Friday, 12 December 2014

Sowing Seeds of Misinformation: Let’s Set the Record Straight on GMO Crops and Foods!


Two Canadian citizens’ respond to the pro-GMO propaganda of American Professor, Dr Kevin Folta, while lecturing in Winnipeg during late October 2014. 

Letter to the Editor: 

by-- Rose Stevens, Winnipeg , and John Balatinecz, PhD, Toronto

We are two Canadians, one a hobby organic farmer (RS), the other a retired university professor (JB).  We are deeply concerned about the impacts GMO crops have on human and environmental health. In fact, that concern is what brought us to meet on the web. And if that concern makes us into “ACTIVISTS”, so be it. At least we care about people and environmental health.  The same cannot be said of the corporate transnational agri-giant cartels, the producers and promoters of GMOs, with their so-called “gifts of “modern agriculture”. You can not grow healthy foods with poison!
Cartoon credit - www.seppo.net
Dr Folta was quoted in the Winnipeg Free Press, as saying: “Concerns about GMOs are based on misinformation and fear. In 17 years of use, there has not been one single health consequence related to these products.” 
 This simply is not true—on the contrary: this is the misinformation. What Folta conveniently forgot to mention in his remarks is the fact that GMO crops are laced with agro-poison residues (peddled to unsuspecting farmers as Herbicides/pesticides). It is true that these chemicals kill weeds and insects, thus making agriculture more convenient. But they also kill honey bees, and harm human health very significantly, especially over the long run. 

Sadly and unfortunately, GMO crops, largely sprayed with these chemicals and foods which contain varying traces of these toxins/poisons are not required to be tested for residues by Health Canada and/or independent laboratories. Health Canada simply accepts unverified confirmations on safety supplied to them by the GMO crop giants, and their downstream customer food processors. 


That casual approach to presumed safety use by Health Canada may soon be regretted. This, especially when the class action lawsuits commence charging liability and responsibility for harm to human and environmental health. 


The recently initiated $400-million lawsuit by Ontario ’s beekeepers against Syngenta and Bayer CropScience is an indication of what is to come. The proverbial “Tip of The Iceberg”.
Further, there is plenty of independent scientific and medical evidence showing significant harm of foods containing GMO’s sprayed with deadly chemicals. For example, two prominent American scientists Drs. Samsel & Seneff of MIT)systematically collected, compiled and analyzed 286 scientific references world-wide. Their conclusion:
There is a causal relationship between herbicide (e.g. Roundup/glyphosate) contamination and chronic diseases and conditions (such as obesity, diabetes, infertility, cancer, autism, liver disease, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease).”  


American Physician, Dr Jeffrey Ritterman of San Francisco reported recently (2014):
 “Monsanto’s herbicide (Roundup) is linked to cancer and fatal kidney disease.” 


The American Academy of Environmental Medicine stated:
“Physicians should educate their patients, the medical community and the general public about the health risks of GMOs, and avoid GM foods when possible.”  


These folks are not some misguided anti-GMO “activists”, spreading fear and propaganda.
Finally, Dr Folta’s incredulous statement why Europeans reject GMO foods: apparently for “cultural and political reasons” is also patently false! The fact is the Europeans accept the findings of independent science, indicating potentially serious harm from consuming GMO foods. In fact, a year ago, 300 prominent European scientists signed a declaration, stating:
 “As scientists, physicians, academics and experts from disciplines relevant to the scientific, legal, social and safety assessment aspects of GMOs, we strongly reject claims by GM seed developers, and some scientists, commentators and journalists indicating that there is a scientific consensus on GMO safety.”  


Consequently, the EU and up to 64 countries world-wide have banned or introduced mandatory labeling of GMO foods for some time now. In Canada and the US , on the other hand, even that simple step---mandatory labeling---was & is prevented by the powerful pro-GMO lobby. For example, in the US the bio-tech giants and their corporate friends have spent over $200-Million during the last few years to fight mandatory labeling initiatives.   Canada , of course, follows the retrogressive “lead” of the US ; perhaps because of the “shackles” of NAFTA? 


Could it be that corporate-friendly trade agreements over-ride the importance of human and environmental health? We also wonder why the transnational pro-GMO cartel is against mandatory labeling; have they got something to hide? If GMO foods are indeed  harmless and kosher, why not label them and say: “Good GMO foods, better for your health!  The combined gifts of advanced biotechnology and modern agriculture!” 


It is now time, even urgent that all people in Canada rally and demand that Canada ratify the UN convention on biodiversity preservation (Cartagena Protocol), which should make it difficult for foreign corporations to steal, harm or make extinct, Canada's biological diversity.  The 11th hour is upon us.  Better to initiate the “Precautionary Principle” and ban the use of all poisons used in commercial agriculture today and resort to the tried and true practices of chemical-free organic farming.  


Our and the planet’s survival depends on it!
 

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