We are confused as a nation about the risks and benefits of genetically modified foods. Are they safe? Are they beneficial? If so, why have so many other countries banned them, including many European countries?
Jeffrey M. Smith, leading researcher of this issue, spoke at the AANP convention recently and made it clear that GMOs are neither safe nor beneficial. What is important about his claim is that it is based on well documented research, which can be found in his book Genetic roulette: the documented health risks of genetically engineered foods.
The worldcat.org description reads: “Provides information for an understanding of the health risks of GM food. This book presents nearly forty health risks of the foods that Americans eat every day…”
Interested readers might also check out: Seeds of Deception.
Research has shown that despite assertions to the contrary, engineered genes from GMOs can survive digestion and recombine with human gut bacteria–which becomes especially concerning with the knowledge that all inserted genes have an antibiotic resistant gene coded in to help select out correctly modified DNA during the modification process.
In addition, gene modification is not very specific. Often genes are turned on which were not intended, some which produce allergens and others producing proteins causing immune reaction and inflammation in mammals.
In addition, without sweetening agents, animals generally will leave a GM crop alone while eating another crop, ex: two bags of corn left side by side in a shed, one is eaten completely by rats, the GMO bag isn’t touched. When animals are made to eat GM foods, increased rates of death and infertility have been documented. Possible mechanisms include greatly increased use of pesticides/herbicides on GM crops (more later), and production of proteins that were not intended by scientists.
This brings me to a conclusion point I’d like to go ahead and make here: genetic engineering is an infantile science. There is nothing wrong with infantile science just as there is nothing wrong with an infant. However, when you know so little about the world you’re living in, maybe you shouldn’t be changing the food supply just yet.
Even if everything goes as planned, the round-up-ready crops (one GM product), will obviously have tons more herbacide residues on them than crops which are organically farmed using non-GM seed. Links between herbicide/pesticide exposure and health problems are also well documented. The problem is, there is a lot of money going into convincing people that this stuff is safe, and very little going into real education and spread of the pre-existing research about their danger. In fact, some of the research in Jeffrey’s book comes straight from the companies themselves, however, with misleading abstracts and quiet publication such research is easily overlooked. Very few people have the money and interest to publicize the problems with GMO foods.
If you have questions about the benefits of GMO and the possibility of needing them to feed the world, I’d recommend you read the Fresh article and watch that documentary. The simple answer is that so far, intelligent utilization of natural systems far outproduces more industrialized, chemical-dependent approaches. Even if the GMOs actually did allow for more food production, to my knowledge, world hunger is an issue of distribution of food, not of general lack.
If you’re concerned and would like to avoid these foods, go check out: http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/. Thanks for reading.
Edit: It is important that I mention that the above article represents merely the bits that I remember from Jeffrey Smith’s talk, and is not at all representative of even a significant portion of his research and subsequent assertions. I recommend you consult the source for more information.
Another addition: “The American Academy of Environmental Medicine reported, “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. They ask physicians to advise patients to avoid GM food.