The Dangers of GM Food and What We Can Learn (Amazingly Enough!) from Obama and Romney

This will just be a short post as I have not had much time these last few days to blog. As you may well know from my last post I went to Brazil’s first forum on Bioeconomics last weekend. I had googled the term, and got excited about a new economics which was inspired by nature, but the term as used by the forum, hosted by Brazil’s CNI (Brazilian National Confederation of Industry) and Harvard Business Review Brazil was that coined by Juan Enriquez and the CEO of Biotechonomy and founding member of the project of life sciences at Harvard Business School, and Rodrigo Martinez, Chief Strategist of life Sciences at IDEO and founding member project of life sciences at Harvard Business School in the mid 1990s.

Juan Enriquez

I mentioned that this forum had affected me a lot, especially one comment by Juan during a panel session. I quote from Juan:

I am not aware of any research which suggests that there is any evidence of any harm to people from genetically modified crops.

This was breathtaking, as the forum was happening in the same week that many countries were banning GM food due to the shocking scientific and peer reviewed research of Gilles-Eric Séralini and colleagues demonstrating long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize.

As Reuters notes though, this study has predictably drawn heavy criticism from other researchers in this field.

Study on Monsanto GM corn concerns draws skepticism

This is such an important issue, the dangers to our health of GM crops and their associated pesticides, it deserves much more attention than I have to give today. It was clear in the forum that many of the delegates had many questions around ethics for Enriquez, and I hope that future forums are able to explore these questions in more depth.

Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston in London tweeted today the following:

Shocking expose of the dangers of GM food and the near-total corruption of the regulatory system:

There is a mountain of evidence against the harm of GM crops, and just as Ben Goldacre has admirably done exposing corruption in the pharmaceutical industry on a massive scale, so we are seeing in the emerging new industry of Bioeconomics.

Obama in the White House takes money from companies such as Monsanto, and yet we know that he eats his own home grown organic food from the White House garden. Mitt Romney also has taken money money from Monsanto for many years, and yet many reports tell of his obsession with avoiding the very foods he would force on the rest of us:

“On Romney Air, or Hair Force One – as Reuters’ Steve Holland like to call it – Mitt Romney has his own galley in ‘forward cabin.’ And, while I’ve never been invited up front, sources close to the campaign tell me the shelves are stocked with a wide variety of healthy fare. Kashi cereals, hummus, pita, as well as organic applesauce.

Everything’s organic, I’m told, including the ingredients to Romney’s favorite, peanut butter and honey sandwiches.”

Source: Peter Alexander of MSN Today

Oh it’s not just these guys. The Chinese top brass have their own highly secure gated food gardens too, producing food just for themselves.

An estimated one-in-ten teens in the United States has nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). And the Daily Mail published a recent report on the declining levels of birth rates in the US, attributing this to the recent economic problems, but this decline started far before.

Chart showing the decline in the number of U.S. births, according to new figures Source: Daily Mail

As far back as 2001 it was reported that a type of GM crop had been developed to reduce the world population:

Scientists have created the ultimate GM crop: contraceptive corn. Waiving fields of maize may one day save the world from overpopulation.

The pregnancy prevention plants are the handiwork of the San Diego biotechnology company Epicyte, where researchers have discovered a rare class of human antibodies that attack sperm.

By isolating the genes that regulate the manufacture of these antibodies, and by putting them in corn plants, the company has created tiny horticultural factories that make contraceptives.

‘We have a hothouse filled with corn plants that make anti-sperm antibodies,’ said Epicyte president Mitch Hein.

Source: The Observer GM corn set to stop man spreading his seed

I know this is pretty heavy stuff, but do you trust our governments, scientists and bioengineering companies, especially when some of the main players such as Juan Enriquez are so vocal in telling us how many billions it will make the key players (he talked a lot at the forum of the billions and billions this industry would be worth) and yet so coy in mentioning any of the side effects or moral and ethical issues these technologies raise?

Paulo Mol, Director of Innovation at CNI gave an excellent summarising talk at the end of last week’s forum, and he talked about how there is a lot of work to do in Brazil, especially developing a legal and regulatory framework. I really welcome this, and do hope that the CNI can start to play a leading role not just in the development of these technologies, but in the protection of people too, just as other countries are starting to do.

There are some great and uplifting projects and ideas to counter all of this frakenfood of course and I want to end on a high note.

The New Economics Forum in the UK has recently published a new report National Gardening Leave which makes the case for a new, voluntary scheme to introduce a shorter working week, and for the rapid expansion of productive and pleasurable gardening in Britain’s towns and cities.


Also in the Uk is the very wonderful town of Todmorden, which is the UK’s first edible town. Amazing.

And finally here are four rules to follow to help yourself avoid the worst of GMOs

1) Stay away from anything that has soy, because 99.9% of the soy that is produced in this country is genetically modified.

2) If you see an ingredient with anything that says “hydrogenated (fill in the blank)” do not eat this product. The genetic structure has been scientifically altered, and is something that your body does not recognize. (EG Skippy Peanut Butter)

3) Stay away from anything with artificial sweeteners, as this is legal poison. For example: Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharine, Splenda.

4) High Fructose Corn Syrup is something you should stay away from at all cost, as it is another form of genetically modified sweetener that not only makes you fat, but more so messes with your hormones.

This has been written slightly in haste, but as is sometimes the case, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly. Be good, be healthy, be intelligent, and be happy!

I really do welcome any comments you have to make in the comments section below. There are many differing opinions on the subject, and therefore it is important to have an ongoing dialogue on this matter.


Amid milk scare, China’s elite eat all-organic

Both Romney and Obama Eat Organic While Pushing GMOs for Others

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