Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nutrition... Russian roulette?


 The medical reasons I do NOT recommend dog and cat foods with GMOs produced by Pesticide Companies-- corn, soy, alfalfa and beet pulp

 hidden in pet foods  without labels !

If your dog or cat is eating dry kibble, please check the ingredient list. If corn, soy or canola are listed it is likely that they are GMOs, though it is impossible to tell which exact type. At this time, all we know is they are either Round-Up resistant ( = glyphosate + proprietary adjuvants),contain an insecticide called B.T. (cry proteins), or both.  New stacked varieties resistant to 2,4-D, dicamba, quizalafop;  as well as gene-silenced  apples and potatoes have cleared the regulatory pipeline, and may one day be included in pet foods, without labeling.

What is a genetically modified organism (GMO)?

It is an organism whose genes (DNA) were modified by cutting and splicing DNA (recombinant DNA) from a different unrelated organism using  bacterial and viral vehicles known as  plasmids in a biochemistry laboratory. Recombinant DNA techniques allow goats to carry spider genes, for instance.
Atlantic salmon genetically engineered by a company called Aquabounty carries  a growth hormone from a different salmon and an  antifreeze gene from an eel-like ocean pout.

Genetic engineers insert the recombinant DNA fragments carrying desirable traits into plant cells using a gene gun, carbide whiskers or Agrobacterium,  in order to cross species barriers designed to keep foreign DNA out.   It is estimated that 75% of the food in Americal grocery stores contains GMOs. The majority of GMOs in food  and livestock feed (corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, alfalfa, cotton) have either been engineered for  herbicide-tolerance against weed killers such as Round-Up,  2,4-D, dicamba and others and/or to produce their own insecticide called Bt toxin; by chemical companies like Monsanto Dupont, Syngenta and Dow. This enables these crops to  remain alive when fields are sprayed with these herbicides, while weeds in the field die and/or for the plant itself to synthesize the insecticide, Bt (Bacillus thuringeinsis toxin) active against common worms affecting these crops.

The principle used to test these novel foods safety is that it does not differ substantially from normal natural food. In the United States, the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition reviews summaries of food safety data developed and voluntarily submitted by developers of engineered foods, in part on the basis of comparability to conventionally produced foods.
There are no specific tests required by FDA to determine safety.
FDA does not approve the safety of engineered foods, but after its review, acknowledges that the developer of the food has asserted that it is safe:

The voluntary safety studies on genetically modified crops submitted by the manufacturer to the FDA
 are 90 day studies on rodents. No studies are required for longer periods than this, which means these studies can not detect any Chronic disease.

Here is a typical safety study on one of the most common genetically engineered crops-corn. This corn is engineered to produce its own insecticide (B.T known as cry3B protein) in every kernel.

Results of a 90-day safety assurance study with rats fed grain
from corn rootworm-protected corn
B. Hammond a,*, J. Lemen a, R. Dudek a, D. Ward a, C. Jiang a, M. Nemeth a, J. Burns b
a Monsanto Company, 800 North Lindbergh Blvd., St Louis, MO 63167, United States
Received 1 June 2005; accepted 22 June 2005

In this safety study on effects of a variety of Monsanto B.T. corn, there were a total of 400 animals.

  •  80 were fed genetically engineered corn (40 of each sex) and 320 were fed non genetically engineered corn. 
  • Typically the experimental animal group size is as similar as possible to the control group.   One usually expects to see 200 control rats and 200 experimental rats.  When a study is this statistically unbalanced, it leaves you wondering what the study is trying to hide.
  • The study is NOT Blinded. 
  • The standard medical method to prevent researcher bias is single blinded or single-masked experimental design. These terms are used to describe a study in which the investigator is unaware of the nature of the treatment the participant is receiving.
The study showed the following:

  • Kidneys:  chronic inflammation  and  tubular regeneration. In other words --the kidneys of quite of few  rats were showing signs which over time would lead to  kidney failure.  The pathologist conclusions reported were that these changes are normally seen in the kidneys of  rats as young as 2 months of age. However, the journal article cited to support this conclusion contradicts the author, as the normal changes found affect the Bowman's capsule of the kidney and are non-inflammatory in nature, in contrast to the inflammatory kidney changes reported in rats eating genetically modified corn.
  • Liver: vacuolization : histopathology showed liver cells distended with globules. We often see these changes in biopsies of cats with hepatic lipidosis and likely with people with NAFLD ( non-alcohol -related fatty liver disease).  
  • Chronic inflammation, chronic bile duct inflammation, bile duct hyperplasia were reported. Meaning-many of the rats were suffering from liver disease centered on the biliary system; which likewise are found in biopsies of cats and dogs with hepatobiliary disease

Results of a 13 week safety assurance study with rats fed grain from
glyphosate tolerant corn
B. Hammond a,*, R. Dudek b, J. Lemen a, M. Nemeth

The entire  safety study on this Round-Up-Ready corn,
 is available for review at this link >

  •  Of 400 rats in this study, just like the above study on B.T. Corn, only 80 were experimental. The study is once again, statistically unbalanced to avoid finding adverse effects.
  • The reference groups introduced are composed of crops grown in different locales. These reference groups are invalid however, because studies show that different soil conditions and weather conditions dramatically change the crops.
  • The study, like the above, is not blinded-- the researchers knew which rats received which food.
  • Test results are reported for as few as 22 out of 80 rats, but in no case for all the rats.
  • Bilirubin was reported for as few as 22. 
  • Urinalysis results are omitted. Urine protein loss is not measured. 
  • Rats suffer from spontaneous form of kidney disease, known as CPN, the severity of which can be monitored by measuring urine protein loss (protein/creatinine ratio), which is not done in these statutory rat trials. Furthermore, since CPN confounds toxicology studies on rats, it is clear that a study on 10 rats can NOT separate spontaneous from toxic adverse effects in rats. 
  • Bile acid test, once again-not done
  • The histopathology findings  support kidney and liver disease, while claiming that these findings are normal in 5months old rats. 

Table 7
Summary incidence microscopic findings in male and female Sprague–Dawley rats following 13 weeks of exposure to high dose (33%) test and
control corn grain in the diet
Tissue Microscopic finding
Control Males N=20 RR Males N=20 Control Females N=20 RR Females N=20
Heart Cardiomyopathy 4 6 3 3
Kidney Casts, proteinaceous 5 9 3 2
Infiltrate, mononuclear cell 14 10 4 7
Cystic tubules 2 2 1 1
Dilation, pelvic, unilateral 0 2 0 0
Mineralization, tubular 0 2 6 5
Regeneration, tubular epithelium 17 17 3 2
Liver Infiltrate, mononuclear cell 8 8 6 7
Inflammation, chronic, multifocal 16 17 15 17
Pancreas Infiltrate, mononuclear cell 2 2 2 1
Inflammation, chronic, focal 2 1 0 0
Thyroid Cyst, ultimobranchial 3 2 5 3

  •  What happened to the rest of the 80 rats? One can't help but suspect that they were sick or dead of kidney, liver  disease and possibly heart muscle disease;  after eating this variety of Round-Up-Ready corn for 90 days.
  • No clinical feeding trials  comparing safety of genetically modified foods to conventional food  in cats, dogs or people have to date been published in scientific literature.

My conclusion

We see a huge number of cases of liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatic disease in our pets whose causes remain unknown. The rates of chronic kidney disease in our cats have escalated since the 1980's.   There are no epidemiological studies being done comparing the effects on metabolic organs in cats or dogs eating genetically modified food with those on conventional foods.

Until scientifically convincing blinded controlled clinical trials of significant statistical power are published; or epidemiological studies determine that genetically modified crops do not pose a risk of medical harm, I DO NOT recommend GMO's  be fed to our pets.
This is particularly important as "stacked" varieties which include multiple genetic modification in the same plant, as well as other crops ( currently  wheat) modified with new gene- silencing technology,  are making their way through the regulatory pipeline.


“Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food…. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job”
—Phil Angell, Director of Corporate Communications, Monsanto, quoted in New York Times Magazine, October 25, 1998

“Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety.”
— FDA, “Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties”
(GMO Policy), Federal Register, Vol. 57, No. 104 (1992), p. 22991

There is no need to test the safety of DNA introduced into GM crops.

                 USDA Prepares to Green-Light Gnarliest GMO Soy Yet

| Wed Jul. 18, 2012 3:30 AM PDT

A crop duster sprays a soybean field. Photo: Public Domain Images

In early July, on the sleepy Friday after Independence Day, the USDA quietly signaled its intention to green-light a new genetically engineered soybean seed from Dow AgroSciences. The product is designed to produce soy plants that withstand 2,4-D, a highly toxic herbicide (and, famously, the less toxic component in the notorious Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange).
Readers may remember that during an even-sleepier period—the week between Christmas and the New Year—the USDA made a similar move on Dow's 2,4-D-ready corn.
If the USDA deregulates the two products—as it has telegraphed its intention to do—Dow will enjoy a massive profit opportunity. Every year, about half of all US farmland is planted in corn and soy. Currently, Dow's rival Monsanto has a tight grip on weed management in corn-and-soy country. Upward of 90 percent of soy and 70 percent of corn is engineered to withstand another herbicide called glyphosate through highly profitable Monsanto's Roundup Ready seed lines. And after so many years of lashing so much land with the same herbicide, glyphosate-resistant superweeds are now vexing farmers and "alarming" weed control experts throughout the Midwest.

April 12, 2012
Protect your own and your pet's health:

Unless we act quickly, a dangerous weed killer possibly linked to cancer, birth defects, ALS and infertility could become much more widely used in U.S. agriculture. The pesticide is called 2,4-D and it will be combined with another called quizilafop.

In dogs 2,4-d has been linked to bladder cancer and lymph node cancer (lymphoma).

These two herbicides wont just taint the crops they are sprayed on. Once released they seep through the air into farmers' homes, into the ground and will contaminate our drinking water.
When it enters the human body, 2,4-D causes cell damage, immunosuppression and hormone dsruption. It can result in reproductive harm and diseases like lymphoma.
Because 2,4-D is volatile when it drifts into neighboring fields it will destroy all plants not genetically modified to resist it-- vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, green beans, grapes (among many others).

We can prevent the rampant overuse of 2,4-D and possibly other herbicides in the pipeline by asking the Department of Agriculture officials to reject a profit-minded proposal to sell genetically engineered corn that won't die when sprayed with the poison. But we have just two weeks to convince them. If the USDA grants Dow's request, it will mean more farmers around the country will spray much greater amounts of 2,4-D and quizaolfop on their fields. If we can show the USDA that the public doesn't support this proposal, we can counter pressure from Dow and make the case for public health over corporate profits. Please comment on this site.!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2010-0103-0001
The comment period ends April 27, 2012.

Thank You for taking action.

Genetic modification of corn, soy and canola are one of the reasons I don't recommend these ingredients be fed to pets.

Dr. Ena

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