Article posted on 19 October 2010, resumed here.
Recently, in Brussels, the unelected potentates of the European Commission sought to override what has been repeatedly demonstrated : the overwhelming opposition of the people of the European Union to the spread of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in their agriculture. To endorse without discussion the adoption of GMOs, the President of the Commission of the European Union now has a Maltese accountant as Commissioner for Health and Environment. Originally from Greece, the former environment commissioner was a staunch opponent of GMOs. In addition, Chinese government has said it can approve a variety of GMO rice. Before things get too far, they would like to take a closer look at the global GMO testing lab, United States. Over there, GMO crops are far from beneficial. Rather, it is exactly the opposite.
What has carefully stayed out of the propaganda of Monsanto and other food companies in promoting genetically engineered crops as alternatives to conventional crops, it is the fact that, so far, in the whole world, all GMO crops have been manipulated and patented for the sole purpose of two things : be resistant or "tolerant" to highly toxic patented chemicals - to the herbicidal glyphosate that Monsanto and others require farmers to purchase as a condition of acquiring their patented GMOs - and be resistant to specific insects. Contrary to the PR myths dispensed in their own interest by the agribusiness giants, there is not a single GMO seed that does not provide a higher yield than conventional crops, nor who needs less toxic chemical herbicides. For this simple reason, there is no profit to be made.
The plague of giant super-weeds
As Dr. Mae-Wan Ho noted, GMO opponent and prominent London Institute of Science biologist, companies like Monsanto incorporate herbicide tolerance into their seeds thanks to the glyphosate insensitivity formula of the gene encoding the enzyme targeted by the herbicide. This enzyme is derived from a soil bacteria, l’agrobacterium tumefaciens. Insect resistance is caused by one or more toxin genes from soil bacteria Bt (bacillus thuringiensis). Towards 1997, the United States inaugurated large-scale commercial plantations of genetically modified plants, especially soy, corn and cotton. Right now, in the USA, genetically modified crops have invaded between 85 and 91 percent of the cultivated areas of these three main plants, Soy, corn and cotton, be near 171 millions d’acres (692.000 square kilometers).
Selon and Dr Ho, the ecological time bomb associated with GMOs is about to explode. After several years of consistent application of the patented glyphosate herbicides, like Monsanto's very famous Roundup, nature has responded to human attempts to violate it by developing new herbicide-resistant "super-weeds". Controlling these super weeds requires significantly more, Not less, d’herbicide.
ABC Television, a large US national network, produced a new documentary titled "Super Evils Cannot Be Destroyed. » (1)
Interviewed, Arkansas farmers and scientists describe fields overrun with giant Amaranthus palmeri plants, able to withstand any glyphosate spray that farmers can make. One farmer interviewed spent almost 400.000 euros in just three months in a futile attempt to destroy the new super-weeds.
The new super weeds are so hardy that the combines are unable to harvest the fields, and hand tools break when trying to cut them. En Arkansas, at least 400.000 hectares of soybeans and cotton have been invested by this new mutant biological scourge. Detailed data on other agricultural regions are not available, but we think they are similar. The United States Department of Agriculture, pro-GMO and pro-agrifood, has been reported to lie about the actual state of the harvest, partly to hide the grim reality and prevent an explosive revolt against GMOs in the world's largest market for genetically modified organisms.
L’Amaranthus palmeri, a variety of super weeds, can reach up to 2,4 meters high, withstand high heat and prolonged drought, and produces thousands of seeds with a root system that depletes crop nutrients. When nothing is done, it invades an entire field in a year. Some farmers were forced to give up their land. Until now, in addition to Arkansas, the invasion of Amaranthus palmeri in GMO growing areas has also been identified in Georgia, Caroline from the south, North Carolina, au Tennessee, Kentucky, New Mexico, in Mississippi, and more recently in Alabama and Missouri.
Weed specialists at the University of Georgia estimate that only two Amaranthus palmeri plants every 6 meters in cotton rows, are able to reduce performance at least 23 percent. A single weed plant can produce 450.000 seeds. (2)
Covering up the toxic danger of Roundup
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the United States and around the world. Patented and sold by Monsanto for years 70 under the trade name of Roundup, it is a mandatory part of purchasing Monsanto GMO seeds. Just go to your local garden store, ask for it and read the label carefully.
As I explained in detail in my book, Seeds of Destruction,The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation (Seeds of destruction : The weapon of hunger), GMO crops and patented seeds have been developed over the years 70, thanks to the significant financial support of a pro-eugenic organization, the Rockefeller Foundation, mainly by chemical companies : Monsanto Chemicals, DuPont et Dow Chemicals. All three were involved in the highly toxic Agent Orange scandal, used in Vietnam, and dioxin in the years 70, and lied to hide the reality of the breaches from their own employees, as well as to civilians and soldiers of exposed populations.
Their patented GMO seeds were seen as a smart way to force re-purchases of their Roundup-style agricultural chemicals. Farmers must sign a legal contract with Monsanto that says only its Roundup pesticide can be used. Farmers are thus trapped, forced to buy both new Monsanto seeds with each harvest and toxic glyphosate.
At the University of Caen, in France, in a team led by molecular biologist Gilles-Eric Séralini, a study showed that Roundup contains a specific inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallow oil, or POEA. Séralini's team demonstrated that Roundup's POEA is even more lethal to human embryos, umbilical cord and placental cells, than glyphosate itself. Monsanto, qualifying as "patented" the detailed content of its Roundup, apart from glyphosate, refuses to communicate it.(3)
Séralini's study found that the inert ingredients in Roundup amplified the toxic effect on human cells - even at much more dilute concentrations than those used on farms and on lawns ! The French team studied multiple concentrations of Roundup, from the typical agricultural or lawn dose, up to concentrations 100.000 times more diluted than products sold on the shelves. Researchers found cell damage at all concentrations.
In a brochure from the Biotechnology Institute that promotes GM crops as "weed fighters, "Glyphosate and Roundup are advertised" less toxic for us than table salt. Thirteen years of GM crops in the United States have increased the overall use of pesticides 318 million pounds, and not diminished as the GMO Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse promised.
The additional disease burden due to this alone is considerable on the nation.
Anyway, after the commercial introduction of Monsanto GMO seeds in the United States, the use of glyphosate has increased by more than 1500% between 1994 and 2005. In the USA, some 100 million pounds of glyphosate are used on lawns and farms each year, and during the 13 last years, it has been applied on over a billion acres (about 4 million square kilometers). Interrogates, Monsanto Technical Development Director Rick Cole, would have said, the problems are " manageables ». He advised farmers on alternative crops as well as the use of different brands of herbicides produced by Monsanto.
Monsanto encourages farmers to mix glyphosate with its oldest herbicides such as 2,4-D, banned in Sweden, in Denmark and Norway for its links to cancer, reproduction and neurological damage. 2,4-D is a component of Agent Orange, produced by Monsanto for use in Vietnam for years 60.
US farmers turn to organic
Across the United States there are reports that farmers are returning to traditional crops (not genetically modified). According to a new report from the Ministry of Agriculture, organic food retail has jumped 3,6 billion dollars in 1997 at 21,1 billion dollars in 2008.(4) The market is so flourishing that organic farms sometimes scramble to produce a sufficient supply, able to keep up with the rapid rise in consumer demand that leads to periodic shortages of organic products.
United Kingdom, the new liberal-conservative coalition government strongly supports the lifting of the de facto ban on GMOs in their country. The Chief Scientific Adviser of the United Kingdom, Professor John Beddington, recently wrote an article where he deceptively states : "The next decade will see the development of desirable trait combinations and the introduction of new traits such as drought tolerance. In the middle of the century, much more radical options, involving highly polygenic traits, will be feasible. "He further promised" cloned animals, created with innate immunity to disease, " and more. thank you ! I think we can take it all down.
A recent study, from Iowa State University and the Department of Agriculture, aiming to assess the performance of farms during the three years of transition necessary to move from conventional production to certified organic, has shown the notable advantages of organic farming on GMOs and even on conventional, non-genetically modified plants. In a four-year experiment - three years of transition and the first biological year - the study showed that, although the yields decreased first, they equalized in the third year and, from the fourth year, organic yields were ahead of the classics for both soybeans and corn.
In addition, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge of Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) - the result of three years of deliberation 400 scientific participants and non-governmental representatives from 110 countries around the world - was recently published. It was concluded that small-scale organic farming is the way forward to tackle hunger, social inequalities and ecological disasters.(5) As Dr. Ho argues, a radical change in agricultural practice is urgently needed, before the agricultural cataclysm spread further in Germany and from the European Union to the rest of the world.(6)
 Super weed can’t be killed, abc news, 6 October 2009. See also,Jeff Hampton, N.C. farmers battle herbicide-resistant weeds, The Virginian-Pilot, 19 July 2009, http://hamptonroads.com/2009/07/nc-farmers-battle-herbicideresistant-weeds
 Clea Caulcutt, ‘Superweed’ explosion threatens Monsanto heartlands, Clea Caulcutt, 19 avril 2009, http://www.france24.com/en/20090418-superweed-explosion-threatens-monsanto-heartlands-genetically-modified-US-crops
 N. Benachour and G-E. Seralini, Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells, Chem. Res. Toxicol., Article DOI: 10.1021/tx800218n Publication Date (Web): 23 December 2008.
 Carolyn Dimitri and Lydia Oberholtzer, Marketing U.S. organic foods: recent trends from farms to consumers, USDA Economic Research Service, September 2009, http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB58/
 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, IAASTD, 2008, http://www.agassessment.org/index.cfm?Page=Press_Materials&ItemID=11
 Ho MW.UK Food Standards Agency study proves organic food is better. Science in Society 44, 32-33, 2009.
By F. William Engdahl
Translation : Petrus lombard