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Thursday, December 13, 2007

GMO's

from grinin (AKA Daughter)

I find it frightening that even when we take great lengths to take care of our bodies and eat nutritious foods we are still gambling with our health. Like most Americans I had not been paying much attention to the battle over labeling genetically modified foods. Organic? Who can afford that? Certainly not me, a college student living off of loans and between jobs. After a little research I've come to wonder who can afford not to buy organic.

Genetically modified foods are currently on the market in your grocery store, inside you Kellogg's corn flakes and your baby's Gerber food. Currently the FDA has not set up a system to test genetically modified foods. In fact no GMO foods have ever been tested on humans (other than the big test that we are all a part of). Lab studies are conducted by the FDA by their own scientists with no outside sources collaborating their results. The FDA scientists who spoke publicly about their concerns with GMO products were stripped of their responsibilities and some were even given gag orders. Does this raise any concerns?

Even so the proof is stacking up against GMO advocates, GMO corn fed to pigs brought on false pregnancies or pregnant sows who gave birth to water sacs. Farmers said that as soon as the pigs were taken off GMO corn the pregnancies went back to normal. Cow farmers say that when given an option cows will eat natural corn from its troff until it is gone and will not touch the troff filled with GMO corn. If the cows don't want to eat that corn, do you?

Irregardless of unfavorable reports the FDA and Monsanto (the largest GMO seed corporation) swear by GMO's and insist that they are perfectly safe. They claim that the GMO foods have been extensively tested, though the reports they gave were clearly marred, and had no scientific method backing their results. In 1992the FDA made a policy about genetically modified crops: "No testing is necessary if the industry that created the foods believes them to be safe." - because - "We know of no information showing that the foods created by these new methods differ in any meaningful or uniform way." When in fact scientists who were removed from their positions at the FDA said there was the possibility that GMO foods could cause allergies, toxins, antibiotic resistant diseases, and nutritional problems.

If the GMO foods that are on the market right now are so incredibly safe, I wonder why these companies are lobbying so very hard to keep labels off their foods. Could it be because they don't want people to know they are eating genetically modified foods? I think it goes deeper than that, if these foods are in no way labeled they are not able to be tracked. If there were a problem arising from GMO foods we would not be able to tell.

For instance, in the 1980's a group of people fell ill with extreme symptoms of muscle cramping and muscle atrophy. Doctors realized after some research that a particular group of white blood cells was being affected. They called an expert on these cells in New Mexico, who said I've been getting calls from Doctors all over the country you all need to talk and find a common denominator in your patients. The only thing these Doctors could find was the supplement L-tryptophan. Which couldn't possibly be of any harm because people have been ingesting it for decades without a problem. It came to be that the patients who had fallen ill were taking one particular brand, and that brand was genetically modified. It was pulled from the market but not after 100 people had died and thousands had fallen ill. The only reason this epidemic was caught is was because the symptoms were extremely serious, they were rare, and happened quickly. If there were only one instead of three factors, or perhaps less serious, how could we know what the cause was? This is proof that these supposedly safe products are not necessarily safe at all.

The fact of the matter is we are playing God with genetics, and genetics are something we have only very recently began to understand. There is still a wealth of knowledge waiting to be discovered, the human body is still very much a mystery. Introducing new, modified genes into our gene pool is unpredictable and anything but "safe". Very often theories that seem perfectly plausible in the lab are then disproved by nature. GMO's are a gamble at best and once they are in our gene pool you can not simply re-call them to the lab.

I'm not a fan of being the FDA's lab rat. If there are long term affects of GMO's I do not want to be afflicted with them. If not for myself for the sake of my future offspring. The question now is how to avoid GMO's. The first step is to KNOW what is genetically modified and on the market. There are four main products:

-Canola Oil - margarine, vegetable oil, processed foods, pam
- Soy - soy protein powder, soybeans, processed foods
- Corn - corn meal, high fructose corn syrup, meat - fed GMO corn
- Cotton - cotton seed oil, processed foods

Pick up any wrapper of a nutri-grain bar or bag of chips and one of these products will be on the list of ingredients. The only sure way to avoid these GMO products is to buy organic, or products marked "no GMO's" Buy organic soy milk, skip the chips (they weren't healthy for you in the first place) and use OLIVE OIL which for the longest time has been promoted for proven health benefits. As for all you meat lovers and milk drinkers it's important that you pay attention to what was fed to your meat/milk producer, you are what they eat. Look for packages marked organic or no RGBH hormones. NOT "natural" or "free range" because that does not mean they haven't been pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. If it all seems like too much take it one step at a time, cut these items out of your diet slowly but surely and above all for all you mom's out there be careful what you are feeding you children because they are at the highest risk for gene modification side affects because they are still developing. Yes it is in you Gerber baby food so be careful!

Vote with your dollar, consumers do have the upper hand in this country. Europe has laws protecting their consumers from GMO products and insists that they are labeled before they are imported. Why should America be any different? Grab the book "Seeds of Deception" get educated and educate your friends and family.

-30-


note from risa: See this from the farmer's viewpoint here.

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