A Biased View of Genetically Modified Foods Recently Featured on the Dr. Oz Show
The dangers of genetically modified foods and Monsanto, the world's most hated company and leader in GM crops, received some well-deserved attention from the mainstream media this week on the Dr. Oz show. Although Jeffrey Smith, one of the most prominent researchers and critics of GM foods was part of the three member panel, it was obvious that Dr. Oz's video editing crew did their best to ensure his expertise on the topic was silenced before airing.
I'm not a huge fan of the Dr. Oz show because he (or his administration) frequently
applies half-truths to most of the content he covers on his show. He does cover very relevant topics that generally affect our health and wellness, however, he also conveniently omits very important facts about these topics which make a world of difference in swaying opinion, especially if you're on the fence.
This was especially evident during the media driven hype for the H1N1 pandemic where Dr. Oz promoted poisonous flu vaccines likely on behalf of his pharmaceutical interests (or perhaps Harpo's or Sony's who co-own the show),
Another recent example of Dr. Oz's classic omissions was a show on the healthiest fish. After watching the show, I was flabbergasted on the surprising lack of information regarding mercury content in fish. There was mention of all sorts of benefits regarding antioxidants and minerals in halibut, cod, mackerel and others, but not a single word about mercury.
Halibut for example, has a very high mercury content, yet Dr. Oz was stating recommendations of 4 ounces, 3 times per week, which according to the mercury calculator would put a 200 pound man's mercury exposure at 130% of the EPA limit. Ironically, halibut being the worst culprit (and most expensive), was the only one mentioned in his summary, almost as if he was advocating fish with high mercury content. Coincidence?
The recent airing on GM foods (below) was another perfect example of facts omitted. It left the viewer with little knowledge to arm themselves with, if and when deciding to purchase genetically modified foods for themselves or their family.
Another member on the panel, Pamela Ronald, PhD, is a strong advocate of GM foods and whose book, Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food, was previously listed on Monsanto's website but removed prior to show's airing.
Michael Hansen, PhD, who is an Ecologist and Senior Researcher for Consumer Reports Magazine, rounded off the three member panel. Dr. Hansen had some excellent insights since he's been studying GM foods for decades since they were introduced into the market twenty years ago.
Dr. Hansen stated the the genetically engineered salmon could have an increased allergic component and that endocrine disruptors are used on many GMO crops. He also said that we have actually increased the amount of pesticides used by over 330 million pounds.
Dr.Pamela Ronald riddled off a hilariously false and misleading statement suggesting that there has not been a single instance of harm to human health or to the environment from using GMO crops.
Jeffrey Smith was quick to counter Ronald's absurdity by emphasizing that the American Academy of Environmental Medicine said that there is so much evidence of harm including reproductive problems and accelerated aging that all doctors should prescribe Non-GMO Diets to their patients.
There is, as Jeffrey Smith suggested and contrary to Dr. Ronald's statements, an overwhelming amount of evidence which prove that GM foods are disastrous to human health.
Dr. Pamela Ronald also rudely emphasized that we should take what Jeffrey Smith says with a grain of salt, because he is not a doctor or a scientist. She insisted that people should go with science based research rather than ideas put forth by non-scientists, and that the public should look at university based research websites like AcademicsReview.org, BioFortified.org and ucbiotech.org. In case you were wondering, all of the above sites are funded by the biotech industry.
Dr Oz stated that GMO Crops have been banned from being grown in 6 countries in Europe: France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Greece. So something is clearly bothering scientists in these countries. Dr. Pamela Ronald refused to elaborate on this fact.
Monsanto, of course, declined to appear on the show and instead issued some fairly ridiculous statements to appease the audience, none of which were truthful or accurate. The first was Monsanto's Safety Statement which read:
"There is no need for, or value in testing the safety of GM foods in humans, so long as the introduced protein is determined safe, food from GM crops determined to be substantially equivalent is not expected to pose any health risks. Further, it is impossible to design a long-term safety test in humans."
The second statement was in response to labeling:
“Requiring labeling for ingredients that don’t pose a health issue would undermine both our labeling laws and consumer confidence.”
The safety statement alone shows the true intent of this company. They are not interested in safety, but concealing the true effects of GM foods on human populations.
First of all, the proteins in GM foods have not been determined to be safe because no controlled long-term safety testing has ever been completed. Secondly, the DNA of GM foods is not equivalent to the original food source, so health risks are unknown as even a slight change in a plant's genome can alter nutritional value. Lastly, they indicate that it is impossible to design a long-term safety test, yet this is exactly what releasing these foods (unlabeled) in the population is indirectly accomplishing. It is one big human experiment without the consent of the people.
The labeling statement is a public relations stunt designed to ignore the fact that 80% of people would not buy genetically modified foods if they were labeled as Jeffrey Smith stated. If Monsanto has nothing to hide, then why would they refuse labeling? Again, the statement that GM ingredients don't pose a health issue is purely a fabrication with mounds of scientific evidence in animal studies which prove the opposite.
What was very obvious about the show was the editing that took place behind the scenes. It was quite clear that Jeffrey Smith had unveiled some bombshell facts throughout this show which were conveniently deleted from the final airing. This was evident by the unwarranted antagonistic responses by Dr. Ronald, the facial expressions from both the panelists and Dr. Oz, and the final audio edit which at many times did not coincide with the flow of the conversation.
Why was there no mention of how the earth's agricultural biodiversity is being threatened by GM foods? Or how ongoing imposition of GMOs is one of the greatest threats to the security and sovereignty of all nations? What about mentioning how GM foods can convert our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories and that there is a five-fold increase in infant mortality among babies of mothers that were fed GM soy. And not even one mention on how approved genetically modified foods are linked to organ damage in comprehensive studies.
These are the real issues that the viewing audience must hear to properly inform themselves about the dangers of genetically modified foods, not only to individuals, but entire nations and the world's food supply.
Editing out the pertinent information on GM foods and leaving in the nonsensical debates about who is a scientist, or referring the viewing audience to biased websites endorsed by the biotech industry does very little to inform the public on what they really need to know. The fact that Jeffrey Smith and Dr. Hansen spoke only a mere few sentences with obvious blatant omissions, while Dr. Ronald was given a greater percentage of air time in the final edit, only leads us to conclude that the goal of the show was to keep people misinformed and undecisive.
If Jeffrey Smith
was permitted to elaborate (as he does on the bottom of this article in the video section) even for a short period of time, he would reveal such disturbing and critical facts about GM foods, that it is very likely that the viewing audience would never eat them again.
To Doctor Oz...you will command the greatest respect from the world the day you state the full truth (not half truth) about the relevant issues on your show. Making people aware is one thing, but it takes much more simplifying awareness to change a mindset...it takes the truth!
April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.