Sunday, January 7, 2018

to Eat or Not to Eat GMO

Genetic modification has been performed on many of the products or ingredients we consume on a daily basis. A GMO is any living organism whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. Foods derived from genetically engineered plants and animals, called GMO foods, may not be viable for human consumption, however. While there is no scientific consensus as to whether food from Genetically Modified Organisms is safe or not, GMO foods are demonstrating that they create substantial inflammation and may actually encourage the proliferation of viruses, bacteria, mold, and fungus. It is noteworthy that most of the research used to claim that GMOs are safe has been performed by the biotech companies responsible for creating them, but to date there have been no epidemiological studies investigating potential short- or long-term effects of GMO foods on human health.

There is growing concern among researchers that we may be wise to avoid GMO foods until further test-supported conclusions can be drawn about their safety. There are animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal, and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. In humans it has been shown that GM foods can leave material behind, the long-term effects of which are unknown. The genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria that live within us, and the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn has been found in the blood of both pregnant women and their fetuses.

The percentage of Americans experiencing three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just nine years after GM food was approved for use in 1996. Incidence of food allergies during the same period took a meteoric jump, and disorders such as autism, digestive problems, and reproductive disorders rose sharply. While there has not been enough time to research whether GM foods are or are not a contributing factor, many doctors are not waiting to advise us to wait before we eat GM foods, especially our children.

There are other reasons to steer clear of GMOs, not the least of which is the reduction in diversity of the natural gene pool in the name of producing more marketable food products. Cross-pollination of GMO's with organic plants, referred to as self-propagating GMO pollution, further damages the gene pool for the limited number of plant foods we raise for consumption. Irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies. GM foods have no special consumer benefits over organic foods, they do not increase yields, and they actually work against feeding a hungry world. Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all.

Interestingly, reports from around the world describe how animals, when given a choice, avoid genetically modified food. These include cows, pigs, geese, elk, deer, raccoons, mice, rats, squirrels, chicken, and buffalo. Is there something the animals have to teach us?

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