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The UK is stepping up its campaign to bring large-scale farming of genetically-modified crops into Europe, with Environment Secretary Owen Paterson expected to become the second senior official in recent days to ask the EU to loosen existing controls.
In the thrust of the speech that has been leaked to the Independent, the Conservative minister is expected to say that Britain risks being “left behind” if it fails to adopt increasingly widespread GM crops.
“What we want to do is start a dialogue within Europe on GM based upon the science,” a senior source told the newspaper.
“The point about GM is not simply about food production. There are wider potential environmental and economic benefits to the technology both in the UK and internationally.”
Specifically, Paterson will argue that bioengineering could be used to create disease-resistant wildlife and develop new pharmaceuticals.
The speech appears to be part of a concerted government campaign to overturn the EU’s strict reluctance to issue commercial licenses for GM crops, following a similar statement made by Science Minister David Willetts on Tuesday.
“We believe that GM crops can help make agriculture more efficient and also just as importantly more sustainable, by, for example, reducing the use of pesticides and the use of fossil fuels,” he said.
“There are just too many 21st-Century technologies that Europe is just being very slow to adopt… one productive way forward is to have this discussion as part of a wider need for Europe to remain innovative rather than a museum of 20th century technology.”
Originally posted by MysterX
reply to post by tazdeill2
Let's put it this way...if all the ministers, MP's, MEP's, Monsanto (and all the other biotech corps) all write a legally binding and notorised statement that details an agreement that if it turns out that GMO's are the ecological and health disaster that the majority of people suspect they will become, that they all will volunteer to be publically hanged, drawn and quartered...i'll be satisfied that they really believe what they are pushing for, and it's not about large, untraceable lorryloads of money coming their way.
Until they are prepared to do that, they are not putting as much on the line as all of the general public will be if we're forced to consume the GMO poison.
Put your life where your mouths are...that's what they're forcing us to do.
What we want to do is start a dialogue within Europe on GM based upon the science,” a senior source told the newspaper
How the hell did we end up with a minister for the environment who doesn't give a rats bottom about the environment?
If only our people had the guts to take to the streets and march onto Downing Street to oust these greedy, self-serving, anti-democratic pigs.
But critics have been quick to condemn Mr Paterson's view that GM is a "safe, proven and beneficial innovation".
Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett said that GM would make it harder, not easier, to feed the world.
"The British Government constantly claim that GM crops are just one tool in the toolbox for the future of farming. In fact GM is the cuckoo in the nest. It drives out and destroys the systems that international scientists agree we need to feed the world.
"We need farming that helps poorer African and Asian farmers produce food, not farming that helps Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto produce profits," he added.
At present there are no commercial GM crops grown in the UK although cattle, sheep and pigs are often fed on imported GM. There is only one active GM trial of wheat that has been modified to deter aphids.
Studies suggest that the GM transformation process may have increased natural allergens in soybeans. The level of one known allergen, trypsin inhibitor, was 27% higher in raw GM soy varieties. More worrisome, it was as much as sevenfold higher in cooked GM soy compared to cooked non-GM soy.5 Not only is this higher amount potentially harmful, the finding also suggests that the trypsin inhibitor in GM soy might be more heat stable and, therefore, even more allergenic than the natural variety.6
It is also possible that changes in GM soy DNA may produce new allergens. Although there has never been an exhaustive analysis of the proteins or natural products in GM soy, unpredicted changes in the DNA were discovered. A mutated section of soy DNA was found near the transgene, which may contribute to some unpredicted effects. Moreover, between this scrambled DNA and the transgene is an extra transgene fragment, not discovered until years after soy was on the market.7 The RNA produced is completely unexpected. It combines material from all three sections: the full-length transgene, the transgene fragment, and the mutated DNA sequence. This RNA is then further processed into four different variations,8 which might lead to the production of some unknown allergen.
Another study verified that GM soybeans contain an IgE-binding allergenic protein not found in nonGM soy controls, and that one of eight subjects who showed a skin-prick allergic reaction to GM soy had no reaction to nonGM soy.9 Although the sample size is small, the implication that certain people react only to GM soy is huge.
The increased residue of Roundup herbicide in GM soy might contribute to increased allergies.10 In fact, the symptoms identified in the U.K. soy allergy study are among those related to glyphosate exposure. The allergy study identified irritable bowel syndrome, digestion problems, chronic fatigue, headaches, lethargy, and skin complaints including acne and eczema.2 Symptoms of glyphosate exposure include nausea, headaches, lethargy, skin rashes, and burning or itchy skin.11 It is also possible that glyphosate’s breakdown product, AMPA, which accumulates in GM soybeans,12,13 might contribute to allergies. Finally, mice fed GM soy had reduced levels of pancreatic enzymes.14,15 When protein-digesting enzymes are suppressed, proteins may last longer in the gut, allowing more time for an allergic reaction to take place. Any reduction in protein digestion could therefore promote allergic reactions to a wide range of proteins, not just to the GM soy.
Bt Toxin Triggers Immune Response
• When populations were exposed to Bt spray, hundreds complained of allergic reactions; exposed farm workers also exhibited antibody responses.23–27
• Indian farm workers exposed to Bt cotton developed moderate or severe allergic reactions.28
• Bt toxin fed to mice induced a significant immune response and an increased reactivity to other substances.29-31
• Male rats fed MON 863 Bt corn had a significant increase in three types of blood cells related to the immune system: basophils, lymphocytes, and total white cell counts.32
• Thousands of consumers complained to food manufacturers about possible reactions to StarLink corn,33 and an expert panel determined that its Bt protein had a “medium likelihood” of being a human allergen.34
The consistency between the reactions related to Bt sprays and those reported by Bt-cotton workers is astounding. The Bt spray was associated with sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, skin inflammation and irritation, rashes, itching and burning, swelling, red skin and eyes, exacerbations of asthma, facial swelling, and fever. Some people required hospitalization.23,24 Bt-cotton workers in India reported sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, skin eruptions, itching and burning, red skin and eyes, facial swelling, and fever. Some people required hospitalization.28 The two lists are nearly identical—only “exacerbations of asthma” was on the spray list and not the other.
Asthma and breathing difficulties were reported by Filipinos who inhaled Bt-corn pollen.35 They also described swollen faces, flu-like symptoms, fever, and sneezing. Some individuals in both India and the Philippines also reported long-term effects after exposure. The list of symptoms in the Philippines, however, did contain items not reported by the other two groups. These included coughs, headache, stomachache, dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, and numbness.36
Toxicity and Reproductive Problems
In addition, there is substantial evidence of toxicity and reproductive effects associated with GM foods. Sheep that grazed on Bt-cotton plants in India, for example, exhibited nasal discharge, reddish and erosive mouth lesions, cough, bloat, diarrhea, and occasional red-colored urine. Shepherds report that 25% of their herds died within 5–7 days. Post mortems on some of the estimated 10,000 dead sheep in the region indicated toxic reactions.37 Rats fed Bt corn showed toxicity in their livers and kidneys.38 And farmers link Bt corn with deaths among cows,39 water buffalo, horses, and chickens,36 as well as sterility in thousands of pigs or cows.1 Animal feeding studies with Roundup Ready soy indicated toxic livers,40 altered sperm cells,41 significant changes in embryo development,42 and a fivefold increase in infant mortality, among others.43
Our understanding of DNA has progressed rapidly since genetic engineering was applied to food crops, and many key safety assumptions have been proven wrong. Perhaps some day scientists will be able to safely and predictably alter food crops for the benefit of mankind and the environment.
Until then, it is not responsible to risk the health of the entire population with this infant science or to release these crops into the ecosystem where they may self-propagate for generations. An immediate ban of GM foods and crops is more than justified.
Friends of the Earth Europe commissioned laboratory tests on urine samples from volunteers in 18 countries across Europe and found that on average 44 percent of samples contained glyphosate. The proportion of positive samples varied between countries, with Malta, Germany, the UK and Poland having the most positive tests, and lower levels detected in Macedonia and Switzerland. All the volunteers who provided samples live in cities, and none had handled or used glyphosate products in the run-up to the tests.
With references to a raft of peer-reviewed studies, FoE also brings attention to the often disturbing health and environmental dangers and impacts of glyphosate-based herbicides throughout the world (1). The FoE study also highlights concerns around the increasing levels of exposure to glyphosate-based weed killers, particularly as the use of glyphosate is predicted to rise further if more genetically modified (GM) crops are grown. It is after all good for business. And the biggest producer of glyphosate is Monsanto, which sells it under the brand name ‘Roundup’.
“The figures don’t lie; GMOs drive glyphosate sales.” (3)
Despite its widespread use, there is currently little monitoring of glyphosate in food, water or the wider environment. The FoE commissioned study is the first time monitoring has been carried out across Europe for the presence of the weed killer in human bodies. FoE Europe’s spokesperson Adrian Bebb argues that there is a serious lack of action by public authorities and indicates that this weed killer is being widely overused.
This certainly needs to be addressed not least because the prediction concerning increasing exposure to glyphosate is not without substance. The introduction of Roundup Ready crops has already resulted in an increase of glyphosate use. Using official US government data, Dr Charles Benbrook, research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, states that since 1996 the glysophate rate of application per crop year has tripled on cotton farms, doubled in the case of soybeans and risen 39 percent on corn (4). The average annual increase in the pounds of glyphosate applied to cotton, soybeans, and corn has been 18.2 percent, 9.8 percent, and 4.3 percent, respectively, since herbicide tolerant crops were introduced.
Glyphosate is used on many genetically modified crops. 14 new GM crops designed to be cultivated with glyphosate are currently waiting for approval to be grown in Europe. Approval of these crops would inevitably lead to a further increase of glysphosate spraying. In the US, biotech crops, including corn, soybeans, canola and sugarbeets, are planted on millions of acres annually.
Evidence suggests that Roundup could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers, according to a new peer-reviewed report, published recently in the scientific journal Entropy (5). The study also concluded that residues of glyphosate have been found in food.
These residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to the report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a science consultant. The study says that negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.
In 2010, the provincial government of Chaco province in Argentina issued a report on health statistics from the town La Leonesa. The report showed that from 2000 to 2009, following the expansion of genetically-modified soy and rice crops in the region (and the use of glyphosate), the childhood cancer rate tripled in La Leonesa and the rate of birth defects increased nearly fourfold over the entire province (6).
He concludes that, when consumed, the GM crops were more likely to cause disease, infertility, birth defects, cancer and allergic reactions than conventional crops.
Huber claims that consumption of food or feed that was genetically modified could bring the altered genes in contact with the microbes in the guts of the livestock or people who eat them. He feels this increases diseases, such as celiac disease, allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, gluten intolerance, irritable bowel disease, miscarriage, obesity and sudden infant death syndrome.