With the online buzz about food labeling in California, Washington, and so on, some wonder what this really is all about, especially mothers wanting to know what to feed their families. Genetically engineered ingredients or GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) have entered into the US food supply in full force, but strictly “under the table” in regards to most Americans’ awareness for many years. It’s strange to see that this has been out of the public eye for so long, but what are they really? What do GMOs do to us? Will we be able to choose whether to feed these to our kids or just be limited to buying genetically modified foods from the local grocery store?
These foods (GMOs) have been genetically altered by biotech companies like Monsanto (who produce the chemical spray Roundup), meaning that the DNA is taken from a certain species, whether it be from an animal, plant, bacteria, virus, etc. and that DNA is inserted into the DNA of another species in order to acquire a certain trait. This is done to resist herbicides, bugs, insects, etc. thus claiming to increase production levels and be safe for our consumption. However, “Numerous studies show that when organic agriculture is practi[c]ed well, it can bring double or triple the yields of conventional techniques [and] [w]ith intensive intercropping on mixed permaculture farms, yields can be higher still”  (emphasis added). More importantly, Monica Eng of the Chicago Tribune this past June reports the results of this five-month experiment, “Pigs fed a combination of genetically modified soy and corn suffer more frequent severe stomach inflammation and enlargement of the uterus than those who eat a non-GM diet, according to a new peer-reviewed long-term feeding study published Tuesday in the Organic Systems Journal.” 
By Mike Adams of the Natural News, he summarizes a two-year experiment (the average lifespan of a rat) conducted by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen that came out last year, “Eating genetically modified corn (GMO corn) has caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death…
- Up to 50% of males and 70% of females suffered premature death.
- Rats that drank trace amounts of Roundup (at levels legally allowed in the water supply) had a 200% to 300% increase in large tumors.
- Rats fed GMO corn and traces of Roundup suffered severe organ damage including liver damage and kidney damage.
- The study fed these rats NK603, the Monsanto variety of GMO corn that’s grown across North America and widely fed to animals and humans. This is the same corn that’s in your corn-based breakfast cereal, corn tortillas and corn snack chips.”
So these GMOs are clearly a dangerous choice to make when figuring out what to eat, but they can’t be so bad if they’re still allowed on the market, right?
Actually, implementations of science in regards to the food industry have certainly had ups and downs over the years, but the bad examples can stick around for some time unnoticed by the general population. One such example would be the scientific changes to fats to create “trans fat” , an idea with good intentions for purposes of convenience and usefulness, but turns out to be very bad for you, has been banned numerable times, is required to be labeled now in the nutritional facts, and its poor effects still sneak into our food through the process of hydrogenation. This particular case of trans fats is very similar to science’s additional shot at the food industry, being GMOs (though other negative scientific formations come to mind, such as High Fructose Corn Syrup and Agave Nectar ). Your health is not a good tradeoff for the convenience that these creations are associated with in regards to food processing.
Monsanto is another key player to know here in the discussion of GMOs. This US company giant Monsanto produces Roundup, a chemical spray containing Glyphosate, which is “…a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses known to compete with commercial crops grown around the globe.” So “Roundup Ready” crops (corn, soy, canola, cotton, sugar beets, and so on) are prepared to resist herbicide sprays like Roundup through genetic modification, which one would think that this could then encourage sales of this spray to farmers for Monsanto; however, the excessive use of said herbicides eventually causes adaptation to things like invasive plants and weeds, thus requiring heavier and heavier doses of the spray. Sounds like a perfect recipe for profits doesn’t it? No wonder Monsanto is the biggest biotech company out there.
Lastly, although GMOs are still allowed in the US (though we tend to not excel in keeping our food productions free of other dangerous ingredients compared to other countries ), they have been banned in many other countries , a key indicator that many find GMOs to be ultimately an undesirable part of their food supply, as should we.
So these other technological failures like trans fats and rBGH and have received their due rewards, but will society ultimately reject GMOs as well? Given this history of rejected inventions being banned and shunned when introduced to our food supply, and new studies depicting the present negative health effects of GMOs, as well as any other additional threats from GMOs that could affect our environment and our future , choosing a non-GMO diet will become more available, because of the voice of the people7, and become an easier choice for mothers needing to know what to feed their family from day to day.
I am sure that this lifestyle non-GMO, will be a reality worldwide. Starting with the richest countries like the U.S. and Europa.Os encourage you to look at the various links posted for more information and for you to be happy with the healthy choices you make for you and your family!
1– Eisenstein, C. (2012, October 9). Genetically modifying and patenting seeds isn’t the answer. In The Guardian. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/09/genetically-modifying-patenting-seeds
3- (http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/gm-corn-linked-to-cancer-tumors; see also http://nogmo.weebly.com/ for more info and pictures)
4- Trans fats were created by a rearranging of Hydrogen atoms in the molecular structure of particular fatty acid chains to try to have unsaturated fats (such as olive oil) – which are more easily absorbed by the body – stay solid at room temperature like saturated fats do (such as margarine), which fats are harder to digest and convert into energy. This particular “breakthrough” seems as it would be very helpful when cooking and baking at home, but your body can’t recognize what it is, has a hard time digesting it and using it to benefit your body, and in fact can have negative effects, such as an increased risk of coronary heart disease (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_fat).
5– These concentrations of fructose are also not recognized by the body, unlike glucose, and is sent to the liver instead (not the proper way of digestion aka going through the intestines), later becoming stored as visceral fat –causing strain to your internal organs – which is far more dangerous than where the glucose-turned fat would be stored, being as subcutaneous fat – stored underneath your skin throughout your body (http://www.foodrenegade.com/agave-nectar-good-or-bad/).
8- “rBGH is created using GMO E. coli just like aspartame, and is used in conventional cattle unless otherwise labeled.”(http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/6-easy-ways-to-avoid-gmos) “rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone), also known as rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) is a genetically engineered hormone that is injected into dairy cows to increase their milk yield by 15% or more. It is associated with an increased risk of disease and other health problems in dairy cows on which it is used… Naturally raised cows can produce milk up to 10-12 years. Cows that are injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) may only be productive for 3-5 years before they are culled from the herd… To use it seems cruel and unnecessary to shorten a dairy cow’s lifespan and cause it maladies such as ulcers, arthritis, kidney and heart abnormalities… rBGH is injected in a cow during her lactation period and creates an unnatural condition in which her milk production remains elevated (it would normally decline more rapidly in the last phase of lactation to allow her body to recover from the stress of milk production)…Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Europe have already rejected the use of rBGH in dairy farming, but it is still permitted by law in the US. (www.sustainabletable.org, en.wikipedia.org, http://www.albionmonitor.com)”- http://www.chipotle.com/en-us/fwi/fwi_facts/fwi_facts.aspx