During the coming week 'Farming Today', BBC Radio 4 Mon - Fri 5.45-6.00am, will be running several features linked to organic farming. The topic on the programme's discussion page on the BBC's website will also be on organic farming. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/
It will be interesting to see whether any pieces along the lines of the item detailed below are posted. If so, it may well be worth taking a careful look at who exactly is behind such attacks.
Organic food may bring cancer epidemics and CJD!
The first item below, Eating Organically Grown Food Puts Consumers at Risk of Diseases, is reproduced from the 'India' (?!) section of 'BiotechKnowledge.com', a Monsanto sponsored website which aims to "promote a deeper understanding of agricultural biotechnology" [http://www.biotechknowledge.com] This organic attack (previously posted 10th October on 'BWG Online'*), has also gone out on Prakash's AgBioView list.
The claims made in this piece put even the lurid assertions of Dennis Avery in the shade. Avery's assertions of increased E.Coli 0157 dangers with organic foods are so poorly based that even Gregory Conko of the Competitive Enterprise Institute was moved to comment that, "looking at a few selectively reported cases from a single year doesn't seem to be convincing anybody who doesn't already have a predilection to believe you in the first place."
However, Dr Geraldine Rodgers, the author of the piece on the Monsanto site, does not feel the need to limit herself to just poorly supported assertions about E.coli. "Eating organically grown food puts consumers at risk of the following diseases: Food poisoning from: Salmonella, E.coli 0157 and Cryptosporidiosis, mycotoxin poisoning, liver cancer and other cancers (e.g oesophageal) and probably new variant CJD".
Dr Rodgers' concern about the extreme dangers of organic food can also be found in Monsanto's Online Discussion Archives:
Now, to date those raising these type of concerns about the health risks supposedly associated with organic agriculture have invariably turned out to be not independent food safety/toxicology specialists but non-specialists with a strongly pro-biotech agenda, often connected to rightwing pro-corporate groupings (such as the Averys at the Hudson Institute) or having clear financial interests in the promotion of genetic engineering. [http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/organic.htm]
As there is nothing to identify any of the possible conflicts of interest of 'Dr Geraldine Rodgers, Cambridge, UK', NGIN decided to ask her about her professional background. However, when we tried to contact Dr Rodgers via the e-mail adress given with her piece our messages bounced back because, "This account does not exist".
Interestingly, though, in late 1999 a 'Dr Geraldine A Rodgers' of Longstanton, Cambridgeshire wrote to the Guardian from the very same e-mail address. This followed a front page article about the Royal Society's media manipulation which detailed threats allegedly made by Peter Lachmann, a leading Fellow of the Royal Society, against the editor of the Lancet over the publication of Arpad Pusztai's research on rats fed on GM potatoes. Dr Rodgers' letter vigorously defended Prof Lachmann - "an eminent scientist who has probably forgotten more about fundamental biology and genetic modification of foods than [the Guardian's] journalists ever knew existed" - and went on to describe Pusztai's research as "an embarrassing example of bad science". ['The editor and the FRS' http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/rs.htm]
One can only speculate as to any possible connection between 'Dr Geraldine Rodgers', the vigorous defender of good science and GMOs of 'Cambridge' and 'Longstanton', and Dr Paul Rodgers who runs the Cambridge office of Ruston Poole International plc based at 29 High Street, Longstanton, Cambridge.
Dr Rodgers is described by Ruston Poole, headhunters for the international pharmaceutical and bioscience industries, as "an entrepreneur with twenty years experience in the life sciences". Dr Rodgers is also the founder of a related company, Ithaka, which provides services to assist the development of "emerging life science businesses". [www.rustonpoole.com/people.html]
Dr Rodgers has also co-founded two biotechnology companies himself. The first of these, Cambridge-based Axis Genetics, failed just months before Dr Geraldine Rodgers' Guardian letter damning Pusztai. According to press reports, "The company was forced to call in the receivers when investors scared by the adverse GM crop publicity [resulting from the Pusztai affair] failed to come up with the £10 million it needed". Axis Genetics was a sister company of Rodgers' other biotech venture, Pestax, which together with Dr John Gatehouse's team at Durham University supplied the GM potatoes whose dangers were reported on in the Lancet article of Dr Arpad Pusztai.
Meanwhile, Dr Rodgers' Longstanton namesake impartially tells us GM foods are safe, Dr Pusztai's research is rubbish, and without a single reference to a shred of peer reviewed research warns, "While everyone's peering at GM foods down an electron microscope we could be in for the much heralded epidemics of cancer courtesy of the organic farming lobby".
The exact nature of the connection, if any, between the two 'Dr Rodgers' of Longstanton remains obscure.
Dr Paul Rodgers' c.v.
2000 to date: Director Mentoring Services, Ruston Poole International plc
1993 - 1999 - Commercial Director, Axis Generics plc
1996 - 1999 - Commercial Director, Pestax Limited
1987 - 1993 - R & D Manager, Agricultural Genetics Co Limited
1980 - 1986 - Head of Biotechnology - Tate & Lyle Group R & D
At a meeting of fellow biotech entrepreneurs Dr Rodgers summed up his philosophy with regard to the world of bio-business thus: "...at the end of the day you can never have too much money"
*BWG Berlin Internet Forum. Ethical and Social-Economical Issues of Gene Technology http://home.t-online.de/home/mathell/akb/if_5_3.html
Eating Organically Grown Food Puts Consumers at Risk of Diseases
Eating organically grown food puts consumers at risk of the following diseases: Food poisoning from: Salmonella, E.coli 0157 and Cryptosporidiosis, mycotoxin poisoning, liver cancer and other cancers (e.g oesophageal) and probably new variant CJD.
Organic farmers use animal wastes as fertiliser. Animal manure is a reservoir of enteric pathogens. Carrier animals are asymptomatic (i.e apparently disease free). Free range chickens carry Salmonella, chicken manure is considered to be an excellent source of nitrogenous fertiliser. A child died and others were left with permanent kidney damage in the USA after eating vegetables and fruit contaminated with manure carrying E.coli 0157 (the one responsible for deaths in Scotland).
BSE was transmitted from sheep to cattle because they ate food containing rendered sheep’s carcasses that were carrying the scrapie prion (sheep BSE). Organic farmers use bone meal made by the same rendering companies.
Microscopic relatives of poisonous mushrooms produce equally toxic chemicals called mycotoxins. The fungi invade plants through insect damage, and if not controlled by fungicides grow and produce compounds which are amongst THE MOST TOXIC, CARCINOGENIC, compounds known to man. Pesticieds and fungicides are mothers milk compared to some mycotoxins!!
People die from liver cancer as a result of eating food contaminated with toxins produced by the Aspergillus fungal family. Oesophageal cancer is caused by members of another fungal group. Organic farmers do not control insect damage with insecticides, nor do they protect their crops from fungal infestations with fungicides.
We don't like chemical sprays, organic food isn't a safe alternative, but auto-resistant crops made through GM technology would be. Think about it.
What do organic farmers do to make sure their produce is safe to eat, other than hypnotise us into believing it is? I want evidence of safety no less rigorous than that being demanded of the GM foods producers. While everyone's peering at GM foods down an electron microscope we could be in for the much heralded epidemics of cancer courtesy of the organic farming lobby.
Dr Geraldine Rodgers, Cambridge, UK
Monsanto Online Discussion Archives
Organic food is grown to standards that exclude chemical inputs, except for copper and sulphur compounds, both of which are toxic. This is not necessarily the same as growing foods to standards that ensure safety and health.
99.9% of chemicals taken in the diet occur naturally. Many are carcinogenic. About 30 naturally occurring carcinogens have been identified in plants. Hundreds more remain to be identified and characterised.
These chemicals protect plants against pest attack, and the plant makes them in response to insect and fungal infestations. This is a serious risk factor for organic food.
Animal manure is a reservoir of pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli 0157. Carrier animals are disease free. E.coli 0157 outbreaks resulting in deaths and permanent kidney damage to children in the USA, have been linked to consumption of organic lettuces and natural apple juice, by the Centre for Disease Control. What QA procedures do organic farmers use to eradicate this risk? Are they as rigorous as those required for GM food?
Thousands of people in developing countries die annually from mycotoxin poisoning. This is caused by infestations of crops by fungi which synthesise chemicals known to cause liver and other cancers. They are amongst the most toxic compounds known to man. Inadequate control of fungal and insect infestations facilitates the growth of these fungi, and is another serious risk associated with organic food.
There are some real health risks associated with organic foods. They are not theoretical and speculative, but linked to real toxins and diseases.