Every human being has an innate desire to know the truth, and we use different methods to seek out truth at different times. Sometimes we seek it through prayer or intuition, other times through hearing from authorities and other times through our own observation. Truth is not just a philosophical concept. Sometimes it comes down to one of the most basic questions of human life: “Will this food kill me or not?
In the case of deciding whether or not we are willing to consume genetically modified organisms, we have to employ all of our truth-seeking faculties. First, we can ask an obvious question: do other animals eat this food? Jeffrey Smith has documented numerous situations where wild and domesticated animals go out of their way to avoid GM foods. Read excerpts:
- Cows And Hogs Choose Natural Corn Over GM Corn
- Wild Geese Avoid Field Of GM Soybeans
- African Chickens Added To List Of Animals That Reject GMOs.
But anecdotal evidence is not conclusive, so we might want to hear from authorities. Unfortunately, a lot of people are making a lot of money on GMOs and institutions that are intended to act as unbiased authorities – such as the FDA - have become woefully compromised.
In this case, we might use our intuition to decide whom to trust. Personally, my intuition tells me two things:
- I learned in 9th grade that DNA is very complex. If someone wants to go shooting foreign genes into DNA strands, that’s their freedom. But I’m not going to eat their science experiment.
- If you have two scientists, and one of them is making money selling you his science experiment and the other one risked his job to tell you that the science experiment is dangerous, I’d trust the second one.
As Shelly explained, that hypothetical scenario is actually a reality. In Wednesday's article, Shelly told the story of Dr. Armand Pusztai, the scientist who blew the whistle on genetically engineered foods and became a hero in Europe: https://www.downtoearth.org/blogs/2010-10/why-non-gmo-day-why-non-gmo-month. Not surprisingly, he immediately came under attack from proponents of biotechnology, who continue to try to discredit him.
Jeffrey Smith, whose work we’ve been featuring over the last week, comes to Dr. Pusztai’s defense, answering point by point the different challenges made to Dr. Pusztai’s study: www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/biotech-propaganda-cooks_b_675957.html. Smith deals primarily with a website constructed by Bruce Chassy and David Tribe, two pro-GMO advocates who published a number of claims about Dr. Pusztai’s research. In their list of accusations, they claim that the design of the study was flawed, the results actually indicated that there was no difference between animals fed GMO potatoes and animals fed non-GMO potatoes, and that “experts” said no scientific conclusion could be drawn from the study.
Smith breaks down the claims into a longer list, and devotes multiple paragraphs to exposing each one. Among the highlights: the “experts” cited by Chassy and Tribe are actually members of the Royal Society, who’s explicit purpose according to UK newspaper The Guardian "is to mould scientific and public opinion with a pro-biotech line," and to "counter opposing scientists and environmental groups."
According to Smith, “Dr. Pusztai's research design had already been used in over 50 peer-reviewed published studies conducted at the Rowett Institute, the most prestigious nutritional institute in the UK. Furthermore, the design was explicitly approved in advance by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)—the UK government's main funding body for the biological sciences.”
It’s also important to note that when Dr. Pusztai designed and carried out the study, he had no history of non-GMO advocacy. He was chosen for the study because lectin, the protein added to the GM potatoes, was his specialty. There was no reason for him to purposefully skew the design of the study. In fact, in 2003 the medical journal Nutrition and Health hailed the study as "remarkable in that the experimental conditions were varied and several ways were found by which to demonstrate possible health effects of GM foods."
So much for Tribe and Chassy’s criticism.
Back in the day, when hunter-gatherers were making difficult decisions about what to put in their mouths, they had to weigh a lot of factors. But thankfully, propaganda wasn’t one of the elements competing for their attention. In an age where “panels of experts” are paid by the companies whose products they promote, the average citizen needs to exercise a great deal of intelligence to avoid being poisoned. I hope you’ll take the time to read Jeffrey Smith’s article in full , visit the website of the Institute for Responsible Technology and give yourself a thorough education on the dangers of GM foods and how to avoid them.