“Do we really know what the long term impact will be on the species of plants, on the soil, on the environment? There are obvious commercial benefits, but how do we judge what is really useful? The complex web of interdependence that characterizes the environment makes it seem beyond our capacity to predict.” writes the Dalai Lama in The Universe in a Single Atom.
“The point is that genetically modified food is not just another product, like a car or a portable computer. Whether we like it or not, we do not know the long term consequences of introducing genetically modified organism into the wider environment.” Terminator or suicide seeds are “grains and cereals engineered not to produce their own seeds so that farmers are forced to depend entirely on the biotech companies for seeds.” And the Dalai Lama continues, “Such practices must be seriously questioned.” Click here for more information AboutGeneticallyModifiedFoods.
Scientists utilize viruses and bacteria to break down barriers between species, enabling horizontal gene transfer. Luckily, in nature such gene transfer is rare, though the effects can be catastrophic. The 1918 flu epidemic is believed to have been the result of horizontal gene transfer, as is avian flu, mad cow disease, and Aids (from chimpanzees.)
“At present we can only speculate what adverse reactions might already be occurring. The lack of labeling effectively prevents any attempt to monitor the human health impact of consuming these foods. It is quite an experiment to be undertaking without any long term testing and without the consent or knowledge of the people involved.” writes John Robbins in a chapter called ‘Farmageddon’ from his groundbreaking book, The Food Revolution.
The Lancet states, “It is astounding that the FDA has not changed their stance on genetically modified food. Governments should never have allowed these products into the food chain without insisting on rigorous testing for effects on health.” To see why the British Medical Association called for a moratorium on all genetically engineered crops, click here.
In the 1980s, the genetic engineering of a food supplement called L-tryptophan killed about 100 Americans and caused sickness and disability in another 5,000-10,000 people. The symptoms were quite a puzzle and the cause was overlooked for years. The deadly GM supplement might never have been identified if the symptoms had not been so unique and acute.
If GMO’s at the supermarket are causing a more common disease pattern or their effects appear after long-term exposure, scientists may not be able to identify the source of the problem for decades, if at all. A number of studies already point to numerous health hazards including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. FDA policy calls for GMO producers to conduct their own research, despite conflict of interests. There is no monitoring of GMO related illnesses and no long-term animal studies. It appears biotech corporations may be endangering the health of the world with their current line up of unhealthy GMO’s.
“Cloning, unlocking the human genome, genetic modification, and other advances represent unprecedented acquisition of knowledge and power which place us in a crucial juncture in the history of the Earth. But as scientific knowledge and power over nature grow, our sense of moral responsibility must keep pace.”
The Dalai Lama concludes, “The issue is no longer whether we should or should not acquire knowledge and explore its technological potentials. Rather, the issue is how to use this new knowledge and power in the most expedient and ethically responsible manner.” But, one has to wonder how responsible a company (Monsanto) can be which actually promoted a nuclear coffee maker. It would run for a century on its .20 ounce plutonium heat source. The only problem? Each coffee pot contained enough lethal plutonium -238 to kill ten million people.
The science of genetic engineering is in its infancy. The first GM foods were first produced just a few years ago in 1996. Yet by 1999, gene-modified (GM) ingredients tainted 2 out of every 3 processed foods in America. This unheralded change was in part due the Supreme Court decision allowing companies to patent life forms. Rather than performing the necessary tests on these new organisms, biotech companies are willing to use the unsuspecting public as guinea pigs. We mustn’t assume GM groceries are safe just because they sit unlabeled on supermarket shelves. Properly labeled, few people would purchase these questionable food stuffs. Genetically modified organisms are a Pandora’s box. You cannot recall new forms of life like defective Chinese toys. They will survive.
“Genetic engineering is inherently dangerous, because it greatly expands the scope for horizontal gene transfer and recombination, precisely the processes that create new viruses and bacteria that cause disease epidemics, and trigger cancer in cells.” - Dr. Mae-Wan Ho