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Benjamin Booker
Professor Dorhout
English 2089
27 July 2015
Ban Genetically Modified Organisms in Human Foods
Genetically modified organisms, most commonly referred to as GMOs, are any number
of organisms that have had their genetic material (DNA or RNA) manipulated using gene
engineering techniques, usually to enhance or provide a favorable trait. The two most sought
after traits are traits favored by bio technicians and farmers seeking to incorporate herbicide
resistance and insect resistance respectively into their crops genetic makeup (OCallaghan 271).
These organisms are used in a variety of areas, including science research, the production of
medicine, as well as other consumer products such as food and clothing. In 2010 over 15.4
million farmers (EuropaBio) in more than 30 countries were growing genetically modified crops
which accounted for approximately 10 percent of the global crop average (Holst-Jensen 1318).
While these crops are allegedly harmless to human consumers and to the environment, and are
widely marketed, sold, and consumed, there is little scientific data to support claims of safety,
and much more conflicting data that refute these claims. In fact, genetically modified products
are not safe for human consumption and the growth of these organisms cause severe damage to
the environment. These crops have not been tested thoroughly enough to draw a positive
conclusion, and the conclusions that have been drawn from the limited studies show adverse
effects on the test subjects; for these reasons, GMOs should be banned from all agricultural food
and feed.

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Genetically modified organisms are widely consumed throughout the world, and many
genetic engineering companies provide these crops and their seeds to commercial farmers,
promising the safety of their foods. Monsanto is a biotechnical United States company with its
headquarters based in St. Louis, Missouri. This company has 404 facilities in sixty-six countries
and employs more than 10 million Americans in the United States. Monsanto is the largest
genetic engineering company in the world and is largely responsible for the genetic manipulation
of consumer foods (Word Press). On Monsantos public website, they claim that they test their
genetically modified crops extensively and that their tests show that there is no evidence that
GMOs have adverse effects on humans or animals. Monsanto also states that independent
scientists (scientists other than those employed by Monsanto) have conducted thorough trials of
GMOs, and that their research solidifies Monsantos conclusion that there is no substantial
evidence of harmful effects of genetically modified crops (Monsanto). However, the company
fails to admit to the public that their research is kept confidential, and that the company has made
numerous attempts to conceal their research from the public and from independent scientists in
order to prevent being scrutinized by the scientific community (Organic Consumers
Association).
Monsanto company even went to such lengths as to appeal to the high courts of several
countries on many different occasions, most notably to the German Court in 2005 (Spiroux de
vendmois 596), in order to conceal their research from an independent scientistDr. EricGilles Sralini. Monsanto lost several of these cases, and the German court ruled that the data
cannot be deemed confidential; the right of society to transparency has to be given more weight

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than Monsanto's economic interests (Organic Consumers Association). After the ruling
Monsanto appealed to the German courts, but the appeal was denied and Monsanto was forced to
publish the data on the animal trials they conducted; the experiments shocked the scientific
community.
After Monsantos GMO research was able to be reviewed by independent scientist Dr.
Sralini as well as a French researcher, Dr. Spiroux de Vendmois, along with numerous other
researchers, several works were published scrutinizing the trials conducted by Monsanto. Many
of these published articles arrived at the same conclusion: The methodologies in which the
Monsanto experiments were conducted were incredibly flawed when compared to common
research practices. Monsanto scientists published erroneous results concluded by the trial
experiments, and the data that Monsanto collected was insufficient to arrive at the conclusions
that the company hastefully made (Spiroux de vendmois 594).
Dr. Spiroux de Vendmois and a team of qualified scientists from universities in France,
published an article in the International Journal of Biological Sciences that highlighted several
faulty methods used by Monsanto to conduct trials in order to assess the safety of GMOs in the
food products sold for human consumption. First and foremost, the trials conducted by Monsanto
only studied the effects on rats fed GMO products. While rats have a similar digestive system to
that of humans, they also have stark contrasts (Naveen), and although rats are acceptable initial
test subjects, several species of animals should have been included in the trials before the
announcement of product safety. Additionally, too few rats were analyzed for the effects that the

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GMOs had on the species (Spiroux de vendmois 593). Only 400 rats were subjected to these
trials, and of the 400 rats, only eighty of these rats were fed GMOs. (The other 320 were control
animals fed a variety of non-GMO diets.) And of the 80 rats that were fed GMOs only 40 of the
animals were biochemically analyzed (Spiroux de vendmois 593). Furthermore, the
experiments only examined the short-term effects of GMOs on major organs and not the possible
long-term side-effects as the trials only examined rats after 90 days of GMO consumption and
the GMO-fed rats that were analyzed were not analyzed for developmental, reproductive,
chronic, or multi-generational diseases (Spiroux de vendmois 593-594).
Probably the most shocking fact about the Monsanto experiments is that the companys
own results indicated adverse side effects after just 90 daysbut these results were overlooked
by Monsanto. Monsanto scientists highlighted anatomic signs of chronic progressive
nephropathy on the kidneys of GMO fed male rats, (Sralini 706-709) as well as an increase in
the weight of the hearts in male rats, and more than a significant increase in blood triglyceride
levels and liver damage in the analysis of the female rats (Spiroux de Vendmois 593). However,
Monsanto believed these findings insignificant because identical negative effects did not occur in
both sexes, and they failed to repeat their experiments or conduct further experimentation over a
longer period of time (Spiroux de Vendmois 593, 595). Independent teams of researchers such
as Dr. Sralinis and Dr. Spiroux de Vendmois teams concluded that after only 40 rats were
assessed over a short period of 90 days, that there was not enough sufficient data to support the
safety of GMOs for human consumption, and that further long-term testing needed to be
completed in order to assess the possible chronic pathological states that could occur and that

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were indicated by the kidneys, hearts, livers, and the blood sugar levels in the results of
Monsantos rat trials (Spiroux de Vendmois 593).
Monsantos rat trials provided evidence against the safety of GMOs contrary to what they
published and what the company continues to claim. However, Monsanto scientists are not the
only researchers that have conducted trials assessing GMO safety; renowned scientists across the
world have been publishing data against the safety of these products. Dr. Sralini, the lead
scientist from the University of Caens research lab, not only scrutinized the data obtained from
Monsantos experiments, but he and his team also conducted independent assessments of
Monsantos genetically modified maize. Dr. Eric-Gilles Sralini published in the International
Journal of Biological Sciences the first documentation of long-term assessments conducted to
assess the safety of GMO consumer products (Sralini). What he and his team discovered about
the long-term effects of GMOs was that indeed these products that Monsanto has been marketing
are not safe for human or animal consumption, and they cause horrendous pathological
abnormalities. The findings from Dr. Sralinis study revealed that the rats that were fed the same
genetically modified maize that is grown across the United States in parts of Ohio, Colorado,
Indiana, and Iowa (Hammond 1005), suffered severe liver and kidney damage. Over half of the
male rats and almost three-fourths of the female rats suffered premature deaths due to the
GMO diet. Furthermore, many of the rats developed large mammary tumors: Other effects were
also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen, and haematopoetic system. We conclude that

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these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to
each GM corn (Vendmois 706-708).
These researchers are among many who have conducted independent studies on the
genetically modified organisms that Monsanto has been offering to the public. On Monsantos
public website, under the heading Has anyone studied the long-term health effects of GM crops
(GMOs)? Monsanto offers a few sources in order to defend the alleged safety of their products:
In December 2010, the European Commission published a report summarizing the
results of 50 research projects addressing the safety of GMOs for the environment
as well as for animal and human health. These projects received funding of 200
million from the EU and are part of a 25-year long research effort on GMOs. In
announcing the report, the Commission stated, there is, as of today, no
scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks for the environment or for
food and feed safety than conventional plants (Monsanto).
While it is true that the European Commission openly approved GMOs in 2011 (Brussels) and
published a report that summarized several studies on GMOs in 2010, these claims do nothing to
provide evidence supporting GMO safety. A Decade of EU-funded GMO Research (2001-2010),
the report that Monsanto is referring to and that purportedly supports GMO safety, did not even
assess the security of any single genetically modified food, but rather focused on the
development of new methods in order to assess the security of GMOs; of the fifty summaries in
the report, only five researchers performed animal feeding trials (Earths Open Source). Of the

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small number of only five animal trials published in A Decade of EU-funded GMO Research
(2001-2010), only four of the experiments concluded valid results due to Kroghsbos experiment
being contaminated; Kroghsbo concluded that the control animals were contaminated because
they elicited an immune response due to the inhalation of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxincontaining feed fed to the genetically modified feed group (24-25).
Although this study is invalid in the science community, it is still applicable to our
review. The elicitation of an immune response responding to a GMO feed cannot be ignored.
Two of the studies that were completed with valid results found biochemical differences in the
blood of the rats that were fed genetically modified foods as well as increased immune response
(Poulsen 53 60), differences in the distribution of gut bacteria, and significant differences in
organ weights between the genetically modified fed rats and the non-GMO fed group. However,
both scientists agree that further study is needed to assess the long term effects as both
experiments only took place over a ninety day period (Schrder 347-348).
While the studies above biochemically and anatomically assessed pathological states that
arrived in major organs of the rats body, these trials did not analyze the effects that might result
in the reproductive system. However, a study conducted by Russian scientist Irina Ermakova
analyzed the effects that consuming genetically modified soybeans had on the reproductive
system of rats, and their ability to properly give birth to healthy offspring. Her experiments were
criticized by other teams of scientists, but never replicated (Bardocz 27). What Ermakova found
in her data was that probability of survival of the rat pups that were born to the GMO-fed
mothers was significantly lower than that of the pups who were born to mothers who were fed

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traditional soy bean crops, and had almost half the likelihood of surviving compared to the pups
in the control group. Additionally, aside from having a substantially lower chance of survival,
the pups in the genetically modified soy-fed group had significantly lower body masses.
Furthermore, the study also discovered deformed uterus and ovaries which indicates lower
fertility rates, as well as a higher chance of abortion in the GMO fed mothers (Ermakova 4-8).
Two years after the publication of Ermakovas Genetically modified soy leads to the
decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies,
another long-term reproduction study, using maize instead of soybean feed, found results that
closely correlated with Ermakovas. The experiment was conducted over four generations of
mice and in all four generations nearly twice the number of pups died compared to the control
group. The fertility in the genetically modified maize fed mice was also lower and became
increasingly more prominent in the third and fourth generations. The team also performed
histological examinations on the mice, and although the team did not find a difference between
the weights of the organs extracted from the genetically modified maize fed animals and the
control groups, they did, however, discover metabolic differences that included an abnormality
in protein and cholesterol synthesis as well as a difference in the digestion of proteins
(Velimirov).
While the effects that genetically modified organisms have on the body when consumed
is catastrophic, these pathologies are not the only reasons we should ban these organisms from
crop production. The effects that the growth of genetically modified crops have on the

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environment is detrimental; crosspollination is a major concern for many farmers as well as


many consumers. Cross-pollination is the transfer of pollen (a plants reproductive seed), usually
by a vector, from a plants male reproductive structure to another, sexually compatible, plants
female reproductive structure in order to produce offspring. While genetically modified plants
are grown separate from that of organic or identity preservation farmers, seeds from genetically
modified plants carrying the genetic manipulations can travel and cross-pollinate with organic
farmer and identity preservation farmer crops. When the genetically modified crops are planted,
30 meters from other crops, there is a one percent contamination rate with the other non-GMO
plants (Jemison).
While it may not appear to be momentous, this one percent contamination rate is more
than significant for identity preservation farmers. Identity preservation farming is the systematic
segregation of specific crops in order to monitor specific nutritional requirements (NonGMOreport). A one percent contamination rate is detrimental to the integrity of these farmers
products. Moreover, if non-GMO plants come in closer contact with GMO plants, as high as a
seventy to seventy-two percent contamination rate could potentially occur (Jemison).
Contamination does not just effect the integrity of these farmers crops but the
genetically modified crops could potentially contaminate the environment in a different waya
toxic way. A biologist from the Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio, stated that the possible
risks of GMOs include harm to non-target species such as soil organisms, non-pest insects,
birds, and other animals, and disruption of biotic communities, including agroecosystems

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(Snow 377). These organisms are modified so that they produce a toxin in order to kill insects
that would otherwise destroy these crops. The insect resistant toxin that is most commonly
produced by these plants is a bacteria producing toxin, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) endotoxins
(OCallaghan 271). Additionally, these toxins build up in the soil changing the composition of
the rhizosphere (microorganisms in the soil), in some cases disrupting the ecosystem (Gupta).
Other toxins that are used on GMO crops include an herbicideglyphosate. While
glyphosate is not used as a genetically modified trait, it is used on the genetically modified crops
that were modified with a gene that made them resistant to the herbicide. Enabling the crops to
be resistant to glyphosate would, in theory, decrease the amount of herbicide used on the land;
essentially decreasing the toxicity in the soil. However, the reverse effect occurred: the weeds
that the glyphosate is used on are destroyed but the glyphosate resistant crops are immune to the
poison despite the quantity that is used on them. Farmers are spraying larger amounts of
glyphosate in order to completely eradicate the weeds (Benbrook).
Increased glyphosate (roundup) has been noted to cause horrendous effects in the
ecosystem. An extensive investigation of the effects of pesticides and herbicides concluded
harmful outcomes for non-target organisms in aquatic communities. Dr. Relyea, a professor of
biological sciences at the University of Pittsburg, performed an analysis of the impact of
glyphosate on the biodiversity of aquatic communities. Dr. Reylea found that increased levels of
glyphosate led to a twenty-two percent decrease in the diversity of life and Roundup completely

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eliminated two species of tadpoles and nearly exterminated a third species, resulting in a 70%
decline in the species richness of tadpoles (Reylea).
The harmful effects of growing and consuming genetically modified organisms cannot be
overlooked. Major biotechnical companies like Monsanto would like to fool the public and
publish asinine trial experiments that come to conclusions that cannot be deemed possible based
on the data that was collected. Monsantos scientists should have duplicated their experiments in
order to assess the safety of their products before marketing and selling their genetically
modified foods. There have been an abundance of scientific trials that prove that GMOs are not
safe for consumption as they cause an array of pathological conditions: Liver damage, kidney
damage, heart enlargement, mammary tumors, as well as a decrease in fertility in mice and a
failure to thrive in the offspring of GMO-fed rodents. The environmental effects also denote that
GMOs are incredibly harmful. The contamination of organic and identify preservation crops
compromise the integrity of these farmers crops and could potentially result in a loss of revenue.
Additionally, the increased buildup of toxins, such as Bt endotoxins and glyphosate, in the soil
disrupt the ecosystems, even having the potential to eliminate an entire species from an
ecosystem. Genetically modified organisms are dangerous and companies like Monsanto make
intentional attempts in order to conceal the harmful effects from the public. GMOs should be
banned from food products both animal and human. GMOs are harmful.

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Works Cited
Benbrook, Charles. "Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the United
States: The first thirteen years." The Organic Center 69 (2009).
Bardocz, Susan. "7." Potential Health Effects of Foods Derived from Genetically Modified
Plants: What Are the Issues? By Arpad Pusztai. Penang, Malaysia: Third World
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Brussels. "COMMISSION PUBLISHES COMPENDIUM OF RESULTS OF EU-FUNDED
RESEARCH ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS." States News Service.
European Commission, 9 Dec. 2010. Web. 27 July 2015.
Ermakova, Irina. "Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of
rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies." Ecosinform 1.2996 (2006): 4-9.
Earths Open Source "EU Research Does Not Shows That GM Foods Are Safe." GMO Myths and
Truths. Earths Open Source, 19 May 2014. Web. 18 July 2015.
EuropaBio. "Q&A - Explaining the State of GM Crops in the European Union." Q&A.
EuropaBio, 22 Feb. 2011. Web. 25 July 2015.
Non GMOReport. "The Growing Importance of Identity Preservation." Non GMO Seeds, Non
Gmo Grains, and Non Gmo Food Products, The Organic and Non GMO Report, Mar.
2007. Web. 27 July 2015.

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Hammond, B., R. Dudek, J. Lemen, and M. Nemeth. "Results of a 13 Week Safety Assurance
Study with Rats Fed Grain from Glyphosate Tolerant Corn." Food and Chemical
Toxicology 42.6 (2004): 1003-014. Print.
Holst-Jensen, Arne, Yves Bertheau, Marc De Loose, Lutz Grohmann, Sandrine Hamels, Lotte
Hougs, Dany Morisset, Sven Pecoraro, Maria Pla, Marc Van Den Bulcke, and Doerte
Wulff. "Detecting Un-authorized Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and
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"Institute for Responsible Technology." Dangers to the Environment. The Institute for
Responsible Technology, n.d. Web. 27 July 2015.
Jemison, John M., Jr., and Michael E. Vayda. "Cross Pollination From Genetically Engineered
Corn: Wind Transport And Seed Source." The Journal of Agrobiotechnology
Managment and Economics 4.2 (2001): 87-92. Print.
Knudsen, Ib, and Morten Poulsen. "Comparative Safety Testing of Genetically Modified Foods
in a 90-day Rat Feeding Study Design Allowing the Distinction between Primary and
Secondary Effects of the New Genetic Event." Regulatory Toxicology and
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Kroghsbo, Stine, Charlotte Madsen, Morten Poulsen, Malene Schrder, Peter H. Kvist, Mark
Taylor, Angharad Gatehouse, Qingyao Shu, and Ib Knudsen. "Immunotoxicological
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Rats." Toxicology 245.1-2 (2008): 24-34. Print.
Monsanto. "Newsroom." Commonly Asked Questions about the Food Safety of GMOs. Monsanto
Company, n.d. Web. 27 July 2015.

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Naveen. "Difference Between Rat and Human Digestive System." Difference Between. N.p., 20
Sept. 2011. Web. 27 July 2015.
O'callaghan, Maureen, Travis R. Glare, Elisabeth P.j. Burgess, and Louise A. Malone. "Effects Of
Plants Genetically Modified For Insect Resistance On Nontarget Organisms." Annual
Review of Entomology Annu. Rev. Entomol 50.1 (2005): 271-92. Print.
Organic Consumers Association. "Monsanto's Secret Study Shows Health Hazards of New GE
Corn." Monsanto's Secret Study Shows Health Hazards of New GE Corn. Organic
Consumers Association, 23 June 2005. Web. 24 July 2015.
Poulsen, Morten. "A 90-day Safety Study in Wistar Rats Fed Genetically Modified Rice
Expressing Snowdrop Lectin Galanthus Nivalis (GNA)." Food and Chemical
Toxicology 45.3 (2007): 350-63. Print.
Sralini Gilles-Eric. "A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian
Health." Int. J. Biol. Sci. International Journal of Biological Sciences (2009): 706-26.
Print.
Schrder, Malene, Morten Poulsen, Andrea Wilcks, Stine Kroghsbo, Andreas Miller, Thomas
Frenzel, Jrgen Danier, Michael Rychlik, Kaveh Emami, Angharad Gatehouse,
Qingyao Shu, Karl-Heinz Engel, Illimar Altosaar, and Ib Knudsen. "A 90-day Safety
Study of Genetically Modified Rice Expressing Cry1Ab Protein (Bacillus Thuringiensis
Toxin) in Wistar Rats." Food and Chemical Toxicology 45.3 (2007): 339-49. Print.
Snow, A. A., D. A. Andow, P. Gepts, E. M. Hallerman, A. Power, J. M. Tiedje, and L. L.
Wolfenbarger. "Genetically Engineered Organisms And The Environment: Current
Status And Recommendations 1." Ecological Applications 15.2 (2005): 377-404. Print.

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Vendmois, Jol Spiroux De. "Debate on GMOs Health Risks after Statistical Findings in
Regulatory Tests." Int. J. Biol. Sci. International Journal of Biological Sciences (2010):
590-98. Print.
Velimirov, Alberta, Claudia Binter, and Jrgen Zentek. Biological effects of transgenic maize
NK603xMON810 fed in long term reproduction studies in mice: report.
Bundesministerium fr Gesundheit, Familie und Jugend, Sekt. IV, 2008.
Word Press "Devil in Disguise; the Unethical Practices of Monsanto." Word Press. ENT Journal,
28 Nov. 2012. Web. 19 July 2015.