Sustainable Pulse, 4 March 2015
In an acclaimed new book being launched Wednesday in London, American public interest attorney Steven Druker reveals how the US government and leading scientific institutions have systematically misrepresented the facts about GMOs and the scientific research that casts doubt on their safety.
The book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, features a foreword by the renowned primatologist Dame Jane Goodall, hailing it as “without doubt one of the most important books of the last 50 years”.
The book’s revelations come at a crucial time when some European countries are considering the commercial planting of GM crops following the European Parliament’s decision to allow member states to opt out of the blockade that has barred them from the EU until now. Based on the evidence presented in the book, Druker and Goodall will assert that it would be foolhardy to push forward with a technology that is unacceptably risky and should never have been allowed on the market in the first place.
The book is the result of more than 15 years of intensive research and investigation by Druker, who came to prominence for initiating a lawsuit against the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that forced it to divulge its files on GM foods. Those files revealed that GM foods first achieved commercialisation in 1992 only because the FDA:
• Covered up the extensive warnings of its own scientists about their dangers.
• Lied about the facts.
• And then violated federal food safety law by permitting these foods to be marketed without having been proven safe through standard testing.
The book points out that if the FDA had heeded its own experts’ advice and publicly acknowledged their warnings that GM foods entailed higher risks than their conventional counterparts, the GM food venture would have imploded and never gained traction anywhere.
It also reveals:
• Many well-placed scientists have repeatedly issued misleading statements about GM foods, and so have leading scientific institutions such as the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the UK’s Royal Society.
• Consequently, most people are unaware of the risks these foods entail and the manifold problems they have caused.
• Contrary to the claims of biotech advocates, humans have indeed been harmed by consuming the output of genetic engineering. In fact, the technology’s first ingestible product (a food supplement of the essential amino acid, L-tryptophan) caused dozens of deaths and seriously sickened thousands of people (permanently disabling many of them). Moreover, the evidence points to the genetic alteration as the most likely cause of the unusual contamination that rendered the supplement toxic.
• Laboratory animals have also suffered from eating products of genetic engineering, and well-conducted tests with GM crops have yielded many troubling results, including intestinal abnormalities, liver disturbances, and impaired immune systems.
• Numerous scientists (including those on the FDA’s Biotechnology Task Force) have concluded that the process of creating genetically modified food radically differs from conventional breeding and entails greater risk.
• There has never been a consensus within the scientific community that GM foods are safe, and many eminent experts have issued cautions – as have respected scientific organizations such as the Royal Society of Canada and the Public Health Association of Australia.
Druker says: “Contrary to the assertions of its proponents, the massive enterprise to reconfigure the genetic core of the world’s food supply is not based on sound science but on the systematic subversion of science – and it would collapse if subjected to an open airing of the facts.”
At their upcoming press conference, he and Jane Goodall intend to challenge the Royal Society to confront the facts, apologize for the misleading statements that it and several of its prominent members have issued, and take earnest steps to set the record straight.
In her foreword to Altered Genes, Twisted Truth , Goodall commends it for countering the disinformation and providing much-needed clarity. She states: “I shall urge everyone I know who cares about life on earth, and the future of their children, and children’s children, to read it. It will go a long way toward dispelling the confusion and delusion that has been created regarding the genetic engineering process and the foods it produces. . . . Steven Druker is a hero. He deserves at least a Nobel Prize.”
Pat Thomas, Director of UK campaigning group Beyond GM, which is facilitating the press launch, says: “Under pressure from new legislation and the ongoing TTIP negotiations, the UK and the rest of Europe are on the precipice of making sweeping changes to their historical stance on GMOs. Much of our regulatory framework has been informed by foundations laid down in America in the early 1990s, and the belief that they got it right in terms of understanding the science of genetic modification. Steven Druker’s investigation into the history of fraud and deceit that ushered in the era of GMOs deserves serious consideration before we take actions that will irreversibly alter the European food supply”.
About Steven Druker
Steven Druker is an American public interest attorney and executive director of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit he initiated against the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that gained worldwide attention by exposing how the agency had enabled the commercialisation of GM foods through a colossal fraud.
About the book:
Altered Genes, Twisted Truth – How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public
By Steven M. Druker
Foreword by Jane Goodall
Published March 2015
Praise for Altered Genes, Twisted Truth
“A fascinating book: highly informative, eminently readable, and most enjoyable. It’s a real page-turner and an eye-opener.” Richard C. Jennings, PhD Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge
“This incisive and insightful book is truly outstanding. Not only is it well-reasoned and scientifically solid, it’s a pleasure to read – and a must-read. Through its masterful marshaling of facts, it dispels the cloud of disinformation that has misled people into believing that GE foods have been adequately tested and don’t entail abnormal risk.” David Schubert, PhD molecular biologist and Head of Cellular Neurobiology, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
“A great book. The evidence is comprehensive, clear, and compelling. No one has documented other cases of irresponsible behavior by government regulators and the scientific establishment nearly as well as Druker documents this one. His book should be widely read and thoroughly heeded.” John Ikerd, PhD Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri
“Steven Druker’s meticulously documented, well-crafted, and spellbinding narrative should serve as a clarion call to all of us. In particular, his chapter detailing the deadly epidemic of 1989-90 that was linked with a genetically engineered food supplement is especially significant. . . . Overall his discussion of this tragic event, as well as its ominous implications, is the most comprehensive, evenly-balanced and accurate account that I have read.” Stephen Naylor, PhD Professor of Biochemistry, Mayo Clinic (1991-2001)
“A landmark. It should be required reading in every university biology course.” Joseph Cummins, PhD Professor Emeritus of Genetics, Western University, Ontario