In January, Dr. Don Huber sent a then confidential letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack warning of a link between genetically modified crops and sudden death syndrome in crops and infertility in livestock.
Huber, a retired emeritus professor of plant pathology at Purdue University who has done research for Monsanto on chemical herbicides, urged Vilsack to postpone the approval of Roundup Ready alfalfa because of a pathogen associated with the Roundup Ready gene or Roundup Ready herbicide.
“We are informing the USDA of our findings at this early stage,” wrote Huber in the letter, “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.”
Tom Vilsack disregarded Huber’s warning and authorized the unrestricted commercial cultivation of Monsanto’s GE alfalfa.
Huber claims the pathogen is found in high concentrations in Roundup Ready soybean meal and corn, feed products, pig stomach contents, and pig and cattle placentas, and warns the organism is prolific in plants infected with two pervasive diseases that are driving down yields and farmer income-sudden death syndrome in soy, and Goss’ wilt in corn.
“Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of this organism in a wide variety of livestock that have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility…[and]…may explain the escalating frequency of infertility and spontaneous abortions over the past few years in US cattle, dairy, swine, and horse operations.”
Huber has since penned a second letter that was sent to the USDA, as well as EU and UK officials at their request. Huber’s follow-up letter centers on the effect of glyphosate — the primary ingredient in Roundup — on plants and animals. Monsanto patented glyphosate under the trade name Roundup in the 1970s.
According to Huber, glyphosate effectively “gives a plant AIDS,” weakening its defenses and making it more susceptible to pathogens, not unlike the one his team discovered.
Huber explains that glyphosate prevents plants from absorbing vital nutrients, particularly the mineral manganese, notes BNET food writer Melanie Warner.
In a must see Food Democracy interview, Huber says some studies have shown that Roundup Ready soybeans and corn have up to 50% less manganese than conventional varieties.
And Warner adds that according to Huber, glyphosate has also caused a 15% infertility rate and 35% rate of spontaneous abortions among farm animal herds. And when the farmers switch to non-GE soy and corn for feed, the problems decline dramatically.
Huber claims when vets analyze tissue samples from sick and infertile GE-fed animals, tests come back positive for the mysterious pathogen and the animals are severely deficient in manganese.
Huber says Goss’ wilt was commonly observed in many Midwestern U.S. fields planted to [Roundup Ready] corn in 2009 and 2010, “while adjacent non-GMO corn had very light to no infections. In 2010, Goss’ wilt was a ‘major contributor’ to an estimated one billion bushels of corn lost in the U.S., in spite of generally good harvest conditions.”
As food author Jill Richardson points out, there’s more than one major story here: a possible link between Huber’s newly discovered organism with livestock infertility and miscarriages, and the lack of independent research on GMOs, the reluctance of U.S. journals to publish studies critical of glyphosate and GMOs, and the near total silence from the media on Huber’s leaked letter.