Dr.Huber Comments on HIS GMO warning Letter to Vilsack

9322 Big Foot Road
Melba, Idaho 83641 USA
March 25, 2011
This cover letter is provided to explain the reasoning and concerns that were conveyed in a letter
which I sent to Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack on January 17, 2011 (Attachment 1).
The letter was not intended for public distribution; however, the letter was ‘leaked’ and
subsequently posted on the internet from which it soon became public knowledge world-wide.
Once it was widely distributed, I gave permission for subsequent postings in order to keep it
consistent. My busy meeting and travel schedule has delayed getting further information on this
matter out publicly to the many individuals who have requested it. The scientific data on this
newly recognized organism is being prepared for formal publication.
I wrote the letter to Secretary Vilsack for a very simple reason: we are experiencing a large
number of problems in production agriculture in the U.S. that appear to be intensified and
sometimes directly related to genetically engineered (GMO) crops, and/or the products they were
engineered to tolerate – especially those related to glyphosate (the active chemical in Roundup®
herbicide and generic versions of this herbicide). We have witnessed a deterioration in the plant
health of corn, soybean, wheat and other crops recently with unexplained epidemics of sudden
death syndrome of soybean (SDS), Goss’ wilt of corn, and take-all of small grain crops the last
two years. At the same time, there has been an increasing frequency of previously unexplained
animal (cattle, pig, horse, poultry) infertility and spontaneous abortions. These situations are
threatening the economic viability of both crop and animal producers.
Incidence of high infertility and spontaneous abortions in the various animal species is becoming
more common. Often, all previously known causes of these conditions can be ruled out as
factors for these particular farm operations (Attachment 2). Detailed examination for the newly
recognized organism has shown its presence in all of the cases examined to date. Koch’s
postulates have been completed for animals to verify the cause/effect relationship with this
newly culturable organism. A search for the source of animal infections revealed a high
population of this newly discovered electron microscopic sized organism in soybean meal and
corn products. The organism appears compatible, and probably synergistic, with other
microorganisms such as Fusarium solani fsp. glycines, the cause of SDS of soybeans and also
with gram positive bacteria. The organism also is in a very high population in Goss’ wilt
infected corn caused by the gram positive bacterium Clavibacter michiganensis subsp.
nebraskensis.
Although most corn hybrids have been genetically resistant to Goss’ wilt, preliminary research in
2010 demonstrated that the application of glyphosate herbicide, or the surfactant from glyphosate
formulations, nullified this resistance and rendered them fully susceptible to this pathogen (Fig.
1). This disease was commonly observed in many Midwestern U.S. fields planted to RR corn in
2009 and 2010, while adjacent non-GMO corn had very light to no infections in spite of the high
inoculum present in no-till crop residues (Figure 2). The increased Goss’ wilt in 2010 was a
major contributor to the estimated almost one billion bushels of corn ‘lost’ last year (based on
USDA August estimated yields and actually harvested crop reported by USDA in January) in
spite of generally good harvest conditions.
2
Increased severity of plant diseases after glyphosate is applied (Fig. 3) is well documented and,
although rarely cited, the increased disease susceptibility is the herbicidal mode of action of
glyphosate (Johal andRahe,1988, 1990; Johal and Huber, 2009; Schafer et al, 2009, 2010). The
loss of disease resistance in Roundup Ready® sugar beets when glyphosate was applied
prompted researchers at the USDA sugar beet laboratory to include a precautionary statement in
their paper, e.g. “Precautions need to be taken when certain soil-borne diseases are present if
weed management for sugar beet is to include post-emergence glyphosate treatments” (Larson et
al, 2006).
The loss of genetic resistance in Roundup Ready® corn hybrids to Goss’ wilt (Clavibacter
michiganensis subsp. nebraskensis) (Figs. 2, 3), synergistic relationship of the newly recognized
electron microscopic organism causing infertility and abortions in animals with gram+ bacteria,
and high populations of the new EM organism in RR corn leaves and silage creates a concern for
the deregulation of Roundup Ready® alfalfa which is productive in many areas only because of
its genetic resistance to bacterial wilt caused by Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. insidiosum.
This disease could make alfalfa unprofitable for production and, if the EM organism is
associated with it in alfalfa as it is in corn, also unsafe for animal feed and their products such as
milk for human consumption. The loss of alfalfa, the United State’s most valuable forage crop
and fourth most economically important crop, could strike a mortal blow to struggling dairy and
beef operations.
Extensive research has shown that this potent tool for weed management, glyphosate, is also a
strong immobilizer (chelator) of essential plant nutrients to impair nutrient uptake, translocation,
and physiological efficiency at only a fraction of the labeled herbicidal rate (Ekers, Ozturk,
Cakmak, Zobiole, Jolly et al., 2004). Glyphosate is a powerful biocide to harm beneficial soil
organisms important for nutrient recycling, N-fixation, nutrient availability, and natural disease
control (Kremer & Means, Zobiole et al, Dick et al) with a resultant increase in diseases of corn,
soybeans (Fig. 3), wheat and other crops. The close relationship between mineral nutrition and
disease severity is well documented (Datnoff et al, 2007). These activities can have deleterious
effects on plant nutrition, disease susceptibility, and nutritional quality of the crop produced.
Deleterious effects of GM crops also are vividly demonstrated in reports from livestock
producers in the U.S. Although some of these reports are anecdotal because of limited analytical
techniques to verify the cause, some producers have been able to resume economical operations
by changing feed sources to non-GMO crops. Replicated independent research is needed in this
area, especially in light of the serious toxicological concerns raised recently that show potential
human and animal toxicity from very low levels of residual glyphosate in food/feed that are
many times lower than permitted in U.S. food and feed products (Seralini et al., 2011). The
recent Indian Supreme Court’s independent analysis and Ruling that GMO egg plant posed a
significant health risk to humans needs further evaluation in the U.S. (AgroNews, 2011).
I feel I would be totally irresponsible to ignore my own research and the vast amount of
published research now available that support the concerns we are seeing in production
agriculture, without bringing it to the attention of the Secretary of Agriculture with a request for
him to initiate the much needed independent research. Many producers can’t wait an additional
3-10 years for someone to find the funds and neutral environment to conduct such critical
research (Attachment 2. Entomologists letter to EPA).
3
Based on the scientific evidence currently accumulating, I do not believe it is in the best interests
of the agricultural producer or consuming public for regulatory agencies to approve more GMO
crops, particularly Roundup Ready® alfalfa and sugar beets, until independent research can
establish their productivity when predisposed to potentially severe diseases, the irrelevance of
the new EM organism, and their nutritional equivalency. In my letter, I asked the Secretary to
allocate the necessary resources to do this, and requested that he exercise the utmost caution in
deregulating these crops until such findings resolve the concerns expressed in the letter, if they
do.
Don M. Huber
Professor Emeritus, Purdue University
9322 Big Foot Road
Melba, Idaho 83641 USA
References cited
AgroNews. 2011. India: Signs of food toxicity in GE eggplant. Scoop.co.nz 2011-1-18.
[http://news.agropages.com/News/NewsDetail—3369.htm] Nib, 24 Jnuary 111.
Bellaloui, N., reddy, K.N., Zablotowicz, R.M., Abbas, H.K., and Abel, C.A. 2009. Effects of
glyphosate application on seed iron and root ferric (III) reductase in soybean cultivars. J. Agric.
Food Chem. 57:9569-9574.
Bott, S., Tesfamariam, T., Kania, A., Eman, B., Aslan, N., Roemheld, V., and Neumann, G.
2011, Phytotoxicity of glyphosate soil residues re-mobilise4d by phosphate fertilization. Plant
Soil 315:2-11. DOI 10, 1007/s11104-010-06989-3.
Cakmak, I., Yazici, A., Tutus, Y., Ozturk, L. 2009. Glyphosate reduced seed and leaf
concentrations of calcium, magnesium, manganese, and iron in non-glyphosate resistant soybean.
European J. Agron. 31:114-119.
Datnoff, L.E., elmer, W.H., and Huber, D.M. 2007. Mineral Nutrition and Plant Disease. APS
Press, St. Paul, Mn. 278. 278 pages.
Eker, S., Ozturk, L., Yazici, A., Erenoglu, B., Roemheld, V., and Cakmak, I. 2006. Foliarapplied
glyphosate substantially reduced uptake and transport of iron and manganese in
sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) plants. J. Agric. Food Chem. 54:100019-10025.
Fernandez, M.R., Zentner, R.P., Basnyat, P., Gehl, D., Selles, F., and Huber, D.M. 2009.
Glyphosate associations with cereal diseases caused by Fusarium spp. in the Canadian Prairies.
European J. Agon. 31:133-143.
Johal, G.R. and Rahe, J.E. 1984. Effect of soilborne paltn-pathogenic fungi on the herbicidal
action of glyphosate on bean seedlings. Phytopathology 74:950-955.
4
Johal, G.R. and Rahe, J.E. 1990. Role of phytoalexins in the suppression of resistance of
Phaseolus vulgaris to Colletotrichum lindemuthianum by glyphosate. Canad. J. Plant Pathol.
12:225-235.
Johal, G.R. and Huber, D.M. 2009. Glyphosate effects on diseases of plants. European J. Agron.
31:144-152.
Kremer, R.J. and Means, N.E. 2009. Glyphosate and glyphosate-resistant crop interactions with
rhizosphere microorganisms. European J. Agron. 31:153-161.
Larsen, R.L., Hill, A.L., Fenwick, A., Kniss, A.R., Hanson, L.E., and Miller, S.D. 2006.
Influence of glyphosate on Rhizoctonia and Fusarium root rot in sugar beet. Pest Manag. Sci.
62:1182-1192.
Ozturk, L., Yazici, A., Eker, S., gokmen, O., roemheld, V., and Cakmak, I. 2008. Glyphosate
inhibition of ferric reductase activity in iron deficient sunflower roots. New Phytol. 177:899-906.
Schafer, J.R., Westhoven, A.M., Kruger, G.R., Davis, V.M., Hallett, S.G., and Johnson, W.G.
2009. Effect of growth media on common lambsquarter and giant ragweed biotypes response to
glyphosate. Proc. Northcentral Weed Sci. Soc. 64:102.
Schafer, J.R., Hallett, S.G., and jophnson, W.G. 2010. Role of soil-borne fungi in the response of
giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) biotypes to glyphosate. Proc. Northcentral Weed Sci. Soc. 65:.
Seralini, G-E., Mesnage, R., Clair, E., Gress, S., de Vendomois, J.S., Cellier, D. 2011.
Genetically modified crops safety assessments: present limits and possible improvements.
Environ. Sci. Europe 23:10-20. http://www.enveurope.com/content/23/1/10
Tesfamariam, T., Bott, S., Cakmak, I., Roemheld, V., and Neumann, G. 2009. Glyphosate in the
rhizosphere – role of waiting times and different glyphosate binding forms in soils for
phytoxicity to non-target plants. European J. Agron. 31:126-132.
Yamada, T., Kremer, R.J., Camargo e Castro, P.R., and Wood, B.W. 2009. Glyphosate
interactions with physiology, nutrition, and diseases of plants: Threat to agricultural
sustainability? European J. Agron. 31:111-113.
Zobiole, L.H.S., Oliveira, R.S.Jr., Huber, D.M., Constantin, J., Castro, C., Oliveira, F.A.,
Oliveira, A. Jr. 2010. Glyphosate reduces shoot concentrations of mineral nutrients in
glyphosate-resistant soybeans. Plant Soil 328:57-69.
Zobiole, L.H.S., Oliveira, R.S. Jr., Kremer, R.J., Constantin, J., Yamada, T., Castro, C., Oliveiro,
F.A., and Oliveira, A. Jr. 2010. Effect of glyposate on symbiotic N2 fixation and nickel
concentration in glyphosate-resistant soybeans. Applied Soil Ecol. 44:176-180.
5
Attachment 1: Letter to Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsak
CONFIDENTIAL and URGENT
1/17/11
The Honorable Thomas Vilsack
United States Secretary of Agriculture
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
A team of senior plant and animal scientists have recently brought to my attention the discovery
of an electron microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants,
animals, and probably human beings. Based on a review of the data, it is widespread, very
serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans and corn—
suggesting a link with the RR gene or more likely the presence of Roundup. This organism
appears NEW to science!
This is highly sensitive information that could result in a collapse of US soy and corn export
markets and significant disruption of domestic food and feed supplies. On the other hand, this
new organism may already be responsible for significant harm (see below). My colleagues and I
are therefore moving our investigation forward with speed and discretion, and seek assistance
from the USDA and other entities to identify the pathogen’s source, prevalence, implications,
and remedies.
We are informing the USDA of our findings at this early stage, specifically due to your pending
decision regarding approval of RR alfalfa. Naturally, if either the RR gene or Roundup itself is a
promoter or co-factor of this pathogen, then such approval could be a calamity. Based on the
current evidence, the only reasonable action at this time would be to delay deregulation at least
until sufficient data has exonerated the RR system, if it does.
For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies that
evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and
disease outbreaks. Based on this experience, I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen
is unique and of a high risk status. In layman’s terms, it should be treated as an emergency.
A diverse set of researchers working on this problem have contributed various pieces of the
puzzle, which together presents the following disturbing scenario:
Unique Physical Properties
This previously unknown organism is only visible under an electron microscope (36,000X), with
an approximate size range equal to a medium size virus. It is able to reproduce and appears to be
a micro-fungal-like organism. If so, it would be the first such micro-fungus ever identified. There
is strong evidence that this infectious agent promotes diseases of both plants and mammals,
which is very rare.
Pathogen Location and Concentration
It is found in high concentrations in Roundup Ready soybean meal and corn, distillers meal,
fermentation feed products, pig stomach contents, and pig and cattle placentas.
6
Linked with Outbreaks of Plant Disease
The organism is prolific in plants infected with two pervasive diseases that are driving down
yields and farmer income—sudden death syndrome (SDS) in soy, and Goss’ wilt in corn. The
pathogen is also found in the fungal causative agent of SDS (Fusarium solani fsp glycines).
Implicated in Animal Reproductive Failure
Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of this organism in a wide variety of livestock that
have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility. Preliminary results from ongoing
research have also been able to reproduce abortions in a clinical setting.
The pathogen may explain the escalating frequency of infertility and spontaneous abortions over
the past few years in US cattle, dairy, swine, and horse operations. These include recent reports
of infertility rates in dairy heifers of over 20%, and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as
45%.
For example, 450 of 1,000 pregnant heifers fed wheatlege experienced spontaneous abortions.
Over the same period, another 1,000 heifers from the same herd that were raised on hay had no
abortions. High concentrations of the pathogen were confirmed on the wheatlage, which likely
had been under weed management using glyphosate.
Recommendations
In summary, because of the high titer of this new animal pathogen in Roundup Ready crops, and
its association with plant and animal diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions, we request
USDA’s participation in a multi-agency investigation, and an immediate moratorium on the
deregulation of RR crops until the causal/predisposing relationship with glyphosate and/or RR
plants can be ruled out as a threat to crop and animal production and human health.
It is urgent to examine whether the side-effects of glyphosate use may have facilitated the growth
of this pathogen, or allowed it to cause greater harm to weakened plant and animal hosts. It is
well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the
increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients;
and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders.
To properly evaluate these factors, we request access to the relevant USDA data.
I have studied plant pathogens for more than 50 years. We are now seeing an unprecedented
trend of increasing plant and animal diseases and disorders. This pathogen may be instrumental
to understanding and solving this problem. It deserves immediate attention with significant
resources to avoid a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure.
Sincerely,
COL (Ret.) Don M. Huber
Emeritus Professor, Purdue University
APS Coordinator, USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System (NPDRS)
9322 Big Foot Road, Melba, Idaho 83641
(208) 495-2642
[huberd@purdue.edu]
7
Attachment 2. Letter from a Veterinarian
Hello, my name is ___________. I am a veterinarian in Michigan.
I am working with a sow herd that has had elevated death loss for over two years and very poor
reproductive performance for the last 6-8 months. I have done extensive diagnostics (primarily
at Iowa State) and can find nothing infectious that is routinely found to explain the problem.
I suspect there is a toxin involved; I have done extensive testing on liver, feed, and water but can
find no evidence of those compounds either. We have had a few individuals mention that the use
of GMO crops could be contributing to these problems.
The producer recently saw your article to the secretary of agriculture and forwarded it to me. We
are very intrigued by the organism you mention. Could you tell me if any laboratory is looking
for this agent? How do we go about finding it? We are at the end of our rope and cannot figure
this out. Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated.
Attachment 3. Letter from 26 University Entomologists to EPA
Public Submission: EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0836-0043. Docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0836
Docket Title Evaluation of the Resistance Risks from Using a Seed Mix Refuge with Pioneer’s
Optimum AcreMax 1 Corn Rootworm-Protected Corn
Document EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0836-0001; Public Submission EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0836-0043
Public Submission Title Anonymous public comment Receipt Date 02/09/2009
Doc. Legacy ID EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0836-0032(0900006480849377) Track No. 8084de39
General Comment
Comment The following statement has been submitted by 26 leading corn insect scientists
working at public research institutions located in 16 corn producing states. All of the scientists
have been active participants of the Regional Research Project NCCC-46 “Development,
Optimization, and Delivery of Management Strategies for Rootworms and Other Below-ground
Insect Pests of Maize” and/or related projects with corn insect pests. The statement may be
applicable to all EPA decisions on PIPs, not just for the current SAP. It should not be interpreted
that the actions and opinions of these 26 scientists represent those of the entire group
of scientists participating in NCCC-46. The names of the scientists have been withheld from the
public docket because virtually all of us require cooperation from industry at some level to
conduct our research.
Statement:
“Technology/stewardship agreements required for the purchase of genetically modified seed
explicitly prohibit research. These agreements inhibit public scientists from pursuing their
mandated role on behalf of the public good unless the research is approved by industry. As a
result of restricted access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many
critical questions regarding the technology, its performance, its management implications, IRM,
and its interactions with insect biology. Consequently, data flowing to an EPA Scientific
Advisory Panel from the public sector is unduly limited.”
8
Figure 1. Effect of surfactants in glyphosate formulations on Goss’ wilt infection
of Goss’ wilt resistant maize hybrids.
3
2
1
0
Untreated Surfactant C. nebraskensis C. nebraskensis
control control + water + surfactant
Goss’ wilt of maize
Lesion index
9
Figure 2.A. A green non-GMO corn field (upper left) with dead and dying RR corn on
two sides (upper right and bottom) heavily infected with Goss’ wilt, 2010.
Figure 2.B. Healthy soybeans (left) where no glyphosate was applied in 2009 compared
with severe SDS of the soybeans (right) where glyphosate was applied the Fall of 2009.

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824 scientists request GMO moratorium

http://www.i-sis.org.uk/list.php
Open Letter from 824 World Scientists to All Governments Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

* The scientists are extremely concerned about the hazards of GMOs to biodiversity, food safety, human and animal health, and demand a moratorium on environmental releases in accordance with the precautionary principle.
* They are opposed to GM crops that will intensify corporate monopoly, exacerbate inequality and prevent the essential shift to sustainable agriculture that can provide food security and health around the world.
* They call for a ban on patents of life-forms and living processes which threaten food security, sanction biopiracy of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources and violate basic human rights and dignity.
* They want more support on research and development of non-corporate, sustainable agriculture that can benefit family farmers all over the world.

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Bee Keepers Request Risk-Assessments on GMO POLLEN & Foods

.Letter from Swedish beekeepers to Advocate General

Dear Mr Yves Bot

We wish to thank you for the excellent report you have written concerning GMO and pollen. As beekeepers we are very concerned about the situation in which we now find ourselves and therefore greatly appreciate that these issues are been dealt with so thoroughly.

We do however wish to call your attention to certain points:

– None of the existing approvals for any GMOs  in food and feed include an approval for placing pollen on the market. Nor have any food/feed safety or environmental risk assessments of pollen been carried out.

– With respect to renewed approvals, for example of Bt 11 (decision 2010/419/EU), MON 88017+MON810 (decision 2010/419/EU) and 1507+59122 (decision 2010/432/EU), the approvals have been renewed in accordance with the earlier decision and also extended to include all food/feed products made from these crops. This approval has been given without having carried out a risk assessment and approved placement on the market all the various products – for example honey or pollen as a food supplement

These renewed approvals are not in line with EUs GMO Regulations because the initial approvals did not include pollen.    Pollen in honey and raw pollen as a food supplement have never been assessed for risks nor approved for placement on the market. Also EFSA’s Scientific Opinion does not take these aspects into consideration. For example, the risk for horizontal gene transfer from pollen mixed with the lactic acid bacteria from the bees honeystomach has not even been considered. Due to the graveness of the risks involved the Precautionary Principle must be applied.

– In the recently (2010) approved Mir604 no risk assessment of its pollen has been carried out and no specific request for the placement of pollen on the market has been made. The approval covers all food and feed containing, consisting of or produced from this genetically modified maize. It also covers products over than food and feed containing or consisting of  this maize for the same uses as any other maize with the exception of cultivation.

It is of great urgen[cy] that the renewed approvals as well as the recently approved MIR604 be challenged based on the fact that no risk assessment of pollen has been carried out. The risks that GMOs carry for bees and beekeeping need to be taken seriously.  We need both support and research. Beekeeping is threatened if beekeepers are thrown out into a legal ‘limbo’ where we alone shall bear the responsibility that our products follow food regulations concerning GMO content while at the same time no risk assessment has been carried out, no approval given for release on the market and no labelling rules are applicable.

Syngenta has recently applied for authorization of Event MIR604 maize cultivation in the EU. If this and other applications for cultivation of GMO crops in the EU are approved the result will be widespread contamination of bees and bee products  with GMO pollen. This will occur without any serious attempt to asses the risks involved for bees, beekeeping and consumers of bee products. Traceability and consumer information, two of the cornerstones of EUs GMO policy, will be undermined. If the EU regulations are to be of any value to beekeepers and consumers then GMO pollen must also be included in the approval for market release after a thorough risk assessment has been made. All regulations governing GMOs must also rigorously apply to our products. Anything less is completely unacceptable.

Yours sincerely,
Ann-Charlotte Berntsson
Daphne Thuvesson
Marie Rosell

Beekeepers in Sweden

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History behind Huber and micro-fungus warning

Perdue Scientist Dr. Don Huber, PhD, discovered a rare micro-fungus in glyphosate RoundUp Ready corn and soy; he sent a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack warning of a potential emergency.  Huber’s signature indicates he worked for APS and USDA NPDRS.

What are USDA NPDRS and APS?

The National Plant Disease Recovery System (NPDRS) was called for in Homeland Security Presidential Directive Number 9 (HSPD-9) which was issued in February of 2004 to ensure that the tools, infrastructure, communication networks, and capacity required to mitigate the impact of high consequence plant disease outbreaks are such that a reasonable level of crop production is maintained in the U.S.

NPDRS Recovery Plans focus on a threatening disease, assess the status of critical recovery components, and identify disease management research, extension, and education needs for that disease.   These recovery plans are not intended to be stand-alone documents that address all of the many and varied aspects of a plant disease outbreak and all of the decisions that must be made and actions taken to achieve effective response and recovery.   They are, however, documents that will help USDA and others guide efforts directed toward preparation for and recovery from new plant diseases in the U.S.

The plans are a cooperative effort of university, industry, and government scientists sponsored by The American Phytopathological Society (APS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The pathogens discussed in these plans have been nominated as critical threats to U.S. agricultural production and reviewed at annual workshops of APS and USDA held in April of 2006, April of 2007, and October of 2008.

As noted in his letter, the research Huber reports on is still preliminary. However, Huber, who has 40 years experience working as a scientist for “professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks,” believes this should be treated as an emergency until more research can confirm or disprove these initial findings.

The recent deregulation of GE alfalfa is something to think about, because that will dramatically increase the use of Roundup on animal feed and the feeding of Roundup Ready crops to our livestock.

“Drift Happens”

 

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Scientist discovers Rare MicroFungus in GMO, warns Vilsack in letter:

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

A team of senior plant and animal scientists have recently brought to my attention the discovery of an electron microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings. Based on a review of the data, it is widespread, very serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans and corn-suggesting a link with the RR gene or more likely the presence of Roundup. This organism appears NEW to science!

This is highly sensitive information that could result in a collapse of US soy and corn export markets and significant disruption of domestic food and feed supplies. On the other hand, this new organism may already be responsible for significant harm (see below). My colleagues and I are therefore moving our investigation forward with speed and discretion, and seek assistance from the USDA and other entities to identify the pathogen’s source, prevalence, implications, and remedies.

We are informing the USDA of our findings at this early stage, specifically due to your pending decision regarding approval of RR alfalfa. Naturally, if either the RR gene or Roundup itself is a promoter or co-factor of this pathogen, then such approval could be a calamity. Based on the current evidence, the only reasonable action at this time would be to delay deregulation at least until sufficient data has exonerated the RR system, if it does.

For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks. Based on this experience, I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of a high risk status. In layman’s terms, it should be treated as an emergency.

A diverse set of researchers working on this problem have contributed various pieces of the puzzle, which together presents the following disturbing scenario:

Unique Physical Properties

This previously unknown organism is only visible under an electron microscope (36,000X), with an approximate size range equal to a medium size virus. It is able to reproduce and appears to be a micro-fungal-like organism. If so, it would be the first such micro-fungus ever identified. There is strong evidence that this infectious agent promotes diseases of both plants and mammals, which is very rare.

Pathogen Location and Concentration

It is found in high concentrations in Roundup Ready soybean meal and corn, distillers meal, fermentation feed products, pig stomach contents, and pig and cattle placentas.

Linked with Outbreaks of Plant Disease

The organism is prolific in plants infected with two pervasive diseases that are driving down yields and farmer income-sudden death syndrome (SDS) in soy, and Goss’ wilt in corn. The pathogen is also found in the fungal causative agent of SDS (Fusarium solani fsp glycines).

Implicated in Animal Reproductive Failure

Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of this organism in a wide variety of livestock that have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility. Preliminary results from ongoing research have also been able to reproduce abortions in a clinical setting.

The pathogen may explain the escalating frequency of infertility and spontaneous abortions over the past few years in US cattle, dairy, swine, and horse operations. These include recent reports of infertility rates in dairy heifers of over 20%, and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as 45%.

For example, 450 of 1,000 pregnant heifers fed wheatlege experienced spontaneous abortions. Over the same period, another 1,000 heifers from the same herd that were raised on hay had no abortions. High concentrations of the pathogen were confirmed on the wheatlege, which likely had been under weed management using glyphosate.

Recommendations

In summary, because of the high titer of this new animal pathogen in Roundup Ready crops, and its association with plant and animal diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions, we request USDA’s participation in a multi-agency investigation, and an immediate moratorium on the deregulation of RR crops until the causal/predisposing relationship with glyphosate and/or RR plants can be ruled out as a threat to crop and animal production and human health.

It is urgent to examine whether the side-effects of glyphosate use may have facilitated the growth of this pathogen, or allowed it to cause greater harm to weakened plant and animal hosts. It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders. To properly evaluate these factors, we request access to the relevant USDA data.

I have studied plant pathogens for more than 50 years. We are now seeing an unprecedented trend of increasing plant and animal diseases and disorders. This pathogen may be instrumental to understanding and solving this problem. It deserves immediate attention with significant resources to avoid a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure.

Sincerely,

COL (Ret.) Don M. Huber
Emeritus Professor, Purdue University
APS Coordinator, USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System (NPDRS)

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SOLIDARNOSC POLAND – letter supports Wisconsin Struggle

This letter wasdistributed in Medford Oregon at the local rally in solidarity with Wisconsin workers on Saturday Februaly 26, 2011; Letter copied in full below:

Solidarnosc National Commission, Poland

Independant and Self Governing Trade Union

80-855 Gdarisk ul. Waly Plastowskie 24

tel +48-58-308 4232

To Public  Service Workers in the State of Wisconsin

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

On behalf of the 7,000,000members of the Polish Trade Union NSZZ “SOLIDARNOSC” (Solidarity) I wish to express our solidarity and support for your struggle against the recent assault on trade unisons and trade union rights unleashed by Governor Scott Walker.

We are witnessing yet another attempt of transferring the costs of the economic crisis and the failed financial policies to working people and their families, As much as some adjustments are necessary we can not and must not agree that the austerity measures are synonymous with union busting practices, the elimination of bargaining rights and the reduction of social benefits and wages.

Dear Friends, Please rest assured that our thoughts are with you during your protest, as we truly do hope that your fight for decent working and living conditions, for the workers’ rights will be successful. Your victory is our victory as well.

 

In Solidarity,

Piotr Duda

President

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