I was listening to a lecture given by Howard Vlieger from Verity Farms which was given at the WAPF conference this past November. I listen to these recordings while I ride the bike at the gym and I almost fell off listening to this one. I had to listen to the recording several times because it was dense with facts and figures. But the scary part is that I thought I knew why glyphosate (the main chemical in Monsanto’s Roundup) was so bad. I had to think again. It is much much worse than I thought.
Howard Vlieger is the president of Verity Farms. Verity Farms has a successful biological crop production program. They work with biological farmers, organic farmers and conventional farmers, who are all looking for answers to their problems. The mission of Verity Farms is the reestablishment and prosperity of the “Family Farmer”. The family farmer is the only one capable of having the intimate relationship with the soil and the animals to raise a quality food product. You can read more about Howard Vlieger here.
Original goals of genetic modification
It all started with pharmaceutical (chemical) companies. The original goal of genetic modification was to grow pharmaceutical crops. However, contamination from the spreading pollen caused them to discontinue these particular crops.
Promises were made
Promises were made for crops with drought tolerance and a reduction of insecticide and herbicide use. This has not happened.
It is no longer legal to research GM crops unless you have the written consent from the company holding the patent on the crop. Entomologists have complained about this because they are not allowed to research the effects of genetic modification on insects, unless they can get permission. Of course, you would need to be working for the company to get that. Your results would then (conveniently) be under the control of that company.
According to Vlieger, studies have confirmed that yield is less with GM crops and water needs are doubled when using herbicides on these resistant GM crops.
How genetic engineering is done
It is actually far from “engineering” when you think about engineering as a very precise science. In genetic engineering, DNA is fired from the equivalent of a shot gun, into a gene in the DNA of the plant cells with absolutely no control where it will hit or what it will damage.
While they have the shotgun out, they also insert a virus and an agro bacterium that is an aggressive cancer-like cell. What could possibly go wrong?
Potential problems galore
The potential for a new protein to be developed is high and because of damage to the DNA, there will be an effect on the protein makeup of the plant.
There are foreign proteins that were first identified by Dr. Arpad Pusztai who subsequently lost his career when he spoke out about this. He was the first to feed GM potatoes to rats and he saw the detrimental effects on these mammals.
Genetic modification affects the stomach and GI tract
In mammals, digestion occurs along the length of the GI tract. The GI tract is also home to the immune system. If there is a foreign protein in the GI tract of animals and humans, the immune system gets activated. This causes inflammation, irritation and ulceration of the delicate mucous membranes of the intestines.
Additionally, the foreign proteins are not digested properly so there is a lack of available nutrition. Consequently, mammals eating GM foods will be malnourished.
Plenty of anecdotal evidence
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing the negative effects of GM foods. Genetically modified corn fed to cows caused a significant drop in fertility in cows and pigs. They also experienced ileitis (inflammation in the intestines), salmonella and digestive problems. There were also deformities in the offspring of cattle fed GM grains.
Mr. Vlieger related when he toured a conventional pig slaughterhouse and found that all the pigs had irritations, inflammations, erosions and ulcerations in their stomachs. That was considered “normal” for these GM fed animals. Conventionally fed pigs did not have this. He took pictures of hog stomachs and showed how the GM fed pigs had the most irritation, inflammation and even ulcers in their stomachs.
Mr. Vlieger related that when GM corn feed was taken away and conventional feed given, all the problems cleared up.
This anecdotal evidence has led to a scientific sturdy that has not been published at this time.
There are no independent long term third party studies that show feeding genetically modified foods to mammals has no side effects.
However, there are many bogus industry studies of short duration that do not show any problems. How convenient.
There are studies coming along that do show side effects, digestive, immune system, and abnormal sized organs. A study showed that 93% of pregnant woman have been found to have a GM toxin in their blood and this was passed on to the baby’s blood.
Dr. Gallagher documented that the OECD Guidelines of Sound Science has never been applied to GM crops. The debate over the introduction of the bt brinjal (eggplant) in India reflects these concerns and a safety report written by Dr. Gallagher published in 2011 shows that it is toxic.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup. It is a non selective herbicide that was patented in 1964 as a strong metal chelator. That means that it grabs hold of elements and makes them unavailable.
In 1974 Monsanto registered glyphosate as an herbicide. It binds up calcium, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, nickel, boron and zinc.
Glyphosate disrupts plant physiology so that they cannot grow and can’t defend themselves against disease. The plants die as a result of the diseases they may acquire — indirectly from the glyphosate.
Glyphosate is systemic. It takes only one drop sprayed on any part of the plant and it goes throughout the entire plant. A minimum of 20% of glyphosate that hits the foliage is exuded through the plant’s root system directly to the soil. It stays in the soil.
Glyphosate is damaging
Dr. Robert Kremer, a microbiologist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service has studied glyphosate and has come to several conclusions about the ways in which it is damaging.
Glyphosate residues show up everywhere
The US Geological Service discovered glyphosate residues in significant concentrations in the air, the rain, in rivers, in streams and in lakes.
The US Geological Service found that in 2007 there were 88,000 tons of glyphosate being used — up from 11,000 in 1992. In the soil, glyphosate residues are up from .04 ppm to .08 ppm. There are residues found in corn, soybeans, soybean meal, and potatoes.
The manure taken from the CAFOS (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) show AMPA residues (metabolite of glyphosate) are up from .24 ppm to .81 ppm.
In South America Dr. Carrasco found severe skeletal deformities (cheeks, bones) in children of mothers who lived around the fields which were sprayed with glyphosate by airplane. In his own experiments he found 1 part to 3500 glyphosate caused deformities in frog and chick embryos.
French researcher Dr Gilles-Eric Seralini, documented that only 1-2 ppm can cause complete infertility of sperm and egg. Dr. Seralini again documented 2-10 ppm to cause damage to endocrine makeup of cell.
Environmental Protection Agency lowering the standards
In 1994 the EPA allowed 2 ppm of glyphosate. In 1997 they raised it to 20ppm — a 200% increase. They increased the allowance of glyphosate in sweet corn. Coincidentally (right) two months later, Roundup sweet corn was deregulated and will be on the market !
We have a tremendous increase in allergies and digestive disorders due to foreign indigestible proteins. We have crops deficient of nutrients. We have an increase in the growth of opportunistic organisms, an increase in immune system challenges and and increase in disease.
The companies that make these toxic chemicals are the same companies that make pharmaceuticals and chemotherapy drugs. So it comes full circle.
We use a chemical that is a poison to raise crops. The crops are fed to livestock. The livestock get sick and we have to call the vet who uses chemicals to treat them. The chemicals from the food and the chemicals from the treatment are now in the meat of the livestock that humans eat. The humans get sick and go to the hospital where they use chemicals to treat them. Full circle.
What you can do
Call food companies and say you don’t want GMOs in food. Call your representatives and tell them we want GMO labeling on all food.
Much of the information in this post was retrieved from Howard Vlieger’s lecture. Some of the studies quoted have not been published yet.