"GMOs will not feed the world"

 
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- Jeffrey M Smith has written about 65 scientists who have conducted tests on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in his book Genetic Roulette. He talks about the impact and hazards of Bt gene. He spoke to Savvy Soumya Misra at the launch of his book in Delhi recently

Safety: Lab tests on mice showed allergies, disruption in reproductive cycle, hormonal imbalance, respiratory problems and increased mortality. A food supplement, L-tryptophan, killed 100 people and over 5,000 were taken sick with eosinophilia mylagia syndrome in the US in the 1980s. The disease could be identified as it was rare. It was found that to cut costs the company manufactured the supplement with genetically engineered bacteria.

Studies also show yield of GM crops is less than non-Bt crops and it is unsafe. It is a myth that GM will feed the world. Poverty and not scarcity of food is the cause of hunger.

Environment: Field trials of GM crops without any barrier will cause irreversible genetic pollution. Cross-pollination will contaminate related crops. GM trees, where pollen transfer will be widespread, would make it worse. Plant parts of Bt corn washed into the stream have reduced the number of water flea or caddisfly, a crucial food source in the marine ecosystem.

Bt spray and crop: Bt is present in the soil naturally. When it is collected and sprayed, it kills pests. When its gene is inserted in a crop, it is called the GM crop, which is more harmful. Bt sprays reduce immunity and cause allergic reactions; GM crops are associated with high toxicity, infertility, birth defects and reduced immunity.

Monsanto: In 1992, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passed a pro-GM policy and said they were unaware of any danger of GMO and Monsanto could market it. It was later revealed there was no consensus in the FDA. More tests were recommended but it was ignored. Michael Taylor, FDA'S Deputy Commissioner for Policy in 1992, was the former attorney for Monsanto and its next vice president. Lobbyists have made it to the panel of policy makers.

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