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Subject: 	Fw: How 121 Nobel Laureates were misled into promoting GM foods
Date: 	Thu, 17 Nov 2016 01:41:31 +0000
From: 	E Ann Clark <[log in to unmask]>

One of these authors, David Schubert, is at the Salk Institute in 
California and has published several articles on evidence of harm to 
health from GM interventions.  Ann

*From:* GMWatch <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of 
GMWatch <[log in to unmask]>
*Sent:* Wednesday, November 16, 2016 12:09 PM
*To:* E Ann Clark
*Subject:* How 121 Nobel Laureates were misled into promoting GM foods
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    How 121 Nobel Laureates were misled into promoting GM foods

/Over the last four months, 121 Nobel laureates have signed a letter 
extolling the safety and benefits of GM crops. Prof David Schubert and 
Steven M. Druker, JD explain why they consider the letter an affront to 
science and the public trust/

Over the last four months, 121 Nobel laureates have signed a letter 
extolling the safety and benefits of genetically modified (GM) crops and 
alleging that organizations and individuals that don’t support their 
unfettered introduction are committing a “crime against humanity”. The 
campaign to obtain the signatures was organized by Richard Roberts, 
chief scientific officer of New England Biolabs, who, with assistance 
from Monsanto’s former head of corporate communications, staged a press 
conference in Washington, D.C. to publicize the letter.

Not surprisingly, this letter has had a major impact. However, although 
it purports to be science-based, most of its chief assertions are 
demonstrably false.

Among them is the claim that scientific and regulatory agencies have 
“consistently” found that GM crops are “as safe or safer” than 
conventional ones. This is clearly untrue, and multiple scientific 
panels have concluded otherwise. For instance, an expert panel of the 
Royal Society of Canada asserted that the  “default prediction”  for 
every GM food should be that it contains unintended and potentially 
harmful side effects. Other respected institutions, such as the British 
Medical Association and the Public Health Association of Australia have 
also expressed concerns, with the Australian association calling for an 
“indefinite freeze” on GM crops until their safety has been 
demonstrated. Most recently, Vladimir Putin, on the advice of Russian 
scientists, signed a ban on GM crops into law.

Equally false is the letter’s assertion that “there has never been a 
single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or 
animals” caused by consuming a GM product. In fact, many people died and 
thousands were sickened by a food supplement of tryptophan produced from 
GM bacteria. And a large body of peer-reviewed scientific literature 
demonstrates adverse health effects on laboratory and farm animals 
caused by GM foods, as well as by chemicals required for their cultivation.

*Bogus claims about GMO golden rice*

The letter’s claims about the only GM product it specifically mentions, 
Golden Rice, are also bogus. That product, which is designed to 
overproduce beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, was developed in 
hopes of solving the widespread vitamin A deficiency in parts of Asia, 
which can lead to blindness and even death. Astonishingly, the letter 
insinuates not only that the rice will solve the problem, but that those 
who question its safety have unconscionably caused millions of deaths by 
blocking its use. Yet, in reality, it’s not in circulation because it 
hasn’t performed well and is nowhere near readiness; and the 
International Rice Research Institute has stated it’s still unclear 
whether the rice is capable of curing the deficiency.

Furthermore, even if this GM rice were fully efficacious and ready, from 
the perspective of a scientist who has studied beta-carotene in the 
context of brain development (a perspective one of us possesses), it 
should be delayed because it poses a major health risk.

First, as recognized by the recent National Academy of Science (NAS) 
report on GM crops, the type of modification required to make golden 
rice is prone to generate unwanted byproducts. Second, some of the 
rice’s abundant byproducts will likely be related to retinoic acid, a 
compound that causes birth defects even at ultra-low levels. Perhaps 
more worrisome, proponents apparently want to feed this experimental 
rice to multitudes of children without first performing rigorous testing 
to make sure that it won’t harm mice!

The letter’s other main claims are contrary to fact as well. For 
example, it boasts that GM crops are “less damaging to the environment” 
and are necessary to “feed the world”. But in reality, GM monocropping 
and the high levels of herbicides it requires have decimated the 
population of monarch butterflies, induced the development of 
herbicide-resistant superweeds, and contaminated the bodies of the human 
population in the developed world with glyphosate: a toxin, endocrine 
disrupter, and potential carcinogen. Moreover, an extensive study 
sponsored by the World Bank and four United Nations agencies determined 
that GM crops are not needed to feed the world and that sustainable 
agroecological techniques should instead be utilized.

So why would more than a hundred Nobel laureates sign a grossly 
inaccurate letter that was apparently intended to suppress serious 
discussion about the risks of GM foods?

The most likely explanation is they were  not aware of the relevant 
facts,  trusted that the letter was accurate, and assumed they were 
upholding science and supporting an important humanitarian cause. A 
substantial percentage are physicists and economists (one even received 
her prize for literature). We’d be willing to bet that none of the 
biologists was aware of the pertinent facts either — and that if they 
had been adequately informed, they would not have lent their names to 
such a devious public relations ploy. We’re also confident that if they 
knew the truth about golden rice, and how questionable it is, they would 
not promote it unless it had gone through extensive safety testing in 
animals and there was a rigorous post-release monitoring program in place.

It would be a shame if their unfairly obtained endorsements afford the 
deceptive letter an aura of scientific authority it doesn’t deserve — 
and persuade policy makers to weaken the current set of regulations that 
are already inadequate to screen for the abnormal risks of GM crops 
about which so many independent experts have warned. While GM technology 
may have valuable applications in fields such as medicine, its current 
use in food production entails substantial risks that are routinely 
misrepresented. The letter signed by the laureates does not reflect 
reality, and they should confirm this fact for themselves and then 
denounce it as an affront to science and the public trust.

David Schubert, PhD
Professor, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
La Jolla, CA  92037

Steven M. Druker, JD
Executive Director, Alliance for Bio-Integrity
Author of /Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically 
Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and 
Systematically Deceived the Public/

/Read this article on the GMWatch website here: 



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