first genetically engineered food animal endorsed for sale in the United States - has sparked a passionate response ... especially because it will not require special labelling. Around 2 million people previously filed public comments against the FDA’s approval of what opponents call “Frankenfish,” and the Center for Food Safety announced Thursday that it would sue the FDA in response. “This sets the bar incredibly low for engineered animals,” said Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union. “There were serious problems with the safety assessment.” At least 60 retailers - including chains like Safeway, Target, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, as well as local independent grocers like Bi-Rite and Rainbow Community Market - have made a pledge with Friends of the Earth not to sell the salmon when it goes to market. Chief among concerns about the GMO salmon is its potential for causing allergies and its ability to contaminate wild populations. Testing for potential allergens was only done on a very small sample size. The tested fish actually did show a higher allergenicity. Critics are also concerned about the fish’s ability to escape and cause environmental harm.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
California’s Proposition 37, which would require that genetically modified (G.M.) foods carry a label, has the potential ... to change the politics of food not just in California but nationally too. Genetically modified foods don’t offer the eater any benefits whatsoever — only a potential, as yet undetermined risk. Monsanto and its allies have fought the labeling of genetically modified food ... vigorously since 1992, when the industry managed to persuade the [F.D.A.] — over the objection of its own scientists — that the new crops were “substantially equivalent” to the old and so did not need to be labeled, much less regulated. The F.D.A. policy was co-written by a lawyer whose former firm worked for Monsanto. More than 60 other countries have seen fit to label genetically modified food, including those in the European Union, Japan, Russia and China. Monsanto and DuPont, the two leading merchants of genetically modified seed, have invested more than $12 million to defeat Prop 37. Americans have been eating genetically engineered food for 18 years, and as supporters of the technology are quick to point out, we don’t seem to be dropping like flies. But they miss the point. The fight over labeling G.M. food is not foremost about food safety or environmental harm, legitimate though these questions are. The fight is about the power of Big Food. Monsanto has become the symbol of everything people dislike about industrial agriculture: corporate control of the regulatory process; lack of transparency (for consumers) and lack of choice (for farmers); an intensifying rain of pesticides; and the monopolization of seeds, which is to say, of the genetic resources on which all of humanity depends.
Note: To learn more about the revolving door between Monsanto and the FDA, click here. To read about many suppressed scientific studies which showed the GM foods were often harmful and sometimes even lethal to a variety of lab animals, click here. To watch a powerful video showing clearly how Monsanto has attacked those who will not use their GM seeds, click here.
A noted plant scientist who spent much of his career at Purdue University sent a letter to the USDA informing the agency that he'd discovered a mysterious new disease-causing organism in Monsanto's (MON) genetically engineered Roundup Ready corn and soybeans. Now, that scientist - Don Huber - has written a follow-up letter ... and appears in a videotaped interview where he presents an even scarier picture of the damage he claims Monsanto's herbicide chemical glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) is doing to both plants and the animals who eat them. Use of glyphosate has soared thanks to widespread use of Monsanto's soy and corn seeds, which are genetically modified to survive its effects. The problem with glyphosate, Huber says, is that it effectively "gives a plant AIDS," weakening its defenses and making it more susceptible to pathogens, such as the one his team discovered. The scientists have taken to calling the bug "the electron microscope (EM) organism," since it can only be seen with an electron microscope. Huber claims that the double whammy of weakened defenses and the new EM organism have contributed to "unexplained epidemics" of disease on farms. He's heard from cattle farmers who are struggling because they're experiencing a 15% infertility rate and 35% rate of spontaneous abortions among their herds. When the farmers switch to non-GE soy and corn for feed, the problems decline dramatically.
The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show. In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops. "Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices," said Stapleton, who with Bush co-owned the St Louis-based Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s [and is married to Dorothy Walker, a first cousin of former U.S. president George H.W. Bush]. In other newly released cables, US diplomats around the world are found to have pushed GM crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative. In addition, the cables show US diplomats working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto. It also emerges that Spain and the US have worked closely together to persuade the EU not to strengthen biotechnology laws. In one cable, the embassy in Madrid writes: "If Spain falls, the rest of Europe will follow." The cables show that not only did the Spanish government ask the US to keep pressure on Brussels but that the US knew in advance how Spain would vote, even before the Spanish biotech commission had reported.
Note: For a powerful 13-minute video revealing the disturbing results of the first long-term scientific study on GMOs and showing how they greatly increased cancer incidence in rats, click here. For more revealing information on this from Dr. Mercola, click here. For an excellent overview of scientific studies on the risks from genetically-modified foods, click here.
Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis. The study – carried out over the past three years at the University of Kansas – has found that GM soya produces about 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent, contradicting assertions by advocates of the technology that it increases yields. Professor Barney Gordon, of the university's department of agronomy, said he started the research – reported in the journal Better Crops – because many farmers who had changed over to the GM crop had "noticed that yields are not as high as expected even under optimal conditions". He added: "People were asking the question 'how come I don't get as high a yield as I used to?'" He grew a Monsanto GM soybean and an almost identical conventional variety in the same field. The modified crop produced only 70 bushels of grain per acre, compared with 77 bushels from the non-GM one. The GM crop – engineered to resist Monsanto's own weedkiller, Roundup – recovered only when he added extra manganese, leading to suggestions that the modification hindered the crop's take-up of the essential element from the soil. The new study confirms earlier research at the University of Nebraska, which found that another Monsanto GM soya produced 6 per cent less than its closest conventional relative, and 11 per cent less than the best non-GM soya available.
Note: For many important reports on genetically modified organisms from major media sources, click here.
A reputable-sounding nonprofit organization released a report attacking the organic food industry in April 2014. The 30-page report by Academics Review, described as “a non-profit led by independent academic experts in agriculture and food sciences,” found that consumers were being duped into spending more money for organic food. The [group's] press release ends on this note: “Academics Review has no conflicts-of-interest associated with this publication, and all associated costs for which were paid for using our general funds without any specific donor’ influence or direction.” What was not mentioned in the report, the news release or on the website: Executives for Monsanto Co., the world’s leading purveyor of agrichemicals and genetically engineered seeds, along with key Monsanto allies, engaged in fund raising for Academics Review, collaborated on strategy and even discussed plans to hide industry funding, according to emails obtained by U.S. Right to Know. Jay Byrne, former head of communications at Monsanto ... offered to act as a “commercial vehicle” to help find corporate funding for Academics Review. In March 2016, Monica Eng reported ... on documents showing that Monsanto paid Professor Bruce Chassy more than $57,000 over a 23-month period to travel, write and speak about GMOs - money that was not disclosed to the public. The money was part of at least $5.1 million in undisclosed money Monsanto sent through the University of Illinois Foundation.
Note: Monsanto has reportedly pushed fake science in other circumstances as well. Major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public on the dangers of its products, most notably Roundup. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
Bill and Melinda Gates are facing calls for their philanthropic Foundation, through which they have donated billions worldwide, to be subject to an international investigation. The Gates Foundation is about benefiting big business, especially in agriculture and health, through its “ideological commitment to promote neoliberal economic policies and corporate globalisation,” according to [a] report published by the campaign group Global Justice Now. The report accuses the Gates Foundation of [turning] “basic needs into commodities controlled by the market.” The report is critical of the close working relations between the Foundation and major international pharmaceutical corporations. It accuses the Gates Foundation of promoting specific priorities through agriculture grants, some of which undermine the interests of small farmers. These include promoting industrial agriculture, use of chemical fertilisers and expensive, patented seeds, and a focus on genetically modified seeds. The criticism echoes the accusations made by the Indian scientist Vandana Shiva who called the Gates Foundation the “greatest threat to farmers in the developing world.” The Foundation’s emphasis on “technological solutions” often ignores real solutions involving social and economic justice. “This cannot be given by donors in the form of a climate-resilient crop or cheaper smartphone, but must be about systemic social, economic and political change – issues not represented in the foundation’s funding priorities.”
Note: The Gates Foundation is heavily invested in GMO giants like Monsanto. It also provided $5 million to Oxitec, a company criticized for secretly releasing GM mosquitoes into the wild in 2009. Oxitec was purchased last August by biotech giant Intrexon for $160 million. By December, the Zika virus was all over the news and Intrexon was ramping up production of these GM insects to "fight Zika" in Brazil. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Law firms around the United States are lining up plaintiffs for what they say could be "mass tort" actions against agrichemical giant Monsanto Co that claim the company's Roundup herbicide has caused cancer in farm workers and others exposed to the chemical. The latest lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Delaware. The lawsuit is similar to others filed last month in New York and California accusing Monsanto of long knowing that the main ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was hazardous. Monsanto "led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup was safe," the lawsuit states. The litigation follows the World Health Organization's declaration in March that there was sufficient evidence to classify glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans." "We can prove that Monsanto knew about the dangers of glyphosate," said Michael McDivitt, whose Colorado-based law firm is putting together cases for 50 individuals. Roundup ... brought Monsanto $4.8 billion in revenue in its fiscal 2015. But questions about Roundup's safety have dogged the company for years. Attorneys who have filed or are eying litigation cited strong evidence that links glyphosate to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Monsanto is also fending off claims over its past manufacturing of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which the WHO classifies as known carcinogens. At least 700 lawsuits against Monsanto or Monsanto-related entities are pending.
Note: It's interesting to note that a Google search shows almost no major media picked up this key news. Read how the EPA used industry studies while ignoring independent studies to declare Roundup safe. Read also an excellent mercola.com article titled "GMO cookie is crumbling." Monsanto is trying to stop the state of California from listing Glyphosate as carcinogenic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Monsanto Co.’s undisclosed recruitment of scientists from Harvard University, Cornell University and three other schools to write about the benefits of plant biotechnology is drawing fire from opponents. Monsanto says it’s in regular contact with public-sector scientists as it tries to “elevate” public dialog on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit group funded by the Organic Consumers Association that obtained e-mails under the Freedom of Information Act, says correspondence revealing Monsanto’s actions shows the “corporate control of science and how compliant some academics are.” The articles have become the latest flashpoint in an information war being waged over plant biotechnology. The articles in question appeared on the Genetic Literacy Project’s website in a series called “GMO - Beyond the Science.” Eric Sachs, who leads Monsanto’s scientific outreach, wrote to eight scientists to pen a series of briefs aimed at influencing “public policy, GM crop regulation and consumer acceptance.” Five of them obliged. University of Florida Professor Kevin Folta said he agreed to write “Anti-GMO Activism and Its Impact on Food Security” because communicating science to the public is his job. Folta has faced public criticism since the New York Times ... reported last month about his communications with Monsanto and a $25,000 donation to the science communication program he runs.
The issues surrounding G.M.O.s - genetically modified organisms - became more complicated last week when the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the widely used herbicide Roundup, probably causes cancer in humans. Two insecticides, malathion and diazinon, were also classified as "probable" carcinogens by the agency, a respected arm of the World Health Organization. Roundup, made by Monsanto for both home and commercial use, is crucial in the production of genetically engineered corn and soybean crops, so it was notable that the verdict on its dangers came nearly simultaneously with an announcement by the Food and Drug Administration that new breeds of genetically engineered potato and apple are safe to eat. Few people are surprised that an herbicide in widespread use is probably toxic at high doses or with prolonged exposure, circumstances that may be common among farmers and farmworkers. Nor is it surprising that it took so long - Roundup has been used since the 1970s - to discover its likely carcinogenic properties. There is a sad history of us acting as guinea pigs for the novel chemicals that industry develops. To date, G.M.O.s and other forms of biotech have done nothing but enrich their manufacturers and promote a system of agriculture that's neither sustainable nor for the most part beneficial. We don't need better, smarter chemicals along with crops that can tolerate them; we need fewer chemicals. There's no reason to put the general population, and particularly the farming population, at risk for the sake of industry profits.
Note: Monsanto's Roundup and the GMO crops that support its use are well-known by scientists to be a threat to public health. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMO risks and how these are covered up.
Michael Specter's recent articles bashing Vandana Shiva and the labeling of genetically engineered foods (Seeds of Doubt and The Problem with G.M.O. Labels) in the New Yorker are the latest high-profile pro-GMO articles that fail to engage with the fundamental critique of genetically engineered food crops in US soil today: rather than reduce pesticide inputs GMOs are causing them to skyrocket in amount and toxicity. Setting the record straight, Dr. Ramon J. Seidler, Ph.D., former Senior Scientist, Environmental Protection Agency, has recently published a well-researched article documenting the devastating facts, "Pesticide Use on Genetically Engineered Crops," in Environmental Working Group's online AgMag. Dr. Seidler's article cites and links recent scientific literature and media reports, and should be required reading for all journalists covering GMOs, as well as for citizens generally to understand why their right to know if food is genetically engineered is so important. Over 99% of GMO acreage is engineered by chemical companies to tolerate heavy herbicide (glyphosate) use and/or produce insecticide (Bt) in every cell of every plant over the entire growing season. The result is massive selection pressure that has rapidly created pest resistance - the opposite of integrated pest management. Predictably ... we now have huge swaths of the country infested with "superweeds" and "superbugs" resistant to glyphosate and Bt, meaning more volume of more toxic pesticides are being applied.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Major lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
A controversial scientist who carried out provocative research on making influenza viruses more infectious has completed his most dangerous experiment to date by deliberately creating a pandemic strain of flu that can evade the human immune system. Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has genetically manipulated the 2009 strain of pandemic flu in order for it to “escape” the control of the immune system’s neutralising antibodies, effectively making the human population defenceless against its reemergence. Most of the world today has developed some level of immunity to the 2009 pandemic flu virus. However ... Professor Kawaoka intentionally set out to see if it was possible to convert it to a pre-pandemic state in order to analyse the genetic changes involved. Professor Kawaoka’s work had been cleared by Wisconsin’s Institutional Biosafety Committee, but some members of the committee were not informed about details of the antibody study ... and have voiced concerns about the direction, oversight and safety of his overall research on flu viruses. “I have met Professor Kawaoka in committee and have heard his research presentations and honestly it was not re-assuring,” said Professor Tom Jeffries, a dissenting member of the 17-person biosafety committee. This is the first time that someone has taken a strain of influenza virus, called H1N1, known to have caused a global epidemic, in other words a “pandemic”, and deliberately mutated it many times over.
Vermont on [May 8] became the first state in the nation to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Gov. Peter Shumlin signed that mandate into law on Thursday afternoon, saying in a statement “we believe we have a right to know what’s in the food we buy.” The new law represents a significant victory for advocates who have for years pushed such measures at the state and local level. But there remains one more hurdle to overcome: a likely lawsuit. Legislators, officials and advocates are preparing for the state to be sued over the new law. Last month, state Attorney General Bill Sorrell told Vermont Public Radio that he would be “very surprised” if the state isn’t sued. And officials were so sure of a challenge that the measure itself creates a $1.5 million legal defense fund, to be paid for with settlements won by the state. “The threat of a lawsuit worked for a while, but now it doesn’t work anymore,” says Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, whose organization has for years worked with activists and lawmakers in Vermont on the issue. At least 25 states have considered such legislation, according to a recent report on labeling requirements from the nonprofit Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. And advocates are hopeful they will get a measure on the Oregon ballot this year. Proponents argue that the science behind genetically modified food is far from conclusive and ask why consumers should take risks without knowing what they’re eating. If companies truly stand behind the safety of GMO foods, they shouldn’t worry about having to identify them, advocates for labeling argue.
Note: For many major media articles laying bare the serious risks and dangers of GMOs in our food, click here. For more on the major risks from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing summary available here.
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