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On the 1st November 2011, Professor Don Huber, an eminent American plant pathologist,  who has raised the alarm about a new pathogen caused by GM feed and a broad spectrum pesticide called glyphosate, addressed an invited audience in Committe Room One at the House of Commons

don huber for cadDon Huber explained that glyphosate, also known as Roundup, changes soil biology and the organisms that normally provide natural biological control or disease suppressive activity are very susceptible to damage by glyphosate causing an increase in crop disease.  He warned that in the US entire groups of organisms do not exist in the soil anymore. This renders glyphosate useless because “you can’t kill off plants in sterile soil”.  And, could explain why pesticide application rates have trebled in the US in the last few years, and why the FDA has increased the level of glyphosate permitted in foods.

Glyphosate also has a devastating affect on micro-nutrients.  Manganese and zinc levels in the US have gone from excess manganese in crops, feed and food fifteen years ago to a defecit today. The levels of micro-nutrients are dropping even more dramatically in GM crops.  Don Huber reported a third less manganese available in GM alfalfa animal feed and severe deficiencies in zinc compared to non-GM alfalfa. Human inflammatory bowel disease,which is strongly linked to GM feed, has increased 40-fold since 1992 in the US.American vets say they universally find managese deficiency as a cause of disease in swine and cattle, which is forcing producers out of business.

Glyphosate has now been linked to human birth defects. This has prompted the recent Earth Open Source report, Roundup and Birth Defects, Are The Public Being Kept in the Dark?  EU offficials have delayed a 2012 review on glyphosate until 2015. Even more worryingly, the Livestock of America Cattlemans Association gave testimony before the US Senate Agricultural  Commmitte in 2002.  They were concerned that cattle fed GM feed were prematurely ageing.  Their stomach linings were yellow, which is characteristic of an allergy response, compared with the cattle fed non-GMO (pictured, Carmen et al, 2010). Their guts were leaking and high numbers of animals were experiencing reproductive failure.  A virus-like pathogen was discovered by vets, which has so far not been named.


Don Huber wrote to the US Secretary of Agriculture last November asking for some help in doing the research and getting the resources that were needed to identify this unamed entity.

The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, did not follow up his findings.  But  Professor Huber has had an opportunity to meet directly with USDA top officials. He said,  “I hoped that we would get a response so that the Secretary could release his personnel to help and co-operate with us.  That didn’t come and also, as you’re aware, Roundup Ready GM alfalfa was de-regulated ten days after I had asked him for help with this critical research.”

[1] See the full transcript here:

Photo of Professor Huber (c) Sam Burcher 2011