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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The GMO debate: for better or for worse?

I recently read the book Food, Inc. which is actually different than the movie Food Inc.  The book focuses soley on genetically modified organisims and foods, the pros and the cons, with the author's main goal of letting you choose for yourself whether GMOs are acceptable in the food stream.  I already had strong, very strong opions, but the book was pretty thought provoking.

My opinions were strengthened after the read, but here are some interesting ideas from the article "How to Win a GMO Debate:  10 Facts Why GM Food is Bad".

1. GMOs are unhealthy.The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.  Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk.

The American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association are among many medical groups that condemn the use of GM bovine growth hormone, because the milk from treated cows has more of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)―which is linked to cancer.

I added those highlights by the way!

2. GMOs contaminate―forever.
GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

Once you go GMO, you can never go back!

4. Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects.
By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

New food allergies in your family or in yourself?  Foods bothering you that never bothered you before?  Remember, foods don't have to be labeled genetically modified before they wind up on your plate.   Genetically modified foods mean that your body recognizes a soybean as a peanut (talk about an allergy problem!), could recieve scorpion toxin from corn and potatos that are partially green and aren't fully cooked can be poisonous.  Nope, I am not kidding.

5. Government oversight is dangerously lax.Most of the health and environmental risks of GMOs are ignored by governments’ superficial regulations and safety assessments. The reason for this tragedy is largely political. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, doesn’t require a single safety study, does not mandate labeling of GMOs, and allows companies to put their GM foods onto the market without even notifying the agency. Their justification was the claim that they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different. But this was a lie. Secret agency memos made public by a lawsuit show that the overwhelming consensus even among the FDA’s own scientists was that GMOs can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. They urged long-term safety studies. But the White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and the agency official in charge of policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, later their vice president. He’s now the US Food Safety Czar.

Number five is my favorite reason of all.  If you want to be able to win a GMO argument, or just be able to make the healthy choice, read the rest of the article, click here.


Kayla said...

Yep pretty sure I'm going to stop eating altogether. ;) This stuff frustrates me so much! It's so much WORK to to be truly healthy; all the research and planning and grocery shopping (seriously is a grocery store even going to have anything we should eat?!) and cooking and and and on earth am I supposed to find the time with two little ones but how can I NOT especially because I have two little ones. The more I read about this type of stuff the more overwhelmed I get and I just want to give up and give in but I know that's not the right choice.

Kayla said...

btw, thank you for all the new information. I do appreciate it a bunch!