Published on
The Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia)

The Hidden Truth About Genetically Modified Foods

Jeffrey Smith

Australia is witnessing the vicious "attack and disinform" tactics used to divert attention from evidence that GM foods are dangerous to health and bad for the economy.

Andrew Bolt's rambling and bizarre personal attack on me on November 30 follows 15 years of victimisation of those who identify the dangers that threaten biotech profits.

Consider Dr Arpad Pusztai, the world's leading scientist in his field, who inadvertently discovered in 1998 that unpredictable changes in GM crops caused massive damage in rats.

He went public with his concerns and was a hero at his prestigious institute for all of two days.

The director of the institute received two phone calls, allegedly from the UK prime minister's office, and Dr Pusztai was fired after 35 years and silenced with threats of a lawsuit.

False statements were circulated to trash his reputation and these statements are being repeated by Australian GM advocates today.

According to University of California professor Ignacio Chapela, when he was about to publish evidence that GM corn contaminated Mexico's indigenous varieties, a senior Mexican government official threatened him.

"We know where your children go to school," he was told.

In Russia, Dr Irina Ermakova, a leading scientist at the Russian National Academy of Sciences, fed female rats GM soy.

She was stunned to discover that more than half their offspring died within three weeks, compared with only 10 per cent from mothers fed non-GM soy.

Without funding to extend her analysis, Dr Ermakova labelled her work "preliminary" and published it in a Russian journal.

She implored the scientific community to repeat the study. Two years later no one has done this.

A New Zealand MP testified at the 2001 Royal Commission of Inquiry on Genetic Modification:



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"I have been contacted by telephone and email by a number of scientists who have serious concerns . . . but who are convinced that if they express these fears publicly . . . or even if they asked the awkward and difficult questions, they will be eased out of their institution."

Prof Christian Velot raised difficult questions on genetically modified organisms at public conferences and his 2008 research funds were confiscated.

Antagonists in Australia are particularly vicious, paying no heed to facts or decency. Similarly, Andrew Bolt gives false and misleading information about my personal beliefs and about the laboratory I worked at seven years ago.

And he confuses a rat study, showing that GM corn can produce herbicides inside their gut, with a human study.

He claims that herbicide-tolerant crops decrease the use of herbicides, but, according to government data, it is substantially increased.

All these cases are in my book, but apparently Bolt is too busy trying to discredit the book to actually read it.

Bolt's rhetoric attempts to persuade politicians to distance themselves from those of us who have the facts.

It doesn't work.

One parliamentarian, who hosted my talk some time ago, received a call asking: "Are you aware of what Jeffrey Smith failed to disclose?"

The parliamentarian replied: "What, that he practices meditation?"

She then burst out laughing and said: "You've got to do better than that."

Indeed, with GM products linked to thousands of toxic and allergic reactions, thousands of sick, sterile and dead livestock and damage to virtually every organ studied, you've got to do way better than that.

Jeffrey Smith is author of Genetic Roulette and Seeds of Deception and executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology

© Herald and Weekly Times

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