Monday, October 29, 2007

I am no fan of genetically modified 'Franken-Foods."

Maybe if Al Gore spoke about the dangers of GM food we’d listen? Until he does we must listen to the scientists:

“The genetic modification of food is intrinsically dangerous. It involves making irreversible changes in a random manner to a complex level of life about which little is known. It is inevitable that this hit-and-miss approach will lead to disasters. It must disrupt the natural intelligence of the plant or animal to which it is applied, and lead to health-damaging side-effects.” -Dr Geoffrey Clements, leader of the Natural Law Party, UK

“If you look at the simple principle of genetic modification it spells ecological disaster. There are no ways of quantifying the risks……The solution is simply to ban the use of genetic modification in food." -Dr Harash Narang, microbiologist and senior research associate at the University of Leeds, who originally caused a scientific and political storm by claiming a link between mad cow disease and CJD in humans.

“The (testing) ssues have simply not been addressed and I think that’s what is profoundly unsatisfactory. The fundamental problem of the way in which GM foods have been approved is that they haven’t really been tested properly at all. All that has happened is something which I would characterize as an exercise in wishful thinking.”-Dr. Erik Millstone, Sussex University, on the inadequacies of GM food testing interviewed in a Channel 4 report on the “substanial equivalence” proceedure for GM foods which the program claimed is a testing system agreed in a backroom deal between governments and companies designed to get GM products onto the market quickly and cheaply.

“Genetic modification of food is a dangerous game of ecological roulette. To take one example, I’m sure there will be a significant increase in deaths from certain types of cancer. If that is the only adverse effect we will have been lucky.
We simply cannot predict the ecological effects of genetic modification. GM forces evolution to take place in one generation rather than hundreds.
Manipulating DNA creates a new substance and it may not behave in the same ways as the origninal version. And existing tests, which only detect already-known toxins, may not reveal man-made ones.
We simply do not know what we are doing.” -Samuel Epstein, M.D., Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition

‘We simply do not have enough reliable scientific evidence on their safety to be able to make a valid decision as to whether there are potential health effects or not.” -Charles Saunders, chairman of the British Medical Association’s public health committee

“Potentially disastrous effects may come from undetected harmful substances in Genetically Modified Foods.”-Dr Andrew Chesson, vice chairman of European Commission scientific committee on animal nutrition and formerly an ardent advocate of food biotechnology (A year earlier Dr Chesson chaired the audit committee which ruled there was no evidence to support Dr Pusztai’s claims on the toxicity of GM potatoes).

“The scientific case put forward for this GM maize is not adequate. If the GM maize was approved for commercial growing in the UK then people would be justified in turning their back on consuming milk derived from it. As a scientist I wouldn’t drink milk from cows fed GM maize with the present state of knowledge.” -Professor Bob Orskov, director of the International Feed Resource Unit in Aberdeen, Scotland at UK MAFF hearings in London, October 2000, concerning proposals to allow Aventis’s GM forage maize, Chardon LL onto the National Seed List.

“We don’t know shit about biology.” -Craig Venter, the scientist whose company completed the sequencing of the human genome in 2000 (”Decoding the genome” Ralph Brave, Jan. 9, 2001)

“Probably the greatest threat from genetically altered crops is the insertion of modified virus and insect virus genes into crops. It has been shown in the laboratory that genetic recombination will create highly virulent new viruses from such constructions. Certainly the widely used cauliflower mosaic virus [CaMV] is a potentially dangerous gene. It is a pararetrovirus meaning that it multiplies by making DNA from RNA messages. It is very similar to the Hepatitis B virus and related to HIV.” -Dr. Joseph Cummins, professor emeritus in genetics from the university of West-Ontario

“Next time you hear a scientist asserting that gene splicing is safe, remind yourself that there is no scientific evidence for that statement. We are profoundly ignorant about what we are doing to the code that generates all life. And unfortunately some scientists, including those entrusted with public safety, are willing to lie.”-Donella H. Meadows is an adjunct professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College.

Addendum: I posted this on another blog (MyLeftWing), where a commentor remarked "For me, these guys sound so over-the-top hysterical about GM foods that I really can't take them all that seriously -- nothing is this black and white. Not every single genetic modification is harmful. I doubt every genetic modification is beneficial and harmless...We won't know the reality for a long time, I think." To which i replied: You're 100, no 1000 , no even 1,000,000 percent right
that not every man-made genetic mutation is gonna prove disastrous...but it only takes one..."

No comments: