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Nutrition and health: the GM and organic debate Fran Murrell, MADGE Australia Inc.

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Presentation on theme: "Nutrition and health: the GM and organic debate Fran Murrell, MADGE Australia Inc."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nutrition and health: the GM and organic debate Fran Murrell, MADGE Australia Inc.

2 Is there a difference between GM food and organic produce? Is this a battle between scientists in white coats and manure spreading romantics? Can either food system really cool the climate, feed the world and create wellbeing?

3 Both are the tip of the iceberg for different farming systems GM is an intensification of the current industrial farming system: monoculture, patented seeds, chemical pesticides and fertilizers Organic is a system of farming that uses “ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects”. Overlaps with agroecology, permaculture and holistic management

4 CSIRO definition of GM “Genetic modification is the use of modern biotechnology techniques to change the genes of an organism, such as a plant or animal.” 2 main traits: Herbicide tolerance (HT) and Insect Resistance (IR). Gene silencing being developed.

5 Which crops are GM? Main crops: soy, corn, canola, sugarbeet and cotton. Alfalfa. Used for animal feed, biofuels or ingredients in processed food. Largest trait is HT- 59% of GM crops in the US HT in – 93% of soy HT in US in 2013 – 90% of corn in US GM. 71% stacked (HT+IR) – 90% of cotton in US GM. 67% stacked (HT+IR)

6 What herbicides are used on GM ht crops? Main herbicides are Roundup (glyphosate) and glufosinate New GM crops developed tolerant to more herbicides eg 2,4-D and Dicamba Dow has developed a GM soy tolerant to 2,4- D, glyphosate and glufosinate. This has been approved for us to eat by FSANZ in

7 What is Insect Resistance? Bacillus thuringiensis (or Bt)engineered into every cell of the plant to kill certain insects that eat it This cannot be washed off. Soil bt used in organic sprays but is it the same as bt in GM plants?

8 Organic and Bio-Dynamic produce – National Standard AS6000 Requires a management and biodiversity plan. This used rather than ‘substances’ to deal with pests and diseases. Rotation, appropriate plant/animal selection, mixed cropping, green and animal manure, plant so create place for natural enemy of pests. Health of soil and water fundamental. standard.pdf standard.pdf

9 NO: GM, irradiation, nanotechnology, pesticides from synthetic chemicals, synthetic fertlizers,routine use of anti-biotics or growth hormones Audit system In Australia the OFA is the peak body. 7 different certifying bodies in Australia Internationally recognized system

10 Is this a battle between scientists in white coats and manure spreading romantics?

11 Stanford study Looked at 237 studies out of 1000’s Compared nutrient and contamination (pesticide, bacterial, fungal) levels of organic and conventional No consistent difference seen in vitamin content except higher levels of phosphorus in organic

12 No difference in protein or fat content in milk but organic milk in some studies had significantly higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids Organic food had 30% lower risk of pesticide contamination. Pesticide levels of all foods within allowable safety limits

13 Children eating organic had lower levels of pesticides in urine. Health effects of this not known Less exposure to anti-biotic resistant bacteria in organic pork and chicken. Health effects unclear No long term studies of health outcomes of people consuming organic vs conventional diet Studies on humans between 2 days and 2 years

14 “Nutritional quality and safety of organic food”. A review 2010 Lairon D Meta study published by the French Agency for Food Safety (AFSSA) in peer reviewed journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development. Major findings: Organic plant products are nutrient dense (dry matter) Higher levels of minerals Contain more anti-oxidants

15 Contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids % organic foods contain no pesticide residues Organic vegetables contain about 50% less nitrates (linked to range of health problems including Alzheimers and diabetes) Organic cereals contain similar level of mycotoxins as conventional ones. journal.org/articles/agro/abs/2010/01/a8202/a8202.html journal.org/articles/agro/abs/2010/01/a8202/a8202.html

16 “Organic food-A summary of the multiple health benefits” Andre Leu Current toxicological models are inadequate, fail to look at synergy, low doses, women and children more exposed Most chemicals not tested for safety, residue levels too high, Report by US President’s Cancer Council (Reuben, for The president’s Cancer Panel 2010) said environmental toxins, esp chemicals, main cause of cancer and children especially vulnerable.

17 WHO and Questions on GM foods GM foods undergo a safety assessment that looks at: a) direct health effects (toxicity) b) allergenicity c) components thought to have nutritional or toxic properties d) stability of inserted gene e) nutritional effects f) unintended effects No effects on population from GM foods has been shown (but no post market surveillance)

18 National Academy of Sciences: Safety of GE foods Basis of current safety assessments is to compare GM with non-GM food in a proximate analysis=compositional comparison. Agronomic comparison is superficial. Animal feeding trials. Post market surveillance useful but not done. Agronomic comparison is superficial.

19 How have GM foods been approved? The basic assumption is that GM crops are ‘Substantially equivalent’ to non-GM crops. SE = key concept to regulators worldwide and is laid out in CODEX Criticized by Royal Society of Canada in Expert Panel Report as ‘scientifically unjustifiable’ No regulatory agency requires long term feeding trials. Most 90 days or less. Reproductive and multi-generational feeding trials not required

20 Food and Drug Administration US Voluntary programme for pre-market review of GM foods. At end of process FDA sends letter to company eg Letter sent March 25 th 2013 for GM corn that expresses 3 bt proteins and can be sprayed with the herbicide glufosinate “Based on the safety and nutritional assessment Pioneer has conducted, it is our understanding that Pioneer has concluded that food and feed derived from event 4114 corn are not materially different in composition, safety, and other relevant parameters from corn-derived food and feed currently on the market, and that event 4114 corn does not raise issues that would require premarket review or approval by FDA.” ns/ucm htm ns/ucm htm

21 How are GM foods approved in Australia? FSANZ’s says it is “…the responsibility of the companies that have developed GM foods to demonstrate the safety of that food..” FSANZ does no independent testing of GM food FSANZ requires no animal feeding trials. FSANZ bases approval of GM on company studies and has dismissed peer-reviewed science showing harm from GM OCT2012.pdf OCT2012.pdf

22 Pigs fed a combined GM soy and maize diet Carman 2013 Male pigs 4 times more likely to have severe stomach inflammation Female pigs 25% heavier uterus on average

23 Response to Carman et al 2013 Dismissed by FSANZ as not proving inflammation present and not proving uterine weight increase due to GM diet. No references cited commentary-.aspx commentary-.aspx Dr Judy Carman has responded to critics on the GMO Carman site

24 Two year study on GM corn NK603 and associated herbicide Roundup Seralini et al 2013

25 Dr Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist at King’s College, London: “It shows an extraordinary number of tumours developing earlier and more aggressively (in the GM/Roundup fed rats) –particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts.” release-for-website.pdf release-for-website.pdf

26 FSANZ’s approval of NK603 GM corn Approved in Not grown here but can be imported as animal feed or ingredient in processed food 9-day acute toxicity trial. Mice given single dose of purified GM protein Assumed that as GM protein not similar to known allergens would not be allergenic Although GM corn had differences in fatty acids and amino acids assumed “compositionally equivalent to unmodified corn varieties.”

27 Response to Seralini 2012 FSANZ, EFSA, Health Canada, German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment reviewed and rejected the study’s findings The EU plans a 2 year carcinogenicity study on NK603 GM corn. EFSA guidelines validate Seralini 6:eu-plans-2-year-carcinogenicity-study-on-nk603-maize 2:seralini-validated-by-new-efsa-guidelines-on-long-term-gmo-experiments 6:eu-plans-2-year-carcinogenicity-study-on-nk603-maize 2:seralini-validated-by-new-efsa-guidelines-on-long-term-gmo-experiments Seralini website responds to critics

28 FDA and EFSA difference of opinion Unlike FDA EFSA decided GM maizes and 3272 not enough evidence of safety (not found unsafe) “The difference between the competent authorities will be how much they rely on a priori assumptions about safety or assumptions about the value of the tests. Again, this isn’t science it is a value judgment made by small groups of scientists or officials. Their decisions are then sometimes used as surrogates for evidence of safety and their status as evidence of authority.”

29 India India’s supreme court’s scientific panel recommended ban on HT crops and trials. Based on “the examination/study of the safety dossiers, it is apparent that there are major gaps in the regulatory system.” “(N)ew regulatory body should have area-wise subcommittees/expert groups in the following fields: health (human and animal), environment and ecology, agro-economics and socio-economics, molecular biology, soil science and microbiology, plant biology and regulatory toxicology, among other specializations.” BUT India already growing GM cotton and imports GM crops. 6:indefinite-moratorium-on-gm-field-trials-recommended-in-india 6:indefinite-moratorium-on-gm-field-trials-recommended-in-india

30 “GM is safe” GMO answers – new site set up by biotech industryBASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta.http://gmoanswers.com CropLife – peak body of the pesticide industry GMO Pundit – 600 studies showing safety ISAAA International Service for the Acquisition of Agri- Biotech Applications. Funders include Bayer CropScience Ag, CropLife International, Monsanto, United State Department for Agriculture, USAID PG Economics

31 GM testing restricted by patents GM companies control who can research GM. In scientists submitted a statement to EPA protesting “as a result of restricted access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the technology.” gm-crop-research gm-crop-research

32 Scientific evidence of harm from glyphosate (Roundup) Roundup and birth defects: is the public being kept in the dark? Industry has known from its own studies since the 1980s that glyphosate causes malformations in experimental animals at high doses Industry has known since 1993 that these effects also occur at lower and mid doses The German government has known since at least 1998 that glyphosate causes malformations The EU Commission’s expert scientific review panel knew in 1999 that glyphosate causes malformations The EU Commission has known since 2002 that glyphosate causes malformations. This was the year it signed off on the current approval of glyphosate. dark#sthash.d2PMoMhP.dpuf dark#sthash.d2PMoMhP.dpuf

33 GMO Evidence - Roundup Prof Andres Carrasco: Glyphosate Causes Birth Defects in Chickens, Frogs Prof Andres Carrasco: Glyphosate Causes Birth Defects in Chickens, Frogs This study, by a team led by Prof Andres Carrasco at Buenos Aires University, found that glyphosate and Roundup cause birth defects in frog and chicken embryos at extremely low doseGilles-Eric Seralini: Glyphosate is Toxic to Human Placental JEG3 CellsGilles-Eric Seralini: Glyphosate is Toxic to Human Placental JEG3 Cells Dr Cattani: Roundup Causes Infertility in Rats A new study from Brazil shows that Roundup disrupts male reproductive function in rats at low doses.

34 Gilles-Eric Seralini: Glyphosate is an Endocrine Disruptor in Human Cells Gilles-Eric Seralini: Glyphosate is an Endocrine Disruptor in Human Cells According to the data and the literature in this study, Glyphosate-based herbicides present DNA damages and CMR effects on human cells and in vivo. Dr Benedetti: Soybean Workers Suffer DNA Damage from Glyphosate Dr Benedetti: Soybean Workers Suffer DNA Damage from Glyphosate A new peer-reviewed study has found DNA damage and elevated cell death of blood cells in soybean workers exposed to fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides in Brazil. Dr. Thongprakaisang: Glyphosate Induces Growth in Human Breast Cancer Cells Dr. Thongprakaisang: Glyphosate Induces Growth in Human Breast Cancer Cells

35 Dr. Hans-Wolfgang Hoppe: Glyphosate Found in Human Urine Across Europe Dr. Hans-Wolfgang Hoppe: Glyphosate Found in Human Urine Across Europe People in 18 countries across Europe have been found to have traces of the weed killer glyphosate in their urine, Samsel and Seneff: Glyphosate Enhances Damaging Effects of Environmental ToxinsSamsel and Seneff: Glyphosate Enhances Damaging Effects of Environmental Toxins This study shows that glyphosate, the active ingredient of roundup, enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins. Dr. Krüger: Roundup Suppresses Growth of Beneficial Gut Bacteria Dr. Krüger: Roundup Suppresses Growth of Beneficial Gut Bacteria

36 Crop, soil and water effects Dr. Don Huber: Glyphosate Associated with Increase in Cereal Diseases Dr. Don Huber: Glyphosate Associated with Increase in Cereal Diseases Prof Robert J. Kremer: Glyphosate Increases Rhizosphere Bacteria Prof Robert J. Kremer: Glyphosate Increases Rhizosphere Bacteria Dr Ozturk: Glyphosate Inhibits Ferric Reductase – Could Lead to Iron Deficiency Dr Ozturk: Glyphosate Inhibits Ferric Reductase – Could Lead to Iron Deficiency Iron (Fe) deficiency is increasingly being observed in cropping systems with frequent glyphosate applications...glyphosate interferes with root uptake of Fe.. Dr Traavik: Low Levels of Roundup Toxic to Aquatic Invertebrate Daphnia Magna Dr Traavik: Low Levels of Roundup Toxic to Aquatic Invertebrate Daphnia Magna

37 Rotterdam bans Roundup Dutch City of Rotterdam Bans Monsanto Glyphosate Roundup Herbicide glyphosate-roundup-herbicide/ glyphosate-roundup-herbicide/

38 Can either food system really cool the climate, feed the world and create wellbeing?

39 CropLife International Benefits of GM crops: Between 1996 and 2011 produced 473 million kg saving in pesticide use (which reduces CO2 emissions) Drought tolerance will be useful in future HT GM crops reduce need for ploughing so allow soil to sequester carbon

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41 Superpests Brazil has lost 10 billion Real of crops to caterpillars. Blamed on expansion of GM maize. Bt maize kills armyworms that feed on the caterpillars. 7:brazilian-farmers-lose-10-billion-real-as-caterpillars-devour-gm-and-other-crops Rootworm in corn are developing resistance to bt toxin in the US philpott/2012/08/monsanto-superweeds-and-superinsects-compounding- drought-damage-corn-country philpott/2012/08/monsanto-superweeds-and-superinsects-compounding- drought-damage-corn-country

42 Superweeds In % of US farmers surveyed had glyphosate resistant weeds on farm. Up from 37% in philpott/2013/02/report-spread-monsantos-superweeds-speeds-12-0 GM crops resistant to 2,4-D and dicamba awaiting approval Use of herbicides increased 239 million kg betw 1996 and Insecticide reduced by 56 million kg (Benbrook 2012)

43 Argentina Birth defects in Argentina in Ituzaingó near GM soy fields. Roundup and Endosulfan sprayed. Cancer rates 41 times the national average gatica gatica Watch “Argentina’s Bad Seeds” on Al Jazeera Open letter to the Pope from Argentinian rural group on the damage caused to people, food and country by GM monoculture for export https://www.facebook.com/AfricanCentreforBiosafety/posts/

44 People report illnesses improve on GM-free diet Caitlin Shetterly’s headaches, nausea, rashes, and fatigue diagnosed by allergist as GMO corn allergy modified-corn “Moms Across America” PANDA, allergies, Rachel Linden was sick for ten years with asthma, seasonal allergies, food allergies, infections and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Institute of Responsible Technonology. Says people reporting allergies, autism, diabetes, arthritis, colitis Crohn’s disease, celiac, improve on non-GM diet

45 Cool the climate while feeding us all IAASTD – UN report Agriculture at the Crossroads Agroecology can double yields in 10 years “while mitigating climate change and alleviating rural poverty.” La Via Campesina Permaculture SRI- triples yield farming/how-millions-of-farmers-are-advancing-agriculture-for-themselves/


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