We interrupt our regularly-scheduled deprogramming to cover breaking news on the Health beat. Earlier this week results were published from a new study on genetically-modified (GM) foods. Such studies involve feeding GM foods to laboratory rats over a period of time, and measuring the incidence of disease and premature death.
The results, which the research team has deemed “alarming,” showed premature deaths were higher by 66 percent among male rats and an outrageous 350 percent among female rats — compared with rats on a non-GM diet. The animals on the GM diet were found to suffer disproportionately from mammary tumors as well as severe liver and kidney damage.
This was the first long-term safety study of its kind, covering the entire two-year life span of the rats. Previous studies, relied upon for regulatory approval of GM crops, were limited to just 90-day time spans. We’re talking about GM crops currently in the food supply, particularly in free-market America (and developing countries like Brazil and India). The GM crop used in this study was corn, genetically engineered to tolerate increased levels of herbicide.
GM crop production began innocuously enough with the 1994 introduction of a delayed-ripening tomato. But the most alarming contributions in this field have come from the infamous biotech and chemical giant Monsanto. This conglomerate developed the technique for making corn and other crops resistant to its “Round-Up” herbicide. The technique entails insertion of bacteria genes into the natural plant DNA.
Genetically-modified corn, the kind fed to these rats, now accounts for around 90 percent of the US corn crop. Corn is likely your largest source of GM crop exposure, since it exists not only in vegetable form but also in cereals, snack foods, as cooking oil, and as a sweetener widely used in beverages and processed foods (high fructose corn syrup). Virtually all processed foods sold in the US contain genetically-modified ingredients.
America’s status as the world leader in genetically-modified food, with no labeling requirements whatsoever, comes despite overwhelming skepticism by the American people. Polls show that over 90 percent favor mandatory labeling rules; instead we have a Monsanto executive being cynically appointed as America’s “Food Safety Czar.” So much for “democracy.”
It is only now, thanks to the California citizens’ initiative process, that GM labeling may become a reality in the US as it has been in Europe. A victory for Proposition 37 would come despite Monsanto and other corporate “persons” spending over $40 million to defeat the citizen-sponsored ballot measure.