Today my blog article is going to discuss a very controversial topic, genetically modified foods. I truly have a passion for analyzing and dissecting research on our ever evolving food sources, so this topic is a real treat for me.
Chemical additives and food engineering has changed our healthy whole food options into questionable experimental substances. Today I'm primarily going to focus on genetically modified foods aka GMO foods. The jury is still out on whether these foods are healthy for human consumption or not. Today we will take a closer look at the history as well as some current research on the matter.
In America almost 100 percent of Corn, Soy, Wheat, and Canola that you ingest is genetically modified unless it is otherwise stated. These above mentioned crops are included, but GMO is not limited to these few crops due to new engineering that is being done everyday. This is distressing because the average American would be hard pressed to find a non-perishable food item without an ingredient derived from one of these main GMO crops. This means the average american is consuming some form of GMO product everyday.
Here is a quick history lesson how GMOs became legal and on what GMOs actually are. In 1995 big money food engineering companies paid off the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to get these GMO products on the market with little to no long term research on the effects of such crops on human health. The research that was put forth was of course funded and provided by the very same companies that stood to profit from the approval of such foods on the market. These GMO products are crops that can either endure large spraying of herbicides (which in theory are suppose to kill any and every living plant) or crops that acted as pesticides (if an insect ingested any part of the crop it would die). This engineering allowed farming to become a much more simple process with more crop output due to less loss to insects and invading weeds. The only problem is that conventional wisdom will tell us that ingesting a crop that kills insects when it is consumed cannot be good for your health right? Would you eat a rat poison covered apple, if a company told you to trust them because it is engineered to only kill rats? Would you believe them when you know they have no long term research to prove that this food will not cause any side-effects past a few months. Or if you knew they would profit huge sums of money from getting you to eat the rat poisoned covered apple? Yeah, this is the kind of problem that our society faces today.
The importance for labeling GMO crops and GMO containing products has never been bigger. As pro-labeling legislation continues to come forward I highly recommend everyone votes for such legislative laws. This would provide every American with the choice of taking part in this new generational experiment or not. Americans born post 1970 are already estimated to be the first generation of Americans that are expected to live shorter lifespans than their parents, we can at least be given a choice whether or not we want to take experimental foods as well.
Eating certified organic whole foods is the only way to ensure healthy nutrient filled foods. Most companies take pride in announcing non-GMO products so unless otherwise stated it should be assumed that produce used are GMO. I will now leave you with a thought provoking study on the body's inability to fully breakdown GMO pesticides.
Here is some of the newest and most disturbing research from May 2011:
Study: Toxins From Monsanto GMO Found In Human Blood And Passed On To Unborn Children
Fresh doubts have arisen about the safety of genetically modified crops, with a new study reporting presence of Bt toxin, used widely in GM crops, in human blood for the first time.
Genetically modified crops include genes extracted from bacteria to make them resistant to pest attacks.
These genes make crops toxic to pests but are claimed to pose no danger to the environment and human health. Genetically modified brinjal, whose commercial release was stopped a year ago, has a toxin derived from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis ( Bt).
Till now, scientists and multinational corporations promoting GM crops have maintained that Bt toxin poses no danger to human health as the protein breaks down in the human gut. But the presence of this toxin in human blood shows that this does not happen.
Scientists from the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, have detected the insecticidal protein, Cry1Ab, circulating in the blood of pregnant as well as non-pregnant women.
They have also detected the toxin in fetal blood, implying it could pass on to the next generation. The research paper has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in the journal Reproductive Toxicology. The study covered 30 pregnant women and 39 women who had come for tubectomy at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS) in Quebec.
None of them had worked or lived with a spouse working in contact with pesticides.
They were all consuming typical Canadian diet that included GM foods such as soybeans, corn and potatoes. Blood samples were taken before delivery for pregnant women and at tubal ligation for non-pregnant women. Umbilical cord blood sampling was done after birth.
Cry1Ab toxin was detected in 93 per cent and 80 per cent of maternal and fetal blood samples, respectively and in 69 per cent of tested blood samples from non-pregnant women. Earlier studies had found trace amounts of the Cry1Ab toxin in gastrointestinal contents of livestock fed on GM corn. This gave rise to fears that the toxins may not be effectively eliminated in humans and there may be a high risk of exposure through consumption of contaminated meat.
"Generated data will help regulatory agencies responsible for the protection of human health to make better decisions", noted researchers Aziz Aris and Samuel Leblanc.
Given the potential toxicity of these environmental pollutants and the fragility of the foetus, more studies are needed, particularly those using the placental transfer approach, they added Experts have warned of serious implications for India. Cottonseed oil is made from seeds of genetically modified cotton and thus Bt toxin may have already entered the food chain in India.
"Indian regulators should be immediately called for detailed toxicological studies to know the extent of contamination of the human blood with Bt toxins coming from cottonseed oil, and also ascertain its long term health impacts," said Devinder Sharma, an anti-GM activist.