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Jeffrey's Best (and Most Outrageous) Stories from 25 years of Non-GMO Activism - Episode 148

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In this week's episode...

In this episode Jeffrey sits down with the Real Truth About Health folks and discusses some of the most outrageous, frustrating and sometimes illuminating stories from his 26 years of non-GMO activism.  From animals only eating non-GMO grains to lies and deceit by the biotech industry.  Thoroughly entertaining and not to be missed.  We bring you Part 1 this week with Part 2 to follow next week.

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Notes for this week's Podcast
This week's Transcript

Rough Transcript:

Speaker 1 (00:08):
Thank you very much, Ben. Welcome everyone. I am going to do something that I'm really looking forward to these two hours. I'm gonna just tell stories. I've been an activist on the GMO front for 26 years, and I wanna just share some of my favorite stories that are quite revealing, and some of them amazingly outrageous when you think about that, that companies like Monsanto are getting away with it. I learned about GMOs in 1996. I went to a lecture by a gen genetic engineer who was kind of blowing the whistle. He was talking about the fact that they were about to plant genetically engineered soy and corn in Iowa where I was living. And I realized that he told us that the technology was not ready for primetime, that it was prone to to mistakes. And he was a genetic engineer. He was working under grant from nih.

He was an award-winning scientist, and he knew absolutely for sure that no human being on earth had the ability to safely and predictably manipulate the DNA with expected outcomes. So he knew that companies like Monsanto were going to be gambling with our health and gambling with the ecosystem, because with soy and corn, the outputs of soy and corn are in most processed foods. The derivatives and the, once you release the soy and corn into the environment, it will cross with relatives with non gm corn soy doesn't typically cross pollinate, but it could contaminate the gene pool forever. So when I learned about this, I realized this was a number one priority, and maybe I'll help out a little. So I wrote some lectures and consulted and had some fun with it. But then I got hired as the vice president of marketing at a GMO detection laboratory.

And it was a neutral laboratory. It didn't take a position on GMOs, but its work was very important to help non GMO products be produced because the btic industry was trying to convince the world that you couldn't tell the difference. They even told Dan Glickman, the Secretary of Agriculture, who traveled through Europe trying to promote GMOs. He just mouthed what they said, that you can't tell the difference. But from using genetic tests like pcr, of course you could tell the difference. And when he found out, we heard he was really angry at the biotic industry for lying to him so that he would lie to Europe. Well, this molecular biologist was aware that you could tell the difference, and Europe didn't want GMOs. And the US was saying, Well, you have to take it. There's no way you can tell. So he created the first laboratory to detect and quantify GMOs in US exports, which allowed soy and corn and then canola and other things to be sent to Europe or to be used in non GMO declared products in the United States.

They were also certifying products as non GMO kind of a precursor to the non GMO project. So I worked there as the VP of Marketing Communications for a couple of years and was basically being paid to become an expert. I was reading all of the data that was coming in around the world on GMOs. And there was one interesting thing. Most of our clients, nearly all of them were companies. But at one point we got contacted by a consortium of activists, and they were looking for starlink corn in corn products sold on the shelves. The reason why they were looking for starlink was because it wasn't approved for human consumption. There were some things in the starlink that indicated it could probably be a allergen. And so in the infinite stupidity of the epa, as if they have absolutely no concept of how things are produced, shipped and stored in the United States, they approved the starling corn for animal consumption and not human consumption.

Now think about it, you have some farmers growing corn in one field that's unapproved for human consumption in the field. Next door you have the human consumption corn, and it just takes wind blowing the pollen at the time that it's the other corn is tasing. And now you have contaminated the human food supply. But also farmers were not really told ever that this was not approved for human consumption. So they would sell it into the big storage elevators. And they weren't told it wasn't approved for human consumption. And so it was a ticking time bomb. And this group lend led, this group of activists sent, I think, 23 samples to our lab for testing. So one day I get a call from the lab manager and he said, We found it in craft taco shells. And I was like, This was intense news. So I said, Don't tell the client, retest it.

I'm gonna meet with the, with the CEO and the chief scientific officer. So we met with them. They tested it again two more times. They sent the PCR product for sequencing to make sure it was starlink. And then we told them the results. They put it out a press release. It was a billion dollar problem. All of these foreign countries that in import us, Corn, Europe, Japan, China, shut their markets down. Over 300 brands were subject to recall. I was interviewed by the New York Times and all these different places. It was, we were being called constantly, and then we were attacked. Now, they didn't attack the activists who sent us the brands. They attacked the laboratory claiming it's impossible. So I was on the phone with craft and giving 'em the lot number, and we shared some of the tacos with another lab and they confirmed it.

So all of a sudden, the attack simmered. About four or five days later, we learned our lesson. We should have had another lab confirm it before we told the client. But anyway, it was fun to be right there in the headlights in a global emergency that literally cost about a billion dollars and alerted the world that the US could not keep GMO and non GMO separate easily. And many times countries would even refuse to take any products from any country that was growing a GMO version of it. And there's been other contamination events since then. I was not part of the laboratory. What happened is, before I went to the laboratory, I was thinking about writing a book, but then I put it on the shelf when I was working at the laboratory and I was reading all of the press every day. And there was almost no press in the United States.

Everything was coming out of Europe. And one time there was an article in the international version of Time Magazine, and we were all excited because this was gonna be the big first breaking story on GMOs cuz no one knew what a GMO was. And we were eating out already. This was 99 and 2000. And when it finally was published in the United States, the American version didn't have the GMO story in it at all. So there was a tremendous amount of censorship and bias in the mainstream media, which has been leader, documented and verified. So I realized that I was motivated to get the word out in the United States, and I'm gonna describe in a moment a story that happened in Europe that led to a European rejection of GMOs based on the information about the health dangers. So I decided to write the book Seeds of Deception, which is the subtitles exposing industry and government lies about the safety of the genetically engineered foods you're eating now.

It was all about the safety at the time. After I left the lab in 2000, no, no GMO organization was diving into the health dangers. They were focused primarily on the environmental problems the farmer need to save their seeds and the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few companies. And the fact that patenting life should be illegal. They had four or five sentences dedicated to health. No long term studies have been done. We don't want to be used as Guinea pigs. It could create allergens, toxins, or antinutrients and could lead to antibiotic resistant disease. That was the extent of the global dialogue on the health dangers. It was as if the public relations efforts of Monsanto were successful in bullying anyone that talked about the health dangers. So no one wanted to go there. So I decided to go there. And I realized that since people didn't even know what a GMO was, the book could not be a dry scientific book.

It had to be a storybook. And I realized there was a lot of great stories out there, and I'll tell you some from the book and then some sense. But one story that kept coming in different forms, which then was inserted as a single page between every chapter was how when given a choice, Animals avoid eating GMOs. Not every time, but so often. Cows, pigs, chickens, geese, elk, deer, raccoons, buffalo dogs. I was hearing it from people, but I was also reading stories. There was a flock of geese that landed every year in a certain place. I think it was in Nebraska. And when they landed after GMO soy was planted in one field, they all concentrated in the non GMO field. There was a pig farmer who showed his friend, I think it was a reporter, he said, Watch this. He called his pigs in.

They all ran. He took a scoop of corn and threw it out there. They all looked for it, smelled it, and then looked back at him like, Are you playing with us? Are you kidding? And then he scooped from another place and sent it out. And sure enough, the pigs ate it. And the reporter said, What's going on? He said, First one was gmo. There was another farmer who his cows would not eat GMO corn. And so in order to get rid of his GMO corn, he put non GMO corn in the feed bunk and GMO corn on the top. And he forced them to eat from the top to the bottom. There was a lab that was testing GMO for a private enterprise, GMO or non gmo. And they were testing for their neighbors and they had a dog. And whenever they threw the corn meal to the dog, the dog was like a testing equipment.

The dog would never eat the GMO and only eat the non gmo. There were chickens that wouldn't eat. It was just going on and on and on. And it was interesting as I traveled around starting in 2003 when Seeds of Deception came out, I would always report on that the fact that animals wouldn't eat GMOs in many cases when given a choice. And there would be always some people that came up to me and said, When I read your book, that was the thing that convinced me more than anything else. So there's like a huge number of people where that's the main thing. Even rats, in my book I describe tomatoes, the Flavor Saver Tomato was designed for longer shelf life. And the CEO of the company, Calgene, that produced the tomatoes, was interviewed and reported that you could be. He said you could be Chef de bor, Chef Boy Rd. But these rats, he got it wrong. They were actually mice. These mice would will not eat these tomatoes, but they fed him to humans. So we're eating the stuff that the mice rejected. Anyway, that's that's a whole series of stories that I've compiled in Seeds of Deception, which are fun.

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Speaker 2 (14:51):
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