October is Non-GMO Month! The Non-GMO Project (who hosts this big event) is an organization whose goal is to bring awareness to the public regarding the dangers of consuming Genetically Modified foods. Here at Sunflower, we want to answer your questions on the topic, too, and help to clear up the confusion that surrounds GMOs. So, our store owner, Ana, has pulled together the following information!
Our previous post on Genetically Modified Organisms gives an overview of what GMOs are, but here we’d like to discuss how prevalent they are in our food supply, and some of the health concerns that are associated with the consumption of these foods.
Currently these are the GMO foods approved for commercial production in the U.S.:
- Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
- Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
- Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
- Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)
- Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
It sounds simple enough to avoid these 8 foods, but derivatives of these foods like soy lecithin, cottonseed and canola oils, citric acid, etc. can be found in the majority of our packaged foods. It is estimated that 70% - 80% of America’s processed foods contain GMOs. When you also consider that many dairy, poultry, and meat animals are fed corn, soy and sugar beets the percentage of our food exposed to GMOs increases.
What does this mean for our health?
Many people are concerned about the health risks associated with eating GMOs. The burden of providing long-term safety studies has not been enforced. The manufacturer of GMOs uses 90 day animal studies as their proof of safety. (Mind you these are also the people who gave us DDT and Agent Orange.)
Independent research suggests some very scary findings. As many GMOs are specifically designed to resist the pesticide Round Up, the question of safety is two-fold.
1. Are bioengineered foods safe to eat?
2. What is the consequence of ingesting traces of Round Up?
Are bioengineered foods safe to eat?
One genetic modification is to add a gene from a specific bacteria (Bacillus Thurigiensis) into the plant so that every cell of the plant can make a toxic insecticide. A Canadian study showed that 93% of pregnant women studied had the Bt toxin in their blood and 80% of their unborn fetuses had the Bt toxin in their blood. No long term clinical study has been performed to identify the health risks of such exposure.
What is the consequence of ingesting the pesticide Round Up?
Symptoms may include: thinning of the digestive tract and increased gut permeability creating nutritional deficiencies, toxic overload, and resulting in chronic inflammation and increased allergic response. Sound familiar? Round Up Ready Genetically Modified Foods have been in our food supply since the mid-1990s. There has been a marked increase in food allergies (gluten-intolerance), colitis, and inflammatory bowel conditions since that time. Seeing as 70 – 80% of our America’s food supply is laced with Round Up, people with these conditions would be well advised to avoid Genetically Modified and conventional crops sprayed with it.
To Learn more about Genetically Modified Organisms come to our FREE class at Sunflower, October 12th, 2013, 10 am – 11:30.
There are also great resources on the web including:
We are always here (even after the class and the end of Non-GMO Month) as a resource for you if you have any questions about GMOs! Hope to see you soon.
Health & happiness,