If you ever wondered about whether your food contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs), don’t bother looking on food labels. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t make food companies put that information on packaging.
But along with the drifting pollen of spring, there’s change in the air.
GMOs are making headlines again. Vermont is the first State to pass a law requiring the labeling of GMOs. Proponents of the bill hail it as a victory for the “Right to Know” movement, which seeks to keep consumers informed about the presence of GMOs in the food supply.
It’s clear the GMO battle is far from over. Last week, the California Senate voted down a bill requiring GMOs to be labeled. And big corporations like Monsanto are lobbying to stifle GMO labeling.
Science fiction writers have long been captivated with the idea of genetic engineering. And many futuristic tales show how nature humbles incautious scientists.
In today’s reality, an eerily similar scene seems to be playing out in the agricultural biotech industry.
Over the past 20 years, Big Ag bioengineers have been tinkering with DNA, the fundamental code of existence. Will this chapter of human history conclude in a cautionary tale resembling an old sci-fi thriller? With the limited information we have about GMOs, it’s hard to say. But many signs point to the fact that, indeed, unintended effects will overwhelm the technology.
Fortunately, there are simple solutions to help protect you and your family from potential GMO dangers that are becoming evident.
A GMO is a plant or animal that has had its DNA altered though genetic engineering. Most often, genes are inserted from other organisms to “improve” the GMO. They are supposed to make the organism grow faster or bigger, produce its own pesticides, survive herbicides or acquire added resistant to drought. At present, you’d be hard-pressed to avoid GMOs in your food. About 70 percent of the items in most grocery stores possess bioengineered ingredients.
The agriculture industry points to how successful GMO corn, soybeans, cotton and other crops have been, increasing yields and resisting pests. However, they rarely address the research that calls these claims into question. Scientists at both the FDA and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine have raised concerns. Animal studies link GMO foods to tumors, reduced fertility, lowered immunity, organ damage, accelerated aging and other ill effects. There may also be a link between the growth of GMO food consumption and a dramatic increase in allergies, especially soy allergies.
Furthermore, many GMO foods are designed to resist high levels of toxic herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup®. Industry experts insist that such chemicals don’t pose health hazards, But independent research has found otherwise, linking the chemical glyphosate in Roundup to birth defects, cancer and other serious consequences. We are also finding that these chemicals do not biodegrade, as promised. Instead, they persist in the environment, in the food chain and in our bodies.
In addition, on a sustainability level, GMO crops tend to destroy the diversity of ecosystems. While nature evolved many types of wheat and soybeans, GMO manufacturers have whittled them down to just a handful of altered organisms with little concern for their larger ecological impact. What’s worse, these varieties are contaminating the surrounding environment with possibly irreversible consequences.
Recently, the FDA decided that a proposed genetically modified salmon poses no environmental health threat. The fish is designed to grow faster, making it ideal for aquaculture on fish farms.
An earlier assessment by the FDA also found the GMO salmon is safe to eat, and it was approved for sale in the United States. However, in March of this year, two major grocery chains joined ranks with other stores to say they won’t be selling the salmon. There are concerns that the fish will scare away consumers.
Nevertheless, we can likely expect this new GMO animal product to show up eventually, perhaps on restaurant dinner plates, unbeknownst to diners.
Action You Can Take
Industry has argued that since no danger has been proven, these foods should be considered completely safe to eat. In reality, there hasn’t been enough research to determine whether these foods are safe over the long term. We simply don’t have enough data.
Regardless, it’s an open question whether the Federal government is doing enough to safeguard our food supply. In the short term, GMO foods will continue to become more widespread. However, we can all manage the potential risks of GMOs — risks highlighted by published independent research — by making a few simple, smart choices.
First, choose organic when possible. This is not a perfect solution; GMO pollen has been known to contaminate other crops, even organic ones. Still, there’s no doubt eating organic foods should dramatically reduce exposure. Fortunately, organic foods have also become more widespread at farmer’s markets, specialized grocery stores and community supported agriculture.
Some research shows that GMO food can have a negative effect on digestion by altering the digestive lining and reducing critical enzymes. So it’s important to support the digestive tract. Probiotic and prebiotic supplements are essential. They populate the intestines with the type of beneficial bacteria shown by studies to play a very significant role in overall health. Other nutrients that support digestion include the minerals zinc and chromium; digestive enzymes, like amylase, protease and lipase; and the herbs cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.
To fight allergies, I recommend medicinal mushrooms. These botanicals have a tuning effect on the immune system. In other words, they train, regulate and optimize your immune responses. Since allergies are often the result of biological overreaction, mushrooms are an ideal supplement to turn down the immune volume, while also helping to protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.
Possible DNA mutation linked to GMO consumption is thought to lead to issues such as cancer and birth defects. Independent studies have shown that rats fed a GMO diet develop large tumors. Whether this translates to similar effects in humans, we don’t yet know.
To prevent cellular and DNA damage from environmental assaults including GMOs, I recommend specific natural therapies that protect against abnormal cellular formation while supporting overall health and wellness. At the top of this list are two well researched ingredients: honokiol, a powerful anti-cancer and antioxidant extract derived from magnolia bark; and modified citrus pectin, which blocks cancer growth and metastasis, reduces inflammation, supports immunity and safely detoxifies heavy metals and environmental toxins.
Safe detoxification therapies along with high powered antioxidant compounds can offer significant benefits for DNA and cellular health, antioxidant protection and healthy inflammation and immune support.
In the end, are GMOs safe? Unfortunately, we may not know the real answer for years to come. But we have the resources to look after our own health right now. By making mindful choices and staying current on this important issue, we can mitigate the possible risks and take care of ourselves and our families for the long run.