food supply poisoned

Letter from R. Mason MB ChB FRCA to Public Health England

We now live in a world where it is considered beneficial and necessary to spray poison over all our food and to add more poison (dye, preservatives, flavor enhancers, etc) in processing our food. Then we take more poison to counteract the poisons. Beam me up Scotty, the inmates are insane.” Dr Nancy Swanson; on the history of how corporations have successfully changed the laws in the US to poison our food: 03/04/2014.1

The German Rapporteur Member State recommended re-approval of glyphosate to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

Professor Dr Dr Andreas Hensel President of the Federal Institute of Risk Assessment (BfR) at a Press release in March 2014 said on behalf of BfR:“These new studies do not suggest that glyphosate has carcinogenic or embryo-damaging properties or that it is toxic to reproduction in test animals. The data do not warrant any significant changes in the limit values of the active ingredient… Worldwide, glyphosate is one of the most common active ingredients in pesticides used to prevent unwanted plant growth in plant cultivation or to accelerate the ripening process of crops (desiccation). Glyphosate inhibits an enzyme (5-enolpyruvylshikimate- 3-phosphate synthase) which is essential for the biosynthesis of certain amino acids. This enzyme is not found in animals and humans.“ 2

This final statement by the German BfR is wrong: glyphosate poisons humans in the same way as it poisons plants. Pesticide scientists and plant scientists have based their assessment of herbicides on complete ignorance of human physiology. UK physicians have failed to question the accuracy of the assessors‘ knowledge. 

Human gut microbiome

Humans and animals have exactly the same pathway as in plants; mammals can only absorb nutrition via the bacteria in their gut; the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is the collective genome of organisms inhabiting our body. Glyphosate residues in food disrupt the pathway which involves 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase. Beneficial bacteria are destroyed, causing inflammatory changes in the gut lining, destroying its absorptive capacity in humans and animals, chelating (extracting or grabbing) minerals, depleting micronutrients and interfering with multiple metabolic processes resulting in obesity, type 2 diabetes, autism, dementia, cancers, inflammatory bowel diseases (Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease), celiac disease, hypercholesterolaemia and many other disorders associated with those on a Western diet.

Chatelier, E.L. et al. Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers Nature 29 August 2013; 500: 541-550. 3We are facing a global metabolic health crisis provoked by an obesity epidemic.” In a multi-author study of obese and non-obese individuals, those with “low bacterial richness in the gut (23% of the population) are characterized by more marked overall adiposity, insulin resistance and dyslipidaemia and a more pronounced inflammatory phenotype when compared with those with high bacterial richness.”… “Low richness of gut microbiota has been reported in patients with inflammatory bowel disorder”… “Also notable diversity differences were observed between the urban US population and rural populations from two developing countries.

Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome4

Long-term dietary intake influences the structure and activity of the trillions of microorganisms residing in the human gutIn concert, these results demonstrate that the gut microbiome can rapidly respond to altered diet, potentially facilitating the diversity of human dietary lifestyles.”

An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest5

The worldwide obesity epidemic is stimulating efforts to identify host and environmental factors that affect energy balance. Comparisons of the distal gut microbiota of genetically obese mice and their lean littermates, as well as those of obese and lean human volunteers have revealed that obesity is associated with changes in the relative abundance of the two dominant bacterial divisions, the Bacteroidetes and the Firmicutes.”

Four different patents have been filed for glyphosate in the US by Monsanto (and granted)

  • As a chelator of heavy metals and a wetting agent in 19616
  • As a herbicide in 19687
  • As an antibiotic in 20028
  • As an anti-protozoal agent in 20039

How did this myth, that the shikimate pathway is present in plants but not in mammals, arise?

In the patent document for glyphosate as an anti-protozoal agent9 granted to William Abraham in 2010, on behalf of Monsanto Technology, glyphosate is combined with a polyvalent anion oxalic acid and can be used to treat protozoal parasites such as Plasmodium falciparum, (malaria), Toxoplasma gondii (toxoplasmosis) etc. The Background to Invention claims that the shikimate pathway is present in plants…but not in mammals. So, the error about human physiology originates from Monsanto scientists.

Antibiotic Resistant Diseases

In March 2013, the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, announced that antibiotic-resistant diseases posed an ‘apocalyptic’ threat to humans.10 She pinned the blame on vets, farmers and GPs for overuse of antibiotics. At that time she told MPs that this issue should be added to the national risk register of civil emergencies. In March 2014 I wrote to inform her that glyphosate had been patented as an antibiotic. I finally had a reply: “Given the detailed regulatory regime for plant protection products, this is the most appropriate place for these issues to be considered.”

In common with many doctors in the UK, Dame Sally Davies did not question the regulatory regime.

In 2010, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns of Argentina were the first to point a finger at Monsanto for causing multiple diseases in the rural population11 (see page 6)

In Europe, industry is allowed to choose which country serves as Rapporteur Member State for a particular pesticide.12 Presumably, Dame Sally Davies had no idea that industry was controlling the regulation of pesticides. In fact the German BfR Committee for Pesticides and their Residues (2011-2013) included 2 members from Bayer CropScience (which manufactures Super Strength glyphosate) and 2 members from BASF (which manufactures a precursor of glyphosate). 13

Glyphosate is used to dry crops before harvest as well as for weed control

Monsanto’s document: The agronomic benefits of glyphosate in Europe [2010]14

According to Monsanto, pre-harvest application of glyphosate to wheat and barley was suggested as early as 1980, but its routine use as a drying agent 7-10 days before harvest began in 2006.

Page 3: “Since its discovery in the early 1970s the unique herbicidal active ingredient glyphosate ‘has become the world’s most widely used herbicide because it is efficacious, economical and environmentally benign.’ These properties have enabled a plethora of uses which continue to expand to this day providing excellent weed control both in agricultural and non-crop uses to benefit mankind and the environment. “Glyphosate has an “excellent safety profile to operators, the public and the environment”. The document outlined at least 16 use areas (p3) from vegetation control on land throughout agricultural production, on GM Roundup® Ready Crops and on non-agricultural land “around structures on farms, amenity and industrial areas and on railways” (p 4). In 2004 it was used on 13% wheat area. By 2006 it became used more routinely for weed control or pre-harvest treatment (at least 40% cereal and 80% oilseed rape, p 21). This increases glyphosate residues in animal and human food.

The 2002 Reassessment of Glyphosate shows that it was used for desiccation in the UK in 198115

“In 1981 the UK ADAS16 was recommending that arable farmers could use pre-harvest application of glyphosate on cereal crops…By 1985 the same advisory group was advocating the use of glyphosate on grassland and they declared it to be good practice to graze the grass or preserve it as hay or silage after treatment….”

Defra Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food17

This is why we all have glyphosate residues in our bodies: it is in our staple foods

The results from monitoring of Pesticide Residues in food have been published quarterly since 2000. Bread and breakfast cereals are staple foods but there are no maximum residue limits (MRLs) for bread or cereals. Residues in bread are tested twice a year.

2002 3rd Quarter: Comments: “Residues of chlormequat,18 glyphosate and pirimiphos-methyl19 were found (in bread). These pesticides are commonly used on cereal crops, and residues have been found in other cereal products, therefore these findings are not unexpected. None of the residues found were of concern for consumer health.“

2006 3rd Quarter: Comments: “Eating more starchy foods, like bread, is an important part of the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) advice on healthy eating. The incidence of pesticide residues in bread is relatively high, but our assessment of the risk indicates that the levels we have found in this survey would not be expected to have an effect on health.

2007 3rd Quarter: Comments: “Eating more starchy foods, like bread, is an important part of the FSA’s advice on healthy eating. We often find pesticide residues in bread but our assessment of the risk indicates that the levels we have found in this survey would not be expected to have an effect on health. We have asked the Secretariat to write to the Home Grown Cereals Authority about the incidence of residues.” I couldn’t find a reply.

2011 3rd/4th Quarters for Lentils: Comments: “Sixteen samples of lentils contained glyphosate above the MRL. A new higher level of glyphosate is expected to come into force in summer 2012. None of the residues detected in this survey would be above the new proposed MRL.”

The use of glyphosate for desiccation on both barley and wheat was accepted by the brewing and distilling industries in 200720 therefore it is probable that men are more likely to be overweight because of the consumption of beer or whisky with glyphosate residues. Many foods imported from the US have GM ingredients and will contain glyphosate (or other herbicide residues). These include products which are made from corn or soya, such as energy bars, sugar drinks; and fruit or vegetables. The US still does not require labelling of GM. Animals in the UK are fed with imported GM soya and maize.

EFSA’s Reasoned Opinion Panel increases MRLs at the request of industry

Monsanto Europe asked EFSA to set the import tolerance for glyphosate in lentils “in order to accommodate the authorised desiccation use of glyphosate in lentils in the US and Canada” from 0.1 mg/kg to 10 mg/kg21 (i.e. 100 times: January 2012). EFSA had granted similarly elevated MRLs for glyphosate on wheat and GM soya.

Roundup and AMPA residues in GM Soya

Prof Thomas Bøhn’s paper from Norway which found that GM soya is not ‘substantially equivalent’ to non-GM was ignored.22 This paper describes the nutrient and elemental composition, including residues of herbicides and pesticides, of 31 soy bean batches from Iowa, USA. In a commentary on the paper Bøhn wrote: “Extreme Levels” of Roundup® in Food Became the Industry Norm:23Roundup® Ready GM-soy accumulates residues of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) and GM soy also differs markedly in nutritional composition compared with soybeans from other agricultural practices. Organic soybean samples also showed a more healthy nutritional profile (e.g. higher in protein and lower in saturated fatty acids) than both industrial conventional and GM soybeans. Lack of data on pesticide residues in major crop plants is a serious gap of knowledge with potential consequences for human and animal health. How is the public to trust a risk assessment system that has overlooked the most obvious risk factor for herbicide tolerant GM crops, i.e. high residue levels of herbicides, for nearly 20 years? If it has been due to lack of understanding, it would be bad. If it is the result of the producer’s power to influence the risk assessment system, it would be worse.”

Why is the pesticides industry in the UK investing so much money in human health?

Syngenta’s parent company is AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca manufactures six different anti-cancer drugs mainly aimed at breast and prostate cancer. The Corporation has links in Asia, including Hospitals in China, Japan, Korea, and collaborators in Russia. AstraZeneca’s Oncology Website24 has the following portentous prediction: “Cancer claims over 7 million lives every year and the number continues to rise. Deaths are estimated to reach 12 million by 2030.”

Michael Pragnell MA MBA was the founder of Syngenta and CEO of Syngenta AG based in Switzerland (from its public listing in 2000 to the end of 2007). He was appointed a Trustee of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) in March 2010 and Chairman in November 2010. CRUK is donating money (£450 million/year) to the Government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences25 and AstraZeneca is providing 22 compounds to academic research to develop medicines.

CRUK website on Pesticides and Cancer denies links to pesticides: “For now, the evidence is not strong enough to give us any clear answers. But for individual pesticides, the evidence was either too weak to come to a conclusion, or only strong enough to suggest a “possible” effect. The scientific evidence on pesticides and cancer is still uncertain and more research is needed in this area.26

Swanson et al. Genetically-engineered crops, glyphosate and the deterioration of health in the United States of America27 and CRUK website shows similar trends for certain cancers

In the US glyphosate and GMcrops have high correlations with human diseases, including cancers.

Public Health England shares my concern about the prevalence of chronic diseases in the UK such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.28

The Cancer Research UK (CRUK) website shows similarly increasing trends over time in graphs from 1975 (when glyphosate was introduced) for thyroid cancer,29 breast cancer,30 prostate cancer,31 malignant melanoma,32 liver cancer,33 myeloma,34 and anal cancer.35

Global burden of disease study 2010 shows declines in the health of the UK and US

Between 1990 and 2010, Britain and the US have slipped down the scale of health compared with other wealthy nations and the patterns of disease are remarkably similar.

In the US:36However, morbidity and chronic disability now account for nearly half of the US health burden, and improvements in population health in the United States have not kept pace with advances in population health in other wealthy nations.” In the UK:37The performance of the UK in terms of premature mortality is persistently and significantly below the mean of EU15+ and requires additional concerted action… premature mortality from several major causes such as cardiovascular disease and cancers…In terms of premature mortality worsening ranks are most notable for men and women aged 20-54 years…Increases in Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, oesophageal cancer, congenital anomalies and “a growing burden of disability, particularly from mental disorders” are all acknowledged.

Other epidemiological evidence of deterioration of health since 1970s

Overweight and obesity in mid-life: Evidence from the 1970 British Cohort Study38

The Centre for Longitudinal Studies based at the Institute of Education University of London published their latest report on 9 November 2013.

Their key findings of the cohort at age 42 were that:

  • The generation born in 1970 is considerably more likely to be overweight or obese than those born 12 years earlier were at the same age.
  • Men born in 1970 are far more likely to be overweight than women.

Substantial increase in neurological deaths 1979-2010

Ten major developed Western countries and 10 smaller Western countries were studied. 39 There was a major reduction in general mortality in all 20 countries, but total neurological deaths rose substantially between 1980 and 2010 in both sexes in 16 out of 20 western countries; in particular early onset Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other Dementias, and Motor Neurone Disease. Female neurological deaths in 9 out of 10 countries were greater than males. The authors thought the causes were likely to be epigenetic rather than hereditary. “Moreover, looking back 30 or more years the concept of early dementia or the need for the creation of a Young Parkinson’s Disease Society in Britain would have seemed a tautology.

The Report from the Meeting of Physicians in Crop-sprayed towns in Argentina in 201040

Monsanto had introduced genetically engineered crops (GM Roundup Ready Soya and Corn) to the rural valleys of Argentina in 1996. The rural communities started to complain of ill health, but the complaints were largely ignored by political officials.

TheDeclaration of Caroya’ made on September 13, 2008, by a large group of organizations made up of self-organized neighbors and environmental NGOs from the Capital City of Córdoba, Oncativo, Colonia Caroya, Jesús María, Sinsacate, Alta Gracia, Cañada de Luque, Marcos Juárez, La Granja, Anisacate, Río Ceballos, and Las Peñas, among others.”

This text reads as follows: “That the processes of soyization, monoculture, direct sowing, intense farming … have affected our natural co-existence in the following order: Health: Reduction in the average age and height in crop-sprayed towns due to malnutrition, and a decrease of the body’s natural defenses. Birth defects, mutagenesis, miscarriages, depression and suicide, disorders of the central nervous system and other neurological pathologies; disabilities, spina bifida, lupus, leukemia and other types of cancers; chloracne and other skin problems; asthma, allergies, and other respiratory and lung-related problems; male sterility and impotence; hormonal disruption and other hormonal disorders; diminished childhood development; prolonged febrile syndrome without focus; children’s increased vulnerability to pollutants; anemia, multiple sclerosis, cerebral ischemia, death.“ Neural tube defects were 70 times more common in the heavily fumigated areas and in Leonesa, childhood cancer had risen threefold between 2000 and 2009. “…the use of pesticides also increased exponentially since the introduction of transgenic crops. This type of crop requires the use of more and more pesticides. In 1990, 35 million liters were used during the crop year. In 1996, the introduction of transgenic biotechnology accelerated the use of pesticides to the extent that 98 million liters were used, and in 2000, it increased to 145 million liters. Last year (2009) 292 million liters were used, and this year (2010) we will be spraying the fields with over 300 million liters of herbicides, insecticides, acaricides, defoliants and other poisonous substances (see Graph No. 12). 200 million liters of Glyphosate, a commonly used pesticide, may be sprayed this year (2010).”

Studies by the Embryology Department in Buenos Aires led by Prof Andrés Carrasco

The original study 41from Prof Andrés Carrasco’s Embryology Department in Buenos Aires described teratogenic effects (neural tube defects) in frog and chick embryos exposed to low dose glyphosate.

Interestingly, this paper was considered by the RMS BfR, but was rejected as not reliable. This is what they said about it:

Not reliable. Non-guideline study that is not sufficiently described for assessment. Inadequate positive and negative control experiments. Irrelevant routes of exposure and inappropriately high doses. Test system not adequate for human risk assessment.

Multiple high quality studies and expert review panels consistently agree that glyphosate is not a teratogen or reproductive toxicant and the author’s justification for this research is flawed, providing no valid basis, other than an opinion, of an increase in the rate of birth defects in Argentina. Direct injection of frog embryos and through chicken shells do not reflect real world exposure scenarios to either environmental species or humans.” (Vol. 3 Annex B.6.1, p669) 42

However, BfR excluded from consideration a report of 27 congenital anomalies in seven geographic regions of Argentina.43 The multi-author chapter from Argentina & Paraguay published in 2012 by Lopez, S.L. et al GMO Pesticides Used in South American GMO-Based Agriculture: A Review of Their Effects on Humans and Animal Models was also excluded. 44

Professor Andrés Carrasco’s delegation was assaulted when he came to present the paper

On 7th August 2010 Professor Andrés Carrasco, lead embryologist at the University, Buenos Aires Medical School and the Argentinean National Research Council, came to give a talk about his research to community activists and residents gathered in La Leonesa. His research showed that glyphosate, an agrochemical used on genetically modified soy and rice in Argentina, causes birth defects in animal embryos at levels far below those frequently used in agricultural spraying. A delegation of public officials and residents from the nearby community of Resistencia also came to La Leonesa to hear the talk.45 “But it never took place. As the delegation walked towards the school where the talk was to be held, it was attacked by a violent mob of approximately 100 people. Three people were seriously injured. Carrasco and a colleague shut themselves in a car and were surrounded by people beating the vehicle for two hours. Witnesses believe that a local rice producer and officials had organised the attack to protect agribusiness interests. 46As the police seemed reluctant to intervene, Amnesty International subsequently called for an investigation.”

The Amnesty International investigation 47established that: “One person has since suffered from lower body paralysis after being hit on his spine, and another is undergoing neurological examinations after receiving blows to the head. The former provincial Sub-Secretary of Human Rights, Marcelo Salgado, was struck in the face and left unconscious. Dr Carrasco and his colleague shut themselves in a car, and were surrounded by people making violent threats and beating the car for two hours. Members of the community were injured and a journalist’s camera equipment was damaged.

Members of the community who witnessed the incident have implicated local officials in the attack, as well as a local rice-producer and his workers and security guards. They strongly believe that the violence was promoted by them, and motivated by the powerful economic interests behind local agro-industry. Despite calls to local authorities asking for help, the police were slow to respond and failed to send sufficient reinforcements to stop the violence.”

Andrés Carrasco vs Monsanto: Obituary in Washington Post: Professor Andrés Carrasco gained himself several enemies in a country heavily dependent on agriculture, most of it by now dominated by GM crops, soybean in particular48

When Professor Andrés Carrasco, aged 67, died in May 2014, the Washington Post immediately ran an article entitled “Argentine Scientist who Challenged Monsanto dies”. “Other newspapers in the US and across the world, from The Times of India to Mexico’s La Jornada, and dozens of websites (including Fox News and Salon), published similar stories… Contrary to the international attention it stirred, the readers of Argentina’s most widely read newspaper –Clarín– were not even informed of Carrasco’s death. La Naciōn, the second most-read Argentinean daily, only published an extremely brief obituary four days after the decease. Half of the text was dedicated to discrediting Carrasco’s findings, a rather strange thing to do in an obituary. Both newspapers belong to companies with direct links to agribusiness.”

In the Renewal Assessment Report in Europe in 2014, the Glyphosate Task Force49 managed to kill off the first and, arguably, the most damning piece of research about glyphosate

In 2014 a Medical Enquiry had been announced in Argentina into the effects on human health of glyphosate in GMO systems of agriculture. The problems were investigated on BBC Radio 4.50 Prof Andrés Carrasco, who had been a member of CONICET, the Argentinian Scientific Committee, had continually challenged Monsanto and the pesticide regulators. He would have been a key witness. However, he died on May 10th 2014 at the age of 67, in the period between his giving evidence to the journalist Linda Pressly and when her programme was broadcast on May 14th.

Areas covered by sugar cane coincide with areas where amphibians have been wiped out

Eleven countries on three continents are affected by Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown etiology, CKDu. This includes sugar cane workers in Central America and Louisiana where glyphosate, sprayed by air 6 weeks before harvest, is used to ripen the sugar cane.51 The aerial spraying of glyphosate could also explain the mass extinction of amphibians across Central America from chytrid fungus.52

Loss of coral and glyphosate persistence in seawater in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR)

A study of coral cover published in 2012 showed that between 1985 and 2012 the GBR had lost 50% of its coral.53 Glyphosate and its degradation product AMPA was shown to be persistent in seawater particularly under conditions of darkness. Samples of microbial populations and seawater around have shown that glyphosate run-off from agricultural land (mostly sugar cane) is contributing to the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.54 Half-lives in “simulation” flask tests ranged from 47 to 315 days. Glyphosate degraded most rapidly under low light and most slowly in the dark. AMPA, the biodegradation metabolite of glyphosate was detected in each treatment. This persistence increases the potential for transport into the marine environment.

Monsanto vv Prof GE Séralini: On 15/01/2015 The Institute of Science in Society has summarized the global research about glyphosate. This includes the paper by Prof GE Séralini which Monsanto lobbyists had illegally retracted

A Roundup® of Roundup® Reveals Converging Pattern of Toxicity from Farm to Clinic to Laboratory Studies

Extract: The most comprehensive GMO feeding study to date carried out by Gilles-Eric Séralini and his team, looked at the effects glyphosate and glyphosate tolerant maize NK603 on rats during their life-time (2 years). It showed increased incidence of tumours (including cancers), other illnesses, as well as reduced life-span and altered hormone status. The 2012 publication was aggressively attacked by industry and its supporters and unilaterally and illicitly retracted a year after publication following the appointment of an ex-Monsanto employee as an editor for the journal (see [49] Retracting Séralini Study Violates Science and Ethics, SiS 61). It has subsequently been republished elsewhere [50] after massive public protest (see [51] Open Letter on Retraction and Pledge to Boycott, SiS 61).

 neural tube defect A baby with a neural tube defect; this is a meningo-myelocoele. More extensive defects can occur. Hospital de Posadas, Misiones, Argentina. Photograph by kind permission of Dr Graciela Gomez.

Dr Graciela Gomez (courageous lawyer and campaigner for the rights of rural communities in Argentina) has this quotation at the bottom of her website:

Quien sabe que se comete un crimen y no lo denuncia es un CÓMPLICE (José Martí).”

Translated: “Whosoever knows that a crime was committed and denounces it not is an ACCOMPLICE”

Rosemary Mason MB ChB FRCA 29/01/2015


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One Response to “Our Food Supply is being Poisoned”

  1. Pierre says:

    Dear Barb that very strongh information that will be spray around the world,thank you very much.