Are GMO’s Safe? The Case of Bt Corn

Recently the prominent science journal, Nature, editorialized that we are now swimming in information about genetically modified crops, but that much of the information is wrongóon both sides of the debate. ďBut a lot of this incorrect information is sophisticated, backed by legitimate-sounding research and written with certitude,Ē adding that with GMOs, ďa good gauge of a statementís fallacy is the conviction with which it is delivered.Ē

To many in the scientific community, GMO concerns are dismissed as one big conspiracy theory. In fact one item in a psychological test of belief in conspiracy theories asked people if they thought food companies would have the audacity to be dishonest about genetically modified food. The study concluded that many people were cynical and skeptical with regard to advertising tricks, as well as the tactics of organizations like banks and alcohol, drug, and tobacco companies. That doesnít sound like conspiracy theory to me; that sounds like business as usual.

We must remember there is a long legacy of scientific misconduct. Throw in a multi-billion dollar industry, and one can imagine how hard it is to get to the truth of the matter. There are social, environmental, economic, food security and biodiversity arguments both pro and con about GMOs, but those are outside my area of expertise. Iím going to stick to food safety. And as a physician, Iím a very limited veterinarianóI only know one species (us!). So, I will skip the lab animal data and ask instead: What human data do we have about GMO safety?

One studyconfirmedthat DNA from genetically modified crops can be transferred into humans who eat them, but thatís not what the study found, just that plant DNA in general may be found in the human bloodstream with no stipulations of harm.

Another study, however, did find a GMO crop protein in people, detected in 93 percent of blood samples of pregnant women, 80 percent of umbilical cord blood and 69 percent of sample from non-pregnant women. The toxin theyíre talking about is an insecticidal protein produced by BT bacteria whose gene was inserted into the cornís DNA to create so-called BT-corn, which has been incorporated into animal feed. If itís mainly in animal feed, how did it get into the bodies of women? They suggest it may be through exposure to contaminated meat.

Of course, why get GMOs second-hand when you can get them directly? The next great frontier is transgenic farm animals. A genetically modified salmon was first to vie for a spot at the dinner table. And then in 2010, transgenic cows, sheep, goats and pigs were created, genetically modified for increased muscle mass, based on the so-called mighty mouse model. Frankenfurters!

But back to children of the corn and their mothers. When they say itís a toxin, itís a toxin to corn worms, not necessarily to people. In fact I couldnít find any data linking BT toxin to human harm, which is a good thing since itís considered one of the few pesticides considered so non-toxic, it is sprayed on organic fruits and vegetables.

For those interested in the genetic engineering of livestock, I published a few papers myself on the topic. For those interested:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you havenít yet, you can subscribe to my free videos†here†and watch my live year-in-review presentations†Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death,†More Than an Apple a Day,†From Table to Able, and†Food as Medicine.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

Tariq Hossenbux
Tariq Hossenbux2 years ago

Bt Corn should be cause for people to look more closely at this issue and come to their own conclusions because corn is so common in the North American diet. The fact that it is so common is cause in itself because corn is of little nutritional value. Europeans have typically been more careful with the health of their citizens and as most of know there are many gmo free zones in Europe.

Manuela C.
Manuela C2 years ago


Cindy P.
Cindy P2 years ago

So...... Is it safe or not seems to still be up for debate. Like the author pointed out, we know people and people need to be tested so we can know if GMO effects us Humans or not, good or bad, immediately or later in life, temporary or perm inanely, and the youngins n oldies vs the able adults?!

Tricia Hamilton
Tricia Hamilton2 years ago

If this person is wearing a suit and a mask shouldn't we be concerned over what we are eating?

Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell2 years ago

Thank you

Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman2 years ago

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why America is the only developed country in the world without GMO labeling on such foods, it screams out CORRUPTION and SPECIAL INTERESTS, and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN DONATIONS. Thank you our federal government for denying over 300 million American citizens who truly want GMO foods labeled for our safety and that of our families. A political revolution is required to get the scum and corrupt out of our leadership now and forever.

Ricky T.
Ricky T2 years ago

I don't buy it, if it's approved, they'd mass produce it in order to feed the poor, at a profit.

Fi T.
Past Member 2 years ago

Worth attention