Monday, November 01, 2010


EoR gave up subscribing to Hoofbeats magazine a long time ago when he had trouble distinguishing it from Nexus magazine. It appears things have not improved. Their latest issue covers the horror that is GM food. It sounds like the same line Nexus takes on the subject. EoR also suspects that Hoofbeats relies on the mad claims of Dr Mercola for information as well.

Major health concerns have arisen, we are told in the first paragraph of the Hoofbeats article, from industry and independent testing of GM products, even though testing is 'restricted' by the patent owners. Nonetheless, the apparent lack of evidence doesn't stop the author from listing the harmful side effects of GM feeds:

Past test findings of animals fed GM crops have included; damaged immune systems and increased allergies, development of lesions and/or pre-cancerous growths, unusually enlarged or damaged organs, temporary infertility and unexplained death.

Of even more serious concern is the findings in developing animals fed GM or in the offspring of animals fed GM. These include; immune system damage and metabolic change, smaller brain, liver and testicles, organ damage, abnormal anxiety and aggression, pre-cancerous tumor findings, up to 100% infertility in offspring and abnormally high death rates.

Numerous stock owners feeding GM feed have reported infertility and problems in stock fed GM and compensation has been paid for unexplained stock deaths in the past. Statistically, there has been a global increase in allergies and more recently, evidence of unexplained smaller birth rate averages in the USA.

Even though these damning results are clear for all to see, the Australian Government is licensing GM crops in Australia.

There were no feeding trials on the oil and Monsanto’s animal testing on the GM meal revealed an additional increase in liver weights of around 16% after only a few weeks feeding. This significant finding, indicating an increase in toxins, was ignored as the regulatory body FSANZ does not have authority over stockfeed.

Why would the government do this? Because they're in a conspiracy with Monsanto, of course! And the CSIRO (who are also at the forefront of lying about climate change — they must be so busy maintaining all their cover-ups) are involved as well.

One of the reasons governments are supporting GM crops is because they have alliances with companies such as Monsanto and plan on capitalising on their investments in biotechnology through these corporate partnerships. As early as 1992, the head of CSIRO stated it was best to get into bed with these companies.

The Illuminati plan is to force famers into a monoculture, reducing our freedom of choice.

EoR wonders how a government will increase profits by forcing the population to eat food that results in "up to 100% infertility"? Though this may possibly be a backup plan if the human culling to be introduced under the guise of climate change mitigation is a failure.

It would seem that Hoofbeats gets its information from reliable sources like the Mail Online:

Dr Seralini concluded that rats which ate the GM maize had 'statistically significant' signs of liver and kidney damage. Each strain was linked to unusual concentrations of hormones in the blood and urine of rats fed the maize for three months, compared to rats given a non-GM diet.

The study was rather more cautious:

The quantity of some sugars, ions, salts, and pesticide residues, do in fact differ from line to line, for example in the non-GM reference groups. This not only introduced unnecessary sources of variability but also increased considerably the number of rats fed a normal non-GM diet (320) compared to the GM-fed groups (80) per transformation event, which considerably unbalances the experimental design. A group consisting of the same number of animals fed a mixture of these test diets would have been a better and more appropriate control. In addition, no data is shown to demonstrate that the diets fed to the control and reference groups were indeed free of GM feed.


If a “sign of toxicity” may only provoke a reaction, pathology or a poisoning, a so-called “toxic effect” is without doubt deleterious on a short or a long term. Clearly, the statistically significant effects observed here for all three GM maize varieties investigated are signs of toxicity rather than proofs of toxicity, and this is essentially for three reasons. Firstly, the feeding trials in each case have been conducted only once, and with only one mammalian species. The experiments clearly need to be repeated preferably with more than one species of animal. Secondly, the length of feeding was at most only three months, and thus only relatively acute and medium-term effects can be observed if any similar to what can be derived in a process such as carcinogenesis or after endocrine disruption in adults. Proof of toxicity is hard to decide on the basis of these conditions. Longer-term (up to 2 years) feeding experiments are clearly justified and indeed necessary. This requirement is supported by the fact that cancer, nervous and immune system diseases, and even reproductive disorders for examples can become apparent only after one or two years of a given intervention treatment under investigation, but they will not be evident in all cases after three months of administration when first signs of toxicity may be observed. In addition, large effects (e.g. 40% increase in triglycerides) in all likelihood will be missed with the protocol of the current studies, since they are limited by the number of animals used in each feeding group and by the nature of the parameters studied. Thirdly, the statistical power of the tests conducted is low (30%) because the experimental design of Monsanto (see Materials and Methods). However, it is important to note that these short-term (3-month) rat feeding trials are the only tests conducted on the basis of which regulators determine whether these GM crop/food varieties are as safe to eat as conventional types. Given that these GM crops are potentially eaten by billions of people and animals world-wide, it is important to discuss whether the experimental design, the statistical analyses and interpretations originally undertaken are appropriate and sufficient.

Wikipedia has an interesting page on GM controversies, particularly on the issue of allergies (any GM foods that show allergy-inducing properties have been withdrawn immediately) and suggestions that they compromise the immune system (the Pusztai paper failed to include this assertion which he had made on television, and was based on a sample size of six, but this has not stopped the anti-GM campaigners promoting it as a scientific 'fact').

GM foods are certainly a contentious issue, not least the matter of patents and global corporate ownership of crop seeds. That's no reason to promote fallacious arguments and conspiracy theories. The Science Show recently interviewed Lord Sainsbury, president of the British Science Association.

David Sainsbury: Yes, I suppose that's the other consideration. We now have 30 million acres of arable land which is about 10% of it in the world producing genetically modified crops. You've got all the Indian cotton I think is Bt cotton, similar in China, you've got genetically modified soya widely grown and used in America, and there have been basically no problems from a health or an environmental point of view which, when you think about it, it's a new technology, new technology in America, no lawsuits saying 'well, I died as a result of eating genetically modified...', that is amazing. And one way of thinking is that this is the biggest clinical trial we've ever had, and it has proved a safe technology.

Like climate change deniers, the GM-Frankenfood deniers also love repeating the same old, debunked, arguments. Such as the commenter on the Science Show story who raises the case of the Indian farmers who are being forced to commit suicide as a result of GM crops. Which is not true. As the Guardian article notes, scaremongers also fail to consider the health improvements from reduced pesticide use.

Like the mobile-phones-cause-cancer scare that won't die even in the face of lack of evidence, GM scares are easy to make, but harder to prove. There may well be legitimate concerns that require study and testing, but simply repeating overhyped propaganda claims only polarises people.

The WHO provide a much more balanced consideration of the evidence, the threats, the concerns and the facts.

Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods.

Unless you're an altie, conspiracy-theory loving, journalist.

Interestingly, EoR's local newsagency magazine filing algorithm (which places UFO and astrology magazines amongst New Scientist and Scientific American) places Hoofbeats next to Nexus.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.