by Dr. Joseph Mercola
October 06, 2013
Foods That Will Starve You...
Expert Speaks Out on GMOs
Dr. Don Huber is likely the leading GMO expert in the world. He is
an award-winning, internationally recognized scientist, and
professor of plant pathology at Purdue University for the past 35
His agriculture research is focused on the epidemiology and control
of soil-borne plant pathogens, with specific emphasis on microbial
ecology, cultural and biological controls, and the physiology of
His research over the past few decades has led him to become very
genetically modified organisms (GMO) and
genetically engineered (GE) foods and the
use of Roundup in
agriculture in general.
He's really one of the best scientists we have in the GMO movement
for documenting the dangers of genetically engineered foods.
"I appreciate the opportunity to share a little bit of my research
and the research of many other scientists who are expressing
concern; recognizing that we've missed the boat in much of this
discussion and much of the process, because it's really a food and
health safety issue that we're dealing with here," he says.
You Need to Know About GMOs
There's a lot of confusion about the basic validity of concerns
about genetically engineered (GE) foods.
Many have been deceived
into thinking that there's really no difference between GE foods and
conventional fare, and all these worries are just paranoid
According to Dr. Huber, the following three facts are some of the
most important that everyone needs to understand about GMOs:
Despite what the media and so-called
"experts" proclaim, there are
NO peer-reviewed scientific papers establishing the safety of GMO
According to Dr. Huber, so far, no one has been able to establish
that there's a safety factor to either the genetically engineered
proteins (i.e. the foreign proteins produced by the genetically
modified plant) or the chemicals we're consuming in ever larger
quantities as a result of the genetic engineering process.
There are, however, both clinical and peer-reviewed scientific
papers showing the hazards of GMO crops, including harmful secondary
"A group of us met with top USDA administrators. They assured us
that they based all their decisions on peer-reviewed science. When
we asked them if they would share any of that, they were unable to
produce any," he says.
Epidemiological patterns show there's an identical rise in over 30
human diseases correlated with our increased usage of glyphosate and
the increased prevalence of genetically engineered proteins in our
Genetically engineered foods, as well as conventional crops that are
heavily sprayed with glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto's
herbicide Roundup), have lower nutrient density than organic foods.
They also contain high amounts of pesticides with documented harmful
health effects, along with novel, highly allergenic, proteins.
Facts About Glyphosate
You can't really discuss genetic engineering without also addressing
the chemicals these plants are engineered to tolerate.
percent of all genetically engineered plants are
herbicide-tolerant - designed to tolerate very high levels of
glyphosate in particular. These are the so-called
Roundup Ready crops.
It's important to realize that glyphosate is not "just" an
herbicide. As explained by Dr. Huber, it was first patented as a
It immobilizes nutrients, so they're not
physiologically available for your body.
"You may have the mineral [in the plant], but if it's chelated with
glyphosate, it's not going to be available physiologically for you
to use, so you're just eating a piece of gravel," Dr. Huber says.
Naturally, health effects are bound to occur if you're consistently
eating foods from which your body cannot extract critical nutrients
Mineral deficiencies can lead to developmental and
mental health issues, for example. Glyphosate is also patented as an
antibiotic - and a very effective one at that - against a large number
of beneficial organisms.
Unfortunately, like all antibiotics, it
also kills vitally important beneficial soil bacteria and human gut
"Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus faecalis
- these are
organisms that keep you healthy either by providing accessibility to
the minerals in your food or producing many of the vitamins that you
need for life.
They're also the natural biological defenses to keep
Clostridium, Salmonella, and E.coli from developing in your system,"
Dr. Huber explains.
"When you take the good bacteria out, then the bad bacteria fill
that void, because there aren't any voids in nature. We have all of
these gut-related problems, whether it's autism, leaky gut, C. difficile diarrhea, gluten intolerance, or any of the other
All of these diseases are an expression of disruption of
that intestinal microflora that keeps you healthy."
Glyphosate was first patented as a chelator in 1964 by Stauffer
Chemical Co. It was
patented by Monsanto and introduced as an
herbicide in 1974.
And then in 1996, Roundup Ready crops hit the
market. There's been a steep increase in the usage of Roundup since
then, because you can apply it multiple times without damaging your
Making matters worse, they're now also using glyphosate as a
ripening agent - even for non-GMO crops.
It's applied right before
harvest time to ripen off the crop.
"We have about a five-fold increase in glyphosate usage on many of
our GMO crops. With the Roundup Ready-resistant weeds, we see that
rate going up exponentially," he says.
Did You Know?
EPA Just Increased Allowable Limits of Glyphosate
in Your Food
Despite well-understood health risks, the US Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) is repeatedly approached by agricultural and
biotech companies asking for increased limits of this pernicious
toxin in your food.
"The companies say we have to increase the amount of glyphosate
that we can have in your food, so we can have a 'safe' product -
not based on science but based on how much chemical is actually
in our food!" Dr. Huber says.
On May 1, the EPA went ahead and doubled the amount of glyphosate
allowed in food...
Soybean oil may now contain as much as 40 parts
per million (ppm) of glyphosate. Meanwhile, research by Dr. Monika
Krueger at Leipzig University shows that a tenth of a part per
million is all that it takes to kill your Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Enterococcus faecalis!
So soybean oil is now
allowed to contain a whopping 4,000 times the known limit at which
it can impact your health.
Coexist with Conventional Crops?
On September 20, agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced that
the Department of Agriculture (USDA) will soon publish a notice in
the Federal Register asking for public comments on how agricultural
coexistence in the US might be strengthened.
At the time of this
writing, the USDA has not yet published that notice, but you can
search the Federal Register for the latest notices here.1
According to the media release:2
"The Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century
Agriculture recommended that USDA support agricultural coexistence
by strengthening education and outreach on this vital issue...
response, with this notice, we are asking all those with a vested
interest in coexistence to help us learn more about what coexistence
means to them, how they are already contributing to it, and what
more is needed to achieve coexistence.
With this input, we can
continue the dialogue begun by the AC21 group 3 and find practical
solutions that will help all sectors of American agriculture be
...Coexistence is defined as the concurrent cultivation of crops
produced through diverse agricultural systems including
traditionally produced, organic, identity preserved, and genetically
USDA supports all forms of agriculture and wants
each sector to be as successful as possible providing products to
markets in the United States and abroad."
Vilsack wants comments...
How about we start with the suggestion
"Biotech Government of the Year shouldn't be running the show."
He says the USDA supports ALL agriculture, yet the USDA primarily
subsidizes junk food crops - corn and soy - and cave in to the
multi-million dollar lobbying of the biotech industry.
the USDA has all but wiped out raw milk, heritage hogs, and most
small farmers. So, really, the only agriculture the USDA support is
the chemical variety.
When asked whether he believes that it's ever
appropriate or possible for GMOs to coexist with conventional and
organic crops, Dr. Huber replies:
"We know how to get these genes in; we don't know how to remove
them," he says.
"I don't see any opportunity for
coexistence with the current technology that we have because of
that promiscuous nature of the genes. If you have a gene that is
spread by pollen, like Roundup Ready alfalfa, it's just a matter
of time before bees or the wind is going to transfer that
particular pollen to every alfalfa crop that you're going to
There's a very high probability that
you're going to see that genetic component in it."
Proof Positive GMOs Can't 'Coexist' with Natural
According to Dr. Huber, our knowledge of what we're doing in the
genetic engineering process is extremely limited.
popular belief, we're still only in the initial stages of
understanding what we're doing in that whole process:
"We do know that it's more like a
virus infection than it is a breeding program.
In other words,
you're throwing genes in, but you're not moving all of the
regulatory and control mechanisms with those genes so that
they're only going to function at a time when the plant needs it
or under conditions when it needs it.
It's a flawed science to think that
you have one gene or one little group of genes and it's going to
do this particular function and not the other things."
Clearly, that's not the general perception.
Most people are still
under the illusion that genetic engineering is a very precise
approach. That's certainly what the industry wants you to believe.
But as Dr. Huber points out, we learned some very important facts
from sequencing of the human genome: There aren't nearly enough
genes to do all of the things we know are done within the human
This is related to the profoundly important relationships that
epigenetics controls. We found out that a gene actually functions in
relation to the environment and its relationship to other genes or
other genetic components in that code.
When you disrupt those
relationships and the integrity of the genetic code, you end up with
mutations and epigenetic effects that we've yet to explore.
"We know they occur because for every one of those successful
expressions that you get from genetic engineering, you have over a
million other things that take place that are negative," he says.
"We also have potentially negative [effects] with the one that
succeeded in expressing a particular protein that you want for
genetic engineering. But nobody even looks for all of those other
epigenetic effects that occur.
One of the things that we do know, since we don't have the
regulatory genes that would normally be part of those components
from a regular breeding program, is that the genes that are being
inserted are extremely promiscuous. They're not stable. They may
stay in and be transferred through a regular breeding program after
But we know that they can be transferred to soil
microorganisms when the stubble or the grain is digested and
decomposed in the soil - or in your gut."
In the latter case, your gut flora can then pick up those same
genes, and can start producing those foreign proteins, which are
A perfect example of this was the
corn, which produced a protein that turned out to be very toxic to
humans. StarLink was grown 10 years ago for a pharmaceutical
process. It was pulled off the market when they realized it had
escaped from its confines and had the ability to contaminate corn
destined for food production.
We know that GE crops decimate agricultural variety - countless
varieties have been wiped out in order to foster a few monocultures.
Now, if GMOs are removed, will there really be less food variety?
This ridiculous concept was recently brought forth by Scientific
The erroneous and illogical claims made in the editorial
mirrors claims made by
Monsanto - such as the idea that GMO labels
could destroy the market for genetically engineered foods in a
country where 70 percent of processed foods already contain them.
This, they want you to believe, would result in
"less variety and
Look, we're primarily talking about ingredients like
corn syrup and soy! And food companies do not appear to have any
major problems supplying Europe, where GMOs have to be labeled, with
products that do not contain genetically engineered corn and soy.
It's funny how times have changed at Scientific American, as they
now tow the biotech line like a well greased PR firm. It wasn't all
that long ago that they had the right idea, questioning the logic
and safety of restricting GE crop research to the seed companies
that make them.5
Could YOU Be
Altering Your OWN Genes When You Eat GMOs?
As discussed by Dr. Huber, research clearly shows that the novel
proteins created in genetically engineered plants are highly
allergenic, with the capability to promote diseases like cancer and
liver or kidney failure.
But Dr. Huber points out that there are
other factors involved as well, which have some scientists concerned
about the spread of those genes into the human gut...
Not only do GMOs alter your intestinal microflora, but research shows that human
cells are also able to transfer those novel genes, thereby affecting
the human genome.
"Especially with generation two genetic engineering, called gene
silencing - that section of the nucleic acid can actually be picked
up or attached to your own genes, and then start shutting down
your own physiology in that process... It's well-documented in
the scientific literature."
Indeed, last year, University of Canterbury Professor
released results from genetic research he conducted on this type of
GE wheat, which showed without "any doubt" that molecules created in
the wheat, which are intended to silence wheat genes to change its
carbohydrate content, may match human genes and potentially silence
If that's not a concern, I don't know what is!
Professor Judy Carman agreed with Heinemann's analysis, stating in
"If this silences the same gene in
us that it silences in the wheat - well, children who are born
with this enzyme not working tend to die by the age of about
Heinemann reported that his research revealed over 770 pages of
potential matches between two GM genes in the wheat and the human
Over a dozen matches were,
"extensive and identical and
sufficient to cause silencing in experimental systems," he said.
Experts warned that eating the wheat could lead to significant
changes in the way glucose and carbohydrates are stored in the human
body, which could be potentially deadly for children and lead to
serious illness in adults.
Another Culprit in Bee Die-Offs?
Glyphosate may also
play a role in bee colony collapse disorder.
stated by Dr. Huber, there are three established characteristics of
colony collapse disorder that suggests glyphosate may be (at least
in part) responsible:
The bees are mineral-deficient, especially in micronutrients
There's plenty of food present but they're not able to utilize it or
to digest it
Dead bees are devoid of the Lactobacillus and the Bifidobacterium,
which are components of their digestive system
The bees also become disoriented, suggesting endocrine hormone
Neonicotinoid insecticides, which are endocrine hormone
disruptors, have been demonstrated to make a bee disoriented and
unable to find its way back to the hive. Glyphosate is also a very
strong endocrine hormone disruptor.
Dr. Huber cites a study on glyphosate in drinking water at levels
that are commonly found in US water systems, showing a 30 percent
mortality in bees exposed to it.
And that's just from common levels
of glyphosate in drinking water...
a Cumulative Chronic Toxin
Americans are in a tough spot right now, as there's no telling which
foods might contain genetically engineered ingredients tainted with
high amounts of Roundup.
Labeling would at least tell you that much,
and give you the freedom to choose another product.
"A consumer needs to be very concerned. They need to be active in
the labeling aspects," Dr. Huber says.
"They also need to be active in the
requirement for safety studies. These haven't been done. When
the EPA employed the term 'substantially equivalent,' it gave
the chemical companies essentially a waiver on doing any of the
safety tests. The only thing that they've ever tested for is
Well, we know that glyphosate, for
instance, isn't an acute toxin. It's a serious chronic toxin.
That's been well-established in peer-reviewed scientific
We have more of those coming along
all the time. There is no question that it's a chronic toxin."
According to Dr. Huber, glyphosate at a mere 0.5 ppm
(parts per million) is toxic to
your endocrine hormone system, which includes your pituitary,
thyroid, and reproductive hormones.
Ten ppm is cytotoxic to kidney
cells; one ppm is toxic to your liver, and 0.1-10 ppm are toxic to a
whole series of human cellular functions or cells directly.
Huber has even likened glyphosate to DDT in terms of toxicity.
Consider that, and then consider that we are currently using some
880 million pounds - that's nearly ONE BILLION pounds - of glyphosate
annually on crops grown worldwide.
As Dr. Seneff and Samsel reveal in a recent study conducted at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, glyphosate is probably the
most harmful chronic toxin we've ever encountered, both in our
environment and on our dinner plates.
Their findings show that two
of the key problems caused by glyphosate in the diet are nutritional
deficiencies, and systemic toxicity.
"It's just that you don't get killed or die today from it; you have
to suffer through the process of gluten intolerance, leaky gut,
Crohn's, Alzheimer's, autism, or any of those diseases that are
related to the health of your gut, which we're seeing now on an
epidemic scale in our society," he says.
Why Is the
USDA Ignoring This Health Threat?
Two years ago, in 2011, Dr. Huber wrote a letter to USDA Secretary
Tom Vilsack, informing him of many of the safety concerns
surrounding genetically engineered crops, along with yet another
groundbreaking finding that could spell absolute disaster for your
entire food supply.
He warned Vilsack about the emergence of a brand
new electron microscope-sized organism associated with something
called Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) in soy.
It's also found in a large variety of livestock given GE feed who
experience both spontaneous abortions and infertility. This includes
cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, and poultry.
Might it affect humans in
the same way?
Dr. Huber urged the USDA to investigate the matter and
suspend approval of GE alfalfa until proper studies have been
"We know that all herbicides are chelators, mineral chelators.
That's how they compromise the plant's physiology: they tie up a
particular nutrient and shut down a physiologic pathway," he says.
"This wasn't new from that standpoint. But the thing that was
different [with glyphosate] was its biocidal effect. It's not only a
chelator, but it's also a strong antibiotic to beneficial
microorganisms. How do you compensate for that? How do you restore
Much of my research, which was focused
on glyphosate, was focused on the biology and restoration of
those mineral nutrients. I served on the National Plant Disease
Recovery Program. I was chairman at that time and also for the
I've also served for 40 years on our
various threat pathogens committees and recognized what the
potential problems were with Roundup Ready alfalfa."
The American Stock Growers' Association also testified before
Congress, saying that infertility was threatening the animal
Dr. Huber saw how all of these issues were connected
genetically engineered crops and the application of glyphosate. He
felt an obligation to alert the USDA secretary and to ask for his
help in getting the research done before further jeopardizing not
only our fourth most important crop, but also our entire animal
production because of the prevalence of this new abortogenic entity,
found in high concentrations in GE or high-glyphosate intense growth
His warnings were ignored, and GE alfalfa was deregulated that same
the USDA ignoring warnings from a scientist with 50
years of experience with plant pathology, soil-borne diseases,
microbial ecology, and host-parasite relationships?
"A group of us met with the top administrators. I've never met with
the secretary personally. But we did have the privilege of meeting
and sharing our concerns and 130 or so peer-reviewed scientific
articles that support our position with top administrators in USDA
and some of the other agencies.
They assured us that if we could do
the work, they would be willing to look at it.
haven't looked at any of the other peer-reviewed science... And
the USDA scientists, who have a tremendous amount of knowledge
on the impact of glyphosate, have all been muzzled. They're not
permitted to say anything about it.
I got a phone call from one
a few weeks ago.
'I'll be retiring fairly soon. I
plan on moving off and sharing that stage with you because I
have a lot that I want to say. I just can't say it right
GMOs Are Not
the Solution to Feed a Burgeoning Population
There is simply no question and there is irrefutable evidence that
genetic engineering is not the solution to feed a growing world
Rather, it actually increases disease susceptibility of
plants by impairing their immune response. It also reduces, not
increases, yield potential. There's never been a genetically
engineered plant that increases the intrinsic yield of a plant.
Improved plant yield is accomplished through traditional breeding
programs that promote improved gene expression.
"We're only expressing 25 or 30 percent of the genetic potential for
yield in any of our crops now," Dr. Huber says.
potential there. It's a matter of using that traditional breeding as
we've done for many years and getting better expression - not
throwing in additional genes to act like a virus and disrupt the
integrity of the whole process that's required for yield and
We can increase all of the nutrient density with
traditional breeding. In fact, the Brazilians are doing that.
They've just released new varieties of soybean with higher
vitamin A, and corn with higher vitamin A and vitamin C. We can
do all of that with traditional breeding. We've been doing it
You don't need to disrupt the
genetic integrity and introduce all the collateral damage with
its long-term effects."
I can personally attest to this fact as well.
agriculture is one of my new passions, so much so it's turning into
something of a second career - to learn and understand how to optimize
plant growth and the environment.
I've been applying what I've
learned in my own garden for a few months now, and I've been able to
personally witness the maximization of genetic potential that is
For example, by using compost tea and mineral amendments,
the leaves on some plants, like my lime trees and oleanders, are
literally 300 to 400 percent bigger than the typical leaf of these
plants. It's truly extraordinary! You wouldn't even imagine that
plants could grow that big.
Part of the problem is that we've gotten used to less than
mediocrity, when it comes to plant performance.
According to John
Kempf,7 an Amish farmer and one of the leaders in the field of
high-performance agriculture, farmers and food producers routinely
harvest only about 10 to 15 percent of the inherent genetic capacity
of any given crop.
In a nutshell, the foundation of health
we're talking about plants, soils, animals, or people - it really
boils down to two things:
Having adequate mineral nutrition, and
Having that nutrition, in the case of plants, be supplied by an
active soil microbial community, or having a strong soil biology
Genetically engineered crops decimate both.
How could it possibly be
the answer to rising food demands?
Dr. Mercola Interviews Dr. Huber about GMOs
Federal Register Notices
Aphis.usda.gov, Press Release
September 20, 2013
USDA.gov, Advisory Committee on
Biotechnology & 21st Century Agriculture (AC21)
Daily News September 6, 2013
Scientific American August 13, 2009
Digital Journal October 9, 2012