Toxic Gene Discovered in GM Crops Shows Approval Process Is Fatally Flawed
The recent revelation of a toxic gene lurking in genetically modified (GM) crops underscores the failure of food approval regulators to protect the public – again. A European watchdog group discovered that a virus gene that could be poisonous to humans was overlooked in the international approval process, creating more doubt over food safety.
New research by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) shows the missed gene is present in GM corn and soy crops grown around the globe for both human and animal consumption. Humans not only ingest the gene directly from eating GM corn and soy products but also indirectly from eating the meat, milk and eggs from the animals fed the crops.
The study reveals that 54 of the 86 GM plants in the US authorized for commercial growing and food contain the dangerous gene. As the research was conducted by independent experts rather than scientists critical of GM crops, the findings are particularly powerful.
Experts express outrage
While EFSA is contending the viral gene does not pose a threat to public health, GM critics vehemently disagree with their assessment. In the aftermath of the new revelation, critics are declaring the GM approval process to be fatally flawed and asserting that the crops involved should be recalled. Pete Riley, director of GM Freeze, says the gene’s discovery completely refutes assurances that GM technology is safe and is a clear warning that it is not well understood.
Upon reviewing the research by EFSA, Independent Science News said that because the viral gene was not caught by biotech companies and government regulators, “this situation represents a complete and catastrophic system failure.” Research clearly indicates the gene might be unsafe for humans and may also interfere with the normal functioning of crops, it added.
Peter Melchett of the Soil Association says that for years GM companies have deliberately attempted to stop independent researchers from evaluating their products. He explains that the failure of the approval system to discover the viral gene is what happens in the absence of independent scrutiny of GM crops.
Proposed new farm bill would make the failed system much worse.
The current GM regulatory and oversight system is terribly flawed, putting the public health at risk. However, a new farm bill would make what is already a failed system to be infinitely worse, posing an even greater danger to the public.
H.R. 5973, known as the Monsanto Protection Act, has a small part in section 733 that gives biotech companies carte blanche to do whatever they please with little federal and judicial oversight. The Center for Food Safety interprets 733 as an assault on fundamental safeguards that would limit judicial review.
Food Democracy Now warns that if the legislation passes, it would “strip judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, consumers and the environment.” An even more frightening synopsis is provided by RT Question More, which says the bill would lead to Frankenfood for consumers, the loss of profits for farmers and huge gains for biotech companies.
Please contact the members of the House of Representatives from your state and express your opposition to the proposed bill. A directory of this branch of Congress can be found here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/members
Europe’s one step forward
While the proposed bill in the US would be a giant leap backward, a change in the European GMO approval process is a step forward. In many countries the GMO approval procedure is cloaked in secrecy, with data used in the decision process kept from public view. It appears that change is on the way in Europe, where the EFSA plans to provide public access to all available GMO data. Full disclosure and total transparency is certainly a move in the right direction.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.
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Article updated on: February 4th, 2013