Doctors Warn: Avoid Genetically Modified Food
By Jeffrey M. Smith
On May 19th, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM)
called on "Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community,
and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible
and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health
risks." They called for a moratorium on GM foods, long-term
independent studies, and labeling. AAEM's position paper stated, "Several
animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,"
including infertility, immune problems,20accelerated aging, insulin
regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.
They conclude, "There is more than a casual association between GM foods
and adverse health effects. There is causation," as defined by
recognized scientific criteria. "The strength of association and
consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal
More and more doctors are already prescribing GM-free diets. Dr. Amy
Dean, a Michigan internal medicine specialist, and board member of AAEM
says, "I strongly recommend patients eat strictly non-genetically
modified foods." Ohio allergist Dr. John Boyles says "I used to test for
soy allergies all the time, but now that soy is genetically engineered,
it is so dangerous that I tell people never to eat it."
Dr. Jennifer Armstrong, President of AAEM, says, "Physicians are
probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to
ask the right questions." World renowned biologist Pushpa M. Bhargava
goes one step further. After reviewing more than 600 scientific
journals, he concludes that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a
major contributor to the sharply deteriorating health of Americans.
Pregnant women and babies at great risk
Among the population, biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute
warns that "children are the most likely to be adversely effected by
toxins and other dietary problems" related to GM foods. He says without
adequate studies, the children become "the experimental animals."
The experience of actual GM-fed experimental animals is scary. When GM
soy was fed to female rats, most of their babies died within three
weeks-compared to a 10% death rate among the control group fed natural
soy. The GM-fed babies were also smaller, and later had problems
When male rats were fed GM soy, their testicles actually changed
color-from the normal pink to dark blue. Mice fed GM soy had altered
young sperm. Even the embryos of GM fed parent mice had significant
changes in their DNA. Mice fed GM corn in an Austrian government
study had fewer babies, which were also smaller than normal.
Reproductive problems also plague livestock. Investigations in=2 0ther
state of Haryana , India revealed that most buffalo that ate GM
cottonseed had complications such as premature deliveries, abortions,
infertility, and prolapsed uteruses. Many calves died. In the US , about
two dozen farmers reported thousands of pigs became sterile after
consuming certain GM corn varieties. Some had false pregnancies; others
gave birth to bags of water. Cows and bulls also became infertile when
fed the same corn.
In the US population, the incidence of low birth weight babies,
infertility, and infant mortality are all escalating.
Food designed to produce toxin
GM corn and cotton are engineered to produce their own built-in
pesticide in every cell. When bugs bite the plant, the poison splits
open their stomach and kills them. Biotech companies claim that the
pesticide, called Bt-produced from soil bacteria Bacillus
thuringiensis-has a history of sa fe use, since organic farmers and
others use Bt bacteria spray for natural insect control. Genetic
engineers insert Bt genes into corn and cotton, so the plants do the
The Bt-toxin produced in GM plants, however, is thousands of times more
concentrated than natural Bt spray, is designed to be more toxic,
has properties of an allergen, and unlike the spray, cannot be washed
off the plant.
Moreover, studies confirm that even the less toxic natural bacterial
spray is harmful. When dispersed by plane to kill gypsy moths in the
Pacific Northwest , about 500 people reported allergy or flu-like
symptoms. Some had to go to the emergency room.,
The exact same symptoms are now being reported by farm workers
throughout India, from handling Bt cotton. In 2008, based on medical
records, the Sunday India reported, "Victims of itching have increased
massively this year . .20. related to BT cotton farming."
GMOs provoke immune reactions
AAEM states, "Multiple animal studies show significant immune
dysregulation," including increase in cytokines, which are "associated
with asthma, allergy, and inflammation"-all on the rise in the US .
According to GM food safety expert Dr. Arpad Pusztai, changes in the
immune status of GM animals are "a consistent feature of all the
studies." Even Monsanto's own research showed significant immune
system changes in rats fed Bt corn. A November 2008 by the Italian
government also found that mice have an immune reaction to Bt corn.
GM soy and corn each contain two new proteins with allergenic properties,
GM soy has up to seven times more trypsin inhibitor-a known soy
allergen, and skin prick tests show some people react to GM, but not
to non-GM soy. Soon after GM soy was introduced to the UK, soy
allergies skyrocketed by 50%. Perhaps the US epidemic of food allergies
and asthma is a casualty of genetic manipulation.
Animals dying in large numbers
In India , animals graze on cotton plants after harvest. But when
shepherds let sheep graze on Bt cotton plants, thousands died. Post
mortems showed severe irritation and black patches in both intestines
and liver (as well as enlarged bile ducts). Investigators said
preliminary evidence "strongly suggests that the sheep mortality was due
to a toxin. . . . most probably Bt-toxin." In a small follow-up
feeding study by the Deccan Development Society, all sheep fed Bt cotton
p lants died within 30 days; those that grazed on natural cotton plants
In a small village in Andhra Pradesh, buffalo grazed on cotton plants
for eight years without incident. On January 3rd, 2008, the buffalo
grazed on Bt cotton plants for the first time. All 13 were sick the next
day; all died within 3 days.
Bt corn was also implicated in the deaths of cows in Germany , and
horses, water buffaloes, and chickens in The Philippines.
In lab studies, twice the number of chickens fed Liberty Link corn died;
7 of 20 rats fed a GM tomato developed bleeding stomachs; another 7 of
40 died within two weeks. Monsanto's own study showed evidence of
poisoning in major organs of rats fed Bt corn, according to top French
toxicologist G. E. Seralini.
Worst finding of all-GMOs remain inside of us
The only published human feeding study revealed what may be the most
dangerous problem from GM foods. The gene inserted into GM soy transfers
into the DNA of bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to
function. This means that long after we stop eating GMOs, we may
still have potentially harmful GM proteins produced continuously inside
of us. Put more plainly, eating a corn chip produced from Bt corn might
transform our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories,
possibly for the rest of our lives.
When evidence of gene transfer is reported at medical conferences around
the US , doctors often respond by citing the huge increase of
gastrointestinal problems among their patients over the last decade. GM
foods might be colonizing the gut flora of North Americans.
Warnings by government scientists ignored and denied
Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had warned about
all these problems even in the early 1990s. According to documents
released from a lawsuit, the scientific consensus at the agency was that
GM foods were inherently dangerous, and might create hard-to-detect
allergies, poisons, gene transfer to gut bacteria, new diseases, and
nutritional problems. They urged their superiors to require rigorous
long-term tests. But the White House had ordered the agency to
promote biotechnology and the FDA responded by recruiting Michael
Taylor, Monsanto's former attorney, to head up the formation of GMO
policy. That policy, which is in effect today, denies knowledge of
scientists' concerns and declares that no safety studies on GMOs are
required. It is up to Monsanto and the other biotech companies to
determine if their foods are safe. Mr. Taylor later became Monsanto's
Dangerously few studies, untraceable diseases
AAEM states, "GM foods have not been properly tested" and "pose a
serious health risk." Not a single human clinical trial on GMOs has been
published. A 2007 review of published scientific literature on the
"potential toxic effects/health risks of GM plants" revealed "that
experimental data are very scarce." The author concludes his review by
asking, "Where is the scientific evidence showing that GM plants/food
are toxicologically safe, as assumed by the biotechnology companies?"
Famed Canadian geneticist David Suzuki answers, "The experiments simply
haven't been done and we now have become the guinea pigs." He adds, "Anyone
that says, 'Oh, we know that this is perfectly safe,' I say is either
unbelievably stupid or deliberately lying."
Dr. Sch ubert points out, "If there are problems, we will probably never
know because the cause will not be traceable and many diseases take a
very long time to develop." If GMOs happen to cause immediate and acute
symptoms with a unique signature, perhaps then we might have a chance to
trace the cause.
This is precisely what happened during a US epidemic in the late 1980s.
The disease was fast acting, deadly, and caused a unique measurable
change in the blood-but it still took more than four years to identify
that an epidemic was even occurring. By then it had killed about 100
Americans and caused 5,000-10,000 people to fall sick or become
permanently disabled. It was caused by a genetically engineered brand of
a food supplement called L-tryptophan.
If other GM foods are contributing to the rise of autism, obesity,
diabetes, asthma, cancer, heart disease, allergies, reproductive
problems, or any other common health problem now plaguing Americans, we
may never know. In fact, since animals fed GMOs had such a wide variety
of problems, susceptible people may react to GM food with multiple
symptoms. It is therefore telling that in the first nine years after the
large scale introduction of GM crops in 1996, the incidence of people
with three or more chronic diseases nearly doubled, from 7% to 13%.
To help identify if GMOs are causing harm, the AAEM asks their "members,
the medical community, and the independent scientific community to
gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption and
health effects, begin epidemiological research to investigate the role
of GM foods on human health, and conduct safe methods of determining the
effect of GM foods on human health."
Citizens need not wait for the results before taking the doctors advice
to avoid GM foods. People can stay away from anything with soy or corn
derivatives, cottonseed and canola oil, and sugar from GM sugar
beets-unless it says organic or "non-GMO." There is a pocket Non-GMO
Shopping Guide, co-produced by the Institute for Responsible Technology
and the Center for Food Safety, which is available as a download, as
well as in natural food stores an d in many doctors' offices.
If even a small percentage of people choose non-GMO brands, the food
industry will likely respond as they did in Europe -by removing all GM
ingredients. Thus, AAEM's non-GMO prescription may be a watershed for
the US food supply.
International bestselling author and independent filmmaker Jeffrey M.
Smith is the Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible
Technology and the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of GMOs.
His first book, Seeds of Deception is the world's bestselling book on
the subject. His second, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks
of Genetically Engineered Foods, identifies 65 risks of GMOs and
demonstrates how superficial government approvals are not competent to
find most of them. He invited the biotech industry to respond in writing
with evidence to counter each risk, but correctly predicted that they
would refuse, since they don't have the data to show that their products
 David Schubert, personal communication to H. Penfound, Greenpeace
Canada , October 25, 2002.
 Irina Ermakova, "Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of
weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation.
Preliminary studies," Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4-9.
 Irina Ermakova, "Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards," Presentation
at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels , June 12,
 Irina Ermakova, "Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards," Presentation
at Scientists for a GM Free Europe , EU Parliament
Brussels , June 12, 2007
 L. Vecchio et al, "Ultrastructural Analysis of Testes from Mice Fed
on Genetically Modified Soybean," European Journal of Histochemistry 48,
no. 4 (Oct-Dec 2004):449-454.
 Oliveri et al., "Temporary Depression of Transcription in Mouse
Pre-implantion Embryos from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,"
48th Symposium of the Society for Histochemistry, Lake Maggiore ( Italy
), September 7-10, 2006.
 Alberta Velimirov and Claudia Binter, "Biological effects of
transgenic maize NK603xMON810 fed in long term reproduction studies in
mice," Forschungsberichte der Sektion IV, Band 3/2008
 Jerry Rosman, personal communication, 2006
 See for example, A. Dutton, H. Klein, J. Romeis, and F. Bigler,
"Uptake of Bt-toxin by herbivores feeding on transgenic maize and
consequences for the predator Chrysoperia carnea," Ecological Entomology
27 (2002): 441-7; and J. Romeis, A. Dutton, and F. Bigler, "Bacillus
thuringiensis toxin (Cry1Ab) has no direct effect on larvae of the green
lacewing Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae),"
Journal of Insect Physiology 50, no. 2-3 (2004): 175-183.
 Washington State Department of Health, "Report of health
surveillance activitie s: Asian gypsy moth control program," (Olympia,
WA: Washington State Dept. of Health, 1993).
 M. Green, et al., "Public health implications of the microbial
pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis: An epidemiological study, Oregon ,
1985-86," Amer. J. Public Health 80, no. 7(1990): 848-852.
 Ashish Gupta et. al., "Impact of Bt Cotton on Farmers' Health (in
Barwani and Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh)," Investigation Report,
 Sunday India , October, 26, 2008
 October 24, 2005 correspondence between Arpad Pusztai and Brian
 John M. Burns, "13-Week Dietary Subchronic Comparison Study with
MON 863 Corn in Rats Preceded by a 1-Week Baseline Food Consumption
Determination with PMI Certified Rodent Diet #5002," December 17, 2002
 Alberto Finamore, et al, "Intestinal and Peripheral Immune Response
to MON810 Maize Ingestion in Weaning and Old Mice," J. Agric. Food
Chem., 2008, 56 (23), pp 11533-11539, November 14, 2008
 See L Zol la, et al, "Proteomics as a complementary tool for
identifying unintended side effects occurring in transgenic maize seeds
as a result of genetic modifications," J Proteome Res. 2008
May;7(5):1850-61; Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun
Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, "Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An
immunologic comparison," Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 26, no. 3
(May-June 2005): 210-216(7); and Gendel, "The use of amino acid sequence
alignments to assess potential allergenicity of proteins used in
genetically modified foods," Advances in Food and Nutrition Research 42
 A. Pusztai and S. Bardocz, "GMO in animal nutrition: potential
benefits and risks," Chapter 17, Biology of Nutrition in Growing
Animals, R. Mosenthin, J. Zentek and T. Zebrowska (Eds.) Elsevier,
 Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn,
Kyu-Earn Kim, "Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An immunologic
comparison," Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 26, no. 3 (May-June 2005):
 "Mortality in Sheep Flocks after Grazing on Bt Cotton
Fields-Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh" Report of the Preliminary
Assessment, April 2006, http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp
 Personal communication and visit, January 2009.
 Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of
Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield , IA USA 2007
 Arpad Pusztai, "Can Science Give Us the Tools for Recognizing
Possible Health Risks for GM Food?" Nutrition and Health 16 (2002):
 Stéphane Foucart, "Controversy Surrounds a GMO," Le Monde, 14
December 2004; referencing, John M. Burns, "13-Week Dietary Subchronic
Comparison Study with MON 863 Corn in Rats Preceded by a 1-Week Baseline
Food Consumption Determination with PMI Certified Rodent Diet #5002,"
December 17, 2002
 Netherwood et al, "Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA
in the human gastrointestinal tract," Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2.
 See memos at www.biointegrity.org
 José Domingo, "Toxicity Studies of Genetically Modified Plants : A
Review of the Published Literature," Critical reviews in food science
and nutrition, 2007, vol. 47, no8, pp. 721-733
 Angela Hall, "Suzuki warns against hastily accepting GMOs", The
Leader-Post ( Canada ), 26 April 2005.
 Kathryn Anne Paez, et al, "Rising Out-Of-Pocket Spending For
Chronic Conditions: A Ten-Year Trend," Health Affairs, 28, no. 1 (2009):
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