What if I told you that a handful of companies with a lot of money who had created DDT, Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormones, PCB’s and Aspartame as an artificial sweetener were conducting a frightening experiment on your health?
The cash profits to those companies would be received long before the multi-generational effects on a person’s life or family were ever fully evaluated. Would this make you angry enough to want to know how to take action to stop it? It is imperative to learn as much as we can about this new wicked science now. The experiment with genetically modifying our foods is commonly called GMO.
What exactly is a GMO? GMO’s or Genetically Modified Organisms are plants or animals that have been created by biotechnology also known as genetic engineering or GE. The genetic material (DNA or RNA) of these species are manipulated together in a way that does not occur in the natural world. This is done by injecting a foreign gene into a plant or by modifying the position of other genes. By combining DNA from various combinations of animal, plant, viral and bacterial sources plants are engineered to thrive despite the application of strong poisonous herbicides. Types of GMO corn and potatoes have actually been designed to produce their own insecticide called a Bt toxin.
Originally GMO species were developed to offer plants that were more drought tolerant, bring higher crop yields, or increased nutrition. Since the 1950’s when they exposed seeds to x-rays and gamma rays to see the effects of radiation for the outcome of genetic mutation to the present time, there is no conclusive proof that GMO foods have achieved any of their original goals. However, to the detriment of nutrition, plants ability to tolerate high powered pesticides and chemical herbicides has increased.
Why should we be alarmed if the final results of this genetic experiment are not in yet?
The number of items that are affected by GMO’s grows larger everyday.
Are GMO’s safe? And what is their impact on our health?
While the results on the human population may take decades to clearly see studies on animals have proven that we have a reason to fear GMO’s in our food supply. The only studies utilizing GMO foods have been done on animals and the results from those studies are astonishingly scary.
In an independent study done by plant genetic modification expert, Arpad Pusztai, rats fed GM potatoes had smaller livers, hearts, brains and testicles. The rats also had damaged immune systems, thymus and spleen damage . All of these results showed up after 10 days of testing and continued through 100 days of testing. This is equivalent to 10 years in humans. Arpad Pusztai was ultimately fired from his job when he published his findings.
When a new gene is inserted into a cell, it may produce different proteins than the ones intended. This has already happened in a form of genetically modified corn that produced a pesticidal protein called Bt toxin. While companies claim that the Bt toxin is harmless, mice that consumed it showed excessive and abnormal cell growth resulting in tumors. Today, Bt toxin insecticides have already been detected in up to 93 % of the umbilical cord blood tested from pregnant women. Infant formula made from soy is being given to our children without the full understanding of how it may impact their growing bodies. Nearly 100 people living next to a Bt corn field became ill after inhaling the pollen which produced an antibody response.
Two dozen farmers reported that their pigs and cows fed GM corn became sterile and 71 shepherds said that 25% of their sheep died after eating GMO cotton plants.
Other independent studies done on animals have shown altered gene expression and cell metabolism, inflamed livers, reduced digestive enzymes, impaired blood cell growth and inflamed lung tissue.
When animals have a choice, they will avoid GMO’s. A flock of geese that annually visit a soybean field in Illinois was observed. The geese only ate from half of the field that was planted with non-GMO seed.
If GMO’s are not on a label, then how can I avoid them? At this time, GMO’s are not required to be labeled in the United States and Canada. Movement is growing in the US to require manufacturers to label any and all GMO ingredients in their products. For the 2012 election there is a proposal in California called Prop 37 that is seeking to require this legislation to be passed. If worldwide reaction is any warning, over 50 countries including Japan, Australia, and the European Union many have restrictions or bans against the production and sale of GMO’s.
GMO’s have a large impact on the environment and farmers. GMO’s grown worldwide are designed for herbicide tolerance, today use of toxic herbicides has increased 15 times since GMO’s were introduced. The appearance of new breeds of super weeds and super bugs are now requiring even stronger more toxic poisons like 2, 4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange) in order to be eradicated. GMO’s are a result of chemical agriculture and are sold by some of the world’s largest chemical companies. If a country doesn’t want their product, they will find someone else worldwide to sell it to, regardless of who it may contaminate.
When GMO’s are developed they are considered new life forms in which patents are obtained. This gives the companies that design GMO’s power to sue farmers whose fields may be contaminated with GMO’s even if the seed has only floated on the wind from a neighboring field. This is yet another stressor to the American farmer who cannot fight large companies nor lobby to get laws passed as these organisms have already been unleashed into our environment here in the US.
Currently the following products are all genetically modified:
Alfalfa Canola Soy
Corn Flax Zucchini
Rice Cotton Yellow Summer Squash
Sugar Beets Hawaiian Papaya
With world wide staples such as Corn, Rice, Soy, Cotton and Sugar (from sugar beets) being primary GMO crops, it is likely that you may have ingested them already in one form or another.
Other ingredients derived from these high risk foods include and are not limited to: Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Ethanol, Farmed Fish, Flavorings – “natural” and “artificial”, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrin, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP), Vegetable Oil, Cottonseed Oil, and Yeast Products.
GMO’s continue to influence many other parts of our ecosystem further down the line. They may also be found in Milk, Meat, Eggs, Honey due to GMO contamination in feed sources.
The first step in avoiding GMO’s is to avoid processed food as if your life depended on it. In the United States, GMO’s are in as much as 80% of conventional processed foods. Many processed foods utilize High Fructose Corn Syrup, which may be made from genetically altered corn. Next, try to eat organic as much as possible. Grow your own food and use as many organic heirloom seeds as possible. If growing food is not an option, try to support as many local organic farmers and sustainable community cooperatives as you can.
What can I do to stop the spread of GMO foods locally to prevent any further impact?
Educate yourself and watch the independent films Genetic Roulette at this link to watch http://geneticroulettemovie.com You can watch this movie for free online until November 6th, 2012 or their website at (http://www.geneticroulette.com/) and Seeds of Freedom (http://seedsoffreedom.info/) Work to be proactive and read books and information on the web regarding genetic engineering in all forms. Anything you learn about GMO’s or GMO filled products try to pass on to family and friends.
Go to http://www.nongmoproject.org/ and print a list of current non GMO foods and products to take with you when you shop for food. These products have been tested to contain less than 0.9% GMO contamination. Ask you local grocer not to carry product known to contain GMO ingredients.
Write your favorite companies and food suppliers and urge them not to put GMO products in your favorite brands.
Write the FDA and urge them to label GMO ingredients at www.JustLabelit.org.
Take initiative and write or call your congressman to tell him to protect organic farmers at http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_25778.cfm