Dr. John F. Ruhland
John F. Ruhland, ND — Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
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Bioengineering a Disaster for Humanity:
Rice, Breast Milk, and Infant Formula

by John Ruhland, ND

Scientists of companies such as Monsanto involved with bioengineering are playing Russian roulette with our future. Monsanto has combined genes from many species in bioengineered creations. Pollens from these unnatural products have been dispersed throughout the world and are now almost universally present. For example, virtually no corn growing anywhere remains pure, as contaminating pollen from their Frankenspecies is unable to be contained. The evolution of millions of years has been permanently impacted.

There is currently growing in the Sacramento Valley a bioengineered rice incorporating human genes for laktoferrin and other components of breast milk. The DNA of rice, a staple of the majority of the human race, is therefore soon to be universally and permanently altered. If people whose lives will be negatively affected burn down fields of genetically altered Frankenfoods, as they have in some areas of India, it will slow the process, but now it is too late to stop its impact on corn and rice.

Every facet of life is scrutinized for profit by businesses. This is of great concern, and Naturopathic Physicians will be among the first health care practitioners to directly see the impact. When people become chronically sick and allopathic physicians can do nothing more except offer drugs to control symptoms, the ill people often end up under the care of Naturopathic Physicians. To return to the example of contaminated rice, one of the few grains that chronically sick and most chemically sensitive and highly allergic people are able to eat is rice.

To understand the concern over this bioengineered rice, we begin with an overview of how allergies develop. The human gut separates the digesting food inside the tubular structure that is our intestinal tract from the bloodstream. Food is broken down into its basic elements, including simple carbohydrates, amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins, fatty acids, and minerals. The process begins in the mouth, and really gets underway in the stomach, continuing on in the small intestine.

Once food is broken into very small fractions, it can pass through pores in the gut, into the bloodstream, which carries the nutrients to where they are needed by cells. Under times of stress or illness, the pores become enlarged. In some cases we actually diagnose permeable gut syndrome. Larger sized fractions of food, including larger sections of carbohydrates and longer protein chains readily pass through the enlarged pores. When larger food molecules enter the bloodstream, the body senses they are invaders, and produces antibodies. From then on, whenever those larger food molecules pass through enlarged pores into the bloodstream, the antibodies respond by causing an allergic reaction.

Before the age of one, and especially before a baby reaches six months of age, the gut has large pores, and many larger molecules get into the bloodstream if a baby is fed solid food. That is why people are sometimes allergic to those foods fed to them as infants.

This brings us to the problems with genetically altering rice in order to produce rice containing breast milk components. First, proteins from rice, a formerly hypoallergenic food, will get into the bloodstream of infants fed this bioengineered additive for breast milk replacement formulas. Rice allergies will develop in infants as they grow to adulthood as described above. There will no longer be the option to use rice to feed that adult when s(he) gets a chronic disease.

There is a long history of  Nestlé selling their unhealthy breast-milk replacement formulas to mothers in the developing world, causing the mothers to stop lactating. Unable to produce milk, the mothers are thus forced to use the replacement formulas that Nestlé sells. The situation of bioengineering rice to produce infant formula gives this terrible method of marketing a fearsome twist and complexity.

A second problem is that the DNA of all rice plants will be contaminated with human ingredients. Some tomatoes grown today contain genes from pigs. People from various religious groups who avoid pork products are therefore often unknowingly eating pork. Vegans, vegetarians who avoid all animal products, will not be able to eat rice. When these altered rice genes have universally contaminated all rice plants, humanity will have paid a very high price for the benefit gained by a very small number of companies. The bioengineering of food has just begun, and already we have an urgent problem negatively affecting the future of Earth’s ecosystem.


A version of this article was first published in the Washington Free Press, January 2002.

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