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. But increasing research has shown that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are one of the most dangerous and radical changes to our food supply, that there are serious loopholes with the safety measures and regulations of our food supply, and the masses of consumers have been consistently given a false sense of security about GMOs. These largely unregulated ingredients found in 60-70% of the foods in the US alone, are well worth the effort to question their safety, and avoid them altogether.
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 that monopolize GMO products for profit and whose research is meticulously designed to avoid finding problems.
There is no way to tell if genetically modified foods can have an effect on the genetics of people. At first it was believed by scientists and researchers that the modified genes were destroyed during the digestion process, but recently modified food genes have been found in the brains of some infant mice. This can be very dangerous in infants and children, and poses unknown risks for anyone who eats these foods.
Food crops grown from genetically modified seeds can affect the weeds that grow in the same area. Weeds can access the modified genes which make the crops resistant, and after some years the weeds themselves can become resistant. This will mean more chemicals needed, which can affect the safety of the food crops when consumed. Higher chemicals can mean food which should not be eaten.
Glyphosate, which is applied to make crops resistant to weeds, causes higher plant estrogen levels. Estrogen affects all mammals, including humans, and children are very susceptible to higher estrogen levels, which can be dangerous and pose long term health risks.
With genetically modified foods, there is always a risk of interactions or reactions that have never been seen. This can be an interaction between two different foods with modified genes or between the genes in the food and certain medications. There is not enough evidence because these crops and foods have not been in use long enough, and new varieties are frequently being produced.
Genetically altering seeds and foods can pose unknown risks of toxins and allergens that have never been present before. This was seen with an L-tryptophan supplement produced in 1989. This supplement caused the death of thirty seven people and affected more than fifteen hundred more. The bacteria used were altered genetically, resulting in a new and toxic amino acid never found in this supplement before.
Genetically modified foods have not had long term research done, and very little short term information. The government approved the use of these foods in the food chain under the assumption that the risks were the same as the unmodified plants, and this was a big mistake. The genetic modification done on the plants can have a dramatic effect on the risks and safety concerns, and there is no long term risk information available to determine if these foods have long term risks.
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.
One of the biggest dangers with genetically modified foods is that there is no labeling requirements. These foods make up one fourth of the food supply in the United States, and is in more foods than you may think. Without labeling it is impossible to know which foods have higher risks so that you can avoid them and protect the health of your family.
When genetically modified food crops are fed to animals, the result can be unexpected. When genetically altered soybeans were used as part of the diet for dairy cows, the resulting milk had higher percentages of fat in it. This factor shows that the genetically modified foods should not be considered just as safe as the traditional food.
Foods which are genetically altered to minimize the need for pesticides can actually cause an increase in chemical use over time and produce insects which become resistant to commonly used pesticides. This can create insect problems that can threaten the food supply and result in food shortages.
The small amount of information available about genetically modified foods is skewed and not accurate at times. Indeed, the US mainstream media has been consistently close-lipped about the enormous health risks of GM foods. The US media failed to cover the preliminary study from the Russian National Academy of Sciences, for example, that showed that more than half the offspring of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks (compared to 9% from mothers fed natural soy). They also neglected to report that the only human GM feeding study ever published showed that the foreign genes inserted into GM food crops can transfer into the DNA of our gut bacteria. This means that long after we stop eating GM corn chips, our intestinal flora might continue to manufacture the “Bt” pesticide that the GM corn plants are engineered to produce. Americans were also not told about the estimated 10,000 sheep that died within 5-7 days of grazing on GM cotton plants—also designed to produce this Bt-toxin.
In another example, when the application for Roundup Ready genetically modified soybeans was completed for market approval of the soybeans, the information in the application was based on the safety level and compound concentration levels of traditional soybeans and not from testing on the genetically modified version.
Here is a summary of crops, foods and food ingredients have been genetically modified as of May, 2010:
(Number in parentheses represents the estimated percentage that is genetically modified.)
Soy (91%) Cotton (71%) Canola (88%) Corn (85%) Sugar Beets (90%) Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%) Alfalfa (at Supreme Court), Zucchini and Yellow Squash (small amount) Tobacco (Quest® brand)
⚬ Dairy products from cows injected with the GM hormone rbGH
⚬ Food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame
⚬ (NutraSweet®) and rennet used to make hard cheeses
⚬ Meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed
⚬ Honey and bee pollen that may have GM sources of pollen
⚬ Contamination or pollination caused by GM seeds or pollen
Vegetable oil, vegetable fat and margarine (made with soy, corn, cottonseed, and/or canola)
Soy flour, soy protein, soy isolates, soy isoflavones, soy lecithin, vegetable proteins, textured vegetable protein (TVP), tofu, tamari, tempeh, and soy protein supplements.
Corn flour, corn gluten, corn masa, corn starch, corn syrup, cornmeal, and High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
❖ Infant formula
❖ Salad dressing
❖ Hamburgers and hotdogs
❖ Fried food
❖ Veggie burgers
❖ Meat substitutes
❖ Ice cream
❖ Frozen yogurt
❖ Tamari and Soy sauce
❖ Soy cheese
❖ Tomato sauce
❖ Protein powder
❖ Baking powder
❖ Any sugar not 100% Cane
❖ Confectioner's glaze
❖ Vanilla (may contain corn syrup)
❖ Peanut butter
❖ Enriched flour
❖ White vinegar
❖ Bubble bath
Natural Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, US Department of Agriculture, The University of Maryland Medical Center, Online Database of the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, and Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).