On May 23, 2003, President Bush proposed an Initiative to End Hunger in Africa  using genetically modified (GM) foods. He also blamed Europe’s “unfounded, unscientific fears” of these foods for thwarting recovery efforts. Bush was convinced that GM foods held the key to greater yields, expanded U.S. exports, and a better world. His rhetoric was not new. It had been passed down from president to president, and delivered to the American people through regular news reports and industry advertisements.
The message was part of a master plan that had been crafted by corporations determined to control the world’s food supply. This was made clear at a biotech industry conference in January 1999, where a representative from Arthur Anderson Consulting Group explained how his company had helped Monsanto create that plan.
First, they asked Monsanto what their ideal future looked like in fifteen to twenty years. Monsanto executives described a world with 100 percent of all commercial seeds genetically modified and patented.Anderson Consulting then worked backwards from that goal, and developed the strategy and tactics to achieve it. They presented Monsanto with the steps and procedures needed to obtain a place of industry dominance in a world in which natural seeds were virtually extinct.
“The hope of the industry is that over time, the market is so flooded that there’s nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender.” 
“So you see, there really isn’t much difference between foods made by Mother Nature and those made by man. What’s artificial is the line drawn between them.” 
"Overwhelming scientific research shows that biotech foods are safe and healthy.” 
In the ensuing war over public opinion, biotech advocates tried to spin the science in favor of GM foods, but were thwarted at each attempt by leaked documents and compelling evidence.
When Susan answered the door, she was startled to see several reporters standing in front of her. Several more were running from their cars in her direction and she could see more cars and TV news vans parking along the street.
“But you all know that we can’t speak about what happened. We would be sued and ~” 
“It’s OK now,” the reporter from Channel Four Television interrupted, waving a paper in front of her. “They’ve released your husband. He can talk to us.”
Susan took the paper. “Arpad, come here,” she called to her husband.
Arpad Pusztai (pronounced: Are-pod Poos-tie), a distinguished looking man in his late sixties, was already on his way. As his wife showed him the document, the reporters slipped past them into the house. But Arpad didn’t notice; he was staring at the paper his wife had just handed him.
He recognized the letterhead at once ~ The Rowett Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland. It was one of the world’s leading nutritional institutes and his employer for the previous thirty-five years ~ until his sudden suspension seven months ago. And there it was, clearly spelled out. They had released their gag order. He could speak.
The document was dated that same day, February 16, 1999. In fact, less than twenty minutes before, thirty reporters had sat in the Rowett Institute press conference listening to its director Professor Phillip James casually mention that the restrictions on Dr. Pusztai’s speaking to the press had been lifted.
Before James had finished his sentence, the reporters leaped for the door. They jumped into their cars and headed straight to the Pusztai’s house on Ashley Park North, an address most were familiar with, having virtually camped out there seven months earlier. Now those thirty reporters, with TV cameras and tape recorders, were piled into the Pusztai’s living room.
Arpad Pusztai read the document ~ twice. As he looked up, the reporters started asking him questions all at once. He smiled, and breathed more easily than he had in a long time. He had all but given up hope. Now he finally had the chance to share what he knew about the dangers of genetically engineered foods.
The story of Arpad Pusztai made headlines throughout Europe for months, alerting readers to some of the serious health risks of genetically modified (GM) foods. It was barely mentioned, however, in the U.S. press; the media watchdog group Project Censored described it as one of the ten most underreported events of the year. 
The Washington Post reported that laboratory mice, usually happy to munch on tomatoes, turned their noses up at the genetically modified FlavrSavr tomato. Scientist Roger Salquist said of his tomato, “I gotta tell you, you can be Chef Boyardee and mice are still not going to like them.” 
“While these types of unpredicted changes in gene expression are very real, they have not received much attention outside the community of the DNA chip users.” He adds that, “there is currently no way to predict the resultant changes in protein synthesis.” 
“The scientists’ testimony before a Senate committee was like a scene from the conspiratorial television show The X-Files.” 
“It has also been determined that at least 90 percent of bovine growth hormone (bGH) activity is destroyed upon pasteurization of milk. Therefore, bGH residues do not present a human food safety concern.” 
“When I read that, I said, wait a second; milk is pasteurized for 15 seconds at that temperature ~ not 30 minutes. They intentionally tried to destroy the hormone…. That must have been their mission. Why else would they heat the milk for 30 minutes at a high temperature reserved for a 15 second treatment?”
“They then ‘spiked’ the milk. This is their word, ‘spike.’ They added artificial bGH … 146 times the level of naturally occurring bST in powdered form to the milk and heated it. The powdered bGH in milk was destroyed! They saved the day for Monsanto. The experiment worked. These men of science could claim that heat treatment destroys bGH.” 
“U.S. government agencies have done exactly what big agribusiness has asked them to do and told them to do.” 
The biotech industry’s success with these government leaders became apparent on May 26, 1992 in the Indian Treaty Room of the Old Executive Building. There, Vice President Dan Quayle announced the Bush administration’s new policy on genetically engineered food:
“The reforms we announce today will speed up and simplify the process of bringing better agricultural products, developed through biotech, to consumers, food processors and farmers. We will ensure that biotech products will receive the same oversight as other products, instead of being hampered by unnecessary regulation.” 
“The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.” 
POLITICAL SCIENCE AT THE FDA
Attorney Michael Taylor was involved in the development of FDA policy. Prior to working at the FDA, Monsanto was his personal client. Taylor had helped Monsanto draft pro-biotech regulations that the industry would lobby for. While working for the FDA, Taylor could implement those laws himself. For Monsanto, there was no better person to step into a leadership role at the FDA.
Taylor did not simply fill a vacant position at the agency. In 1991 the FDA created a new position for him: Deputy Commissioner for Policy. He instantly became the FDA official with the greatest influence on GM food regulation, overseeing the development of government policy.
“During Mr. Taylor’s tenure as Deputy Commissioner, references to the unintended negative effects of bioengineering were progressively deleted from drafts of the policy statement (over the protests of agency scientists), and a final statement was issued claiming (a) that [GM] foods are no riskier than others and (b) that the agency has no information to the contrary.” 
“trying to force an ultimate conclusion that there is no difference between foods modified by genetic engineering and foods modified by traditional breeding practices,” the agency was “trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.” She insisted, “The processes of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different, and according to the technical experts in the agency, they lead to different risks.” 
“There is a profound difference between the types of unexpected effects from traditional breeding and genetic engineering,”
“Dr. Pribyl knew from studies that toxins could be unintentionally created when new genes were introduced into a plant’s cells.”  Moreover, Pribyl wrote “there is no certainty that [the breeders of GM foods] will be able to pick up effects that might not be obvious.” He declared, “This is the industry’s pet idea, namely that there are no unintended effects that will raise the FDA’s level of concern. But time and time again, there is no data to back up their contention.” 
“The predominant view was that genetic engineering entails distinct risks and that its products cannot be regarded as safe unless they have been confirmed to be so through appropriate feeding studies.” Druker says several scientists “issued strong warnings.” 
“The possibility of unexpected, accidental changes in genetically engineered plants justifies a limited traditional toxicological study.” 
“Increased levels of known naturally occurring toxins” “Appearance of new, not previously identified” toxins. Increased tendency to gather “toxic substances from the environment” such as “pesticides or heavy metals” “Undesirable alterations in the levels of nutrients”
“Unless genetically engineered plants are evaluated specifically for these changes,” these four “may escape breeders’ attention.” The division recommended testing every GM food “before it enters the marketplace.” 
“CVM believes that animal feeds derived from genetically modified plants present unique animal and food safety concerns.” He pointed out that, “residues of plant constituents or toxicants in meat and milk products may pose human food safety concerns.” 
“What has happened to the scientific elements of this document? Without a sound scientific base to rest on, this becomes a broad, general, ‘What do I have to do to avoid trouble’-type document…. It will look like and probably be just a political document…. It reads very pro-industry, especially in the area of unintended effects.”
“The approach and provisions of the policy statement are consistent with the general biotechnology policy established by the Office of the President…. It also responds to White House interest in assuring the safe, speedy development of the U.S. biotechnology industry.” 
“The extensive twelve page discussion seems to be…dangerously detailed and drawn-out.” 
“I want to make very clear that it is the position of the United States government that we do not believe there is a difference between GMO commodities and non-GMO commodities.” 
“There is general consensus among the scientific community that genetically modified food is no different from conventional food.” 
“there are a number of specific issues… for which a scientific consensus does not exist currently, especially the need for specific toxicology tests.” Maryanski also said, “I think the question of the potential for some substances to cause allergenic reactions is particularly difficult to predict.” 
“The scientists were displaying precisely the concerns that Monsanto executives from the 1980’s had anticipated ~ and indeed had considered reasonable. But now, rather than trying to address those concerns, Monsanto, the industry and official Washington were dismissing them as the insignificant worries of the uninformed.” 
“Any politician or scientist who tells you these products are safe is either very stupid or lying. The experiments have simply not been done.” 
“expression of a new gene (and its products) … will be accompanied by a range of collateral changes in expression of other genes, changes in the pattern of proteins produced and/or changes in metabolic activities.” This could result in novel toxins or other harmful substances.
“The risks in biotechnology are undeniable, and they stem from the unknowable in science and commerce. It is prudent to recognize and address those risks, not compound them by overly optimistic or foolhardy behavior.” 
“There seemed to be a trend in the place toward approval at any price. It went from a university-like setting where there was independent scientific review to an atmosphere of ‘approve, approve, and approve.” He said, “The thinking is, ‘How many things can we approve this year?’ Somewhere along the way they abdicated their responsibility to the public welfare.” 
“At FDA morale stinks. Hundreds of people have either retired or quit in disgust. All the best people, who believed in working on behalf of public health, have gone.”
“It was almost immoral to say that it wasn’t good because it was going to solve the problems of the human race and feed the hungry and clothe the naked.” He said, “You felt like you were almost an alien, disloyal, by trying to present an open-minded view…. So I pretty much spouted the rhetoric… It was written into my speeches.” 
Could this also explain why soy allergies in the UK jumped by 50 percent after Roundup Ready soy was introduced?
“said their findings provide real evidence that GM food could have a tangible, harmful impact on the human body.” A spokesman said, “We believe this raises serious new questions about the safety of GM foods.”
“points to the fact that far more work is needed to assess their safety. At the moment no allergy tests are carried out before GM foods are marketed.” 
“I felt my chest getting tight, it was hard to breathe,” recalled Booth.“She didn’t know but she was going into shock,” reported CBS news.“I thought, oh my God, what is happening to me? I felt like I was going to die.” Her co-workers called an ambulance 
The biotech industry had found its poster child, genetically engineered rice that makes its own beta-carotene ~ a precursor to vitamin A. In his New York Times Magazine article, “The Great Yellow Hype,” Michael Pollan says that golden rice impales Americans on the horns of a moral dilemma:
“if we don’t get over our queasiness about eating genetically modified food, kids in the third world will go blind. Yet the more one learns about biotechnology’s Great Yellow Hope,” Pollan continues, “the more uncertain seems its promise.” 
“This whole project is actually based on what can only be characterized as intentional deception,” writes Benedikt Haerlin, former international coordinator of Greenpeace’s genetic engineering campaign. “We recalculated their figures again and again. We just could not believe serious scientists and companies would do this.” 
“The public-relations uses of golden rice have gone too far” and are misleading the public and media. He adds, “We do not consider golden rice the solution to the Vitamin A deficiency problem.” 
The biotech proponents also admit that to persuade people to eat yellow rice may require an educational campaign. But if they are going to spend the time to educate, Pollan asks,
“Why not instead teach “people how to grow green vegetables [that are rich in vitamin A and other nutrients] on the margins of their rice fields, and maybe even give them the seeds to do so? Or what about handing out vitamin-A supplements to children so severely malnourished their bodies can’t metabolize beta-carotene?”
Michael Khoo of Greenpeace says
“Golden rice isn’t about solving childhood blindness, it’s about solving biotech’s public relations problem. If the industry were truly dedicated to the problems of malnutrition and starvation, a tiny fraction of their advertising budget could have been diverted to make an enormous difference already.” Khoo says, “It is shameful that the biotech industry is using starving children to promote a dubious product.” 
“The main agenda for golden rice is not malnutrition but garnering greater support and acceptance for genetic engineering amongst the public, the scientific community and funding agencies. Given this reality, the promise of golden rice should be taken with a pinch of salt.” 
This chapter describes all the sources of GM foods and explains how to remove them from your diet. It also provides additional motivation to make a change, describing how food can dramatically influence mood and behavior.
Books have power. Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle exposed the unsanitary conditions of the meat packing industry. After Teddy Roosevelt read the book on a long train trip, he pushed a bill through congress creating meat inspection.
Officials around the world who are in charge of GM food policy need to be made aware of the foods’ dangers and of how their approval was based on politics, not science.
This section ties in recent events with a summary of some of the salient points from the book.
There are the numerous ways in which industry researchers apparently doctored their studies to avoid finding problems with GM foods.
For example, Aventis heated StarLink corn four times longer than standard before testing for intact protein.
Monsanto fed mature animals diets with only one tenth of their protein derived from GM soy.
Researchers injected cows with one forty-seventh the amount of rbGH before testing the level of hormone in the milk and pasteurized milk 120 times longer than normal to see if the hormone was destroyed.
Monsanto used stronger acid and more than 1,250 times the amount of a digestive enzyme recommended by international standards to prove how quickly their protein degraded.
Overturning a myth is not easy and cannot be accomplished by only a few individuals. Please join with those of us who are dedicated to getting the truth out.
For an excellent website on the GMO cover-up, see www.seedsofdeception.com
For what you can do, see www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/TakeAction/index.cfm
For reliable information on other major cover-ups, see www.WantToKnow.info
Seeds of Deception
copyright © 2003 Jeffrey M. Smith
~ Joe Mendelson, Legal Director, Center for Food Safety
“I have seen firsthand how Monsanto and the FDA
~ Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., professor emeritus environmental and occupational medicine University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition