Monthly Archives: August 2013

Health Risks of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

 

GMO Health Risks: Dr Thierry Vrain

GMO Health Risks: Dr Thierry Vrain

Dr. Thierry Vrain, formerly Head of Biotechnology at Agriculture Canada’s Summerland Research Station, was once a supporter of GMO. He has in the last 10 years changed his position after paying attention to the flow of published studies coming from Europe that questioned the impact and safety of engineered food and is now sharing his concerns. Help keep Genetically E Free nanaimo and a GE Free BC.

Watch this informative You Tube video for more information here: GMO’s Explained: Dr. Thierry Vrain “The Gene Revolution Best viewed in full screen mode: Filmed at an open public forum in Surrey BC on the topic of GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms).

This report was presented to the City Council of Nanaimo, BC Monday Sept 25, 2013 – reprinted with permission from Thierry Vrain – read on…

“Members of this Council,

I came to thank you for taking the time to educate yourself about this issue before the vote at UBCM on a resolution to create a GE Free BC.

My name is Dr. Vrain,  some of you, I think, were given a link to a TED Talk I gave three months ago.  I was a soil biologist and a genetic engineer with the Research Branch of Agriculture Canada for 30 years.   I was the head of the Department of Biotechnology until I retired in 2012 after the completion of the Human Genome Project.   I will come back to that.

I am trying to impress you that unlike most people I can spell DNA and even recombinant DNA.  I was the spokesperson of my Institute in Summerland during those years and took it on as my responsibility to educate the public.  I spoke publicly about the hopes of the engineered technology, and how precise and safe it all is.   I retired in 2012 because the Human Genome Project was completed.  And the answer was very clear.  That genetic engineering technology was not at all the precise technology it claimed.  The transgenes are inserted at random in the genome of the plants.  Complete random.   What we learned from the Human Genome Project is that the genome is a complex ecosystem, absolutely not based on the one gene one protein hypothesis which is the premise of the genetic engineering technology.

Sorry to use all these big words.  Stay with me.  This is a good story.

The genetic engineering technology I was working with was based on a wrong assumption that we would produce one protein per event.  The new paradigm said that we were inserting  foreign constructs in the middle of an ultra sensitive ecosystem of genes.  It’s like introducing a new pest in a sensitive ecosystem.   Not good.  Some of the misshaped proteins resulting from the genetic insertions may turn out harmful.  That would mean that the old paradigm of safety and naïve simplicity was not valid and the rogue proteins created potentially dangerous.   I could not justify what I did anymore, and I could not in good faith reassure the public that the technology was innocuous.    During my time in Research,  I studied many scientific publications sponsored by the biotech Industry and I came to the conclusion that the engineered crops and foods are totally safe to eat, provide greater yields and make the farmers rich, require less pesticides and cannot possibly have any effect on our environment.

But in the last 10 to 15 years there is also a large body of scientific publications, peer reviewed, many in prestigious Journals, that tell exactly the opposite.   The appearance of super weeds and superbugs did not surprise anybody in the science world.  They were fully expected.  Even by the chemical industries that have prepared just in time the next generation of herbicide tolerance.  With 2-4 D.  That’s agent orange during the Vietnam war.  Less the dioxin of course.  I mean, I assume we are not going to spray any dioxin residues in our countryside like we did in Vietnam.

Wouldn’t this transition to a new chemical system of farming be a perfect time for growers to come out of their feudal position with the seed and chemical input Industries.

This body of science makes it clear that the yields in Europe are higher than in America – yields per acre of course.  They do not refuse the technology because of superweeds or superbugs or falling prey – economically speaking, to the Industry.   They refuse it mostly on the grounds of this body of research with mice and rats and pigs and other animals.  And the story is about some toxic principles from engineered food that damage organs: liver, uterus, kidneys, brain, or some other proteins that cause allergies – particularly from the mis-shaped Bt proteins.  And yes.  There is definitely a hug increase in cancer and other related hormonal imbalances

The scientists of the Food and Drug administration in the USA knew that already in 1996 when the first engineered crops were released commercially without being tested.   The administration went over the verdict of its own experts.  They predicted that engineered crops and engineered foods would contain rogue proteins – inevitably produced by the invasive technology.  They predicted that some of these proteins would be toxic, cause allergies and organ damage, nutritional problems, and other illnesses.

Mr Wager who will speak after me is going to tell you that we must have this technology to feed a hungry planet.  This is complete fallacy.  It is well documented that this technology does not increase yields.  The herbicide tolerance technology – RoundUp Ready crops, have been shown to yield less than their non engineered counterparts.  In Europe, corn yields have been significantly superior to North America in the last 10 years.  They do not use this technology in Europe.

Mr Wager is going to tell you that this technology decreases the need for pesticides.  An unexpected goal for a chemical company – turned life company now.  Yes they have patented life.   The seeds are patented.  They are not sold.  They are leased.   You cannot keep them or multiply them.  It does not matter too much that you can’t keep your seeds if you are using hybrids.   So no change for corn growers.  But for everybody else, that’s a voluntary step into economic dependence.  You get your seeds every year from the life company, and you have to be nice about it.    You cannot do any research on the technology unless you swear to agree that what is good for Monsanto prevails.

They have been successful at marketing their product because it makes weed management and life less complicated for the farmer.  But I doubt that it was always the intention of these companies to sell less and less of their products.  Of course not, sales of insecticides and herbicides have gone through the roof in the last 10 years.  Particularly more recently with the epidemics of resistant weeds and resistant insect pests.

Mr Wager is going to tell you that nobody has died from eating GMOs and that 3 billion meals, or is it 3 trillions, have been served.  And everybody is in perfect health.  The truth is that research studies from Europe in the last 10 years have documented organ damage in rats and pigs, and cellular damage in human cells.  And there is no denying that we are experiencing epidemic levels of allergies, gastrointestinal problems, kidney damage, or breast cancer.  The European research says that toxic proteins in engineered foods are responsible for these symptoms in mice and rats.

The European studies also say that RoundUp herbicide is used on such a massive scale that is is now everywhere, in the air, in the water, in the food.   RoundUp kills plants because it stops plant enzyme proteins from doing their metabolic work.  People cannot be affected because we do not have the same biochemical pathways that the plants have.  But we are now discovering that bacteria are affected as much as plants.  And the bacteria in our guts are affected.  In case you do not know that, you are not human at all.  You are a symbiotic organism.  Your body contains roughly 10% of human cells.  The rest are bacterial cells.   99% of your DNA is bacterial.  That is how important our gut flora is to our health. A phenomenal ecosystem of thousands of species of bacteria that synthesize vitamins and many other essential molecules, hormones, etc … Gut bacteria make 95% of the serotonin and other neurotransmitters for our brain.  Would you prefer a happy flora down there ?  Rather than a sad one.  High or even very low residues of RoundUp in our food is a stress to our health.  And no, you can’t tell from looking around you.  It apparently takes many many years of this low level biochemical stress to cause leaky gut syndrome, or organ damage, or cancer.  Meanwhile everybody in North America is ingesting its weight of GMO ingredients every year.

Mr Wager will tell you that there is a conspiracy of rogue scientists determined to spread lies about the safety of this technology.   But he will be at a loss to explain the motivation of these scientists.

If I cite the research work of these scientists Mr Wager will tell you that it is all pseudo science and that it has been thoroughly trashed by the scientific community.   So you need to understand that there is a great deal of research in Biotech, mostly funded by the biotech Industry.   University Industry grants are normal.  Putting hundreds of scientists on the payroll is not difficult.   Or give them a patent or two for their research work.

Do you remember the tobacco ads of 40 years ago.  More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarettes.  20,000 physicians say Luckies are less irritating.   Why do you think doctors can be bribed but not scientists ?   There are experts on hire – everywhere.

I appreciate that this is seen as a controversy.  So I will conclude with this statement.  As long as there is a controversy – of the kind that the Tobacco Industry created 40 years ago to stay in business for many years after the scientific evidence was in, there can be no recall or regulatory action taken. There is no controversy in 64 countries of the world, including the big ones – Europe, India, Russia, and China, where GMOs are banned or at least labelled.”

We are giving you bits and pieces of a booklet called GMO Myths and Truths.  It is a compilation of published research, much of it from Europe and the rest of the world.  It was compiled by a genetic engineer and edited and re-written by Claire Robinson an excellent science writer.  It is a bit dry and technical.  But if you can spell DNA take a look at it.  Free download at  earthopensource.org

Sign a petition for CBC news requesting that Peter Mansbridge interviews Dr Thierry Vrain on the National regarding the risks of GMO products and the future of Canadian Agriculture.

For more information on GMO dangers

Institute for Responsible Technology: 65 Health Risks of GMO Foods and GMO’s in Food and 10 Reasons to Avoid GMO’s

A partial listing of foods containing GMO products can be found by clicking here:http://thegoldenlightchannel.com/gmo-food-list-to-avoid-monsanto-companies-the-dangers-of-gmo-food/

Health Guide on GMO Research and Risks http://www.greenmedinfo.com/guide/health-guide-gmo-research

For more reading on a holistic approach to food systems visit BC Food Systems Network on Facebook