Written by Felix Minderbinder
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Topics: FDA, GM, Bees, Honey

Friday, 23 March 2007

image for FDA Finds Bees Dying from Genetically Modified Crops, Pollens
Bees the victims of GM pollens

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The die-off of bee populations throughout the world is being caused by genetically modified crops, FDA chief Ralph Roachman announced on Friday.

"Beekeepers and their hives and their bees are being wiped out everywhere," he said. "The consequences for agriculture and the economy has assumed catastrophic proportions, and the loss of bees will end all life on Earth within ten years or so. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more people."

Bee populations throughout the world are fast disappearing, but the situation in the United States is much worse since its bees are dying in such dramatic numbers that the economic consequences are becoming dire.

"Now our experts at the FDA have found that the large-scale use of genetically modified (GM) corn and other plants in the US and elsewhere is the key factor," said Roachman.

Dr. Felix Minderbinder, a world-renowned FDA researcher, conducted several studies at FDA labs which examined the effects of pollen from genetically modified corn on bees. Genes from soil bacteria had been inserted into corn by big GM food corporations that enabled the plants to produce pesticides that are toxic to insects, including bees and other pollinators.

The bacterial toxins in GM corn and other GM crops alters the surface of the bee's intestines to allow parasites to gain entry.

Dr. Minderbinder found evidence of almost all known bee viruses in the few surviving bees found in the hives after most have disappeared, along with GM pollen. Some bees had five or six infections at the same time and were infested with fungi, a sign he believes that the insects' immune system has collapsed due to the modified pollen.

His study concluded that there was "convincing evidence of a toxic effect from GM corn on healthy honeybee populations." Also, when the bees used in the experiments were infested with parasites, something unusual happens. According to Dr. Minderbinder, a "significantly stronger decline in the number of bees" occurred among the insects that had been fed by certain other common insecticides."

Then the bees lose their sense of orientation so they can no longer find their way back to their hives. Scientists call the mysterious phenomenon Colony Collapse Disorder, and it is fast turning into a global catastrophe. Trillions of bees have simply vanished, leaving only hives full of doomed offspring.

It is particularly worrisome, he said, that the bees' death is accompanied by a set of symptoms "which does not seem to match anything in the literature."

Dr. Minderbinder also notes that other bees and insects leave the abandoned hives untouched. Nearby bee populations or parasites would normally raid the honey and pollen stores of colonies that have died due to such causes as excessive winter cold. "This indicates that there is something toxic, i.e. GM pollen, in the colony itself which is repelling them," he asserts.

Since November, the US has seen a decline in bee populations so dramatic that it eclipses all previous incidences of mass bee death. Beekeepers on the east coast of the United States complain that they have lost more than 80% of their stock since late last year, while the west coast has seen a decline of up to 90%.

In an article in its business section in late February, the New York Times calculated the damage US agriculture would suffer if bees died out. Experts at Cornell University in upstate New York have estimated the value bees generate by pollinating fruit and vegetable plants, almond trees and animal feed like clover at more than $12,400 billion.

"Yet this figure is meaningless since bees support life on Earth," noted the researchers.

Dr. Minderbinder added that genetically modified, insect-resistant plants are now used in 90% of cornfields in the United States and "are clearly playing the key role in bee disappearance."

Roachman called the Minderbinder findings "startling and significant" but concluded his news conference by saying that he "didn't like bees anyway cause I was stung as a child, and the FDA is too beholden to those big Republican-linked GM food companies to do anything about the situation."

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