Genetically Modified Organisms
What are Genes?
Genes are the
inherited blueprints for the thousands of proteins that form the building
blocks of all life, from bacteria to humans. Proteins make enzymes, which carry
out all the bodily processes, like digestion of food, that keep us alive.
What is a GMO?
(genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where
genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into
the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from
bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Because this involves the
transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as "transgenic" organisms.
example, genes from an arctic flounder which has "antifreeze"
properties may be spliced into a tomato to prevent frost damage.
Is Genetic Modification Precise?
No. It is
impossible to guide the insertion of the new gene. This can lead to
unpredictable effects. Also, genes do not work in isolation but in highly
complex relationships which are not understood. Any change to the DNA at any
point will affect it throughout its length in ways scientists cannot predict.
The claim by some that they can is both arrogant and untrue.
Is GM an extension of Traditional Breeding Practices?
No - GM bears
no resemblance to traditional breeding techniques. The government's own Genetic
Modification (Contained Use) Regulations admit this when it defines GM as
"the altering of the genetic material in that organism in a way that does
not occur naturally by mating or natural recombination or both".
breeding techniques operate within established natural boundaries which allow
reproduction to take place only between closely related forms. Thus tomatoes
can cross-pollinate with other tomatoes but not soya beans; cows can mate only
with cows and not sheep. These genes in their natural groupings have been
finely tuned to work harmoniously together by millions of years of evolution.
Genetic engineering crosses genes between unrelated species which would never
cross-breed in nature.
Where are GMOs Found?
In our food!
First introduced into the food supply in the mid-1990s, GMOs are now present in
the vast majority of processed foods in the US. While they are banned as food ingredients
in Europe and elsewhere, in the United States the FDA does not even require the
labeling of GMOs in food ingredient lists.
Many consumers in the US mistakenly believe
that the FDA approves GM foods through rigorous, in-depth, long-term studies.
In reality, the agency has absolutely no safety testing requirements. Instead
the agency relies on research from companies like Monsanto, research that is
meticulously designed to avoid finding problems.
The FDA has claimed it was not aware of any
information showing that GM crops were different “in any meaningful or uniform
way,” from non-GMO crops and therefore didn’t require testing. But 44,000
internal FDA documents made public by a lawsuit show that this was a complete
lie. The overwhelming consensus among
the FDA’s own scientists was that GM foods were quite different and could lead
to unpredictable and hard-to-detect allergens, toxins, new diseases and
nutritional problems. It turns out that FDA scientists, who had urged
superiors to require long-term studies, were ignored.
What Foods are Typically Genetically Modified?
commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy (91%), cotton (88%), canola
(88%), corn (85%), sugar beets (90%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini
and yellow squash (small amount), and tobacco (Quest® brand).
derived from the above, including oils from all four, soy protein, soy
lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup among others.
There are also many "invisible ingredients," derived from GM crops
that are not obviously from corn or soy.
Why Should I Care- Are They Safe?
You may have heard the FDA and food industry
claims that genetically modified (GM) foods are safe, properly tested, and
necessary to feed a hungry world. UNTRUE!
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are one of the most dangerous and
radical changes to our food supply. These largely unregulated
ingredients found in 60-70% of the foods in the US, are well worth the effort
to avoid them.
The American Academy of
Environmental Medicine (AAEM)
reported that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated
with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging,
faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal
system. The AAEM asked physicians to advise patients to avoid GM foods.
modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile,
and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals.
The effects on humans of consuming these new combinations of proteins produced
in GMOs are unknown and have not been studied. But you have to think- if it
hurts animals, then it is hurting us.
the few studies done:
- Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died
after grazing on Bt cotton plants
- Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer,
and smaller, babies
- More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died
within three weeks, and were smaller
- Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly
- By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the
ability to have babies
- Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses
and signs of toxicity
- Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times
the amount of a known soy allergen
allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK,
soon after GM soy was introduced
- The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive
cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.
- Studies also showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas
cells, changed enzyme levels, etc.
How Did This Happen?
How could the
government approve dangerous foods? A close examination reveals that industry
manipulation and political collusion-not sound science-was the driving force.
- Government employees who complained were harassed, stripped
of responsibilities, or fired.
- Scientists were threatened. Evidence was stolen. Data was
omitted or distorted. Some regulators even claimed they were offered
bribes to approve a GM product.
a March 2001 report, the Center for Disease Control says that food is
responsible for twice the number of illnesses in the U.S. compared to estimates
just seven years earlier. This increase
roughly corresponds to the period when Americans have been eating GM food.
Could that be contributing to the 5,000 deaths, 325,000 hospitalizations, and
76 million illnesses related to food each year? Might it play in role in our
national epidemic of obesity or the rise in diabetes or lymphatic cancers? We
have no way of knowing if there is a connection because no one has looked for
Your Milk on Drugs- PROOF!
banned in most other industrialized nations due to the health risks to humans
and harm to the animals, Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth
hormone (rBGH or rBST) is still injected into dairy cows in the US to increase
So why was
rBGH approved for use in the US? The approval of rBGH in our country is a story
of fired whistleblowers, manipulated research, and a corporate takeover of the
US Food and Drug Administration. US dairies responding to the health concerns
of consumers by not injecting their herds, now battle with Monsanto for their
right to label their milk as rBGH-free. For those familiar with the history of
this controversial drug, and Monsanto, this is no surprise. Monsanto’s controversial past is plagued
with toxic disasters, lawsuits and cover-ups. Milk from
cows injected with rBGH also has lowered nutritional value, increased
antibiotics and more pus from infected udders. Cows given rBGH experience
higher rates of mastitis, a painful udder infection. When treated with
antibiotics that are also used for people, bacteria resistant to these
antibiotics end up in the milk, air, soil and water, resulting in increased
antibiotic resistance in humans, a major health problem.
rBGH-treated cows has much higher levels of IGF-1, a hormone considered to be a
high risk factor for breast, prostate, colon, lung, and other cancers. IGF-1
levels in milk from treated cows with rBGH can be up to 10 times higher.
Studies suggest that pre-menopausal women below 50 years old with high levels
of IGF-1 are seven times more likely to develop breast cancer. Men are four
times more likely to develop prostate cancer. IGF-1 is implicated in lung and
There is a
lot of information out there about rBGH, research this topic more and learn how,
despite multiple attempts by Monsanto to cover up the truth, the market
rejection of rBGH demonstrates that consumers are still at the top of the food
chain, dictating the direction of this fight. Within the last two years, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Kroger, and about 40 of
the 100 top dairies removed rBGH products as consumer concerns reached a tipping point on this issue.
I hope to see
the same tipping point kick GM foods out of the US food supply. Almost 87
million consumers in the United States believe that all GM foods aren’t safe,
but can’t always avoid them because they don’t know how. By directing the
purchasing power of the tens of millions of health-conscious shoppers, we can
reach a new tipping point and push GMOs out of the entire food supply.
What Can We Do?
- Join the Non-GMO
- Buy organic, locally grown foods
- Sign up to
participate in The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America
- View The World According to Monsanto
- Avoid at-risk ingredients
One of the
most dangerous aspects of genetic engineering is the closed thinking and
consistent effort to silence those with contrary evidence or concerns. Just
before stepping down from office, former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman
admitted the following:
saw generically on the pro-biotech side was the attitude that the technology
was good, and that it was almost immoral to say that it wasn't good, because it
was going to solve the problems of the human race and feed the hungry and
clothe the naked... And there was a lot of money that had been invested in
this, and if you're against it, you're Luddites, you're stupid. That, frankly,
was the side our government was on... You felt like you were almost an alien,
disloyal, by trying to present an open-minded view"
with the warning by the editors of Nature Biotechnology: "The risks in
biotechnology are undeniable, and they stem from the unknowable in science and
commerce. It is prudent to recognize and address those risks, not compound them
by overly optimistic or foolhardy behavior."
industry and the government have been foolhardy indeed. Blinded, perhaps by the baseless myth that GM foods are needed to feed
the world, they gamble with our health and support their safety claims on
obsolete or unproven assumptions. Before the FDA decided to allow GMOs into
food without labeling, FDA scientists had
repeatedly warned that GM foods can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side
effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged
long-term safety studies, but were ignored.
evaluations for drugs, there are no human clinical trials of GM foods. The only
published human feeding experiment revealed that the genetic material inserted
into GM soy transfers into bacteria living inside our intestines and continues
to function. This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still
have their GM proteins produced continuously inside us. This could
- If the antibiotic gene inserted into most GM crops were to
transfer, it could create super diseases, resistant to antibiotics
- If the gene that creates Bt-toxin in GM corn were to
transfer, it might turn our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide
- 10 Reasons we do not need GM foods
- 10 reasons why GM won't feed the world
- Health Risks of GM Foods
- Seeds of Deception
- Institute for Responsible Technology
- GMO Basics
- GM Food: A Guide for the Confused
- Say NO to GMOs
- Non-GMO Shopping Guide