GM - genetic modification
Updated Oct. 99) - Bowing to public pressure, the Monsanto Company has decided to stop further work on their "TERMINATOR SEED" project. It must be said that this pressure came for the greater part from Europe, while the people in America seem asleep on the subject. This may be a cultural circumstance, but it speaks volumes.
Patrick Holden of the Soil Association told BBC Radio 5 Live the decision represented a change in policy for the company based in St Louis, Missouri.
" I felt that they had been shocked and completely taken by surprise at the strength of public reaction against genetic engineering in Europe.
"I did emerge from the meeting with a very clear impression that they are prepared to rethink their position fundamentally out of an awareness that Europe has said no to genetic engineering and perhaps a fear that the North America public might follow suit," he said
BBC News, Sep, 26, 1999
Actually they panicked when supermarket chains started to ban modified foodstuffs from their shelves, and restaurants declared that they would not serve any GM foods. Now, with their stock loosing points by the hour, they took the only logical solution that a profit-making company could take: announce the end of their controversial program. Anyways, I am not so naive as to think that they will actually stop working on it. They have invested too much time and money on it and the ever-present GREED FACTOR will drive them to continue their efforts in secret, and maybe wait for a more favourable moment to bring it back again. Regardless, permanent damage may have been already introduced into the eco-system. Tests have shown that pollen from the GM crops, (carried by the wind, insects and birds) has been found miles away from its original fields, and these new modified strains have already mixed with the normal crops. So, while a battle may have been won, the war is probably lost as you can read further down in this article.
In truth, things are starting to move in the US as well: an international alliance of farmers, led by by the Washington lobby groups (Foundation for Economic Trends, and the National Family Farm Coalition) is about to bring the biggest anti-trust case ever. The claim is that these big companies are exploiting bio-engineering techniques to dominate world agriculture. The case will come up probably this coming November or December.
Recently, TIME Magazine published an article on genetically engineered crops which have been making their appearence in several marketplaces. The article was titled "ALIEN SEED?" Personally, I would have removed the "?" sign, as the subject in discussion is indeed an "alien seed".
The article, more or less balanced in the views and facts presented, reserved several surprises. One, was to find England's Prince Charles saying "That (gene manipulation-ed) takes mankind into realms that belong to God, and to God alone." I guess this was a disappointing blow to those who consider him as a very probable candidate for the office of Antichrist, but then, knowing Prince Charles's penchant for things New Age, one may legitimately wonder to which God he was referring. Nevertheless, I find his quote important, since he does carry a lot of influence.
Prince Charles is the proud owner of a farm which is being run by natural growing methods and without the invasive use of chemical agents. This farm, touted as a primary example of organic farming, receives many interested visitors from all over the globe. The Prince has also put up a web-site in which he states his views and exposes the dangers of GMs. As I am writing this update, a row has developed about alleged government pressure upon him t remove the GM remarks from his site.
Sunday, February 21, 1999 - BBC
Downing Street has denied asking Prince Charles to remove criticism of genetically-modified (GM) food from his Website.
The prince has said he considers GM foods a potential risk to health.
And the Sunday Express says Buckingham Palace officials were approached to persuade him to withdraw the comments - a claim described by Downing Street as "utter nonsense".
However, the prince has reportedly decided not to change the site. He is also said to be planning to intensify his campaign on the issue of GM foods, the paper writes.
A palace aide told the newspaper: "The prince feels strongly this is absolutely the right moment to drive home his long held concerns about this sort of food.
This is the link to the GM forum on Prince Charles' site:
Many of these modified products are being sold to unaware customers, since most of them are not required to be labeled as such. So, discreetely and ubiquitously, these "foods" have been appearing at local supermarkets and other food outlets.
I was frankly surprised that in America, globally considered the home of civil and consumer rights, these unlabeled products are being sold amidst total indifference, and that the few raised voices of warning are largely discounted.
Why is this happening can be resumed in one simple word: GREED!
Greed by all involved in the food process, from the farmers to the supermarkets, and public health be damned
Although one may read of the "high principles" which supposedly guide the research and development of these "foods," (as for example, to produce sufficient food for the growing earth's population) we are not so naive as not to see the REAL reasons.
Apart from the greed for money, there is another aspect which must be taken into account. Indeed, this new breed of "scientists," who are dishing out (no pun intended) these so called new foodstuffs, are, by their very own presumptuous manipulation, criticising God, Who did not do a good job in the first place, and so they must intervene to correct and improve what He has so toughtlessly created. Well, most of them do not believe in God anyway, so they are improving what elements "Mother Nature" has given them to play with. A very dangerous game, by whatever name.
Agreed that there are natural forms of breeding, cross-breeding, grafting, etc. which have been practised by farmers from the very inception of agriculture, (see the Jacob's husbandry of Laban's flocks account, in Genesis), but what we have today, is a totally new and different ball game. Don't let anybody fool you about what is going on: it has nothing to do with "improvement" but rather with destruction. The fruits of this manipulation will become very evident, in time. The reckless introduction of pharmaceutical drugs, has given us its deadly fruits in these past decades. Should I mention "Thalidomide" or "mad cow disease," for a starter?
Moreover, these "would-be benefactors of humanity" have names like "Monsanto," "Novartis," "AgrEvo," "DuPont," "Astra Zeneca," "Aventis" and so forth. You get the drift.
Another disturbing trend in this direction, is the introduction of the "onecrop-seeds" (dubbed TERMINATOR SEED). These chemical companies feel that it is not right that the seeds the farmers use should reproduce their fruits year after year, thereby depriving them of rightful sales. So, Monsanto has "created" the one-crop hybrid seed. Use once and buy again next year. None of that fancy "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth" Gen 1:11.
As it is, the variety of genetic stock is being badly depleted, through mismanagement and by mass-marketing demands. For example, there are hundreds of different types of let's say apples, but at the supermarket you will only find the same three or four kinds, and usually, the worst tasting but better looking and longer lasting ones. So farmers are concentrating on what sells and ignoring the rest, with the result that many varieties die out. This is also a serious problem, because the genetic pool is being restricted, with all its relative implications. Alarm has been raised about this real and upcoming problem, but no action has been programmed, apart from individual initiatives (seed banks) in a few countries, like India and Switzerland.
While in America this issue is not receiving the right public exposure by the mass media, in Europe, where there is a long, historic and cultural love-affair with food, this subject has spurred open debates and several disruptive actions by environmental and consumer groups. For example, this last Christmas season, in Italy, the ALF (Animal Liberation Front), a pan european group which adopts extreme tactical actions, poisoned a couple of Italian "Panettoni", a world famous Christmas cake which sells in the millions durind the festive season. The ALF targeted two particular brands, both owned by the NESTLE Corporation, the reason being that Nestle is using modified soy flour in the making of their panettoni without reporting it on the label.
ALF then called a newspaper to announce their action and make their statement. Naturally, this caused panic amongst the Italians, who, despite assurances, refused to buy the two indicted brands, causing Nestle to remove their panettoni from supermarket shelves, and throwing 450 employees temporarily out of work. While the ALF action is to be condemned, so is the behaviour of Nestle, BEFORE and AFTER the announcement. Before, because they indeed where using modified soy flour (to save money) and after, because their high handed reply was that they were just going to shut down their plant thereby throwing quite a few people out of work. No explanation was given about the GM flour. In Italy, (as well as in Europe) work being at a premium, such a prospect caused a backlash against ALF. It also set a lot of people thinking that public health was being sacrificed upon the altar of profit and greed. Nestle, with their dismal record in their global food distribution (see their merchandising of infant formula to third world countries), is just one of many food distributors that, for the sake of turning a profit, would stop at nothing.
The latest ruckus was raised in England and it demonstrates the danger of GM spreading their manipulated genes to other cultures.
ISSUE 1351 - Friday 5 February 1999
Electronic Telegraph HEALTH food importers revealed last night that they have destroyed 87,000 packets of organic tortilla chips after they were found to be contaminated with genetically modified corn.
The British distributor of the Apache brand of organic chips, De Rit, said that the most likely source of the contamination was cross-pollination of the organic maize used in them by GM crops grown around the organic farm in Texas where the maize came from. If so, the incident will create further pressure on the Government to tighten controls on the introduction of genetic crops in Britain.
Maize containing a gene from the cauliflower mozaic virus was detected during routine monitoring by DO-IT, the Dutch importers of Apache brand tortilla chips made from yellow maize. The virus is used as a promoter gene in maize crops engineered to be resistant to herbicides. DO-IT and De Rit, the British distributors, then withdrew and destroyed Apache brand chips in natural, sesame, nacho and cajun flavours.
George Carroll, managing director of Halifax-based De Rit (UK), said: "We recalled everything. We could have sat on our hands but this was not how we thought an industry should behave." He said Terra Prima, the Wisconsin-based manufacturer of the chips, had conducted tests of all its other products and subsequent batches of the tortilla chips and these were given the all-clear. Maize would now be tested before it was used in manufacturing instead of afterwards. The Soil Association, the organic standards body, said that it was the first case of contamination of an organic product by GM crops.
Lindsay Keenan of the UK Wholefood Trade said: "We cannot praise the responsible attitudes and prompt actions of these companies highly enough. An investigation by the companies into the source of the contamination is ongoing. Cross-pollination by GM maize grown on nearby farms is the most likely explanation. However, the investigation is made difficult by the fact that there is no requirement in the United States for monitoring the genetically modified crops that are grown in surrounding areas."
If cross-pollination with genetic material was responsible, organic farmers say it will be proof of the dangers posed to their industry by allowing the commercial release of GM crops in Britain. They believe that if cross-pollination of organic crops by GM crops takes place it will ultimately be impossible to ensure that unadulterated organic produce is available for people who want the freedom not to eat GM material.
This latest story, follows right in the heels of the ongoing debate on GM especially since the case of Dr Arpad Pusztai, a scientist forced out of his job at the Government-funded Rowett research institute in Aberdeen last August when he said that rats had suffered a reduction in brain size, liver damage and a weakening of their immune system after being fed GM potatoes for only 10 days. (The development of the animals' kidney, thymus, spleen and gut was also affected). Dr Pusztai told Granada TV's World in Action that he would not eat GM food. He said he found it "very, very unfair to use our fellow citizens as guinea pigs".
At the time, the institute described the results of Dr Pusztai's experiments as "very confused". Now it turns that 20 scientists from all over the world are backing Dr. Pusztai's research and data.
Vyvyan Howard, one of the scientists who is backing Dr Pusztai, told BBC's Newsnight: "We find that his data are sound. We think it would pass peer review and be published and we are at a loss to explain why the Rowett institute came to the conclusion it did."
Mr Howard, a toxipathologist at Liverpool University, said that the scientists from various countries who reviewed Dr Pusztai's work included specialists in genetic engineering and in medicine.
Recent research on the same rats by Dr Stanley Ewen, a senior pathologist at Aberdeen University medical school, is also understood to validate Dr Pusztai's preliminary findings and suggest new possible health risks.
Dr Ewen found that rats fed the GM potatoes used in Dr Pusztai's experiments suffered from an enlarged stomach wall and an elongation of a section of the stomach after 10 days of feeding trials. Mr Cunningham, who as Minister of Agriculture banned beef on the bone, told Newsnight that it would be "very surprising" if Dr Pusztai's work were "suddenly validated by another set of experiments".
Paul Tyler, the Liberal Democrat food spokesman, said he would ask the Commons agriculture select committee to investigate the affair. "These are not scare mongering amateurs but the premier government research team in this field," he said. "Confusion over the original significance of these findings meant that the huge companies involved in genetic engineering were able to dismiss them as misleading.
"Now the reputation of Dr Pusztai is being reinstated and it is the novel foods which are back in the dock."
I am including a link to the BBC site where you can follow this story and also get an overview of GM.
Humanity will indeed reap the fruits of its folly. As the Bible teaches, in the End Times, there will be global famines, and diseases, so all this improvement and increased yield business will actually produce the very opposite results it prefigured. In Revelation there is a passage mentioning one of the plagues which will hit humanity during the End Times: people will develop painful and hideous boils on their bodies, "foul and loathsome," to be exact. Manipulating the genetic material is playing "I am smarter" than God, and since nobody is smarter than God, you can guess the outcome of this presumption. One atom out of place can and will create havoc.
If you are a believer, you don't need to worry. While you should not knowingly buy genetically altered food, if you do eat it, by necessity, by mistake or unknowingly, the Lord will protect you. Remember ALWAYS to pray before you eat anything, thanking God for the food and asking Him to bless it to your body. Jesus said that no food will harm you, if you receive it with prayer and thanksgiving. Amen!
If your relationship with God is so-so, you should be worrying, as you are not assured of His protection. If you have no relationship at all with God, you have two choices: either start one, click here, or que serà, serà!
Acknowledgements to BBC NEWS for the two graphics.