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tv   Altered Genes Twisted Truth  CSPAN  September 9, 2017 11:00pm-12:31am EDT

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>> cspan, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 cspan was created as a public service by america's cable television company. it's brought to you today by your cable or satellite provide provider. >> greetings and welcome today's meeting. i am bill grant, cochair and member of this program. it's my pleasure to extend a welcome to you. i look forward to seeing you here often print at this time, please turn off all cell phones and other noisemaking devices. the event is being recorded for broadcast and we don't want any extraneous sounds.
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i invite you to check our website for a listing of events. you may register for these programs online or by calling the 24 hour reservation line. stevens books, altered genes, trista twisted truth will be for sale in the lobby and hillary will be there to sign books. if you have any friends who wanted to hear this program and were not able to, the podcast should be online in about a day. he is speaking again thursday in palo alto at the community center. if you want to find out more about that online you go to silicon valley health institute. in terms of questions today,
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when you feel the question. so pass them to the aisle. that way i won't have to block the tvs while the recording this. >> now i will start the program officially. >> greetings and welcome to today's meeting. i am bill grant, cochair of the forum and chair of this program. it is my pleasure to introduce our distinguished speakers. steven is a public interest attorney who initiated a lawsuit that revealed the agency had covered up warnings about genetically engineered food and misrepresented the
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facts. he received his law degree at uc berkeley where he was elected to the california law review and the legal honor society. his articles on genetically engineered food have appeared in several publications including the researcher and the financial times. his book altered genes, twisted truth was released in march 2015 is one of the most important books of the last 50 years.
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in 2017, he received a luxembourg peace prize for outstanding promotion of environmental peace. [applause] >> thank you very much. i appreciate the opportunity to speak with such a great organization. i would like to begin by asking you to tell me what would you think if, at the snap of my fingers everybody in the world suddenly became aware of all the facts about genetically engineered food and everybody's opinions became aligned with our very best scientific knowledge.
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if we adhere to the routine rhetoric, we would have to predict that such a worldwide way of enlightenment because all oppositions to vanish because all of the opposition has been based in ignorance and all the concerns about risks are just due to an improper understanding of science, but in reality, in this world, we actually inhabit the phenomenon that we've quickly vanished is not the opposition to the foods, but the foods themselves. that's right. if the actual facts became widely known, the entire genetically food venture would quickly collapse. that is why despite the pretensions about educating the public, the proponents
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have routinely suppressed or distorted critical facts. they document case after case in which scientific institutions enabled the venture to advance. asic facts of biology have been twisted. creating genetically modified foods has been described to make it appear far less disruptive and far more resized than it actually is, and false statements have consistently been issued about the test on these foods to cover up troubling results. further the evidence that shows the distortion of the evidence is solid and it's been tested by many experts. a professor emeritus of agricultural economics from
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the university of missouri stated that the evidence in my book is comprehensive and irrefutable. a professor at the institute for biological studies said the book is scientifically solid and truly outstanding. he also stated it dispels the cloud of misinformation that has misled people into believing that foods have been adequately tested and don't entail normal risk. moreover, the irrefutable fact that they have been routinely misrepresented is concrete evidence. it shows how strongly the evidence weighs against the soundness of the ge food venture. if the evidence were truly supportive of the venture safety, there would have been no need to distort it. i think that is a no-brainer. if the facts are on your side,
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you're not afraid of that. your joy and privilege to truly present them. >> during the next 25 minutes i will point out some of the key distortions in falsehood and clear up the confusion they've created. in the process, it will become evident that there are strong science -based reasons for a reaching for basic conclusions. producing new foods through today's technology which is a term for genetic engineering is a risky process to every genetically engineered food, the safety of those on the market has never been adequately established and some of them have already been shown to be harmful.
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i will also explain how the ge food venture is not only abnormally risky from the standpoint of biological science but outright reckless when viewed from the perspective of computer science and how biotech machinations have disregarded the hard lessons that computer science has gained about the inherent risk of altering information systems. >> let's first examine one of the biggest falsehoods that has been perpetrated in defense of ge foods. the routine assertion that there is an overwhelming consensus that they are safe and this consensus is based on extensive scientific evidence. indeed the conference was is on par with expert consensus about the reality of human -induced climate change.
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however, there truly is a genuine expert consensus in the case of climate change. there has never been one in regard to ge foods, and wears every group of experts that is examine the data related to climate change has reached a common conclusion, many experts have raised cautions about ge foods and several scientific institutions have done so as well. for instance, in 2001, the royal society issued a major report concluding the default prediction for each ge food should be the genetic alteration has unintended and potentially harmful side effects and it is scientifically unjustifiable to regard any ge food as safe unless it safety has been established through a course of testing far more rigorous than any leaders have required.
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that report has never been revised or refuted. it's as relevant today as when it was first issued. this fact came to life when there was a lawsuit to compel the fda to hand over 44000 pages of its internal files on ge foods. within that trove of documents were members from the own scientists expressing concerns about the unusual risk of the
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genetic engineering process and the need for all the foods it produces to undergo safety testing. the evasiveness studied and declared the processes of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different, and according to the technical experts in the agency, they lead to different risks. moreover, the fda's own biotechnology coordinator acknowledged there was not a consensus about safety in the scientific community outside the agency either. however, the fda has an admitted agenda to foster biotechnology. when it issues its policy in may of 1992, after having received all that input, it claimed it was not aware of
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the informatio information. it also asserted there is overwhelming consensus that ge foods are so safe they don't need to be tested at all, even though it knew no such consensus existed. they allowed ge foods to enter the market without requiring a smidge of safety testing. if they had told the truth and the concern of its own experts, the subsequent history of the ge venture would have been very different and might well have been very short. at the least, it would've been suggested to much more rigorous testing.
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what about the claim that no one successful product of genetic engineering has ever been linked to a human health problem. that's also baloney. it starkly at odds with reality. in fact, the technology is very first indigestible product cal caused a major epidemic. it killed many americans and second four and five thousands. thousands of those people are still invalids to this day. that product was the food supplement of essential amino acid l-tryptophan which has been derived from genetically altered bacteria. although it met the standards for from a logical. . d, it contained minute amounts of an. he's. unlike the conventionally produced supplements, one or
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more of its accidental additions with highly toxic even at extremely low levels. because none of the tryptophan substances had the link to disease and disruptions within the organisms, there were legitimate reasons to suspect that the engineering process had induced the formation of the extraordinary toxic substance that cause the calamity. consequently it was blameless. most people know of this tragedy are under the illusion that the technology has been completely exonerated.
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worse, ge proponents routinely claim that none of the products have been linked. that includes most professionals and public health with whom i've spoken, completely oblivious to the fact that the first indigestible product caused a major epidemic right here in the united states. it's important to note that the toxic incident has serious implications for all foods produced through genetic engineering. they were merely endowed with extra copies of some of their own genes. they were not engineered to produce anything other than a beneficial substance the ordinarily make. the forced overproduction of this normally benign substance put abnormal stress on those organisms that led to the creation of an unintended and
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highly toxic byproducts. almost every genetically engineered food yielding organism is being compelled to overproduce one or another chemical. for that reason alone poses unusual risk. now the standard claim that the safety of ge foods has been thoroughly established by reliable testing cannot survive scrutiny either, especially considering that many well conducted studies published in peer-reviewed journals have detected harm to the animals who consume ge food. in 2009, a systematic review of the studies on ge foods that was itself published in a peer-reviewed journal concluded that the results of most of them indicate that the products may cause pancreatic, renal and reproductive effects that may alter biochemical and
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immunological parameters, the significance of which remains unknown. another review that encompassed the additional studies that have been published up until august 2010 also provided cause for caution. it concluded there was an equilibrium between the research groups suggesting that ge crops are as safe as their non- ge counterparts and those raising serious concerns. now obviously, the fact that more than 15 years after ge foods headfirst into the market, half the published studies on them raised serious concerns in the eyes of objective scientific reviewer's undermines the claim that their safety has been decisively established. this conclusion is fortified when we examine some of the specific results that occurred before and after that date. for instance, a team of
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european university scientists published a paper in 2011 in which they reviewed the data from 19 studies on ge soy and corn varieties that have already gone through the regulatory process, were on the market, and comprised 83% of the ge foods for people have been regularly eating. what they found was disturbing. 9% of the measured parameters, including blood and urine bile chemistry and organ waste were significantly disrupted in the animals had ge feed. the greatest disturbances were to the kidneys of the mail and the liver of the female. the scientists emphasized that because livers and kidneys are the major reactive organs in cases of chronic food toxicity, these results should be reviewe viewed as danger signs. furthermore, other dissolv
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results are so disturbing they cannot be ignored. research is routinely misrepresented. a prominent role in this misinformation campaign has been poured by the uk royal society. for example, the society recently declared that no research has indicated that the genetic process itself has caused any harm in that all problems have been attributed either to the specific gene introduced or to particular agricultural practices. this assertion is for false. one major study did specifically link the ge process with harm. it was published in the journal and revealed that ge potatoes producing a form protein safer mammals to eat caused a problematic effect in the rats that consumed them
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compared to rats that ate the non- ge counterparts. even though the non- ge potatoes have been spiked the same level of form protein that was produced within the modified potatoes. accordingly, the research concluded that some aspect of the ge process itself was significantly responsible for the results because they had ruled out the other possible factors. it is only through the systematic misrepresentation of facts by respected institutions and individuals and their willingness to disregard the ominous implications of the evidence that the ge food venture has been able to continue. this disgraceful activity is being carried out in the name of science when it is actually subverting the basic principles of science. the extent to which the ge food venture has failed to be evidence-based and instead has
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rested on the denial and disregard has been vividly summarized by michael antonio, molecular geneticists at the school of medicine. >> the kind of detrimental effects seen in animals fed ge food were observed in a clinical setting, the products used would be halted and further research institute to determine cause and solution. however, what repeatedly happens in the case of ge food is that despite increasing evidence, serious adverse health results, government and industry continue unabated with the development, endorsement and marketing of these foods as if nothing has happened, to the point they even seem to ignore the results of their own research. so even this short summary has
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revealed that from the standpoint of biological science can the ge food venture is significantly unsound and when it's analyzed from the standpoint of computer science, it becomes even more troubling. such an analysis is irrelevant because both inadequate engineering and computer science are engaged in altering complex systems and computer science has learned a lot about the risks of making such alterations. moreover, it has learned that these risks are inescapable. software engineers have learned that when the information systems they themselves have created become large and complex, there is no way to alter them with complete precision. even when the alteration is a small refinement designed to improve the system's performanc performance, the mere process of revising it is such an ostensibly minuscule
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manner is very likely to disrupt one or more of its parts. this is an amazing phenomenon. software systems are designed to be linear which means they are structured so a specific operation only produces a specific result. operation x should only produce why. however, despite the programmer's best efforts, their systems transcend the intended limits, and to a significant degree behave in a nonlinear manner. there's a very high likelihood that some of the parts will interact in ways that were not planned and cannot be predicted which means the operation x will not only yield why, it might also generate q and z. consequently, to reduce the potential for unintended interactions, software designer separate components that shouldn't interact and try to insulate them from such interaction. what they try to avoid is
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creating code that resembles a plate of spaghetti. they want to avoid writing what they call spaghetti code, a program in which the components are complexly interacted and you can't work on one without jostling around some of the other ones. now what they instead aim to create his ravioli code. they call it ravioli code. they tried to design systems in which the components that aren't supposed interact are is independent from one another as the package of cheese and vegetable and separate packages of pasta. yet even though programmers have succeeded in designing systems that are far more analogous to a mountain of spaghetti and reduces unintended reactions, they have not been able to eliminate it. such unwanted results continue to happen.
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before examining how these risks are dealt with, let's compare the characteristics of human designed information systems with those of vital information systems. let's compare man-made software with major software. as i noted, systems are designed to be the linear, and although they unavoidably become linear to some degree, for the most part they function as linear systems but the situation is very different in the case of bio information systems. they are inherently nonlinear. the various parts are interconnected and every action can create a wide range of effects, many of which cannot be predicted. in their endeavor to maximize manageability, software engineers avoid creating spaghetti code, but bio
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information systems are the most extreme instances moreover, despite the knowledge we have gained, the extent to which our understanding remains sufficient should be profoundly humbling. the rules governing how the parts interact are clearly expressed in written form, but only a small fraction of the rules are known and most of those pertain to the mechanics of gene expression yet, as numerous experts have emphasized, many of the most important rules don't operate at the level of the genes. for instance, richard stroman, who was a distinguished professor of cell biology at the university of berkeley
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asserted the most important rules operate at a level higher than the gene genes, the level at which genes are organized into what he called functional arrays. he noted that this level of gene management is not confined within the dna but is coextensive with the cell itself. moreover, he emphasized the dynamics operating at this level are different than the ones operating at the lower level and that the interactions are far more complex to the extent that they are ultimately trans calculation all which he noted is a mathematical term for mind-boggling. several other experts have also pointed out that bio information systems transcend dna and ultimately extend to the entire organism well also extending far beyond our comprehension. in addition to the vast differences in the degree to which humans understand how
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the two types of system operate, there are also glaring differences in how they make revisions to them. software engineers insert new code precisely where they wanted without accidentally disrupting the way another code is written. further, no unintended code enters the system. in contrast, bioengineers have been inserting dna haphazardly. their insurgents have been disrupted sections of dna and unintended pieces almost always entered as well. so revisions are precise and minutes disrupted. the revisions are genetic engineering are imprecise and highly disruptive. in light of these enormous differences, it would be reasonable to think that genetic engineers should
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exercise far greater caution than do software engineers, but the unfortunate reality is they exercise far less, shockingly less. software engineers recognize the inescapable risks of altering complex information system and they deal with them responsibly.
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>> even the regulators have discounted them and assume there's little need for rigorous testing. the united states food and drug administration claims that foods so safe they don't need to be tested at all and although regulators in the e.u. and most other regions required some testing it has been minimal. for almost 20 years, g.e. foods
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aloud on worldwide markets based solely on superficial showing of substantial equivalence to counterparts. something that is never allowed in the case of life critical software despite the fact that a toxic tomato could cause far nor human harm than a malfunctioning x-ray machine. and although the e.u. has finally required safety testing with the whole food, the tests are still remarkably laxed by software standards. even if g.e. foods were compelled to undergo same testing that's mandated for new pharmaceutical drugs it would still fall short of the level of rigger that's required when changers are made to life critical software programs. so again, with human design information, small revision to critical systems presumed to entail and biinformation systems major revisions to life critical systems are presumed to be
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essentially safe, lax requirements, lax testing. more over is my book demonstrates if the kind of rig arer that's required in software testing were mandated for g.e. foods, the entire venture would implode consequently -- everybody this simple technology doesn't function properly. subsequently it is incurably risky. now you might be wonldering i scratch my head it be. you might be wondering how people promoting engineers could remain so oblivious to risk are of altering complex information systems. and a big part of that answer is quite simple.
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they initially fail to appreciate that they were even dealing with intricate highly coordinated information systems and this constricted outlook has hung on and significantly colored all their subsequent thinking. oh, excuse me i went too far. we'll come to that. that was a preview coming attractions. strange as it may seem to us now about when the genetic engineering venture first began in 1970s it is practitioners presumed that genes act independently they're not arranged in an organized manner and what the sequence in which they occur is essentially unimportant but called bean bag theory of the genome you shake it up, all of the positions of the change you've got the bean bag it doesn't matter what had position they're in. that's the way the genome viewed and even well into the 80s that was the point even into the
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90s even after that -- those presumptions were decisively reare phyted they hung on. actually let me go into those presumptions a little more so based on that bean bag theory base on that constricted understanding of the genome, they presume that the the genome is a simple linear system which action of a single gene will not impact others and will not disrupt their normal function that's because they felt that the genes act independently the kind of independent agents not act aing in a highly coordinated manner. so this -- this is summarized by denise a veteran technology reporter for the new york time, in an article that was published july 1st, 2007 she stated presumption genes operate indefinitely
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institutionalized since 76 when it was founded, in fact, the economic and regulatory foundation on which the entire biotechnology technology is built. together these two presumptions supported believe that a chunk of dna could be wedged into a plant genome without endeuce disturbance because of the behavior of the genes largely uncooperated and arrangement irrelevant, there would be no important pattern that could be and had confidence in the genetic engineering implying results are are king thely predictable. however, these influential assumptions which provided the ideological foundation for endeavor to transform agriculture have been decisively discredit abundant evidence is demonstrated that there's a high degree of coordination between
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genes and that their arrangement is highly organize od. and this evidence undermines the claims about the safety of genetic engineering plus in previously mentioned "new york times" article denise was asserted evidence of the network genome shatters scientific basis for every official risk assessment of the biotech products from crops to pharmaceuticals. now, it's important to emphasize comments made without taking evidence from computer science into consideration. so when that powerful body of knowledge is taken into account, it is clear that the g.e. food venture is not only seriously unsound but down right reckless. but -- what about the manipulating genomes such as chris cast nine
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promoted as precise forms of genome more precise than former version of genetic engineering? well, from the standpoint of computer science, the answer still has to be no. no they're more precise but essential not precises enough. for instance, these techniques can induce accidental offtarget effects. further, as is the case with a previous mode of genetic engineering medical record to transform the altered plant cells into seed bearing plants has to be done. this is very important genetic engineers aren't working with fertile seeds they probably won't ever be able to. they're taking from mature plants and then they're genetically engineering those cells peach they end up with the
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genetic manipulation what they want they don't have cell ares can't be put in the ground and grown into a plant. so -- a very unnatural -- process referred to as tissue culture has to employed in whica series of hormone plant hormone and knew traytives are added, and the plant grows in, that cell will, can be actually forced to grow into a mature plant. but the process through which that happens is not precisely the same as process through which a seed will draw into mature plant, in fact, it is a disruptive process tissue culture is is known to be highly, in fact, it has been used just to create mutation in order to see if they could find something good. and some signs of refer ared to the effects that it has on the
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organism with a shock and no matter how precise crisper technology can be on the upside on the -- on the first on the ma manipulan side as long as they have to use tissue culture to get the -- their creation into a plant, there's no way they can claim as precise but highly mute and fairly irresponsible to ignore tissue culture and most, most promoters of g.e. foods always -- they try to pretend it doesn't exist. it is not part of the process. itit is part of the process in almost every case. so really another level of misrepresentation. so from the stand poingtd of computer science, the process of producing new agricultural plants by utilizing these new techniques is in its entirety in in precise and risk laden and plants must be rigorously test ited.
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thus if we cut through the promotional propaganda passed off as science and carefully examine genetic engineering in best of knowledge knowledge accrued from biological science and from computer science, it becomes clearer, that the g.e. venture incurably risky and that the risks are unacceptable especially when safe, sustainable, and a well proven alternatives are readily available. thank you very much. [applause] thank you we're listen to steven and now time for audience questions i prepared a few here but like other it is in the audience to write questions out and pass them up up to the front here. >> okay.
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the first question is, which food sold in the united states are genetically engineered? >> and -- the shorter answer is far too many l. [laughter] because even though fairly small number of crops relative to the vast number of food crops out there have been genetically engineered reached market to date. because their major foods that are -- that appears ingredients in most processed foods to date we say when the united states has been estimated between 85 and 90% of all processed foods that means foods that you'll buy in a package contain one or another ingredient arrive from a gmo genetically modified organism so
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the main genetically organismed in north america is not just the united states but also canada. canada has these crops on the market, no labeling. the canadian regulators almost as bad as fda which is saying a lot just a bit better because canadians tend to be more polite and reasonable but genetically engineered foods they're unscientific so corn referred to as maize in southern parts of the world, soy, well over 90% probably of the -- of the north american soy and corn crop have been genetically engineered how many different foods, ingredients and soy and corn appear in. and canola, canola seeds have been genetically engineered canadian crop, canola oil in product and many report to be health foods because they think canola oil is better some other
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kind of oil by not free then it is probably been genetically engineered a significant proportion of the hawaiian papaya crop has been genetically engineered a sugar beet crop has been genetically engineered if you're eating product that says sugar, but doesn't say caned sugar than most likely cane sugar and most likely to have been genetically engineered. the alfalfa which many of you might think that's not really a problem for me actually it is. especially if you try to eat organic dairy products because during winter months, organic alfalfa is one of the main food stoves that organ dairy farmers feed their cattle, and alfalfa
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cross pollinates to a large degree, and therefore, there's significant risk of cross pollination contamination, of organic alfalfa by the genetically engineered alfalfa. there are probably some others those are the really -- those are are the big ones actually this is a shocker -- zucchini. many years ago, a virus resistant genetically engineered of zucchini was created but then most of us were told that -- it really didn't make it into the market very much. maybe only a few percentage of a little small very small percentage of the zucchini was affected and then most of that really left the market. and then a few years ago, reliable sources began tell us well, actually it appears now -- that far more zucchini genetically engineered permeating market than initially thought and chances are that anywhere between 10 and 25% of it could be. now that's pretty significant.
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again, i don't have all of the verification. but that's the trouble we don't know it is not labeled fda require get this doesn't require a manufacture to inform it. before it dumps the genetically engineered food on market so fda acknowledged it doesn't even know for sure all that are on the market because it has gone out of its way to stay ignorant as much as they can. so don't know to a large extent we meaning consumers in the united states and in canada, are to have a large extent left in the dark, and it was system purply designed to keep us in the dark without labeling with, you know, with with very inadequate information, and most of the so-called information that has been to the consumers has been actually disinformation. and has been very, very effective --
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which countries ban g.e. crops? >> i'm not up to date on that. most european union -- most countries in the european union do not permit the planting of genetically engineered crops spain has aloud planting of genetically engineered corn things may have shifted so that's one area i'm not completely up to date on. as far as planting, there's a major push going on by the european biotech industry by the european commission by a national government especially the u.k. government, to try to -- to try to get genetically engineered crops approve if for growing and there's a lot of consumer resistance, so that's going to be interesting to see how that plays out. but -- there are some countries that really are try aring to be very strong g. e. free zone i believe austria, hungary and european union, and europe are two of the strongest. but here's a very interesting fact, even though gmo can't be
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grown in most european regions and even though -- they have been approved for marketing, for the human food supply, several of them have been approved. but it's consumer resistance essentially kept them off a the shelves. because in the e.u. genetically engineered food food that contain ingredients have to be labeled, and therefore, the major retailers don't want to be involved because they know that the -- that the consumers in europe are much more educated about the risk than the kiewrls in north america. one reason is, that the european media back in the earlier days actually reported on some of the early studies that showed problems, where as it was a media blackout here in north america so that goes a long way to -- attribute it to attributing difference in consumer attitude. but i think about it is really
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as ,000 maybe even before there was so much resistance among consumer groups in the european union certainly wasn't everybody, but it was enough that the food manufactures and especially major food district tores realized -- putting yeah are putting foods out is not going to be a good marketing and they made it very clear to the biotech industry and to farmers we're not going to carry it so that made a major change to consumer power is very important and i mention that because enough qsh if enough consumers in the toc and in kngdz canada become more informed and vote with their pocketbook the industry, food century takes note of that, in fact, it doesn't take a very big shift in consumer habits to -- to make the food industry make a shift. you don't have to have 50%. i think the thing is -- itit can be small as 5 or 10% shift that can make a big
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difference, and make one brand no longer carried no longer viable. so i'm mentioning this because inform kiewrls have great power, the power of the pocketbook. i want to say there's a major loophole that cotton seed cakes fed to farm animals, the ultimate consumer product that meat, the milk, the eggs, they don't have to be labeled so that's a huge -- i wouldn't call it a loophole you know i would call it a -- a huge hole in the wall l. and therefore europeans, consumers who think we haven't been eating gmo they've been eating products derived from gmo fed animal and head of the u.s. food and doctoring administration in his memo written on his behalf and and a half of the other --
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numerous other scientists that center of veterinarian medicine stated that he and his colleagues viewed feeding farm animal high dose of genetically engineered crops which had happens and then feeding the result -- meat and milk and eggs to humans raised unique human food safety problems and they thought there should be very careful testing of that situation. but there hasn't been such testing. what health effects arise from eating ge corn soybeans, et cetera i hope i got that right, and well we don't know fully what health effect have been happening because there hasn't been good testing gong on. we know people have been getting sick in the united states. that tillnesses keep increasing, we know many illnesses have been increasing, you know, you can kind of correlate the introduction of genetically engineered foods, and the increased use of -- the herbicides that have gone up
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in use because so many of the genetically engineered crops have been engineered to be tolerant to applications of herbicide or otherwise kill them and kill everything else that is about everything else that's created in surroundings except the jolly green giant he's pretty tough. but -- we don't really know. we do know that kinds of -- there have been as i said liver, and kidney toxicity that have been determined to have been -- induced and millionly engineered crops and other kinds of problems as well. but you have to consider the case of tobacco. okay. even as late as 1962, people could have claimed there is no evidence that smoking cigaretting has caused any harm to human beings. and at that point, there was bt any solid epidemiological evidence yet and hasn't been published. studies have been underway for
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many years but it wasn't until 1963 or '64 that they were published, and there was enough evidence that then the sergeant general required warnings then we knew there was cause and effect. but it's -- look at the differences tobacco had been smoked longer thane genetically engineered foods people smoking knew what they started and knew on afnlg how many cigarettes a cigars they've been smoking per month. does anyone here know precisely when they injected the genetically engineered food and keeping a list of those you have been ingesting, of course, not you couldn't have. they're not labeled. so epidemiology i've spoken on panelists and they all agree it would be well impossible at this stage top even conduct studies
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on gmo foods in north america. just couldn't be done. and it was planned to be that way. okay for one reason, manufacturers can avoid liability a lot more easily but look at how long it took even in the case of tobacco to finally start getting loss, you know, judgments and monitory awards against tobacco companies think how difficult again how impossible it would be to prove that somebody was injured by a particular gmo and so many out there and again, the burden of proof would be very, very immense that's why our food safety laws are precautionary. here in the united states, we have the strictest precautionary laws when it comes to food additive and laws cover the additives that are being added it through genetic engineering. we have the strictest laws in the book stricter than european union most are amazed by that wait there aren't any grk gm organization on market in e.u.
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and supermarket and u.s. and canada are flooded with them and u.s. has them everywhere our laws must be weaker no our laws are stronger what is weaker is will to enforce the law in case of genetically engineered foods an as my book demonstrates solidly, the food and drug administration has been violating food safety law since 1992 in order to usher genetically engineered foods on to the market and without any requirements for any testing. but according to law, these foods should have been tested. that's the laws. but again, the law is just one -- the greatest injuries by g.e. food venture is integrity of regulators in the u.s. and canada and many other countries, and hopefully there won't be -- a great deal of human injury the results.
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but laws in the ement u. supposed to be precautionary and supposed to be following precautionary principle by bookshelves had hasn't been and u.s. government by laws our laws are strictly precautionary. every genetically engineered food by law is presumed to be unsafe until demonstrated safe, and the standard of test and standard of -- proof is very high. there has to be demonstration of reasonable certainty of no harm. you can't even factor in benefits according to the law. risk benefit balancing in the case food additives is actually contrary to law in the u.s. you do that in the case of pharmaceutical drugs. but it is inappropriate to do it in the case of food. food is over the countinger. everybody eats food. it should be safe to reasonable certainty of no harm. i'm just going into all of this because there wasn't time to bring it out in the main body of the talk and i think it is important, and you should all know it.
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what about the herbicides that g.e. crops tolerate that other plants cannot. i touched upon that briefly one thing i think is important to note and had -- many activist and many critics of g.e. foods actually get in this -- they can get misled by this and it's first they focus toosm on the herbicide round up in particular. roundup is the brand of herbicide the most widely -- sold and used herbicide in the world. i'm pretty sure. and of course has been claiming that it is completely safe, no problem -- and recently experts in europe have stated they feel it's enough evidence to show it is a probable or possible human cars and comp with other o scientist who is claim no, the data doesn't show we don't think it's
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a carcinogen but a huge debate about is it or o isn't it a carcinogen listen, that whole thing is taking -- taking the eye off the ball and that is -- there has been solid research published that shows that -- that -- roundup is a toxic and demonstrated so even if it is not a carcinogen it is shown to be a toxin and shouldn't bonn the market and the whole debate is seems to be going off into cloud of potential carcinogen -- which is more difficult to prove. but the demonstration of toxicity has been made the. it's interesting one of the main studies was published in a pure review journal but did not like it showed not only it was the roundup administered to the raps on its own toxic it showed that
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the particular genetically brand of genetically engineered roundup resistant corn that was being tested if that fed to ratn not sprayed with roundup it also was toxic and toxic effect so it showed something bad about the corn in itself. something about the corn that wasn't good even when unsprayed and something very harmful about roundup itself when it ministered to the dose that it would have been administered if corn had been eaten. that study alone should have driven roundup off the market along with what particular brangd of corn and probably all of the other g.e. corn. what happened instead through a major -- salt upon basically major salt upon the research. researchers and major pressure put upon that journal just is recently it came out that it was actually orchestrating that attack getting --
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so-called independent to do its dirty work for it but now there are memo who is run covered in a lawsuit against him showing that he was heavy hand in it that finally ever ab year of that pressure, what the -- the study was retracted. ..
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so then the journal editor was faced with a situation, if we are going to retract it, what are grounds for retractions. the main study was the toxicological study. it just so happened that because it was a long-term study, longer than almost all the other studies had been, some tumors developed. according to research the guideline, if tumors develop, it is the do engine duty and that's what the researchers did. all of the sudden the grounds for retraction are that the
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cancer part of the study, they didn't even mention the word cancer. the cancer evidences inconclusive the story is on my book. i think the editor had to come up with something else. the fact remains in the media, the debate is on to lose lose shown not to cause cancer. it caused damage to liver and
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kidneys and that was a sound study. they retract that part and they maintain a valid parts but they didn't do that they retracted the whole study. they are trying to keep a happy face on the genetically engineered venture. in the new york times they talk about the carcinogen study, the cancer study, it wasn't demonstrated and they completely ignore the evidence of toxicity and never should've been retracted.
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>> okay, that's something about the herbicides. anything about the fast-growing ge salmon. the fact that it was genetically engineered have side effects that could be harmful. the focus is on. [inaudible] just the fact that it was with genetic engineering should have massive red lights. there should be extensive food safety testing using feeding studies. there probably will not be.
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>> have gone through that step. where are the bodies? with trillions of ge mules meals provided to billions of animals, there should be lots of dead animals. >> it's interesting, where have the human bodies and the animal bodies, the animal studies looked at her official analyses of the animals before they're going to be slaughtered. correct me if i stay anything wrong. you can find a good critique of the study on gm watch,
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excellent critique. it's not a long-term study, also, those animals are being fattened up pretty quickly for market. a short amount of their life span has been taken into account. those are not the extensive kind of studies that would be done, analyzing tissues under the microscope. there also not controlled study. everyone would blast it and yet very weak studies that purport to find safety are put through, are put on a pedestal
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like the study that has been mentioned. here's another important fact. cows have very different digestive system and human being. how many of you chew your card. you don't. they have more than one stomach. their digestion is different. they would make very bad laboratory animals if we wanted to do toxicology test for human beings. that's why rats and mice that have similar digestive systems two hours are used among other things. again, even if they been doing very precise studies and sections of looking at the tissues in the way they're done in toxicological studies, it still would not be compelling evidence that it's safe for human beings. so, i want go more deeply into
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it, i would refer you to the critique on gm watch that summarizes many of the criticisms that others have level. >> i answered that one. what role does bear purchasing monsanto play in gym or planting in europe. many of the biotech companies in europe had announced they're pretty much giving up on european market because there's such consumer resistance. whether they're really giving up or waiting for an opportunity to push ahead, i don't know for sure, but i think that will have to wait and see. however, the merger, i think we could predict it will be a good thing for consumers for the environment.
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what can i as a consumer do to protect myself, moved to norway. [laughter] you have to get informed. there are a lot of good books about it. my book is not a guy to how to avoid genetically engineered food but it should be a strong endorsement to do so. there are many good guides on the website. i think they tried to keep that updated to give you a little shopper's guide for responsible technology. i assume the non- gml project's, but there's many good websites, center for food safety is very informative and you can download some guides as to how to shop intelligenc intelligently. it's easy to at least get that researched online.
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what's difficult is to follow the advice because the food supply in the u.s. and canada is loaded with gml's and you have to really read labels and it's a pretty daunting thing, especially at restaurants, it's even harder. depends on what level of rigor you want to apply in avoiding gml's. if you really want to avoid the them, if you have young children or grandchildren you should be especially careful because children physiology in a developmental stage, it's a very delicate situation. it takes a lot less of something toxic to create a problem for a child than it does a grown adult. can be fully rigorous for yourself, try to make sure there's more rigor for the children and the loved ones in your life for children. i would say that's highly important.
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the non- gml project verified label is a voluntary thing but it's increasingly found on food foods, that gives a pretty high level of confidence that there are genetically engineered ingredients. it could have had pesticide sprayed on it so you have to look for the organic label. if it says it's usda certified organic, it should mean it's not genetically engineered. unfortunately because they have to be testing, and because of the contamination through cross-pollination, it's possibl possible, and in fact it's been documented in some cases that over the generations even organic crops
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have a significant amount of contamination from genetically engineered crops that are the same or similar species so the gold standard is certified organic and non- gml verified and sometimes you can get that, but i'm just stating, that would probably be the gold standard right now in north america. are all organic foods to non- gml. >> ideally yes, in practice there has been some significant contamination. other any countries that do not allow ge foods to be sold, i answered that one to the best my ability. >> what about the concept that there is enough food supply to feed the global population
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without ge foods. it's that's more baloney. they are feeding us baloney and that kind of baloney will not be the world. listen, it's just ignoring the data. in 2008, a tooth major study had been released, cosponsored by the world bank and united agencies, hundreds of experts in numerous countries participated in it and it was basically assessing the future of food, and assessment of agricultural technology and the future of food and went on for a long tim time, and when the results were published, and made it very clear. they examine, one of the questions was that it should or could, and they concluded
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that does not have a significant role to play in meeting the nutritional needs for the foreseeable future. at a press conference announcing the study, the director was asked point-blank, do you see any role for genetically engineered foods and he said the frank answer is no. the simple answer is no. his cochairman basically made a similar strong statement. there have been other studies released.
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[inaudible] what i recommended is the main solution, they called them add drove ecological techniques which means traditional farming without industrial inputs and synthetic fertilizers and without synthetic herbicides or gml. if the and industrial methods come in, then they have to consolidate and may emphasize small independent farms using techniques.
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they can produce more nutrition. acre. one uniform crop planted on a massive amount of acres. the smaller farms don't do the mono cropping. they have much more nutrient density. there has been massive
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research dedicated to genetic engineering since it was developed in the 80s. we would have so much better knowledge and so much more food being introduced because very little money is still been given to organic. there should be a diversion of funds. the bill and melinda gates foundation should stop funding the development of genetically engineered foods. he is the richest man in the world, or used to be, i guess he's now seesawing with other people but he's one of the richest. his wealth has come from software development and yet he is using a significant part of that fortune to fund the technology that is violating the principles of software development.
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they have been misinformed. they are hoping to do good for the third world but they have been listening to the scientists who have been misinforming them. maybe some of you have a contact, tell him to read my book. i think that would have one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of agriculture. >> you? where are we against the legal
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process with monsanto? there is at least one or more lawsuits underway against monsanto and that's information that has come out that showed how they were orchestrating most of the attack against that study that was retracted. they didn't even tell people it had been republished.
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eventually the truth will triumph. you can download a copy of this excellent book for free. it's doesn't give the history of the computer science that my book does but it
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complements each other because it goes into the research more thoroughly than mine. i do go into the research a lot. if you can only read two books than mine and myths and truths. if you can only read one, flip a coin or whatever. what kind of testing do you believe would be necessary to allow the tomato to market. who would do the testing? first, the testing should not be allowed to be conducted by the researchers. that should be a major change throughout testing on any chemicals, food additives that
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really are specific to gml. get the private sector out of i it. i'm not sure exactly the best way, probably making people pay and have the government hire people to do the testing, they don't even know who they have, and keep it all and all the results have to be completely reported. the testing is under the control of the private corporations, if they don't like the results, they just don't publish them. they usually have the researcher sign an agreement that they don't have a right to publish it. all the decisions are made by the monsanto and the ponds or whatever. if you're not publishing the negative results, that's not science. of course, as i mentioned, even some of the studies that
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have been published had negative results or were overlooked were only discovered when the independent teams reported them. as i mentioned this evening or i hope i made it clear, there would have to be at least the same kind of testing, rigorous long term testing on the part of gm owes as in the case of pharmaceutical drugs. it should be even stricter and stricter, but even then would completely down the industry. that level of extensive testing has enabled because drug companies can take out patents and for the first many years that their drug is on the market, they have a patent and they can charge for the high prices before close generic. there's only so much you can charge for an ear of corn.
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there's a national economic and straight in the case of the food industry on how long an extensive the testing can be. really there is no way for the genetically engineered food venture to be scientifically reliable and economically viable. not be. that's why the industry fight so hard to have minimal testing and tries an attack so viciously. it would be very expensive.
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there is pressure building again to get about it is not officially marketed as a genetically engineered crop. let's all hope it never becomes one. given they drift onto conventional crops how do we know they don't drift on certified organic. >> we know the half. there have been shipments of canola that were certified organic canola seeds from canada to europe that were tested and found to have a significant level of contamination from genetically engineered canola and those were rejected and sent back. we know that can happen. >> i don't eat meat because it isn't healthy for humans. and i mi safer than those who eat meat.
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>> that's not on-topic. many people would think it is healthier and some will give arguments not. i myself in event vegetarian, but i'm not an expert on this, i just know i like the that way but i have many friends who are very healthy and very health conscience that eat high-quality meat and for them it works. i think everybody should study, people have different nutritional needs but i think one thing is clear, the current industrial system of raising meat is very wrong, very harmful to the animals and their simple, actually, there really torturing the animals in many ways and the animals live in constant stress, they're not able to live out their lives as animals and it's really wrong. they are treated as units of production. to the extent that animals
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are raised for slaughter, they should be raised in humane way and that means a fundamental change has to be made throughout most modern systems of industrialized agriculture. and if the animal is raised humanely, it is going to drive up the cost and it means people will be eating less meat, but that was the way it used to be. chicken used to be a lot more expensive. beef was much more expensive. it's become much cheaper but at what cost to the environment and human health costs and it certainly costs to the human soul because the way those animals are being treated so callously and carelessly. for those of us who believe in sin, it is a sin. if you don't, then it's just very wrong.
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by the sin i just mean it's really wrong and they should consider the pain they're subjecting those animals. how does monsanto play into this? i think we discussed it in a very dirty way. now with the legal okay that was read. okay i think i gone through most of them. did i miss something. >> and bill, cochair of the form, we thank steven for his comments here today, we also think our audience here as well as those listening to the recording. now this meeting commemorating more than 100. [inaudible] is adjourned. >> come back and take a bow for the camera. >> thank you very much. you've been a great audience. i appreciate it. those are also very good questions and everybody
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stayed very attentive and i appreciate it. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> here's a look at some upcoming books and festivals. on september 17, book tv will be live at the brooklyn book festival.
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[inaudible] in october we are headed to nashville for the southern festival of books and later that month, there are two book festivals happening on the same weekend. in the northeast it's the ninth annual boston book festival and in the south the baton rouge book festival. >> hello can everyone hear me. awesome. i would like to thank you and welcome our speakers tonight.


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