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Kaiser Permanente Speaks Out Against GMOs

RP Siegel | Friday November 30th, 2012 | 9 Comments

After Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini came out to blow the whistle on the many corporate scientists in bed with Monsanto, Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed care organization in the United States, published an item in their newsletter citing the health risks associated with GMO-based foods and warning the public to avoid them.

According to the newsletter, “Despite what the biotech industry might say, there is little research on the long-term effects of GMOs on human health. Independent research has found that several varieties of GMO corn caused organ damage in rats. Other studies have found that GMOs may lead to an inability in animals to reproduce.”

The newsletter recommends that consumers purchase organic foods, or foods with the “Non-GMO verified” logo.

Why would a health insurance company care about this? Simple, the more their customers get sick, the more money they have to spend for treatment.

And despite the fact that the biotech industry, either directly or through the hundreds of scientists that derive revenue from it, with billions of dollars on the line, continues to strenuously denounce the multitude of citations that raise concerns about the safety of these foods, new data continues to emerge.

The  two-year-long Seralini study, which we described in an earlier post, was the first lifelong study of its type, specifically focused on the long-term effect of exposure to both the Roundup Ready corn and of Roundup™ (glyphosate) herbicide, which generally is used more liberally in conjunction with the specially formulated corn. Monsanto only tests their GMO crops for 90 days before releasing them to the market. This, despite the fact that a major review of 19 studies found that 90 days was insufficient “to evaluate chronic toxicity, and the signs highlighted in the kidneys and livers could be the onset of chronic diseases.”  The Seralini study found that “50 and 70 percent of the males and females died in the experimental group, as opposed to 30 and 20 percent in the control group.” The researchers also found liver, kidney and mammary tumors in the rats fed the test diet as early as 4-7 months into the study. The results have been heavily criticized by certain members of the scientific community as unscientific, citing, among other things, the absence of a dose-dependent response.

But this was hardly the first peer-reviewed study highlighting the danger of this GMO-herbicide combination. Glyphosate, in particular, has been associated with some 29 health impacts including:

  • Cancer
  • Parkinson’s
  • DNA damage
  • Low testosterone
  • Liver damage
  • Infertility
  • Endocrine disease

It has often been asserted by reporters like Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception and long term opponent of GM foods, that companies like Monsanto have used intimidation to suppress any negative claims against GMOs. The influence of biotech companies like Monsanto around the world is truly astonishing. This was corroborated by a number of Wikileaks cables that showed a strong pro-GMO agenda within U.S. diplomatic corps, the leaders of which had strong ties to Monsanto. For example, in 2007, the U.S. ambassador to France, Craig Stapleton, who also happened to be the co-owner, with George W. Bush, of the Texas Rangers baseball team, threatened that any European nations that did not support GMO crops be penalized with military-style trade sanctions.

Smith, in an interview after the defeat of Prop 37 (video), says he is optimistic that we are about to see a tipping point in consumer sentiment regarding the labeling and the consumption of GMO-based foods.

As I wrote in a post earlier this week, on the question of conditions in factory farms and the efforts of their owners to conceal them from the public, “these companies, clinging to an outmoded way of doing business based on the fundamental absence of transparency, propped up by corrupt relationships with politicians that, desperate for campaign funding, go against the interests of their constituents to support these efforts that pit profits against people and planet, will not stand up to the light of day,” and are on the wrong side of history.

Meanwhile, in related news, the government of Kenya just announced (video), the banning of all GMO foods “until an informed policy decision can be made.”

 

[Image credit: Jeanette E. Spaghetti: Flick Creative Commons]

RP Siegel, PE, is an inventor, consultant and author. He co-wrote the eco-thriller Vapor Trails, the first in a series covering the human side of various sustainability issues including energy, food, and water in an exciting and entertaining format. Now available on Kindle.

Follow RP Siegel on Twitter.


▼▼▼      9 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • Sandra J
  • Dave Shires

    This is very interesting.

    I actually dislike the fear tactics taken by many anti-GMO advocates. GMOs do not necessarily contain DNA from “other species”, the majority of GMO work is within the species and really IS NOT that different from selective breeding other than the speed by which it can take place. I really wish we could drop the hysterics.

    That said, the patenting of organisms has all kinds of troubling side effects, as does the possible INCREASE in the amount of pesticides being used (contrary to what was intended.).

    So those are the reasons I’m skeptical of GMOs, not that eating them is any worse than any other processed food.

    • FreeHawk

      Fear tactics? These are just the facts. Test, after test, after test have all concluded the same things. GMO’s are doing EXACTLY to people as they have done to the deceased lab animals and now deceased farm animals. GMO’s are ravaging our internal organs as well as many, many other conditions and diseases. Jeffery Smith hasn’t been traveling the world for the last 10 years and not obtained proof of this. I recommend you watch the movie “Genetic Roulette” or purchase the book of the same title. Your lack of knowledge shines through in your words. Please educate yourself Dave…It may save your life…

      • Dave Shires

        What lab animals and farm animals? I’m not trying to be snippy, just looking some links. Happy to check out the movie.

  • rubatoguy

    Actually, if you read this article in Willamette live, where the paper actually followed up with Kaiser Permanente – they officially have NO position on GMOs. In fact they state that the piece in the newsletter is the opinion of the author. So, you are jumping to a conclusion and have obviously not verified with KP. Check out: http://www.willamettelive.com/2012/news/corporate-giant-comes-out-against-gmos/ Granted, it is odd that Kaiser would place that article in their newsletter and then state that they have no official position on GMOs. I call that taking a position without taking a position.