Does Consent Matter? – Testing GMO Foods On Humans

Today I received an invite to sign a petition. I receive many of them on a daily basis, but have stopped signing or otherwise participating with such sites, having lost faith in the whole system. But I do still receive them. Though I normally just end up deleting and moving on to the next email, sometimes I find one that makes me stop and read. Not for positive reasons either.

Like this one that showed up in my inbox today.


“Immediately halt all plans to test genetically modified food on humans”

Here is a good example of why I gave up on these petitions. You have a bunch of often ignorant people rallying together and DEMANDING some person,company, nation or world leader to do this or not do that.

How about . . . go fuck yourself?

Dear Friend,

Researchers at Iowa State University (ISU) are preparing to test genetically modified bananas on university students for future cultivation and consumption by vitamin-deficient people in Uganda.1

Despite protests by fellow scientists, students,2 and over 100 national and international organizations, much of the study’s details have been kept under wraps, and the administrators and researchers at ISU have refused to engage publicly on the ethical and health impacts of the study.

These GMO bananas have not yet been tested conclusively on animals.3 We must pressure Iowa State University and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is funding this study, to halt this unethical and potentially dangerous human study immediately.

I am glad that they resisted the pressure of hundreds of people and organisations that likely know nothing about the topic that equates to much more than GMO=BAD!.

It’s unclear whether creating and growing this genetically modified banana is even necessary.

It has been genetically engineered for the purpose of helping people living in sub-Saharan Africa produce more vitamin A — but GMO bananas may be a solution in search of a problem.

A coalition of over 100 U.S., African, and international organizations, scholars, and doctors expressed deep concern over these human feeding trials in an open letter to administrators at ISU and the Gates Foundation. In their letter, the coalition questions the necessity of GMO food for vitamin A enrichment in developing countries, citing government success in the Philippines to improve access to vitamin A rich food rather than relying on genetically modified crops.4

In the Philippines, a lot of work has gone into fortifying rice with various nutrients lacking from other their other common sources of food. Rice was choosen as the best vehicle to use being that its the least excluding of all other possible choices available.

Since were on the topic of rice, Golden Rice comes to mind. Another fairly common dietary staple in many areas, and thus a good place to add missing enrichment properties. And the same goes for these Golden Bananas.

Even if I do take serious the argument that is “we should focus on ensuring availability of a variety of vitamin A rich food”, what about in the meantime?

No matter how you swing it, there IS reason to have this food available. And its truly amazing how many people seem to miss this.

Some of them are scholars, you say? Are they the same ones working for the organic industry and lobbying hard for GMO labeling?

In addition to the health concerns, the production of this GMO banana also raises major concerns regarding the local control of the food system in developing countries.5 Since these bananas will be seedless, researchers and other officials have yet to clarify who will own and distribute this essential staple crop. As one African activist put it, “We have this suspicion that we are surrendering our sovereignty over the food system to the corporates in the long run.”6

While ISU has brushed aside concerns about the feeding trials, a coalition of ISU students has increased pressure on university researchers and administrators to address multiple issues of transparency, ethics, safety, efficacy and necessity of the study, claiming the university is misusing state funds and lab space to conduct a potentially unethical and unsafe human trial.7

We must have these students’ backs as they mount a campaign to keep ISU from conducting these human feeding trials of GMO bananas. By lending our voice to theirs, we have a real chance at preventing this GMO banana from coming to market.

I have yet to hear what exactly the health risks are. And I have yet to see a corporation take contol of this patent, to make money off of it by selling it to PEOPLE THAT DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY FOR IT TO BEGIN WITH.

Good investment!

And it is AMAZING that ethics is coming up. Though these are human trials, these subjects are not forced to participate. Its not like the bananas are being distributed in the third world as a mass experiment. Its a bunch of students deciding to test a fruit with slightly more vitamin value than a typical banana.

And yet, this consent means nothing to these hundreds of morons protesting.
And calling out ISU for being unethical . . . FUCK YOU!

They (ISU) are involved in research that has a goal in providing more nutritional enrichment to people that would not otherwise have it. You anti GMO morons are (for the most part) are walking around and existing off of first world amenities (like easily available organic foods!), while ensuring that the third world stays in nutritional poverty. Because your gullible idiots that have bought into a marketing by scare tactic campaign.

You disgust me.

Thanks for all you do.

Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager

Go fuck yourself.

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