Foods That Will Starve You – Expert Speaks Out on GMOs
By Dr. Mercola
Dr. Don Huber is likely the leading GMO expert in the world. He is an award-winning, internationally recognized scientist, and professor emeritus of plant pathology at Purdue University for the past 35 years.
His agriculture research is focused on the epidemiology and control of soil-borne plant pathogens, with specific emphasis on microbial ecology, cultural and biological controls, and the physiology of host-parasite relationships.
His research over the past few decades has led him to become very outspoken against genetically modified organisms (GMO) and genetically engineered (GE) foods and the use of Roundup in agriculture in general.
He’s really one of the best scientists we have in the GMO movement for documenting the dangers of genetically engineered foods.
“I appreciate the opportunity to share a little bit of my research and the research of many other scientists who are expressing concern; recognizing that we’ve missed the boat in much of this discussion and much of the process, because it’s really a food and health safety issue that we’re dealing with here,” he says.
Three Things You Need to Know About GMOs
There’s a lot of confusion about the basic validity of concerns about genetically engineered (GE) foods. Many have been deceived into thinking that there’s really no difference between GE foods and conventional fare, and all these worries are just paranoid fear-mongering.
According to Dr. Huber, the following three facts are some of the most important that everyone needs to understand about GMOs:
- Despite what the media and so-called “experts” proclaim, there are NO peer-reviewed scientific papers establishing the safety of GMO crops.According to Dr. Huber, so far, no one has been able to establish that there’s a safety factor to either the genetically engineered proteins (i.e. the foreign proteins produced by the genetically modified plant) or the chemicals we’re consuming in ever larger quantities as a result of the genetic engineering process.There are, however, both clinical and peer-reviewed scientific papers showing the hazards of GMO crops, including harmful secondary effects.
“A group of us met with top USDA administrators. They assured us that they based all their decisions on peer-reviewed science. When we asked them if they would share any of that, they were unable to produce any,” he says.
- Epidemiological patterns show there’s an identical rise in over 30 human diseases correlated with our increased usage of glyphosate and the increased prevalence of genetically engineered proteins in our food.
- Genetically engineered foods, as well as conventional crops that are heavily sprayed with glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup), have lower nutrient density than organic foods. They also contain high amounts of pesticides with documented harmful health effects, along with novel, highly allergenic, proteins.
Little-Known Facts About Glyphosate
You can’t really discuss genetic engineering without also addressing the chemicals these plants are engineered to tolerate. About 85 percent of all genetically engineered plants are herbicide-tolerant—designed to tolerate very high levels of herbicides, glyphosate in particular. These are the so-called Roundup Ready crops.
It’s important to realize that glyphosate is not “just” an herbicide. As explained by Dr. Huber, it was first patented as a mineral chelator. It immobilizes nutrients, so they’re not physiologically available for your body.
“You may have the mineral [in the plant], but if it’s chelated with glyphosate, it’s not going to be available physiologically for you to use, so you’re just eating a piece of gravel,” Dr. Huber says.
Naturally, health effects are bound to occur if you’re consistently eating foods from which your body cannot extract critical nutrients and minerals. Mineral deficiencies can lead to developmental and mental health issues, for example. Glyphosate is also patented as an antibiotic—and a very effective one at that— against a large number of beneficial organisms. Unfortunately, like all antibiotics, it also kills vitally important beneficial soil bacteria and human gut bacteria.
“Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus faecalis—these are organisms that keep you healthy either by providing accessibility to the minerals in your food or producing many of the vitamins that you need for life. They’re also the natural biological defenses to keep Clostridium, Salmonella, and E.coli from developing in your system,” Dr. Huber explains.
“When you take the good bacteria out, then the bad bacteria fill that void, because there aren’t any voids in nature. We have all of these gut-related problems, whether it’s autism, leaky gut, C. difficile diarrhea, gluten intolerance, or any of the other problems. All of these diseases are an expression of disruption of that intestinal microflora that keeps you healthy.”
Glyphosate was first patented as a chelator in 1964 by Stauffer Chemical Co. It was patented by Monsanto and introduced as an herbicide in 1974. And then in 1996, Roundup Ready crops hit the market. There’s been a steep increase in the usage of Roundup since then, because you can apply it multiple times without damaging your crop. Making matters worse, they’re now also using glyphosate as a ripening agent—even for non-GMO crops. It’s applied right before harvest time to ripen off the crop.
“We have about a five-fold increase in glyphosate usage on many of our GMO crops. With the Roundup Ready-resistant weeds, we see that rate going up exponentially,” he says.
Did You Know? EPA Just Increased Allowable Limits of Glyphosate in Your Food
Despite well-understood health risks, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is repeatedly approached by agricultural and biotech companies asking for increased limits of this pernicious toxin in your food.
“The companies say we have to increase the amount of glyphosate that we can have in your food, so we can have a ‘safe’ product – not based on science but based on how much chemical is actually in our food!” Dr.Huber says.
On May 1, the EPA went ahead and doubled the amount of glyphosate allowed in food… Soybean oil may now contain as much as 40 parts per million (ppm) of glyphosate. Meanwhile, research by Dr. Monika Krueger at Leipzig University shows that a tenth of a part per million is all that it takes to kill your Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Enterococcus faecalis! So soybean oil is now allowed to contain a whopping 4,000 times the known limit at which it can impact your health.
Can GMOs Coexist with Conventional Crops?
On September 20, agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) will soon publish a notice in the Federal Register asking for public comments on how agricultural coexistence in the US might be strengthened. At the time of this writing, the USDA has not yet published that notice, but you can search the Federal Register for the latest notices here.1
According to the media release:2
“The Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture recommended that USDA support agricultural coexistence by strengthening education and outreach on this vital issue… In response, with this notice, we are asking all those with a vested interest in coexistence to help us learn more about what coexistence means to them, how they are already contributing to it, and what more is needed to achieve coexistence. With this input, we can continue the dialogue begun by the AC21 group3 and find practical solutions that will help all sectors of American agriculture be successful.
… Coexistence is defined as the concurrent cultivation of crops produced through diverse agricultural systems including traditionally produced, organic, identity preserved, and genetically engineered crops. USDA supports all forms of agriculture and wants each sector to be as successful as possible providing products to markets in the United States and abroad.”
Vilsack wants comments… How about we start with the suggestion that “Biotech Government of the Year shouldn’t be running the show.” He says the USDA supports ALL agriculture, yet the USDA primarily subsidizes junk food crops—corn and soy—and cave in to the multi-million dollar lobbying of the biotech industry. Meanwhile, the USDA has all but wiped out raw milk, heritage hogs, and most small farmers. So, really, the only agriculture the USDA support is the chemical variety. When asked whether he believes that it’s ever appropriate or possible for GMOs to coexist with conventional and organic crops, Dr. Huber replies:
“We know how to get these genes in; we don’t know how to remove them,” he says. “I don’t see any opportunity for coexistence with the current technology that we have because of that promiscuous nature of the genes. If you have a gene that is spread by pollen, like Roundup Ready alfalfa, it’s just a matter of time before bees or the wind is going to transfer that particular pollen to every alfalfa crop that you’re going to grow. There’s a very high probability that you’re going to see that genetic component in it.”
The StarLink Case—Proof Positive GMOs Can’t ‘Coexist’ with Natural Plants
According to Dr. Huber, our knowledge of what we’re doing in the genetic engineering process is extremely limited. Contrary to popular belief, we’re still only in the initial stages of understanding what we’re doing in that whole process:
“We do know that it’s more like a virus infection than it is a breeding program. In other words, you’re throwing genes in, but you’re not moving all of the regulatory and control mechanisms with those genes so that they’re only going to function at a time when the plant needs it or under conditions when it needs it. It’s a flawed science to think that you have one gene or one little group of genes and it’s going to do this particular function and not the other things.”
Clearly, that’s not the general perception. Most people are still under the illusion that genetic engineering is a very precise approach. That’s certainly what the industry wants you to believe. But as Dr. Huber points out, we learned some very important facts from sequencing of the human genome: There aren’t nearly enough genes to do all of the things we know are done within the human body.