GMO-Scientist-Blows-the-Whistle-on-Monsanto

A former GMO scientist has revealed how the risk assessment of genetically modified crops is a corrupt process using sham science. This lack of genuine research from Monsanto and other biotech companies has brought significant threats to our health, our food system, and the natural environment.

The inside knowledge provided by Dr. Jonathan Latham adds to the evidence stacking up that GMOs are not as safe as claimed, and their introduction into the market was accomplished through deceit.

While company lobbyists grease the skids in Washington, “researchers” are busy producing the desired results back at the lab.

When a biotech company such as Monsanto wants to get a GM product on the market, it produces its own risk assessment of potential health and environmental effects.

Through purposely flawed, outdated procedures they can always claim that their product is “safe.”

Amazingly, these self-assessments are the only documents on which government regulators rely, as patents prevent anyone else from studying the proposed GMO product.

“Though these documents are quite long and quite complex, their length is misleading in that they primarily ask (and answer) trivial questions. Furthermore, the experiments described within them are often very inadequate and sloppily executed. Scientific controls are often missing, procedures and reagents are badly described, and the results are often ambiguous or uninterpretable. I do not believe that this ambiguity and apparent incompetence is accidental. It is common, for example, for multinational corporations, whose labs have the latest equipment, to use outdated methodologies. When the results show what the applicants want, nothing is said. But when the results are inconvenient, and raise red flags, they blame the limitations of the antiquated method. This bulletproof logic, in which applicants claim safety no matter what the data shows, or how badly the experiment was performed, is routine in formal GMO risk assessment.”

Dr. Latham began his career as a biologist making genetically modified plants, inserting DNA from viruses and bacteria into the plants as part of his Ph.D. research. He never imagined that GMOs would one day be grown commercially and eaten.

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It gradually became clear to him and some colleagues that “commercial interests were running far ahead of scientific knowledge.” His experience in researching GMO risk assessment applications solidified his perspective.

“To any honest observer, reading these applications is bound to raise profound and disturbing questions: about the trustworthiness of the applicants and equally of the regulators. They are impossible to reconcile with a functional regulatory system capable of protecting the public.”

This abomination of the scientific and regulatory process (at the behest of biotech corporations that control vast portions of global agriculture) has grave consequences.  Crops are unleashed that can wreak havoc on ecological communities, permanently infect the genetics of traditional crops, and pose risks to human health.

Dr. Latham explains that Bt crops, which kill pests by emitting a bacterial toxin, were sold as “insect-specific and safe” but may actually harm human cells.

Herbicide-resistant GM crops were developed in the 1990’s and have resulted in the increased use of herbicides, causing more exposure to humans and the environment. Monsanto said its glyphosate (RoundUp) was perfectly safe, and regulators agreed.

Now, however, the World Health Organization has stated that glyphosate is likely carcinogenic, and California will become the first state to label it as such.

Bayer’s herbicide, glufosinate, does not degrade when applied to the GM crop and can still be present months later when eaten by humans.

In another example of overlooked hazards, for 20 years, safety agencies had the wrong assumption about an important viral sequence in GMOs, then tried to cover up the finding that they were wrong.

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Dr. Latham goes on to say what we already know to be true—Monsanto and others in the biotech industry exist to serve themselves, not to provide answers to agricultural needs.

“The commercial purpose of GMOs is not to feed the world or improve farming. Rather, they exist to gain intellectual property (i.e. patent rights) over seeds and plant breeding and to drive agriculture in directions that benefit agribusiness. This drive is occurring at the expense of farmers, consumers and the natural world. US Farmers, for example, have seen seed costs nearly quadruple and seed choices greatly narrow since the introduction of GMOs. The fight over GMOs is not of narrow importance. It affects us all.”

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Justin Gardner is a peaceful free-thinker with a background in the biological sciences. He is interested in bringing rationality back into the national discourse, and independent journalism as a challenge to the status quo.