2009 May 22
"This controversial drug (rbGH), known as “Crack for Cows,” revs up animal metabolism to increase milk production. Banned in most other industrialized countries, consumers’ health concerns are now pushing it out of the US as well. Over the last three years, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Dannon, Yoplait, and more than half of the nation’s top 100 dairies have committed to stop using it for some or all of their products. But in a gift to Ely Lilly, the drug’s manufacturer, Kansas lawmakers passed a bill last week with misguided labeling requirements, making it difficult for /all/ national brands to inform consumers that their product does not use rbGH.
The law requires sizable disclaimers stating, “The FDA has determined that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbGH-supplemented and non-rbGH-supplemented cows.” The problem is: it’s not true.
According to studies acknowledged by the FDA, milk from treated cows has higher levels of pus, antibiotics, growth hormone, and Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). It is the IGF-1 that has the medical community up in arms. The American Nurses Association called for the elimination of rbGH in dairy production. The past president of the American Medical Association urged hospitals to serve only rbGH-free milk (over 160 hospitals have pledged to do so). And schools nationwide are banning the drugged milk as well.
Cancer link to milk hormone
IGF-1 is a risk factor for cancer. A /Lancet/ study showed that pre-menopausal women below age 50 with high levels of IGF-1 are seven times more likely to develop breast cancer. A study in /Science/ found that men with high IGF-1 levels are four times more likely to get prostate cancer. IGF-1 is implicated in lung and colon cancer.
It also causes higher rates of fraternal twins. According to research published in the /Journal of Reproductive Medicine/, the most likely reason why the US increase in fraternal twins is /twice/ that of the UK is that our cows use rbGH and theirs don’t.
The link between rbGH and cancer was one of the topics to be revealed in a 1997 four-part news series by a Tampa-based Fox TV station. But when Fox received letters from the attorney of then drug-maker Monsanto threatening “dire consequences for Fox News,” the show was postponed indefinitely. Investigative reporters who created the series later testified that they were offered hush money to leave the station and never speak about the story again. They declined.
Science in the Corporate Interest
While evaluating rbGH for the FDA, veterinarian Richard Burroughs demanded more safety testing. He says he was then fired for holding up the drug’s approval. Burroughs was later reinstated by the courts. Other FDA whistle-blowers wrote an anonymous letter to Congress, complaining of fraud and conflict of interest at the agency.
FDA documents indicated that studies designed to show how rbGH injections did not interfere with animal fertility, secretly used cows that were pregnant prior to injection. For evaluating whether hormones were destroyed during pasteurization, researchers pasteurized milk 120 times longer than normal.
Margaret Miller, who worked for Monsanto for five years doing research on rbGH, became an FDA branch chief in a division that reviewed her own research. Susan Sechen, contracted by Monsanto to do rbGH research, later became the FDA’s primary review officer for the drug. Michael Taylor was Monsanto’s former attorney and later their vice president. In between, he was in charge of FDA policy when rbGH was approved. Not only did his policy not require mandatory labeling of milk that used rbGH, Taylor wrote a paper urging companies who labeled their products as “rbGH-free” to also add the FDA disclaimer above. It was /only/ a suggestion, but the Kansas legislature now wants to make it law.
In Canada, where rbGH is banned, government scientists wrote a scathing critique of the FDA’s evaluation of the drug, showing how the approval process was flawed. But in 1998, they testified before their Senate that they too were being pressured by superiors to approve rbGH, even though they believed it was unsafe. They said that documents were stolen from a locked file cabinet and that Monsanto offered them a bribe of $1-2 million to approve the drug. (A Monsanto representative told national Canadian television that the scientists misunderstood an offer for research money.)
Kathleen Sebelius has the power to finally end this country’s dealings in high-risk milk drugs and its associated history of corporate manipulation—first as Governor by vetoing bill HB2121 and then as HHS Secretary by banning it. It’s your move, Madam Sheriff.
Milk from rbGH-treated cows may increase risk of cancer
Growth hormones are created in the pituitary
gland. Back in the 1930s, they discovered that injecting cows with their
own pituitary extracts boosted milk production. But the process was too
expensive and not commercially viable—until genetic engineering came along.
FDA Promotes Unsafe Milk Due to Industry Pressure
"The whole rbGH thing represents fundamental flaws in the regulatory process. . . . It was bad science and bad regulation."
This was the conclusion of former FDA veterinarian Richard Burroughs, who was a lead reviewer in the approval process of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH) for nearly five years. The drug "was approved prematurely without adequate information," says Burroughs, whose life and career became a casualty in a perfect storm of industry manipulation and political collusion. more... <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/fda-promotes-unsafe-milk_b_184886.html>
Monsanto Forced Fox TV to Censor Coverage of Dangerous Milk Drug
I know from personal experience how satisfying
it is to catch some nasty multinational corporation telling lies about
the safety of their
product--especially when that company is Monsanto, the world's largest maker of genetically modified (GM) foods. So I could only imagine the excitement of investigative reporters Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, who had caught a Monsanto executive on film repeatedly lying about GM bovine growth hormone (rbGH or rbST). more... <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/monsanto-forced-fox-tv-to_b_186428.html>*)
On May 19^th , the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on “Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.” They called for a moratorium on GM foods, long-term independent studies, and labeling. AAEM’s position paper stated, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. They conclude, “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation,” as defined by recognized scientific criteria. “The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.”
More and more doctors are already prescribing GM-free diets. Dr. Amy Dean, a Michigan internal medicine specialist, and board member of AAEM says, “I strongly recommend patients eat strictly non-genetically modified foods.” Ohio allergist Dr. John Boyles says “I used to test for soy allergies all the time, but now that soy is genetically engineered, it is so dangerous that I tell people never to eat it.”
Dr. Jennifer Armstrong, President of AAEM, says, “Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions.” World renowned biologist Pushpa M. Bhargava goes one step further. After reviewing more than 600 scientific journals, he concludes that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a major contributor to the sharply deteriorating health of Americans.
Pregnant women and babies at great risk
Among the population, biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute warns that “children are the most likely to be adversely effected by toxins and other dietary problems” related to GM foods. He says without adequate studies, the children become “the experimental animals.”
The experience of /actual/ GM-fed experimental animals is scary. When GM soy was fed to female rats, most of their babies died within three weeks—compared to a 10% death rate among the control group fed natural soy. The GM-fed babies were also smaller, and later had problems getting pregnant.
When male rats were fed GM soy, their testicles actually changed color—from the normal pink to dark blue. Mice fed GM soy had altered young sperm. Even the embryos of GM fed parent mice had significant changes in their DNA. Mice fed GM corn in an Austrian government study had fewer babies, which were also smaller than normal.
Reproductive problems also plague livestock. Investigations in the state of Haryana, India revealed that most buffalo that ate GM cottonseed had complications such as premature deliveries, abortions, infertility, and prolapsed uteruses. Many calves died. In the US, about two dozen farmers reported thousands of pigs became sterile after consuming certain GM corn varieties. Some had false pregnancies; others gave birth to bags of water. Cows and bulls also became infertile when fed the same corn.
In the US population, the incidence of low birth weight babies, infertility, and infant mortality are all escalating.
Food designed to produce toxin
GM corn and cotton are engineered to produce their own built-in pesticide in every cell. When bugs bite the plant, the poison splits open their stomach and kills them. Biotech companies claim that the pesticide, called Bt—produced from soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis—has a history of safe use, since organic farmers and others use Bt bacteria spray for natural insect control. Genetic engineers insert Bt genes into corn and cotton, so the plants do the killing.
The Bt-toxin produced in GM plants, however, is thousands of times more concentrated than natural Bt spray, is designed to be /more/ toxic, has properties of an allergen, and unlike the spray, cannot be washed off the plant.
Moreover, studies confirm that even the less toxic natural bacterial spray is harmful. When dispersed by plane to kill gypsy moths in the Pacific Northwest, about 500 people reported allergy or flu-like symptoms. Some had to go to the emergency room.
The exact same symptoms are now being reported by farm workers throughout India, from handling Bt cotton. In 2008, based on medical records, the /Sunday India/ reported, “Victims of itching have increased massively this year . . . related to BT cotton farming.”
GMOs provoke immune reactions
AAEM states, “Multiple animal studies show significant immune dysregulation,” including increase in cytokines, which are “associated with asthma, allergy, and inflammation”—all on the rise in the US. According to GM food safety expert Dr. Arpad Pusztai, changes in the immune status of GM animals are “a consistent feature of all the studies.” Even Monsanto’s own research showed significant immune system changes in rats fed Bt corn. A November 2008 by the Italian government also found that mice have an immune reaction to Bt corn.
GM soy and corn each contain two new proteins with allergenic properties, GM soy has up to seven times more trypsin inhibitor—a known soy allergen, and skin prick tests show some people react to GM, but not to non-GM soy. Soon after GM soy was introduced to the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50%. Perhaps the US epidemic of food allergies and asthma is a casualty of genetic manipulation.
Animals dying in large numbers
In India, animals graze on cotton plants after harvest. But when shepherds let sheep graze on Bt cotton plants, thousands died. Post mortems showed severe irritation and black patches in both intestines and liver (as well as enlarged bile ducts). Investigators said preliminary evidence “strongly suggests that the sheep mortality was due to a toxin. . . . most probably Bt-toxin.” In a small follow-up feeding study by the Deccan Development Society, all sheep fed Bt cotton plants died within 30 days; those that grazed on natural cotton plants remained healthy. In a small village in Andhra Pradesh, buffalo grazed on cotton plants for eight years without incident. On January 3^rd , 2008, the buffalo grazed on Bt cotton plants for the first time. All 13 were sick the next day; all died within 3 days. Bt corn was also implicated in the deaths of cows in Germany, and horses, water buffaloes, and chickens in The Philippines. In lab studies, twice the number of chickens fed Liberty Link corn died; 7 of 20 rats fed a GM tomato developed bleeding stomachs; another 7 of 40 died within two weeks.  Monsanto’s own study showed evidence of poisoning in major organs of rats fed Bt corn, according to top French toxicologist G. E. Seralini.
Worst finding of all—GMOs remain inside of us
The only published human feeding study revealed what may be the most dangerous problem from GM foods. The gene inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of bacteria living inside our intestines /and continues to function/. This means that long after we stop eating GMOs, we may still have potentially harmful GM proteins produced continuously inside of us. Put more plainly, eating a corn chip produced from Bt corn might transform our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories, possibly for the rest of our lives. When evidence of gene transfer is reported at medical conferences around the US, doctors often respond by citing the huge increase of gastrointestinal problems among their patients over the last decade. GM foods might be colonizing the gut flora of North Americans.
Warnings by government scientists ignored and denied
Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had warned about all these problems even in the early 1990s. According to documents released from a lawsuit, the scientific consensus at the agency was that GM foods were inherently dangerous, and might create hard-to-detect allergies, poisons, gene transfer to gut bacteria, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged their superiors to require rigorous long-term tests. But the White House had ordered the agency to promote biotechnology and the FDA responded by recruiting Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, to head up the formation of GMO policy. That policy, which is in effect today, denies knowledge of scientists’ concerns and declares that no safety studies on GMOs are required. It is up to Monsanto and the other biotech companies to determine if their foods are safe. Mr. Taylor later became Monsanto’s vice president.
Dangerously few studies, untraceable diseases
AAEM states, “GM foods have not been properly
tested” and “pose a serious health risk.” Not a single human clinical trial
on GMOs has been published. A 2007 review of published scientific literature
on the “potential toxic effects/health risks of GM plants” revealed “that
experimental data are very scarce.” The author concludes his review by
asking, “Where is the scientific evidence showing that GM plants/food are
toxicologically safe, as assumed by the biotechnology companies?” Famed
Canadian geneticist David Suzuki answers, “The experiments simply haven’t
been done and we now have become the guinea pigs.” He adds, “Anyone that
says, ‘Oh, we know that this is perfectly safe,’ I say is either unbelievably
stupid or deliberately lying.” Dr. Schubert points out, “If there are
problems, we will probably never know because the cause will not be traceable
and many diseases take a very long time to develop.” If GMOs /happen/ to
cause immediate and acute symptoms with a unique signature, perhaps then
we might have a chance to trace the cause. This is precisely what happened
during a US epidemic in the late 1980s. The disease was fast acting, deadly,
and caused a unique measurable change in the blood—but it still took more
than four years to identify that an epidemic was even occurring. By then
it had killed about 100 Americans and caused 5,000-10,000 people to fall
sick or become permanently disabled. It was caused by a genetically engineered
brand of a food supplement called L-tryptophan. If other GM foods are contributing
to the rise of autism, obesity, diabetes, asthma, cancer, heart disease,
allergies, reproductive problems, or any other common health problem now
plaguing Americans, we may never know. In fact, since animals fed GMOs
had such a wide variety of problems, susceptible people may react to GM
food with multiple symptoms. It is therefore telling that in the first
nine years after the large scale introduction of GM crops in 1996, the
incidence of people with three or more chronic diseases nearly doubled,
from 7% to 13%. To help identify if GMOs are causing harm, the AAEM
asks their “members, the medical community, and the independent scientific
community to gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption
and health effects, begin epidemiological research to investigate the role
of GM foods on human health, and conduct safe methods of determining the
effect of GM foods on human health.” Citizens need not wait for the results
before taking the doctors advice to avoid GM foods. People can stay away
from anything with soy or corn derivatives, cottonseed and canola oil,
and sugar from GM sugar beets—unless it says organic or “non-GMO.” **)
*) Smith, J.M. 2009: NL Spilling the beans april 2009
**) Smith, J.M. 2009: NL Spilling the beans may 2009
 David Schubert, personal communication to H. Penfound, Greenpeace Canada, October 25, 2002.
 Irina Ermakova, “Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies,” /Ecosinform/ 1 (2006): 4–9.
 Irina Ermakova, “Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards,” Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels, June 12, 2007
 Irina Ermakova, “Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards,” Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels, June 12, 2007
 L. Vecchio et al, “Ultrastructural Analysis of Testes from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” /European Journal of Histochemistry/ 48, no. 4 (Oct–Dec 2004):449–454.
 Oliveri et al., “Temporary Depression of Transcription in Mouse Pre-implantion Embryos from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean,” /48th Symposium of the Society for Histochemistry, Lake Maggiore (Italy), September 7–10, 2006./
 Alberta Velimirov and Claudia Binter, “Biological effects of transgenic maize NK603xMON810 fed in long term reproduction studies in mice,” Forschungsberichte der Sektion IV, Band 3/2008
 Jerry Rosman, personal communication, 2006
 See for example, A. Dutton, H. Klein, J. Romeis, and F. Bigler, “Uptake of Bt-toxin by herbivores feeding on transgenic maize and consequences for the predator /Chrysoperia carnea/,” /Ecological Entomology/ 27 (2002): 441–7; and J. Romeis, A. Dutton, and F. Bigler, “/Bacillus thuringiensis/ toxin (Cry1Ab) has no direct effect on larvae of the green lacewing /Chrysoperla carnea/ (Stephens) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae),”/ Journal of Insect Physiology/ 50, no.^ 2–3 (2004): 175–183.
 Washington State Department of Health, “Report of health surveillance activities: Asian gypsy moth control program,” (Olympia, WA: Washington State Dept. of Health, 1993)
 M. Green, et al., “Public health implications of the microbial pesticide /Bacillus thuringiensis/: An epidemiological study, Oregon, 1985-86,” /Amer. J. Public Health/ 80, no. 7(1990): 848–852
 Ashish Gupta et. al., “Impact of Bt Cotton on Farmers’ Health (in Barwani and Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh),” /Investigation Report/, Oct–Dec 2005
 Sunday India, October, 26, 2008
 October 24, 2005 correspondence between Arpad Pusztai and Brian John
 John M. Burns, “13-Week Dietary Subchronic Comparison Study with MON 863 Corn in Rats Preceded by a 1-Week Baseline Food Consumption Determination with PMI Certified Rodent Diet #5002,” December 17, 2002 http://www <http://www/>. monsanto.com/monsanto/content/sci_tech/prod_safety/fullratstudy.pdf
 Alberto Finamore, et al, “Intestinal and Peripheral Immune Response to MON810 Maize Ingestion in Weaning and Old Mice,” J. Agric. Food Chem., 2008, 56 (23), pp 11533–11539, November 14, 2008
 See L Zolla, et al,* “*Proteomics as a complementary tool for identifying unintended side effects occurring in transgenic maize seeds as a result of genetic modifications,” J Proteome Res. 2008 May;7(5):1850-61; Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, “Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An immunologic comparison,” /Allergy and Asthma Proceedings/ 26, no. 3 (May–June 2005): 210-216(7); and Gendel, “The use of amino acid sequence alignments to assess potential allergenicity of proteins used in genetically modified foods,” /Advances in Food and Nutrition Research/ 42 (1998), 45–62.
 A. Pusztai and S. Bardocz, “GMO in animal nutrition: potential benefits and risks,” Chapter 17, /Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals/, R. Mosenthin, J. Zentek and T. Zebrowska (Eds.) Elsevier, October 2005
 Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, “Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An immunologic comparison,” /Allergy and Asthma Proceedings/ 26, no. 3 (May–June 2005): 210-216(7).
 “Mortality in Sheep Flocks after Grazing on /Bt/ Cotton Fields—Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh” /Report of the Preliminary Assessment,/ April 2006, http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp
 Personal communication and visit, January 2009.
 Jeffrey M. Smith, /Genetic Roulette/: /The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods/, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA USA 2007  Arpad Pusztai, “Can Science Give Us the Tools for Recognizing Possible Health Risks for GM Food?” /Nutrition and Health/ 16 (2002): 73–84.
 Stéphane Foucart, “Controversy Surrounds a GMO,” /Le Monde/, 14 December 2004; referencing, John M. Burns, “13-Week Dietary Subchronic Comparison Study with MON 863 Corn in Rats Preceded by a 1-Week Baseline Food Consumption Determination with PMI Certified Rodent Diet #5002,” December 17, 2002 http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/content/sci_tech/prod_safety/fullratstudy.pdf
 Netherwood et al, “Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract,” /Nature Biotechnology/ 22 (2004): 2.  See memos at www.biointegrity.org <http://www.biointegrity.org/>
 José Domingo, “Toxicity Studies of Genetically Modified Plants : A Review of the Published Literature,” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 2007, vol. 47, n^o 8, pp. 721-733
 Angela Hall, “Suzuki warns against hastily accepting GMOs”, The Leader-Post (Canada), 26 April 2005.
 Kathryn Anne Paez, et al, “Rising Out-Of-Pocket Spending For Chronic Conditions: A Ten-Year Trend,” /Health Affairs/, 28, no. 1 (2009): 15-25
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