GMO opponents have claimed for years that ubiquitous GMO produce such as corn and soy may have detrimental effects on our health. And in 2013, a group of researchers set out to prove it.
The peer-reviewed study, which was published in the Journal of Organic Systems, Volume 8, No. 1, showed remarkable and statistically significant results.
According to the briefing by Dr. Judy Carman, the researchers “took 168 just-weaned pigs and fed them a typical diet for the piggery, containing soy and corn, for 22.7 weeks (over five months) until the pigs were slaughtered at their usual slaughter age.”
Half the pigs were fed GM soy and corn; the other half were fed non-GM soy and corn.
“We chose pigs because they have a similar digestive system to humans,” wrote Carman, “and because some of the investigators had been observing reproductive and digestive problems in pigs fed GM crops.”
A few days before the pigs were slaughtered, the scientists performed blood tests, and after slaughter had qualified vets do autopsies on the carcasses.
They found severe stomach inflammation in 22.2% of male pigs and 41.7% of female pigs fed the GM diet – compared to 5.6% and 18.9%, respectively, in pigs fed the non-GM diet.
Image source: gmojudycarman.org/
“Pigs on the GM diet,” writes Carman, “were 2.6 times more likely to suffer severe stomach inflammation than control pigs. … [Male] pigs were actually more strongly affected. While female pigs were 2.2 times more likely to have severe stomach inflammation when on the GM diet, males were 4 times more likely. These findings are both biologically significant and statistically significant.”
On top of that, the average weight of the uterus of female pigs fed the GM diet was 25% higher than in the control pigs.
But how much merit does this research have?
Calling the GMO study “junk science,” a 2013 BIOtechNOW article sneered,
This study was authored by two veteran anti-biotech campaigners, Judy Carman and Howard Vlieger, and was published in an obscure online journal financed by the organic industry. It reaches conclusions that are diametrically opposed to the great preponderance of the scientific evidence gathered from hundreds of independent food and feed safety studies that found no difference between animals fed GMO or non-GMO diets.
The article cites comments from several experts on the GMO study. One of them is agronomist Andrew Kniss, Ph.D., of the University of Wyoming, who summarized his analysis saying: “If I were to have analyzed these data, using the statistical techniques that I was taught were appropriate for the type of data, I would have concluded there was no statistical difference in stomach inflammation between the pigs fed the two different diets. To analyze these data the way the authors did makes it seem like they’re trying to find a difference where none really exist.”
To which Dr. Judy Carman replied in a debunking blog post, “Andrew, you just failed kindergarten-level statistics,” chiding Kniss for getting the science all wrong.
Another of the cited experts is Dr. Mark Hoofnagle, M.D/Ph.D. who, according to his Wikipedia page, is “an American surgery resident and blogger” – which makes me wonder what exactly qualifies him to analyze the GMO pig study on his Denialism blog:
Looking at the data there were no differences in any of the major variables evaluated by the study, such as weights, veterinary costs, illnesses, or mortality. No significant differences in blood biochemistry were found. At autopsy most organ weights were similar between groups. There was a statistically significant (but likely clinically-meaningless) increase (0.1kg vs 0.12kg) in uterus weights in the GM group. At pathology there were nonsignificant decreases in cardiac and liver abnormalities in the GM group (half as many), in stomach pathology there was one significant finding of more “severe inflammation” (on a 4-point scale from no inflammation to severe) in the GM group. This is the finding that has been amplified as variably “damning or “concerning” depending on which source is reporting.
So what is the truth here?
Frankly, I don’t know. It’s a shouting match between two warring factions, each purportedly refuting the claims of the other, but not really. Never really.
I encourage you to form your own opinion – simply because it would be a full-time job to undo the Gordian knot that is the GMO debate. Who’s in bed with whom? Who is a truly independent researcher, and who is getting paid off by Monsanto’s lobbyists or follows a preconceived anti-GMO agenda? Who is using shoddy science to make his case? Who is willing to twist the truth just enough to score another point for the “cause”?
It’s a mess, no doubt. One thing is clear, though: Unless you start making everything you eat from scratch, there really is no escape from GMO corn and soy.
According to the Center for Food Safety, up to 93% of US corn and 94% of US soybeans are genetically engineered at this point.
Buying organic produce is not enough. Derivatives of corn are everywhere: corn syrup, dextrin, dextrose, citric acid, starch, MSG, sorbitol, malt, caramel, cellulose, and many more. Even distilled white vinegar, pudding, French fries, hamburger patties, vanilla extract, soup, mayonnaise, milk and vitamins may be made with corn.
So I guess it’s eat up and shut up… but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Shannara Johnson is a freelance writer and copy editor working for several renowned investment research firms. On the side, she writes novels and short stories for children and young adults. Read more personal and often politically incorrect musings on her blog, Grumpy German Writer.
Though my new work is entitled Shakespeare’s Secret Messiah and reveals an entirely new understanding of Shakespeare, it also shows the real meaning of Paul and the Book of Revelation. As I show in the book, Shakespeare is completely based upon the Flavian typology and cannot be understood without first understanding all of the New Testament.
One of the fun aspects of Shakespeare’s Secret Messiah is that it shows the comedy that exists within Revelation, the mysterious work that has baffled Christians and scholars for millennium. In fact, Revelation is Flavian vanity at its highest level and is therefore cryptic but readers of my analysis will understand that its symbolism is really quite obvious and should have been decoded centuries earlier.
Perhaps the most obvious symbolic concept is the fact that the ‘angels’ of Revelation Chapter 8 are the defied Caesars. This enables Revelation to be understood as having been produced by Domitian’s imperial cult.
The following is an excerpt from Shakespeare’s Secret Messiah:
The insight that clarifies the symbolism in Revelation most clearly is that the first five angels who blow trumpets below are representations of the Caesars that Suetonius recorded as having been deified. To recognize the identity of the five ‘angels’ it is necessary to know that the Senate had not made all of the Caesars before Domitian’s reign gods. Suetonius recorded that the only Caesars to whom the title ‘divus’ was bestowed were Julius, Augustus, Claudius, Vespasian and Titus. The first five ‘angels’ given below are described in the order of the reigns of the divine Caesars they represent, and each possesses a defining characteristic of that particular ‘divus’. Though, as readers can judge for themselves, the symbolism is transparent, it has been overlooked heretofore by scholars.
The first’ angel’ is Julius Caesar, who had his most famous battle campaigns “on the earth”. The second is Augustus, who had his most famous victory over Marc Anthony on the sea, and destroyed Alexandria, a seaside port. The third angel is Claudius, who was poisoned, which is why the name of his star is “wormwood”, well known as a poison. (The author of the Shakespearean literature understood Revelation’s typological level as evidenced by her character Hamlet muttering ‘wormwood’ over and over again in Claudius’s presence.) The fourth angel who “blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon” represents Vespasian, who had the pairing of solar and lunar eclipses occur during his consulship. Notice how the author has used the fact that the eclipses occurred during Vespasian’s ‘third’ consulship to create the absurd ‘miraculous’ typological connection to Revelation wherein a ‘third’ of the planets were darkened.
For the eclipse of both sun and moon within 15 days of each other has occurred even in our time, in the year of the third consulship of the Vespasian. – (Pliny the Elder, Natural History, II. X. 57)
The fifth angel is Titus who led the ‘grasshoppers’ against Jerusalem. Titus was only to kill those who did not have the ‘seal of God on their foreheads’ – in other words the Jews who would not worship Caesar.
Following this logic, the sixth angel can only be Domitian – the ‘living god’ of Revelation’s present time. A number of Roman legions were stationed near the Euphrates, so the statement: “release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates, so the four angels were released, who had been held ready for the hour” seems to refer to Domitian’s use of the legions in his only significant military campaign, the one against the Sarmatians.
The seventh angel is the character from the Gospels – ‘Jesus’, who was ‘owned’ by the six Caesars of the Imperial Cult.
The list of ‘angels’ makes the relationship between Revelation and the Commune Asiae clear. Not only did that organization hold these individuals as ‘divine’, but it had headquarters in each of the seven cities that Revelation addresses. An interesting conjecture is that Revelation was read to the hoi polloi (who would not have understood it) and cognoscenti (who would have) upon the opening of Domitian’s official Temple at Ephesus.
Knowing that the list of ‘angels’ is depicting the deified Caesars makes it possible to begin to unwind the complex identifications of the various characters that are mentioned in Revelation. Like the Gospels, Revelation is a puzzle whose solution produces the identities of the characters depicted in it as ‘angels’, beasts’, ‘the lamb’, ‘the morning star’ etc.
Notice below that instead of simply telling the reader what the thunder said, there is only silence. The interpretive framework presented here explains this systematic hiding of information. Also of note is the temple setting of the passage, an appropriate setting for the ‘angels’ of the Imperial Cult.
The passage begins a symbolic description of the history that led to the Flavians’ creation of Christianity. The long preamble to the opening of the seventh seal is simply a vanity moment for Domitian. With it he is stating that all of the history of the Imperial Cult led to the moment when the world would learn that he was the final Christ.
1 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne;
4 and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.
5 Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth; and there were peals of thunder, voices, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
6 Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets made ready to blow them.
7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, which fell on the earth; and a third of the earth was burnt up, and a third of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
8 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea;
9 and a third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the fountains of water.
11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died of the water, because it was made bitter.
12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light was darkened; a third of the day was kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.
13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice, as it flew in midheaven, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets which the three angels are about to blow!”