You may not realize it, but genetically modified organism (GMO) foods could be here to stay. Thanks to a supine, underfunded FDA and powerful corporate interests willing to spin the science to meet their own needs, GMO foods have made their way into countless food products. The top GM crops are soybeans, corn and canola, found in thousands of processed foods.
Even worse, no one knows the long term consequences of foods that have been genetically tinkered with, although the available research is disturbing, to say the least.
It Starts With Weeds
How do you get rid of weeds? Take a gene from a bacterium that’s resistant to weed killer then splice it into soybeans, for example. Next you douse your soybeans with a weed killer like Roundup and voila, no more weeds. As an extra bonus – for food conglomerates, that is – the crop seed is sold along with the corresponding weed killer. Of course the crop’s now soaked in the chemical.
What about inserting a new gene in a foreign organism? Research with animals suggests that surprise changes can damage brain tissue, lungs, liver and skin . . . not overnight but over many years. Symptoms can be so mild and creep up on you so slowly that few doctors are likely to make the connection.
GMO advocates say there is no definitive proof that any of this is unsafe. More studies are needed. Opponents – including many scientists – evoke the precautionary principle and insist that the burden of proof should be on proving no harm instead of waiting around to see how many people get hurt and when, as this country did for tobacco and we continue to do for the hundreds of new chemicals that get pumped with minimal oversight into our environment every year.
Children at Highest Risk
Small children may be taking the brunt of this large scale illicit experiment. They’re up to four times as susceptible to allergies than adults and scientists are seeing a spike in kid’s food allergies. According to the head of an allergy department at a major Chicago hospital, food allergies in kids have “skyrocketed” over the last few years. Is there a connection? We’ll never know if we don’t ask the question.
Hormone Disrupters At Work
Weed killer residue in concentrations 100 times lower than allowed may disrupt a key enzyme involved in estrogen metabolism. This might disturb normal estrogen levels and help cause disease in susceptible individuals. Roundup residues as high as 3 mg/kg have been detected in soybeans, many times the allowable 20 parts per million. The EPA has not conclusively determined whether this is potentially harmful. The experiment on the public continues amidst cries of “more studies needed.” More studies may delay responsible application of the precautionary principle and protective regulatory action. The demand for more studies to supply “definitive proof” of harm serves the selfish needs of the food conglomerates, who have a history of funding such studies, in a deliberate ploy to put off the inevitable.
The Research Shows
Do any of the following sound safe? GM peas cause lung cancer in mice. GMO corn and canola oil produce something called barnase. Barnase is toxic to humans and causes kidney damage in rats. High lysine corn produces toxins that retard growth. Cooking with high lysine corn syrup can produce toxin chemicals associated with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, allergies, kidney disease and cancer. Your gut bacteria can take up DNA from GM foods, even after one meal. This raises the spectre of seeding the gut with antibiotic resistant bacteria, already a major concern due to antibiotic overuse.
Inserting foreign genes can damage the structure and function of DNA, causing a slew of unpredictable events that we do not have the means to measure and assess. At best, genetic engineering is a hit-or-miss affair, resulting in changes in DNA structure and function and genetic instability that may not occur for many generations down the road from the original insertion.
What Happens To Whistle Blowers
Former biotech scientist Arpad Puztai PhD, from England, is a classic case of what happens when findings go against the grain. Dr. Puztai at the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, was hired to evaluate GMO safety. Negative animal-feeding study results, which included liver damage in rats after feeding them GM potatoes, were duly reported. Dr. Puztai criticized the food industry for their shoddy science. He also stated he wouldn’t eat GM foods after learning what he did. Dr. Puztai was promptly sacked.
On the other hand, Monsanto was fined $1.5 million for bribing government officials in Indonesia in order to prevent an environmental risk assessment. If there’s no difference between GM and non-GM foods from a safety standpoint, why was Monsanto so concerned?
Animals Know Better
When given a choice, the evidence shows animals reject GMO foods. Take the Illinois farmer who planted GM soy on one field, non-GM soy on another. Visiting geese fed on the non-GM soy only. Same with the local deer. Anecdotes like this abound in the literature.
FDA Lame, Media Silent
Let’s be real clear about this. The FDA does not regulate GM foods. Asking food producers to prove that GM foods are non-allergenic is an “impossible task,” according to one FDA scientist. The only definitive test for proving no harm is by feeding GM foods to affected individuals, which naturally poses a moral problem.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media remains silent, apparently suppressed by a slew of so-called “experts” disdainful of the precautionary principle and for the most part hired by food giants who are running the show. The GMO driven “Green Revolution” appears to a corporate-driven scam under the “Green Umbrella” facilitated by a lame FDA and a mainstream media for some reason unable to navigate its way to the truth.
1) Buy organic: Organic foods are by definition GMO free. Buying locally, when you know the source, also works, even if it isn’t organic.
2) Check labels: Many products are labeled “non-GMO.” In addition, the PLU number on stickers for organic fruit has five numbers following a “9” while GMO fruit starts with an “8”.
3) Go online: www.responsibletechnology.org for online shopping guides for non-GMO foods.
4) Learn the facts: Obtain Genetic Roulette, The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods by Jeffrey M. Smith. Clear, rigorous and easy to reference.