Jason talks with Jeffrey Smith from the Institute for Responsible Technology in Iowa. As an international bestselling author and independent filmmaker Jeffrey M. Smith is the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). More athttp://www.holisticsurvival.com/category/audio-podcast/ and on iTunes. His meticulously researched books and films document how the world’s most powerful Ag biotech companies bluff and mislead safety officials and critics to put the health of society at risk.
His first book Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating, became the world’s best-selling and # 1 rated book on GMOs. His second book, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, is the authoritative work on GMO health dangers. It includes 65 health dangers, linking GMOs in our food to toxic and allergic reactions, infertility, and damage to virtually every internal organ studied in lab animals. The book expertly summarizes why the safety assessments conducted by the FDA and regulators worldwide teeter on a foundation of outdated science and false assumptions, and why GM foods must urgently become our nation’s top food safety priority. Former UK environment minister says the revelations in Genetic Roulette may “change the global course of events this century.”
Mr. Smith has counseled world leaders from every continent, campaigned to end the use of genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH or rbST), and influenced the first state laws in the United States regulating GMOs. A riveting keynote speaker and popular guest on TV shows worldwide, he has lectured in 30 countries and has been quoted by government leaders and hundreds of media outlets including, The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC World Service, Huffington Post, Nature, The Independent, Daily Telegraph, New Scientist, The Times (London), Associated Press, Reuters News Service, LA Times, Time Magazine and Genetic Engineering News.
Former US National Institutes of Health scientist Candace Pert describes Jeffrey as “the leading world expert in the understanding and communication of the health issues surrounding genetically modified foods.”
Mr. Smith has united leaders to support The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America, a revolutionary industry and consumer movement to remove GMOs from the US food supply. He is the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, producer of the films Hidden Dangers in Kids’ Meals and Your Milk on Drugs—Just Say No!, writes an internationally syndicated column, Spilling the Beans, has a regular blog on the popular Huffington Post, and is followed on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Mr. Smith lives with his wife in Iowa, surrounded by genetically modified soybeans and corn.
The Institute also informs policy makers and the public around the world about the risks and impacts of GMOs on health, environment, agriculture, the global economy, and the problems associated with current research, regulation, corporate practices, and reporting.
Narrator: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show with Jason Hartman. The economic storm brewing around the world is set to spill into all aspects of our lives. Are you prepared? Where are you going to turn for the critical life skills necessary to survive and prosper? The Holistic Survival Show is your family’s insurance for a better life.Jason will teach you to think independently, how to understand threats, and how to create the ultimate action plan. Sudden change or worst case scenario, you’ll be ready. Welcome to Holistic Survival, your key resource for protecting the people, places, and profits you care about in uncertain times. Ladies and gentlemen, your host, Jason Hartman.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to the Holistic Survival show. This is your host Jason Hartman and this is episode 29 where we talk about protecting the people, places, and profits you care about in uncertain times. Today we’ve got a great show for you where we’ll talk to Jeffrey Smith who is with the Institute for Responsible Technology and we are going to cover a new topic that we have not covered before about genetically modified organisms or, I should say, a genetically modified food more specifically. So I think you’ll really like this show. This has been a topic I’ve been interested in for a while and just haven’t gotten around to doing a show on it. I hope you like the last show with John R. Lott as he talked about more guns, less crime, understanding crime and gun control laws and all the other great old shows that we’ve had for you as well. So we will get to the interview about genetically modified food here in just a moment, but I want to always mention to you if you are interested in that third pillar of holistic survival, protecting the profits about your financial life, about business opportunities, about investments. Be sure you’re listening to my Creating Wealth show. You can find that at JasonHartman.com and you can find all my shows at the ITunes store by just typing in “Jason Hartman” in the search. So we will be back with the interview on genetically modified food here in less than 60 seconds.
Jason Hartman: My pleasure to welcome Jeffrey Smith to the show. He is with the Institute for Responsible Technology and their focus is on genetically modified organisms. He is an author, he is a filmmaker, and just a very interesting guy. Jeffrey, welcome.
Jeffrey Smith: Thank you.
Jason Hartman: It’s great to have you on the show today. So when we talk about this genetically modified food issue, and I’ve heard a lot about it in the media and there’s really been a bit of this leap where I haven’t completely understood what is being done, and I think that’s sort of the foundation of understanding the problem and of course we’re going to go into what the dangers of it are, but what is happening? What are they doing to the food when they genetically modify it?
Jeffrey Smith: Well, normally for animals or plants to reproduce, they have sexual reproduction where they cross, you know, males and females and what not and the genes cross naturally. With genetic engineering, you take genes from one species, and it could be from any type of organism, human, animal, plant, bacteria, virus, and you force it into the DNA of another species. SO we’ve actually taken spider genes and put it into goats in hope that they can milk the goat to get spider web protein to make bullet proof vests. It sounds bizarre, but they’re actually doing these kind of crosses in laboratories, and the process creates massive collateral damage in the natural functioning of the organism’s DNA. So when you have for example a gene from bacteria and you put it into soybeans, which they do so that the soybeans can survive being drenched with an herbicide that normally kills them, so they’re called roundup ready soybeans because they survive roundup herbicide, there’s also all sorts of other changes that occur in the soybeans that can be quite dangerous.
Jason Hartman: Now I remember, Jeffrey, when I took biology class in college, I asked my professor. I said is it possible for say a dog to mate with a cat or a dog to mate with a cow or something? And he said no, that doesn’t work. It’s impossible. What are they doing here? I mean they’re just taking a part of the DNA rather than actually engaging in complete reproduction, right?
Jeffrey Smith: Exactly. Like let’s say we’re talking about corn now, let’s talk about DT corn. It’s called DT corn because they start with a bacterium called BT for bacillus thuringiensis. Now this soil bacterium naturally produces an insecticide which if it happens to be ingested by certain insects, it breaks open their stomach and kills them. So what the engineers do is they take the gene from within the bacterium that specifically produces this insecticide, it’s called BT toxin, they take the gene out of that, then make some changes in its structure so it works better in plants, they put an on switch from the virus and other pieces of genetic material, they make millions of copies of the gene and put it into a gene gun, then they shoot that gun into a plate of millions of corn cells hoping that some of the genes make it into the DNA of some of those cells. Then they clone those cells into a corn plant and now every single cell of every single corn plant is engineered with a little spray bottle that sprays this BT toxin. So they’ve actually turned corn into a registered pesticide. And it’s actually a very common corn that’s grown out there. Most of the corn in the United States, 85%, is genetically engineered either to produce its own poison or to drink the poison in the form of not dying when sprayed with herbicide or both.
Jason Hartman: That is amazing that they can do that. I mean it’s just a marvel of science first of all. But food products require labeling, they require disclosure. I mean ingredients are on the side, the caloric intake, and the amount of sodium and everything is on the side. Are manufacturers disclosing this to people? I’ve never seen that this is a GMO or genetically modified organism on a product I purchased.
Jeffrey Smith: Well, in Europe and Japan and even China and Russia and Australia and New Zealand, there are labeling laws and requirements that you label products that are genetically engineered. In the United States, there’s precedent in the law that if you have a food additive that you not only require testing but also labeling. But in 1992, when the FDA policy was announced for genetically modified foods, it made the claim that the agency was not aware of any information showing that foods from genetic engineering are significantly different and that basis, they really violated their law in many people’s opinion, and said no safety testing was necessary, no labeling was necessary. Now it turns out that 44,000 secret FDA documents were made public from a lawsuit showing that the policy was alive. And not only were they aware that GMOs were different, but the overwhelming consensus among the FDA’s own scientists were that GMOs were inherently dangerous and could create allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They had urged their superiors to require long term studies. But the White House, under the first Bush administration, had ordered the FDA to promote biotechnology, and so the FDA hired Michael Taylor, Monstanto’s former attorney, later Monsanto’s vice president. Monsanto is the big biotech company. They hired him to be in charge of policy. So it was his policy that overruled and even denied the existence of the warnings by the agency scientists. And that’s why GMOs are on our plates today and they did it all quietly without letting people know. So most Americans don’t know that they eat genetically modified foods probably every day.
Jason Hartman: How much of our food is genetically modified? Is it 10%, is it 50%, 70%? I mean…
Jeffrey Smith: Well, it’s good and bad. The bad and the good news is it’s only 8 genetically modified food crops. The bad news is because of the omnipresence of those crops, it’s in about 70% of the foods in the supermarket. You have soybeans and corn, two of the most widely used crops in America. You have high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltodextrin, soy lecithin, soy protein isolate, it goes on and on and on. You also have oil from canola and cotton seed. You also have sugar from sugar beets. And those are the five major GM crops. The three minor ones are Hawaiian papaya and a little bit of zucchini and crook-neck squash.
Jason Hartman: Corn is just everywhere. It is omnipresent. It’s in everything. What is it doing to us? I mean what is it doing to our health? Is it a health issue, is it a moral issue, is it a playing God issue? I mean, why should we care?
Jeffrey Smith: Well, yeah. The answer is yes to all of those questions. Some people, some religious organizations believe that GMO instead of meaning genetically modified organisms really means God Move Over. But as far as a health concern, that’s been my focus. I created a book called genetic roulette, a documented health risks of genetically engineered foods. It’s quite different than my first book, Seeds of Deception, which was more of a storybook. Genetic roulette lists all the different dangers that I could come up with with the help of more than 30 scientists working over two years. And we documented 65 different health risks which refer to thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock, thousands of toxic and allergic reactions in humans, and damage to virtually every organ and every system studied in lab animals. Based on the overall documentation of the evidence of harm from GMOs, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine last year said all doctors should prescribe non-GMO diets to everyone, citing animal studies that they say causally showed things like reproductive problems, immune system problems, accelerated aging, organ damage, gastrointestinal problems, and dysfunctional regulation of cholesterol and insulin.
Jason Hartman: Wow. So I mean can we avoid the GMO foods by eating sort of just a healthy diet? I mean you mentioned corn syrup. That’s in junk food pretty much, right?
Jeffrey Smith: Yes. And the thing is the way to avoid GMOs, we made it easy by creating a shopping guide, and you can download the shopping guide or view it online. We also have an IPhone application called Shop No GMO which you can get free at the ITunes store. So when you look at the guide you’ll actually see food brands in 22 food categories. But if you don’t have the guide handy, you can follow these tips. One, you can buy products that say organic because they’re not allowed to use genetically modified ingredients. Two, you can buy products and voluntarily label themselves as non-GMO. And three, you can avoid the at risk ingredients. And we have a list of dozens of these derivatives, primarily of soy and corn which don’t let you know on the ingredient panel where they’re from. They just give you these complicated names. So if you can do that, then you can avoid…Now I travel all over the world. I travel about 165 days a year and I don’t eat GMOs, so I can avoid them when eating out because I know what to ask for. And I look for the invisible ingredients when eating out because generally you can see when corn is in something if it’s not processed if you get to go to a restaurant that cooks from scratch. But you can’t see the oil that they cook in or the salad dressing, which oils they use for the salad dressing. And oil is one of the chief ways that we consume genetically engineered foods through soy, corn, cotton seed or canola.
Jason Hartman: The reason this is being done, I assume this is the big corporatocracy just trying to be more efficient, save cost. The reason we have GMO food, is it just because it doesn’t require the same level of pesticide expenditure or why are they doing it?
Jeffrey Smith: Well, the primary reason is for companies to sell more herbicide. Mansanto had the best-selling herbicide in the world round up that was going off patent in the year 2000. So they created roundup ready crops where the farmer buys seed and finds a contract that they’ll only buy Mansanto’s variety of their roundup herbicide, so they sell it as a packaged deal. So about 85% of all the crops out there that are genetically engineered are sold with the accompanying herbicide. And that actually causes an overuse of the herbicide which is good for the companies selling it and bad for humans and animals, and it’s quite bad in fact because roundup is now being shown to have all sorts of health problems, both for humans and animals and soils and plants. The other major reason is for producing this built in insecticide. Those are the two main traits for the five major GM crops. Either they drink poison or produce poison. And unfortunately, although it doesn’t decrease the amount of sprayed insecticide, this BT toxin like the BT corn and cotton, the actual amount of poison that’s produced inside the plant is higher than the amount it displaces. And so it actually increases the overall toxic load on the planet and in the fields and in our food.
Jason Hartman: I remember when I first heard about Monsanto and their hybrid seeds or was it non-hybrid seeds, I think it’s hybrid seeds. The non-hybrid are the regular kind I believe. I’ve got that right, but I’m beginning to think this company is really sort of an evil company in the sense that they’re patenting things that occur in nature. And then they’re trying to monopolize crops and make farmers buy their seed and not let the crop regrow like it naturally would and all kinds of crazy stuff. I mean any insight into Mansanto and what they do? You mentioned in the GMO category here.
Jeffrey Smith: Well, Mansanto’s a major player in my books and my movies. I have to say that I have a debt of gratitude to Mansanto because they provide such good material, cuz they’re such a clear villain. It’s amazing. They do all sorts of things. I’ve isolated how they’ve rigged research, just absolutely have bad science down to a science when they wanted to show the cows injected with their genetically engineered bovine growth hormone that the injections did not interfere with fertility. According to documents stolen from the FDA and made public, the researchers apparently injected cows after they were pregnant in some cases. So they got them pregnant first, then entered them into the study, and then showed that the injections did not interfere with their fertility. Or some people working on their bovine growth hormone wanted to show that pasteurization destroys the hormones in the milk, so they pasteurized the milk 120 times longer.
Mansanto sues farmers, they threaten farmers. They rig research. In fact, I spoke to a former scientist from Mansanto who said that his colleagues were studying the bovine growth hormone injected into cows to increase milk supply. They looked at the milk, found so much of this hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1, IGF1, which is linked to cancer. These three scientists stopped drinking milk unless it was organic and therefore not from injected cows. And they also said that when Mansanto discovered problems with its genetically modified crops fed to rodents, instead of withdrawing the crops, they just changed the writing up of the study to make it look like it wasn’t so bad. And when Greenpeace sued Mansanto in Germany to force them to show some of the research that they were submitting to regulatory agencies in secret, then when scientists looked at it, they published a new analysis using proper statistics showing clear signs of toxicity and immune system damage and other things in the animals that were fed the GM corn that we eat every day.
Jason Hartman: Really, really incredible. What can be done about that? I mean it seemed to me that one of the big problems of the world today is that we’ve got…And I’m all for business. I consider myself a capitalist. But what we’ve got right now is we don’t really have capitalism anymore at every level, and the big corporatocracy, we have hugely monopolistic practices where these large companies hire teams of lobbyists and pay off politicians and get laws written in their favor so that there’s no choice, there’s no competition. I mean there’s some choice in competition. I’m saying that figuratively of course. But they really eliminate and reduce competition dramatically, and so farmers don’t have choices and it just seems like a big rigged game frankly.
Jeffrey Smith: Well, there are things we can do. And I think the first step is for people to realize how dangerous it is and then for people to make non-GMO choices. And when we get to the small percentage of the population avoiding GM ingredients, that’ll be a tipping point and it’ll become a marketing liability for every food company because there’s no consumer benefits and if they lose let’s say 5% of US shoppers or 15 million people from their consumer roles because they’re avoiding eating the brands that are genetically engineered, they’re gonna switch. That happened in Europe. When the tipping point of the consumer rejection was achieved there over 10 years ago, we had a week virtually every major food company committed to stop using GM ingredients.
We’ve been educating consumers about the health standards of the bovine growth hormone in the United States. Because of that, a tipping point is underway. It’s been kicked out of Wal-Mart and Starbucks and Yoplait and Dannon, etcetera. So now we’re mounting the campaign for healthier eating in America, designed to create a tipping point of consumer rejections very quickly. Now we’ve only skimmed the surface today on some of the health dangers, so some people may not be ready to go to the website and learn more about it or learn how to avoid eating GMOs, so let me just review some of the sharper evidence that we have collected.
There was only one human feeding study ever conducted on genetically modified food, and they found that the genes inserted into soybeans transferred into the DNA of bacteria living inside our intestines and continue to function. This means long after we stop eating genetically modified foods, we may have these genetically modified proteins produced continually inside of us. When genetically modified soy was fed to female rats, more than half of their babies died within three weeks. When it was fed to hamsters over three generations, by the third generation most of the hamsters had lost their ability to have babies. When it was fed to mice, the testicles changed. The younger, the offspring from the embryo stage also had DNA that functioned differently. When animals in India graze on the genetically modified cotton plants, thousands of them die, thousands become sick. I went to one village where every buffalo died after eating the genetically modified cotton plants after one day. All 13 buffalo died. They had been fined for years and years eating the natural cotton plants. I mean there’s the allergies that are a huge problem in the United States, so is immune system problems, autoimmune disease, inflammation. All of these may be related to GMOs. In fact, soon after GMO, soy was introduced to the UK. Soy allergy skyrocketed there by 50%. In fact, when GMOs were introduced to the United States in 1996, 7% of Americans had 3 or more chronic illnesses. Within 9 years, that nearly doubled to 13%. Food related illnesses doubled between 1994 and 2001. Food allergy doubled in less time. So we have a situation now where there’s absolutely no monitoring of the population to see if these changes are related to GMOs, and yet we’re seeing these type of changes both in the laboratory studies and among livestock. So many doctors now are telling their patients, as their first recommendation, avoid GMOs. And I’ve interviewed lots of doctors and lots of patients that say that one recommendation works wonders for people’s health.
Jason Hartman: Oddly, it didn’t seem like you really mentioned the obesity problem. And to me that is just a huge, huge change. One of my friends who has a conspiratorial bent believes that the obesity issue has to do with hormones in the food and I mean why are Americans obese nowadays? What is going on? Smoking rate went down, people ate instead of smoking. But this corn syrup, it’s just in everything practically, and I just can’t believe the difference in the last 20 years in terms of obesity, just looking around just in anecdotal life experience.
Jeffrey Smith: It’s true. And I did an interview recently or a TV show about GMOs and obesity. And the jury’s out. There’s no smoking gun there, but there’s evidence suggesting relationships. As I mentioned earlier, the American academy of environmental medicine linked GMOs to animal feeding studies with insulin regulation to disregulation. We know that the genetically modified soy for example has higher levels of elect and that can make certain nutrients unavailable, that the application of Round-Up can make certain nutrients unavailable, so you may end up with a lot of empty food which is not as nutrient dense. You might also end up with the immune system problems and other things which would normally deplete. Also, there’s a lot of evidence of intestinal problems and gastrointestinal issues with the animals that are fed GMOs. And a lot of doctors tell me that they’ve seen a lot of gastrointestinal problems since GMOs were introduced. And that often causes depletion or lack of gaining weight. But sometimes when the digestion doesn’t work properly you can gain wait. So there’s a lot of things that can go wrong. It’s like a genetic roulette. When you have so many changes that occur in the plan as a result of the genetic engineering process, you can have hundreds of natural genes functioning differently. You could have dozens or hundreds of proteins added that were not there before, were at higher levels than were there before, or lower levels. And these are all things that can affect our metabolism.
For example, soon after genetically modified corn was put on the market, they found that it had higher levels of lignin, which causes stiffness in certain plants. And they didn’t know. It wasn’t designed to create lignin. It just was a side effect of the process. But the metabolic pathway that produces lignin also produces an element called rotenone which is linked to Parkinson’s disease. So eating genetically modified corn, or soy because they both have higher levels of lignin, might increase Parkinson’s disease, but like obesity and other thing, we can’t say that there’s a smoking gun. We just have the theoretical evidence on so many of these things because often times when scientists discover problems with GMOs, they’re fired, they’re stripped of responsibilities, they’re threatened, they’re gagged, they’re transferred, or they lose funding. This was the main points of my first book, Seeds of Deception, which is the world’s bestselling book on the subject, because it has all these stories of these people who were just absolutely slammed after they discovered problems with GMOs.
Jason Hartman: It seems like science has become very politicized, to some extent a dangerous field. Instead of wanting to do the right thing for humanity and improve everything, scientists are being subject to massive amount of politics, popularity contests. Everybody’s buying them off on one side or the other. They’ve become pawns of the corporatocracy and of the political elite it seems.
Jeffrey Smith: Exactly. I did a blog on Huffington Post this week about one scientist who was fired based on a TV show that came out exactly 12 years ago, so we’re celebrating his anniversary. And on Huffington Post on part 2 I describe how in these surveys of scientists who were asked to change their data by the people that paid for the studies, and about 1/3 of people either changed their data or asked o change their data or things like that. It’s just a huge amount. Since the late 70s, especially the early 80s, we’ve seen it very difficult to have straight real science that you can depend on. And it has been a takeover of the academic institutions and a use by corporations to create science in the corporate interest. In my book Genetic Roulette, in part 3 I have about 41 pages there just dedicated to showing how they rig research. And it’s absolutely fun and fascinating. I really love that part of the book because it is so incriminating. They use exactly the wrong control groups, the wrong statistics, the wrong detection methods. They dilute their feed by tenfold so it would be impossible to have any results shown from the GM crop. I mean it’s just diabolical and they get away with it. And the thing is their own people are on the other side in the regulatory agencies, approving this and stuff with a rubber stamp, and in many cases not even reading it, just taking the assumptions and summaries. In the United States, the FDA has no required safety studies. Their consultation process is completely voluntary and it’s completely ineffectual. It’s technically described as a meaningless exercise. And at the end of the exercise, the FDA issues a letter saying for example Mansanto believes that foods are safe and therefore we have no further questions. Because they have basically abdicated their responsibilities and said that the companies themselves are in charge of determining if their foods are safe. The companies have told us the DDT, Agent Orange, and TCBs were safe, are in charge of the safety of our food supply.
Jason Hartman: Unbelievable, unbelievable.
Jeffrey Smith: It gets worse. You know, the Obama administration just appointed Michael Taylor as the US food safety czar last year. And he was the one, Mansanto’s former attorney, who was in charge of FDA policy when it was a complete fictitious lie, claiming that GMOs were no different. And then he became Mansanto’s vice president. And now he’s in charge of US food safety. The person I think was responsible for more food related illnesses and deaths in human history.
Jason Hartman: But there can’t be any conflict of interest there, right?
Jeffrey Smith: That’s right.
Jason Hartman: It’s just amazing. On the financial side, people from Goldman Sachs are running the country. That’s just insanity what’s going on right now. I want to ask you back, Jeffrey, on the label question. And I’m looking at your app. I just downloaded your app on the ITunes store as you were talking, for my IPhone. And on the labeling side, how do you know that there’s truth in the labeling though. You say some manufacturers are actually saying our foods are non-GMO. But can you believe them?
Jeffrey Smith: Well, it’s an excellent question. It’s very timely. There’s an organization called the non-GMO project and they are the new standard bearer for companies making non-GMO claims. It’s an industry-wide effort to do exactly what you’re asking and that is to convey to consumers that a claim is meaningful. So they actually require third party verification and testing. And now you’ll be seeing more and more, especially this year, towards the end of this year, the seal, the non-GMO project verified seal on products in natural food stores. And October is non-GMO month, primarily to celebrate the introduction of this new seal, and we’re also going to be piggybacking on their efforts with our own efforts to accelerate the coming tipping point by launching a new campaign that everyone can get involved in. So I would suggest that people go now, sign up for our newsletter, it’s a free electronic newsletter, and get an email from us soon about the events coming in October, the release of the new film, the speakers in your area. I’ll be traveling with the director of our film as part of our nationwide screening. And we’re going to be organizing a national social movement to hit the tipping point against GMOs together.
Jason Hartman: Just gotta ask you this, what do your critics say? Do they say that this is just outlandish. It’s ridiculous. This guy is a fear monger. What are they saying?
Jeffrey Smith: Well, it’s the perfect timing for this question. When I put out genetic roulette, it had 65 health risks. It was three years ago. And I actually asked in the book for the biotech industry to respond in detail to each of the 65 risks. And I put a place on my website to post their responses and they didn’t. But after three years they finally came up with an entire attack website on their own, trying to counter each of the 65 risks, but what they do actually is they expose their own spin and fraud. And so now I’ve just launched a counter rebuttal and this was the basis of this week’s Huffington Post article. If you Google “Jeffrey Smith Huffington Post” you’ll see a two part article that came out this week. And the first one is about a scientist who 12 years ago blew the whistle and ended up losing his job, but it created a fury in Europe and created the tipping point of consumer rejection and everyone heard about it and all the food companies eliminated GMOs ten weeks after his gag order was lifted. But the second part takes a step by step approach showing exactly how this organization spins, how they spin the science, they use faulty assumptions, and they dress it up. And it’s just a complete disaster. So I was very happy to expose their spin and I’ll be doing more and more of these. What they basically say is they’ll often invoke organizations where they have been able to corrupt it like the FDA. And they’ll say well the FDA sees no problem, but of course we’d already discussed it, because the scientists saw problems but the political appointee who was from Mansanto didn’t see any problems. But the details are lost in there, in their arguments.
Jason Hartman: Right, right. I just gotta ask you, I mean someone that is brave enough to do what you’re doing, you’ve got a lot of very powerful interest that are interested in seeing people like you just go away and shut up. Have you been sued over any of this stuff? Are you concerned about your livelihood, your safety, anything like that?
Jeffrey Smith: No, actually. See, I know of another author, a couple of authors whose book got stopped at the publication, at the press three days before it was to get off the printer. It’s called Against the Grain, it was years ago, and the publisher received a threatening letter from Mansanto. And the publisher was a small publisher, he couldn’t handle getting sued, so he stopped the publication and they were able to get it out 8 months later through a different press. So what I did was I turned down an offer from a publisher to publish my book. I published it myself. I didn’t tell the biotech industry anything about the fact that it was happening. So I have no boss. And they weren’t able to stop it. And once it’s out there, they don’t want to increase its popularity by creating a confrontation.
Jason Hartman: Oh, good point.
Jeffrey Smith: I mean right now my information is out there all around the planet, and my materials are used in every single campaign against GMOs around the world. So it’s already out there. And if they tried to threaten me now, I’d have the information out to 7 or 8 million people within a day. So they basically don’t even show up at the lectures or at least they don’t announce themselves at my lectures and they keep a low profile with me but the company themselves, but they often have their front men with PhDs that will do the attacking. And it’s so predictable and it’s so disgusting and it’s so absolutely dangerous, but they have a lot of money and they keep pouring it into their disinformation campaign.
Jason Hartman: Thank God for the much freer media nowadays where someone at NBC doesn’t get to choose who gets heard. Now you can just go write to the internet and people will find you and you can be on podcasts and radio shows and I call that the dialogue media where people can actually talk and do things and you hear from a lot of voices that 20 years ago nobody ever heard from them. They were out there but nobody ever really heard them too much.
Jeffrey Smith: See, right now we have a revolution taking place. I’ve traveled to 32 countries and hosted by NGOs, non-governmental organizations. And I see that we’re rising up like the earth’s immune system, that we actually have as a collective far more power than the corporatocracy. But we don’t have the reflection in the mainstream media. So we don’t know how strong we are. We don’t know how powerful we are. I was so happy to see Paul Hawken write a book about this. I forget the name, it just left my mind, but he talks about this huge revolution and millions of NGOs in this kind of global revolution or uprising. And I think the internet and this channeled media that goes for the different channels of the different interest groups and brings information out that’s true, I think we actually have a powerful social movement that is changing the world far faster than we’re aware of.
Jason Hartman: The one thing that does scare me about that is a company like Google because they determine who gets found. And when that power is all massed into just one big player like that, I have concerns there although I haven’t heard anything about that yet…
Jeffrey Smith: It’s true. But that’s in terms of one venue now. But we also have social media. And so it’s like as things get centralized in one area, they become decentralized in the other.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, that’s true. Thankfully they do. .You’re right.
Jeffrey Smith: And the thing about the food issue, I mean we’re talking global issues now, but in terms of specifically genetically engineered foods, we think that as little as 5% of US shoppers avoiding the brands would be enough. That’s only 5.6 million households. Reaching them is easy. We have 28 million Americans at bioorganic on a regular basis, 87 million Americans that think GMOs are very unsafe, and 159 million Americans, most Americans, say they’d avoid GMOs if they were labeled. So we’re providing the labeling through the shopping guy. So we actually have the numbers on our side. And in this odd case, we’re actually the majority. So it’s odd for you and I to be standing with the majority, but in this case we are. The majority of people want to avoid eating GMOs and so my job is to package the information to increase that motivation so that they really want to avoid GMOs based on documented evidence that them to hand people a shopping guide. Now I won’t probably meet 15 million people in the next two years, but what I’m asking for is every listener now to go to ResponsibleTechnology.org and look at the free videos, the free audios. They all have links you can send to your friends. Sign up for the spilling the beans newsletter and get free information that you can forward to your friends. If you’re interested in doing activism, we’re gonna be starting a huge national state, regional, and local activism campaign on 10/10/10, and then lead up…That’s non-GMO day. And it’ll go from between 10/10/10 and 11/11/11, a year and a month and a day. We have a GM free school campaign. We have a campaign to do outreach at health food stores to health care practitioners to religious organizations to green groups, etcetera, etcetera. So whether you have an active network as a Facebooker or as a community organizer or just a large family, we’d like to invite everyone to be part of this historic taking back of our healthier non-GMO food supply.
Jason Hartman: That’s great. I’ve got to ask you before we wrap up here, I don’t know if you actually gave a date. When did the GMO revolution, if you will, start? How long has this been going on?
Jeffrey Smith: The major crops were introduced in 1996. There had been a tomato on the market for a couple of years but that’s been taken off since then. There was the genetically modified bovine growth hormone came on in ’94. But by and large, let’s say mid-90s.
Jason Hartman: Mid 90s. So this has really only been about 15 years and so it’s been fairly short. Yeah, good to know. Hopefully it’ll be stopped in its tracks fairly soon. What would you like to say to say to wrap this issue up? You told people where to go and everything. I mean just sum it up for us.
Jeffrey Smith: I think that it’s really an urgent issue. I mean I didn’t mention it but there’s theoretically possible ways to turn your intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories that haven’t been tested but theoretically they’re happening. There’s doctors that are saying that GMOs may be related to a large list of diseases, and the diseases may be long term chronic or may show up in the next generation. It’s not something that we can delay, especially because of the environmental effects, because when you release a GM crop into the environment, the self-propagating genetic pollution continues in the environment and can outlast climate change. It can outlast nuclear waste. It’s essentially permanent given our current technologies. We have no way to fully clean it up. So we need to overcome, as you described, the corporatocracy. And we need to know that their intention, the biotech industry’s stated goal is to genetically engineer 100% of all the commercial feeds in the world and patent them, essentially replace nature. What we have, however, is huge leverage. Consumers are the top of the food chain. We don’t have to convince the government. We don’t have to write our congressman. We have to change our own diet, share this information with our closest friends, with our network, empower them to share with others, and just a small percentage of us will turn the use of GM ingredients into a marketing liability. That’s what did it in Europe. That’s what we did with bovine growth hormone in the United States. It was kicked out of Wal-Mart, etcetera. That’s what we we’re doing with GMOs.
Of all of the major issues, whether it’s finance or the health care or global warming or air pollution or water pollution, of all of the major issues, this is one of the easiest to win and we want to do it very quickly.
Jason Hartman: Good, well Jeffrey Smith, thank you so much for joining us today. The website is www.ResponsibleTechnology.org. And get that shopping guide. Get the IPhone app if you have an IPhone and say no to GMO, how’s that for a slogan, huh?
Jeffrey Smith: I’ll go with it.
Jason Hartman: That one’s mine. Thanks so much for joining us today.
Jeffrey Smith: Thank you. (Top image: Flickr | cheeseslave)
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The Holistic Survival Show
Transcribed by Ralph