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Monday, June 21, 2010

BOOK GIVEAWAY and Safety Concerns

Genetically Modified: Is it Safe?

StarLink Corn was never meant to be fed to humans; but somehow, a few years ago, the genetically modified version ended up in Taco Bell taco shells, Mission Foods taco shells, and Safeway, Food Lion, Shaw’s and several other grocery store-brand products. StarLink corn is a genetically modified version of the grain that is more resistant to certain types of insects. It was never meant to be fed to humans.

No one knew that the StarLink corn had made it to the human food supply until people got sick. Really sick. Allergic reactions from upset stomach to anaphylactic shock abounded in people who consumed the corn based products. The sickness was as simple as rashes and hives to nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, itchy skin, eczema, shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling of the airways to the lungs and anaphylaxis. American shipments of corn to foreign countries were inspected and turned away, grain elevators were shut down, and major cereal companies panicked while trying to find a way to avoid the modified corn.

Unfortunately, once a genetically modified version of corn, soy, tomatoes or potatoes (some of the most common GMOs) are introduced to the fields, it can be very hard to control. Seeds and pollen are carried by the wind, by bugs and by animals that not only crawl through it as habitat, but consume it as feed (farmers who have no intention of ever using GMO products have been sued by the makers of the GMO seed for having it in their fields, even though it was never intentionally planted!).

GMO products are unfortunately unregulated and untested in our country. We don’t know how inserting a protein or a scorpion toxin into the gene of a plant we eat will affect us.

But we do know that allergies and allergic reactions have increased so fast since GMOs have been introduced into the general marketplace in 1994 that should probably follow the safe practices of Europe, Japan, Russia and Australia. Those countries believe that they don’t understand how modifying or engineering a gene will effect the population that will eat it, so they don’t allow it. That’s right. They don’t allow it. They don’t allow it to be planted in their soil, and they don’t allow it to enter their food supply. Even third world countries won’t accept genetically modified corn as food aid during times of crisis.

As mentioned, in this country, it can be very difficult to avoid genetically modified foods. But, if you are so inclined to guard the safety of your food supply, it might be worth the effort. Here are a few ways to watch out for them in the grocery store:

-When buying fruit and vegetables from the produce section check the PLU (Price Look Up code). If there are four digits, the item is conventionally produced. If there are five digits, and the number begins with an 8, the product is genetically modified. If the number has five digits and begins with a 9, it is organic and not a GMO.
This labeling is optional though so do not assume it is safe just because it doesn’t have the numbers.

-Remember, genetically modified ingredients are not allowed at all in organic food, so when possible, this is a good solution to keeping your food safe.

-Don’t forget to buy rBGH/rBST free milk and dairy products which are also not genetically modified.

And now for the good news! If you want to know more about genetically modified foods, leave a comment here with your thoughts about genetic modification and engineering (Safe? Not Safe? Concerned? Not concerned? Confused? Unhappy? Just want to win?). You could win a copy of Robyn O’Brien’s book, The Unhealthy Truth, very graciously donated to one of our followers by the author and publisher. Contest closes Thursday night at 12pm, so don’t forget to leave your comments!


Anonymous said...

Who do I write to complain that the USA doesn’t understand how modifying or engineering a gene will effect the population that will eat it, so they shouldn't allow it?

In the past few months, I have gotten really passionate about toxins, being that two of my coworkers under 36 were diagnosed with lymphoma, one 30 year old friend with cancer, one aunt and one uncle with leukemia in the PAST YEAR! There is something wrong with that.

-T. Koch

Anonymous said...

Great article! I only knew the "tip of the iceberg" on this and the info on the numbering was great. A real eye opener. I can only imagine all the things we're exposed to without knowing... Thanks!

LIFE in POTS said...

Great article Kelley...I would love to win the book! You website is really taking off.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wow, makes you think about everything in our diets. I really like the information on the product codes - I will print this and take with me until I memorize what I need to know.


Amanda said...

The whole thing worries me. And the more I learn the more freaked out I get. Fortunately, the more freaked out I get, the more steps I take towards watching the food I put on my family's table.

Deandra said...

This is starting to worry me! How could we be eating all of this without knowing that we are?! Why is the US allowing it and how can we stop it! Thanks for the product code information I will definately use it. Keep the great information coming.

George Suggs said...

This is a Great look at Who we are is What we Eat. Keep it coming.

Kayla said...

I LOVE this book! If I win I plan to use it as a "loan" book so I can loan it out to all my friends to spread the word. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity and for spreading the word on your blog!

Mandy said...

I can't beleive how close-minded I was to the world of food. Something so important to a person, yet so easy to overlook. I hope to read this book someday, as I have a 16 month old, and I want to ensure healthy eating habits, and incorporate HEALTHY foods in his diet! Thanks for posting about this! Definately a real eye opener!

Tammy said...

Great information Kelley. I will also print this info and take it to the store with me. You are doing an awesome job! I'm always learning something new here. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Gteat Info. You might have suspected that genetically modified and grown food couldn't be as good for you as if it were not. Maybe after enough info gets out to everyone, our food chain won't be grown for corporate profits, but the wholesome food that nature intended it to be. Way to keep us in the loop and informed.


Anonymous said...

Here's another blog topic possibility....crystalline fructose? I have heard this is the new thing and worse than HFCS.