Updated: Nov 30, 2022
Many consumers today give little thought about what GMO’s are and whether they should be
concerned about them. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms and refers to the alterations
made to the genes of some of the food we eat, both plants and animals. According to the FDA in 2020, GMO soybeans made up 94% of all soybeans planted, GMO cotton made up 96% of the cotton planted, and 92% of the corn planted was GMO. So what does that mean for us?
We have been genetically modifying food for hundreds of years
Ever wonder how they produce those seedless grapes? It is done by a process called cloning, where the stems of the male plant are cut and rooted to grow plants from them rather than from seed. However, scientists today are taking this genetic modification to the next level. Today they are actually incorporating genes from viruses and bacteria into plants to give them certain characteristics.
More than 95% of animals used for meat and dairy in the United States eat GMO crops.
The FDA claims that studies show that there is no difference in how GMO foods affect the health and
safety of animals. The problem is that they live too short of a life to truly understand the repercussions it has. The bigger concern is what it is doing to the humans that eat the animals that eat the GMO’s
The most common crops this is being done with are sugar beats, corn, canola, cotton, and soy which are grown in mass quantities. These crops are genetically changed so they can resist being killed by weed killer so they can spray the crops with chemicals that kill the weeds but don’t harm the crops. The problem with this is that the chemicals being sprayed on them can become incorporated into the plants and become ingested by humans or the livestock that we eat. Currently the FDA says these foods are “reasonably safe” to eat despite the fact that the chemicals are known carcinogens. Other genetic changes to crops are making them more resistant to insects. The problem with both these processes is that both weeds and insects are adapting to these changes creating super weeds and super bugs that will require even harsher chemicals in the future.
Another issue is the inability to contain these genetically modified plants. Nature has a way of spreading seeds and pollen whether it is by wind, birds and other animals, or insects. How does the organic farmer down the road ensure that his crops are not contaminated?
A paper just published in the scientific journal Entropy, explains the connection between glyphosate, the main chemical in the weed killer, Round Up, and Gastrointestinal Disorders, obesity, heart disease,
depression, autism, infertility, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. “Negative impact on the body is insidious and
manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body”. Since these types of GMO’s were introduced in 1995 into the food supply, the rate of chronic health conditions in the U.S. population has increased dramatically.
We should have the right to obtain natural food sources
According to Nature magazine, research is being done to express oral vaccines in plants. They are looking at this as a way of controlling spread of disease in underdeveloped countries, and greatly reduce the cost of large-scale vaccination. They are currently working to produce vaccines for hepatitis B in potatoes and lettuce. Although this might sound good at first, shouldn’t you be able to rely on the food you eat for nourishment to not be altered by our government. This reminds me of the fluoridated water controversy. People wanted to be able to drink fresh water without being forced to consume fluoride and that should be their right. Imagine if our food source became a way for our government to force the covid-19 vaccine on our population. Considering the mixed beliefs on the vaccine, I think this would have made people very uncomfortable.
Genetic modifications are being made to animals as well
One example of this is salmon. Farmed salmon have been genetically altered to grow faster and larger. It has altered their growth hormone. There have not been any long-term studies to show what kind of effects this has on the people consuming this. They have shown that mixing these genetically altered fish with wild ones alters the viability of the offspring and future generations. The concern with that is with these farms that net the fish and the possibility of them escaping and joining the wild population, which could affect the reproduction of the future generations of these fish.
This is an example of how technology is moving faster than human evolution. Humans have not evolved to be able to eat these modified foods at the rate they are changing. This is part of the reason why there are so many food allergies today. Our immune systems are seeing these foods as foreign. Also the issue of the chemicals on the food is creating allergies. An example of this is the “gluten sensitivity” that seems to be becoming a more and more relevant problem. They are realizing that it may not be the gluten in wheat that people are not tolerating but the chemicals that are being sprayed on them to force them to dry more quickly.
What to look for
The US Secretary of Agriculture announced the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard on
December 2018. It states that by January 1, 2022 there must be disclosure for foods that are or may be
bioengineered. The standard defines these foods as those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through certain lab techniques and that cannot be created through conventional breeding or found in nature. Up until now these foods were not required to have any label indicating this on them.
I prefer to buy organic foods and take the GMO out of the equation relating to my health and the health of my family. I expect after reading this you may feel the same way. Our bodies are not made to consume these unnatural foods as well as the chemicals sprayed on them. Please refer to the dirty
dozen and clean 15 https://fitonapp.com/nutrition/2022-dirty-dozen/ when considering the most
important foods to buy organic and look for this symbol.