Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives


Are you and your family on the wrong side of a bet? That is the questions asked by the new documentary film Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives. The film is a production of the Institute for Responsible Technology.

Genetically Modified Organisms are now part of foods and those GMOs are not properly labeled so consumers can make an informed decision as to what kind of products they can bring home to their families. Although GMOs have been banned or limited in many countries in the developed world, The United States and numerous third world nations haven’t issued such bans or limitations and their populations are exposed to GMOs on a daily basis.

In the United States, the US government has continuously ignored the studies whose results warn about the dangers that GMOs present to human health. The main reason for its refusal to ban GMOs stems from the fact that government agencies that are supposed to protect consumers from dangerous foods are headed by former Monsanto, DuPont, Cargill or Syngenta employees, who despite having a conflict of interest were called by the White House to work as food safety Czars.

Currently, the US allows the cultivation, harvest and use of GMOs for the production of thousands of products that end on dinner tables all across American and many more around the world. The refusal to officially study the effects that GMOs have on humans or to review the results of independently conducted studies resulted in one outcome: the production and sale of unlabeled food products that contain dangerous genetically modified organisms.

The governments that do not properly study and upon confirming the threats posed by GMOs, refuse to ban they production and use in food products are genuinely — as the title of the film says — playing Russian Roulette with the health of the citizenry. The corporate-owned officials are taking a gamble with everyone’s health and are setting the stage to cause mass disease and death in the population and these effects will be extended to the coming generations.

“After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.” But the warnings from these scientists found deaf ears in government agencies that are supposed to review the safety of the foods people ingest.

On September 19, we reported how scientist at CRIIGEN found that GM Maize and Roundup were linked to premature death and cancer. In a study published in “Food and Chemical Toxicology”, researchers led by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini found that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 Roundup tolerant GM maize or given water containing Roundup, at levels permitted in drinking water and GM crops in the US, developed cancers faster and died earlier than rats fed on a standard diet.

Earlier, on September 14, scientists from the Safe Food Foundation, reported how GM Wheat Could Potentially change the Human Genome by ‘silencing’ genes once GMO wheat was ingested. Judy Carman, a biochemist and Director of the IHERS at Flinders University, warned that during her observations the GMO gene had the potential to silence human genes, which could have serious complications.

The same kind of reactions seen in both CRIIGEN and the Safe Food Foundation’s observations are seen in the studies and personal stories presented on Genetic Roulette. The film is complete with documents that show uncontestable evidence about the dangers of GMOs. The film explains how these laboratory-made organisms deteriorate people’s health, especially that of children and provides suggestions that anyone can implement to protect themselves and their families.

For an in-depth look at how the genetic engineering of foods and products threatens all life forms, read our report here. We highly recommend that you watch Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives and spread the information about the dangers of GMOs to everyone you know. Also, join our campaign on Facebook to support the adequate labeling of GMOs on food products.

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GM Maize and Roundup Linked to Premature Death and Cancer


Countries like Hungary have destroyed all Monsanto GMO corn Fields.

In a study published in “Food and Chemical Toxicology”, researchers led by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini from CRIIGEN have found that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 Roundup tolerant GM maize or given water containing Roundup, at levels permitted in drinking water and GM crops in the US, developed cancers faster and died earlier than rats fed on a standard diet. They suffered breast cancer and severe liver and kidney damage.

In the first ever study to examine the long-term effects of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and the NK603 Roundup-resistant GM maize also developed by Monsanto, the CRIIGEN scientists found that rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females, compared with 23 and 14 months respectively for a control group.

Led by Professor Seralini, the researchers studied 10 groups, each containing 10 male and 10 female rats, over their normal lifetime. Three groups were given Roundup – developed by Monstanto – in their drinking water at three different levels consistent with exposure through the food chain from crops sprayed with the herbicide. Three groups were fed diets containing different proportions of Roundup resistant maize at 11%, 22% and 33%. Three groups were given both Roundup and the GM maize at the same three dosages. The control group was fed an equivalent diet with no Roundup or NK603 containing 33% of non-GM maize.

Dr Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist and gene expert at Kings College, London, and member of CRIIGEN stated: “This is the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats. It shows an extraordinary number of cancers developing earlier and more aggressively – particularly in female animals.  I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts.”

“The rat has long been used as a surrogate for human toxicity. All new pharmaceutical, agricultural and household substances are, prior to their approval, tested on rats. This is as good an indicator as we can expect that the consumption of GM maize and the herbicide Roundup, impacts seriously on human health,” Antoniou concluded.

The report states: “Similar degrees of pathological symptoms were noticed to occur from the lowest to the highest doses suggesting a threshold effect. This corresponds to levels likely to arise from consumption or environmental exposure, such as either 11% GM maize in food, or 50ng/L of glyphosate in R-formulation [the lowest concentration of Roundup in the rats’ drinking water] as can be found in some contaminated drinking tap water, and which falls within authorized limits.”

  • Up to 50% of males and 70% of females died prematurely (before deaths could be put down to normal aging) compared with only 30% and 20% in the control group.
  • Across all treatments and both sexes, researchers found treated rats developed 2-3 times more large cancers than the control group.
  • By the beginning of the 24th month 50%-80% of females in all treated groups had developed cancers, with up to three tumours per animal. Only 30% of the controls were affected.
  • The first large detectable cancers appeared after four and seven months in males and females respectively but only after 14 months in the control group. However, the majority of cancers were only detectable after 18 months.

The research findings raise serious questions about the current regulatory process for licensing industrial chemicals, pesticides and other novel crops. The scientists observe that all GM crops have been approved safe for consumption on the basis of 90-day animal feeding trials. They also point out that only Roundup’s active principle, glyphosate, has been tested rather than the commercial product, which includes ingredients that enable the glyphosate to penetrate plants more efficiently.

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Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize


The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological pro-files were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3–2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600 days earlier. Biochemistry data confirmed very significant kidney chronic deficiencies; for all treatments and both sexes, 76% of the altered parameters were kidney related. These results can be explained by the non linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, but also by the over expression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences.


Gilles-Eric Séralini, Emilie Clair, Robin Mesnage, Steeve Gress, Nicolas Defarge, Manuela Malatesta, Didier Hennequin, Joël Spiroux de Vendômois

Top Chefs: End GMO Trials, Production

Leading chefs Neil Perry and Martin Boetz have launched a major public attack against the development of genetically modified food in Australia.

July 19, 2011

Chef Neil Perry

In a column that appeared today on The National Times website, Perry and Boetz urge the Australian government to “put a stop” to GM wheat trials.

“We are disturbed by the prospect that Australia could become one of the first countries to grow and eat genetically modified wheat,” they say in the column.

“Wheat is a fundamental part of our daily diet, the basis of bread, pasta, noodles, pastries and many other foods.”

“Whether or not you agree with its methods, Greenpeace’s destruction of the GM wheat from a CSIRO trial site just outside Canberra last week has stirred up the debate. And the state of our food – and the ways it is produced its a debated worth having.”

“The CSIRO claims its experimental GM wheat could help reduce bowel cancer rates because of more “resistant starch which is good for digestive health. Encouraging more people to eat more brown bread, rice and oats would seem eminently safer and more sensible and affordable.

“Even more troubling is the fact that GM plants have never been proven safe to eat.”

Genetically modified wheat has no place on the menu

We are proud to be two of Australia’s leading chefs and food industry spokesmen. Making and serving fresh and tasty food is a great pleasure for us. We have built our lives and careers around this passion.

But we are disturbed by the prospect that Australia may become one of the first countries in the world to grow and eat genetically modified wheat. Wheat is a fundamental part of our daily diet, the basis of bread, pasta, noodles, pastries and many other foods.

Whether or not you agree with its methods, Greenpeace’s destruction of GM wheat from a CSIRO trial site just outside Canberra last week has stirred up the debate. And the state of our food – and the ways it is produced – is a debate worth having.

The integrity of our food is continually being depleted by the demands of a fast-paced modern lifestyle. Our relationship with food is generally an unhealthy one. Agri-food manufacturers play on people’s time poverty to sell ultra-processed fast foods full of salt, sugar, highly refined carbohydrates, additives and preservatives. These foods have nothing in common with the fresh fruit and vegetables and whole cereals that should make up the bulk of a healthy diet.

The CSIRO claims its experimental GM wheat could help reduce bowel cancer rates because of more ”resistant starch”, which is good for digestive health. Encouraging people to eat more brown bread, rice and oats would seem eminently safer and more sensible and affordable. And this can be done without turning to GM crops, which we consider to be unsafe. But of course that’s not attractive to big international biotech firms that see a commercial advantage in GM crops.

The CSIRO and the Australian government are contradicting their own health advice that people should eat more wholegrains and a more varied diet. If people carry on eating the same kind of processed foods, drained of all the nutrients and life-giving energy we need, we can expect health problems to continue. GM wheat won’t help this; the likelihood is it will only increase the amount of unnatural, processed food on supermarket shelves.

Even more troubling is the fact that GM plants have never been proven safe to eat. Through trial and error over many thousands of years, we have found what we can eat for health and nourishment and what we must stay away from.

New forms of food such as GM wheat have never been tested for safety. They have not undergone the kind of trial and error that all our naturally occurring foods have over thousands of years of being consumed – they are a whole new form of genetically modified life. And they have not been through the kind of safety testing demanded of new pharmaceutical products.

Food is a fundamental part of life. Protecting the integrity of our food and the reliability of our food supply is critical. We must ask what kind of world we are building for ourselves and for our children where we would prefer to spend billions of dollars creating unnecessary and risky genetically modified products, rather than following our grandmothers and mothers’ advice of simply eating a balanced diet.

In a few generations our food and farming systems have been radically transformed. Once based around nature and human need, they are now controlled by corporations, from seed to supermarket, for the purpose of profit.

The menus in our restaurants, like those of other restaurants, cafes and family kitchens all around the country, feature wheat products such as bread and pastry every day. GM wheat will jeopardise our capacity to serve wholesome food we can rely on.

As leading chefs in Australia, we will stop using wheat products if GM becomes prevalent, or we will exclusively use certified organic wheat.

Australia’s reputation as one of the best food producers and places to eat in the world is at risk. We are urging the Australian government to stop risking Australia’s food industry and to put a stop to GM wheat trials.

Neil Perry is the owner of Spice Temple and The Waiting Room in Melbourne, and Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney and Perth. Martin Boetz is the owner and executive chef at Longrain restaurants in Melbourne and Perth. Both are signatories to Greenpeace’s Chef’s Charter, which aims to protect the quality and diversity of Australia’s food.

Two Strains of GMO Rice Spread illegally in China

June 15, 2011

Genetically modified rice has been spreading illegally for years in China, officials have admitted, triggering a debate on a sensitive aspect of the food security plan in the world’s most populous nation.

Two strains of GM rice were approved for open-field experiments but not commercial sale in 2009. In January, the agriculture ministry said “no genetically modified cereals are being grown in China” outside the test sites.

But in April, an environment ministry official told the weekly Nanfang Zhoumo that a joint investigation by four government departments had found that “illegal GM seeds are present in several provinces because of weak management”.

The agriculture ministry did not respond to an AFP request for clarification.

According to the website for the European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, European countries found foodstuffs from China containing GM rice 115 times between 2006 and May this year.

The campaign from Greenpeace says GM rice seeds have been in China since 2005, and were found at markets in Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces last year, Fang Lifeng, a Chinese agriculture specialist with the group, told AFP.

Beijing is pro-biotechnology and has already allowed several GM crops to be grown, including cotton, peppers, tomatoes and papayas, and has authorised imports of GM soya and corn for the food industry.

But rice — the key staple in the diet of the country’s more than 1.3 billion people — is a much more sensitive question.

“Two-thirds of Chinese eat rice every day,” said Tong Pingya, a highly respected agronomist who blasted Chinese scientists for “treating the people like guinea pigs” at a conference in May chaired by Vice-Premier Li Keqiang.

“China does not need this genetically modified rice, as it produces enough and even exports a bit,” Tong told AFP.

When the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp parliament, met last year, around 100 researchers wrote to deputies asking them to revoke authorizations for the use of experimental GM grains, including a strain of corn as well as the two rice types.

They also demanded a public debate and clear labelling of products containing genetically modified organisms.

Backers of GM rice argue that it is more drought-resistant, offers better yield, and — in the case of the variety containing the Bt gene — allows pesticide use to be dramatically cut.

“It should be possible to authorise commercialisation around 2012-2013, but the state will probably not allow them to be used on a wide scale” in the near future, said Ma Wenfeng, a grain market analyst with the consultancy CNagri, which has links to the agriculture ministry.

According to Ma, the new varieties represent “an advance in biotechnology” and will ultimately be accepted.

For their part, environmentalists and some Chinese scientists warn against the as-yet unknown long-term consequences of using GM rice for biodiversity and human health.

Whether using them is in farmers’ interests is an open question, according to Greenpeace’s Fang, because “GM seeds cost two to five times more than ordinary seeds” and “in terms of yield, there isn’t really a difference”.

GM rice strains developed in Chinese laboratories also raise questions about intellectual property.

The Bt gene is patented by the US agribusiness giant Monsanto, which could demand royalties and compensation from China if that variety is commercialised.

Aspartame made with GM Bacteria

Anthony Gucciardi

The manufacturers of the most prevalent sweetener in the world have a secret, and it’s not a sweet one. Aspartame, an artificial sweetener found in thousands of products worldwide, has been found to be created using genetically modified (GM) bacteria. What`s even more shocking is how long this information has been known. A 1999 article by The Independent was the first to expose the abominable process in which aspartame was created. Ironically, the discovery was made around the same time as rich leaders around the globe met at the G8 Summit to discuss the safety of GM foods.

The 1999 investigation found that Monsanto, the largest biotech corporation in the world, often used GM bacteria to produce aspartame in their US production plants. The end result is a fusion between two of the largest health hazards to ever hit the food industry — artificial sweeteners and an array of genetically altered organisms. Both have led to large-scale debate, with aspartame being the subject of multiple congressional hearings and scientific criticism. Scientists and health advocates are not the only ones to speak out against aspartame, however. The FDA received a flurry of complaints from consumers using NutraSweet, a product containing aspartame. Since 1992, the FDA has stopped documenting reports on the subject.

The process in which aspartame is created involves combining an amino acid known as phenylalanine with aspartic acid. First synthesized in 1965, aspartame requires bacteria for the sole purpose of producing phenylalanine. Monsanto discovered that through genetically altering this bacteria, phenylalanine could be created much more quickly. In the report by The Independent, Monsanto openly admitted that their mutated bacteria is a staple in the creation process of aspartame.

“We have two strains of bacteria – one is traditionally modified and one is genetically modified,” said the source from Monsanto. “It’s got a modified enzyme. It has one amino acid different.”

Multiple studies have been conducted regarding genetic manipulation, with many grim conclusions. One study found that the more GM corn was fed to mice, the fewer babies they had. Another study, published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences, found that the organs that typically respond to chemical food poisoning were the first to encounter problems after subjects consumed GM foods. The same study also states that GM foods should not be commercialized.

“For the first time in the world, we’ve proven that GMO are neither sufficiently healthy nor proper to be commercialized. […] Each time, for all three GMOs, the kidneys and liver, which are the main organs that react to a chemical food poisoning, had problems,” indicated Gilles-Eric Seralini, an expert member of the Commission for Biotechnology Reevaluation.

Consumer groups are now curious as to whether or not other products secretly contain genetically modified ingredients. Due to the fact that the finished product`s DNA does not change when using genetically modified bacteria, it is hard to know for sure. With the FDA ruling against the labeling of GM salmon, it is becoming more of a challenge to determine whether or not a product contains GM ingredients. Consumers are voicing their opposition for GM ingredients going incognito, with the largest growing retail brand being GMO-free products.

“The public wants to know and the public has a right to know,” said Marion Nestle, a professor in the Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health Department at New York University.

Unveiling the secret process in which aspartame is created acts as yet another reminder to stay away from artificial sweeteners, and one should choose natural alternatives such as palm sugar, xylitol, or stevia.

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