The danger of GMO'sThe question of whether or not genetically modified foods (GMO's) are safe for human consumption is an ongoing debate that does not seem to see any resolution except in the arena of public opinion. Due to lack of labeling, Americans are still left at a loss as to whether or not what is on the table is genetically modified. This lack of information makes the avoiding and tracking of GM foods an exercise in futility. Below are just some of the food products popularly identified to be genetically modified:
1. Corn - Corn has been modified to create its own insecticide. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared that tons of genetically modified corn has been introduced for human consumption. Monsanto has revealed that half of the US's sweet corn farms are planted with genetically modified seed. Mice fed with GM corn were discovered to have smaller offspring and fertility problems.
2. Soy - Soy has also been genetically modified to resist herbicides. Soy products include soy flour, tofu, soy beverages, soybean oil and other products that may include pastries, baked products and edible oil. Hamsters fed with GM soy were unable to have offspring and suffered a high mortality rate.
3. Cotton - Like corn and soy, cotton has been designed to resist pesticides. It is considered food because its oil can be consumed. Its introduction in Chinese agriculture has produced a chemical that kills cotton bollworm, reducing the incidences of pests not only in cotton crops but also in neighboring fields of soybeans and corn. Incidentally, thousands of Indian farmers suffered severe rashes upon exposure to BT cotton.
4. Papaya - The virus-resistant variety of papaya was commercially introduced in Hawaii in 1999. Transgenic papayas comprised three-fourths of the total Hawaiian papaya crop. Monsanto bestowed upon Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore technology for developing papaya resistant to the ringspot virus in India.
5. Rice - This staple food from South East Asia has now been genetically modified to contain a high amount of vitamin A. Allegedly, there are reports of rice varieties containing human genes to be grown in the US. The rice will create human proteins useful for dealing with infant diarrhea in the 3rd world. China Daily, an online journal, reported potential serious public health and environment problems with genetically modified rice considering its tendency to cause allergic reactions with the concurrent possibility of gene transfers.
6. Tomatoes - Tomatoes have now been genetically engineered for longer shelf life, preventing them from easily rotting and degrading. In a test conducted to determine the safety of GM tomatoes, some animal subjects died within a few weeks after consuming GM tomatoes.
7. Rapeseed - In Canada, this crop was renamed canola to differentiate it from non-edible rapeseed. Food stuff produced from rapeseed includes rapeseed oi (canola oil) l used to process cooking oil and margarine. Honey can also be produced from GM rapeseed. German food surveillance authorities discovered as much as a third of the total pollen present in Canadian honey may be from GM pollen. In fact, some honey products from Canada were also discovered to have pollen from GM rapeseed.
8. Dairy products - It has been discovered that 22 percent of cows in the U.S. were injected with recombinant (genetically modified) bovine growth hormone (rbGH). This Monsanto created hormone artificially forces cows to increase their milk production by 15 percent. Milk from cows treated with this milk inducing hormone contains increased levels of IGF-1 (insulin growth factors-1). Humans also have IGF-1 in their system. Scientists have expressed concerns that increased levels of IGF-1 in humans have been associated with colon and breast cancer.
9. Potatoes - Mice fed with potatoes engineered with Bacillus thuringiensis var. Kurstaki Cry 1 were found to have toxins in their system. Despite claims to the contrary, this shows that Cry1 toxin was stable in the mouse gut. When the health risks were revealed, it sparked a debate.
10. Peas - Peas that have been genetically modified have been found to cause immune responses in mice and possibly even in humans. A gene from kidney beans was inserted into the peas creating a protein that functions as a pesticide.
The GMO link to strange diseaseAs early as 2008, NaturalNews.com reported about a condition called Morgellon's disease. The article went on to report the symptoms of the disease as follows: crawling, stinging, biting and crawling sensations; threads or black speck-like materials on or beneath the skin; granules, lesions. Some patients report fatigue, short term memory loss, mental confusion, joint pain and changes in vision. Furthermore, there have been reports of substantial morbidity and social dysfunction leading to a dip in work productivity, job loss, total disability, divorce, loss of child custody and home abandonment.
Prior to its reporting, the condition was dismissed as a hoax, but upon further investigation, the evidence pointed out that the disease was real and may be related to genetically modified food.
Despite this link being established, the CDC declared Morgellon's disease of unknown origin. Worse, the medical community could not offer any information to the public regarding a cause for the symptoms.
When a research study was conducted on fiber samples taken from Morgellons patients, it was discovered that the fiber samples of all the patients looked remarkable similar. And yet, it did not seem to match any common environmental fiber. When the fiber was broken down, and it's DNA extracted, it was discovered to belong to a fungus. Even more surprising was the finding that the fibers contained Agrobacterium, a genus gram-negative bacteria with the capacity of transforming plant, animal and even human cells.
Morgellon's disease is not the only condition associated with genetically modified foods. A growing body of evidence has shown that it may cause allergies, immune reactions, liver problems, sterility and even death. Moreover, based on the only human feeding experiment conducted on genetically modified food, it was established that genetic material in genetically modified food product can transfer into the DNA of intestinal bacteria and still continue to thrive.
Heeding the warningTime and again, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has warned that GMOs pose a serious threat to health, and it is no accident that there can be a correlation between it and adverse health effects. In fact, the AAEM has advised doctors to tell their patients to avoid GMOs as the introduction of GMOs into the current food supply has correlated with an alarming rise in chronic diseases and food allergies.
This should come as no surprise. More than 30 years ago a food supplement called L-trytophan killed 100 people and affected 5,000 to 10,000 more. The cause was narrowed down to the genetic engineering process used in its production. If the symptoms had not had three simultaneous characteristics - namely, they were unique, acute and fast-acting - the disease could never have been identified.
If science could assure us with certainty that serious consequences do not wait for us at the end of the line, it might be to our best interest to let this opportunity pass. Progressive thinking in terms of profit is certainly not wrong. But to brush off precaution on the convenient argument that there is not enough evidence to prove that GM food is indeed harmful is sheer irresponsibility. It certainly is a lame excuse to offer in the event that GM foods are indeed proven to contain health hazards.
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