I somehow managed to ignore the almost daily experience that GM potatoes were not as healthy as normal potatoes. ~Caius Rommens, author of Pandora’s Potatoes: The Worst GMOs
Activists and concerned citizens have for years been ringing the alarm bells over genetically modified (GM) foods taking over our food supply.
There are several critical concerns surrounding this issue. We do not yet know what the long-term health effects will be of mass consumption of GM products. We know that they have in some cases been linked to the development of cancer. Production of GM crops requires massive amounts of patented chemical fertilizers, herbicides and seed activators. GM crops contribute to monoculture. GM seeds are patented by seed companies and GM crops are known to migrate between fields, leaving non-GM farmers liable for patent infringements. GM crops represent the corporate takeover of the food supply and will make the entire world dependent on for-profit for survival.
In short, GM crops are an exceptionally bad idea, and now even the main scientist who has developed all GM potatoes is speaking out publicly on the hidden dangers of this new frankenfood.
Having spent 26 years as a genetic engineer in the agricultural industry, he Ex-Director of J.R. Simplot and team leader at Monsanto, Caius Rommens, recently expressed his concerns over GM potatoes in an interview with Sustainable Pulse. He’s developed over 150,000 varieties of GM potatoes, under budgets exceeding $50 million, and can be considered the world’s foremost expert on GM potatoes.
In the interview, Rommens notes that a big factor in his shortsightedness regarding the dangers of GM potatoes is the fact that as a scientist he never left the laboratory in order to really observe how his creations performed in a real agricultural environment. This is a common form of myopia associated with modern science.
Regarding GM potatoes, Rommens expressed his concern over how these products were reviewed and approved by the USDA and the FDA.
It is amazing that the USDA and FDA approved the GM potatoes by only evaluating our own data. How can the regulatory agencies assume there is no bias? When I was at J.R. Simplot, I truly believed that my GM potatoes were perfect, just like a parent believes his or her children are perfect. I was biased and all genetic engineers are biased. It is not just an emotional bias. We need the GM crops to be approved. There is a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed, to justify our existence by developing modifications that create hundreds of millions of dollars in value. We test our GM crops to confirm their safety, not to question their safety.
The regulatory petitions for deregulation are full with meaningless data but hardly include any attempts to reveal the unintended effects. For instance, the petitions describe the insertion site of the transgene, but they don’t mention the numerous random mutations that occurred during the tissue culture manipulations. And the petitions provide data on compounds that are safe and don’t matter, such as the regular amino acids and sugars, but hardly give any measurements on the levels of potential toxins or allergens.
The crux of his concern is that because these products are being developed for profit, and at great expense to corporate developers such as Monsanto, any science or even opinions that run counter to the effort to bring these products to market as quickly as possible is ignored, dismissed, or even covered up.
He also comments on the fundamental flaw with this type of science, which is the strictly scientific materialistic viewpoint that life itself can be extracted and separated into individual parts, ignoring the interconnectedness of all things. Essentially, this is the arrogance of modern science.
I dedicated many years of my life to the creation of GMO potatoes, and I initially believed that my potatoes were perfect but then I began to doubt. It again took me many years to take a step back from my work, reconsider it, and discover the mistakes. Looking back at myself and my colleagues, I believe now that we were all brainwashed; that we all brainwashed ourselves. We believed that the essence of life was a dead molecule, DNA, and that we could improve life by changing this molecule in the lab. We also assumed that theoretical knowledge was all we needed to succeed, and that a single genetic change would always have one intentional effect only.
We were supposed to understand DNA and to make valuable modifications, but the fact of the matter was that we knew as little about DNA as the average American knows about the Sanskrit version of the Bhagavad Gita. We just knew enough to be dangerous, especially when combined with our bias and narrowmindedness. We focused on short-term benefits (in the laboratory) without considering the long-term deficits (in the field). It was the same kind of thinking that produced DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, recombinant bovine growth hormone, and so on. I believe that it is important for people to understand how little genetic engineers know, how biased they are, and how wrong they can be. My story is just an example.
Rommens even spoke briefly about the potential effects that GM crops like potatoes can have on pollinator insects, like bees which are in serious decline worldwide.
The problem with certain insects, including bees, is that they cannot degrade the small double-stranded RNAs that cause gene silencing. These double-stranded RNAs were intended to silence several potato genes in tubers, but they are likely to be expressed in pollen as well. So, when the pollen is consumed by bees, the double stranded RNAs in this pollen may silence bee genes that share inadvertent homology.
It’s interesting to see a revolt of this nature, where a leading figure in the development of technology steps back and realizes his errors and chooses to inform the public. Rommens has recently penned a book about his experiences entitled Pandora’s Potatoes: The Worst GMOs.
Read the full transcript of the interview, here.
Read more articles by Alex Pietrowski
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.
This article (The Creator of GM Potatoes Comes Clean about the Hidden Dangers of this New Frankenfood) originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.
Ever since the USDA recently approved the first genetically modified potato for planting in the US, individuals across the country became concerned that their supermarket potatoes would be tainted with a new GMO creation. While the GM potato may soon be found in many supermarkets and restaurants, fast food giant McDonald’s has surprisingly announced that it would not be sourcing these GMO potatoes.
This is even more powerful when we consider the fact that the creator of the new mutant potato is also McDonald’s current main supplier for their potato supply.
The new GMO potato, which has been named ‘Innate’ by its creator, Simplot, will be engineered to brown slower than non-GM potatoes and bruise less easily. It will also contain less of a probable carcinogenic compound known as acrylamide, which appears when potatoes are fried at high temperatures.
Simplot reassures the public that the method in which these potatoes are created aren’t nearly as ‘alarming’ or ‘aggressive’ as techniques used by other companies, such as Monsanto. But we aren’t convinced that tampering with mother nature in such a way is a good idea.
When, or if, Innate hits the market, it is expected to take off for several reasons. The non-browning and non-bruising aspects of the GM potato will undoubtedly appeal to farmers, who will be able to sell more appealing potatoes that would otherwise be wasted. Supermarkets will also be happy with the product for these reasons. The other huge buyers are the consumer, and big buyers such as McDonald’s. Well, if McDonald’s were actually in the market for GE potatoes.
With McDonald’s reportedly buying 3.4 billion pounds of potatoes annually in the United States, it would have meant a huge profit for biotech and sellers of GMO potatoes. But it turns out that the fast food giant won’t be a leading distributor of this questionable new creation, as we would have expected.
A company spokesperson said:“McDonald’s USA does not source GMO potatoes, nor do we have current plans to change our sourcing practice.” We will just have to see if this actually holds true in the future, or if McDonald’s is simply avoiding negative publicity.
When you think about it, it almost makes sense. If McDonald’s were to pick up the GM potato, the main selling point would be: “our new fries might be less carcinogenic than the ones we’ve been selling you for 50 years.” I don’t think that would be so smooth. So if they can’t market this new shift, why take on ridicule from the public? I’d like to see McDonald’s try to explain that in their new ‘transparency ad campaigns’ it has been running.
While the GMO potato wouldn’t be as helpful for McDonald’s as it would others since french fries are the primary potato-food sold, it’s still surprising though, to see McDonald’s refuse Innate. After all, the company serves up low-quality food riddled with toxic ingredients to millions of people.
In the meantime, Simplot will be targeting the consumer directly for sales. While the potatoes may stand out since they will need to be marketed as ‘improved to garner a premium price, the public won’t really know that it is actually a genetically engineered potato since the FDA refuses to label GMO foods. (Check out how to tell if you’re buying the new GMO potato, here.)
Simplot spokesperson Doug Cole said:
“Since Innate potatoes provide less bruise and less black spot and browning when peeled, as well as less asparagine, they provide a sustainable, healthy option for consumers, especially in the fresh-whole and fresh-cut markets where no preservatives or additives are needed.”
Simplot may be able to sell its questionable creation for now, but the food movement will undoubtedly complicate things Big Biotech. Awareness is growing every day, and it will continue to do so.
Source: http://naturalsociety.com/even-mcdonalds-rejects-new-gmo-potato-french-fries/#sthash.2hHFcGXT.dpuf Author: Mike Barrett
As the battle for the food supply rages on with over 96 plus percent of the nation in full support of GMO labeling, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it is throwing public opinion to the wayside and green lighting the first genetically modified potato for commercial planting.
Continuing the intensely documented relationship between major branches of the U.S. government and biotech firms, the latest actions by the Agriculture Department go hand in hand with reports we brought you nearly two years ago which revealed how U.S. representatives were actually threatening other nations with trade wars who would not accept Monsanto’s genetically modified crops.
Reuters reports on the decision to infect the food supply with genetically modified potato strains, including the fact that this genetically modified manufacturer is in fact a major supplier to McDonald’s for their Franken fries:
“The Agriculture Department on Friday approved the first genetically modified potato for commercial planting in the United States, a move likely to draw the ire of groups opposed to artificial manipulation of foods.
The Innate potato, developed by the J.R. Simplot Co., is engineered to contain less of a suspected human carcinogen that occurs when a conventional potato is fried, and is also less prone to bruising during transport.
Boise, Idaho-based Simplot is a major supplier of frozen french fries to fast-food giant McDonald’s.”
The decision by our ‘we the people’ government to approve genetically modified potatoes for implementation within the commercial food supply simply goes to show the necessity to push forward in the informational fight against biotech and GMOs at large. The nation knows that we do not want our food supply contaminated, let alone organic farms cross contaminated with genetically modified strains.
Once again, a major branch of the U.S. government has shown that it would rather put mega biotech corporations into a position of financial power than consider the desires and health of the public.
Source: http://naturalsociety.com/us-approves-first-genetically-modified-potato-planting/#sthash.mqrMJCA6.dpuf Author:Anthony Gucciardi
Nearly 13 years ago, customers revolted against Monsanto’s transgenic NewLeaf potato, which contained synthetic bacteria to kill insect pests. Now, a new company, J.R. Simplot Co., aims to bring back genetically modified potatoes to the state and elsewhere.
The Idaho Potato Commission, representing Idaho’s $3 billion potato industry, is in support of the new GMO potato variety but is wary of customer opposition. “Unless your customers are prepared to embrace this product, it’s not going to be successful,” said Frank Muir, president of the Commission.
McDonald’s on the other hand has a financial interest in the new GMO potato business.
McDonald’s vast influence could spur widespread new GMO potato farming
With a global daily production of 9 million pounds of fries a day, McDonald’s is looking for better ways to lower the cost of processing potatoes for fry production. This business move may encourage and embrace new GMO potato agriculture, spearheaded by their very own potato
distributor, none other than Simplot.
Simplot has come up with a new “Innate” brand of potatoes that don’t use synthetic bacteria. Instead, their variety effectively silences potato DNA to stop the potatoes’ natural bruising process. This would reduce black spots in potatoes, thus increasing crop yields. McDonald’s wouldn’t have to throw away bad potatoes. They could increase revenues with the new enzyme-stripped “Innate” potato by reducing waste.
Haven Baker, Simplot’s Harvard- and Yale-trained vice-president of plant sciences, said his scientists journeyed inside the vegetable’s genome to “silence” unwanted attributes, while making sure that it remained 100 percent potato. “You’ll never get as much beneficial effect from traditional plant breeding,” he says. “And it’ll take twice as long.”
Enzyme-stripped, DNA-silenced food could have many unintended consequences
Center for Food Safety science analyst Bill Freese is concerned about the unintended consequences that may arise when four gene codes for potato enzymes are turned off.
RNA interference technology silences genes, throwing off the natural life processes of the potatoes. How might this interfere with people and contribute to rising incidences of food allergies? Altering the natural enzymes of a food could change how the body processes that food.
Still, Muir believes that “[t]hey’re taking all the appropriate steps,” praising McDonald’s potato distributor for reaching out to consumers who may eventually buy Innate potatoes and unbruised McDonald’s golden fries.
Federal Government is on board
If the government gets behind the new science, then by 2015, the new GMO McDonald’s golden fry could become a reality. The National Potato Commission in Washington, D.C., representing 45,000 U.S. growers is already on board. Chief Executive Officer John Keeling said he “supports scientific advancements to improve potatoes.” The Innate brand of potato awaits USDA approval, which was filed in May 2013.
McDonald’s trying to stay under the radar
McDonald’s isn’t being very open about the issue, but a McDonald’s spokeswoman told The Guardian that their corporate decision ultimately boils down to the advice of “food, industry and regulatory experts.” Since McDonald’s already uses GMO ingredients in other foods, and since current scientific consensus in the US believes that genetically engineered crops are safe to eat, it’s obvious that McDonald’s is leaning toward utilizing new GMO potatoes.
Simplot’s main rival, ConAgra, has already stated that their potatoes are not genetically modified, so there are still natural options for McDonald’s and fry producers to choose from.
So what direction will McDonald’s head in 2014? Are they planning to embrace the enzyme-stripped, DNA-silenced potato? Will they spur mass production of the new “Innate” brand in the years ahead?
Sources for this article include
Source: NaturalNews.com – Author: Lance Johnson — About the author:
Inspired by powerful changes in he and his family’s own health, Lance Johnson is excited about the future of nutrition, cellular detoxification, and organic products.
As an avid, everyday learner and researcher, Lance believes real health opportunities exist outside of the mainstream medical industry.