Genetically Engineered Food

Our Food is being replaced with GMO Versions

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Our underlying grains, fruits and vegetables are being slowly and systematically replaced with genetically altered versions without notification or labeling. The FDA has approved hundreds of genetically modified foods with minimal or no research on the health effects to humans or animals. Genetically modified (GM) plants are grown world-wide from patented seeds which are hard to acquire by independent researchers. The few independent studies that have been performed have shown liver, kidney and heart damage to animals fed GM foods.

The purpose of genetically modified food crops is to increase the world's harvests by engineering the seeds to be immune to herbicides and contain pesticides within the plant. That way farmers can spray herbicides to control weeds without killing the crops and have the crops immune to one or more bugs that would normally kill the plant or limit the harvest. Some versions of GM seeds resist multiple types of bugs and pests as well as have immunity to herbicides. Every year since 1996, a greater percentage of the US's corn crop is grown from GM seeds and now exceeds 85%.  Yet no studies have been performed on the health implications of replacing our primary food source with a genetically altered version.

The first genetically modified soybean crops were planted in 1996, but by 2010, 93% of all soybeans planted in the US were GM versions and they are being planted in 9 other countries world-wide.  That means that the soy-based meat replacement products and vegetable proteins that vegans and vegetarians depend upon are completely different than what they were eating before the late 1990’s. Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) made from GM soy is one of most common protein based food "fillers" used to make literally thousands of processed food products and Asian soy based foods like tofu, soy sauce, and natto are now primarily made from GM soy.

A study in Russia fed GM soybeans to hamsters for two years.  By the third generation, the GM soy-fed hamsters had lost the ability to reproduce and had slower growth and a higher mortality rate among the young. The third generation even had hair growing in their mouth. Various feeding studies in animals have resulted in potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, damaged immune systems, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partial atrophy or increased density of the liver, odd shaped cell nuclei and other unexplained anomalies, false pregnancies and higher death rates from eating GM soy. Research has also shown that a portion of the transgene from the GM soy is transferred into human gut bacteria. In addition, the gut bacteria survive doses of the herbicide's active ingredient, glyphosate. This indicates that the transgene continues to produce its herbicide protein from within the gut bacteria. If this is so, then long after you stop eating GM soy, you may be constantly exposed to the potentially allergenic protein.

GM cotton has been modified to resist insects through the insertion of the Bt toxin gene into the seed. The toxin is created from the bacteria bacillus thuringiensis which is found in some soil. The claim is that Bt toxin genes are safe since organic farmers use it in their spray. But Bt sprayings by plane have caused hundreds of people to become ill and many to go to emergency rooms. The Bt toxin in GM cotton are 10 to 20 times more concentrated than the spray and remains in the plant rather than being able to be washed off. Farmers in India are reporting allergic symptoms from handling Bt cotton and cattle fed Bt cotton fodder have suffered from illness and some have died.

A new painful skin malady, Morgellan’s disease, is thought by some to be related to GM foods like cotton and corn. The American Academy on Environmental Medicine is calling for a moratorium on GM food along with many other organizations world-wide based on animal studies and the concern that human health in the area of toxicology, allergies, and genetics is being compromised. The only feeding study done with humans showed that the modified genes survived inside the stomach of the people eating GM food. No follow-up studies were done.

Genetically engineered foods have antibiotic resistant genes in them: The techniques used to transfer genes have a very low success rate, so the genetic engineers attach "marker genes" that are resistant to antibiotics to help them to find out which cells have taken up the new DNA. That way scientists can then douse the experimental GMO in antibiotics and if it lives, they have successfully altered the genes. The marker genes are resistant to antibiotics that are commonly used in human and veterinary medicine. Some scientists believe that eating GM food containing these marker genes could encourage gut bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance and transfer of transgenes to gut bacteria may present long-term chronic exposure, since the foreign protein may continued to be produced inside of us after we no longer consume the GM food.

GM foods encompass most of our grains, vegetables and fruits with new patents constantly being submitted by corporations and university researchers being subsidized by federal grants. Genetic engineering has also created enzymes, fungis, yeasts, and other living organisms that are grown to enable faster methods of distilling liquor and beer, making cheese, yogurt, sugars, starches, and medicines,. Now research has shifted to genetic engineering of livestock and dairy cows. Scientists have patents for pigs, merged DNA's of two species of salmon, and genetically modified dairy cows in search of cheaper meat and milk production.

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FURTHER READING

  1. Genetically Modified Crop Database.
  2. Monsanto Genetically modified Pig Patent
  3. Aqua Bounty Technologies Genetically modified Salmon
  4. New Zealand Agresearch Genetically modified Cow
  5. Dangers of Genetically Modified Food
  6. GMO Disease Epidemics

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