Turning Point Events in GEF History

Turning Point Catalyst...KEY FDA Risk Assessment Memos on GMO Foods and Crops

Efforts to release FDA scientists’ memos warning of GMO risks date back to 1991.  Release of such documents  indicating a contradiction in FDA official releases about the safety of GMOs was thwarted for many years in the legal arena after Freedom of Information (FOI) requests were ignored during the GMO approval process in the US.  USDA has also taken a page from FDA evasiveness playbook and has not been forthcoming with FOI requested information regarding their Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) actions related to GMO crops.

Quoting from the article linked above: “This is not the first time the U.S government has faced scrutiny for policies surrounding GE foods. Earlier this year, Anti-Media reported that the Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for failure to adequately respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests related to GE crops. This marks the fourth time the CFS has sued APHIS to force the release of records.”

For those companies intent on covering up key information, lawsuits provide a very convenient delaying tactic for special interests promoting and peddling their contested products to market. Unfortunately, in the case of GMO food and crop safety, it has enabled virtually unfettered release of GMO genes and chemicals into our food and water supplies, unlike in many more skeptical countries .  Scientists who are limited or harassed while at their agencies by bureaucratic bosses, are speaking out after retirement and links can be found here and in article links in the Blogroll articles on the right.

“We Are What We Eat”  Compiled with information from a global network of beekeepers, independent scientists and environmentalists    http://farmwars.info/?p=13098

In 1995, Dr. Arpad Pustzai, eminently respected biochemist and world expert in plant lectins (a naturally produced plant insecticidal poison) was awarded a grant at the prestigious UK Rowett Institute to create a model for testing Genetically Modified (GM) food, thereby verifying GMOs were safe to eat. These testing methods were ultimately expected to become the standard not only for Britain as they were creating their Food Standards equivalent to the FDA, but also for the European Union.
However, in 1998, his research took an unexpected turn.
As Dr. Pustzai was completing research on GM potatoes, unbeknownst to him, GM crops were already being sold to the public, in advance of the safety study conclusions he had been contracted to complete!  About this time, alarming health study results, including stomach, intestinal, immune system and other organ damage was being observed from the reseach. Additionally, a lack of genetic stability in the newly engineered gene traits designed into the GM potatoes, was observed from this research.
Lo and behold – the synthesized GE lectin was quite different from the natural plant produced lectin insecticide, AND had serious health consequences. Then, suddenly Dr. Pustzai was silenced by a GAG order from his employer for the previous 35 years, the Rowett Institute.
Ultimately, because of the publicity that erupted from attempts to silence Dr. Pustzai, legal action, and support from scientists who respected his work and stellar reputation, results of some of the health risks posed by GE were published in the prestigious Lancet journal in 1999. Pusztai’s study had been the most rigorously designed, even as GE crops were being released to the market, but the results were not palatable to commercialization interests whose own scientific testing was often lax or flawed.
Release of Dr. Pustzai’s work and intense media coverage, including the attempts by industry and government to silence and discredit him and his research, turned the tide of public opinion for labeling GEF. Food companies saw they had no choice but to reverse position by accepting Genetically Engineered Food labeling requirements in Europe, thus allowing the public the right to know if GMOs were in their next purchase of food.
Ed. Note: Is the US close to a European style “tipping point” with polls showing overwhelming support for GE labeling, and consumer boycotts of certain company products picking up speed? And State GEF labeling efforts picking up steam because our federal government has refused to acknowledge the consumer’s Right to Know? And are unlabeled GE foods and ingredients contributing factors to our mounting health care costs to the consumer and the country?
Sourced primarily from Jeffrey Smith’s books “Genetic Roulette”,”Seeds of Deception” responsibletechnology.org

See also Wikileaks  documents


For more historical perspective on  the historical cultural, political, consumer driven and other divergences between Europe and the US, some may wish to peruse a well footnoted CFR document: http://bit.ly/15As9Ew

Overview of Above Linked Paper

 This paper was prepared for a workshop on trans-Atlantic differences in GMO regulation sponsored by the Council of Foreign Relations. It draws in part on an unpublished paper, “Apples and Oranges: Comparing the Regulation of Genetically Modified Food in Europe and the United States,” co-authored with Diahanna Lynch.


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