Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Codex Alimentarius and GM Food Guidelines, Pt. 4

Updated excerpt from Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post
February 11, 2013

In my last article regarding Codex Alimentarius Guidelines on Genetically Modified food, I discussed the dangerous concept used by both the international organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) known as substantial equivalence/substantial similarity and how this method of comparison and evaluation can and is being used to further the proliferation of GM food in the world’s food supply.

In discussing the method used to evaluate the safety of GM food, I wrote,

Available Here
If Codex is willing to accept the safety assessments of regulatory agencies without independent testing of its own and regulatory agencies are willing to accept the safety assessments of corporations without independent testing of their own, then Codex is willing to accept the safety assessments of corporations without independent safety testing of their own. Indeed, this syllogism adequately reflects the reality of the relationship between Codex, corporations, and the future of GM foods.
Furthermore, in regards to the “substantial equivalence” methodology mentioned above, I concluded the article by stating,
Allowing GM products to be compared to other GM products for substantial equivalence is an enormous blow to the environment, human health, and consumer choice. Such an action would completely undercut the already weak and ridiculous method of substantial equivalence and would turn the entire nature of our food supply upside down. One would be comparing a dangerous product to another dangerous product but labeling it safe because it was substantially equivalent to the first dangerous product.
Like the situation involving vitamins and minerals, this is the Twilight Zone reality produced by Codex once it gains power of the food supply.

Unfortunately, this potential concern is now an imminent one because Monsanto has in fact submitted an application for a GM corn called LY038. In its submission for approval, Monsanto provided the regulators’ assessing the product with information comparing LY038 with another GM corn product called LY038 (-), another GM corn product.[1]

True to form, in many of the pro-GM countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, the Philippines, and South Korea, the LY038 corn was approved based upon the method of using a GM corn as a conventional counterpart.[2] The United States, being the most open to GM food, and only requiring voluntary submission, has also approved LY038 for cultivation.[3]

Thankfully, the Monsanto agenda stalled in the European Union, and in 2009 Monsanto withdrew its application for the product in Europe.[4] This is largely due to a small group of relatively independent scientists from the Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety (INBI) out of New Zealand who brought out many risks evident from a close reading of the Monsanto application dossiers.

As a result of their work, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) requested additional research and safety data. That was all that was needed in order to cause Monsanto to withdraw its application for LY038 use in Europe.[5]

Monsanto claimed that the reason for the removal of its submission purely economical and that “although our preference would have been to complete the EU approval of LY038, conducting further studies, as requested [by the EFSA GMO Panel], can no longer be justified, in view of the additional costs involved and the reduced commercial interest in this product.”[6]

However, those who are aware of Monsanto’s track record have a different take. In a statement made to Biosafety Information Centre, Prof. Jack Heinemann, who led the INBI research team, summed up the situation succinctly.

I personally don’t believe that the withdrawal of LY038 from commercialization was a budget blow-out. Monsanto estimated that the street-value of LY038 was going to be US $1 billion/year. People are still feeding corn to cows, chickens and pigs and corn is still being converted to biofuel in the US. The price of corn is at historical highs and is not expected to decrease. Do we really believe that a market of $1 billion/year is too small for Monsanto? I don’t. . . . . . The major issue raise by EFSA was Monsanto’s use of another GM product as a control in all its safety studies. This violates both international food safety testing guidelines and European rules. INBI was the first in the world to point this out. FSANZ [Food Standards Australia New Zealand] ignored it. EFSA didn’t. Monsanto pulled the product. We estimate that upwards of US $1 billion had already been invested and if it were just a matter of demonstrating that a safe product was safe, then a few tidy up scientific studies would have cost nothing in comparison.[7]
The obvious reason that the application was pulled, at least according to this writer and, seemingly, Prof. Heinemann, is that Monsanto’s LY038 was absolutely unsafe for consumption and that it would never have stood up to any scientific safety testing. It is also likely that the company’s own research data would have proven its danger since it would not even submit the requested material to EFSA. In conjunction with this, Monsanto may have been afraid that exposure of this fact would have crippled its progress with the countries that did approve LY038.

However, while it did not succeed with the EU (this time), the precedent has been set for using a GM product as a conventional counterpart.

This will undoubtedly affect Codex guidelines in the future, especially considering the fact that so many and such major players have accepted these standards of testing. Indeed, it will undoubtedly set a dangerous precedent for the evaluation of the safety of GM food the world over.

[1] “New Attack on GM Food Safety Testing Standards,” Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety, University of Canterbury. February 2007. http://www.sustainabilitynz.org/docs/Backgrounder_NewAttackonGMFoodSafetyStandards.pdf Accessed May 24, 2010.
[2] “Monsanto pulls GM corn amid serious food safety concerns,” GM Free CYMRU. http://gmfreecymru.org/Press_Notice9Nov2009.htm
[3] “Transgenic high-lysine corn LY038 withdrawn after EU raises safety questions,” The Bioscience Resource Project, Nov. 10, 2009. http://www.bioscienceresource.org/news/article.php?id=43 Accessed May 24, 2010.
[4] “Europe balks at GE corn in NZ,” Stuff.co.nz, Feb. 11, 2009. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3020246/Europe-balks-at-GE-corn-in-NZ
[5] “Monsanto pulls GM corn amid serious food safety concerns,” GM Free CYMRU. http://gmfreecymru.org/Press_Notice9Nov2009.htm
[6] “What has happened to high lysine corn?” Biosafety Information Centre. http://www.biosafety-info.net/bioart.php?bid=583&ac=st
[7] Ibid.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 190 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

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