Larry A. Law
Most of all BE foods on the market are engineered for one reason only: to withstand the application of herbicides. This means that growers can use more and stronger herbicides to kill the weeds that compete with their crops without causing obvious damage to the plant. The most widely-used herbicide is Bayer's Roundup. The drug manufacturer, Bayer, bought Monsanto in 2018 for $63 billion. They thought they were getting a good deal but found themselves unexpectantly liable for more than 100,000 court cases filed by people who claim their cancers were caused by exposure to glyphosate in Roundup. In 2020, Bayer agreed to pay $10 billion to settle these lawsuits but more are being filed every day. The value of Bayer stock fell $100 billion due to court cases finding that Monsanto lied for years about glyphosate being a probable human carcinogen.
Glyphosate Used as a Dessicant Sprayed on Breakfast Cereal Grains
In 1987, only 11 million pounds of Roundup were used in the United States. That number has grown to more than 300 million pounds. In 2018, the Environmental Working Group released a report showing elevated levels of glyphosate in 31 out of 45 breakfast cereal samples. The contaminated samples included products from General Mills, and brands like Cheerios and Quaker Oats. Roundup is sprayed on wheat and oats (as a dessicant) prior to harvest to kill the plant quickly and lessen the drying time needed to gather the seeds. But the quantities of Roundup found in these cereals "could increase the cancer risk for children." The fact that Roundup is sprayed as a dessicant on these cereal grains is not reported on the label.
In general, BE crops are portrayed as having similar nutritional profiles as non-BE crops. These conclusions are what the biotech company report themselves. There is no third-party safety or quality testing by the FDA or any other regulatory agency. It is extremely difficult to get unbiased, third-party information about BE crops because Monsanto/Bayer keep their product development 'restricted-access' and proprietary. However, a few significant nutritional problems show up even in their own limited data. One of Monsanto's tests in 2001 showed their Roundup Ready soybeans contained 29% less choline and 27% more trypsin inhibitor. Trypsin interferes with protein digestion. There were also lower levels of phenylalanine (an essential amino acid). In addition, the levels of lectins, which are often human allergens, were discovered to be twice as high as normal.
You Are What You Eat (and What It Eats!)
Over 95% of BE crops become part of the feed for animals we eat (cows, chickens and farmed fish). BE supporters claim that their research shows that ingestion of BE crops by livestock doesn't have any affect on the health of the animals nor is it transferred via human consumption. This is difficult to trust given the previous glyphosate/cancer fiasco which they denied for decades. A 2014 study says "there are no detectable or reliably quantifiable traces of BE components in milk, meat, and eggs following consumption of BE food," yet the study is supported by those who have a vital interest in a positive conclusion (a Kellog grant and state-funded agricultural research). The industry is notorious for industry-paid scientists and ghostwriters. Ghostwriters are biotech research writers who provide company-sponsored studies for compromised scientists to sign as if they did the research independently.
The list of BE-developed food is long: corn, soy, sugar beets, alfalfa, cotton, rapeseed for canola oil, apples, papayas, pineapples, potatoes, salmon and squash. In addition, food additives make particular use of BE corn and soy, so if it isn't certified organic or non-GMO Project Verified, there is a good chance that it contains BE ingredients. Ocean Robbins provides even more detail in his report. While farmers have used cross-pollination, hybridization and selective breeding to enhance the quality of our food for centuries, BE is an entirely different entity. Crossing species' barriers seems wrought with risk and confusion. The Tevye Principle from Fiddler on the Roof seems to apply here, "...a bird may love a fish, but where would they build a home together?" For more information on BE, see my book, There's An Elephant in the Room--Exposing Hidden Truths in the Science of Health.