Category Archives: Genetically Engineered Foods

The king is dead. Long live the subjects.

I must take time to acknowledge the passing of our Prime Minister, David Thompson, who died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 48.  His death has caused me to contemplate why.  Perhaps I will memorialize him in another article, because our lives followed similar and diverging paths.

I have deliberately waited until after his funeral to share what has been on my mind for the past month, for while I cannot help David, I may be able to help those of you who remain.  I shall try to approach the subject gingerly.

Saved from certain death

Food provides us with, inter alia, energy to work, nutrients and other components to keep us healthy, and pleasure.  The most beneficial parts of our food decomposes sometime after the food is harvested.  Whole foods are most beneficial to us when they are eaten fresh.

The modern food industry aims to extend the shelf-life of our food, and they do this by processing it – hence, the term ‘processed food’.  Food is generally processed by, inter alia, destroying the beneficial component that decomposes rapidly, and adding chemical preservatives and other unhealthy additives to the remainder.

If we could really see what we actually eat, perhaps, we would not consciously decide to harm our bodies.  Approximately one decade ago, I visited Dr Babb at the Sir Winston Scott Polyclinic to request a CAT scan, because I was experiencing pain in my skull.  She ordered a set of tests, and called me in for the results.  She essentially told me to change my eating habits or order a casket because I would likely be dead within one year.  She then directed me to the polyclinic’s nutritionist, Dr Mark Alleyne, and told me to get a massage.

I obeyed her completely; but I needed her blunt presentation of my options to force me to confront what I was habitually doing to my body.  Perhaps I can help you in a similar manner.

A recent review of the contents of the major supermarkets in Barbados tends to suggest that we actually eat a bowl of diabetes in the morning, a plate of cancer for lunch, and a dish of heart disease for dinner.  Statistics on diseases tend to suggest that the results of this diet are manifested in our bodies in approximately 40 years.  If you are mainly eating processed food, and you are over 40 years old, then you are living on borrowed time my friend.  Better put your house in order.

What should you do now?  I urge you to read ‘Principles of Healthy Diets’, which I have hyper linked for your convenience.  It should take you less than 10 minutes, and it may just save your life.

If you have the time, you can also read the evidence in Dr Price’s invaluable original research, which is recorded in his book ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration‘.  Both publications are free.  No more excuses.  Live long and prosper.



Genetically Engineered Foods – Part 2

When presenting the relatively wide range of topics in this column, one risks offending some persons with each article. I have had the pleasure of reading several responses over the past year from persons from many countries and their letters were always written with a high standard of civility regardless of their views.

Dr Robert Lucas’ letter in response to my article on Genetically Engineered Foods, which was published last Sunday, was a departure from this standard. His submission essentially supported my article. However, this was not immediately obvious given his style of writing. Introducing extraneous issues and using insulting language can be an effective method of distracting readers from considering the essence of an argument. Dr Lucas’ letter provides an opportunity to return to this important topic of genetic engineering.

Of the approximately 30 points raised in my article, Dr Lucas focused on five of them. I stated my concern about the link between genetically engineered foods and the transfer of allergies. Dr Lucas confirmed the link but incorrectly assumed that allergies were long-term health effects.

I wrote that the long-term effects of consuming genetically engineered foods are unknown. Given the relatively short time that humans have been consuming genetically engineered foods this fact is obvious. However, Dr Lucas had some difficulty resolving this with his earlier assumption about allergies.

I wrote about the coincidence of the HIV/AIDS appearing during the time of the genetically engineered experiments on viruses, and the similarity of HIV/AIDS with genetically engineered viruses. Dr Lucas did not dispute this fact. Neither did he dispute the fifty new human attacking viruses that have been discovered during the period of these experiments. However, he did clarify that antibiotics and vaccines are used to treat bacteria and viruses respectively.

I wrote that antibiotic markers in genetically engineered foods may contribute to the decreased effectiveness of disease fighting antibodies. After introducing extraneous issues and arguing with himself, Dr Lucas did not challenge this fact.

There are some scientists who are so blinded by the novelty of new technology, and the lure of the opportunity to participate in scientific history, that they refuse to allow themselves to acknowledge the potential harmful aspects of the technology until it is literally too late. Engaging in scientific debate with such persons is therefore futile.

Scientists risk compromising their integrity when they choose to represent the industry in which they conduct their research. Examples are evident with scientists who represented the tobacco, toxic manufacturing, pesticide, and herbicide industries and who refused to acknowledge the clear link between their products and the damage to human health and the environment until the damage was overwhelming. Regrettably, some scientists in the biotechnology industry are following a similar pattern of refusing to consider the potential harmful effects of this industry.

The essential thrust of the article was that genetic engineering is a relatively new technology that was allowed to operate with very limited to non-existent government regulations worldwide. The risks to human health and the environment can be higher in unregulated or inadequately regulated scientific environments.

Genetic engineers were generally ignorant of the potential consequences of this technology on human health and the environment. The combination of this ignorance, and being allowed to operate in a relatively unregulated environment, raised the risks to human health and the environment to unacceptable levels, and unplanned negative consequences associated with genetic engineering have already been well documented. Some governments have since instituted better regulations, but risks remain.

Barbadians are currently being forced to eat genetically engineered foods, since it is estimated that most of the imported foods in supermarkets in Barbados are genetically engineered. The article called on the Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, which has the responsibility of protecting Barbadian consumers, to do so by ensuring that such foods are properly labelled so that persons can choose whether they wish to consume them. The article also recommended that the genetic engineering laboratories at the University of the West Indies, both in Barbados and Jamaica, should be independently audited. Dr Lucas did not address any of these concerns.

Genetically Engineered Foods

Dear Readers:

Around 1980, the US Supreme Court ruled that micro-organisms could be patented. Thus began what can be described as a mad rush to tamper with the genes of various organisms in laboratories around the world, in the hope of constructing marketable life forms.

Some laboratories concentrated their efforts on genetically engineered organisms, randomly splicing, say, human genes with spiders’ and observing the results. Other laboratories concentrated on the more potentially lucrative genetically engineered foods in an effort to make food crops resistant to insects and herbicides. Insect resistant crops are achieved by introducing toxins into the crop to make them poisonous to insects. Herbicide resistant crops are achieved by changing the nature of the crop so that when sprayed with heavy concentrations of herbicide, the surrounding weeds die, but the food crop remains.

The long-term health effects of genetically engineered foods are unknown. However, genetically engineered foods may be the cause of the upsurge in asthma, allergies, and antibiotic resistant diseases. When genes are taken from one source and spliced into a food group, then the allergenic properties of the source is also transferred which can trigger life threatening allergic reactions. Each genetically engineered food also contains markers to indicate that the organism has been successfully engineered. These markers are generally resistant to antibiotics and are believed to contribute to the decreasing effectiveness of disease fighting antibiotics.

Approximately two-thirds of all imported foods in local supermarkets are estimated to be genetically engineered, and these foods are not required to be labelled. Barbadians are therefore being forced to consume genetically engineered foods against their will. The justification for not labelling genetically engineered food is the assumption that such food is materially equivalent to conventional food.

The world has had to suffer unnecessarily because of incorrect assumptions determined due to commercial pressures. Wrong assumptions from the pesticide industry have left a legacy of contaminated soil and water around the world. Wrong assumptions made by various manufacturing industries have left a legacy of toxic waste sites around the world. Wrong assumptions made by the tobacco industry have left a legacy of heart disease and lung cancer. Wrong assumptions already made by genetic engineers pose grave threats.

Perhaps the greatest of these threats is in the area of genetically engineered viruses and bacteria. Unlike natural organic material that simply degrades, genetically engineered waste material does not naturally degrade but can jump or cross over into other species causing them to undergo changes at a genetic level. Discarded genetic laboratory waste has the potential to contaminate all life.

Coincidentally, HIV/AIDS was first observed during the time of the first genetically engineered viruses. HIV/AIDS also behaves like a genetically engineered virus in that it has the ability to cross over into other species. In 1975, genetic engineers feared creating and inadvertently releasing dangerous viruses and bacteria pathogens into the environment. They therefore agreed to stop all such research until countries enacted sufficient regulations to control this new branch of science. Since the US Supreme Court ruling that essentially overturned this agreement, over 50 new human attacking micro-organisms have been discovered, with some being invulnerable to all known antibiotics.

Genetic engineering experiments are being carried out in laboratories at UWI campuses in Barbados and in Jamaica. If it is felt that such experiments are necessary and desirable in the Caribbean, then given the high risks and grave consequences associated with such research, it is highly recommended that independent audits be carried out of UWI’s labs and genetic disposal protocols as a matter of extreme urgency.

The Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has inherited the responsibility of protecting Barbadian consumers. One effective protective measure would be to ensure that all genetically engineered foods are labelled before they are placed on our supermarket shelves. Barbadians should not be forced to participate as human trials in the current genetically engineered food experiments.


Grenville Phillips II