The hidden ingredient in engineered food

by Dr. Thierry Vrain

reaching for Roundup on grocery shelf • In the most recent poll I have seen, the US television network MSNBC surveyed people in the US, asking them if they wanted to know what was in their food and if they would support a legislated mandatory food labelling policy. Ninety-three out of 100 people (93%) expressed their concern and distrust of the food supply by voting yes. I have seen many surveys like this over the last 10 years and people have consistently expressed their concern and anxiety about GMOs while the industry and its governmental regulatory agencies in Canada and the US laugh it up because they have “science” on their side.


The secret – what is not being discussed in the open – is that almost all engineered food crops and a good number of non-engineered food crops are routinely sprayed with a powerful antibiotic – glyphosate – that doubles as a popular herbicide. There is so much of it in bread and all processed foods that contain cereals, soy, corn, canola oil and sugar that, in 2013, the EPA had to raise the legal residue levels in all food and feed crops. And, of course, Health Canada follows their guidelines for MRL (Maximum Residue Limits). For example, soy can now contain 20 parts per million (ppm) and cereals (wheat, oat, barley) can contain 30 ppm. If you were a bread eater – someone who gulps half a loaf every day – imagine what your intake of glyphosate would be. And imagine the residues in dairy and meat products when animal feed can legally contain up to 100 ppm.

There are many areas in the US and Canada where RoundUp® Ready crops are grown and where 75% of water and air samples contains traces of glyphosate. The EPA’s MRL for glyphosate in drinking water is below 0.7 ppm. Above that, the EPA warns you will become severely ill, quickly. The MRL in Europe is considerably less.

All this doesn’t tell you much until you learn that one part per million is antibiotic to most bacteria – glyphosate is actually a powerful antibiotic that has been masquerading as an herbicide for over 40 years – and that we all have a hugely diverse community of bacteria in our lower intestine, now commonly referred to as the Microbiome. When I was a kid, my mother used to call it the intestinal flora and somehow it was part of good health, but we did not know how important it actually is. We all have 100 trillion bacteria inside – with the same weight as our brain – that basically direct the show. All those autonomic functions – heart, lungs, digestive system – seem to work well without us having much to do with it. It is becoming obvious that the biochemical language of the Microbiome to each of our major organs is required for proper function.

The diversity of the Microbiome is essential to the health of many organs and particularly sensitive are the brain, the immune system, and, of course, the digestive tract. So when you eat everyday foods containing more than 1 ppm of glyphosate – the level where it kills all bacteria in the lab – you should logically expect antibiotic damage to the Microbiome. Consequences can include celiac, Crohn’s, allergies, asthma and many other immune deficiency symptoms such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism and eventually all manners of cancer. And that’s just for humans. We know that fish, frogs, rats and pigs become ill and promptly die. You can easily Google the published and peer-reviewed studies that support every word of this statement. You can also watch my lecture on YouTube: Engineered Food and Your Health: the Nutritional Status of GMOs.

It appears we are back in the 1970s when, every few days, the tobacco industry was spewing safety statements with the studies to prove it. Now, the strategy about the safety of GMOs is slightly different. The industry – essentially, the chemical company Monsanto – is keeping the public and media focused on the engineering technology and GMOs. And they have all the studies to prove their safety. I also suspect the industry actually generates much of the anti-GMO rhetoric we see in the major media and on the Internet. I call it “controlled opposition.” Their job is to remind you there is an intense debate about GMOs, with lots of public opposition. This industry regularly fuels the debate about the safety of GMOs. Apparently, anything goes as long as it keeps the focus away from the antibiotic in the food system.

Very few people bother to question the huge increase in this antibiotic – masquerading as an herbicide – in our environment, and particularly in our food where it reached toxic levels many years ago. The levels are probably so scary that Agriculture Canada, Health Canada, the USDA and the FDA dare not even go there. Almost all agricultural chemicals of concern are measured every year and kept in check, except for glyphosate, which is regarded as completely innocuous since its first registration as an herbicide 40 years ago. Therefore, the government sees no need to monitor its use and residue levels in food and water. The recent classification by the World Health Organization that glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen” should trigger in Canada an outright ban of this molecule in the food or, at least, a follow up of its effects on humans as is normally done with other pesticides.

If I were the vice president for promotion at Monsanto, I would do a number of things to keep this secret from going public. I would do all the standard things, of course, like hiring the best advertising brains in the business, emphasizing safety and singing the wonders of the genetic engineering technology. I would also keep your attention on the debate about the engineering technology, i.e. are GMOs good or bad for you? I would spare no trick of the trade to keep your attention away from the toxicity of the herbicide that is sprayed on your food. I would create a small army of graduate students (and scientists, of course – only the size of the bursary differs) and other mercenaries to engage with the anti-GMO “activists” and constantly remind you of the insanity of your fear. Most of the pro and anti-GMO rhetoric is just that: a lot of hot air and a lot of fear. Anything goes as long as it keeps your attention away from the secret ingredient. I would even have books published on the topic, some with all the available evidence of corporate malfeasance exposed in plain view, as long as the emphasis stayed away from the secret.

But I am not a vice president, although I was more than once in my science days, but that was another millennium. Aside from being a concerned consumer, I now find it necessary to alert you of this sordid story of corporate greed that causes so much illness. All I can do is speak and write publicly about this issue and hope you will do your part.

Dr. Thierry Vrain, a former soil biologist and genetic scientist, worked for Agriculture Canada for 30 years. He was the designated spokesperson to assure the public of the safety of GMO crops. Since retiring 10 years ago, after taking into account scientific evidence ignored by most of the bio-tech industry promoters and government regulators, Dr. Vrain has reversed that position and now warns of the dangers from GMOs.

photo © Rene Van Den Berg

4 thoughts on “The hidden ingredient in engineered food”

  1. Humans throughout North America and other parts of the world, are being consciously poisoned by corporations, aided and abetted by their quisling politicians, all in the name of greed.

  2. Excellent article. I began to connect these dots a long time ago. You brilliantly validate and connect them further. I suspect this was always the plan, brilliantly laid out a long time ago. I see the ‘NON-GMO project’ labels on food products and because of the rhetoric, many unsuspecting consumers are drawn into a false sense of security thinking that Non-GMO = SAFE, when this could be no further from the truth.
    When we are dealing with People and CEO’s that are psychotically intelligent, you have to suspect this was the plan all along.

    Excellent article. Thank you!

    • thanks for your comments and vigilance on this issue, Simon! yes, these labels on food must be put in context. the USDA Organic standard now allows for Glyphosate to be used as a dessicant on food…they get around the definition of “organic” having to do ONLY with how the crop was “grown” not how it was harvested and/or preserved, it would seem…. best way to ensure food purity is to know the farmer, or have a lot of trust in the seller of the food knowing the farmer. also, simply being aware of which foods are grown gmo and with the use of glyphosat and other pesticides like 24D. These crops are; corn, soy, canola, sugar beets, some papaya’s, the arctic apple, and probably others we don’t yet know about. Then there are non-gmo crops like wheat, varieties of potatoes and carrots that are dessicated (dried) with a glyphosate spray. This is the scariest one to me since there is currently no way to tell. We are very grateful to Dr. Vrain for his ongoing work exposing this.

      • The claim the organic farmers are allowed to use glyphosate (or any other synthetic chemical herbicide) is completely false. Organic food must be grown, harvested, handled, and processed according to organic standards.


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