Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Wyatt Herpes

By Noah Masterson

AUGUST 23, 1999:  A British plastic surgeon recently announced that genetic manipulation of food -- the popular process by which DNA-tinkering produces pest-, freeze- and weed-resistant crops -- gave her daughter herpes. If the daughter in question was 19 years old and had a boyfriend named Slimy, this claim would be called into question. (Kind of like Mary and that whole "Immaculate Conception" thing.) But the surgeon's daughter is an infant, which isn't funny at all.

The alleged herpes-inducing product was soy milk. The child, who was allergic to dairy products, was fed about four pints of soy milk per day. (In the average person, that much soy milk might be expected to induce torrents of vomit -- but not what follows.)

Soon after the child began the soy milk regimen, her face broke out into a rash of nasty cold sores, which did not respond to treatment. When the amount of soy milk given to the child was reduced to a half pint per day, the sores went away. The child was tested, but did not demonstrate an allergy to soy.

Sure, the evidence is circumstantial. But an increasing number of geneticists believe that some genetically manipulated products can trigger viruses in humans. In a public statement on the Internet (www.natural-law.ca), Dr. Joseph Cummins, Professor Emeritus of Genetics at the University of Western Ontario, stated: "Probably the greatest threat from gene tinkered crops is the virus genes. ... Modified viruses could cause famine by destroying crops or cause human and animal diseases of tremendous power."

For example, a little bug called the cauli-flower mosaic virus is being implanted in the DNA of many crops to prevent other viruses from attacking. It's sort of like getting a flu shot. The cauliflower mosaic virus is known as a "pararetrovirus," which means that it multiplies faster than a Mensa mathematician. Killers such as Hepatitus B and HIV are also pararetroviruses. Generally speaking, viruses are capable of mutating from friendly strains to deadly diseases. And viruses are intentionally added to our food.

Two more fun examples, for those of you in the audience who like your alarmist claims backed up with "evidence" (skip this paragraph if you prefer to blindly trust everything you read): The human metalothionen gene -- closely related to the human cancer gene -- has been used in canola crops and poplar trees to ward off viruses. And the toxin found in scorpion tails is implanted in the DNA of many crops to act as a natural pesticide. Yum!

Back to the plastic surgeon and her pus-riddled daughter. The product in question was soy milk, which is made from soy beans. Soy beans are one of the most common subjects of genetic manipulation; nearly all processed soy products are made with genetically manipulated beans. This includes anything with soy lecithin, soy oil or other soy concentrates, as well as veggie burgers, tofu dogs, soy cheese, enriched flours and pastas, soy sauce, tamari and frozen yogurt -- just to name a few. Even "certified organic" foods aren't protected from genetic manipulation.

In all likelihood, the British surgeon's daughter did consume genetically manipulated food. The mother -- a doctor, remember -- said that she was aware of the practice of genetic manipulation, and, until the incident with her daughter, believed it to be safe.

The hazards of genetically manipulated foods -- assuming there are any -- have not been properly researched or tested. Because there are no laws requiring manufacturers to make clear on their labels when a product has been genetically manipulated, there is no way to tell whether your corn contains bits of mouse, your tomatoes contain fish or your beans contain scorpion poison. Bon appetit! ?Read This!

Chickens are cannibals. Fish are growing at four times their natural rate. Animals and vegetables are spliced together in mad scientist-like experiments.

Food is the most important thing we need to survive. Yet most people are unaware of the process that brings food from a seed to the dinner plate. Unless you grow your own vegetables and raise your own livestock, this column is about the stuff you eat, every day of your life.

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