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Further reasons for stopping the GE crops

Robert Anderson
Member of Physicians & Scientists for Responsible Genetics

Reprinted with permission from the October 1999 issue of Alive: Canadian Journal of Health and Nutrition, 7436 Fraser Park Drive, Burnaby, BC V5J 5B9

Biotech Soybeans Deficient

New research shows that genetically engineered (GE) soybeans may be less potent sources of phytoestrogens than their conventional precursors. The research, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food (Vol. 1, no. 4, 1999), reported an overall reduction in phytoestrogen levels of 12-14 percent in genetically altered soybeans, compared to non-GE varieties. Soy foods are recommended largely for their dietary phytoestrogen content.

This research refutes claims that genetically engineered foods are 'substantially equivalent' to their non-GE counterparts. Genetically engineered herbicide-resistant soy is already on the market in Canada, unlabelled and mixed in with conventional varieties.

Industry Claims Torpedoed

New research by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that biotech crops do not produce higher yields or result in reduced pesticide use, as claimed by industry.

American experts studied biotech soy, corn, and cotton across huge tracts of the U.S. farming belt, where both GE and non-GE varieties were being grown. The researchers found no increase in yields from GE crops in 12 of 18 areas. In some areas, conventional varieties produced yields 10 percent or more higher than comparable GE varieties.

In 7 of 12 areas studied, farmers growing biotech varieties used at least the same amount of pesticide as those growing traditional crops. Farmers growing Roundup Ready (herbicide-resistant) soybeans used 2 to 5 times more herbicide per acre, compared to the other popular weed management systems with non-GE soybeans. The research shoots down arguments that Frankenstein foods could help stop hunger in the Third World, or are more environmentally friendly.

Roundup Linked to Cancer

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Cancer Society (March 15, 1999) showed that exposure to the herbicide glyphosate results in increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer.

Glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, is the world's most widely used herbicide. Seventy-one percent of biotech crops planted in 1998 (including biotech soy, canola, and corn) were genetically engineered to be resistant to glyphosate or other herbicides. Herbicide resistant crops allow increased use of these toxic chemicals to kill weeds

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