genetically modified food risks

Doctors Warn About GM Food Risks

It’s barely been a week since I wrote about the dangers of genetically modified (GM) foods and now the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has released a strongly-worded warning about the health dangers associated with Frankenfoods.

Calling for a moratorium on GM foods, the AAEM says these foods “pose serious health risk.”

Stay away from genetically modified foods

The AAEM calls for:

* A moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long-term safety testing and labeling of GM food.

* Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community and the public to avoid GM foods.

* Physicians to consider the role of GM foods in their patients’ disease processes.

* More independent long term scientific studies to begin gathering data to investigate the role of GM foods on human health.

Citing numerous animal studies that show that GM foods cause damage to various mammalian organ systems, “It is imperative to have a moratorium on GM foods for the safety of our patients and the public’s health,” said Dr. Amy Dean, AAEM board member.

Children at greatest risk from GM foods

Experts have warned that children are most likely to be adversely effected by toxins and other dietary problems related to GM foods.

Animal studies have shown that GM foods:

* Increase infant mortality

* Cause sex organ mutations

* Change DNA in emboyros of parents fed GM foods

* Cause infertility

* Cause immune system dysregulation, including increase in cytokines that are associated with asthma, allergy and inflammation

* Increase overall mortality and more

The only published human feeding study revealed what may be the most dangerous problem from GM foods: The gene inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function.

What consumers can do

None of us should wait to for our doctors’ recommendations. Those will be a looooong time coming.

Stay away from GM foods. Fruits and vegetables that are GM will have a sticker with a five-number code that begins with “8.” Don’t buy them.

The greatest sources of GM are in foods included in processed food. In those cases, it is virtually impossible to tell what types of foods have been used. For a large number of reasons avoid processed foods.

Avoid all foods that contain soy or corn derivatives (including high fructose corn syrup), cottonseed and canola oil and sugar from sugar beets since many, if not most, will come from GM sources.

If American consumers refuse to purchase GM foods, food processors will be forced to remove all GMs from the food supply as is the case in Europe.

Read more about the GM issue and the AAEM’s warning. Educate yourself and take action.

The following post originally appeared on this blog on May 14, 2009. We felt it enhanced the information presented above.

Genetically Modified Foods Spell Danger

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods and crops, often called Frankenstein foods or Frankenfoods, have become pervasive in the worldwide foodstream.

These pseudo foods are made from crops that are genetically altered to create a new organism with a so-called desirable trait such as insect resistance or desired nutrients.

Unnatural cross species breeding

Genetically modified (GM) technology allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism to another, often between non-related species. For example, insect resistant crops were created by inserting the toxin production gene from the Bacillius thuringiensis bacteria into the genetic structure of a plant such as corn or soybeans.

Prevalence of GMOs

In the latter part of the 1990s, GMOs suddenly appeared in 2/3 of all U.S. processed foods. The sudden proliferation of the potentially dangerous organisms (more about that later) came about from a Supreme Court ruling that permitted patents of life forms.

Between 1997 and 1999, one-quarter of all U.S. farmland was converted to raising GM foods. Currently, GM crops are grown on more than 250 million acres of farmland worldwide.

Unless you are a fanatic food purist, you’ve undoubtedly ingested GMOs, whether it’s in soy sauce at your favorite Chinese restaurant, popcorn at your local movie theater or indulged in an occasional candy bar.

While the labels on those foods will tell you the exactly calorie count amount of carbs, protein, sugars, sodium and all, it doesn’t give you one vital piece of information: that the product was made with Franken foods. You have no way of knowing and Big Agriculture wants to keep it that way.

Frankenfood lobby is huge

The rapid expansion of the Frankenfood in the U.S. industry is largely due to the enormous political influence of a handful of agribusiness giants like Monsanto.

The agribusiness industry initially argued that GM crops would require fewer toxic chemicals to produce, so they’d be good for the environment. Apparently Congress and Supreme Court have bought that story hook, line and sinker.

European countries are much more cautious. GM corn (the most common genetically modified crop) has been banned in six European Union countries.

Dangers of GMOs

So why should we be concerned?

In terms of the growing process:

1. GM crops were a very temporary fix that has engendered the emergence of “superweeds,” especially among canola or rapeseed crops, which require more herbicides to control and in more lethal dosage levels.
2. There are terminator plants and suicide seeds that do not produce a second generation, so farmers must purchase new seed every year.
3. Flowerless and fruitless “terminator trees” are designed to exude poisons from every leaf, killing most insects.

Wonder why these are called Frankenfoods? Read on.

1. Huge agribusiness conglomerates are buying up seed producing companies at a high rate. Now 55% of the planet’s commercial seeds are in the hands of just 10 seed-growing companies, many of them controlled by the very companies that are the biggest proponents of GM foods. How long will it be before it is impossible to buy seeds for your home garden that have not been genetically modified? The day may not be far off when there is no food that has not been genetically altered. Some conspiracy theorists surmise this has been the intention of mega-agribusiness from the beginning.
2. Information about health hazards of GM foods is scarce.
3. They may wipe out protected plant and insect species, causing ecological imbalances that are potentially disastrous.

What GM foods might mean in terms of human health:

1. The biggest problem is that we do not know what effect these organisms could have on human health. Follow-up on animal studies that suggest some dire effects have not been pursued by regulators.
2. Proteins created by inserted genes in these plants are not recognized by mammalian organisms and can cause severe allergic reactions. These are made all the more serious because those who may be sensitive are unaware that they are consuming GM foods.
3. We can only surmise how the results of animal studies might translate to humans, including a five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weight, inability to reproduce and altered DNA that may increase cancer risks.
4. Additional animal studies have daunting results: GM peas caused lung damage in mice. GM potatoes causes cancer in rats. Bacteria in your gut can assimilate DNA from GM foods that your body cannot recognize and to which the human body may have unpredictable reactions.

What can you do?

The most powerful tool of consumers is to vote with out pocketbooks. By refusing to buy GM foods, food manufacturers will be forced to listen.

Alternate health advocate Dr. Joseph Mercola offers a way of determining if produce comes form GM plants.

He says, ”Examine produce stickers on the fruits and vegetables you buy. The PLU code for conventionally grown fruit consists of four numbers; organically grown fruit has five numbers prefaced by the number “9” and GM fruit have five numbers prefaced by the number “8.”

He adds, “Keep in mind, too, that soy, corn, cottonseed (used in animal feeds) and canola are four of the crops most likely to be GM, and these are also ingredients commonly added to virtually every processed food. So if you eat processed foods be sure to buy only organic variety or ideally, cut them largely out of your diet.”

You can also educate others by making noise and lots of it. Contact your legislators, demand regulation or, better yet, elimination of all GM foods. Write letters to the editor. Produce flyers for your local supermarkets and health food stores.

You can make a difference.