Why we need to care about GMO’s!

“If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.”

Quote from Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994.

Three reasons it is so important to avoid GMO’s:

  • They are everywhere!
  • They are not safe!
  • They have not been tested properly for safety!

1. GMO’s EVERYWHERE in our food supply, right now:

Here are the percentages of GMO’s that are ALREADY in our food supply:

Currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include: (Data courtesy of IRT)

Soy (93%)
Cotton (93%)
Canola (90%)
Corn (87%) /Sweet corn (3%)
**80% of processed foods have GM corn**
Sugar beets (95%)
Hawaiian papaya (>50%)
Zucchini and Yellow Squash (small amount)
Dairy products from cows injected with the GM hormone rBGH (100% unless Organic or Non GMO Project labelled)
Food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet), and rennet used to make hard cheeses.
Tobacco (Quest brand)
Meats and eggs from animals that have been fed GM feed products and injected with rBGH.

INVISIBLE GM Ingredients: Processed foods often have hidden GM sources (unless they are organic or declared non-GMO). Click here to see a total list of invisible ingredients.

Foods in the “pipeline” to be approved (2011):

  1. Plants Engineered To Replace Oil, or PETROs: Apparently a new breed of genetically modified crops is heading towards America’s fields. Scientists across the country are engineering these crops to wean the country away from oil imports. They’re bio-fuel crops, and they’re meant to convert more carbon more efficiently into plant matter that can be more easily processed into bio-fuels. The Department of Energy.
  2. Dow Chemical is currently requesting an unprecedented USDA approval: a genetically engineered (GE) version of corn that is resistant to 2,4-D, a major component of the highly toxic Agent Orange. (Agent Orange was the chemical defoliant used by the U.S. in Vietnam, and it caused lasting ecological damage as well as many serious medical conditions in both Vietnam veterans and the Vietnamese.)
  3. Salmon. Massachusetts-based Aqua Bounty Farms has genetically engineered salmon to grow twice as fast as conventional salmon. Environmentalists say the transgenic salmon could escape from fish farm pens and interbreed with wild salmon, threatening the species. The company is seeking approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to market the salmon.
  4. Plum. The US Agricultural Research Service developed a GM plum that is altered to resist the plum pox virus. ARS has submitted a petition to the USDA for “de-regulated status,” which would allow commercial production.
  5. In field tests. A variety of GM fruits and vegetables are being field-tested, including: apple, banana, blueberry, carrot, cranberry, eggplant, grape, grapefruit, lettuce, onion, pea, pepper, persimmon, pineapple, plum, potato, squash, strawberry, sweet potato, tomato, and watermelon.
  6. Bentgrass. Monsanto and Scotts Company have applied for de-regulated status of Roundup Ready GM bentgrass, which would be grown on golf courses.
  • FYI:  November 2010. The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the USDA refused to alert the public that genetically modified bentgrass had spread from a test plot in Western Idaho to irrigation ditches in Eastern Oregon.  Carol Mallory-Smith, an Oregon State University weed scientist, made the discovery last month after she received samples from farmers in Malhuer County. The Roundup-resistant creeping bentgrass, under development by The Scott’s Co., isn’t approved for unrestricted commercial production. (read full article Capital Press)

(Kind of scary – time to cook everything using organic, from scratch – eh??)

2. Are GMO’s safe?

Simply Put: NO they are not safe – they have not been tested for safety!

Click here to see the proof that cancer is caused by GM Corn and Roundup pesticide by Monsanto!

No safety data on GM foods:

In a February 1992 memo, Louis J. Pribyl, Ph.D., a scientist in the FDA’s Microbiology Group, critiqued a draft of the policy by writing, “There is a profound difference between the types of unexpected effects from traditional breeding and genetic engineering which is just glanced over in this document.” Dr. Pribyl added that “several aspects of gene insertion may be more hazardous than traditional plant crossbreeding.”

GM peas caused a 2-fold allergic reaction 

The GM protein was allergenic and stimulated an allergic reaction to other food components. This raises the question of whether GM foods cause an increase in allergies to other substances. (New Scientist)

GMO food study on 3 varieties of GM corn:

Most recently, they have done a study that shows the comparison of 3 different types of GM Corn on rats, bottom line= they found that there was a clear negative impact on the function of the liver and kidney organs in rats that consumed GM corn varieties in just 90 days!

GMO food supplement caused a deadly epidemic:

In the 1980s, a contaminated brand of a food supplement called L-tryptophan killed about 100 Americans and caused sickness and disability in another 5,000-10,000 people with an eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) epidemic.  The outbreak was traced to consumption of L-tryptophan food supplements produced by a Japanese company using genetically engineered (GE) bacteria.The disease took years to find and was almost overlooked. It was only identified because the symptoms were unique, acute, and fast-acting.  If all three characteristics were not in place, the deadly GM supplement might never have been identified or removed. (FYI: L-tryptophan, since 2001,  is legally being sold again in the US after being temporarily banned by the FDA in 1989. )

For more studies showing dangers of GM foods:

 

Even the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) doesn’t think they are safe:

With the precautionary principle in mind, because GM foods have not been properly tested for human consumption, and because there is ample evidence of probable harm, the AAEM asks:

  • For a moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term independent safety testing, and labeling of GM foods, which is necessary for the health and safety of consumers.
  • Physicians to consider the possible role of GM foods in the disease processes of the patients they treat and to document any changes in patient health when changing from GM food to non-GM food.
  • Our members, the medical community, and the independent scientific community to gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption and health effects, begin epidemiological research to investigate the role of GM foods on human health, and conduct safe methods of determining the effect of GM foods on human health.
  • Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.

The safety of GM foods has been based on the idea of “substantial equivalence” which is “if a new food is found to be substantially equivalent in composition and nutritional characteristics to an existing food, it can be regarded as safe as the conventional food.”However, several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including

  • infertility
  • immune dysregulation
  • accelerated aging
  • dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis
  • insulin regulation
  • cell signaling
  • protein formation
  • changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system

The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Studies also show intestinal damage in animals fed GM foods, including proliferative cell growth9 and disruption of the intestinal immune system.3

My opinion:

Heavily invested biotech corporations are gambling with the health of our nation for their profit.  If GM foods on the market are causing common diseases or if their effects appear only after long-term exposure, we may not be able to identify the source of the problem for decades, if at all. There is no monitoring of GMO-related illnesses and no long-term animal studies. Although, harm to animals doesn’t necessarily prove harm to humans, but it is definitely an indication to me that more studies should be done.  This hasn’t happened.

3. Why haven’t GMO’s been tested or monitored??

Dr. Arpad Pusztai was actually working on a $3 million grant from the U.K. government to figure out how to test for the safety of GMOs. And what he discovered quite accidentally is that genetically modified organisms are inherently unsafe. Within 10 days, his supposedly harmless GMO potatoes caused massive damage to rats — smaller brains, livers and testicles, partial atrophy of the liver, damaged immune system, etc. And what he discovered was it was the process, the generic process of genetic engineering, that was likely the cause of the problem. He went public with his concerns and was a hero.

In 1992, the FDA declared that GM crops are GRAS, generally recognized as safe,  as long as their producers say they are. That means: each individual company can decide if their GM product is safe or not, and they can decide to do any safety evaluations or labeling of their GM products.  A company can even introduce a GM food to the market without telling the FDA.10

But internal FDA memos made public by a lawsuit revealed that their position was staged by political appointees who were under orders from the White House to promote GMOs. In addition, the FDA official in charge of creating
this policy was Michael Taylor, the former attorney for Monsanto, the largest biotech company, and later their vice president.  (attach chart of revolving door)

In reality, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. (click here to see one of the documents) They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored. Today, the same biotech companies who have been found guilty of hiding toxic effects of their chemical products are in charge of determining whether their GM foods are safe. Industry-funded GMO safety studies are too superficial to find most of the potential dangers, and their voluntary consultations with the FDA are widely criticized as a meaningless façade.

This is directly off the FDA’s website:

  •  Must FDA approve GRAS substances? No. If the use of a food substance is GRAS, it is not subject to the pre-market review and approval requirement by FDA.

And if you think the White House is innocent in all of this – read on:

In a recent interview on Democracy Now!, Jeffrey Smith, executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, was asked to compare the Obama administration with the Bush administration on the issue of biotechnology:

President Obama, while he was campaigning here in Iowa, promised that he would require labeling of genetically modified crops. And since most Americans say they would avoid GMOs if labeled, that would have eliminated it from the food supply. But, you see, he and the FDA have been promoting the biotechnology. And unfortunately, the Obama administration has not been better than the Bush administration.

For example, the person who was in charge of FDA policy in 1992, Monsanto’s former attorney, Michael Taylor, he allowed GMOs on the market without any safety studies and without labeling, and the policy claimed that the agency was not aware of any information showing that GMOs were significantly different. Seven years later, because of a lawsuit, 44,000 secret internal FDA memos revealed that that policy was a lie. Not only were the scientists at the FDA aware that GMOs were different, they had warned repeatedly that they might create allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems. But they were ignored, and their warnings were even denied, and the policy went forth allowing the deployment of GMOs into the food supply with virtually no safety studies. That person in charge is now the U.S. food safety czar in the Obama administration.

*Check out the revolving door between Monsanto and the us government here.*

Another White house action for big biotech:

U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal the Bush administration drew up ways to retaliate against Europe for refusing to use genetically modified seeds.  To read full transcript of interview, click here.

In my opinion:

In conclusion, GMO’s are not safe and the only way we are going to make a difference in labeling laws is to use our pocketbooks, purses, wallets, and piggy banks.  We have the power of money on our side, we can CHOOSE to buy only organic food, or those that are labelled NON-GMO Project Verified.

5 Responses to Why we need to care about GMO’s!

  1. Pingback: Fructose Makes You FAT!? | Andrea's Organic Corner

  2. Romelia Gunsolley

    I was starting to doubt that it was possible to find some decent content for once, I was getting sick of the continual drivel I come across of late, thank you.

  3. I agree – that’s all!

  4. it is really an informative post. thanks

  5. your blog is really excellent. it inspires the readers who have that great desire to lead a better and happier life. thanks for sharing this information and hope to read more from you.

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