genetically_modified_foodsI have been thoroughly impressed with Europe’s intentions to place strict regulations on genetically modified foods, including outlawing genetically modified produce in general. Sadly, an article I recently read from the London Independent lead me to research the upsurge in secret GM crop trials in Europe & U.S. [1] This article stated that the government of the U.K. has been formulating plans for the “secret growth of genetically-modified crops” in “secure government sites,” such as military research compounds, science parks, or other covert areas. In this sense, the projects will be conducted away from the scrutiny of environmental groups or the public eye in general. The U.K. government has stated that they will consider re-opening the public debate on genetically modified foods as an option for “global food shortages and rising prices.” Clearly, this is a huge step backwards for global health. The ministry is even considering changing the laws to protect this research by changing current rules that make it illegal to conduct GM trials in private. In this sense, the public would be completely unaware of governmental technologies that alter the natural biology of what we eat. Leeds University, one of the sites where the GM research will be taking place, has asked the government to foot the £100,000 bill for guards, security fences and cameras, to prevent the public from protesting trials.

Suppressed Study Links Cancer to GM Foods

Similarly, evidence linking cancer in rats to genetically modified potatoes have sparked new criticism from activists in Britain [2].
These findings came from Russian scientist, Arpad Pusztai and the Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and were only recently released after a shocking eight-year court battle with biotech companies. The findings from the Russian scientist showed a clear and undeniable link between rats that ate the potatoes and tumors, cell damage in the stomach and intestines of the rats, and other “considerable damage to the rats’ organs.”

Luckily, due to this disclosure, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK has attempted to halt new GM potato trials.

While the E.U. may be backtracking, at least the European Union has created laws for transparency in regard to the on-goings of bio-tech companies in the past.

In the U.S., where 60 to 70% of processed foods are genetically modified, the Federal Government has determined that producers of these foods do not have to inform customers as to whether foods are GM or not. And, as U.S. GM crop fields reached a whopping 135 million acres in 2006, you can bet that there is a high likelihood that you are ingesting these unsafe foods.

Similarly, the European Union, once heavily apposed to genetically modified foods, has backtracked in their forward thinking to look into using genetically modified crops as a solution to increased costs of food [3]. Perhaps the most alarming statement on genetically modified foods comes from the research dean of the University of Leeds Faculty of Biological Science, stating that:

Tim Benton, Research Dean at Leeds Faculty of Biological Science:

“We need to find a way to do crop trials in a safe way and to minimize the environmental risk. We cannot carry on for the next 20 or 30 years saying it’s too scary, the public is too frightened, it is politically too dangerous. There is absolutely no way we can move towards a world with food security without using GM technology.”

My Thoughts on Genetically Modified Foods


All of this brings me to highlight how our current governments seem to always revert back to the old way of dealing with new problems. To think that we can solve the global food, climate and economic crises by increasing our use of bio-chemically and bio-technology altered food substances is appalling.

We do not know all of the ill-effects of altering the genetic code of food, but initial research has shown, over and over, that even short-term reactions can be severe. Studies that have shown the detrimental effects of genetically modified foods have been quietly repressed.

The FDA suppressed a study describing lesions in the stomachs of mice that had eaten the Flavr Savr® GM tomatoes, stating that “Seven out of forty rats tested died within two weeks for unstated reasons.” [4]
From studies on genetically-modified Brazil nuts inducing allergies and anaphylactic shock, to potatoes causing cancer, the truth is that we do have a reason to fear these foods. Please write to your local, state and federal government officials demanding the elimination of GM foods and the requirement that all GM foods be labeled.

NOTE: Organically certified food is not genetically modified. For this and many other reasons I recommend eating raw organic foods especially fruit.

References (4)
  1. Andrew Grice. Government to defy critics with secret GM crop trials. The Independent. 2008 November 17.
  2. Steve Connor. GM potatoes headed to a store near you. The Independent. 2011 November 2.
  3. Andrew Grice, Vanessa Mock. Europe warms to GM crops as a possible solution to food crisis. The Independent. 2008 June 21.
  4. Arpad Pusztai. Genetically modified foods: are they a risk to human/animal health? American Institute of Biological Sciences. 2001 June.

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