Biotechnology, Implications, Toxicology

Germany Bans Genetically Modified Corn (

Germany has banned the cultivation of GM corn, arguing that the corn breed MON 810 is dangerous for the environment. But that argument might not stand up in court, and Germany could face fines totaling millions of euros if Monsanto decides to challenge the prohibition.

Under the new regulations, the cultivation of MON 810, a GM corn produced by Monsanto, will be prohibited in Germany. A clause in EU law allows individual countries to impose such bans. Environmental groups welcomed the ban, pointing out that numerous scientific studies demonstrated GM corn was a danger to the environment.

However, it may be hard to prove conclusively that MON 810 damages the environment, which could enable Monsanto to win a court case opposing the ban. Monsanto has said that it would look as quickly as possible into whether it would begin legal proceedings.

MON 810 had been the only GM crop that could be grown in Germany. The plant produces a toxin to fight off a certain pest, the larvae of the corn borer moth. MON 810 is already banned in five other EU member states: Austria, Hungary, Greece, France and Luxembourg.

  Spiegel Online April 14, 2009

Dr. Mercola''s Comments Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Germany has now become the sixth country in the European Union to take a stand against GM corn — a wise move that unfortunately the United States has yet to do.

Whereas close to 9,000 acres slated to be planted with MON 810 corn in Germany will now be GM-free (assuming the ban stands up in court if necessary), the acres to be planted with GM corn in the U.S. is in the tens of millions.

German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner announced she was banning not only the cultivation of GM corn but also the sale of its seeds, saying she had “legitimate reasons to believe that MON 810 posed a danger to the environment.”

Why GM Corn is Dangerous

French Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini, molecular endocrinologist at the University of Caen and a member of two French government commissions evaluating GM food, found that MON 810, along with several other varieties of GM crops, showed statistically significant problems in animal studies that regulators have not pursued with follow-up research.

Seralini said the effects of the GM crops were similar to that of pesticides, including inflammation disorders, and problems with livers and kidneys, two major organs involved with detoxification.

Further, biology professor Bela Darvas of Hungary‘s Debrecen University discovered that Monsanto’s Mon 810 is lethal to two Hungarian protected species and one insect classified as rare. Now Monsanto refuses to give him any more Mon 810 corn to use in his tests. They also refused his request for Mon 863, another GM variety.

So not only has MON 810 been shown to cause serious damage to animals, but it may also wipe out protected plant and insect species. Of course, adding to the potential devastation is the fact that corn is a wind-pollinated plant, which means it depends on the wind for pollination.

While growers of GM food often say their crops will be contained and unable to contaminate nearby fields, from an environmental perspective contamination between GM and non-GM crops is generally acknowledged to be unavoidable.

Really what can stop wind, tornadoes or other weather from blowing or transporting GM pollen or seeds over onto non-GM crops?

Not a whole lot.

So by planting even a few thousand acres of land with GM crops, there’s a very real possibility that a much greater area could become contaminated with the altered seeds, and subject to the potential health and environmental insults as a result.

The United States government‘s support for biotech is no secret. In fact, it is the official policy in several U.S. agencies to promote the industry, and some of them have attempted to push acceptance of GM crops in Europe — but let’s hope they continue to hold out.

MON 810 was currently the only GM crop approved for cultivation in Germany, so in choosing to ban GM corn, Germany will become an entirely GM-free country — a wise, wise move.

Of course, it’s not just GM corn that’s the issue here; all GM crops have the potential to cause great, irreversible harm.

Are GM Crops Threatening the Future of Humankind?

GM crops routinely create unintended proteins, alter existing protein levels, or even change the components and shape of the protein that is created by the inserted gene.

This results in brand new proteins that have never before existed in food, some of which may be causing severe allergic reactions.

Creating a GM crop can also produce massive changes in the natural functioning of the plant‘s DNA. Native genes can be mutated, deleted, permanently turned on or off, or change their levels of protein expression. No one knows how this will impact human health, but so far Jeffrey Smith has documented at least 65 serious health risks related to GM foods.

Among them:

• Offspring of rats fed GM soy showed a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability to reproduce
• Male mice fed GM soy had damaged young sperm cells
• The embryo offspring of GM soy-fed mice had altered DNA functioning
• Several US farmers reported sterility or fertility problems among pigs and cows fed GM corn varieties
• Investigators in India have documented fertility problems, abortions, premature births, and other serious health issues, including deaths, among buffaloes fed GM cottonseed products

Austrian researchers have now also confirmed a direct link between a decrease in fertility and a genetically modified diet. In order to protect the health of humankind and the fertility of women around the world, GM opponents are calling for an immediate ban of all GM foods and GM crops.

I agree with them wholly, as genetically modified foods are, from my perception, one of the largest threats that we have against the very sustainability of the human race.

How to Ban GM Foods from Your Diet

You may not be able to single-handedly decide to ban GM crops in your country the way Germany did, but as a consumer you do have power. You can choose not to be a victim of deception, and you can choose what you feed your family.

Large portions of Europe have already succeeded in removing GM foods out of their food supply, forcing food manufacturers to use real ingredients in their European product lines. But here in the United States we’re still stuck with it to a very large degree.

Since GM foods do not need to be labeled in the United States, there are two main tricks you can use to figure out if something is genetically modified:

• Examine produce stickers on the fruits and vegetables you buy. The PLU code for conventionally grown fruit consists of four numbers; organically grown fruit has five numbers prefaced by the number nine; and GM fruit has five numbers prefaced by the number eight.

• Buy organic as often as you can. By definition, food that is certified organic must be free from all GM organisms.

Keep in mind, too, that soy, corn, cottonseed, and canola are four of the crops most likely to be GM, and these are also ingredients commonly added to virtually every processed food. So if you eat processed foods, be sure to buy only organic varieties or, ideally, cut them largely out of your diet.

If more of us begin to refuse GM foods, food manufacturers will have no choice but to listen.

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