Part 2 of 3 on Food Labeling (Part 1)
GMOs -possibly one of the most controversial topics of our times! Why the fuss and what does it mean to you and your family? Are they really that bad for you? If they were, why would the government allow the use of something harmful to us? Aren't GMO seeds saving the world from hunger???
To answer these questions and more, let's start from the beginning, with the definition and origin of GMOs. According to www.nonGMOproject.org, "Genetically Modified Organisms are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods."
While the first DNA was discovered by a Russian scientist in 1935, a GMO patent was approved in the U.S. in 1980 and GMOs were introduced into the American grocery store in 1994.
So let's take a look at how and why this is done.
Genes are forced into the plant DNA...
GM plants, such as soybean, corn, cottonseed, canola, and sugar beets have had foreign genes forced into their DNA. The inserted genes come from species, such as bacteria and viruses, that have never been in the human food supply. The inserted gene can be damaged or rearranged, and may create proteins that can trigger allergies or promote disease.
2. Bacterial genes allow for more herbicide use...
A GM crop has bacterial genes inserted, which allow the plants to survive an otherwise deadly dose of weed killer. Farmers use considerably more herbicides on these GM crops and so the food has higher herbicide residues. About 68% of GM crops are herbicide tolerant.
3. Altered genes add a built-in pesticide...
Another GM trait is a built-in pesticide, found in GM corn and cotton. A gene from the soil bacterium called Bt (for Bacillus thuringiensis) is inserted into the plant’s DNA, where it secretes the insect-killing Bt-toxin in every cell.
So how does all of this impact your health?
Allergic reactions to GMO foods
Allergic reactions to non-GMO foods
Reproductive problems and infertility
Infant mortality and less healthy offspring
Then why would the government allow this?
Due to a lawsuit that has now been made public, we know that in 1992, the FDA knew about the risks involved to the public but ignored them. In fact, FDA scientists provided information that cautioned the FDA about the consumption of GM foods, such as causing unpredictable and hard-to-detect side effects like allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems.
In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated that, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid GM foods.
Food and Chemical Toxicology published a study in September 2012, by a group of French scientists led by Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini. The study showed that a Monsanto herbicide-tolerant GM corn and RoundUp, Monsanto’s brand name for the herbicide, caused severe diseases and tumor growths in rats. Many other studies show that gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems implicated in humans, pets, livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.
But aren't we producing more and feeding the world?
Producers of GMO seeds claim that their seeds are instrumental in eradicating world hunger; yet, a US Department of Agriculture report confirmed the poor yield performance of GM crops, saying, “GE [genetically engineered] crops available for commercial use do not increase the yield potential of a variety. In fact, yield may even decrease.... Perhaps the biggest issue raised by these results is how to explain the rapid adoption of GE crops when farm financial impacts appear to be mixed or even negative.” But even if it were producing more, is it sustainable? And given the health impacts, do we really want more?
How To See The Truth For Yourself...
All that I've shared in this post is just a spec on the large canvas of the GMO story. To gain a better understanding of what GMOs are and how they affect you, I encourage you to watch the films GMO OMG and Genetic Roulette, both available for DVD purchase or immediate download on my Learning Tools page. Just click here.
GMO OMG Trailer
Genetic Roulette Trailer
How To Recognize GMOs
Unfortunately, the U.S. still has no labeling requirements on GMO foods. While the European Union has required labeling since 1997 and an increasing number of American voters are requesting the labeling, it's still not mandatory here. If GMOs are indeed safe, it makes you wonder why the GMO seed producers spend millions of dollars a year lobbying against GMO food labeling requirements...
The following foods are all GMO, unless otherwise labeled as "USDA Organic" or "Non-GMO"
Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)
Besides avoiding the whole foods, you have to be very careful with packaged foods. Unless
it contains the NON-GMO Project VERIFIED label, it's highly likely that the processed food has some form of GMO, usually in the form of cotton seed oil, soybean oil or soy derivatives, corn oil or corn derivatives, beet sugar, or canola oil. Also, conventional meat and dairy not labeled as "pasture-raised"or "organic" will contain GMOs, as the livestock and poultry are fed a diet high in GMO corn and soy, especially.
In fact, according to the FDA, 80% of U.S. crops are used for livestock consumption.
One more thing to consider...Just because it's non-GMO, doesn't mean that it is free of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics, or hormones. Only if it were labeled "USDA Organic" would it be free of those things and non-GMO. So just to clarify visually...
Non-GMO X Organic
Organic = Non-GMO
Common Ingredients Derived from GMO Risk Crops: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Ethanol, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.
So you decide.
I hope I've provided some useful information to get you thinking. Use the resources I've provided to broaden your understanding and help you gain a different perspective. Let the evidence in the documentaries and studies speak for itself . Better yet, perform your own study. Try to go GMO-free for a month and see how you feel. My 21 Day Transformational Nutrition Cleanse is a great way to support you during your GMO detox. We'll be starting our winter cleanse on January 11th, so take advantage of the holiday deals now!
Go here for Part 3 on Food Labeling.
To your health,