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Should GMO companies be held liable when your gut starts producing pesticides?


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(NaturalNews) On Monsanto's website, this multinational seed conglomerate makes the claim that Bt toxin engineered into its genetically-modified (GM) corn and cotton crops is "naturally occurring" and poses no threat to "humans, other mammals, birds, fish or beneficial insects." But a closer look at the science reveals that Bt toxin can survive and replicate in the human gut following ingestion, which begs the question: Should Monsanto and other purveyors of GM crops bearing this transgenic trait be held responsible for potential health damage caused by this patented pesticide?

Contrary to industry claims, horizontal gene transfer and DNA absorption of GM crops bearing the artificially engineered Bt trait can and does occur. A 2013 paper published in the online journal PLOS One looked at this more in-depth, revealing that DNA molecules from various substances can survive processing and end up being absorbed into the bloodstream. This includes the controversial Bt trait, which was designed to be self-replicating for the purpose of bursting the intestines of pests, thus killing them.

"Blood is not free of DNA," the paper explains. "[T]here are animal studies, mainly focusing on the GMO issue, supporting the idea that small fragments of nucleic acids may pass to the bloodstream and even get into various tissues. For example, foreign DNA fragments were detected by PCR based techniques in the digestive tract and leukocytes of rainbow trouts fed by genetically modified soybean, and other studies report similar results in goats, pigs, and mice."

An earlier paper from 2005 published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology lays the groundwork for how horizontal gene transfer affects humans, describing in detail how GM crops directly alter intestinal flora through microbial "transgenes." It points out how pre-approval safety assessments should (but to this day, don't) include an evaluation of the potential for horizontal gene transfer, among other effects.

GM transgenes capable of surviving digestion and proliferating in human digestive tract

The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) notes that these transgenes, which the biotech industry claims are destroyed by the digestive system, are fully capable of surviving and persisting in the human gut. Affirming the findings of the PLOS One study, IRT explains that GM genes like Bt toxin can not only survive digestion and replicate, but also spread to further generations.

"Once transferred into gut bacteria, transgenes may confer survival advantages, allowing them to endure and spread," the group explains. "The only human feed trial ever published confirmed that genetic material from Roundup Ready soy transferred into the gut bacteria in three of seven human volunteers. The transferred portion of the transgene was stable inside the bacteria and appeared to produce herbicide tolerant protein."

In other words, ingestion of these GM traits can potentially turn a person's gut into a living, breathing pesticide factory. This just so happens to be the subject of a pending lawsuit against Monsanto filed by three residents of Los Angeles, who allege that Monsanto's claims that Roundup herbicide "targets an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets" is patently false.

Concerning engineered Bt toxin, numerous studies prove that ingestion of this built-in pesticide by mammals can provoke a negative immune response, inflammation, allergies, and other harm. And once present in the intestinal tract, this self-replicating poison can induce long-term health damage for which there may not be a remedy.

"Bt-toxin breaks open the stomach of insects. Could it similarly be damaging the integrity of our digestive tracts?" asks IRT's Jeffrey Smith.

"The biotech companies insist that Bt-toxin doesn't bind or interact with the intestinal walls of mammals, and therefore humans. But here too they ignore peer-reviewed published evidence showing that Bt-toxin does bind with mouse small intestines and with intestinal tissue from rhesus monkeys."

Investigate the origins of your food and find new articles on GMO foods at GMOFood.news

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