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Home » Genetic Engineering

GMO’s – What You Need to Know

By ndelgado at Feb. 15, 2012, 2:22 p.m., 10170 hits

I was shocked and saddened to see the impact Monsanto was having on agriculture and ultimately our food supply by forcing GMO (genetically modified organisms) into it. Initially, their intentions were pure, according to Deborah Koons Garcia, the director of the 2004 documentary, The Future of Food. Originally, they were trying to come up with a way to grow enough food to feed the world. However, according to the U.S. Government Data, the research already reveals that the areas where GMO’s are used has created a drastic reduction of total food production overall.

Genetically modified foods are foods derived from genetically modified organisms. GMO’s have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques such as mutation breeding, selective breeding, plant breeding, animal breeding and somaclonal variations.
Now I know most us couldn’t get past the Mendel plant experiments in high school and find genetics seriously boring. Yet, when it comes to your food and ultimately your health, we need to stop being an apathetic society and start paying attention. Mutation breeding used in creating GMO foods is where an organism is exposed to radiation or chemicals to create a non-specific but stable change. Basically, Monsanto, a company known for creating pestisides, has found another
way to introduce chemicals and toxins into the food supply.

Our children are at greatest risk. Independent studies confirm on baby rats, drastic changes in the immune system, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partial atrophy of the liver, and potentially
pre-cancerous cell growth in the intestines or tumors in these young animals. Although I value our children higher than rats, I am sorry to see animal experiments. Yet, the general public is not aware of these studies on the potential harm of GMO foods.

In addition to unknown allergens in genetically altered food, there are other causes for concern. In May 2011 a study was conducted by Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Sherbrooke Hospital Centre, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. It was on maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods. The study evaluates the correlation between maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated with genetically modified foods and
to determine exposure levels of the pesticides and their metabolites. The findings reveal the presence of pesticides associated with GMO foods in both non-pregnant women and pregnant women and their fetuses.

Additionally, Monsanto seems to be trying to own the intellectually property rights to every type of seed to known to man. Traditionally, farmers save their own seed from year to year. The saved seeds are used in the annual planting process. In recent years Monsanto has filed lawsuits
against small farmers to maintain and protect “their” intellectual property rights. The only way to prevent contamination is not to grow GMOs. Agriculture does not take place in a laboratory. Pollen travels. Seeds travel. Food travels. It does not travel in nice, neat predictable patterns. Insects can transport pollen over miles and miles. The wind also contributes to the seeds spreading naturally.

GM contamination of conventional and organic food is increasing. An unapproved GM rice that was grown for only one year in field trials was found to have extensively contaminated the U.S. rice supply and seed stocks. In Canada, the organic oilseed rape industry has been destroyed by contamination from GM rape. In Spain, a study found that GM maize has caused a drastic reduction in organic cultivations of this grain and is making their coexistence practically impossible.

Due to growing health and environmental concerns, many EU, Latin American and African nations have refused US food exports due to GMO foods, most notably, Monsanto’s MON-810 corn and rice. A strong health concern is for the presence of unknown allergens in foodstuffs. If a plant is genetically modified with genetic material from nut plant, individuals with nut allergies will sustain attacks from eating genetically modified foods. For example, Pioneer Hi-Bred tested the
allergenicity of a transgenic soybean that used a Brazil nut seed storage protein. They had hoped the mutated seeds would increase the levels of the amino acid methionine. After conducting several tests on individuals who are allergic to Brazilian nuts, they found that those individuals were highly allergic to the new soybeans. Pioneer indicated that it will not develop commercial cultivars containing Brazil nut protein because the protein is likely to be an allergen.

GMO is a hot topic of research right now because there is a lot of corporate profit at stake here, while your health is at risk. My advice is the same advice I gave for artificial sweetners (use natural
herbs Stevia, Lo Han Guo) or fruit. If its not natural and organic, don’t eat it.

Let’s promote natural farming methods that increase crop yield. Let’s promote whole food diets to increase the world food supply. Choose non GMO foods and support local farmers.

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