It's not a lie ~ We Are What We Eat! - Cliffnotes for your HEALTH!
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? 
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.

For 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".

Traditional 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?
Currently 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).

Products 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.

Genetically 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.

Results of 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
  • Soy 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.

According to 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 one.

Your Milk on Drugs- PROOF! 
Although 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 milk-production.

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.

Milk from 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 colon cancer.

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? 
  1. Join the Non-GMO Shopping Guide
  2. Buy organic, locally grown foods
  3. Sign up to participate in The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America  
  4. View The World According to Monsanto
  5. 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:

"What I 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"

Contrast this 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."

The biotech 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.

Unlike safety 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 mean:

  • 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 factories.

Articles
  1. 10 Reasons we do not need GM foods
  2. 10 reasons why GM won't feed the world
  3. Health Risks of GM Foods

Resources
  1. Seeds of Deception    
  2. Institute for Responsible Technology
  3. GMO Basics
  4. GM Food: A Guide for the Confused
  5. Say NO to GMOs
  6. Non-GMO Shopping Guide

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