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Farmer David Runyan in his field

By Jean Snedegar
Business programmes, BBC World Service

Mounting Pressures on Europe

Pressure is mounting from some scientists for Europe to end its resistance to genetically modified (GM) crops but fears remain about the impact of such technology on the rights of farmers.
Many American farmers like the ease of operating a GM system which involves regular spraying of chemicals which kill weeds but don't hurt their crops.
The problem is that GM pollen can blow across fields and anti-GM campaigners say the fear of being prosecuted for growing GM accidentally leads many farmers to give up traditional methods and take the GM route for a quiet life.
David Runyan, who has 400 hectares in eastern Indiana where he grows maize, wheat and soybeans, says he feels intimidated by the tactics of the biggest GM seed firm, Monsanto.
"They are not farmers like we used to be.", said Indiana farmer David Runyan.

Lazy Farming Is Now Here

Although Mr Runyan plants some genetically-engineered corn, he grows only conventional soybeans - something he admits is now rare.

"Approximately 90% are growing GMO soybeans," he says, "Although when the first-generation of glysophate-tolerant soybeans came out the yields were not there.
"My neighbours like them because there's less management," he says.
"They don't have to walk out to the fields. A lot of them don't even feel the dirt.
"They plant it; they hire somebody to spray it; hire somebody to fertilise it and they just go and harvest it," he says.
"They're not farmers like we used to be."


Mr Runyon says he is not allowed to buy any products from Monsanto.
"I'm on what you call a Monsanto black list - a few years ago they came out and tried to investigate and search my farm and I prevented that," he says.
Mechanisation is necessary to make many of the larger farms profitable
"I've never signed a contract. I do not use their products and it will be a cold day before I ever buy Monsanto products."
He believes that Monsanto's past history has not been good for the world or for the people.
"They're only out for Number One. Most farmers in the United States do not care for Monsanto but they stand in line to buy their products," he laments.
"I think it's just because it's easy for them - that's the only reason I can think of, there's less management."

In 2005, investigators sent by Monsanto arrived at Mr Runyan's farm unannounced.
"They came to my house and wanted all my production records," he says.
They asked questions about his farming operation and wanted to know who he was selling his food-grade soybeans to.
"They wanted to know who I'd bought all my herbicides from and they wanted records and phone numbers," Mr Runyan recalls.
Three months after the investigators left empty handed, Mr Runyan received a letter stating that he had seven days to turn over all his production records to Monsanto.

"Seed-saving is a long tradition in agriculture dating back millennia and it's actually still practiced quite a bit even in the United States and other developed countries." Bill Freese, Center for Food Safety

One reason why Mr Runyan refused was because the letter stated that Monsanto had an agreement with the Indiana Department of Agriculture, but the department didn't exist at that time.
Mr Runyan hired a lawyer to deal with his case.

David vs Goliath

David Runyan's story is not an isolated one.
To protect their patents, biotechnology companies have fiercely pursued farmers they suspect of saving and replanting their seed and farmers who may have biotech crops growing in their fields accidentally.
Either way, companies like Monsanto call it "seed piracy".
Bill Freese of the Center for Food Safety says Monsanto will force farmers to sign a technology use agreement which basically forbids the farmer from saving seeds from his harvest for planting the next season.
"Seed-saving is a long tradition in agriculture dating back millennia and it's actually still practiced quite a bit even in the United States and other developed countries," he says.
Thousands of farmers who have been pursued by Monsanto in the US have paid the company at least $85m (£59.4m) in damages for the so-called crime of saving seeds from their harvest.
When asked about their tactics, Monsanto directs people to the "For the Record" section on their website.

Statement on Monsanto's website

Monsanto does become aware, through our own actions or through third-parties, of individuals who are suspected of violating our patents and agreements. Where we do find violations, we are able to settle most of these cases without ever going to trial. In many cases, these farmers remain our customers. Sometimes however, we are forced to resort to lawsuits. This is a relatively rare circumstance, with about 120 lawsuits having been filed within the last decade. Less than a dozen cases required a full trial. In every one of these instances, the jury or court decided in our favor.

Biotech scientist Michael Fromm believes these lawsuits are fair practice on Monsanto's part.
"They do have patented technology," he says. "The farmers sign agreements not to save the seed as a way for Monsanto to make money on their crop.
"They've gone after a few farmers pretty hard in terms of litigation. If somebody doesn't enforce their property rights - the market tends to abuse it more."

Safety Concerns

The big fear of consumers in Europe has been safety.
After 10 years of Americans eating GM crops, many in the industry say this proves they must be safe, but even in the US some critics are not convinced.
"There really have been no long-term studies and especially in the US - our regulatory system is extremely lax," says Doug Gurian-Sherman, at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC.
"I certainly don't believe that all GM crops would be harmful to eat.
"The question is: will the regulatory system detect them? And my answer in short is, 'maybe sometimes' and that's not really very comforting to me."


"To my knowledge there's not a single instance of any health risk for any of the commercially sold genetically engineered crops."
Michael Fromm, University of Nebraska

What worries Mr Gurian-Sherman is that no scientific long-term studies have been conducted comparing groups of people who eat GM and those that do not, to see if the GM eaters get more allergies or other medical problems.
Such concerns have not so far worried most Americans or Michael Fromm, at the University of Nebraska.
In the 1990s he helped develop genetically-engineered crops for Monsanto, the world's leading producer of genetically engineered seed.
"I absolutely believe that genetically engineered crops are safe and the industry record over the last 12-plus years has absolutely proven that.
"To my knowledge there's not a single instance of any health risk for any of the commercially-sold genetically engineered crops."

So far Monsanto propaganda.

But what about the next post???


Views: 217

Replies to This Discussion

This is what Gina Tyler sent me some time ago:

Dear Kaviraj
Just got this from the Director at the head clinic for Birthing In bali (ibu Robin)
Its where I donate Thousands of viles of remedies via Iberhome labs.
Are you aware of the GMO Soy products problems in bali? And have any info or data on the heath adverse effects she is asking ?
Do you have any links I can send Her?

Gina Tyler DHOM

To: gina_tyler
Subject: Re: Homeopathic volunteer work Interview Bali - and placenta cord concerns
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2009 18:34:00 +0800

Hi Gina... I have not seen this... Thanks so much for sending it... love, Ibu Robin
Thank you for the help with getting much needed donations of belladonna...
I will write you more about it and send receipts... sorry about that.
love, Ibu Robin
OM Shanti...
DEar Sister midwives... (and docs) please excuse this group email to friends...
I am writing from Indonesia, the country who got GMO soy first... to share what I am seeing, and ask if you too are seeing the same, and begin a dialog....
in 2008 Bumi Sehat Bali received 573 babies. We saw and increase in retained placentas (we often see hemorrhage - attached is the paper on green revolution rice and it's impact on maternal mortality in Bali). Also I am seeing an increase in velamentous cord insertion.
One would expect given the rate of malnourishment here - that the birthing women would use every bit of Qi to push out their babies (and we go so gently) - leaving little or not much Qi for releasing the placenta and involution. However, in 2008 and so far in 2009 we have seen many too many 'sticky' placentas, two even had to be transported (we do manual removal on site when absolutely necessary - but 2 really had to go in, one for a hysterectomy, in another - Dr. Wedagama nearly took her into surgery... but was able to remove the placenta (over 1 liter blood loss!). In the last 6 weeks of 2008 I had to go after 4 placentas!!! It was not pretty, and I do not take it lightly. (usually never more than 1 per year)
Also most shocking is the empirical experience ( I have no research to prove it) of seeing an increase of velamentous umbilical cord insertion and short cords.
two weeks ago we had Padma, a vegetarian for 15 + years... third baby died the week before birth - from what was diagnosed as a cord accident. This 4th baby was born healthy... but the cord was flat and 4 to 5 cm wide (looked like a tape worm) and had five skinny vulnerable vessels arriving each separately to the placenta!!! The placenta was not the lovely placentas I know and love (I am doing a book on placentas - so I am having a love affair with them). There was no Wharton's jelly to speak of, and I am seeing a decrease in Wharton's jelly among all our babies.

Last week a young mom lost her baby in labor... suddenly FHT went from 150 to zero exactly 15 minutes between listening times... there was no dipping or drop in heart tones, but we were concerned as they had gone up to 160 and once above... but easily stabilized with position change of mother. We had no time to transport before infant demise. Five hours later a lovely baby girl was born dead. There was no hope. This mom is very poor, husband no job. The cord was less than 30 cm long and had been pulled too hard as it was wrapped tightly around her foot.
Yesterday evening we had a 2nd time mom come in,very poor and malnourished. On arrival FHT were above 160, she was 9 cm, but nothing we did to try to stabilize baby worked... and when we got up to 188 and climbing (that is with O2 support! and hands and knees) we transported... stat cesarean, baby was very weak low apgars... but she has come around and my staff midwife has gotten her out of hospital nursery and onto breast. This baby would not have survived our normal hands-off gentle birth. Saved by O2, a doppler and cesarean - is this the kind of drama the placentas want now????
Cords are shorter. We don't cut them for a minimum of 3 hours at Bumi Sehat and many families choose lotus birth... so we hang out with the cords a long time. Last week our midwife Ayu had to cut a cord after birth of head, as the body would not follow, it was that short a nuchal cord... she had never had to do this before in her life as a midwife!
These are just a few stories... but we are seeing many less dramatic examples of shorter cords, velamentous cord insertion, diminished Wharton's jelly, and strange looking placentas.
This morning Dita having her second baby was stuck at 9 cm (with crazy transient but strong intermittent urge to push) from 7 pm to next morning at 8:30 she finally got complete. After hands and knees with butt up, moxa Kidney 1 and pulsatilla to dis-engage baby from pelvis and then elephant walking stairs to bring him down right.... we had had strange bleeding in first stage, but baby remained strong and stabile, mom also was quite well through the long labor - but I was spooked to speed this up in any way... just wanted the cord to stretch gently. 20 minutes before the birth FHT were suddenly absent. Hands and knees, O2 and slowly slowly, he came back. Now Dita was really urging to get her baby out. He was most stabile when she squatted, but this was not our preffered gentle birth... Dita did it (we had not time to transport - I actually considered episiotomy - imagine, and had ready a quiwi to vacuum him out!!!)her son was born by her own power and all of our prayers to Allah. Allhumdullilah!! our 3.6 kilo Baby boy's cord was short, just about 40 cm. velamentous insertion... AGAIN. Yet another.
Last week we had a five babies in a 12 hour night... two had velamentous cord insertions! It's just not average anymore. In five days time I saw one fatal cord accident, another cord problem leading to stat cesarean birth, and today another incident of deep fetal distress due to cord problems. BTW - none of these three were nuchal cords, just short and velamentous.
What are you midwives seeing? please send this round to your friends... I am curious.
The study I read concerning M16 genetically modified corn showed that when fed to pregnant mice, ALL THE OFFSPRING, in one generation, had alterations of ALL the cells in ALL their organs!!! Can you see why I am worried about our precious placentas? I did not make this connection, until I began to see an increase in abnormalities and pathology due to placenta and cord troubles. The fact that so many Indonesian women depend upon genetically modified soy products (tempe and tofu) for their day to day protein - and the early introduction of GMO soy here... well it got me wondering??
Dr, Hariyasa... Are you seeing an increase in this kind of cord and placenta problem at R.S. Sangla and Harapan Bunda? Some midwives at R.S. Ari Canti say they are seeing more problems. Dr. John... are you seeing more problems like this in Maui? Iowa? England? Australia? East Coast? Gina, are you seeing anything like this in your practice?? I HOPE this is not a trend or a pattern. We really don't want GMO foods, or anything, i.e. environmental pollutants etc. to make changes in placentas. It would be shattering.

Om Shanti, Ibu Robin LIm

Now who do we believe?

After my run-ins with these people, i do not believe a single word they say and even less do i believe in what they do.

Comments please.
Anyone, anywhere seen similar things after introduction of GMO crops?

Hi Kaviraj
Yes! You have started a heated discussion on this Vile Corporation called- Monsanto.
Its the same thing I have been saying about posting corruption regards Big Pharma (allopathic meds),it "needs" to be exposed-the more people see this the better,We can't keep ignoring these issues.
It not ONLY effects us but the next generation,and the next,and the next! If we are familiar with the science of homeo miasmatics we can see how GMO food makes an imprint in the genocide of mother Earth-humans ,and plants for centuries to come.
What is the answer?
1-Exposed these evils by posting more articles that anyone can access.
2-Introduce Homeopathics in Agro- Farm/crop growing
3-Use anti-miasmatic homeopathy for healing the adverse effects of Monsanto's toxin.
Well Gina,

This is but the beginning of what I have collected already.
"But wait, there is more!"
As in those famous ads.
He would stop at some time, but i won't for a very long time - not till they are a defunct, extinct species of business or i draw my last breath, whichever comes first. Considering the developments, their extinction will be before mine, if I have any say in this. And as i poited out, I have a lot so say.

But let us wait for some comments first.

Here is another one:

From today.

By Mairi Beautyman
Features Editor at, Design Journalist

Keep Yourself and Your Child Away from FDA-approved Pesticide Linked to Parkinson's Disease

Yet another report is out suggesting pesticides are a leading cause of Parkinson's Disease, which attacks the nerve cells that controls muscle movement. But this one is particularly disturbing with the news of a direct link to FDA-approved pesticide Lindane.
According to the U.K.-based Daily Telegraph's review of the Archives of Neurology Journal study, "Parkinson's sufferers are more likely to have significant levels of a pesticide in their body than healthy people."
The study found pesticide beta-HCH, a chemical component of Lindane, "in 76 percent of people with Parkinson's, compared with 40 percent of healthy controls and 30 percent of those with Alzheimer's."

Switch to Organic

Pesticides are a major reason to switch to organic food: Peppers, celery, and kale may seem like innocent healthy vegetables, but they clock in with some of the highest pesticide residues around. While Lindane was banned from all agricultural uses by the Environmental Protection Agency in August 2006, it is still found in shampoos and skin lotions marketed to control lice and scabies.
And August 2006? That was just three years ago. Who knows what other pesticide with disastrous health consequences is still being used on the food we eat and the products we use.

First thing I like to remark upon is that from the beginning of pesticide plants, there has been an increase in Caesarian sections in the US from around 200,000 in the 90's to over a million today. There are no reports on its necessity and while the money is nothing to sneeze at, I do not think that is the sole motivation, for those greedy surgeons. Something is not being told....

Therefore, I think that the real reasons are those same cord problems, which they cannot mention - Monsanto also produces too many of the hospitals' drugs and can put them under pressure by cutting funding for trials and other such means of leverage. Bribing is also not alien to their business practises, as we shall discover later on.

For now, this is the theme - what do these GMO's cause in people who eat them. I shall post some more info on this in the next few posts, but like to hear first what anyone in this community knows about such things or has personal experience with birth defects, premature delivery, retarded development and so on. Please bring it on - Monsanto cannot go after each one of us - that would be too difficult.

May 19, 2009 Contact Information
Dr. Amy L. Dean, D.O.
Public Relations Chair
Member, Board of Directors
American Academy of Environmental Medicine

The American Academy Of Environmental Medicine Calls For
Immediate Moratorium On Genetically Modified Foods

Wichita, KS - The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) today released its position paper on Genetically Modified foods stating that "GM foods pose a serious health risk" and calling for a moratorium on GM foods. Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes "there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects" and that "GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health."

The AAEM calls for:

* A moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term safety testing and labeling of GM food.

* Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community and the public to avoid GM foods.

* Physicians to consider the role of GM foods in their patients' disease processes.

* More independent long term scientific studies to begin gathering data to investigate the role of GM foods on human health.

"Multiple animal studies have shown that GM foods cause damage to various organ systems in the body. With this mounting evidence, it is imperative to have a moratorium on GM foods for the safety of our patients' and the public's health," said Dr. Amy Dean, PR chair and Board Member of AAEM.

"Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions," said Dr. Jennifer Armstrong, President of AAEM. "The most common foods in North America which are consumed that are GMO are corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed oil."

The AAEM's position paper on Genetically Modified foods can be found at

AAEM is an international association of physicians and other professionals dedicated to addressing the clinical aspects of environmental health. More information is available at

About AAEM

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine was founded in 1965, and is an international association of physicians and other professionals interested in the clinical aspects of humans and their environment. The Academy is interested in expanding the knowledge of interactions between human individuals and their environment, as these may be demonstrated to be reflected in their total health. The AAEM provides research and education in the recognition, treatment and prevention of illnesses induced by exposures to biological and chemical agents encountered in air, food and water.

Kaviraj posted:"but like to hear first what anyone in this community knows about such things or has personal experience with birth defects, premature delivery, retarded development and so on.................."

There is a Homeopathy/Expec-mothering pregnant group here at HWC
Maybe post there,many midwife's posting.
Good idea. Shall post Ibu Robin's experience and my observations on caesarian sections.
Why Are Indian Farmers Committing Suicide and How Can We Stop This Tragedy?

By Vandana Shiva, Huffington Post
Posted on May 18, 2009, Printed on May 19, 2009

In a land where reincarnation is a commonly held belief, where the balance sheet of life is sorted out over lifetimes, where resilience and recovery has been the characteristic of the "kisan," the peasant cultivation, why are Indian farmers committing suicide on a mass scale?

200,000 farmers have ended their lives since 1997.

Farmers' suicides are the most tragic and dramatic symptom of the crisis of survival faced by Indian peasants.

Rapid increase in indebtedness is at the root of farmers' taking their lives. Debt is a reflection of a negative economy. Two factors have transformed agriculture from a positive economy into a negative economy for peasants: the rising of costs of production and the falling prices of farm commodities. Both these factors are rooted in the policies of trade liberalization and corporate globalization.

In 1998, the World Bank's structural adjustment policies forced India to open up its seed sector to global corporations like Cargill, Monsanto and Syngenta. The global corporations changed the input economy overnight. Farm saved seeds were replaced by corporate seeds, which need fertilizers and pesticides and cannot be saved.

Corporations prevent seed savings through patents and by engineering seeds with non-renewable traits. As a result, poor peasants have to buy new seeds for every planting season and what was traditionally a free resource, available by putting aside a small portion of the crop, becomes a commodity. This new expense increases poverty and leads to indebtness.

The shift from saved seed to corporate monopoly of the seed supply also represents a shift from biodiversity to monoculture in agriculture. The district of Warangal in Andhra Pradesh used to grow diverse legumes, millets, and oilseeds. Now the imposition of cotton monocultures has led to the loss of the wealth of farmer's breeding and nature's evolution.

Monocultures and uniformity increase the risk of crop failure, as diverse seeds adapted to diverse to eco-systems are replaced by the rushed introduction of uniform and often untested seeds into the market.
When Monsanto first introduced Bt Cotton in 2002, the farmers lost 1 billion rupees due to crop failure. Instead of 1,500 kilos per acre as promised by the company, the harvest was as low as 200 kilos per acre.
Instead of incomes of 10,000 rupees an acre, farmers ran into losses of 6,400 rupees an acre. In the state of Bihar, when farm-saved corn seed was displaced by Monsanto's hybrid corn, the entire crop failed, creating 4 billion rupees in losses and increased poverty for desperately poor farmers. Poor peasants of the South cannot survive seed monopolies. The crisis of suicides shows how the survival of small farmers is incompatible with the seed monopolies of global corporations.

The second pressure Indian farmers are facing is the dramatic fall in prices of farm produce as a result of the WTO's free trade policies. The WTO rules for trade in agriculture are, in essence, rules for dumping.
They have allowed wealthy countries to increase agribusiness subsidies while preventing other countries from protecting their farmers from artificially cheap imported produce. Four hundred billion dollars in subsidies combined with the forced removal of import restriction is a ready-made recipe for farmer suicide. Global wheat prices have dropped from $216 a ton in 1995 to $133 a ton in 2001; cotton prices from $98.2 a ton in 1995 to $49.1 a ton in 2001; Soya bean prices from $273 a ton in 1995 to $178 a ton. This reduction is due not to a change in productivity, but to an increase in subsidies and an increase in market monopolies controlled by a handful of agribusiness corporations.

The region in India with the highest level of farmers suicides is the Vidharbha region in Maharashtra -- 4000 suicides per year, 10 per day.
This is also the region with the highest acreage of Monsanto's GMO Bt cotton. Monsanto's GM seeds create a suicide economy by transforming seed from a renewable resource to a non-renewable input which must be bought every year at high prices. Cotton seed used to cost Rs 7/kg.
Bt-cotton seeds were sold at Rs 17,000/kg. Indigenous cotton varieties can be intercropped with food crops. Bt-cotton can only be grown as a monoculture. Indigenous cotton is rain fed. Bt-cotton needs irrigation.
Indigenous varieties are pest resistant. Bt-cotton, even though promoted as resistant to the boll worm, has created new pests, and to control these new pests, farmers are using 13 times more pesticides then they were using prior to introduction of Bt-cotton. And finally, Monsanto sells its GMO seeds on fraudulent claims of yields of 1500/kg/year when farmers harvest 300-400 kg/year on an average. High costs and unreliable output make for a debt trap, and a suicide economy.

While Monsanto pushes the costs of cultivation up, agribusiness subsidies drive down the price farmers get for their produce.

Cotton producers in the US are given a subsidy of $4 billion annually.
This has artificially brought down cotton prices, allowing the US to capture world markets previously accessible to poor African countries such as Burkina Faso, Benin, and Mali. This subsidy of $230 per acre in the US is untenable for the African farmers. African cotton farmers are losing $250 million every year. That is why small African countries walked out of the Cancun negotiations, leading to the collapse of the WTO ministerial.

The rigged prices of globally traded agriculture commodities steal from poor peasants of the South. A study carried out by the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE) shows that due to falling farm prices, Indian peasants are losing $26 billion annually.
This is a burden their poverty does not allow them t bear. As debts increase -- unpayable from farm proceeds -- farmers are compelled to sell a kidney or even commit suicide. Seed saving gives farmers life.
Seed monopolies rob farmers of life.

Farmers suicides in the state of Chattisgarh have recently been before in the news. 1593 farmers committed suicide in Chattisgarh in 2007.
Before 2000 no farmers suicides are reported in the state.

Chattisgarh is the Centre of Diversity of the indice varieties of rice.
More than 200,000 rices used to grow in India. This is where eminent rice scientists Dr. Richaria did his collections and showed that tribals had bred many rices with higher yields than the green Revolution varieties.

Today the rice farming of Chattisgarh is under assault. When indigenous rice is replaced with green Revolution varieties, irrigation becomes necessary. Under globalization pressures, rice is anyway a lower priority than exotic vegetables. The farmers are sold hybrid seeds, the seeds need heavy inputs of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as intensive irrigation. And crop failure is frequent. This pushes farmers into debt and suicide.

Chattisgarh is also a prime target for growing of Jatropha for biofuel.
Tribals farms are being forcefully appropriated for Jatropha plantations, aggravating the food and livelihood crisis in Chattisgarh.
The diesel demand of the automobile industry is given a priority above the food needs of the poor.

The suicide economy of industrialized, globalised agriculture is suicidal at 3 levels -- it is suicidal for farmers, it is suicidal for the poor who are derived food, and it is suicidal at the level of the human species as we destroy the natural capital of seed, biodiversity, soil and water on which our biological survival depends.

The suicide economy is not an inevitability. Navdanya has started a Seeds of Hope campaign to stop farmers suicides. The transition from seeds of suicide to seeds of hope includes:

* A shift from GMO and non renewable seeds to organic, open
pollinated seed varieties which farmers can save and share
* A shift from chemical farming to organic farming
* A shift from unfair trade based on false prices to fair trade
based on real and just prices

The farmers who have made this shift are earning 10 times more than the farmers growing Monsanto's Bt-cotton.

Activist and physicist Vandana Shiva is founder and director of the Research Foundation for Science,

Technology, and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi. She is author of more than three hundred papers in leading journals and numerous books,

including Monocultures of the Mind: Biodiversity, Biotechnology, and the Third World and Earth Democracy.

Vandana is a founding director of International Forum on Globalization.

© 2009 Huffington Post All rights reserved.

Alarm raised as GMO foods hit market published on 14/05/2009 By Peter Thatiah

It is now official. Kenyans could be eating contaminated maize unfit even for animals
Hi Gina,

I see you are a huffpo reader too. I shall later post some more info on those caesarians on the mother's thread.

Here an article posted by Dr Carra Bellini elsewhere. I post it verbatim.

Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:438-443 ©Ivyspring International Publisher


How Subchronic and Chronic Health Effects can be Neglected for GMOs, Pesticides or Chemicals

Gilles-Eric Séralini1,2 ✉, Joël Spiroux de Vendômois2, Dominique Cellier2,3, Charles Sultan2,4, Marcello Buiatti2,5, Lou Gallagher6, Michael Antoniou7, Krishna R. Dronamraju8

1. University of Caen, Institute of Biology, Biochemistry, Esplanade de la Paix 14032 Caen Cedex France.
2. CRIIGEN, 40 rue Monceau, 75008 Paris France
3. University of Rouen, LITIS EA 4108, 76821 Mont Saint-Aignan, France
4. University of Montpellier, School of Medicine, IGH, CNRS, France
5. University of Firenze, Italy
6. Institute for Environmental Science and Research, Ltd, Crown Research Institute, Porirua, New Zealand
7. King's College London School of Medicine, Dept. Medical and Molecular Genetics, London, United Kingdom
8. Foundation for Genetic Research, Houston, USA
How to cite this article:
Séralini GE, de Vendômois JS, Cellier D, Sultan C, Buiatti M, Gallagher L, Antoniou M, Dronamraju KR. How Subchronic and Chronic Health Effects can be Neglected for GMOs, Pesticides or Chemicals. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:438-443. Available from


Chronic health effects are increasing in the world such as cancers, hormonal, reproductive, nervous, or immune diseases, even in young people. During regulatory toxicological subchronic tests to prevent these on mammalian health, prior commercialization of chemicals, including pesticides and drugs, or GMOs, some statistically significant findings may be revealed. This discussion is about the need to investigate the relevant criteria to consider those as biologically significant. The sex differences and the non linear dose or time related effects should be considered in contrast to the claims of a Monsanto-supported expert panel about a GMO, the MON 863 Bt maize, but also for pesticides or drugs, in particular to reveal hormone-dependent diseases and first signs of toxicities.

Keywords: Pesticides, GMO, MON 863, side effects, toxicological tests.

Some contaminations or pollutions by pesticides [1] and other chemical residues [2-4] affect human and animal health, together with biodiversity. Thus it is important to study potential mid and long-term toxicological effects during regulatory tests prior to commercialization of chemicals, and not to test only short-term or subchronic effects. This question has also been raised for GMOs [5], especially those containing pesticides, either because they tolerate (such as Roundup Ready soya) or produce (such as Bt maize) these molecules (99 % of commercially cultivated GMOs). This subject has been reviewed recently by Dronamraju [6].

Here we shall discuss more particularly the existing data on possible toxic effects of a GMO on mammals, with putative relevance to humans, and with the aim of commenting on current procedures and experimental protocols in mammalian feeding experiments (Fig. 1). Doull et al. [7] indicated their general criteria needed to classify as biologically relevant the observed significant effects during 90d toxicological tests on mammals. The example taken was for a GMO, a Bt maize called MON 863, producing in its cells a new kind of modified insecticide Cry3Bb1, known as a toxin for coleopterans. But these authors claim to apply the same criteria to other products such as pesticides and drugs. The history of the debate on the biosafety of this GMO is paradigmatic, and it raises a series of general questions on risk assessment of commercial transgenic crops and of pesticides or chemicals. These considerations are crucial, since public health is concerned and their discussion may critically influence the decision to release in particular some agricultural GMOs or not, and also to another extent the economic feasibility of this kind of project.
Figure 1

Comparison of regulatory toxicity tests generally performed in vivo on mammals, for instance with rats, the most used model, before commercialization of various products. These are GMOs used for food or feed, pesticides, drugs, or the best tested chemicals. The choice of how to apply standards is made by scientific commissions of regulatory instances. This figure does not include reproductive, developmental or trans-generational tests that are not requested for commercialized GMOs for food or feed. Nutritional tests are not represented either because they do not require blood analyses, which are very informative on health secondary effects. Some mammalian nutritional tests are performed with pigs or cows, for instance for GMOs, and may last longer with fewer animals. Subchronic toxicity tests are in the last case performed, if any, only with rats for most GMOs. Then it is only with 10 animals fully assessed on 20 for each of two doses, and per sex. There are 3 mammalian species used for other products. This is to measure short-term effects. The so-called chronic tests (lasting more than 3 months) give more chances to reveal metabolic, nervous, immune, hormonal or cancer diseases. They are widely performed for pesticides and drugs and for some chemicals over a certain production, but not for actual commercialized GMOs released in the environment (1995-2009). This is a matter of debate, since 99.9% of those are genetically modified to contain new pesticide residues that they tolerate (ex. Roundup Ready soya) or that they produce (ex. insecticides Bt in maize, that are newly modified proteic toxins). (d: day; m: month; y: year).
Int J Biol Sci ijbsv05p0438g01.jpg(Click on the image to enlarge.)
The protocol used to test GMOs in regulatory in vivo tests with mammals

Recently, Doull et al. [7] offered a new contradictory analysis of Séralini et al. [5]. It was about the interpretation of the only crude data available from the longest toxicity test (90 days) on a mammal that had been fed with MON 863. The original feeding experiment was performed by Covance and Monsanto [8], with a great experience of this kind of tests always designed in a similar manner. They measured the effect of feed containing only two doses (11 and 33% GM in the equilibrated diet) and for only two periods of exposure (5 and 14 weeks). The goal is a debate on standards to be set to interpret admitted significant effects [7] between treated groups versus controls as biologically relevant or not in toxicological tests in general.

There are several preliminary unsolved questions at stake to be answered such as whether to prolong tests before commercial release, for instance up to two years for GMOs, as is done for some pesticides or drugs, in order to assess chronic effects not visible in short periods. There are also questions regarding the appropriate number of concentrations of the putative toxic agent to be tested etc., and critical experimental criteria such as number of animals to be used per dose or concentration to increase their resolution power to obtain homogeneous and reliable significance levels in outcome measurement data.

However, the crude data on MON 863 were obtained by Monsanto for only one mammalian species (instead of the three used for evaluations of pesticides or drugs) and first classified as confidential by the Company which obtained it (2002). The data was then used to obtain commercial release agreements all over the world. After heated discussions in Europe concerning the possible physiological effects provoked by this GMO, a decision in the German Appeal Court allowed public access to the crude data (2005). Monsanto then published its own interpretation of the data [8] in which it was concluded that the MON 863 was safe to eat.

After careful analysis of the crude data, Séralini et al. [5] applied appropriate statistical methodology to test the effects of the Bt maize on mammalian health. First, GM fed rats were compared to their closest isogenic controls, and then to the six reference groups who were fed various other maize-based diets that Monsanto added in the study. Data were compiled by organ, dose and timing of dietary exposure. In addition, the effects on the rat metabolism of the diet composition without GM maize was studied, comparing only control and reference groups between them to avoid systematically linking these effects to the GM diet. In the first instance Monsanto did not do such a statistical study ([8] and in commercial request file) but only took into account effects between the GM fed rats at the highest dose and all other groups. It is important to note that in order to isolate the effect of the GM transformation process from other variables it is only valid to compare the GMO (in this case MON 863) with its isogenic non-GM equivalent. Therefore, the inclusion in the analysis of unrelated feeding groups serves to confuse rather than clarify the effect of the MON 863 event.

The goal of the statistical analysis is to decide whether the consumption of GMOs can be considered to have no effect (null hypothesis H0 true) or to have an effect (H0 false) on the health of the rats. This analysis cannot be reduced in the computation of a collection of p-values. Statistical rejection of the null hypothesis H0 does not imply that the effect is biologically significant. In the same way, failure to reject H0 does not mean that it is true. Therefore, the power of the hypothesis test must be assessed. The power of a statistical test depends on the sample size (and therefore the experimental design), the significance level of the test and the effect size (which can be considered as biologically significant). This most important issue is totally overlooked in the experimental design and the statistical report made by Monsanto on MON 863. Moreover, any hypothesis which is not statistically significant with their reductive method is always excluded. This disturbing oversight runs false negative results and a risk of health consequences for millions of people and animals.
Sex-related and non-linear signs of toxicity

In the MON 863 study, Séralini et al. [5] were also concerned by false positive results, but concluded that there were enough signs of toxicity to prolong the feeding experiments. This is mostly because significant effects were concentrated in livers and kidneys as main detoxification organs reacting in cases of food / chemical contamination; there were at these levels some worrying physiological profiles. Moreover, the effects of the MON 863 insecticide toxin itself are not experimentally documented on mammalian cells. Furthermore, it remains a possibility that there would be side effects due to insertional mutagenesis during the GM transformation. For instance, the Séralini et al. [5] analysis showed evidence of a significant increase in blood glucose of 10% in GM-fed females, in triglycerides of 24-40%, overweight livers and enhanced liver/brain ratios (7%), small but significant body weight gain (3.7%), and disturbed kidney parameters. When comparing females eating GMOs to their closest controls eating the isogenic line, there were signs of a possible pre-diabetic profile. In both sexes and periods the profiles were different but it concerned liver and kidney parameters.

From that, Doull et al. [6] concluded that any effects with no clear dose-response relationship (which should increase with dose) or with time are unrelated to the GM diet. We consider that first of all, to a scientific point of view, choosing a priori 2 doses and 2 periods does not allow the assessment of a linear dose- or period-related effect [9-11]. Our hypothesis was to question the possibility of subchronic or chronic health effects that were not or only partially revealed by short-term tests. Several hormonal disrupting effects do not linearly increase with time or dose, but present non-linear peaks in the shape of U or J curves [12-14] at some periods or some ranges of doses, depending on the age and exposure period of the test animals [15-17]. Secondly, a clear histopathological study should be published and studied in parallel to the biochemical effects found by Monsanto or the Monsanto-supported expert panel [7]. It is possible that metabolic changes precede, within 90 days, histopathological lesions that could appear afterwards. This is another reason to prolong the experiments and may also solve the problem of reproducibility. Simultaneously, the occurrence of similar effects in both sexes is an important criterion of toxicity for Doull et al. [7], which is not for us. Sex-dependent differences in chronic diseases resulting from chemical intoxication are well established [18, 19]. The liver is itself a sex-differentiated organ; for example chemical sensitivity is different in males and females [20]. In Monsanto's data for these 3 month rat tests with Bt maize MON 863, for all rats including the six times bigger group of normal control and reference animals eating non GM diets, there were confirmed sex-differentiated effects in liver and kidneys parameters (Fig.2A and B). Doull et al. [7] also considered a normal range of variations in undefined historical data, or compiled the closest isogenic control with other reference groups that have diets different in salt or sugars. This is not scientifically precise.
Figure 2

A. Principal Component Analysis for liver parameters in all rats of the MON 863 experiment. It was performed according to Hotelling [29] in order to study the scattering of the different factors. The scheme obtained for parameters at week 14 explains 42.42% of the total data variability (inertia) expressed on 2 axes (32.01% for factor 1; 10.41% for factor 2), scale d=2. This demonstrates the clear separation of parameters values according to sex. B. Principal Component Analysis for kidney parameters in all rats of the MON 863 experiment. The scheme obtained for parameters at week 14 explains 47.73% of the total data variability (inertia) expressed on 2 axes (26.95% for factor 1; 20.78% for factor 2), scale d=5. This demonstrates the clear separation of parameters values according to sex.
Int J Biol Sci ijbsv05p0438g02.jpg Int J Biol Sci ijbsv05p0438g03.jpg(Click on the image to enlarge.)


We assume that Séralini et al. [5] methodology can discriminate potential false positive and GM-linked effects, avoiding to some extent false negative ones, in the best way we can do for this discussed and too limited protocol already in use for commercialized GMOs. These GM-linked effects are then considered as signs of toxicity in the 90 days, not proofs of toxicity. The biological plausibility of a subchronic or chronic side effect of the GM diet, linked to the new toxin in the mammalian regimen, or due to the mutagenesis effect of the genetic modification itself, is thus non negligible. Finally it should be stressed that statistically significant effects of GM diets, or of residues of pesticides that are contained by GMOs, have also been observed in other instances [21-25], but not in all studies [26, 27] enlightening the necessity of a case-by-case approach, and that the real toxicological studies are quite limited up to date for that [28]. All these observations taken together in our opinions do not allow a clear statement of toxic effects, but to suggest them as such, because they are clearly undeniable. Now, to any good researcher similar results would mean that there is much to be improved in the planning of experimental design; and thus to increase their resolution power to obtain unequivocal statements, for instance increasing the duration and/or the number of rats tested. Generally speaking it seems to us unbelievable that a risk assessment carried out only on forty rats of each sex receiving GM rich diets for 90 days (yielding results often at the limits of significance) have not been repeated and prolonged independently. We should overall take into account the fact that the analysed GM product could be fed long-term to people and animals of various ages and sexes, and with various pathologies.

We call for more serious standardized tests such as those used for pesticides or drugs, on at least three mammalian species tested for at least three months employing larger sample sizes, and up to one and two years before commercialization, for GM food or feed specifically modified to contain pesticide residues. We also call for a serious scientific debate about the criteria for testing significant adverse health effects for pesticides or chemicals, but overall for GM food or feed products, such as MON 863.

We thank François Roullier for Fig. 2 and statistical studies.
Conflict of Interest

The authors have declared that no conflict of interest exists.

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Author contact

✉ Correspondence to: Prof. Gilles-Eric Séralini, PhD, Institute of Biology and CRIIGEN, University of Caen, Esplanade de la Paix, 14032 Caen Cedex, France. Tel +33 2 31 56 56 84; Fax +33 2 56 53 20; Email:
This article shows two things:
Duplicity by Monsanto.
Thorough testing in the EU.

It also shows that the EU reasons for hesitation with GMO's are completely justified. This article should open the eyes of anyone promoting these GMO's, but we expect Monsanto to turn a blind eye or to discredit it on some grounds.

This was only a two-year study with animals. We all know animals are a lot tougher than humans and can stand much more pain, besides all the other stuff we subject them to.

We also know that the effects on humans are generally much more severe than on animals. We are simply weak and fragile, compared to animals. Negative health effects are also more than this study portrays. Here we shall post some more info on these effects.


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