Genetically Modified Foods Proposed as Trigger for Gluten Sensitivity

Press Release

logoFAIRFIELD, IA, November 25, 2013 – The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) released a report today proposing a link between genetically modified (GM) foods and gluten-related disorders. In today’s report, a team of experts suggests that GM foods may be an important environmental trigger for gluten sensitivity, which is estimated to affect as many as 18 million Americans.

Citing U.S. Dept. of Agriculture data, Environmental Protection Act records, medical journal reviews, and international research, the authors relate genetically modified foods to five conditions that may either trigger or exacerbate gluten-related disorders, including the serious autoimmune disorder, Celiac Disease:

1. Intestinal permeability
2. Imbalanced gut bacteria
3. Immune activation and allergic response
4. Impaired digestion
5. Damage to the intestinal wall

Although wheat has been hybridized over the years, it is not a genetically modified organism (GMO), which can only be created by a laboratory process that inserts genetic material into plant DNA. There are nine GMO food crops currently being grown for commercial use: soy, corn, cotton (oil), canola (oil), sugar from sugar beets, zucchini, yellow squash, Hawaiian papaya, and alfalfa.

Most GMOs are engineered to tolerate a weed killer called glyphosate (Roundup®). They contain high levels of this toxin at harvest. Corn and cotton varieties are also engineered to produce an insecticide called Bt-toxin. The report focuses primarily on the effects of these two toxins.

Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, Jeffrey Smith, explains, “The Bt-toxin in corn is designed to puncture holes in insect cells, but studies show it does the same in human cells. Bt-toxin may be linked to leaky gut, which physicians consistently see in gluten-sensitive patients.”

Stephanie Seneff, Senior Research Scientist at MIT, expresses concern about Roundup®: “Glyphosate is a patented antibiotic that destroys beneficial gut bacteria. An imbalance of gut flora commonly accompanies Celiac Disease and other gluten-related disorders.”

Dr. Tom O’Bryan, internationally recognized expert on gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease, says, “The introduction of GMOs is highly suspect as a candidate to explain the rapid rise in gluten-related disorders over the last 17 years.” Internist, Emily Linder MD, says, “Based on my clinical experience, when I remove genetically modified foods as part of the treatment for gluten sensitivity, recovery is faster and more complete. I believe that GMOs in our diet contribute to the rise in gluten sensitivity in the U.S. population.”

For a full report see

Stop the GM apple campaign

Courtesy CBAN

A small BC company called Okanagan Specialty Fruits has just submitted a request to Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for approval of a genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered) “non-browning” apple. Contamination from GM apples threatens the future of our apples, and the farmers who grow them.

1. Send your comments to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency before July 3, 2012 at

Tell the government that you don’t want to eat a GM apple!

  • Consumers don’t want GM apples.
  • The GM “non-browning” apple will mislead consumers by presenting an apple that looks freshly cut or unbruised when it is not.
  • BC apple growers have already rejected the GM apple.
  • Contamination from GM apple trees is a risk to Canadian apple producers.
  • The CFIA and Health Canada should not be wasting public funds reviewing a GM apple that no one wants.
  • The government should consult with farmers and consumers before approving any new GM crop.

You can see the notice of the submission for approval of the GM apple at:

This is just the first of many actions needed to stop the GM apple.

2. For more information and to get more involved see


The genetically modified (GM) “non-browning” apple is engineered to keep from going brown after being cut. This apple is designed for fast food companies and other companies that use pre-cut apples. The technology was developed in Australia and was licensed by small BC company Okanagan Specialty Fruits.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits asked for approval in the US in March 2010 and has just asked for approval in Canada. The GM apple has not yet been approved anywhere in the world.

BC apple growers stopped the GM apple from being field tested in Canada in 2001. The federal agricultural research station in Summerland in the Okanagan valley, an important fruit growing area, was preparing to start field trials but BC growers who were concerned about contamination stopped them from happening.

Many apple grower associations in Canada and the US oppose the GM apple, including the BC Fruit Tree Association.

This action alert was re-issued on May 31 2012 by Bee SAFE, the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, GE Free BC, Okanagan Greens Society, True Food Foundation and Vigilance OGM.

Food Labeling – Our Right to Know Event

The Council of Canadians – Kelowna Chapter


Food Labeling – Our Right to Know

If you agree that food is essential; that seed-saving is not a crime and that farmers should not be sued when GMO seed/pollen lands in their fields, and that we all deserve the right to have GMO food labeled,  then please join us on:

Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm
Unitarian Hall, 1310 Bertram (& Cawston), Kelowna

“David vs. Monsanto”, a film by Bertram Verhaag

Imagine that a storm blows across your garden and that now, genetically-manipulated seeds are in your crops. A multi-national corporation pays you a visit, and demands that you surrender your crops – and then sues you for $200 000 for the illegal use of patented, GM seeds. In this definitive David and Goliath battle, one farmer stands up against a massive multinational, and their right to claim ownership to a living organism.
This is an engrossing film about the battle between ‘David’ ( Percy Schmeiser a small farmer) and ‘Goliath’ (Monsanto). The definitive documentary on our increasingly genetically modified world.

With Special Guest Panel:

Alex Atamanenko: NDP MP for the BC Southern Interior  and is currently serving on the Standing Committee for Agriculture and Agri-Food, former critic portfolios include Agriculture & Agri-Food, Rural Affairs and Canadian Wheat Board.
Heidi Osterman: A certified nutritionist and founder of the True Food Foundation. After seeing the documentary the Future of Food in March of 2010, Heidi has worked non-stop to understand what is happening with our food supply.

Robert Dixon: An experienced organic inspector who has been active for over fifteen years in the Okanagan. Organic certification is the only food production process that explicitly prohibits genetically modified organisms.

All are very passionate about the topic of food production, the elimination GMOs and the need for food labeling.

Following the film & panel, the Kelowna Chapter will hold it’d AGM followed by a potluck supper & social. Please join us.

Email Karen Abramsen at for more information.

Anti-GMO Forums in the Southern Interior

by Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

Public Forums in British Columbia: “Genetic Modification and the Future of Food”

September 18 – October 1, 2011. Kelowna, Nelson, Grand Forks, Osoyoos, Keremeos, Princeton, Langley, Vancouver, Bella Coola, Richmond, Comox, Campbell River!

Featuring Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Ottawa

Genetically modified (GM) crops and foods are a threat to the environment and to the future of organic food and farming. What GM foods are on the market and what is coming? What actions can we take to stop GM apples, salmon and alfalfa? Join us to get the latest information and ask your questions!

Presented by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and The Society for a GE Free BC in collaboration with the Okanagan Greens Society, Council of Canadians Vancouver, Health Action Network Society (HANS), Alex Atamanenko MP for BC Southern Interior, Bella Coola Valley Sustainable Agricultural Society, Grand Forks Agricultural Society, GE Watch Comox Valley, Save Our Similkameen (SOS), Richmond Food Security Society.

Come on out! For info, updates, event posters and flyers see:

Sunday September 18 – Kelowna
CBAN @ the 6th Annual Organic Okanagan Festival, Kelowna
1:00-1:45 Lucy Sharratt, CBAN Coordinator, speaking in the Pyramid
11:00 – 5:00 visit the CBAN info table!
Location: Summerhill Pyramid Winery, 4870 Chute Lake Road, Kelowna

Enjoy the lecture series and films, live music, children’s entertainment and the entire marketplace with over 70 green living exhibitors! Enjoy, sample, shop and learn with Activist Alley, the Green Building Expo, an Organic Farmer’s Market and much more! For more information Festival general admission is $6 plus a non-perishable food item for the Kelowna Community Food Bank. Students $4, Children under 10 FREE! Bike riders FREE!

Monday September 19 – Nelson
7:00PM – 9:00PM, United Church Hall, Nelson, Free Admission
Featuring Lucy Sharratt, CBAN Coordinator, with panelists Jon Steinman of Deconstructing Dinner and and GE Free Kootenays; food systems activist Abra Brynne, and Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior.
Hosted by Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior. Co-sponsored by CBAN and The Society for a GE Free BC.

Tuesday September 20 – Nelson
Community Donation Day 8AM-8PM, Kootenay Co-op, 295 Baker Street
1% of all your purchases go to CBAN! Come on out to buy goods for good!

Tuesday September 20 – Grand Forks
7:00 – 9:00PM Grand Forks Seniors Hall, 565 71st Avenue, Free Admission
Featuring Lucy Sharratt, CBAN Coordinator, with Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior; Sheila Dobie, Seed Bank Project; Roly Russell, president, Grand Forks Agricultural Society; and J.J. Verigin, Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ (Doukhobors).
Hosted by Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior. Co-sponsored by CBAN, The Society for a GE Free BC, and Grand Forks Agricultural Society.

Wednesday September 21 – Osoyoos
2:00 PM Sonora Centre, 8505 68th Avenue, Osoyoos, Free Admission
Featuring Lucy Sharratt, CBAN Coordinator, with Allan Patton, Oliver farmer and Regional District director and Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior.
Hosted by Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior. Co-sponsored by CBAN and The Society for a GE Free BC.

Wednesday September 21 – Keremeos
7:00-9:00 PM Victory Hall, 427 7th Avenue, Keremeos, Free Admission
Featuring Lucy Sharratt, CBAN Coordinator, with Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior; Andrea Turner, Similkameen Okanagan Organic Producers Association; and Lee McFadyen, Live Earth Organic Growers Association.
Hosted by Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior. Co-sponsored by CBAN and The Society for a GE Free BC.

Thursday, September 22 – Princeton
7:00PM – 9:00PM Princeton Legion, 170 Bridge Street, Free Admission
Featuring Lucy Sharratt, CBAN Coordinator, with Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior and other panelists.
Hosted by Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior. Co-sponsored by CBAN, The Society for a GE Free BC, and Save Our Similkameen (SOS)

UPDATE: NRC clarifies no GMO wheat research in Canada

by David Fowler

According to the Calgary Herald, the National Research Council (NRC) plans to develop genetically modified wheat in Canada.  This stands at odds with the wishes of wheat growers.

The NRC says it is acting because Canada’s global market share is declining due to a lack of annual productivity. Growers have resisted the move saying GMO wheat is hard to market in Asia.

It’s hard to say what impact GMO wheat could have on those with Celiac and gluten sensitivity, but surely this is a significant development we’ll want to keep a close eye on.

Read the full article:

As always, you can comment on this development using the comment feature below.

UPDATE April 7th:

I just received this update from CBAN, an anti-GMO group…

No GM Wheat research, says National Research Council.

Many people were rightfully alarmed to see media stories on April 3 reporting that the National Research Council was going to start research into GM wheat. The National Research Council has sent CBAN as statement to declare that they will NOT be pursuing GM Wheat research.

The reporter who wrote the story made assumptions that the type of research referred to in the memo was GM because of the language used, but the National Farmers Union and CBAN investigated and has secured a commitment that the NRC will not be researching GM Wheat. More information including the full statement from NRC is posted at Please see below today’s press release. Please know that CBAN works with groups across Canada and around the world to monitor the industry push for GM Wheat. Thank you for your ongoing concern and action.


Canada’s National Research Council Disavows GM Wheat

Thursday, April 7, 2011. Yesterday, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) issued a statement to clarify that it has no plans to research genetically modified (GM) wheat.

NRC now states, “GM wheat is not an objective of the NRC wheat program. We will be developing a number of tools that will be used to reduce the breeding cycle, increase yield and adapt to climate stresses. GM varieties are not contemplated at this time.” The statement was issued in response to media stories of April 3 that reported on a leaked memo from the government research agency.

“NRC has finally recognized what everyone but Monsanto understands: that GM wheat is unacceptable to farmers and consumers,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.

Genetically modified crops are created through recombinant DNA technology (also called genetic engineering or transgenics), introducing genes from other species.

In 2004, Monsanto withdrew requests for government approval of its herbicide tolerant GM wheat in Canada and the US because of widespread farmer and consumer protest in both countries, and around the world. However, Monsanto re-launched research into GM wheat in 2009 and the biotechnology industry is now engaged in a new public relations campaign in favour of GM wheat.

Monsanto’s new plans for GM wheat are, however, meeting the same strong objections that defeated the company’s product in 2004. The Premier of Australia’s largest wheat growing state recently panned GM wheat, and Japanese flour companies continue to say that they will refuse to process GM wheat. In early 2010, 233 groups from 26 countries restated their opposition to GM wheat.

“Wheat improvements can and must happen without the use of transgenics. GM wheat would spell disaster for Canada’s wheat growers, just as GM alfalfa now threatens farmers across the country,” said Terry Boehm, President of the National Farmers Union in Canada.

“The costs to farmers from the GM flax contamination fiasco would pale in comparison to what would happen if GM wheat was introduced,” said Arnold Taylor, a grain farmer with the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate. GM flax was developed with public funds through the University of Saskatchewan and registered in Canada over the objections of flax farmers who succeeded in removing the GM flax from the market in 2001. In late 2009, Canadian flax exports to 36 countries were found contaminated with the GM flax, resulting in shut markets and economic loses to farmers.

Gluten-free Genetically Modified Wheat?

These days we’re hearing more and more about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) that are suppose to ward off insects, be more bountiful, increase nutrition, and use less water.

Is there hope that can help those of us with Celiac Disease?

Yes, says a January 9th, 2010 article in Food Safety News.

Dr. Diter von Wettstein

The article states that Dr. Diter von Wettstein of Washington State University has received a further $2 million in research grants to continue his research on GMO gluten-free wheat. Specifically, his research is currently focussed on removing the gliadins and gliadin-type prolamins from the gluten protein in wheat as it is the gliadins in the gluten protein that can’t be digested by Celiacs.

Apparently, research to date has already uncovered a lysine-rich barley mutant that lacks the gliadin-type and low-molecular-weight glutenins. The task is now to try to use genetic methods to remove the gliadins and low-molecular glutenins in similar wheat grain.

Arcadia Biosciences has been engaged by von Wettstein to screen a large variety of wheat to find gene mutants that affect the celiac-triggering protein types.