The poor performance of genetically engineered crops: imposing new risks on comsumer and environment while failing to improve the farmers' bottom line.Although proponents of agricultural biotechnology repeatedly claim that genetically engineered genetically engineered adjective Recombinant, see there (GE) crops are dramatically increasing yields, enlarging farmers' profits, and reducing environmental hazards--while creating no higher risks to the health of the consumer--the facts tell a very different story. In reality, yields are often reduced, farmers are not enjoying higher profits, environmental hazards are intensifying, and numerous scientists, including the FDA's own experts, have warned about increased risks to the safety of the food supply.
GE crops are not performing as promised
As reported by the Des Moines Des Moines, city, United States
Des Moines (dĭ moin`), city (1990 pop. 193,187), state capital and seat of Polk co., S central Iowa, at the junction of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers; inc. Register, studies of Iowa farmers conducted for 1998 and 2000 by Iowa State University Academics
ISU is best known for its degree programs in science, engineering, and agriculture. ISU is also home of the world's first electronic digital computing device, the Atanasoff–Berry Computer. economist Dr.Michael Duffy Michael Duffy may refer to:
(of an organism) having DNA which has been altered for the purpose of improvement or correction of defects
genetically modified genetic adj [food etc] → corn and soybeans fare no better financially than those who grow traditional crops...seed companies and chemical companies have reaped the primary benefits of biotechnology so far."
Dr. Duffy also found that in both years, yields for the GE soybean soybean, soya bean, or soy pea, leguminous plant (Glycine max, G. soja, or Soja max) of the family Leguminosae (pulse family), native to tropical and warm temperate regions of Asia, where it has been (Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety) were lower than for the non-GE beans. This bean is the most widely planted GE crop in the world, and Duffy discovered that, despite the fact it actually reduces yields, over half the farmers he studied who had bought it did so because they believed it would increase their yields.
The reduced yields of GE soybeans have been confirmed by several other studies. For example, researchers at the University of Nebraska conducted controlled studies comparing the Roundup Ready soybean with non-engineered soybeans and found consistent yield decreases with the GE beans of between 5 and 10%. They determined that 5% of the decrease was a result of the genetic manipulation. This research was published in the peer-reviewed Agronomy agronomy (əgrŏn`əmē), branch of agriculture dealing with various physical and biological factors—including soil management, tillage, crop rotation, breeding, weed control, and climate—related to crop production. Journal.
As for GE corn, research conducted on a national scale indicates an over-all reduction of profits. A study by Dr. Charles Benbrook, former Executive Director of the National Academy of Science Board of Agriculture, found that from 1996 through 2001 farmers who planted genetically engineered Bt corn have on the whole lost about $92 million, or an average of about $1.31 per acre.
Bt corn, which is engineered to produce pesticide in its cells, is the most widely planted type of GE corn.
Even if GE crops were actually delivering their advertised benefits, they still would not be needed to alleviate hunger in the Third World. For example, in March 2003 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO FAO,
n See Food and Agriculture Organization. ) of the United Nations released a report on world food trends acknowledging that sufficient nutriment nutriment /nu·tri·ment/ (noo´tri-mint) nutrient (2).
1. A source of nourishment; food.
2. An agent that promotes growth or development. for all the people of the world can be produced without the use of genetic engineering. According cording to The New Scientist magazine: "The introduction of genetically-modified crops is not critical, says the FAO report: 'Agricultural production could probably meet expected demand until 2030 even without major advances in modern biotechnology. '''
GE crops are not reducing environmental hazards but increasing them
Extensive evidence shows that farmers who plant crops that are genetically engineered to resist the herbicide herbicide (hr`bəsīd'), chemical compound that kills plants or inhibits their normal growth. A herbicide in a particular formulation and application can be described as selective or nonselective. Roundup are now applying more of it to their fields. Further, recent research conducted by the Denmark and Greenland Geological Research Institution has discovered that the Roundup used in Danish agriculture is unexpectedly polluting the ground water with its active ingredient An active ingredient, also active pharmaceutical ingredient (or API), is the substance in a drug that is pharmaceutically active. Some medications may contain more than one active ingredient. glyphosate glyphosate
herbicide and desiccant for grains. Heavy doses to birds cause soft shells on their eggs. at five times the acceptable level. Experts have been surprised by the results because research provided by Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, had led them to believe that bacteria broke down glyphosate before it reached the groundwater. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Professor Mogens Henze, head of the Institute for Environment and Resources at Denmark's Technical University, "The results show that glyphosate is polluting our drinking water drinking water
supply of water available to animals for drinking supplied via nipples, in troughs, dams, ponds and larger natural water sources; an insufficient supply leads to dehydration; it can be the source of infection, e.g. leptospirosis, salmonellosis, or of poisoning, e.g. . And unfortunately we have only seen the tip of the iceberg tip of the iceberg
n. pl. tips of the iceberg
A small evident part or aspect of something largely hidden: afraid that these few reported cases of the disease might only be the tip of the iceberg. ."
The extent of glyphosate pollution in the US is likely much greater than in Denmark, where commercial planting of GE Roundup-resistant crops is not allowed. The problems there have arisen solely through application of Roundup to conventional crops. In contrast, the majority of the US soybean crop has for several years been planted in Roundup-resistant beans, which has led to greater levels of glyphosate application than in the typical conventional situation.
There are already instances of weeds such as mare's-tail and water hemp Wa´ter hemp`
1. (Bot.) See under Hemp. becoming resistant to Roundup because of its substantially increased use. The editors of the New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times noted that such resistance is a natural outcome of Roundup having become so "pervasive" through the planting of genetically engineered crops designed to tolerate it; and they stated that besides those weeds currently showing resistance, "others will certainly follow."
Resistance to the Bt toxin has been observed among some species of pests. Moreover, recent research conducted at London's Imperial College has found that some of these resistant pests actually thrive on the Bt-producing crops. Reporting on this "startling star·tle
v. star·tled, star·tling, star·tles
1. To cause to make a quick involuntary movement or start.
2. To alarm, frighten, or surprise suddenly. See Synonyms at frighten. new research," a major British newspaper said the evidence indicates "that pests can actually use the poison as a food and that the crops, rather than automatically controlling them, can actually help them to thrive." The report noted that this research on Bt crops "radically undermines one of the key benefits claimed for them. And it suggests that they may be an even greater threat to organic farming organic farming, the practice of raising plants—especially fruits and vegetables, but ornamentals as well—without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. than has been envisaged." 
Besides contributing to the development of herbicide-resistant pests by inducing over-use of herbicide, GE herbicide-resistant crops can transfer the gene that confers this resistance to wild, weedy relatives through cross-pollination, thereby creating "superweeds" that are immune to the active ingredient.
This threat is well recognized, as evidenced by a March 2002 report by the European Environment Agency European Environment Agency (EEA), agency of the European Union devoted to establishing a monitoring network for the monitoring of the European environment. It is governed by a Management Board composed of representatives of the governments of member states, a European Commission , which, in the words of the British newspaper, The Independent, "confirms environmentalists' worst fears." The newspaper summarized the report's conclusion as follows: "Genes will inevitably escape from genetically modified crops, contaminating organic farms, creating superweeds, and driving wild slants to extinction." [emphasis added]
The paper also noted the report's caution that "'gene flow can occur over long distances', and that some varieties of GM crops interbreed interbreed
to breed between animal or plant species, breeds, families. with others 'at higher frequencies and at greater distances than previously thought.'" ("GM Crops Bound to 'Escape,' Says EU," The Independent, March 24, 2002.)
Hundreds of scientists, including the FDA's own experts, have warned that genetically engineered foods pose higher human health risks than do other foods
The editors of the respected UK medical journal The Lancet have strongly criticized the presumption that GE foods entail no greater risks of unexpected effects. They stated there are "good reasons to believe that specific risks may exist" and that "governments should never have allowed these products into the food chain without insisting on rigorous testing for effects on health."
The Public Health Association of Australia analyzed Monsanto's data from controlled studies oil three of its GE plants (herbicide resistant corn and canola, and pesticide-producing corn) and in all three cases found several statistically significant differences in amino acid amino acid (əmē`nō), any one of a class of simple organic compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and in certain cases sulfur. These compounds are the building blocks of proteins. composition between the GE organism and its non-GE counterpart. Their report (October 2000) states that the differences cannot be attributed solely to the known products of the inserted genes and cautions that these plants may contain unexpected--and to date unidentified--new proteins that could be harmful to humans.
Recent investigation by scientists at Japan's Nagoya University Nagoya University (名古屋大学 Nagoya daigaku reveals that Monsanto's data on the "Roundup Ready" soybean actually shows important differences between it and its conventional counterpart. For instance, after heat processing of both the GE and non-GE beans, the concentrations of three harmful substances were significantly higher in the GE samples.
The FDA's scientists concluded that genetic engineering is inherently hazardous and can produce unintended new toxins that are unpredictable and difficult to detect. They cautioned that no GE food could be considered safe unless it has passed rigorous toxicological tests.
An FDA FDA
Food and Drug Administration
n.pr See Food and Drug Administration.
n.pr the abbreviation for the Food and Drug Administration. official summarized the experts' opinions by stating: "The processes of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different. and according to the technical experts in the agency, they lead to different risks."
Nevertheless, FDA administrators, who admit they are following a directive to foster the biotechnology industry. disregarded their experts' input and claimed there is an overwhelming consensus among experts that GE foods are so safe they don't need to be tested. They did so despite their knowledge that no such expert consensus exists outside the FDA either--as evidenced by a letter from FDA's biotechnology coordinator to a Canadian health official. Based on this false claim, they have allowed GE foods to be marketed without any testing.
There is no reliable evidence showing that .any GE food has passed all the safety tests the FDA experts said are necessary, and most have not even been subjected to the crucial ones.
1. Des Moines Register, "Biotech Crops Fail to Reap More Cash," Jerry Perkins, January 1, 2002.
2. http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubinfo/ papersspeeches/biotech.html
4. Elmore et al, "Glyphosate-Resistant Soybean Cultivar cultivar
Any variety of a plant, originating through cloning or hybridization (see clone, hybrid), known only in cultivation. In asexually propagated plants, a cultivar is a clone considered valuable enough to have its own name; in sexually propagated plants, a Yields Compared with Sister Lines," Agron J2001 93: 408-412
5. http://www.gefoodalert.org/library/admin/uploadedfiles/ When_Does_It_Pay_To_Plant_Bt_Corn.pdf
6. The New Scientist, Debora MacKenzie, March 4, 2003.
7. Dr. Charles Benbrook, Pesticide Outlook, October 2001, Pages 204-207.
8. As reported in the English translation of an article in the Copenhagen newspaper Politiken, May 10, 2003. http://politiken dk/VisArtikel.sasp?PageID=269614
9. "Roundup Unready,' New York Times, Feb. 19,2003.
10. "Insects Thrive On GM 'Pest-Killing' Crops," Geoffrey Lean, The Independent, March 30, 2003.
11. Lancet Vol. 353, No. 9167, p. 1811 (May 29, 1999).
12. Technology and Human Beings, Nov.2000, p24-33
13. Photocopies of 24 key FDA memos are at www.biointegrity.org
14. Document #1 in the set of photocopies of FDA memos at www.biointegrity.org/list.html
15. FDA Document #8 at www.biointegrity.org
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Stevenn M. Druker, Executive Director, Alliance for Bio-Integrity