Americans have been consuming Genetically Modified (GM) foods since 1996. More than 70% of foods on supermarket shelves contain GM ingredients. But as the American Academy of Environmental Medicine state, “GMOs pose a serious health risk.”
We can remove these dangerous foods from our food system by saying no to GMOs.
What are GMOs
A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a specific trait or characteristic, a process that breaches the species barriers set up by nature. (Referred as both Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM)).
How to Avoid GMOs
- Buy organic – certified organic products are unable to use GM ingredients.
- Buy products that are labeled non-GMO.
- Buy products listed on a non-gmo shopping guide. Download the Non-GMO Shopping Guide to help you identify foods that contain GMOs, also available as an iPhone App.
- Avoid at risk ingredients:
- “The Big 4” – soy (91% estimated percentage that is genetically modified), corn (85%), cotton (71%), and canola (88%). All are present in most processed foods, especially vegetable oils.
- Hawaiian Papaya (More than 50% estimated to be GM).
- Zucchini and crookneck squash (small amount)
- Sugar Beets (90% GM)
- Other possible sources to avoid:
- Vegetable oils (like corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, and cottonseed oil) and margarines.
- Soy flour, soy protein soy lecithin, soy isoflavones, TVP, tofu, tamari, tempeh, soy supplements.
- High-fructose corn syrup, corn starch, dextrose, maltodextrin, and all corn derivatives.
- Meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed (and the majority of the GM corn and soy is used for feed).
- Food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®) and rennet used to make hard cheeses;
The Institute for Responsible Technology has a full list of foods that may contain GM ingredients on their website.
FDA Approved GMOs despite Warnings from its own Scientists
“The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.” FDA Statement of Policy – May, 29, 1992.
Internal memos made public as a result of a lawsuit reveal FDA scientists warned GMOs could cause allergens, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems and urged for long term studies. These warnings were ignored. The current FDA policy says testing is not necessary, and if companies producing GMO foods believe they are safe they can put it on the market without telling the FDA. There is no requirement to label GM foods misleading consumers who want to avoid them.
The man responsible for this policy is Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto (a biotech company) attorney and later vice president.
Health Dangers of Ingesting GM Foods
“Several animal studies reveal a long list of disorders, including: infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, [faulty] insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.” The American Academy of Environmental Medicine.
GM potatoes (potatoes genetically modified to produce its own insecticide) damaged rats; developed pre-cancerous cell growth in the digestive tract, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partial atrophy of the liver, and immune system damage.
Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% after GM soy was introduced in the UK.
GM soy flour was added to the diets of female rats: most of their babies died within three weeks—compared to only a 10% death rate among mothers fed natural soy. The babies from the GM-fed group were also smaller and later had problems getting pregnant.
Male rats were fed GM soy, their testicles changed color—from the normal pink to dark blue. Mice testicles also showed changes, including damaged young sperm cells.
Mice fed GM corn had fewer babies, and their children were smaller than normal.
US farmers said that thousands of their pigs became sterile after consuming certain GM corn varieties. Some had false pregnancies; others gave birth to bags of water. Cows and bulls also became infertile when fed the same corn.
100% of sheep grazing on Bt cotton died within 30 days, while those grazing on natural cotton plants in the adjoining field had no symptoms.
Farm workers in India picking Bt cotton developed allergic reactions, itching, and rashes.
The livers of mice and rats fed GM soy feed had profound changes. Some were smaller and partially atrophied, others were significantly heavier, possibly inflamed, and some showed signs of a toxic insult from eating GM food.
The FlavrSavr Tomato is the only GE crop to ever go through a thorough systematic feeding study. After 28 days 7 0f 20 force-fed rats developed stomach lesions, another 7 of 40 died within 2 weeks.
Many animals avoid GM feed when given a choice.
The GM Process is Not Safe
The process of creating a GM crop creates unpredicted changes in DNA, the protein produced by the inserted gene can be harmful, the protein produced may end up different than the protein intended, the genetic sequence can rearrange, mutate, become unstable, rearrange over time, and be read differently.
What the Only Published Human Feeding Study Revealed
GM genes can transfer into our own gut bacteria or DNA. The only human feeding study ever conducted on GM foods showed that Bt genes from soy transferred to the intestinal bacteria of 7 human volunteers given GM soy burgers and milk. The GE soy survived the small intestine and continued to function long after eating the GM foods.
Educated Consumers are the Solution
“If even a tiny percentage of US consumers—say 5% or 15 million people—started avoiding GMO brands, the millions in lost sales revenue would likely force brands to remove all GM ingredients, like they already have in Europe.” – Jeffrey Smith.
Resources and Further Reading
The World According to Monsanto – Documentary
Dr. Oz Investigates Genetically Modified Foods – Television Program
Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods – Book – View an excerpt of all 65 health risks of GM food.
The Institute for Responsible Technology – Website
GMO Foods are More Dangerous for Children Than Adults – Moms for Safe Food
Eyewitness Report: Animals Won’t Eat GMO’s – The Mommypotamus
This post is linked to The Nourishing Gourmet | Pennywise Platter Thursday and Food Renegade | Fight Back Friday.