by F. William Engdahl
May 22, 2009
US Association of
Physicians calls for Moratorium on GMO Foods
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has just
issued a call for an immediate
moratorium on Genetically Manipulated
In a just-released position paper on GMO foods, the AAEM states that
'GM foods pose a serious health risk' and calls for a moratorium on
GMO foods. Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes,
is more than a casual association between GMO foods and adverse
health effects' and that 'GM foods pose a serious health risk in the
areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive
health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health.'
is a devastating blow to the multibillion dollar international
agribusiness industry, most especially to
Monsanto Corporation, the
world's leading purveyor of GMO seeds and related herbicides.
In a press release dated May 19, the American Academy of
Environmental Medicine, which describes itself as 'an international
association of physicians and other professionals dedicated to
addressing the clinical aspects of environmental health,' called
immediately for the following emergency measures to be taken
regarding human consumption of GMO foods:
A moratorium on GMO food; implementation of immediate long term
safety testing and labeling of GMO food.
Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community and
the public to avoid GMO foods.
Physicians to consider the role of GMO foods in their patients'
More independent long term scientific studies to begin gathering
data to investigate the role of GMO foods on human health.
The AAEM chairperson, Dr Amy Dean notes that,
studies have shown that GM foods cause damage to various organ
systems in the body. With this mounting evidence, it is imperative
to have a moratorium on GM foods for the safety of our patients' and
the public's health.'
The President of the AAEM, Dr Jennifer
Armstrong stressed that,
'Physicians are probably seeing the effects
in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions.
The most common foods in North America which are consumed that are GMO are corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed oil.'
The AAEM's position
paper on Genetically Modified foods can be found at
The paper further states that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
'abrogates natural reproductive processes, selection
occurs at the single cell level, the procedure is highly mutagenic
and routinely breeches genera barriers, and the technique has only
been used commercially for 10 years.'
The AAEM paper further states,
'several animal studies indicate
serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including
infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation
of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation,
cell signalling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver,
kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.'
'There is more than a casual association between GM foods
and adverse health effects. There is causation as defined by Hill's
Criteria in the areas of strength of association, consistency,
specificity, biological gradient, and biological plausibility. The
strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease
is confirmed in several animal studies.'
GMO is toxic
The AAEM paper should give grounds for official rethinking of the
current quasi laissez faire regulatory stance to GMO in which the
solemn word of the GMO seed companies such as Monsanto is regarded
as scientifically valid proof of safety.
The AAEM study is worth
citing in detail in this regard:
'Specificity of the association of GM foods and specific disease
processes is also supported. Multiple animal studies show
significant immune dysregulation, including upregulation of
cytokines associated with asthma, allergy, and inflammation. Animal
studies also show altered structure and function of the liver,
including altered lipid and carbohydrate metabolism as well as
cellular changes that could lead to accelerated aging and possibly
lead to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS).
the kidney, pancreas and spleen have also been documented. A recent
2008 study links GM corn with infertility, showing a significant
decrease in offspring over time and significantly lower litter
weight in mice fed GM corn. This study also found that over 400
genes were found to be expressed differently in the mice fed GM
These are genes known to control protein synthesis and
modification, cell signalling, cholesterol synthesis, and insulin
regulation. Studies also show intestinal damage in animals fed GM
foods, including proliferative cell growth and disruption of the
intestinal immune system.'
The AAEM study also reviewed the biotechnology industry claims that
GMO foods can feed the world through production of higher crop
It cited contrary evidence that the opposite appeared to be
true, namely that over time GMO harvest yields were lower than
conventional yields and required over time, more not less, highly
toxic herbicidal chemicals such as glyphosate.
The report noted,
'The several thousand field trials over the last 20 years for genes
aimed at increasing operational or intrinsic yield (of crops)
indicate a significant undertaking. Yet none of these field trials
have resulted in increased yield in commercialized major food/feed
crops, with the exception of Bt corn.'
However, the slight yield
gain for Bt corn they report was 'largely due to traditional
breeding improvements,' and not to GMO.
They conclude that because GMO foods 'pose a serious health risk in
the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive
health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health and are
without benefit, the AAEM believes that it is imperative to adopt
the precautionary principle, which is one of the main regulatory
tools of the European Union environmental and health policy and
serves as a foundation for several international agreements.
most commonly used definition is from the 1992 Rio Declaration that
'In order to protect the environment, the precautionary
approach shall be widely applied by States according to their
capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible
damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a
reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent
Under intense public pressure, the German Minister of Agriculture
recently issued a prohibition of planting for
Monsanto MON810 GMO
Unfortunately, two weeks later she permitted planting of GMO
Amflora, a genetically modified potato manufactured by
chemicals giant BASF (a joint venture GMO partner of Monsanto), was
declared by the German Ministry as posing 'no danger for human
health or the environment.'
The Ministry cited 'in-depth
examination' and talks with scientific and economic experts as basis
for the reckless decision.
The publication of the sensational critique of GMO by the American
Academy of Environmental Medicine has been greeted with stone
silence by most major US media and international press.
As I describe in great detail in my book,
Seeds of Destruction: The
Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, GMO was released on the
general public in the early 1990's in the USA under an executive
decision by then President
George Herbert Walker Bush, reportedly
following closed door meetings with leading Monsanto executives.
President Bush mandated that there should be no special health and
safety tests done by any US Government agency before releasing GMO
for food consumption. It came to be known as the Doctrine of
The US Government, on urging of Monsanto and the GMO lobby, further
decided that labeling of a food product as 'GMO free' should be
prohibited, using the vaguely formulated and entirely unscientific
'doctrine' proclaimed by President Bush in 1992, namely that GMO
plants and non-GMO or ordinary plants were 'substantially
equivalent' and hence needed no special testing before being
released to the public.
Substantial Equivalence Doctrine, despite the fact that it
directly contradicts the demand of the GMO companies for exclusive
patent rights to their GMO seeds as being 'unique' and different
from ordinary seeds, enabled,
...to proliferate their products with no
Most Americans naively believe that the
Government Food and
Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture are there to
make certain industrial food products are confirmed fully safe for
human and for animal consumption before licensing.
That de facto prohibition on labeling GMO foods has meant that most
Americans have no idea how much of their daily diet from
store-bought Corn Flakes to soybeans to corn and additives in every
food on the supermarket shelf contained GMO contamination.
Coincident with the mass introduction of GMO into the human and
animal diet in the United States beginning the end of the 1990's,
there have been reported epidemic levels of allergic outbreaks in
humans, strange diseases and numerous other health issues. The fact
it is forbidden by Federal law to label GMO products means most
health professionals are not even aware there might be any
connection to a GMO diet for millions of Americans.
population, since the 1992 ruling of President Bush - a ruling
reaffirmed by presidents Clinton,
George W. Bush and now by
Obama and his pro-GMO Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack - has been
in effect treated as human guinea pigs in mass experimentation for
substances never independently proven in long-term (ten years or
longer) studies to be safe.
It remains to be seen if the scientific critique of the AAEM is
given the attention it warrants.