‘Substantially Equivalent’ Big Biotech Argument Busted by Latest Study


Big Biotech claims its GMOs are ‘substantially equivalent’ to non-GMO foods. A recent study busts the idea, showing how GMOs introduce unusual proteins to the body – some of which change the body in a negative way and are potentially toxic.

The Biotech industry assures the public that GMOs are substantially equivalent

to their non-GMO or near-isogenic counterparts. In fact, the whole idea of substantial equivalence has been spun into existence by Big Biotech as a clever way to peddle their wares – but they like to have it both ways. You see, when it comes to health, nutrient composition and regulation, Big Biotech insists that GMOs are substantially equivalent to non-GMO foods, so as to ensure they get full market access with minimal or no regulation – not even labeling. Yet, when it comes to intellectual property and patents, Big Biotech turns around and insists they “own” the molecules and combinations that make up GMOs, and that it is their property. Many astute people have long spotted the deception and inherent contradiction in the substantial equivalence argument. Now, a recent peer-reviewed scientific study has taken the analysis to a whole new level, showing that GMOs are not so substantially equivalent to non-GMO crops at all.

Multi-Omics Analysis Destroys Idea of Substantial Equivalence

The recent study is entitled An integrated multi-omics analysis of the NK603 Roundup-tolerant GM maize reveals metabolism disturbances caused by the transformation process. To reach its conclusion, it used deep and complex analysis over various fields (proteomics, metabolomics and transcriptomics), which is why the title contains the word multi-omics. These are state-of-the-art molecular profiling ‘omics’ methods. Proteomics is the large-scale study of proteins, metabolomics is the study of small biochemical molecules and transcriptomics is the study of transcriptomes (the set of all messenger RNA molecules in one cell) and their functions. Since this peer-reviewed study quickly jumps into technical language, I am summarizing its results here in plain English to make it more digestible for the average person (and hopefully more digestible than GMO corn!).

The study mentions in its abstract that there were various ways in which the GMO corn tested (variety NK603) differed from the non-GMO or isogenic version used as a control:

“Proteome profiles of the maize kernels revealed alterations in the levels of enzymes of glycolysis and TCA cycle pathways, which were reflective of an imbalance in energy metabolism. Changes in proteins and metabolites of glutathione metabolism were indicative of increased oxidative stress. The most pronounced metabolome differences between NK603 and its isogenic counterpart consisted of an increase in polyamines including N-acetyl-cadaverine (2.9-fold), N-acetylputrescine (1.8-fold), putrescine (2.7-fold) and cadaverine (28-fold), which depending on context can be either protective or a cause of toxicity.”

To break all this down, what it means is this: the GMO corn had markedly different effects compared to the control non-GM corn. These changes included the plant producing different levels of enzymes, undergoing an imbalance in energy metabolism, having indications of oxidative stress and producing 4 different polyamines (a type of protein). Almost all of these changes are not healthy.


The study shows the GMO plants had to change their entire metabolism to deal with the herbicides.

GMO Plants Change Metabolism and Chemicals Under Increased Stress

It’s important to remember that genetic modification involves the random splicing of genes whose consequences cannot possibly all be measured, taken into account or even known. By studying the results closely on a proteomic, metabolomic and transcriptomic level, the study found that the GM plant was subjected to extra stress. This meant the GM plant had to alter its usual way of growing in order to adapt to the stress by producing more antioxidant enzymes, more hydrogen peroxide and more glutathione (to try to rid itself of the toxic herbicides being sprayed on it). In short, the entire metabolism of the plant was upset:

“The transformation process and the resulting expression of a transgenic protein cause a general disturbance in the GM plant and it is clear that NK603 maize is markedly different from its non-GM isogenic line at the proteome and metabolome levels. In addition, our data correlates with previous studies, which observed higher amounts of ROS (reactive oxygen species) that act as free-radicals promoting oxidative stress in those transgenic plant materials. We also confirm a metabolic imbalance in energy and carbohydrate metabolism.”

Disturbing: GMO Corn’s Marked Increase of Putrescine and Cadaverine

The presence of increased levels of polyamines mentioned above (N-acetyl-cadaverine, N-acetylputrescine, putrescine and cadaverine) is a sign that GMOs may be health-destroying rather than health-promoting or substantially equivalent to non-GMO foods. The lead scientist of the study Dr. Michael Antonio acknowledges that these polyamines can sometimes have beneficial effects; however he also writes:

“The marked increase in putrescine and especially cadaverine is a concern since these substances are potentially toxic, being reported as enhancers of the effects of histamine, thus heightening allergic reactions, and both have been implicated in the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines with nitrite in meat products … Additionally, it is known that polyamines are typically elevated in plants under abiotic stress conditions.”

GMOs vs Organics: what do you choose? Do you think they are “substantially equivalent”?

Doctrine of Substantial Equivalence Based on Deception

The doctrine of substantial equivalence is based on a shallow and crude analysis that the nutrient compositional profile between GMO and non-GMO foods is roughly comparable or within a similar range. Yet is it fair to conclude the 2 are “close enough” or substantially equivalent just by comparing their nutrient profile? For starters, there are numerous studies that have found that non-GMO or organic produce is far higher in nutrients that its GMO counterpart.

However, even if the nutrient profile is similar, any fair comparison must take into account that GMOs are specifically engineered to be heavily sprayed with toxins, such as glyphosate, and to hold this glyphosate in their cells. How can the 2 possibly be substantially equivalent when the GMO variety is chock full of toxins? Additionally, the devil in is the details. The compositional analysis includes measurements of total protein content but not a profile of the different types of proteins which is more important information.

Conclusion: Time to Question the Notion that GMOs are Substantially Equivalent

This study is further evidence that we need to quickly re-evaulate the faulty notion that GMOs are somehow different enough to be awarded patents and monopolies based on intellectual property (in essence owning Nature), while substantially equivalent enough that they don’t need labelling, packaging warnings, regulating or outright banning. A government genuinely committed to the health of its citizens would ban GMOs outright pending further investigation, putting the burden of proof upon Big Biotech to demonstrate its modified food does not adversely affect human health. Some nations such as Russia have taken the bold step of outlawing GMOS and refusing any GM food to be allowed in their country. Of course, proving that GMOs do no harm would be most difficult for the Big Biotech corporatocracy, given the existing evidence which implicates GMOs with organ failure, autism, infertility and cancer.


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Makia Freeman is the editor of alternative media / independent news site The Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com, writing on many aspects of truth and freedom, from exposing aspects of the worldwide conspiracy to suggesting solutions for how humanity can create a new system of peace and abundance.






Dee Cota January 5, 2017 - 4:12 am

Great article. I agree with everything said. I’ve been a vegetarian for 40 plus years. If it’s not organic I don’t eat it. The biggest problem with GMO’s is they get the go ahead sign from the FDA. The FDA is in bed with all the biotech manufacturers especially Monsanto. The substantial equivalence based on deception will always be the answer the FDA and the biotechs will stand by. The FDA does not do any real research, they depend on the like of Monsanto to do the research, which of course they don’t do any real research because they are only interested in selling their patented seeds and the chemical Round-Up.

Gmo’s have been on the market for almost 20 years and I don’t see anything in the future that will change that.
There are a few companies that are advertising their product doesn’t contain GMO’s. Gmo’s are cheap fillers in so many foods including most junk food. Some things to look for on the food label is soy, corn in any form, sugar beets, cotton seed, most vegetable oils and baby formulas. For anyone not familiar with Monsanto and their GMO’s just do a Google search.

Jim January 20, 2017 - 2:34 am

You’re so right. An ex-FDA scientist revealed that the FDA is nothing less than a rubber stamp for big business, no matter what field – energy, agriculture and/or pharmaceuticals.

Jim January 20, 2017 - 2:41 am

I saw a simply experiment with organic corn and genetically modified corn. Six ears, three of each type, were affixed in an upright position on a board. The board was set out and left for a few days. When the “researcher” returned, he found that the squirrels and birds had eaten all of the organic corn. To be fair, there was some of the GM’d corn gone. But it was assumed that once the organic corn was gone, the squirrels had no choice but to eat some of the corn. However, once they had tried it, they no longer continued to eat it.
Even the squirrels and birds know when something is “not right!”

Van Eck January 20, 2017 - 3:16 pm

The Monsanto name is about to go into hiding. Most people equate the name with evil products hence since being purchased by Bayer their research and marketing will go on but most won’t know that Monsanto is at the source. With new marketing ploys, they will slip under the radar. Beware!

bluewater January 8, 2017 - 1:12 am

Depopulation with MonSatan and Vaccines/Autism and GMO,BIG PHARMA and THE MEDICAL MAFIA


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