Unintended GMO Health Risks
Genetically modified foods:
YES, you are already eating them.
NO, they are not safe to eat.
Did you know… since 1996 Americans have been eating genetically modified (GM) ingredients in most processed foods.
Did you know… GM plants, such as soybean, corn, cottonseed, and canola have had foreign genes forced into their DNA. And the inserted genes come from species, such as bacteria and viruses, that have never been in the human food supply.
Did you know… genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not safe. They have been linked to thousands of toxic and allergenic reactions, thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ and system studied in lab animals.
Find out what the risks are and start protecting yourself and your family today!
Why isn’t the FDA protecting us?
In 1992, the Food and Drug Administration claimed that they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different from conventionally grown foods and therefore were safe to eat. But internal memos made public by a lawsuit reveal that their position was staged by political appointees under orders from the White House to promote GMOs. FDA scientists, on the other hand, warned that GMOs can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long term safety studies, but were ignored. The FDA does not require any safety evaluations for GMOs. Instead, biotech companies, who have been found guilty of hiding toxic effects of their chemical products, are now in charge of determining whether their GM foods are safe. (The FDA official in charge of creating this policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney and later their vice president.)
Although these biotech companies participate in a voluntary consultation process with the FDA, it is a meaningless exercise. The summaries of the superficial research they submit cannot identify most of the health risks of GMOs.
Genetic modification is radically different from natural breeding
In contrast to the statements of biotech advocates, FDA scientists and others affirm that genetic modification is not just an extension of the conventional breeding techniques that have been used by farmers for millennia. Genetic engineering transfers genes across natural species barriers, using imprecise laboratory techniques that bear no resemblance to natural breeding. Furthermore, the technology is based on outdated concepts of how genes and cells work.
Widespread, unpredictable changes
Gene insertion is done either by shooting genes from a “gene gun” into a plate of cells or by using bacteria to invade the cell with foreign DNA. The altered cell is then cloned into a plant. These processes create massive collateral damage, causing mutations in hundreds or thousands of locations throughout the plant’s DNA. Natural genes can be deleted or permanently turned on or off, and hundreds may change their levels of expression.
- The inserted gene is often rearranged;
- It may transfer from the food into our body’s cells or into the DNA of bacteria inside us; and
- The GM protein produced by the gene may have unintended properties or effects.
GM foods on the market
The primary reason companies genetically engineer plants is to make them tolerant to their brand of herbicide. The four major GM plants, soy, corn, canola, and cotton, are designed to survive an otherwise deadly dose of weed killer. These crops have much higher residues of toxic herbicides. About 68% of GM crops are herbicide tolerant.
The second GM trait is a built-in pesticide. A gene from the soil bacterium called Bt (for Bacillus thuringiensis) is inserted into corn and cotton DNA, where it secretes the insect-killing Bt-toxin in every cell. About 19% of GM crops produce their own pesticide. Another 13% produce a pesticide and are herbicide tolerant.
There is also Hawaiian papaya and a small amount of zucchini and yellow crookneck squash, which are engineered to resist a plant virus. Help stop the introduction of GM sugar in late 2008. Send a letter to top companies on our website.
Growing evidence of harm from GMOs
GM soy and allergic reactions
- Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced.
- A human subject showed a skin prick allergic-type reaction to GM soy, but not to natural soy.
- The level of one known soy allergen is as much as 7-times higher in cooked GM soy compared to non-GM soy.
- GM soy also contains an unexpected allergen-type protein not found in natural soy.
Bt corn and cotton linked to allergies
The biotech industry claims that Bt-toxin is harmless to humans and mammals because the natural bacteria version has been used as a spray by farmers for years. In reality, hundreds of people exposed to Bt spray had allergic-type symptoms, and mice fed Bt had powerful immune responses and damaged intestines. Moreover, Bt in GM crops is designed to be more toxic than the natural spray and is thousands of times more concentrated.
GMOs fail allergy tests
No tests can guarantee that a GMO will not cause allergies. Although the World Health Organization recommends a protein screening protocol, the GM soy, corn, and papaya in our food supply fail those tests— because they have properties of known allergens.
GMOs cause immune reactions to non-GM foods
- If proteins “digest” slowly, there is more time for allergic reactions. Because GM soy reduces digestive enzymes in mice, it may slow protein digestion and promote allergies to many foods.
- Mice not only reacted to Bt -toxin, they had immune responses to formerly harmless compounds.
- Similarly, a mouse test indicated that people eating GM peas could develop allergies both to the peas and to a range of other foods. The peas had already passed all the allergy tests normally used to get GMOs on the market. It took this advanced mouse test, which was never used on the GMOs we eat, to discover that the peas could be deadly.
GMOs and liver problems
- Rats fed GM potatoes had smaller, partially atrophied livers.
- The livers of rats fed GM canola were 12-16% heavier.
- GM soy altered mouse liver cells in ways that suggest a toxic insult. The changes reversed after their diet switched to non-GM soy.
GM soy, reproductive problems, and infant mortality
- More than half the offspring of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks.
- Male rats and mice fed GM soy showed changes in their testicles; the mice had altered young sperm cells.
- The DNA of mouse embryos whose parents ate GM soy functioned differently than those whose parents ate non-GM soy.
Many offspring of female rats fed GM soy were considerably smaller,
and more than half died within three weeks (compared to 10% of the
non-GM soy controls).
Bt crops linked to sterility, disease, and death
- When sheep grazed on Bt cotton plants after harvest, within a week 1 in 4 died. Shepherds estimate 10,000 sheep deaths in one region of India.
- Farmers in Europe and Asia say that cows, water buffaloes, chickens, and horses died from eating Bt corn varieties.
- About two dozen US farmers report that Bt corn varieties caused widespread sterility in pigs or cows.
- Filipinos in at least five villages fell sick when a nearby Bt corn variety was pollinating.
The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may be a precursor to cancer. Rats also had damaged organs and immune systems.
Functioning GM genes remain inside you
Unlike safety evaluations for drugs, there are no human clinical trials of GM foods. The only published human feeding experiment verified that genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of intestinal bacteria and continues to function. This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have their GM proteins produced continuously inside us.
- If the antibiotic gene inserted into most GM crops were to transfer, it could create super diseases, resistant to antibiotics.
- If the gene that creates Bt -toxin in GM corn were to transfer, it might turn our intestinal flora into living pesticide factories.
- Animal studies show that DNA in food can travel into organs throughout the body, even into the fetus.
GM food supplement caused deadly epidemic
In the 1980s, a contaminated brand of a food supplement called L-tryptophan killed about 100 Americans and caused sickness and disability in another 5,000-10,000 people. The source of contaminants was almost certainly the genetic engineering process used in its production. The disease took years to find and was almost overlooked. It was only identified because the symptoms were unique, acute, and fast-acting. If all three characteristics were not in place, the deadly GM supplement might never have been identified or removed.
If GM foods on the market are causing common diseases or if their effects appear only after long-term exposure, we may not be able to identify the source of the problem for decades, if at all. There is no monitoring of GMO-related problems and no long-term animal studies. Heavily invested biotech corporations are gambling away the health of our nation for profit.
Help end the genetic engineering of our food supply
When the tipping point of consumer concern about GMOs was achieved in Europe in 1999, within a single week virtually all major food manufacturers committed to remove GM ingredients. The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to reach a similar tipping point in the US before the end of 2009.
Our growing network of manufacturers, retailers, healthcare practitioners, organizations, and the media, is informing consumers of the health risks of GMOs and helping them select healthier non-GMO alternatives.
Go to www.responsibletechnology.org to get involved and learn how to avoid GMOs. Look for our Non-GMO Shopping Guide in summer 2008.
Start buying non-GMO today.
Help us stop the genetic engineering of our food supply.
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Institute For Responsible Technology
P.O. Box 469, Fairfield, IA 52556
The health information is from the book Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risk of Genetically Engineered Foods, by Jeffrey M. Smith.
© copyright Institute For Responsible Technology 2008
The Institute is a fully tax deductible project of The Coordinating Council, a 501c(3).
 See www.biointegrity.org
 See Part 2, Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA 2007
 See for example 233-236, chart of disproved assumptions, in Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA 2007
 J. R. Latham, et al., “The Mutational Consequences of Plant Transformation,” The Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2006, Article ID 25376: 1-7; see also Allison Wilson, et. al., “Transformation-induced mutations in transgenic plants: Analysis and biosafety implications,” Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews – Vol. 23, December 2006.
 Srivastava, et al, “Pharmacogenomics of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and the cystic fibrosis drug CPX using genome microarray analysis,” Mol Med. 5, no. 11(Nov 1999):753–67.
 Latham et al, “The Mutational Consequences of Plant Transformation, Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2006:1-7, article ID 25376, http://www.hindawi.com/journals/JBB/index.html; Draft risk analysis report application A378, Food derived from glyphosate-tolerant sugarbeet line 77 (GTSB77),” ANZFA, March 7, 2001, www.agbios.com/docroot/decdocs/anzfa_gtsb77.pdf; E. Levine et al., “Molecular Characterization of Insect Protected Corn Line MON 810.” Unpublished study submitted to the EPA by Monsanto, EPA MRID No. 436655-01C (1995); Allison Wilson, PhD, Jonathan Latham, PhD, and Ricarda Steinbrecher, PhD, “Genome Scrambling—Myth or Reality? Transformation-Induced Mutations in Transgenic Crop Plants Technical Report—October 2004,” www.econexus.info; C. Collonier, G. Berthier, F. Boyer, M. N. Duplan, S. Fernandez, N. Kebdani, A. Kobilinsky, M. Romanuk, Y. Bertheau, “Characterization of commercial GMO inserts: a source of useful material to study genome fluidity,” Poster presented at ICPMB: International Congress for Plant Molecular Biology (n°VII), Barcelona, 23-28th June 2003. Poster courtesy of Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini, Président du Conseil Scientifique du CRII-GEN, www.crii-gen.org; also “Transgenic lines proven unstable” by Mae-Wan Ho, ISIS Report, 23 October 2003, www.i-sis.org.uk
 Netherwood et al, “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract,” Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2; Chowdhury, et al, “Detection of genetically modified maize DNA fragments in the intestinal contents of pigs fed StarLink CBH351,” Vet Hum Toxicol. 45 , no. 2 (March 2003): 95–6; P. A. Chambers, et al, “The fate of antibiotic resistance marker genes in transgenic plant feed material fed to chickens,” J. Antimic. Chemother. 49 (2000): 161–164; and Paula S. Duggan, et al, “Fate of genetically modified maize DNA in the oral cavity and rumen of sheep,” Br J Nutr. 89, no 2 (Feb.2003): 159–66.
 Mark Townsend, “Why soya is a hidden destroyer,” Daily Express, March 12, 1999.
 Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, “Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An immunologic comparison,” Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 26, no. 3 (May–June 2005): 210-216(7).
 A. Pusztai and S. Bardocz, “GMO in animal nutrition: potential benefits and risks,” Chapter 17, Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals, R. Mosenthin, J. Zentek and T. Zebrowska (Eds.) Elsevier, October 2005.
 Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, “Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An immunologic comparison,” Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 26, no. 3 (May–June 2005): 210-216(7).
 M. Green, et al., “Public health implications of the microbial pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis: An epidemiological study, Oregon, 1985-86,” Amer. J. Public Health 80, no. 7(1990): 848–852; and M.A. Noble, P.D. Riben, and G. J. Cook, Microbiological and epidemiological surveillance program to monitor the health effects of Foray 48B BTK spray (Vancouver, B.C.: Ministry of Forests, Province of British Columbi, Sep. 30, 1992)
 Vazquez et al, “Intragastric and intraperitoneal administration of Cry1Ac protoxin from Bacillus thuringiensis induces systemic and mucosal antibody responses in mice,” 1897–1912; Vazquez et al, “Characterization of the mucosal and systemic immune response induced by Cry1Ac protein from Bacillus thuringiensis HD 73 in mice,” Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 33 (2000): 147–155; and Vazquez et al, “Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac protoxin is a potent systemic and mucosal adjuvant,” Scandanavian Journal of Immunology 49 (1999): 578–584. See also Vazquez-Padron et al., 147 (2000b).
 Nagui H. Fares, Adel K. El-Sayed, “Fine Structural Changes in the Ileum of Mice Fed on Endotoxin Treated Potatoes and Transgenic Potatoes,” Natural Toxins 6, no. 6 (1998): 219–233.
 See for example “Bt cotton causing allergic reaction in MP; cattle dead,” Bhopal, Nov. 23, 2005, http://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=170692&cat=Health;
 Ashish Gupta et. al., “Impact of Bt Cotton on Farmers’ Health (in Barwani and Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh),” Investigation Report, Oct–Dec 2005; and M. Green, et al., “Public health implications of the microbial pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis: An epidemiological study, Oregon, 1985-86,” Amer. J. Public Health 80, no. 7(1990): 848–852; and M.A. Noble, P.D. Riben, and G. J. Cook, Microbiological and epidemiological surveillance program to monitor the health effects of Foray 48B BTK spray (Vancouver, B.C.: Ministry of Forests, Province of British Columbi, Sep. 30, 1992)
 FAO-WHO, “Evaluation of Allergenicity of Genetically Modified Foods. Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert
Consultation on Allergenicity of Foods Derived from Biotechnology,” Jan. 22–25, 2001; http://www.fao.org/es/ESN/food/pdf/allergygm.pdf
 Gendel, “The use of amino acid sequence alignments to assess potential allergenicity of proteins used in genetically modified foods,” Advances in Food and Nutrition Research 42 (1998), 45–62; G. A. Kleter and A. A. C. M. Peijnenburg, “Screening of transgenic proteins expressed in transgenic food crops for the presence of short amino acid sequences indentical to potential, IgE-binding linear epitopes of allergens,” BMC Structural Biology 2 (2002): 8–19; H. P. J. M. Noteborn, “Assessment of the Stability to Digestion and Bioavailability of the LYS Mutant Cry9C Protein from Bacillus thuringiensis serovar tolworthi,” Unpublished study submitted to the EPA by AgrEvo, EPA MRID No. 447343-05 (1998); and H. P. J. M. Noteborn et al, “Safety Assessment of the Bacillus thuringiensis Insecticidal Crystal Protein CRYIA(b) Expressed in Transgenic Tomatoes,” in Genetically modified foods: safety issues, American Chemical Society Symposium Series 605, eds. K.H. Engel et al., (Washington, DC, 1995): 134–47.
 M. Malatesta, M. Biggiogera, E. Manuali, M. B. L. Rocchi, B. Baldelli, G. Gazzanelli, “Fine Structural Analyses of Pancreatic Acinar Cell Nuclei from Mice Fed on GM Soybean,” Eur J Histochem 47 (2003): 385–388.
 Vazquez et al, “Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac protoxin is a potent systemic and mucosal adjuvant,” Scandanavian Journal of Immunology 49 (1999): 578–584. See also Vazquez-Padron et al., 147 (2000b).
 V. E. Prescott, et al, “Transgenic Expression of Bean r-Amylase Inhibitor in Peas Results in Altered Structure and Immunogenicity,” Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry (2005): 53.
 Arpad Pusztai, “Can science give us the tools for recognizing possible health risks of GM food,” Nutrition and Health, 2002, Vol 16 Pp 73-84
 Comments to ANZFA about Applications A346, A362 and A363 from the Food Legislation and Regulation Advisory Group (FLRAG) of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) on behalf of the PHAA, “Food produced from glyphosate-tolerant canola line GT73,” http://www.iher.org.au/
 M. Malatesta, C. Caporaloni, S. Gavaudan, M. B. Rocchi, S. Serafini, C. Tiberi, G. Gazzanelli, “Ultrastructural Morphometrical and Immunocytochemical Analyses of Hepatocyte Nuclei from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” Cell Struct Funct. 27 (2002): 173–180.
 M. Malatesta, C. Tiberi, B. Baldelli, S. Battistelli, E. Manuali, M. Biggiogera, “Reversibility of Hepatocyte Nuclear Modifications in Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” Eur J Histochem, 49 (2005): 237-242.
 I.V. Ermakova, “Diet with the Soya Modified by Gene EPSPS CP4 Leads to Anxiety and Aggression in Rats,” 14th European Congress of Psychiatry. Nice, France, March 4-8, 2006; “Genetically modified soy affects posterity: Results of Russian scientists’ studies,” REGNUM, October 12, 2005; http://www.regnum.ru/english/526651.html; Irina Ermakova, “Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies,” Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4–9.
 Irina Ermakova, “Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards,” Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels, June 12, 2007
 L. Vecchio et al, “Ultrastructural Analysis of Testes from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” European Journal of Histochemistry 48, no. 4 (Oct–Dec 2004):449–454.
 Oliveri et al., “Temporary Depression of Transcription in Mouse Pre-implantion Embryos from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” 48th Symposium of the Society for Histochemistry, Lake Maggiore (Italy), September 7–10, 2006.
 I.V. Ermakova, “Diet with the Soya Modified by Gene EPSPS CP4 Leads to Anxiety and Aggression in Rats,” 14th
European Congress of Psychiatry. Nice, France, March 4-8, 2006; “Genetically modified soy affects posterity: Results of Russian scientists’ studies,” REGNUM, October 12, 2005; http://www.regnum.ru/english/526651.html; Irina Ermakova, “Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies,” Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4–9.
 “Mortality in Sheep Flocks after Grazing on Bt Cotton Fields—Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh” Report of the Preliminary Assessment, April 2006, http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=6494
 Mae-Wan Ho, “GM Ban Long Overdue, Dozens Ill & Five Deaths in the Philippines,” ISIS Press Release, June 2, 2006; and Mae-Wan Ho and Sam Burcher, “Cows Ate GM Maize & Died,” ISIS Press Release, January 13, 2004, http://www.isis.org.uk/CAGMMAD.php
 Personal communication with Jerry Rosman and other farmers, 2006; also reported widely in the farm press.
 See for example Mae-Wan Ho, “GM Ban Long Overdue, Dozens Ill & Five Deaths in the Philippines,” ISIS Press Release, June 2, 2006; “Study Result Not Final, Proof Bt Corn Harmful to Farmers,” BusinessWorld, 02 Mar 2004; and “Genetically Modified Crops and Illness Linked,” Manila Bulletin, 04 Mar 2004.
 Arpad Pusztai, “Can science give us the tools for recognizing possible health risks of GM food,” Nutrition and Health, 2002, Vol 16 Pp 73-84; Stanley W. B. Ewen and Arpad Pusztai, “Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine,” Lancet, 1999 Oct 16; 354 (9187): 1353-4; and Arpad Pusztai, “Facts Behind the GM Pea Controversy: Epigenetics, Transgenic Plants & Risk Assessment,” Proceedings of the Conference, December 1st 2005 (Frankfurtam Main, Germany: Literaturhaus, 2005)
 Netherwood et al, “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract,” Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2.
 Ricarda A. Steinbrecher and Jonathan R. Latham, “Horizontal gene transfer from GM crops to unrelated organisms,” GM Science Review Meeting of the Royal Society of Edinburgh on “GM Gene Flow: Scale and Consequences for Agriculture and the Environment,” January 27, 2003; Traavik and Heinemann, Genetic Engineering and Omitted Health Research; citing Schubbert, et al, “Ingested foreign (phage M13) DNA survives transiently in the gastrointestinal tract and enters the bloodstream of mice,” Mol Gen Genet. 242, no. 5 (1994): 495–504; Schubbert et al, “Foreign (M13) DNA ingested by mice reaches peripheral leukocytes, spleen, and liver via the intestinal wall mucosa and can be covalently linked to mouse DNA,” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94, no. 3 (1997): 961–6; Schubbert et al, “On the fate of orally ingested foreign DNA in mice: chromosomal association and placental transmission to the fetus,” Mol Gen Genet. 259, no. 6 (1998): 569–76; Hohlweg and Doerfler, “On the fate of plants or other foreign genes upon the uptake in food or after intramuscular injection in mice,” Mol Genet Genomics 265 (2001): 225–233; Palka-Santani, et al., “The gastrointestinal tract as the portal of entry for foreign macromolecules: fate of DNA and proteins,” Mol Gen Genomics 270 (2003): 201–215; Einspanier, et al, “The fate of forage plant DNA in farm animals; a collaborative case-study investigating cattle and chicken fed recombinant plant material,” Eur Food Res Technol 212 (2001): 129–134; Klotz, et al, “Degradation and possible carry over of feed DNA monitored in pigs and poultry,” Eur Food Res Technol 214 (2002): 271–275; Forsman, et al, “Uptake of amplifiable fragments of retrotransposon DNA from the human alimentary tract,” Mol Gen Genomics 270 (2003): 362–368; Chen, et al, “Transfection of mEpo gene to intestinal epithelium in vivo mediated by oral delivery of chitosan-DNA nanoparticles,” World Journal of Gastroenterology 10, no 1(2004): 112–116; Phipps, et al, “Detection of transgenic and endogenous plant DNA in rumen fluid, duodenal digesta, milk, blood, and feces of lactating dairy cows,” J Dairy Sci. 86, no. 12(2003): 4070–8.
 William E. Crist, Toxic L-tryptophan: Shedding Light on a Mysterious Epidemic, http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/L-tryptophan/index.cfm; and Jeffrey M. Smith, Seeds of Deception, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA 2003, chapter 4, Deadly Epidemic