Ban transfats now, but GM foods only later?
EXTRACT: The epidemiological studies on the health effects of trans fats, which ultimately produced devastating results, were not conducted until decades after the introduction of foods containing this man made ingredient.
In the total absence of any epidemiological studies in relation to GM foods, claims that the latter are safe for human consumption based on a decade of widespread use in the American food chain are completely unsubstantiated by science.
Yet given the trans fats experience, why have no such studies been conducted for GM foods?
Ban Trans Fats Now, But GM Foods Only Later?
Junk Foods And Junk Decisions As New Study Links Aspartame To Adverse Brain Effects
California First US State To Ban Trans Fats In Food Massachusetts May Follow www.nlpwessex.org/docs/transfats.htm (links to the quotes/statements/scientific findings in the article that follows can be found at www.nlpwessex.org/docs/transfats.htm)
After Decades Of 'Safe' Consumption Now They Say 'This Is An Invisible And Dangerous Ingredient' September 2008
"This is a call to action [to ban trans fats in food] that takes into consideration the health of our families. This is an invisible and dangerous ingredient." California Assembly Member, Tony Mendoza, Schwarzenegger urged to terminate trans fats in California, Daily Mail, 16 July 2008 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1035612/Schwarzenegger-urged-terminate-trans-fats-California.html
"In the realm of dietary dangers, trans fats rank very high.....Worldwide the toll of premature deaths is in the millions." Definition of Trans fat, MedicineNet, 17 March 2001 http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11091
"With no genetically modified food labelling or monitoring, America is now running a 'don't look, don't ask' GM junk food culture. It is one that, in effect, complacently assumes that GMOs are safe because people don't foam at the mouth as soon as they ingest them. The same approach with trans fats, another man made food, turned into thousands (1,400 a year in Massachusetts alone http://www.nlpwessex.org/docs/transfats.htm#massachusetts), and ultimately millions, of undetected premature deaths across the globe.
Having already gone through the trans fat experience it remains something of a shock to learn that, despite the billions invested in, and earned from, this technology, there has only ever been one published study (http://www.mindfully.org/GE/2005/DNA-Transfer-To-Gut1jul05.htm) on the direct human impact of eating GM food. And it found unexpected effects. ... Given that the first study raising health concerns in relation to trans fats was published in 1957 (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/review/rvw_spring06/rvwspr06_transfats.html), and yet New York City only began banning them in 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/nyregion/06fat.html), perhaps it is reasonable to project that the first bans on GM foods might begin arriving sometime around 2060 (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/review/rvw_spring06/rvwspr06_transfats.html). The trouble is, by then there may well be little else available left to eat." Ban Trans Fats Now, GM Foods Only Later? NLPWessex, September 2008
"Make no mistake, this [GM food] is an irreversible technology. It is no good 50 years later to say: 'We should have known.'....[Monsanto] have not done a proper job (http://www.nlpwessex.org/docs/transfats.htm#suicide) [of testing], and they are just using their political and economic muscle (http://www.nlpwessex.org/docs/transfats.htm#workingsystem) to foist it on us." Dr Arpad Pusztai, Guardian, 15 January 2008 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/jan/15/academicexperts.highereducationprofile) '
Rumsfeld's Disease: Decades Of Junk Decisions In The World's Leading Junk Food Nation
Donald Rumsfeld was responsible (http://www.nlpwessex.org/docs/transfats.htm#iraq) for bringing the world 'aspartame', a leading contender for the title of the world's top 'junk food' ingredient. Meanwhile Arnold Schwarzenegger (right) has just begun a reversal of decades of 'junk decisions' on artificially man made foods by signing off a bill to ban trans fats in California (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7526624.stm), the first US state to do so. How long will it now take to introduce a ban on the latest artificial product to arrive on grocery shelves, genetically modified (GM) food? US factories have made aspartame using genetically modified bacteria (http://www.nlpwessex.org/docs/transfats.htm#bacteria) (also artificially man made). After decades of supposedly 'safe' use, a study published earlier this year in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (http://www.nlpwessex.org/docs/transfats.htm#clinicalnutrition) indicates that high consumption of aspartame may lead to
'neurodegeneration' in the human brain. Other problems have also recently been found (http://www.nlpwessex.org/docs/transfats.htm#saccharine) with the sweetener saccharine (artificially man made), with evidence that it may, together with other health problems, cause some people to put on weight, not lose it. Again it has taken decades to establish this.
Now Rumsfeld's Republican colleague, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has signed off a bill passed in his state legislature which bans another junk food, trans fats (artificially man made), after the product had become associated with serious disease (http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,24124258-1702,00.html) (now thought to include cancer (http://www.nlpwessex.org/docs/gmormega3.htm), as well as heart attacks (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=80071) and diabetes (http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Saturated-and-trans-fats-a-risk-factor-for-diabetes)) and premature death (http://www.nlpwessex.org/docs/transfats.htm#prematuredeath).
With trans fats also recently banned in New York City (http://www.nlpwessex.org/docs/gmormega3.htm), once again the associated ill-health effects of a man made food were established only after decades of supposedly 'safe' use. What is also striking is how such serious 'below the radar' toxicity could be induced by seemingly innocuous changes to the molecular makeup of existing food. Naturally occurring food oils comprised of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen simply had extra hydrogen added to them to create the artificial trans fats.
The worst estimates from the Harvard School of Public Health make trans fats potentially responsible for approaching a quarter of a million heart attacks a year in America alone (yes, a year).
However, for decades there was no 'obvious' sign of this. In fact, with trans fats first patented in 1903 and brought into industrial production in 1909, it took around a hundred years to establish the full nature and extent of the problem, culminating in a Harvard led study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 (the Lancet had first published work raising initial concerns nearly fifty years earlier in 1957).
The State of Massachusetts is now also considering a ban of trans fats. But why isn't there simply a Federal ban? Perhaps it is partly down to too much aspartame (and cocaine) induced brain disease occurring within the political community in Washington.
Meanwhile, if trans fat bans are now emerging in the United States after decades of supposedly 'safe' use, how many decades of 'safe' use will it take before a similar decision is taken in relation to any GM foods (artificially man made), creations which routinely use foreign genetic material from bacteria and viruses?
Some GM crops (most notably rice grown for the pharmaceutical industry in America, which is expected to leak into the food supply at some point due to not being grown in enclosed conditions - the result of a classic 'junk' decision) may even contain human genes. Yet, even the most basic common sense should dictate that no food-chain crop species should ever be permitted to be used for such purposes.
Many previous 'junk decisions' in relation to artificial foods are now coming home to roost. A variety of food additives and colourings, plus sodium benzoate and monosodium glutamate, are also man made products where evidence of health concerns is emerging. It is little surprise, therefore, that the biotechnology industry (such is its de facto 'confidence' in the long-term safety of its own products) resolutely continues to oppose any legislation that would place strict liability on it were similar 'slow poison' problems to surface with any of their (patented) GM crops in the decades to come.
The epidemiological studies on the health effects of trans fats, which ultimately produced devastating results, were not conducted until decades after the introduction of foods containing this man made ingredient. In the total absence of any epidemiological studies in relation to GM foods, claims that the latter are safe for human consumption based on a decade of widespread use in the American food chain are completely unsubstantiated by science.
Yet given the trans fats experience, why have no such studies been conducted for GM foods? And are we to take it from this omission that, more often than not, junk policy decisions in the artificial foods arena have become the default standard? Indeed, is the very consumption of some of these artificial foods itself doing something to our brains to reduce the capacity for intelligent thinking?
There is some evidence for this. The study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that aspartame, a product ubiquitous in the market, is now potentially associated with "compromised learning and emotional functioning". This syndrome, that might perhaps one day become known as 'Rumsfeld's Disease', suggests that the denaturing of food and drink can affect not only physical health, but mental capacity as well.
If so, what influence might the mass consumption of such products have on the tendency of a nation to collectively flunk making coherent decisions about all kinds of things, the result of which might be, say, the unwise selection of its own leadership, or a diet-aggravated anxiety based approach to shaping a national security policy which turns out to be counter-productive, generating new enemies instead of new friends? 1996 was a significant year. In the spring American farmers began planting their country's first large-scale genetically modified agricultural crops. A few months later Osama Bin Laden issued his first fatwa against the US.
In the 'war on terror' conflicts that followed America has suffered some serious losses, but on nothing like the scale of those incurred more silently through the consumption of trans fats. Whether and where other artificially man made foods, including aspartame and GM crops, will end up on this distressing league table of damage will depend in part on the degree to which their effects are monitored and investigated in the years ahead. Donald Rumsfeld is unlikely to be in any rush to encourage much of that. "Almost everything we grow, everything we eat is the root result of human intervention, human breeding and so on. But this [genetic modification through recombinant DNA technology] is unnatural in a different sort of way from the kinds of breeding programs that have characterized humanity for ten thousand years.... So the question which people have, I believe, not only a right but a duty to ask, is how wisely will we use these unprecedented new powers? What are the risks
associated with doing something this new and this profound at the very wellsprings of life?... Certainly, humanity's record for using technology wisely, sensitive to its potential effects on society, on people, on environment is, at best, mixed and hardly encouraging.... We have not yet identified, yet alone cloned, the gene for wisdom, and some skepticism about our ability to manage powerful new technologies is appropriate." Robert Shapiro, Chief Executive of Monsanto State of the World Forum, San Francisco, October 27, 1999
"[BBC Farming Today] continues to examine the controversy over Genetically Modified Crops. This time it's the turn of anti-GM campaigners as Mark Holdstock visits an organic farm on the Berkshire Downs. The government environment minister for England, Phil Woolas, also sets down an ultimatum. He tells Mark Holdstock that those opposed to GM crops have 12 months to make a strong scientific case why GM crops should not go ahead." Farming Today, BBC Online, 5 September 2008 "In June, the UK environment minister, Phil Woolas, told the Independent that it was time for the nation to take a fresh look at the issue of genetically modified (GM) crops in the light of the surge in food prices over the past few months. ....
'The cynic in me thinks that they're just using the current food crisis and the fuel crisis as a springboard to push GM crops back on to the public agenda', says Professor Denis Murphy, head of biotechnology at the University of Glamorgan in Wales. 'I understand why they're doing it, but the danger is that if they're making these claims about GM crops solving the problem of drought or feeding the world, that's bullsh*t.' "_GM: it's safe, but it's not a saviour_Spiked, 7 July 2008
'Come Out With Your Hands Up, Woolas, We Have You Surrounded - We Know Which GM Interest Has Just Given New Labour Another £2 Million' "Scottish Ministers are putting mounting pressure on the UK government to end its support for GM crops now that Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have all agreed to become GM-free. In the wake of the latest GM crop contamination revealed on Friday, the Scottish environment minister, Michael Russell, is urging Whitehall to alter its stance to take account of the strong opposition to genetically modified crops in all the devolved administrations. His call has been welcomed by anti-GM groups, though they argue he should go further. The GM concordat agreed by the devolved administrations just before the last Scottish election should now be renegotiated, they say. At a conference in Dublin last week, the agriculture ministers of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland both declared that they wanted their countries to be GM-free. This follows
commitments from the Scottish and Welsh governments. 'I'm very encouraged by the strong all-Ireland stance that is being taken, and it chimes perfectly with our stance and that of Wales,' Russell told the Sunday Herald. 'The political dynamic of the GM debate in these islands has changed profoundly over the last year and it is time that the UK government woke up to the fact.'" Scotland urges UK-wide ban on GM crops, Sunday Herald, 14 September 2008
"Labour has pulled itself back from the brink of bankruptcy by restructuring its loans and persuading the bulk of its backers to give the party until 2015 to repay the money... But only two of the tycoons - Lord Sainsbury of Turville, the supermarket heir [and GM crop investor and promoter], and Sir Gulam Noon, the curry magnate - were prepared to write off their money. Lord Sainsbury, a Labour peer, lent the party £2 million, and Sir Gulam lent £250,000."_Lenders save Labour from bankruptcy with 7 year reprieve to pay £15m, London Times, 13 August 2008
'No Obvious Ill Effect' "Americans have consumed food derived from GM crops for the past decade, with no obvious ill effect on public health", GM crops: not against nature, London Times, 14 August 2008