Jeffrey’s Take: Four Breaking News Stories: Why We Can’t Trust Regulators with Our Health
The following are important links Jeffrey talks about in the video above:
- US FDA approves GM pig for food and therapeutic use
- Farmworkers and conservationists ask court to remove Monsanto’s Roundup from the market
- CRISPR gene editing unintentionally causes changes in gene regulation
- Are GM plants with Bt toxins 20 times more toxic than previously known?
Transcription: Jeffrey’s Take: Four Breaking News Stories: Why We Can’t Trust Regulators with Our Health
This transcript has been edited slightly for clarity
Hi, this is Jeffrey Smith, and I wanted to share with you some information that demonstrates with such clarity the complete incompetence of the regulatory agencies, the FDA, and the EPA in particular for regulating GMOs. Now I’m going to blast these regulatory agencies as completely incompetent, but I want to share first that it’s not everyone in these agencies. I was talking to my good friend, Jim Turner, who wrote Chemical Feast, the Nader report on the FDA. And he said that there are three types of people in the FDA. One level is incompetent, they can’t be hired and used anywhere else. Another one is highly competent scientists who are often hired away by companies and universities. And then there’s the top tier, which does not have a scientific agenda, but a political or economic agenda. And they’re often in charge. So when I tell you that I find the regulatory agencies totally incompetent,
it’s not everyone that works there. And I have a disclaimer in my book, Seeds of Deception. I don’t want to disparage the hardworking, conscientious people there, but I am going to dig in without hesitation and reservation into the disastrous policies of the FDA and the EPA as revealed by four recent news items in December. I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and this is just the next wave, but I want to get into it in a little detail, so you understand how much science they are ignoring to declare something safe.
So the first of these travesties is that the FDA approved for human consumption and organ transplant, a genetically engineered pig. This is the second food that was approved from a GMO animal. The first was salmon and the courts shut down their approval as illegal because they didn’t take into account
some of the environmental impacts. And believe me, when we look at health impacts, they ignored those too, because when they look at genetically engineered animals, they treat them as medicine. They do a medicinal evaluation, which means that it’s a very narrow scope and can overlook a lot. So what did they overlook in this pig? First of all, the pig is called GalSafe because there’s a particular alpha-gal sugar that some people are allergic to, particularly if a lone star tick bites people and transfers this alpha-gal sugar into their system, they may get an allergic reaction. And so they sometimes get reactions to red meat that contain the alpha-gal sugar. So they genetically engineered the pig by knocking out the gene that produces the alpha-gal sugar in the pig meat. Now, first of all, this is a very rare condition.
Not many people have it, but this pig meat is going to be released into the entire food supply. Not in large numbers. They’re only limiting it to a thousand pigs per year in Northern Iowa, but who knows where they’re going to end up because they ship pig meat all over the world from Iowa. Now here’s what the FDA ignores blatantly. The science that they ignore is ridiculous. Especially because of COVID. I’ll give you an example. There’s an antibiotic-resistant gene inserted into the pig DNA. Now there’s a concern that this gene might transfer into bacteria that’s pathogenic rendering the bacteria resistant to antibiotics. In this case, it’s neomycin, which is something that’s used in human and veterinary medicine. So right now, if you look at the FDA’s website, I haven’t done this in years, but when I did last time, there was a strong warning against antibiotic-resistant diseases.
I think they were estimating 50,000 people dying a year and unnecessary amputations. Now they’re claiming, “Oh, it’s probably not going to have a bigger effect, but because even if it does, it’s only being released on this one farm in Northern Iowa”. Well, are we ignoring everything we’ve learned about microbes in the last eight months via the COVID-19 SARS virus that has spread around the world? Bacteria can spread around the world. Elaine Ingham, a scientist, tells me that EPA scientists told her about a secret study done at the EPA, which verified that bacteria released in one place in Louisiana spread around the world after a few years and they were just simply testing how GMO bacteria spreads. So the concept that the FDA scientists could say, “Well, even if it does cause some antibiotic resistance, it’ll be contained…” What planet are they on?
This is serious. People are dying from antibiotic-resistant diseases. And now we’re just approving these genes to be put into animals. There was a recent gene-edited cow that was edited to not have horns and the FDA approved it by saying that it was great. And it turns out that one FDA employee ran a test to a program that she was working on and discovered that the cow had antibiotic-resistant genes inserted into it accidentally and they ended up killing all of the cows in Brazil because they were growing into a herd when they realized that there was antibiotic resistance in the cow. So why are they allowing it in the pig? But that’s just one of the ways that they ignore even their own scientists. In the process of genetic engineering, you create all sorts of
unpredicted side effects. It is the number one most common result of genetic engineering. Everyone knows this who pays attention, but evidently not the FDA, because they never tested for other changes or never required that because they don’t do their own testing. They just require the companies that will benefit from the sales of these products to submit data. So that’s a problem right there, but they never required tests that looked at the side effects. They never did any animal feeding tests, because typically that will show you if there’s some kind of toxins or some kind of unexpected problem.
But they never even did any animal studies and they never tested it on humans with the alpha-gal sugar allergy. So they’re releasing it into the human food supply saying that this can be eaten by people with this allergy and no one has actually been tested who had the allergy eating these pigs. This is unbelievably bad science. Now they’re primarily developing these things for transplants because sometimes the alpha-gal sugar can cause rejection. But in the past, when they have genetically engineered pigs to not express the alpha-gal sugar and transplanted it into baboons in the long term, it didn’t work. So it actually has no verification that it works as a transplant mechanism. And there are other reasons why bodies can reject pig organs. There’s a concern about transferring pig viruses. And also finally for the animal rights people, when you genetically engineer animals, typically you have to cause a lot of deformities and stillborn deaths of genetically engineered animals before you get to one that apparently works.
So it demonstrates some of the side effects. It demonstrates the non-predictability of the process and also huge animal suffering. So that’s one of the four news items that demonstrate ridiculous incompetence, where we as consumers are facing the possible results. Now here’s one for farmworkers.
My friends over at the Center for Food Safety sued the EPA for their approval of glyphosate, the chief poison in Roundup. And they said that their approval did not take into consideration the health of the farmworkers and farmers who are spraying it. Now, I spent some time (as you probably know) following and even attending some of the Roundup trials, where Lee Johnson, for example, was spraying tremendous amounts of Roundup during the summer at a school district and ended up that there was a hose break. He got drenched in it once and other times he was using a back sprayer and he got drenched in the back. He ended up with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the evidence was clear. The EPA was hiding the link to cancer and the international agency on the research of cancer was clear that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. All of that was ignored by the EPA when they approved glyphosate, ignoring the possibility that farmworkers will have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or one of many other diseases that are associated with Roundup. They also disregarded the environmental impacts. They disregarded the fact that there’ll be more glyphosate-resistant weeds, there’ll be drift up to other farms and they even
ignored the threat to endangered species. Now it’s required that the EPA does an evaluation, that the data comes out about the threat to endangered species before they reapprove it. But they decided to approve it before the report came out. And guess why? Because the report was damning to glyphosate saying that it could damage 93% of endangered species at 1,676 different endangered species and 96% of their critical habitats. So no wonder the
EPA decided to approve glyphosate before other aspects of the EPA released this data, because it would have been hard to justify. So they’re saying “yes” to spraying Roundup now on 285 million acres of farmland in the United States. And on top of that, 21 million pounds on forests, parks, lawns, schoolyards – that’s the right schoolyards – and roadways. They also never paid attention to the pollinators – honeybees – which are being devastated right now, and other pollinators and the Monarch butterfly.
You see, Roundup Ready crops are used in the Midwest. So they spray the whole area with Roundup. The other plants die, except Roundup Ready crops. Those other plants include milkweed, which is the host and feeding ground for Monarch butterfly larva. So now there’s a devastation of the Monarch butterflies. The US Fish and Wildlife Service verified that they deserve to be put now on the endangered species list. But won’t do that until 2024 because there’s a backlog. So all of that was being ignored by the agency that’s supposed to be protecting our environment. So that’s the second news item.
Here’s the third. I’m going to preface this by saying, I think it was a year and a half ago that I interviewed Dr. Skinner from the labs at Washington State University. He found out that when he injected Roundup into pregnant mice, the great-grandchildren of those pregnant mice have the worst of all the generations because there was an epigenetic impact, not a change in the genes, but a biochemical attachment to those genes that changed gene expression. So in the case of Roundup, 90% of the great-grandchildren,
of the injected pregnant mice, had serious issues. They had prostate issues, overweight, problems during pregnancy – I think kidney, I’m not sure. So we know that changes in the epigenome and epigenetics can be inherited. So that’s the background. Regulatory agencies ignore this. They don’t pay attention to the intergenerational effects and the regulatory agencies ignore gene editing, considering it safe, predictable, and even natural, which it’s none of these things. So in this new study (which came out in BMC Genomics), they took mice and used CRISPR-Cas9 (which is the poster child of gene editing) and cut it and inserted some additional materials, and then tracked the epigenetic effects and found that it changed gene expression for 10 generations. I don’t think they tested beyond that, which means that if you use gene editing in one generation, then 10 generations later, you still may have unpredicted side effects that carry through generation after generation.
Now they’re allowing gene editing on plants. There’s no regulatory agency in the United States that has any oversight into most of the gene-edited foods that are being developed right now. There was a mushroom in which gene editing was used to knock out a gene and the USDA said, “We have no jurisdiction here.” The EPA, “No jurisdiction,” and the FDA, “It’s only voluntary if you want to submit it.” Now we know that a change could theoretically result in higher toxins, allergens, or other types of epigenetic changes that will occur undetected because there’s no requirement for evaluation.
That was the third. Now we’re getting to the fourth and final. I don’t know if this is my favorite, but I know a lot about this from writing about it and reading about it for 25 years. It’s about Bt toxin.
So there are soil bacteria called bacillus thuringiensis. If you gather up the bacteria and the spores, you can spray it on your garden and it will kill certain caterpillars. It does so because it drive holes in their guts and that will kill them. Now, scientists have taken genes from this bacillus thuringiensis (or Bt) genes out of the bacteria and put them into corn, cotton, and soybeans. So now these plants are registered pesticides in the United States. We have the corn and the cotton and in South America, they also have the soybeans and these produce the Bt toxin. Now I argued – even testified – at the EPA in 2007, showing that they were ignoring peer-reviewed, published articles that the Bt toxin in its natural state causes immune reactions to humans and to mice. And they said, “Oh no, no. It just affects certain insects”. Well, they had to ignore science in order to make that determination.
But it turns out that 30 years ago, in 1990, Monsanto put out information that was ignored and it was just rediscovered by Testbiotech in Germany. I never knew about this. When you release Bt toxin, naturally, it’s broken down. It’s not broken down quickly. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why it’s a probable human allergen because it’s broken down slowly. Human allergens typically are broken down slowly in the digestive tract. Bt toxin does not pass the WHO’s suggested criteria for what proteins should be allowed or shouldn’t be allowed in the genetic engineering of our food because the protein doesn’t break down quickly. But it turns out that in soybeans, cotton, and corn, there are these enzymes that protect from degradation. It protects against the protein from being broken down even further, which increases the toxicity of the Bt toxin up to 20 times.
So when the EPA reviews the Bt toxin, they don’t look at the Bt toxin in the context of a plant. They allow companies like Monsanto to produce the Bt toxin from genetically engineered bacteria, which is completely different for many reasons. And this is one of those reasons, the toxicity, the potential allergenicity of the Bt toxin is much less in the bacterially generated toxin, but the one that we actually get exposed to in corn chips, polenta, cornbread, and for South American soy products, it may be 20 times more toxic, more powerful. But that’s not all.
You see the soybean that we eat has a natural trypsin inhibitor, which blocks the protein-digesting enzyme trypsin, but in genetically engineered soybeans (and this was information that Monsanto tried to hide, but it was uncovered from the Journal of Nutrition, from a study by Barbara Keala and published in the Los Angeles Times as a Letter to the Editor), they tried to hide the fact that for their genetically engineered soybeans, the amount of trypsin inhibitor is up to seven times that of natural soybeans.
So this means that the toxicity and allergenicity of Bt toxin could be more than 20 times higher, but it also means that every single protein that we eat – if we’re also eating the Roundup Ready soybeans – every protein may be broken down more slowly, increasing the capacity to create allergic reactions. All of this science has been ignored by the FDA and all of the science and regulators around the world. So that’s why we cannot allow the biotech companies like Monsanto or their enforcement wings in Washington to dictate to us what is food and what is not. When I walk into a normal supermarket and I look at these processed foods in the center, I call most of them FSO, food shaped objects, not actual food. I don’t accept the EPA and the FDA’s determinations for what is considered to be safe. And I encourage you not to as well.
Now, one of the easiest ways to avoid GMOs is to eat organic. And I don’t need to go into here the incredible benefits to health by eating organic. Just watch the movie Secret Ingredients that I did with Amy Hart. It is the most powerful conversion tool to eat organics because it’s explicit about what happens when families, individuals, autistic boys, and others switched to organic. All right.
So thank you all for listening. I decided to go much more in-depth this time because I had been studying the health dangers and the science for a long time. And this is deep science. You know, the synergistic effects of Bt toxin produced inside a genetically engineered organism, the epigenetic effects of CRISPR-Cas9, the possible things that can go wrong with a new genetically engineered pig, both as food and as and organ transplant.
So this is real science. And sometimes the biotech industry spokespeople will try and treat the population as childlike and say, “No, no, no, we’ve done our research. You don’t need to look under the hood. This is all safe”. When you look under the hood, it’s a catastrophe. And I’ll end by saying this. I’ve said this around the world and all over the world for years. The epidemic that has allowed for GMOs to propagate and persist is an actual concept. The concept is that “It’s not my responsibility, it’s someone else’s responsibility, and I’m sure they’re doing a good job,” or “I’m sure they’re taking care of it.” So I give the example, according to the FDA policy (this was created by Monsanto’s former attorney, Michael Taylor): It’s not up to the FDA to determine if GMOs are safe, it’s up to the company that makes them.
And when you look at Monsanto studies, you realize that they’re rigged research, that they’re not actually doing the research that’s needed. They’re doing Monsanto-type research, rigged research. And any time they find animal deaths or injuries, they write it off in a non-scientific way as something somehow magically unrelated to the study and there are all sorts of ways that we have caught them red-handed, lying. I traveled to another country and I say to their regulators, “Aren’t you concerned about GMOs? I have evidence”. If they said, “We don’t need to worry about it because your FDA has approved it. And they’re very competent”. And then I point out that the FDA doesn’t approve GMOs in the normal sense, they allow the companies that create them to approve them, but the companies themselves don’t do the research. And oftentimes these regulators are shocked.
Now we look at ourselves as individuals and members of the public as consumers. We can’t assume that because something is USDA approved or FDA approved or EPA approved, that it is safe. In fact, the antidote to this whole problem is a change in the relationship between us and not just food, but everything – that we don’t give our power away. Now we have to choose our battles because we can’t investigate everything, but at least have that holding onto our own power. Don’t give it away to the government. Don’t give it away to the FDA. Don’t give it away to Monsanto and then find what works for you. Well, that’s my rant today. I want to thank you all for joining me and I will be looking forward to sharing more information coming soon.