Categories super nutrition academy health class
Jeffrey M. Smith, joins me in the episode to discuss the dangers of GMO foods and what you can to avoid them.
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Hey, guys, Yuri Elkaim here with another episode of the Super Nutrition Academy Health Class. I’m really excited to have with me in this interview a dear friend of mine, Jeffrey Smith.
If that name rings a bell, it’s probably because you’ve probably heard some of the amazing things he’s doing in the world of GMO activism and getting consumers and big corporations aware of what’s happening with genetically modified foods, which is such an important message. We’re going to dive into that in this interview.
Just to give you a little background on Jeffrey, he is the leading consumer advocate when it comes to promoting healthier, non-GMO choices, and he’s the author of the world’s best-selling and number one-rated book on the topic, which is called Seeds of Deception. If you’re interested in GMOs, Jeffrey is the guy you want to follow. And if you have a TV, which I’m sure you do, and if you have access to—I guess I’ll ask him in a second, but it’s a great movie called Genetic Roulette.
Yuri: Jeffrey, welcome to the call. Welcome to the interview.
Jeffrey: Thank you.
Yuri: Just quickly, Genetic Roulette, is it available on iTunes, Netflix, or…?
Jeffrey: It’s supposed to be soon. We have a person working on that. in the meantime, it’s available on Amazon, it’s available at GeneticRouletteMovie.com, and it’s available by DVD, and you get a bonus DVD if you buy it from Genetic Roulette Movie.
Yuri: Awesome. Everyone listening, this is a topic area that is really controversial, at least when it comes to the political forces involved. But what Jeffrey’s been able to do is really create a movement of awareness and amazing education. Why don’t we jump right into this, and, I guess, what was your impetus for getting involved in GMOs?
Jeffrey: Well, I actually got inspired by a genetic engineer. He is an expert at DNA, swapping genes between species, DNA research, et cetera. In 1996 I attended a lecture where he was alarmed that they were about to put this immature, accident-prone science into crops that we were going to eat and release outdoors, and they were going to become part of the background noise, a contaminated gene pool.
It was a technology that was going to simultaneously impact potentially very negatively everyone who eats but also the entire ecosystem, meaning all living things, and because it’s a self-propagating pollution of the gene pool, all future generations. We have never had this type of technology before in the history of the world, and I realize that it was being introduced in a stealth manner; almost no one knew about it.
I figured the scientists needed some help to get the word out, so I started to translate the science into English and then later I worked at a GMO-detection laboratory and then I wrote a book and now I’ve been to 37 countries and that’s all that I do.
Yuri: That’s awesome. You’ve been on BBC, NPR, Dr. Oz, and you talked about how you’re taking what the scientists are doing and bringing it to kind of mass awareness.
What do people need to know about the dangers of GMOs? The bill was shot down in California a little while ago, which is unfortunate. Before we get into the political stuff, why are GMOs dangerous for human health?
Jeffrey: A genetically modified organism, you take genes from one species and force it into the DNA of other species. The FDA scientists were of an absolute consensus that the technology itself was dangerous, that it could create allergens, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They repeatedly warned their superiors to require testing. They were ignored.
The FDA had been told by the White House in 1991 and ’92 to promote biotechnology by the George Bush White House, and they created a new position specifically for Michael Taylor—Michael Taylor was Monsanto’s former attorney. Monsanto’s the big GMO company.
His policy that he oversaw ignored the scientists’ warnings, denied even the existence of the warnings in the scientists, saying, “We don’t see any difference between GMOs an non-GMOs.” And then, on that basis, said absolutely no testing is necessary; no labeling is necessary. Companies like Monsanto, who told us that PCBs, Agent Orange and DDT were safe, they could determine on their own—and they’ll get it right this time, “we promise!”—that GMOs are safe and put it on the market without even telling the FDA or consumers.
Now, their concerns at the FDA have been validated since. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine, for example, reviewed animal-feeding studies four years ago and, at that point, said there’s so much damage to these rodents that have been fed GMOs in labs: gastrointestinal disorders; reproductive disorders; immune problems; accelerated aging; organ damage; insulin and cholesterol problems.
They said every doctor should prescribe non-GMO diets to everyone. In the meantime, the government should simply remove the GMOs and put in a moratorium. The government ignored them but the doctors did not. Now thousands of doctors are prescribing non-GMO diets, and the people are reporting getting better from the same diseases that were afflicting the lab animals.
And when livestock are taken off of GMOs, they’re getting better from the same disorders. And when pets are taken off, they’re getting better from these same disorders, which are on the rise in the U.S. population since GMOs were introduced and which would be predicted if you simply look at the characteristics of the poisons that end up in the GMOs.
When I interview, I interview audiences and, typically, we have people in the audience, lots of people in the audience who get better from gastrointestinal problems of all types, allergies, asthma, skin problems, brain fog, weight problems, diabetes, infertility, liver problems, anxiety, depression, aggression impulsiveness, autism, all these things.
I can sit with scientists like I did today. I interviewed a biochemist who went into the details of what could be going wrong with GMOs, and it would predict these types of disorders.
Yuri: So, we’re essentially playing Jurassic Park with our food supply pretty much.
Jeffrey: That’s the technical term.
Yuri: I guess the idea with GMOs is to get better yield out of crops, make them more resistant to frost or different diseases so that farmers and companies are able to get more out of their input, I guess. Is that the idea?
Jeffrey: Sort of. Actually, GMOs reduce yield. It’s a little-known secret outside those of us who study it in detail, but GMOs do not increase yield.
They were told over and over again by the biotech hype that it’s needed to feed the world, but the experts at feeding the world not only recognize that GMOs don’t increase yield, they realize that it takes money away from the more appropriate technologies that do increase yield, that are sustainable and that are appropriate for developing countries.
We have now two main types of GMOs: the GMOs that can be sprayed with a weed killer that would normally kill natural plants, but they’re not killing the GMOs because of the inserted bacterial gene. So, the Roundup Ready Soybean can be spread with Roundup; LibertyLink Corn can be sprayed with Liberty; and then you have corn and cotton plants that can also produce their own toxic insecticide, which breaks open the stomach of insects to kill them.
In both cases, we eat the toxin. We eat the toxin in the corn it produces; it can poke holes in cells. We eat the weed killer that’s absorbed into the herbicide and crops. We can analyze those and it’s actually horrific what we find.
Yuri: I just had corn on the cob for dinner.
Jeffrey: My condolences.
Yuri: Yeah, exactly. But we got them from a local farmer. How do we know or how does a consumer know even if they’re buying locally from a farmers’ market or a local farm around their neighborhood, how do we know whether something is GMO’d or not? And do the farmers even know?
Jeffrey: Well, they’ll know for corn because they’ll have to sign contracts if they buy Monsanto sweet corn, for example, and they’ll know that it’s designed to be sprayed with Roundup and it produces a BT toxin, so it’s a double whammy. In fact, it’s a triple whammy because it’s not processed at all, so all of the risks are right there, right in front of you.
With high-fructose corn syrup or things where there’s no DNA or protein left, the risk is quite a bit less, but if you eat raw corn that’s been sprayed with Roundup and it’s producing BT toxin, you can end up with some serious issues. We could talk about studies done in Canada, where you are, that showed the BT toxin ended up in the blood of people and in the unborn fetuses of pregnant women. And other studies show that it can poke holes in human cells. You put those together and it can spell catastrophe; it can spell leaky gut, which is the permeability in the gut walls; it can lead to inflammation of the gut walls; autoimmune disease, immune system problems; maybe even cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and autism.
But your question is how to avoid this stuff. If you are a corn farmer, you’ll generally know if it’s GMO, so you should ask the farmer whether it was genetically engineered or not. And if it’s not, then you still have the question: Is it downwind from a GMO field, and did it tassel the time that the other one was pollinating?
You may end up getting cross-contaminated corn, so a small percentage of the kernels that you’re eating on the same cob may be genetically engineered. It won’t be sprayed with Roundup if it’s downwind unless there’s drip. You can buy organic and that means that they’re trying to not allow for contamination, but some contamination does occur. If you’re eating zucchini or yellow squash, that might be genetically engineered, and even the grower may not know in that case.
Yuri: What are the…within the produce world, what are the most genetically modified foods that we should avoid?
Jeffrey: Well, we just said three out of four of them. The zucchini, yellow squash, corn, and papaya. It’s only papaya from Hawaii or China. There’s also edamame, which is soy, but, really, there’re only nine GM food crops, but, unfortunately, the five or six of them are practically on the present in processed foods and animal feed.
We have soy, corn, cottonseed oil, canola oil, sugar from sugarbeets, alfalfa used as hay, and we mentioned, we have papaya, zucchini, and yellow squash.
Yuri: When people pick up a boxed or a packaged food and they see canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, we can assume that it’s probably coming from a GMO plant at some level.
Jeffrey: Well, if it’s made in the U.S. or Canada, yes, ’cause 90 to 95 percent of the canola is GMO, and when they crush it into oil, they don’t segregate it unless it’s a specific plant that segregates it on purpose. And if you’re going to go through the trouble of segregating it, you’re going to brag and boast about it, so it’s going to say non-GMO on it or it’s going to say organic if that’s the case.
Same thing with soy or corn. Ninety-three percent of the soy; 88 percent of the corn; 94 percent of the cotton. All of those cottonseed oils and whatnot, they’re going to be GMO if made in North America.
Yuri: What about, is wheat on that list at all, or is wheat kind of a different hybridized issue?
Jeffrey: Wheat is not genetically engineered at this point. Monsanto wants to GMO everything. In fact, their stated goal was to genetically engineer 100 percent of all commercial seeds in the world within 15 to 20 years and essentially replace nature with designer genes designed for greater profit and control.
This is something that would be a catastrophe of unparallel proportions to take the products and the billions of years of evolution and replace it with new organisms with a science that’s known to create side effects and no way to clean up the gene pool.
Yuri: I just shot a video today about how disgusted I was with TED Talks in response to their recent banning, for lack of a better term, of any topics related to GMOs, vaccinations, pseudoscience, as they call it. I find it ridiculously irresponsible on their part to not even consider GMOs as something that’s scientifically validated. What are your points of view on this?
Jeffrey: We should create an alternate to TED. It’s a corrupted organization but we see that is the norm these days. You look at the royal society in London; you look at the regulatory agencies around the world; you look at so many areas, and I’ve been studying this for 17 years, ’cause if you’re looking seriously at the geopolitics of genetic engineering, you realize that Monsanto has embedded themselves. I’ve been to 37 countries, and I see them everywhere.
We have a situation when independent scientists actually speak on GMOs properly or discover problems, they’re pounced upon. They’re threatened, they’re fired, they’re denied tenure, denied funding, gagged, and this happens over and over again, in some cases, physically assaulted. We’ve documented this and we interview them.
It has been an incredible suppression on the research. There’s hardly anyone that wants to do research on GMOs because they don’t want to risk their career. If they want to, they can’t get the seeds because they’re patented and the companies have control. If they somehow get the seeds, it’s very hard to get funding.
If they get the funding, you can’t publish in United States because of the ties to the biotech industry. If you publish it overseas, you risk losing all future funding, and you certainly won’t get a barrage of personal attacks that, according to Nature magazine, Nature Journal, is not helpful to science, as we know.
Yuri: We’re kind of up against it and so are the scientists who are interested in looking this up. You brought up a really good point at the event we were at a little while ago, where you said it really comes down to, there’s going to be a critical mass where consumers are simply going to be demanding non-GMO foods to such a degree where corporations are going to be forced to basically eliminate GMOs from their foods; otherwise, they’re just not going to keep up with market share. Can you elaborate on that?
Jeffrey: Yeah, I’ll do it in the form of the story, which is interesting. We talked about Monsanto’s plans to genetically engineer 100 percent of the seeds. This was revealed by their consultant Arthur Anderson in a San Francisco 1999 January conference.
At the same conference another company projected that within five years, by 2004, 95 percent of all commercial seeds would be genetically engineered. They did not anticipate the lifting of a gag order on a scientist who discovered problems with GMOs, was fired from his job after 35 years, silenced with threats of a lawsuit, maligned in the press, lied about.
The UK government actually targeted him to discredit and disinform the population about his research, but the UK Parliament lifted his gag order—he was able to speak on February 16—and within a month, more than seven hundred articles on GMOs were circulating in the UK press. Within ten weeks of the gag order being lifted, a tipping point of consumer rejection, the critical mass had been achieved.
So many Europeans said no to GMOs that Nestles and Unilever and everyone said, “Okay, no more GMOs in Europe.” McDonald’s doesn’t serve them there, Burger King doesn’t serve them there, and they serve them here.
Now, that tipping point here should not require a vote. It doesn’t require 51 percent of Americans to stop eating a product before the manager’s going to say, “Well, we lost half our market share; it’s time to switch.” Because there’re no consumer benefits to GMOs, if there is a backlash against them, then they’re going to get rid of them, and we’re starting to see that now.
This is what we’ve been engineering at the Institute for Responsible Technology, so we are genetic engineers of a different type. We’re engineering a revolt against GMOs through education, telling people the truth. The movie Genetic Roulette changes people’s diet instantly.
And we’ve been talking about this for, I’ve been working on it for 17 years. Now we’re seeing, we’re not only in the early stages of the tipping point, but we’ve actually tipped it in the national food industry, and the next stage, which is battle for market share in Safeway and Walmart, that’ll determine whether we have an immediate tipping point in the United States and Canada. That’s coming up very soon because we know that in the health-food sector, Whole Foods president said that when a product becomes non-GMO project-verified, it increases sales by 15 to 30 percent.
We don’t know what’ll happen when a product is labeled as non-GMO project-verified in Walmart and Safeway and Loblaws and all that, but we’re about to find out, ’cause it’s going to happen very soon. If we tip the scales there, the food companies are going to say, “We don’t want to be second to market with a non-GMO label, because we saw what happened to this other brand.”
Yuri: And it’s unfortunate; I mean, I’m not a huge fan of food companies, as my listeners and followers know, and it’s unfortunate that a lot of the food companies really don’t give a crap about our health.
It’s all about whatever is going to impact their bottom line, and in this case it’s not about switching to non-GMO foods because of the health benefit; it’s about the fact that they’re going to negatively be affected if they don’t. It’s sad, but I guess if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes, right?
Jeffrey: Well, that’s what it takes, unfortunately, because right now the federal government is in the pocket of Monsanto. For example, that guy who was in charge of GMO policy that allowed it on the market without testing, Michael Taylor, after then becoming the chief lobbyist for Monsanto, Obama put it back at the FDA as the U.S. Food Czar. The biotech governor of the year from Iowa became the Secretary of Agriculture. The person who was at the lobbying organization for the biotech industry became the Chief Negotiator for Agriculture United States, for International Treaties.
We have a situation where, if you look at Wikileaks, the entire state department is deployed on behalf of the biotech industry. We have a situation where we have to rely on the market. Unfortunately, the market is the most stable response to this.
You think about politics. I was flown to Poland by the government and gave a press conference with the Polish Minister of Environment about GMOs; a week later he was no longer the environment minister because they lost that vote. I was in Thailand lobbying the ministers there to prevent outdoor release of GMO field trials. We were successful until the following week, and they got a new government.
A political situation or solution is always unstable, but GMOs have stayed out of the food industry in Europe—the direct derivatives, not animal feed—since they were kicked out in 1999. We also kicked out collectively bovine growth hormone out of Walmart and Starbucks and Yoplait and Dannon and most American dairies because the milk has higher concentrations of a cancer-promoting hormone called IGF-1.
It’s so high that Monsanto’s scientists, we’re told by a former Monsanto scientist, refused to drink milk after they saw the levels unless it was organic. One bought his own cow.
By presenting—I know, it’s crazy—by presenting this information to consumers, we’re at the top of the food chain, and in this case it doesn’t take a lot. It’s really weird, Yuri.
We’re talking about one of the most dangerous technologies in the history of the Earth, because it can affect all living beings and all future generations; outlasting the effects of global warming; outlasting nuclear waste. The only thing that has a longer life than genetic pollution is extinction. Yet it may come down to whether one product on the shelves of the supermarkets increases sales and the product leader decreases sales and that little, almost ridiculous thing could protect all living beings and all future generations.
Yuri: It’s amazing. So, the power really is within our hands, which is nice. It’s empowering that we can make a difference. With that said, what are some everyday tips that regular people can implement into their lives to kind of move the needle in the right direction but also ensure that they’re not consuming GMOs?
Jeffrey: All right, let’s talk about the avoiding GMOs and then we’ll talk about the activist piece. NonGMOShoppingGuide.com is our Web site that helps people navigate. We have over ten thousand products that have been verified by another organization, the Non-GMO Project, and we have the tips: buy organic; buy products that are labeled non-GMO; buy products listed in the shopping guide; or avoid the at-risk ingredients, and we list them all, all the derivatives of soy, the derivatives of corn, et cetera. Also, aspartame comes from a GMO microorganism. Then we also have an iPhone application, Shop No GMO; you can just download that.
As far as activism goes, knowledge has organizing power. I’m going to give some specific tools to everyone so that they can become more aware and to share these points. You talked about the movie Genetic Roulette; that’s at GeneticRouletteMovie.com. It’s by far and away the most potent and quickest transformation experience.
We’ve done pre- and posttests. We’ve asked people to rate themselves in their vigilance in avoiding GMOs before and then after the film, how active they are in talking about GMOs before and after the film. It moves the needle like nothing else. That’s the main thing.
But we also have a newsletter which is available at ResponsibleTechnology.org. It’s called Spilling the Beans; people can share that and post it. We have a speaker training for those who like to speak or are speaking on other topics already; that’s also available on that site, on ResponsibleTechnology.org.
We have a network of activism called the Tipping Point Network; you know where that’s going. We have over ten thousand people with over 117 groups in North America, mostly the United States. And we also have a plan to approach specific demographics, which we’ve already started: moms; pet owners; health care professionals; certain groups of sick people who are suffering from problem related to GMOs in our opinion; as well as certain religious groups that think GMO means “God, move over.”
We have opportunities for people to plug in to that. On October 25 to 27 this year, 2013, we have a GMO mini summit, where John Robbins and I will be interviewing some of the top experts and activists in the world in this field, all completely free online. There’s a March Against Monsanto on October 12.
We have some surprises we’re going to share with only our subscriber list this month, in October, which is Non-GMO Month. We really want people to subscribe so that we can let people know when there’s a petition to be signed, when there’s someone to call, and when there’s a need to do something special to tip the ballots.
We invite people to that community that we’ve created, and we can work together…and already massively successful. Non-GMO-labeled products, Yuri, in 2012 were the fastest-growing group of foods in the United States.
Yuri: That’s amazing.
Jeffrey: We have been hugely successful through our education programs. Target is taking GMOs out of its home brand next year; Ben & Jerry’s by next year; Chipotle restaurants by next year. We are moving the needle already, and I think it’s…we are expecting to win this, and we’re expecting to win it soon but we need help.
Yuri: That’s awesome. Everyone listening to this, ResponsibleTechnology.org. Sign up for Jeffrey’s newsletter; it’s awesome. If this is something that is a passion of yours or something you think you need to be involved in, even if it’s within your household at some level, this is information you need to know about, this is information you need to pass on to your kids, your friends. With that, like Jeffrey said, with education comes this mass kind of movement in the right direction.
Jeffrey: And you said kids, Yuri, and kids are really most at risk. What I’m hearing from pediatricians is there’s a whole new set of very complicated disorders, often immune and digestly related. A lot of these pediatricians realize or believe that GMOs are a primary driver of that, and removal of GMOs is key.
I’ve heard more testimonials than anyone in the world from parents that have removed GMOs from their kids’ diet or people that have removed GMOs from their own diet. I’ll give you one or two.
In MIT someone in the audience said their kid, six-and-a-half-year-old son was out of control, he was violent, they wanted to kick him out of school. She saw the film Genetic Roulette, changed his diet immediately. Within a month, she said she had a new son; all the problems disappeared.
I had a mother come up to me in Orange County, California; she just broke down crying, saying, “Thank you for saving my children.” I went and met those children. I’ve seen pictures of them before and after. They had really serious allergic reactions taking them out of school for weeks. Got rid of GMOs and their whole reactivity had gone down to a fraction of where it had been.
I hear this all—parents of autistic kids take the kids off of the GMOs and report improvements. We are tracking this. We’re working with a lot of doctors now to gather these types of testimonials, and people can send it to us at Healthy@ResponsibleTechnology.org.
We’re getting parents about their kids, pet owners about their pets or horses; farmers and veterinarians about their livestock, dramatic changes in livestock within two or three days. We’re very confident, especially because of the livestock, when humans get rid of GMOs because they’re not labeled in the U.S., unlike 64 other countries, then people have to either buy organic or switch to less-processed foods.
There are cofactors that might help explain why someone is getting better. Maybe it’s not the GMO that’s causing the problem; maybe it’s the other toxic chemicals that are found in nonorganic foods; maybe it’s the additives found in processed foods. But when pigs or cows remove GMOs from their diet by the veterinarians and the farmers, all they’re doing is switching to non-GM versions of the same species.
Yuri: And there’s no placebo there.
Jeffrey: No placebo, right. It’s not like, you don’t have to sit with a cow and consult with him. And there’re no co-factors. You don’t have gluten-free pigs or dairy-free cows or raw; all of a sudden they don’t become vegans and raw. You end up having stories like diarrhea disappearing in two days in a Danish pig farm; a drop of 75 percent in medicinal treatments immediately on an Iowa farm; a drop in death rates in pneumonia on a 5000-head count cattle feeding-lot operation.
Probably the most compelling story in Genetic Roulette was in South Africa where this farmer had terrible health problems with his cows and pigs, and, based on a recommendation by a veterinarian, he took out the GM corn. They all got better. Ran out of the non-GM corn, bought the corn from the market, they all got worse. Was able to secure a full, complete year’s worth of non-GM corn, they all got better.
What was most compelling was the fact that in South Africa, the farm workers eat, most of their caloric intake is corn. It’s eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And they were eating the same corn that the animals were. And before they were fed the non-GM corn, they were dying one or two a week.
These are 60 farm workers—no, one or two or month—were dying according to a report. They were suffering from inflammatory disease, flulike symptoms, severe headaches. They had no idea why, but when they switched to non-GM corn, the problems disappeared. And when they ran out and had to go back to GM corn, the problems reappeared until the non-GM corn was finally secured.
This is a group of people who are eating more GMOs than anyone else in the world. They’re unfortunately our canaries in the coal mine; they’re our guinea pigs and it’s horrific what happened to them, but it’s very, very telling.
Yuri: Wow! This has been very, very enlightening. It’s been a fire hose of inspiration and information. I think in terms of immediate action, that Web site you suggested earlier for finding out the best foods to avoid or choose, was it non-GMO shopping or…?
Jeffrey: NonGMOShoppingGuide.com or the iPhone application Shop No GMO.
Yuri: Shop No GMO or NonGMOShoppingGuide.com. Awesome. I think if our listeners start with that and get a better sense of what foods they can avoid, let the seed kind of percolate and start moving toward these better decisions, I think that’s a huge first step. Jeff, this has been an honor. Thank you so much.
The stuff you’re doing is incredible, and I’m completely positive that what you are doing is going to transform this planet in a good way. I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart, as someone who really cares about the health of this planet and its inhabitants, for the work that you’re doing. It really is amazing.
Jeffrey: Thank you so much.
Yuri: Awesome. Again, everyone, he’s mentioned a number of Web sites throughout the call, so go back through it; you can read the transcript. Get those URLs, check it out, subscribe to his newsletter at ResponsibleTechnology.org, and stay tuned for more amazing stuff that’s coming down the pipes with non-GMO foods. Thank you so much, Jeffrey; it’s been a pleasure.
Jeffrey: Thank you. Safe eating.
Yuri: Awesome, you too. Thank you very much.
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