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Post-Brexit Farming, Glyphosate and GMOs An Open Letter to Hon Michael Gove Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Colin Todhunter

Image source here.

The following is an edited and abridged version of an open letter recently sent by Dr Rosemary Mason to Michael Gove, the British Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The full version containing relevant citations and additional data and information may be accessed here.

You can also find on the site linked to all of Rosemary Mason’s previous work outlining the devastating impact of glyphosate and modern farming practices which remain in place due to the well-documented subversion of science and the corruption of governments and regulatory bodies by industry interests.

It seems likely that a post-Brexit trade deal with the US could mean more of the same and lead to the introduction of GM crops in the UK alongside the lowering of standards for the use of biocides in agriculture. Sainsbury Laboratory already has plans for a new open air field trial of GM potatoes on farms in Suffolk and Cambridge.

Below, Dr Mason lays out her concerns to Mr Gove.

Dear Michael Gove,

I am surprised to learn that from the huge number of scientists employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Rothamsted Research (research institute involved in developing and testing GM crops) that not one of them has read the new book by Caius Rommens, former team leader at Monsanto. He helped create GM potatoes and has retracted his research as he explains in the book ‘Pandora’s Potatoes: The Worst GMOs’.

Professor Jonathan Jones, group leader for the Sainsbury Laboratory has worked for Monsanto in the past, so he has massive conflicts of interest.

It all shows an ignorance beyond belief!

In an interview with Sustainable Pulse, Caius Rommens has revealed the hidden dangers of the GMO potatoes he created:

During my 26 years as a genetic engineer, I created hundreds of thousands of different GM potatoes at a direct cost of about $50 million. I started my work at universities in Amsterdam and Berkeley, continued at Monsanto, and then worked for many years at J. R. Simplot Company, which is one of the largest potato processors in the world. I had my potatoes tested in greenhouses or the field, but I rarely left the laboratory to visit the farms or experimental stations. Indeed, I believed that my theoretical knowledge about potatoes was sufficient to improve potatoes. This was one of my biggest mistakes.”

When asked why he decided to reveal information about the failings of GM potatoes after spending many years creating them, he responded that looking back he believes he and his colleagues were all brainwashed:

We all brainwashed ourselves. We believed that the essence of life was a dead molecule, DNA, and that we could improve life by changing this molecule in the lab. We also assumed that theoretical knowledge was all we needed to succeed, and that a single genetic change would always have one intentional effect only.”

Rommens states that he and the other scientists he knew were supposed to understand DNA and to make valuable modifications, but the fact of the matter was that they knew as little about DNA as the average American knows about the Sanskrit version of the Bhagavad Gita:

We just knew enough to be dangerous, especially when combined with our bias and narrowmindedness. We focused on short-term benefits (in the laboratory) without considering the long-term deficits (in the field). It was the same kind of thinking that produced DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, recombinant bovine growth hormone, and so on. I believe that it is important for people to understand how little genetic engineers know, how biased they are, and how wrong they can be.”

He adds that it is amazing that the USDA and FDA approved the GM potatoes by only evaluating the company’s own data. He asks: how can the regulatory agencies assume there is no bias?

I was biased and all genetic engineers are biased. It is not just an emotional bias. We need the GM crops to be approved. There is a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed, to justify our existence by developing modifications that create hundreds of millions of dollars in value. We test our GM crops to confirm their safety, not to question their safety. The regulatory petitions for deregulation are full with meaningless data but hardly include any attempts to reveal the unintended effects.

For instance, the petitions describe the insertion site of the transgene, but they don’t mention the numerous random mutations that occurred during the tissue culture manipulations. And the petitions provide data on compounds that are safe and don’t matter, such as the regular amino acids and sugars, but hardly give any measurements on the levels of potential toxins or allergens.”

Caius Rommens concludes that the main problem about the current process for deregulation of GMO crops is that it is based on an evaluation of data provided by the developers of GMO crops.

Future of British agriculture

Defra is quoted as saying that after Brexit:

The most promising crops suitable for introducing to England would be Roundup Ready GA21 glyphosate tolerant crops, which synergises well with herbicides already widely used in the UK…”

Campaigner Georgina Downs has written about the long-awaited Agriculture Bill that has been introduced before Parliament. She says that this is the UK Government’s plan on what UK farming will look like post Brexit:

There is no reference to the protection of human health or public health in the Agriculture Bill as regards to farmers, the main users of pesticides… The widespread use of pesticides and other toxic chemicals in our existing farming system appears to be the Government’s ‘elephant in the room’ because of DEFRA’s reluctance to mention it – let alone focus on it. Therefore, there is no recognition or even any specific reference in the Agriculture Bill – or Mr Gove’s statements – to the continued risks associated with the continued use of pesticides and other agrochemicals on crop fields across the UK.”

Mr Gove, your predecessor George Eustice was interviewed by Arthur Neslen on 30/05/2016 about Brexit and stated:

The birds and habitats directives would go. But the directives’ framework is so rigid that it is spirit-crushing.”

On pesticides, he said:

The EU’s precautionary principle needed to be reformed in favour of a US-style risk-based approach, allowing faster authorisation.”

More than 1,700 tonnes of glyphosate were sprayed on crops last year, up a third on 2012, according to Defra. The total area sprayed with the weedkiller grew by almost 500,000 hectares to 2.1 million hectares, an area the size of Wales.

The Soil Association, has called on supermarkets to take bread containing glyphosate residue off shelves. It said the maximum residue level for glyphosate in wheat of 10 mg per kg had been set well before the finding that the herbicide was probably carcinogenic.

In a recent court case, evidence was laid out showing that Monsanto worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to block a toxicity review of glyphosate by a separate government agency. A current trial and two previous trials have all included evidence that Monsanto engaged in ghostwriting certain scientific papers that concluded glyphosate products were safe; and that Monsanto spent millions of dollars on projects aimed at countering the conclusions of the international cancer scientists who classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.

Monsanto (now Bayer) faces cascading scientific evidence linking glyphosate to a constellation of other injuries that have become prevalent since its introduction, including obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, kidney disease, and inflammatory bowel disease, brain, breast and prostate cancer, miscarriage, birth defects and declining sperm counts. Strong evidence now links glyphosate to various other conditions too.

Researchers peg glyphosate as a potent endocrine disruptor, which interferes with sexual development in children. The chemical compound is certainly a chelator that removes important minerals from the body, including iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and molybdenum. Roundup disrupts the microbiome destroying beneficial bacteria in the human gut and triggering brain inflammation and other ill effects.

The UN expert on toxins Baskut Tuncak wrote in the Guardian on 06/11/2017 that it’s time to put children’s health before pesticides. He said that children are growing up exposed to a toxic cocktail of weedkillers, insecticides, and fungicides. It’s on their food and in their water, and it’s even doused over their parks and playgrounds:

Many governments insist that our standards of protection from these pesticides are strong enough. But as a scientist and a lawyer who specialises in chemicals and their potential impact on people’s fundamental rights, I beg to differ. Last month it was revealed that in recommending that glyphosate – the world’s most widely-used pesticide – was safe, the EU’s food safety watchdog copied and pasted pages of a report directly from Monsanto, the pesticide’s manufacturer. Revelations like these are simply shocking.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most ratified international human rights treaty in the world (only the US is not a party), makes it clear that states have an explicit obligation to protect children from exposure to toxic chemicals, from contaminated food and polluted water, and to ensure that every child can realise their right to the highest attainable standard of health. These and many other rights of the child are abused by the current pesticide regime. These chemicals are everywhere and they are invisible.”

Tuncak argues that the only way to protect citizens, especially those disproportionately at risk from exposure, is for governments to regulate them effectively, in large part by adhering to the highest standards of scientific integrity. He states:

Paediatricians have referred to childhood exposure to pesticides as creating a “silent pandemic” of disease and disability. Exposure in pregnancy and childhood is linked to birth defects, diabetes, and cancer. Because a child’s developing body is more sensitive to exposure than adults and takes in more of everything – relative to their size, children eat, breathe, and drink much more than adults – they are particularly vulnerable to these toxic chemicals.”

According to Tuncak, increasing evidence shows that even at “low” doses of childhood exposure, irreversible health impacts can result. But most victims cannot prove the cause of their disability or disease, limiting our ability to hold those responsible to account. He concludes:

In light of revelations such as the copy-and-paste scandal, a careful re-examination of the performance of states is required. The overwhelming reliance of regulators on industry-funded studies, the exclusion of independent science from assessments, and the confidentiality of studies relied upon by authorities must change.”

Finally, based on a three-year UN-backed study from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, there are grim implications for the future of humanity. The authors conclude that the rapid decline of the natural world is a crisis even bigger than climate change.

Industrial farming is to blame for much of the destruction and extinction of nature.

We need agriculture systems that regenerate ecosystems not degenerate them.

Rosemary Mason

Colin Todhunter is an independent journalist who writes on development, environmental issues, politics, food and agriculture. He was named in August 2018 by Transcend Media Services as one of 400 Living Peace and Justice Leaders and Models in recognition of his journalism.

Filed under: agriculture, Brexit, featured, GMO, latest

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Colin Todhunter is an independent journalist who writes on development, environmental issues, politics, food and agriculture. He was named in August 2018 by Transcend Media Services as one of 400 Living Peace and Justice Leaders and Models in recognition of his journalism.

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Nick
Reader
Nick

This article is just a long rant, mixing points that may well be reasonable (glyphosate safety) with populist rubbish (“GMO”) that is just Luddite nonsense. The difference between GMO-developed plants and traditionally-bred plants is this: “Traditional” plant breeding for the last 60 years works as follows. You take some seeds, and put them next to an intense radiation source, usually cobalt-60. This completely shreds the genomes; most of the seeds die. You plant them and see what comes up. The success rate is tiny, but it’s cheap and easy to do this with millions of seeds. Occasionally, something comes up… Read more »

Paolo
Reader
Paolo

What a crock of laughable BS.

Paolo
Reader
Paolo

And this is exactly the problem with Brexit. The EU actually holds the Tories back from really going all out on the populace. Didn’t that goon Jeremy Hunt recently state that his vision for a post Brexit model for the UK was Singapore?
Quality of life in the UK is lower than in most EU countries, post Brexit it will drop even further behind because the political elite in tandem with the private press have UK politics in a stranglehold and see only capital as the guide to the future (and of course Farage is lock step with that).

Nick
Reader
Nick

problem with Brexit. The EU actually holds the Tories back

No. It’s the job of the British electorate to “hold the Tories back”, by voting them out of office at the next election.

Handing that job over to Brussels makes no sense. You might like the policies of the people who run the EU today, but you (and I) have zero control over what their policies might be next year. Britain as an EU member nominates one Commissioner (out of 28) and British voters elect only one-tenth of the members of the European Parliament.

Paolo
Reader
Paolo

Yes but the british public never do hold them back because decade after decade they are browbeaten by the right wing private press to vote against their own interests. Isnt the Daily Mail the most widely read “news”paper in the uk (or was it the Sun) ?
Press the right buttons and it seems you can get the UK public to do whatever you want if you have the resources and influence.

kevin morris
Reader
kevin morris

You’re not from Greece, then?

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

There’s a huge difference between an EU member that has its own currency, versus being an EU member that: – is in the Eurozone / currency, and voluntarily so – fiddled its books to hide billions in debts that did not allow it to qualify for entry – borrowed even more billions thereafter – mis-managed its economy completely – failed to collect due taxes and allows tax evasion to continue on an industial scale at all levels of society. – ultimately MUST keep to currency rules in order not to f’k up all the other countries using the Euro currency.… Read more »

kevin morris
Reader
kevin morris

Far from ideal-? It’s an economic disaster and not just Greece. In France, open rebellion has taken to the streets. Italy cannot pay its debts to the European Central Bank. Europe is an economic basket case.

As the late and lamented Tony Benn said, ‘If I don’t like a UK government I can vote them out. I can’t do that with the (then) Common Market’. Those words have even greater prescience given the referendum of 2016 and subsequent events.

Sergio andres jr
Reader
Sergio andres jr

MD ‘s with studies on Genomics are wary about glyphosate, organophosphates and other pesticides, GMO food products because of possible gene mutations and polymorphism that will endanger human health. A 5 year study is never enough to decide on genetically edited foodstuff to be considered safe because it will take 20 to 30 years for their effects to manifest . I for myself always tell my patients to avoid all GMO products and those foodstuff exposed to any pesticides. Producers are very dishonest because they never label their products honestly and correctly. Sources of genes for editing should be published… Read more »

Fair dinkum
Reader
Fair dinkum
John2o2o
Reader
John2o2o

Yes, apparently some American chickens have been heard grunting. (joke). What a shit hole.

Fair dinkum
Reader
Fair dinkum

‘Round Up’ alright.
Rounding up the plebs for slow motion slaughter.
Glyphosate is also the favourite poison of dairy farmers.
It’s in your milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream Folks.

Mucho
Reader
Mucho

Seriously, it’s time to start withdrawing labour. Enough is enough. It’s the only thing we can do that will create change

Rail Poison
Reader
Rail Poison

The preferred herbicide for the rail network in the UK (and Australia, and perhaps other countries too) is mainly Glysophate. So, if you live near or use the the railways during the herbicide application period, you get the added bonus of being poisoned without knowing. (You thought you were going to work, not going to be poisoned, right?)
The railway network is saying that this is a cost effective [for them!] to control weed, and there is no suitable alternatives.

The message in the article is bold and clear. Kudos to Colin Todhunter. The plebs need more people like him.

Mucho
Reader
Mucho

I went to tell an NHS hospital as they had recently installed carcinogenic LED lights which cause blindness (it was an eye hospital ironically – Shoreham On Sea, Southlands Hospital), and they couldn’t kick me out of the door quick enough. Didn’t want to know, couldn’t give a shit. The research for the toxic LED street lamps comes from the University of Exeter and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health “Blue light” of LED streetlights linked to breast and prostate cancer https://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_655460_en.html Time to start withdrawing labour I would say, it’s the only language the bastards understand and the only… Read more »

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

I went to tell an NHS hospital as they had recently installed carcinogenic LED lights which cause blindness … and they couldn’t kick me out of the door quick enough. Didn’t want to know, couldn’t give a shit. Not surprising. Boots Opticians (??) was fined £40,000 (??) a while ago for suggesting a connection in their spiel for their blue light filtering spectacle lens (and even I would be cautious about your “carcinogenic” claim, though not claims of AMD and/or the more serious consequences of endocrinological disruption, etc). There’s a lot of things you’re not allowed to say in the… Read more »

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

This thread is about GMO, not bloody 5G !
Go and start a blog about it.

Plod
Reader
Plod

Do not fret, nanny will be up in a minute dry behind your ears and to tuck you into bed.

Mucho
Reader
Mucho

It has basically reached the point where everything we consume and are exposed to is contaminated in some way. Unfortunately, the new LED street lamps also cause breast and prostate cancer (both hormone related) plus other biological issues. Anything that emits a blue light does. They also cause blindness, as your eyes will tell you if you try to look at one. Go out to any street in most places, and you won’t be far from a new LED street lamp. They look hideous and they are hideous. Some of them have “Control Management Systems” and could be 5G enabled,… Read more »

Mucho
Reader
Mucho

One way to reduce the impact of the LED lights is to wear blue light protective glasses, which are actually super cheap.

Simon Hodges
Reader
Simon Hodges

So extinction rebellion firmly support the roll out of 5G to save the world. Since 2016 there has been a lot of literature to suggest that GMO trees and plants can be engineered to increase CO2 capture and storage.

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBD_en-GBGB790GB790&ei=vDDUXN6lDYyJ1fAPgqCxgAQ&q=GMO+increased+carbon+capture&oq=GMO+increased+carbon+capture&gs_l=psy-ab.3..33i22i29i30.13520490.13532397..13533627…0.0..0.389.5995.4j8j10j6….2..0….1..gws-wiz…….35i39j0i131i273j0i273j0i131i67j0i131j0i67j0j0i10j0i22i30j33i160j33i21j33i10.h6oHKVG1VMk

Who’d have thought eh?

John2o2o
Reader
John2o2o

Who indeed, Simon? The stinky rebels are not a genuine grass roots organisation though are they? Cory Morningstar wrote a revealing piece on them. Their exploited spokeschild is being used to sell their politics to the pliant and gullible. IMO.

Narrative
Reader
Narrative

On 26 March 2013, President Obama signed into law “Monsanto Protection Act” …

“The “Monsanto Protection Act” effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future.”

0use4msm
Reader
0use4msm

It’s rather depressing how the topic of GMOs and glyphosate has more or less dropped off the agenda, even in alternative media, as if Monsanto’s take over by Bayer somehow made the problem go away. Russiagate and Brexit are proving to be very effective weapons of mass distraction.

mark
Reader
mark

These Frankenfoods would be the obvious way to implement depopulation and non violent genocide. Male sperm counts in western countries have declined by 1% a year over the past 30 years. There is an agenda behind all this. The Bilderberg/ Davos elites are quite open about reducing the world population to 500 million. It seems the other 7 billion are surplus to requirements, and this will become clearer as globalism and automation proceed apace. 500 million are ample to provide the 0.1% with all the servants, personal trainers, personal astrologers, personal rabbis, and child sex slaves they need. The rest… Read more »

John Doran
Reader
John Doran

The DDT scare was a fraud based on Rachel Carson’s 1962 novel ‘Silent Spring’
Entomologist Dr. J. Gordon Edwards exposed her fraud, which led the Malthusian US EPA,
Environmental Protection Agency to “ban” proven safe DDT, 1972.
This led to about 100 million deaths from malaria in the third world, mostly women & children.
A true holocaust. A disgusting crime against humanity.
I’ve read 50 million. I’ve read 150 million.

Sources: Book by PhD nuclear engineer Robert Zubrin, Merchants of Despair.
duckduckgo search engine & DDT fraud.

John Doran.

John2o2o
Reader
John2o2o

I wouldn’t put that shit on my fields.

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

“Human health effects from DDT at low environmental doses are unknown.”
— US CDC Factsheet, 2009

No worries. Just ask John.

John Doran
Reader
John Doran

State Of Fear, novel on the warming/climate fraud by Medical Doctor Michael Crichton.
50 million deaths. 2005.
http://www.junkscience.com
Put DDT in search box.
DDT was proven safe WWII in the Pacific theater. US was losing as many marines to malaria as to the Japs. It was proven safe in the invasion of Italy.
“banning” it is part of the UN Agenda 21 depopulation policy.
JD.
A 95% depopulation (Ted Turner & Georgia Guidestones) means they want to kill 13 of 14 people now alive. That’s your kids & grandkids.
http://www.c3headlines.com
Click on Quotes.

Stephen
Reader
Stephen

So, DDT is not a neurotoxin, or the neurological damage would have been a “price worth paying”?

John Doran
Reader
John Doran

This is a most important discussion.

http://www.naturalnews.com is a fine scientific source.

Today I saw an article on potatoes on the “Most Viewed Articles” on the Left-Hand side.
In the search box on the RHS I put: Glyphosate carcinogenic
& got many results.

Bearing in mind UN Agenda 21 depopulation policy, by 95%?, this is of utmost importance for our children.

John Doran.

Nick
Reader
Nick

http://www.naturalnews.com is a fine scientific source.

http://www.naturalnews.com is a pseudoscience source.

There, fixed that for you.

Simon Hodges
Reader
Simon Hodges

It gets even more sinister on the 5G front. Abraham Liu who is Huawei’s Chief Representative to the EU institutions, penned this gem in the Brussels Times today entitled “Vote for 5G: securing the legacy of Robert Schuman”. There is clearly a big campaign from Huawei on this. If only we could get a chance to evaluate the risks of 5G and potential damage it will do to us and the environment and actually get to vote on it! I have a feeling this campaign could backfire badly.

http://brusselstimes.com/opinion/15450/vote-for-5g-securing-the-legacy-of-robert-schuman

https://huawei.eu/campaign/vote-5g

John Doran
Reader
John Doran

5G is a BIG killer.
youtube Mark Steele & Dean Henderson. 1 hr 17 mins.
UK Gateshead Council opened their own funeral parlour to profit from the excess deaths their 5G weaponised street lights were causing.
It’s in the courts now.
JD.

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

Would be nice if you kept on topic rather than bringing up 5G all the time!

Simon Hodges
Reader
Simon Hodges

Off Guardian has not posted a single article about 5G. All these matters are related but you wouldn’t see that being of a totalitarian bent yourself.

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

Off-Guardian has not posted a single article about the dangers microwave ovens, but I don’t post here talking about that.
Bizarre that you consider that someone asking you to show a bit of common courtesy to other readers and the site owners as “totalitarianism”.

Simon Hodges
Reader
Simon Hodges

I was referring to your long pro-EU non democratic history but obviously you missed that along with everything else. TINA. There is no alternative = totalitarianism.

Frankly Speaking
Reader
Frankly Speaking

I’m a social democrat, in other words I care for people and democracy. I’m not a totalitarian of the right nor left, and proud of it too. I also possess is a bit of old fashioned, traditional respect for other people, a traditional morality too not the relativistic kind pervasive today.
Totalitarianism is not the answer to our problems, nor is anarchy.

Narrative
Reader
Narrative

birth defects, diabetes, and cancer

  • Boon (great benefit) for business
  • Blessing for the GDP
  • God given gift for Big Phama and privatised health services
  • Simon Hodges
    Reader
    Simon Hodges

    May as well bundle this with 5G and the IoT which is likely to have a large environmental impact. No government seems interested in protecting the people or nature from supposed ‘progressive’ developments because of corporate threats of the loss of revenue, jobs, GDP etc. One thing I can promise you is that no-one will be held accountable or responsible when things go terribly wrong.