Opinion

GMOs Debate In Ghana: Science Is Not The Only Grounds On Which Gmos Should Be Judged

Politics is like finding cure for cancer. It is not luxury. It is a human need that is why no one should use this need for his or her selfish interest. There is something wrong when the people you are serving are dying of this need. Service is the rent we pay to be living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time. I am always guided by this personal philosophy, which goes like this “the future you picture is the future you will feature, the ‘YOU’ you see is the ‘YOU’ you will become.

Therefore picture a great future to feature and desire a great ‘YOU’ to become and the almighty God will see to it that you have featured in the future you have pictured and have become the YOU, you have desired.

Our food chain is already in crisis: a crisis created and sustained by the use of chemicalized products, the heath conditions of the people are worsening day in and day out and the health sector is in crisis. Whatever decision we take today; we must also think about the cumulative effect which is significant.

The Subject in question:

The issue of Genetically Modified foods is one of the heated debate in this country with diverse groups kicking against it; others in support of the subject. There is currently a Plant Breeders’ Bill before Ghana’s parliament, which anti-GMO group Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG), as well as other groups such as Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana and the Convention People’s Party (CPP), is fighting against. They argue that passing it as well as adopting the ARIPO Arusha PVP Protocol, will be detrimental to local farmers.

In 2016, according to the Presiding Bishop of Perez Chapel International, Charles Agyinasare, Ghana does not need genetically modified foods https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/…/We-don-t-need-Genetically-Modifie…

“…I’m not being political, but genetically modified food is not what we want. … Genetically modified food is not what we want. What we want is the natural one that God gave us. In every seed, when you plant it, you get a harvest and when you get a harvest, there is seed in the harvest. … Some of the genetically modified foods, they make [them] in such a way that in creating it, they mix chemicals and when they produce the corn, no insect can eat it because they have put the genes of the corn in it so animals cannot spoil it, God made sure that when you have a seed, it can be destroyed, when you have fruits, it can be destroyed. With genetically modified foods, there are times you see an apple … you know some of the apples they sell by the road side, the apple, for six months it doesn’t get rotten. [For] proper apple that is not genetically modified, when you put it down, three to four days, you see that it starts changing colour. You see banana, one month the banana hasn’t changed colour. Normally when you take banana from the tree and it’s ripe and you put it down, three days, the banana will be changing colour; that is how God made it because God has a cycle that things must go [through].

“…It is only genetically modified foods that want to break the cycle [of natural regeneration of seeds]. It’s true. In genetically modified foods, the kind of grain that they give, when you plant that grain and it yields, what you get, you can’t plant it again because that is man-made. So you would always have to go to them to look for seed …” Bishop Agyinasare added.

Background:

Food Sovereignty Ghana in March issued a statement saying it was “stunned” and “disappointed” to learn that the Plant Breeders’ Bill was returning to the floor of Ghana’s parliament without the promised consultation with stakeholders as ordered by the Speaker of the House.

“To this end, we are in full support of the press conference organised by CSOs/FBOs on March 1, 2016, at which they called for the protection of farmers’ rights and food sovereignty in Ghana.

The statement signed by Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour, Communications Director, said at the last time the bill came up on the floor of the House at the consideration stage on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho urged Majority Leader Alban Bagbin, who was, at the time, Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, to have the body undertake “further consultation” with stakeholders before proceeding further with the bill.

“So far, there have been no consultation and no attempt to inform, apart from some propaganda efforts by the GMO lobby,” FSG said, adding: “We, therefore, find it strange that the Plant Breeders’ Bill is coming back to Parliament without a single consultation with any of the groups (Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development, General Agricultural Workers Union, Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, Ghana Muslims Mission, National House of Chiefs, Christian Council of Ghana, Apex Farmers Network of Ghana, Food Span and Ghana Trade and Livelihoods Coalition) that have petitioned Parliament.

FSG said the press conference organised by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) in collaboration with the other named groups above, was a “clear indication that none of these critically important Ghanaian organisations has been consulted”.

“As petitioners, Food Sovereignty Ghana has legitimate expectation of being consulted. To date we have not been consulted,” FSG said, warning: “The Plant Breeders’ Bill and the ARIPO Arusha PVP Protocol are a danger to Ghana, a danger to sustainable agriculture and a danger to our ability to feed ourselves in the face of climate change. Both Bills promote breeders’ rights over and above farmers’ rights, as well as promote formalised cross-border seed trade over farmers’ informal seed exchange systems, threatening farmers’ rights to save, use, share, and sell seeds, and threatening seed diversity.

“Both Bills only incentivise ‘uniform’ varieties. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimates that about 75% of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost due to the proliferation of uniform commercial varieties replacing native land races. Both bills present a devastating threat to our ability to preserve our seed varieties, sustain our agriculture, and adapt to climate change.

“The Plant Breeders’ Bill and the ARIPO Arusha PVP Protocol are two versions of the same bill. Both cede Ghana’s legal sovereignty to foreign corporations. This provision in both bills is entirely unnecessary for Ghana to comply with the WTO. Ghana has full flexibility under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to develop an effective “sui generis” system for plant variety protection, to develop a unique system that suits its needs.

“Parliament has no mandate or constitutional authority to cede any aspect of our independence to plant breeders, local or foreign! It is unconstitutional to pass a law containing Clause 23 of the Plant Breeders’ Bill. The same clause is also found in the Arusha New Plant Variety Protocol, which is expected to go before Parliament for ratification.

“The Constitution of the Fourth Republic of Ghana does not mandate the Parliament of Ghana to surrender any aspect of our sovereignty to foreign entities. Parliament has no authority to cede national sovereignty under the Constitution. If either Bill is passed, it will be necessary to challenge the passage of the Plant Breeders’ Bill and the ratification of the Arusha Protocol at the Supreme Court for the protection of Ghana’s Constitution, our farmers, our citizens, and our sovereignty,” FSG warned.

“We would like to see in any future Bill, a clear statement of farmers’ rights and the absence of any form of criminalisation of farmers such as what we saw in Clause 58 of the rejected Bill. In the report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the Plant Breeders’ Bill, November, 2013, we witnessed the conspicuous absence of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) among the documents referenced. This is an unconscionable omission. Ghana is a signatory to this treaty. It is the treaty that protects and supports farmers’ rights.

“As a member of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources (ITPGRFA), we expect Ghana to take steps to realise farmers’ rights to use, sell, save, and exchange farm-saved seeds, to protect their traditional knowledge and to allow their participation in national decision-making. The Bill must preserve Ghana’s sovereign independence and must protect the DNA of Ghana’s traditional seeds from bio piracy. Ghana must have sovereignty over our seed germplasm resources. It would be wise to mandate that any entity or individual, who provides germplasm resources to any foreign entity, organisation or individual in cooperation to conduct research, shall make an application and submit a national benefit-sharing scheme.

“There must be genuine consultation with Ghanaian farmers about these laws, not just with representatives of foreign corporate interests. Food Sovereignty Ghana heartily endorses the press statement of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana. We agree with their list of the true concerns of Ghana’s farmers. The Plant Breeders’ Bill and the ARIPO Arusha PVP Protocol will severely damage Ghana’s farmers’ livelihoods and our ability to feed ourselves sustainably and protect our country against the effects of climate change. Both the Plant Breeders’ Bill and the ARIPO Arusha PVP Protocol give away Ghana’s sovereignty. If they are passed, it will be necessary to challenge both before the Supreme Court.

“We seek to register our deepest disappointment over the fact that Parliament appears to be going ahead with this legislation without any consultation with key stakeholders that we know of! And that this is in spite of the fact that the very reason for its suspension was, as the Speaker put it, the need for further consultations with stakeholders. What is our parliament trying to do, Mr Speaker, for life, the environment, and social justice?

Professor Frimpong Boateng on GMOs.

Recently, according to Prof. Frimpong Boateng Farmers won’t lose their seeds when GMO hit market -…https://www.myjoyonline.com/…/farmers-wont-lose-their-seeds-when-gmo-hit-market… the story reads:

Environment and Science Minister, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng has assured farmers of an improved work when Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) crops are introduced into the Ghanaian market. He said government will not allow gene terminator technology that causes plant sterility to be used in the country.

“What we are against is to introduce maybe a plant material or seed material that is a terminated seed… In the sense that you grow it and you cannot use the seeds to replant,” he said.

Responding to questions before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week, the cardiothoracic surgeon said government will ensure that any genetically modified seed introduced into the market will be helpful. We will make sure that whatever genetic modification that comes will help us to maybe raise drought-resistant seeds or seeds that will be resistant to certain pests,” he said.

Although Parliament has passed the Biosafety Act 2011, experts have said there are no locally approved genetically modified crops in the country.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is currently undertaking trials that will allow for the commercialization of genetically modified cowpea, expected to be ready in 2018.

But the Science Minister said government will not allow the gene terminator responsible for non-replant of seeds to be brought into the country.

“We are very particular about GMO things… but whether we like it or not, GMO organisms and food are with us,” Prof Boateng said.

Asked about government’s position on the use of GMO products, Prof. Boateng said they will support the responsible use of the technology.

So it is obvious the government is in support of GMO’s.

Review of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)

GMO’s are a broad group of plants, animals, and bacteria that are engineered for a wide variety of applications ranging from agricultural production to scientific research. The types of potential hazards posed by GMO’s vary according to the type of organism being modified and its intended application. Most of the concern surrounding GMO’s relates to their potential for negative effects on the environment and human health. Because GMO’s that could directly affect human health are primarily products that can enter the human food supply. To date, the only types of products that have been approved for human consumption in the U.S. are genetically modified plants (FDA website). People have been altering the genomes of plants and animals for many years using traditional breeding techniques. Artificial selection for specific, desired traits has resulted in a variety of different organisms, ranging from sweet corn to hairless cats. But this artificial selection, in which organisms that exhibit specific traits are chosen to breed subsequent generations, has been limited to naturally occurring variations. In recent decades, however, advances in the field of genetic engineering have allowed for precise control over the genetic changes introduced into an organism. Today, we can incorporate new genes from one species into a completely unrelated species through genetic engineering, optimizing agricultural performance or facilitating the production of valuable pharmaceutical substances. Crop plants, farm animals, and soil bacteria are some of the more prominent examples of organisms that have been subject to genetic engineering.

The uses of GMO’S
The Genetic modification has been generally used for many years in many industries such as Agriculture, Medicine and Bioremedation.

Agriculture

Plant crops, including both food and fiber harvests, have been subject to several types of genetic modification. Genetically modified seeds have been grown in the U.S. since 1996, with the trend towards using GMO seeds steadily increasing. According to the GMO Compass website, in 2009 more than 88 percent of U.S.-produced corn, soybean and cotton crops were genetically modified. Some of the benefits of the GMO use according to the supporters are:

i. increased crop yields
ii. reduced costs for food or drug production reduced need for pesticides

iii. enhanced nutrient composition and food quality

iv. resistance to pests and disease
v. greater food security
vi. crops mature faster and tolerate aluminum, boron, salt, drought, frost, and other environmental stressors, allowing plants to grow in conditions where they might not otherwise flourish.

Medicine

Genetic modification has changed the medical field. According to the Institute for Traditional Medicine, one of the first applications of genetic modification was the creation a bacterial strain capable of producing human insulin. Insulin, the hormone lacking in people with diabetes, was previously isolated from pig pancreas. Recombinant insulin offers many advantages over pig insulin, such as:

i. cost savings
ii. fewer allergic reactions
iii. Putting an end to the practice of euthanizing pigs for their insulin.

Bioremediation
Bioremediation describes any process by which living organisms are used to clean up contaminated soil or water. Bioremediation generally uses microorganisms, small bacteria and yeasts, which ingest the contaminants in a given site and render them inert through the cells’ own metabolic processes. Although certainly advantageous, bioremediation has had limited use because the organisms must be able to survive, and indeed thrive, in a contaminated environment in order to do their work. The factors affecting their survival could include temperature, pH, oxygen levels and nutrients. Genetic modification makes it possible to engineer bacteria that will be robust within a given environment, by inserting genes that will ensure their survival.

THE DANGERS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS (GMOs)

Over the past few years, a number of countries have completely banned GMOs and the pesticides that go along with them, and they are doing so for a reason. The latest country to consider a complete ban is Russia after top government scientists recommended at least a 10 year ban.

The truth is, we don’t know enough about GMOs to deem them safe for human consumption. Believe it or not the very first commercial sale of them was only twenty years ago. There is no possible way that our health authorities can test all possible combinations on a large enough population, over a long enough period of time to be able to say with absolute certainty that they are harmless. There are a multitude of credible scientific studies that clearly demonstrate why GMOs should not be consumed, and more are emerging every year. There are also a number of scientists all around the world that oppose them.

“By slipping it into our food without our knowledge, without any indication that there are genetically modified organisms in our food, we are now unwittingly part of a massive experiment. The FDA has said that genetically modified organisms are not much different from regular food, so they’ll be treated in the same way. The problem is this, geneticists follow the inheritance of genes, what biotechnology allows us to do is to take this organism, and move it horizontally into a totally unrelated species. Now David Suzuki doesn’t normally mate with a carrot and exchange genes, what biotechnology allows us to do is to switch genes from one to the other without regard to the biological constraints. It’s very very bad science, we assume that the principals governing the inheritance of genes vertically, applies when you move genes laterally or horizontally. There’s absolutely no reason to make that conclusion – Geneticist David Suzuki If anybody ever tells you that we know with one hundred percent certainty that GMOs are totally safe to eat, they haven’t done their research. There is no reason GM foods should be approved safe for consumption, we just don’t know enough about them. We could easily feed the planet through organic, GMO free methods, there is absolutely no reason we need GM foods around.

The Studies:

Multiple Toxins From GMOs Detected In Maternal and Fetal Blood

Research from Canada (the first of its kind) has successfully identified the presence of pesticides -associated with genetically modified foods in maternal, fetal and non-pregnant women’s blood. They also found the presence of Monsanto’s Bt toxin. The study was published in the Journal Reproductive Toxicology in 2011 by Aziz Aris and Samuel Leblanc

“Given the potential toxicity of these environmental pollutants and the fragility of the fetus, more studies are needed, particularly those using the placental transfer approach. Thus, our present results will provide baseline data for future studies exploring a new area of research relating to nutrition, toxicology and reproduction in women. Today, obstetric-gynecological disorders that are associated with environmental chemicals are not known. Thus, knowing the actual concentration of genetically modified foods in humans constitutes a cornerstone in the advancement of research in this area.”

The study authors used blood samples from thirty pregnant women and thirty non-pregnant women. The study also pointed out that the fetus is considered to be highly susceptible to the adverse effects of xenobiotics (foreign chemical substance found within an organism that is not naturally produced.) This is why the study emphasizes that knowing more about GMOs is crucial, because environmental agents could disrupt the biological events that are required to ensure normal growth and development.

Increased Toxicity

The paper entitled “the safety of genetically modified foods produced through biotechnology” concludes that the responsibility of toxicologists is to assess whether foods derived through biotechnology are at least as safe as their conventional counterparts and to ascertain that any levels of additional risk are clearly defined. In achieving this goal, it is important to recognize that it is the food product itself, rather than the process through which it is made, that should be the focus of attention. In assessing safety, the use of the substantial equivalency concept provides guidance as to the nature of any new hazards.

Scientific analysis indicates that the process of BD food production is unlikely to lead to hazards of a different nature from those already familiar to toxicologists. The safety of current BD foods, compared with their conventional counterparts, can be assessed with reasonable certainty using established and accepted methods of analytical, nutritional, and toxicological research.

A significant limitation may occur in the future if transgenic technology results in more substantial and complex changes in a foodstuff. Methods have not yet been developed by which whole foods (as compared with single chemical components) can be fully evaluated for safety. Progress also needs to be made in developing definitive methods for the identification and characterization of protein allergens, and this is currently a major focus of research. Improved methods of profiling plant and microbial metabolites, proteins, and gene expression may be helpful in detecting unexpected changes in BD organisms and in establishing substantial equivalence.

The level of safety of current BD foods to consumers appears to be equivalent to that of traditional foods. Verified records of adverse health effects are absent, although the current passive reporting system would probably not detect minor or rare adverse effects, nor can it detect a moderate increase in common effects such as diarrhea. However, this is no guarantee that all future genetic modifications will have such apparently benign and predictable results. A continuing evolution of toxicological methodologies and regulatory strategies will be necessary to ensure that this level of safety is maintained. The paper was authored by Hollingworth et al 2003 and published in the Journal Toxicological Sciences.

DNA From Genetically Modified Crops Can Be Transferred Into Humans Who Eat Them

In a new study published in the peer reviewed Public Library of Science (PLOS), researchers emphasize that there is sufficient evidence that meal-derived DNA fragments carry complete genes that can enter into the human circulation system through an unknown mechanism.

In one of the blood samples the relative concentration of plant DNA is higher than the human DNA. The study was based on the analysis of over 1000 human samples from four independent studies. PLOS is an open access, well respected peer-reviewed scientific journal that covers primary research from disciplines within science and medicine. It’s great to see this study published in it, confirming what many have been suspected for years.

“Our bloodstream is considered to be an environment well separated from the outside world and the digestive tract. According to the standard paradigm large macromolecules consumed with food cannot pass directly to the circulatory system. During digestion proteins and DNA are thought to be degraded into small constituents, amino acids and nucleic acids, respectively, and then absorbed by a complex active process and distributed to various parts of the body through the circulation system. Here, based on the analysis of over 1000 human samples from four independent studies, we report evidence that meal-derived DNA fragments which are large enough to carry complete genes can avoid degradation and through an unknown mechanism enter the human circulation system. In one of the blood samples the relative concentration of plant DNA is higher than the human DNA. The plant DNA concentration shows a surprisingly precise log-normal distribution in the plasma samples while non-plasma (cord blood) control sample was found to be free of plant DNA.”

This still doesn’t mean that GMOs can enter into our cells, but given the fact GMOs have been linked to cancer (later in this article) it is safe to assume it is indeed a possibility. The bottom line is that we don’t know, and this study demonstrates another cause for concern.

Study Links GMO Food To Leukemia

A new study published in the Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases by Mezzomo et al in 2013 indicates that the biopesticides engineered into GM crops known as Bacillus Thuringensis (Bt) or Cry-toxins, may also contribute to blood abnormalities from anemia to hematological malignancies (blood cancers) such as leukemia.

A group of scientists from the Department of Genetics and Morphology, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Brasilia, Brasilia/DF, Brazil set out to test the purported human and environmental biosafety of GM crops, looking particularly at the role that the Bt toxin found within virtually all GM food crops plays on non-target or non-insect animal species. The research was spurned by the Brazilian Collegiate Board of Directors of the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), who advocated in 2005 for evaluations of toxicity and pathogenicity of microbiological control agents such as Bt, given that little is known about their toxicological potential in non-target organisms, including humans.

While Bacillus Thurigensis spore-crystals have been used since the late 1960’s in agriculture as a foliar insecticide, it was only after the advent of recombinant DNA biotechnology that these toxin-producing genes (known as delta endotoxins) were first inserted into the plants themselves and released into commercial production in the mid-90’s, making their presence in the US food supply and the bodies of exposed populations ubiquitous. What the new study revealed is that various binary combinations and doses of Bt toxins target mammalian cells, particularly the erythroid (red blood cell) lineage, resulting in white and red blood cell changes indicative of significant damage. Some of these adverse changes included anemia, and suppression of bone marrow proliferation and abnormal lymphocyte changes consistent with some types of leukemia. The researchers also found that one of the prevailing myths about the selective toxicity of Bt to insects, the target species, no longer holds true: It has been reported that Cry toxins exert their toxicity when activated at alkaline pH of the digestive tract of susceptible larvae, and, because the physiology of the mammalian digestive system does not allow their activation, and no known specific receptors in mammalian intestinal cells have been reported, the toxicity these MCAs to mammals would negligible.

However, our study demonstrated that Bt spore-crystals genetically modified to express individually Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2A induced hematotoxicity, particularly to the erythroid lineage.

This finding corroborates literature that demonstrated that alkali-solubilized Bt spore-crystals caused in vitro hemolysis in cell lines of rat, mouse, sheep, horse, and human erythrocytes and suggested that the plasma membrane of susceptible cells (erythrocytes, in this case) may be the primary target for these toxins [33] The study also found:

1. That Cry toxins are capable of exerting their adverse effects when suspended in distilled water, not requiring alkalinization via insect physiology to become activated as formerly believed.

2. That a dose of Cry1Ab as low as 27 mg/kg, their lowest tested dose, was capable of inducing hypochromic anemia in mice – the very toxin has been detected in blood of non-pregnant women, pregnant women and their fetuses in Canada, supposedly exposed through diet.

3. Whereas past reports have found that Bt toxins are generally nontoxic and do not bioaccumulate in fatty tissue or persist in the environment, the new study demonstrated that all Cry toxins tested had a more pronounced effect from 72 hours of exposure onwards, indicating the opposite is true.

4. That high-dose Cry toxin doses caused blood changes indicative of bone marrow damage (damage to “hematopoietic stem cell or bone marrow stroma”).

The authors noted their results “demonstrate leukemogenic activity for other spore-crystals not yet reported in the literature.” They concluded:

[R]esults showed that the Bt spore-crystals genetically modified to express individually Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2A can cause some hematological risks to vertebrates,increasing their toxic effects with long-term exposure. Taking into account the increased risk of human and animal exposures to significant levels of these toxins, especially through diet, our results suggest that further studies are required to clarify the mechanism involved in the hematotoxicity found in mice, and to establish the toxicological risks to non-target organisms, especially mammals, before concluding that these microbiological control agents are safe for mammals.

Their conclusion is that it is premature to consider GM toxins to be safe in mammals. Billions have already been exposed to Bt toxins, in combination with glyphosate-based herbicide formulations such as Roundup, and yet, most biotech research scientists and industry regulators still claim they are unequivocally safe. This has much to do with the well-known relationship that biotech corporations like Monsanto have with so-called ‘check book’ science firms who are basically paid to obfuscate adverse health outcomes of their products, such as the GMO-Cancer link. [see: Monsanto-Funded Science Denies Emerging Roundup Cancer Link http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/monsanto-funded-science-denies-emerging-roundup-cancer-link. The newest study, published in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology titled, “Epidemiologic studies on glyphosate and cancer: A review,” declared its glaring conflict of interest in the following manner:

“ Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors have disclosed the funding source for this research. JSM [study author] has served has a paid consultant to Monsanto Company. Final decisions regarding the content of the manuscript were made solely by the four authors.

Acknowledgment

This research was supported by the Monsanto Company, St. Louis, Missouri

Study Finds that GMO Insulin Causes Type 1 Diabetes in Type 2 Diabetics

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism by Nishida et al in 2014 titled, “Insulin administration may trigger type 1 diabetes in Japanese type 2 diabetes patients with type 1 diabetes high-risk HLA class II and the insulin gene VNTR genotype,” is shedding light on a possible explanation for why insulin treatment may accelerate morbidity and mortality in type 2 diabetics. The study revealed that giving genetically susceptible type 2 diabetes patients recombinant insulin can trigger their bodies to target their own insulin producing cells for autoimmune destruction, effectively producing ‘double diabetes’: type 1 and type 2, as a result. The Japanese study took 6 patients (4 men and 2 women) with type 2 diabetes, none of whom had previously received insulin therapy nor had markers for autoantibodies to their own insulin (e.g. GAD65). All patients were found to have the type 1 diabetes susceptibility gene known as type 1 diabetes high risk HLA class II (IDDM1), which is considered to play a role in up to 50% of type 1 diabetes cases, and the insulin gene VNTR genotype (IDDM2), believed to play a key role in susceptibility to type 2 diabetes.

After recombinant insulin administration their blood glucose control deteriorated, and their own insulin producing beta cells – as measured by declining C-peptide levels (a marker for the production of natural insulin) – decreased insulin production to a deficiency levels commonly found in type 1 diabetes patients. The average time it took for the patients to develop full blown type 1 diabetes was 7.7 months, with one patient developing the condition within 1.1 months. Further tests revealed that the patients had antibodies against their own pancreatic islet cells (the cells responsible for producing insulin), insulin allergy or increased levels of insulin antibody. Additionally, 2 of 4 cases were found to have GAD-reactive and insulin peptide reactive Th1 cells, typical markers of autoimmunity induced type 1 diabetes. The researchers concluded from their findings:

“The findings suggest that insulin administration may have triggered TIDM in patients with T2DM. IDDM1 and IDDM 2 as well as autoreactive T cells may contribute to the development of T1DM. Developing insulin-triggered T1DM if a patient’s blood glucose control acutely deteriorates after insulin administration should be carefully considered.”

The researchers also pointed out that there are a number trials underway to produce vaccines containing insulin intended to induce a ‘tolerogenic immune response’ and therefore ameliorate autoimmune type 1 diabetes. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/gmo-insulin-causes-type-1-diabetes-type-2-diabetics

Clearly, however, their findings run contrary to this expectation, revealing that it is possible that introducing exogenous forms of insulin may stimulate the opposite reaction and induced autoimmunity against the hormone, or the cells in the pancreas responsible for producing it.

Discussion: GMO Insulin Not the Same As Animal Derived Insulin

A possible explanation for these results lies in the difference between today’s synthetic insulin and insulin purified from animals such as pigs (porcine insulin), which is no longer available in countries like the U.S. Insulin was actually the first protein to be synthesized with recombinant DNA (GMO) technology in the late 1970s, http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/gmo-insulin-causes-type-1-diabetes-type-2-diabetics-study-finds and today, products like Lantus (insulin glargine [rDNA origin] injection) dominate the market. According to Sanofi, Lantus’ manufacturer their form is produced “by recombinant DNA technology utilizing a non-pathogenic laboratory strain of Escherichia coli (K12) as the production organism.

” Synthetic insulin is classified as an insulin analog that differs significantly from human insulin in its primary amino acid structure: “Insulin glargine differs from human insulin in that the amino acid asparagine at position A21 is replaced by glycine and two arginines are added to the C-terminus of the B-chain.” Lantus’ formulation also contains various ‘inactive ingredients,’ such as:

1. hydrochloric acid • sodium hydroxide (lye)
2. zinc
3. m-cresol (a coal tar derivative)
4. glycerol
5. polysorbate 20

The simultaneous injection of these antigenic ingredients along with synthetic insulin could be responsible for hypersensitizing the immune system against insulin in the same way that inactive and adjuvant ingredients in vaccines induce exaggerated immune reactions against the ‘active’ vaccine antigen (e.g. the viral or bacterial antigen) which sometimes results in the immune system attacking self-structures (autoimmunity). Furthermore, synthetic insulin does not have the same conformational state – i.e. it does not assume the same complex folded form – of natural human insulin, or more closely related pig insulin. This presents a ‘recognition’ problem from the perspective of the immune system which may identify the foreign protein as ‘other’ generating acute or sustained autoimmune reactions to it as a result.

According to a 1993 paper on recombinant human insulin , “Bacterially expressed proteins normally lack any secondary structure or post-translational modifications” – a highly significant fact, considering that complex proteins such as hormones actually have four levels of folding complexity: primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary, all of which together determine the protein’s natural structure and therefore its function. In fact, this complexity is so immense that Levinthal’s paradox states a fully folded protein (i.e., one that has attained its native conformation) must pass through such a large number of degrees of freedom to reach its native state that there is not enough time in the universe for it to move through all possible configurations to the one it was designed by nature to assume. Obviously, if synthetic insulin is not capable of obtaining the same 3-dimensional structure as natural insulin, nor is modified post-translationally through epigenetic regulatory processes, it cannot behave in the same way as natural insulin in the body, and would likely be identified as ‘other’ by the immune system, if not also cellular insulin receptors.

Research dating back to the early 1980s compared synthetic E. Coli derived insulin with porcine (pig) derived insulin in diabetic children and found that porcine insulin was more effective at lowering HbA1 values (a marker of damage associated with elevated blood sugar), superior at reducing fasting glucose concentrations, and less antibody reactive to insulin than synthetic insulin. While pig derived insulin has its limitations, especially considering there are limits to how much can be produced, clearly it is more appropriate than synthetic versions if it is true that the latter is incapable of reproducing the same therapeutic outcome for diabetics.

Natural Approaches To Diabetes Prevention and Treatment are the Future

The future of medicine will look to identifying and removing the causes of conditions like diabetes, instead of employing patented synthetic drugs and synthetic replacement therapies (which feed the deficiency), palliatively — especially considering the new research indicating they actually make the patient far worse. Also, diet is the #1 factor in the pathogenesis of most chronic conditions that afflict the modern world; more specifically, the consumption of foods or food-like products that deviate from our ancestral diets generate the physiological conditions that produce disease in the first place. Addressing the dietary causes and incompatibilities and many ‘diseases’ decelerate and may even regress.

New Study Links GMOs to Gluten Disorders That Affect 18 Million Americans

This study was recently released by the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), and uses data from the US department of Agriculture, US Environmental Protection Agency, medical journal reviews as well as other independent research. The authors relate GM foods to five conditions that may either trigger or exacerbate gluten-related disorders, including the autoimmune disorder, Celiac Disease:

1. Intestinal permeability
2. Imbalanced gut bacteria
3. Immune activation and allergic response
4. Impaired digestion
5. Damage to the intestinal wall

The Institute for Responsible technology is a world leader in educating policy makers and the public about GMO foods and crops. The institute reports and investigates on the impact GM foods can have on health, environment, agriculture and more. The full 24-page report, a press release, a recorded interview and a summary of the research can be found here. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/news-release-gmos-linked-exploding-gluten-sensitivity-epidemic-free-pdf1

Study Links Genetically Modified Corn to Rat Tumors

In November 2012, The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology published a paper titled ‘Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize’ by Gilles-Eric Seralini and his team of researchers at France’s Caen University. It was a very significant study, which obviously looks bad for the big bio tech companies like Monsanto, being the first and only long term study under controlled conditions examining the possible effects of a diet of GMO maize treated with Monsanto roundup herbicide. This study has since been retracted, which is odd, because the journal it was published in is a very well known, reputable peer reviewed scientific journal. In order for a study to be published here it has to go through a rigorous review process. It’s also important to note that hundreds of scientists from around the world have condemned the retraction of the study. This study was done by experts, and a correlation between GMOs and these tumors can’t be denied, something happened. Here you can see image of tumors induced through the experiment. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/alert-gmo-corn-and-roundup-caused-cancer-and-killed-rats?page=1

The multiple criticisms of the study have also been answered by the team of researchers that conducted the study. You can read them and find out more about the study here. https://www.gmoseralini.org/category/critics-answered

GMO risk assessment is based on very little scientific evidence in the sense that the testing methods recommended are not adequate to ensure safety. Deficiencies have been revealed numerous times with regards to testing GM foods.

The first guidelines were originally designed to regulate the introduction of GM microbes and plants into the environment with no attention being paid to food safety concerns. However, they have been widely cited as adding authoritative scientific support to food safety assessment. Additionally, the Statement of Policy released by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States, presumptively recognizing the GM foods as GRAS (generally recognized as safe), was prepared while there were critical guidelines prepared by the International Life Sciences Institute Europe and FAO/WHO recommend that safety evaluation should be based on the concept of substantial equivalence, considering parameters such as molecular characterization, phenotypic characteristics, key nutrients, toxicants and allergens. Since 2003, official standards for food safety assessment have been published by the Codex Alimentarius Commission of FAO/WHO. Published reviews with around 25 peer-reviewed studies have found that despite the guidelines, the risk assessment of GM foods has not followed a defined prototype. The paper was authored by Javier A Magaña-Gómez and Ana M Calderón de la Barca in International Life Sciences Institute 2009

“The risk assessment of genetically modified (GM) crops for human nutrition and health has not been systematic. Evaluations for each GM crop or trait have been conducted using different feeding periods, animal models and parameters. The most common results is that GM and conventional sources include similar nutritional performance and growth in animals. However, adverse microscopic and molecular effects of some GM foods in different organs or tissues have been reported. While there are currently no standardized methods to evaluate the safety of GM foods, attempts towards harmonization are on the way. More scientific effort is necessary in order to build confidence in the evaluation and acceptance of GM foods.”

So, if anybody ever tells you that GMOs are completely safe for consumption, it’s not true. We just don’t know enough about them to make such a definitive statement. A lot of evidence actually points to the contrary.

Growing evidence of harm from GMOs

GM soy and allergic reactions Eliot M. Herman in his journal Genetically modified soybeans and food allergies supports that Allergenic reactions to proteins expressed in GM crops has been one of the prominent concerns among biotechnology critics and a concern of regulatory agencies. Soybeans like many plants have intrinsic allergens that present problems for sensitive people. Current GM crops, including soybean, have not been shown to add any additional allergenic risk beyond the intrinsic risks already present. Biotechnology can be used to characterize and eliminate allergens naturally present in crops. Biotechnology has been used to remove a major allergen in soybean demonstrating that genetic modification can be used to reduce allergenicity of food and feed. This provides a model for further use of GM approaches to eliminate allergens. Here is another journal for the Allergic Risk of Genetically Modified Soybean: Yonsei Med Journal authored by Sang-Ha Kim et al in 2006

Antibiotic resistance

In recent years health professionals have become alarmed by the increasing number of bacterial strains that are showing resistance to antibiotics. Bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics by creating antibiotic resistance genes through natural mutation. Biotechnologists use antibiotic resistance genes as selectable markers when inserting new genes into plants. In the early stages of the process scientists do not know if the target plant will incorporate the new gene into its genome. By attaching the desired gene to an antibiotic resistance gene the new GM plant can be tested by growing it in a solution containing the corresponding antibiotic. If the plant survives scientists know that it has taken up the antibiotic resistance gene along with the desired gene. There is concern that bacteria living in the guts of humans and animals could pick up an antibiotic resistance gene from a GM plant before the DNA becomes completely digested (GEO-PIE website).

It is not clear what sort of risk the possibility of conferring antibiotic resistance to bacteria presents. No one has ever observed bacteria incorporating new DNA from the digestive system under controlled laboratory conditions. The two types of antibiotic resistance genes used by biotechnologists are ones that already exist in bacteria in nature so the process would not introduce new antibiotic resistance to bacteria. Never the less it is a concern and the FDA is encouraging biotechnologists to phase out the practice of using antibiotic resistance genes (GEO-PIE website). (For more information about Antibiotic resistance and GMOS read here…. Tore Midtvedt, Editor-in-Chief in the Microb Ecol Health Dis. 2014

GMOs harm the environment

GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds

Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report, authored by more than 400 scientists and backed by 58 governments, stated that GM crop yields were “highly variable” and in some cases, “yields declined.” The report noted, “Assessment of the technology lags behind its development, information is anecdotal and contradictory, and uncertainty about possible benefits and damage is unavoidable.” They determined that the current GMOs have nothing to offer the goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitating social and environmental sustainability. On the contrary, GMOs divert money and resources that would otherwise be spent on more safe, reliable, and appropriate technologies. By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply. Because GMOs give no consumer benefits, if even a small percentage of us start rejecting brands that contain them, GM ingredients will become a marketing liability. Food companies will kick them out. In Europe, for example, the tipping point was achieved in 1999, just after a high profile GMO safety scandal hit the papers and alerted citizens to the potential dangers. In the US, a consumer rebellion against GM bovine growth hormone has also reached a tipping point, kicked the cow drug out of dairy products by Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Dannon, Yoplait, and most of America’s dairies.

You can read about the above in Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops.

Should we employ the Technology and Label GMO’S ?

Our people do not read. In other world where people read then labelling foods containing genetically modified ingredients will enable them to choose to avoid them. It is a policy long overdue in other countries that have accepted GMO’S. When it comes to food crops, there are three kinds of seeds: ancient, hybrid, and genetically modified (GM). The original seeds, called “heirloom” or “heritage,” are ancient seeds improved over time by selective breeding. Seeds from these plants will be the same from one generation to the next. Hybrid seeds are a cross between two or more heirloom varieties, bred for qualities like increased vigor, greater yield or shorter growing season. Hybrid seeds often bring unique advantages, but saved seeds will not “come true”; they will revert to the parent plants. In both cases, though, humans have been manipulating seeds in these two ways for generations. We have been selectively breeding for thousands of years. The ancestor of today’s corn (“maize”) would not be recognizable as corn. GM seeds take plant breeding to a whole new level; they are an unnatural technological leap that can only be created in a laboratory. Under microscopic conditions, DNA from another species is spliced into the genetic makeup of the target plant in the hope of conferring some advantage. Roundup-ready crops, for instance, are designed to withstand repeated applications of the chemical weed-killer Roundup. Bt crops carry an insecticide (Bacillus thuringiensis) in every cell to deter insect damage. Many crops carry not just one, but multiple genetic alterations, called “stacked” varieties, or “stax.” These are plants that have never existed in nature. In the natural world a firefly could not breed with a tobacco plant, nor a flounder with a tomato, but in the bizarre world of genetic engineering, all things are possible. (Both of these have been done, though never marketed). At present, 85-95% of five major crops are genetically modified: corn, soy, sugar, canola and cotton. At least one of these crops is found in all processed foods. Add 85% of Hawaiian papaya and 25,000 acres of zucchini and crookneck squash and you’ve covered most of the American diet. Unless it is labeled “organic” or “non-GMO,” all prepared foods, from soups to salad dressings to snacks, contain GMOs.

In other words, virtually everything in the interior of the supermarket is genetically modified — but there is no way for us to know that. GM grains are fed to livestock in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). Carried to its logical conclusion, the supermarket beef, pork and poultry you take home contain the same unnatural genes as does your prepared food. Unless they are specifically raised organically, they too are genetically modified. Biotechnology is a two-part system of engineered plants and chemical herbicides. It’s important to understand each of these systems — the biological and the chemical — their mutual dependence, and the damage they do to our bodies and the earth. We are told that the alien GM genes in food are destroyed in our digestive system. This is false. Promoters like Agrobacterium tumefasciens and Cauliflower Mosaic Virus spliced into genetic material have been shown to continue to replicate and alter our own genes. We are ingesting DNA fragments that our bodies cannot recognize. They populate our gut, suppress our immune system, lower fertility, accelerate aging, contribute to chronic diseases, and have been linked to infant mortality, birth defects and cancer. Disruption of gut bacteria results in the overgrowth of pathogens, specifically pathogenic strains of drug-resistant Salmonella and Clostridium. A 2011 Canadian study found that 93% of pregnant women and 82% of the fetuses tested had the GM protein pesticide in their blood. Because GMOs have never been tested on human beings, adverse effects are difficult to pinpoint, but they have been observed in mice, rats, hamsters, poultry, pigs and cattle. According to Monsanto, “There is no need to test the safety of GM foods. So long as the engineered protein is safe, foods from GM crops are substantially equivalent and they cannot pose any health risks.” First, those proteins are not safe, because the 40-year-old paradigm of genetic engineering technology is flawed. It is based on the naive understanding of the genome based on the One Gene-One Protein hypothesis of 70 years ago, that each gene codes for a single protein. The 2002 Human Genome project showed that this hypothesis is incorrect.

Every scientist now knows that any gene can give more than one protein and that randomly inserting a gene in a plant eventually creates rogue proteins — some of which will be allergenic or toxic. The manifestations in mammalian health are slow to emerge but we are beginning to see them now. Second, they are not “substantially equivalent.” For example, conventional corn has 437 times more calcium, 56 times more magnesium, and 7 times more manganese than GM corn. Tests show organ damage to animals at .1ppm of glyphosate in water; GM corn has 13 ppm. Formaldehyde is toxic in ingestion to animals at .97 ppm; GM corn has 200X that. That is why given a choice, animals will not eat it at all. So much for the vaunted safety of the biology of gene insertion. The other partner in the GM relationship is the herbicide Roundup, the active ingredient of which is glyphosate. The majority of GM field crops have been engineered to be resistant to repeated applications of Roundup, which in theory kills all weeds without harming the crop, thus eliminating the need to cultivate. Instead of driving a tractor and cultivator through the rows to eliminate weeds mechanically, a tractor drags a sprayer that dispenses herbicide. Monsanto, which produces both the GM seed and the herbicide to manage it, claims that Roundup biodegrades rapidly and is practically safe enough to drink. Let’s examine those claims. Glyphosate does not biodegrade; it accumulates in the soil, changing its microbiology and binding with essential minerals, making them unavailable to plants and subsequently to us. It depletes the soil of beneficial bacteria; over an extended period, repeated applications of glyphosate render the soil permanently unfit for crops. It contaminates the water table and poisons adjacent wells. It has been found in waterways where it kills amphibians and other native species. It has been shown to kill butterflies and may be implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder, leading to the disappearance of bees — which we rely on to pollinate our crops. According to a research paper released in April of this year, authored by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff (Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases), residues of glyphosate occur across the entire Western diet. Industry assertions that it is nontoxic to humans are untrue. It enhances the damaging effects of other food-borne chemicals and environmental toxins. The impact is insidious and accumulates over time as inflammation harms cellular systems, including the liver, kidneys and pancreas. It has been implicated in obesity, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, liver diseases, and cancer, among others. Yet Monsanto, Syngenta, Dupont, Dow and the other industry members assure the FDA that there is absolutely no reason to test, no substantive difference between GM and conventional crops, no cause for alarm. Hence we are the biotechnology industry’s walking, talking guinea pigs.

Further, glyphosate’s toxicity is spiked by the adjuvants intended to enhance its effectiveness. These supposed “non-active” ingredients in Roundup, like the surfactant polyoxyethyleneamine, amplify the herbicide’s absorption into exposed human tissues. Serious adverse effects have been experienced by agricultural workers handling the herbicide Roundup, including infant mortality and grotesque birth defects. Worse, under pressure from Monsanto, the EPA is proposing to hike the allowed residue limits — yet again — of the herbicide glyphosate in various food and feed crops. The allowed level in animal feed will be 100 parts per million (ppm) and in oilseed crops, 40 ppm. Allowed levels in some fruits and vegetables eaten by humans will also rise. Yet ample evidence shows that GMOs and their chemical burden are harmful to humans and other life forms. What are they thinking? The bright promises that seemed to justify this abhorrent tinkering with the very stuff of life have not materialized. Drought-resistant strains show only a 6% improvement, whereas conventional breeding for drought-resistance over the last 30 years has increased tolerance by an impressive 30%. The cost to buy patented seeds every year and to spray herbicide for weed control have not resulted in savings; U.S. farmers pay about $100 an acre more for GM seed, and crop failures, added to increased pest resistance, are driving many to consider returning to conventional crops. GM crops saw smaller yields globally in 2011 than their conventional counterparts.

Worse, the promise of less pesticide use has backfired. Designing a crop able to withstand the assault of chemicals only invites more spraying. Predictably, the indiscriminate overuse of Roundup had led to a dozen resistant weed species; Monsanto is now proposing crops designed to be resistant to 2,4-D, the active ingredient in Agent Orange. Soils sprayed with 2,4-D in the sixties are still poisoning Vietnamese people today wherever the soil is disturbed. Is this the direction we want U.S. agriculture to take? Resistance to the Bt toxin is developing, too. Did we learn nothing from the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria? At the moment, 13 new GMO crops are awaiting approval at the USDA, including Dow Chemical’s 2,4-D Agent Orange corn and the non-browning GMO apple. At the same time, the FDA is getting ready to approve genetically engineered salmon. Approval of Aquabounty’s GM salmon would put the first GM animal on America’s dinner plates — unlabeled. Multiple petitions to the FDA have had no effect, despite the objections of hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens. The same criteria that we apply to pharmaceuticals — that they be shown to be safe and effective — should be applied to genetically modified crops. Are they proven safe? Since no human trials have ever been done, the answer is no. Are they effective, i.e. beneficial? Not in terms of the massive failure of both Roundup Ready and Bt crops, and certainly not in terms of the collateral damage they have done to the environment. GM seeds now threaten human health, animal and insect life and the very life of the planet, all in the name of corporate profit. Congress continues to defer to the bidding of corporations, protecting their interest at the expense of the public good. Unavoidable and uncontrolled GM cross-pollination contaminates conventional and organic crops, putting wild animals at risk and forcing organic growers out of business. GM crops are destroying soil microbes. They are lessproductive than either conventional or organic ones; they have increased the use of herbicides. They are not the answer to world hunger. These are industry lies. Thierry Vrain, former pro-GMO research scientist for Agriculture Canada: “I have in the last 10 years changed my position. I started paying attention to the flow of published studies coming from Europe, some from prestigious labs and published in prestigious scientific journals that questioned the impact and safety of engineered food.

“I refute the claims of the biotechnology companies that their engineered crops yield more, that they require less pesticide applications, that they have no impact on the environment and of course that they are safe to eat.” Labeling of GM foods is required in the European Union, China, Russia, Australia and Japan, in fact, in 64 countries around the world. Labeling will give them the ability to choose what they will consume. However, in Ghana; our people do not read so therefore it should not even be discussed at all. We should focus on our natural ways of doing things. I Rest my case! The People first! Politics is like finding cure for cancer; it is not luxury, it is human needs so no one should use this for his personal gains. There is something wrong when the people who put you there are dying of these needs. I entreat the government to have broader consultations before taking any action on this. Thank you.

By Raphael Nyarkotey Obu

To:
The Chairman
The Parliamentary Select Committee on Agriculture

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Health

& interested parties on the debate.
Authored By Raphael Nyarkotey Obu: PhD
Research Professor of Prostate cancer & Alternative Medicine

Da Vinci College of Holistic Medicine, Larnaca city, Cyprus

National President of the Alternative Medical Association of Ghana

E-mail: oburalph30@yahoo.co.uk

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