THE DANGERS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMO).
GMO is the process of extracting genes from the DNA of one plant or animal and planting them into the genes of another. In spite of this process being very harmful to our health, many countries grow genetically-modified organisms. In the United States and Canada, it is not even required to
label genetically-modified (GM) foods. People are therefore consuming this toxic food without even being aware of it or being given the opportunity to avoid it.
The major GMO biotech corporations are Monsanto (now owned by Bayer), Syngenta, Dow Chemical, BASF and DuPont. These companies produce both GM seeds as well as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
GM seeds were supposed to be safe and help feed the world. They were supposed to provide higher yields and be more cost-effective for farmers by reducing the need for pesticides, which would also be good for the environment.
The only ones benefitting, as it turns out, are the big GMO agri-businesses.
This, at the expense of our health, farmers, and Mother Nature. It may soon affect the food supply.
The cost to farmers has actually risen because they are forbidden by the agri-business giants to save and replant any of these GM patented seeds for subsequent crops, and must buy new ones instead.
GM seeds are also mostly sterile.
Farmers have also had an increased need for pesticides, whereof Roundup is usually used. It is the brand name given by Monsanto for glyphosate; a very toxic pesticide that has been linked to endocrine dysfunction and cancer. GM food consumption has been linked to:
• Food allergies.
• Infant mortality.
• Immune dysfunction.
• Birth defects.
• Accelerated aging.
• Insulin problems.
• Damage to our organs and the gastrointestinal system.
• Premature death.
GMO toxic insecticide has been found in the bloodstream of pregnant women and their fetuses.
There is a big nutritional difference between GM and non-GM food. The former has also been found to contain high levels of glyphosate. GMO practice has led to an increased use of pesticides and herbicides. Not only are these harmful to our health, they may have also helped to create chemical-resistant super weeds and super insects that may one day be difficult, if not impossible to kill.
The milk from cows that were given GM bovine growth hormones, is of great concern because it is linked to cancer. Our children are the ones that are most at risk because they are the biggest consumers of cows’ milk.
GM crops also contain their own built-in pesticide which cannot be washed off. We end up ingesting it when we consume these foods.
GMO seeds have been created to be resistant to glyphosate and other chemicals, thereby enabling the crops to be sprayed with as many pesticides and herbicides as desired, without harming the crop. It will, however, harm our health when we consume these foods.
THE EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT.
GMOs are harmful to the environment with long-term consequences. They have caused pesticide contamination in the groundwater. Waste from GM corn crops has affected the growth of aquatic insects.
Seeds from GM crops also contaminate conventional as well as organic crops, which has resulted in consumers unknowingly consuming GM foods. It is increasingly harder for organic farmers to keep their soil GMO-free.
More and more farmland is being used for GM crops, mainly corn and soy, because the Canadian and American governments have deemed them safe to the environment and our health.
The increase in GM crop farming may well have led to the massive decline of the bee population – either due to the GM crops themselves or the huge amount of pesticides and herbicides sprayed on them. The loss of this vital pollinator can have a catastrophic effect on the ecosystem and, as a consequence, to our food supply.
GMO use is also causing irreversible damage to the topsoil – the upper, fertile layer of soil with the highest concentration of organic matter and micro-organisms. This is where most activity occurs, leading to plant growth.
The principles of genetic engineering are now being applied in the creation of synthetic protein-rich foods.
We are being moved from something plant-based to something fake that looks and tastes like the real thing. This is being done without knowing the consequences of this practice to our health or the environment.
AVOIDING GMO FOODS.
The most common GMO crops grown commercially throughout the world are corn, soy, rapeseed, beets and cotton. They find their way into most processed foods in the form of soy lecithin and oil, rapeseed oil, cotton oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), corn starch and beet sugar.
The diet for farm animals and fish is primarily GM corn and soybean. So even if you buy organic, you are still ingesting GMO unless the label states the animal / fish was not given GM feed. Other products to watch out for include many vitamins (GMO corn and soy are used as a base), instant formulas (most are made on a base of milk that contain GM soy and possibly even rGBH), cereals, crackers, baking mixes and more.
Australia has recently developed a GM wheat that can cause serious illnesses in adults and possibly death in children. Millions of kangaroos have died as a consequence of feeding on this crop.
WHAT WE CAN DO TO PROTECT OURSELVES.
It is almost impossible to avoid GMOs because they are in almost everything. However, you can avoid a lot of GMOs by switching from processed foods to whole and organic foods such as vegetables, fruits, dairies, grains, and animal /fish derived meat that was fed non-GMO.
It is good to familiarize yourself with organic farmers in your area. Unfortunately, some farmers will try to pass their
produce off as organic, when in reality, it isn’t. They do this in order sell at a higher price.
One way to avoid GMO is to look at the PLU code:
• Organically grown produce has a five-digit code starting with 9.
• Conventionally grown produce has only a four-digit code starting with 3 or 4.
• Genetically modified produce has a five-digit code starting with 8.
TOP GMO FOODS TO AVOID.
1. Corn and corn-derived products and oil
2. Soy and soy-derived products and oil
3. Sugar derived from sugar beets
4. Papaya (grown in Hawaii)
5. Rapeseed and cotton oil
6. Margarine and shortening
8. Yellow squash
10. Potatoes (primarily Russet and Atlantic)
11. Golden Rice
13. Meat and meat-derived products due to GMO feed
14. Dairy and eggs due to GMO feed
15. Farmed fish due to GMO feed
Ultimately, the power is with us, the consumers. We can demand that all GMO products be labeled so that we can decide for ourselves what to consume and simply refuse buying anything that is genetically modified.