Ever seen a live pig with a glow in the dark nose? How about a tomato with fish gills? Or a pig with the hyde of a cow?
These are not the works of science fiction, or the results of a science experiment gone wrong. These creations are possible with a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. Substances which have undergone this process are known as GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
GMOs were first introduced into the food supply in the mid-1990s and are now present in the vast majority of processed foods in the U.S. Despite scientific warnings of unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems, the FDA does not currently require the labeling of GMOs in food ingredient lists. (Although GMOs are banned as food ingredients in 49 countries including Europe, Japan and Southern Australia.)
The transfer of new genes (which may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans) can disrupt the finely controlled network of DNA in an organism. Any change to the DNA of an organism can have side effects that are impossible to foresee or control. This could lead to instability, the creation of new toxins or allergens, and changes in nutritional value.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) reported that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM asked physicians to advise patients to avoid GM foods.
Commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy (94%), cotton (90%), canola (90%), sugar beets (95%), corn (88%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), and zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres). Many products are derived from these GM crops including cooking oils, soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and a host of other “invisible ingredients.”
Unlike human clinical trials conducted for pharmaceutical drugs, there are no human studies of GM foods. However, animal studies revealed:
- Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats died after grazing on GM cotton plants
- Mice and rats had fewer, and smaller, babies with shorter lifespans
- Most third generation GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to procreate
- The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth (a condition that may lead to cancer)
- Organ lesions, altered liver, testicle and pancreas cells, compromised immune systems, signs of toxicity, and changed enzyme levels appeared
Even the major retailer Whole Foods was recently outed for carrying foods containing GMOs despite advertising a strict no GMO policy. Not surprisingly, the #1 contributor AGAINST prop 37 is Montsanos, the worlds largest GMO soy distributor. Other opponents include Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Nestle, General Mills, Kellogg, Del Monte, and Hershey’s.
Remember, we are not science experiments. Read labels, and make conscious decisions regarding the food you eat and the food you feed your family.
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I read this with great interest, but it offers no solution other than trying to avoid a multitude of foods.
What else are we to do?
Yes, the main action is avoiding eating GMO-laced foods, which is the majority of processed commercial foods these days. Other things you can do is buy locally, organically, grow your own food, spread the word, and get active with public interest groups that are trying to get GMO foods labeled.