The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

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Food with GMOs banned in UK Parliament, but it’s OK for you to eat

Scientist injecting fruit (© Hero Images/Getty Images)


Genetically modified foods are banned from all restaurants in the U.K.’s Houses of Parliament, which is probably making things a bit awkward for the country’s food and farming secretary, Owen Paterson. Last week, the senior British official made a public declaration that genetically modified foods are perfectly safe, and he encouraged families and the food industry to embrace them. But his appeals have lost some steam since it was revealed that the House of Commons Catering service, which feeds all Parliamentary officials, banned genetically modified ingredients back in 1998. “The decision to avoid GMs is seen as largely a matter of customer choice,” a spokesperson said. [Source]

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Science vs. World Leaders

In Medical Daily, Anoopa Singh documents a study that links GMO food toxins to anemia and other blood disorders:

“…in a new study where mice were fed endotoxin, researchers found that even the smallest, and once deemed safe, doses of the toxin appeared to cause harmful immune reactions.

Researchers looked at immune reactions in the exposed mice after one, three, and seven days. They found that after one day, the mouse’s blood contained many inflammation-inducing molecules. These inflammatory molecules were not localized to anywhere in particular, indicating that the blood was rejecting the toxin and the immune system was sending out molecules to mark it for immune attack. By the third day, the level of inflammatory agents in the blood had significantly increased, further indicating that the toxin was creating a negative effect in the mice, even at a small dose.

In terms of the blood itself, many adverse changes were observed as well. After three days, there was a significant reduction in red blood cell counts and hemoglobin in the blood. This led to hypochromia, or some loss of the red color of blood, because without enough red blood cells and hemoglobin, there cannot be enough oxygen in the blood – as a result, deoxygenated blood is very dark and nearly brown, while oxygenated blood is bright red. Between days three and seven, hemoglobin levels in the mice decreased by fivefold.”

World leaders nontheless claim these products are safe.  In a speech at the World Food Prize Foundation, US Secretary of State, John Kerry called them “smart” crops that can save money, save the environment and save lives:

“It is a virtuous circle.  And through innovation, we believe we can help alleviate the level of hunger and malnutrition today, but more than that, we can, hopefully, live up to our responsibilities for the future.”

In a major speech, UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, claims:

“the use of more precise technology and the greater regulatory scrutiny probably makes GMOs even safer than conventional plants and food”.

Ironically, Mr Paterson spoke at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire, where he toured the only active GM crop trial in the UK.

It should also be noted that:

The United States is the world’s biggest producer and consumer of genetically modified food, and the U.S.-based Monsanto company is the world’s largest developer of genetically altered crops.  The company has engineered crops that thrive in some of the world’s worst climates and can protect themselves from diseases and pests.  The U.S. has promoted these crops as part of a solution to alleviate world hunger.  But many countries avoid genetically engineered plants fearing harmful long-term effects.

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UK Government Wants to Change Rules on GM Crops

To answer the author’s question, “who should we believe?” – people are right to be skeptical.  The industry itself has been the main source of information on the efficacy of  GMO products.  First they claimed it would provide higher yields.  That was proven to be untrue.  Now they’re selling it as an answer to global warming.  Their assurances of the product’s safety is also proving to be false.  Impartial data is hard to come by as industry patents prohibit independent testing of their products.  And, of course we should trust the science – as long as it is independent and unbiased.

The UK Government wants to change the rules on GM crops based on political and commercial interest as Australia beefs up the scientific checks and balances on GM production.
By: The Leader
A recent study by Warwick University, working together with Glasgow University, examined why people who understand t he dangers of global warming do little or nothing to change their behaviour.
We persist with our self destructive behaviours, apparently, because we don’t trust the science that offers evidence for global warming, we don’t trust the politicians who support measures to ameliorate global warming, we don’t trust the media who spin and trivialise their reports on global warming and we don’t trust the energy companies who are pushing alternative forms of energy production.
We are facing a similar conundrum over whether we allow humans to eat genetically modified (GM) foods. In the same week that ministers of the current UK government have embarked on a mission to allow GM foods for human consumption, the Australian government is not only tightening up controls on GM food production, but boasting that they lead the world in this area.
Who and what should we believe? Continue reading