If you are not actively avoiding genetically-modified foods (GMOs), you are eating them every day. GMOs are in roughly 80 percent of packaged foods sold in the U.S. and Canada, according the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Studies indicate serious health risks are associated with GMO consumption, including infertility, accelerated aging, organ damage and birth defects. Want to know more?
GMO foods contain altered DNA. Laboratories manipulate the genetic structure of these foods in a manner that would never occur in nature. The most common purpose for the genetic modification of foods is to produce crops that tolerate being bathed in herbicide. Herbicide is a poison that kills plants. Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready GMO crops, engineered to tolerate the herbicide Roundup, currently dominate the market.
The increased reliance on herbicide for weed control has resulted in “superweeds” which have evolved tolerance to herbicide, thereby nullifying the benefits of the GMO crops. In October 2010, a House oversight subcommittee held a hearing to discuss possible solutions for this issue. In that hearing, the Obama Administration made the statement that they will only consider solutions using GMO technology to the fix the problem caused by GMO technology. Monsanto is already making a new, more powerful poison to address the problem.
A growing number of studies indicate GM food is unsafe for human or animal consumption. A paper released by The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) shows more than a causal association between GMOs and adverse health effects.
According to the AAEM,
…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, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.
Professor Andrés Carrasco of the University of Buenos Aires Medical School demonstrated that Roundup causes birth defects at far lower doses than those used in agricultural spraying and well below maximum residue levels in products approved by the European Union. The study was initiated because of widespread reports of human malformations in Argentina beginning in 2002. This was two years after farmers began widespread aerial spraying of Roundup on their GM soy crops.
The President’s Cancer Panel suggests reducing your risk of cancer by “giving preference to food grown without pesticides, chemical fertilizers and growth hormones.”
Problems linked to genetically modified organisms continue to build: South African farmers were devastated in 2009 when genetically modified maize from Monsanto failed to produce kernels; GM soy has been linked to sterility and infant mortality in hamsters; and insecticide-producing GM corn is polluting streams, lakes and rivers.
While the EU requires that GMO food be labeled, the U.S. does not have any such requirement. A Washington Post public poll from September 2010 shows that 95% of the public wants to know if they are eating GMOs. A recent MSNBC poll asked the public whether GMO foods should be labelled. As of this writing, 96% of over 43,000 people voted that GMOs should be labelled.
What can you do? Spread the word, email this link to your friends, vote with your dollar. Ask your favorite food producers and restaurants if they use GMOs. Use The Non-GMO Shopping Guide. Make decisions about the food you want to eat, or others will make it for you.
- Institute for Responsible Technology
- Organic Consumers Association
- The Non-GMO Project
- The Rodale.com GMO-free Challenge
- The Weston A. Price Foundation
- The Center for Food Safety