A new research study shows genetically engineered food (GE) causes cellular damage. On February 15, 2012, the Journal of Applied Toxicology released an important study on damage done to human cells by GE food. This food carries the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis ( Bt ) insecticide and the herbicide 'Roundup' glyphosate gene traits.
The experiments conducted by R. Mesnage, E. Clair, S. Gress et al. shows the toxins produced by Bt bacteria attached to GE food have destructive toxic effects on human cells. Gilles-Eric Séralini from the University of Caen, who supervised the experiments said: "In conclusion, these experiments show that the risks of Bt toxins and of Roundup have been underestimated."
The Bt used in GE plants is not the Bt bacteria normally found in the soil. These bacteria have been genetically modified to be an extremely virulent more aggressive insect killing machine. The SmartStax seed varieties grown by farmers contain six different Bt toxins with more toxic protein content available to an unsuspecting human population. The SmartStax varieties were developed jointly by US biotech giant Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences.
Commercial Bt is not the Bt touted by 'Organic Gardening Magazine' in the 60's for organic gardeners. The Bt sold to farmers for crop spraying and routinely inserted into GE varieties of vegetable seed have not been adequately tested. These and other GE food are fast tracked to market ignoring the scientific 'Precautionary Principle' for a quick return on investment. More bacterial super strains of bio-pesticides are under development. There continues to be inadequate testing of these materials by manufacturers. Government approvals and oversight of GE food is often clouded by conflicts of interest by former industry employees and lobbyists. The industry is now working to eliminate the government approval process which would leave them in total control of GE food from product development to environmental release.
Other bio-pesticides including spray forms of Bt are being fast tracked to market while the Government closes its eyes or looks the other way. The major types of Bt are the 'kurstake' strain for caterpillar pests packaged under the trade names Dipel, Javelin, Thuricide and MVP. The 'San Diego' or 'tenebrionis' strain for potato beetle larvae, trade names M-One, M-Trak, Beetle Beater and Novodor. These products are GE concentrates used as bio-insecticide sprays in farming and gardening.
The varieties of GE food, many of which contain bio-pesticides, include the following: corn, maize, soy, canola, cotton, Alfalfa, barley, rice, sugar beets, cabbage, sugar cane, wheat, zucchini, yellow summer squash, papaya, bananas, grapes, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, groundnut, chicory, cantaloupe,cucumber, melon, plum, apple... and counting! More varieties are currently undergoing field trials so their pollen is already being shared in the environment corrupting our naturally occurring biodiversity. Readers are encouraged to contact their Congressional representatives and demand policy change for the protection of human health and the environment.
Anthony Samsel is a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Collaborative on Health and the Environment and a retired consultant to Arthur D. Little, Inc.