Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health

Avoid genetically modified foods

What is genetically modified food?

Where is GM food produced?

GM food labelling

Is GM food harmful?

GM foods as intellectual property

GMOs contaminate other crops and animals

GM and corruption

What can you do?

References

What is genetically modified food?

Genetically modified foods (GM foods, genetically modified organisms, GMO, biotech foods) are foods produced by changing the DNA of crops or animals using genetic engineering techniques. Usually the objective is to introduce a new trait into the plant or animal which does not occur naturally in the species. Examples include resistance to diseases; tolerance to environmental conditions such as salt, drought, cold or heat; or the production of a particular nutrient or pharmaceutical agent.

Where is GM food produced?

In 2011 a total of 29 countries were officially growing one or more GM crops.

GM food labelling

GM companies do not want food labels to show GM content. Most people choose to buy GM-free foods when the labelling is clear. This is a make-or-break issue for GM companies. If they are forced to provide clear and honest information on food labels, they cannot have the dominance, control and profits they seek. It is only by hiding GM content that consumers are not aware of what they are eating or the effects on their health.

Without labelling, it also makes it almost impossible to do any long-term research on the effects of GM foods. Nobody would know whether or not they had been eating GM foods, making it impossible to compare the health of those on a GM diet to those on a GM-free diet.

Many countries require GM foods to be labelled, including:

No labelling is required in the USA. The FDA has been lobbied (bribed, threatened and lied to) to hide the extent of GM use. In the USA food labels are not required to identify GM content. The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act was defeated in November 2012, after massive media funding by the GM industry to ensure that it was defeated. Although nearly everyone would like to know if the food they are eating is GM, the proposal was defeated because of confusing wording on the ballot paper and misguided fears that the cost of labelling would increase the price of food. When you think about this argument, it's ridiculous. Every food manufacturer is intimately aware of the ingredients they use.

Is GM food harmful?

Not all GM food is necessarily harmful. Sometimes GM simply speeds up what could happen through random genetic changes over long periods. However, the transfer of genes between some species would be unlikely ever to happen in nature.

According to the UK Greenpeace website the production of GM food has been a disaster, posing a serious threat to biodiversity and to our own health. The real reason for the development of GMOs has not been to end world hunger but to further the stranglehold multinational biotech companies already have on food production. Greenpeace explains how we don't need GM technology for future food security. Instead, sustainable and organic farming methods will repair the damage done by industrial farming, reduce the excessive use of fertiliser, herbicides and other synthetic chemicals, and make GM crops redundant.

In my opinion, the greatest danger is the complete lack of independent, comprehensive, competent, long-term testing of the effects of producing and consuming GM foods. In the USA the FDA has been lobbied (bribed, threatened and lied to) to approve GM foods for human use after only three months of testing on lab animals. New GMO foods are not tested on humans. In a 2011 paper on GM safety (2), Professor Seralini noted that "very few tests on humans have been carried out".

Nearly all studies are funded by the GM industry itself, and before the studies even start there is great pressure exerted on the scientists and their managers to ensure results that are favourable for the industry.

Many GM plants are engineered to be toxic to insects. Another major group are those that are engineered to be resistant to weedkillers - they can withstand heavy doses of herbicides without killing the plant. Corn has been modified to have both these characteristics. After four months of consuming such corn, either as human food or as animal feedstock, severe health problems start to occur in both humans and farm animals. (5,6,7) After returning to a non-GM diet, the problems resolve. Note that the FDA only requires GM food testing on laboratory animals to be for three months, too short a period for the problems to start occurring.

Does it really make sense that a food which is designed to kill insects that eat it is completely safe for humans and will have no effect whatsoever on people who eat it for many years?

Are the weedkillers to which the GM plant is resistant completely safe for human consumption?

The components of GM foods that are used for animal feeds find their way into humans that eat the products of such animals. If animals are fed on GM foods, their milk, meat and eggs are GM-contaminated. Often the products from GM-fed animals are not labelled as such, even when GM labelling is required.

No one knows the full extent of what happens to a food when you splice in new genes. The only thing that is guaranteed is that it will create surprise side-effects. Many of today's degenerative diseases - the chronic ailments that doctors don't seem to be able to cure - coincide with the increasing use of GMO foods since 1994.

GMO foods can be:

GM foods as intellectual property

GM foods are "owned" according to intellectual property law. Patents are widely used in the GM industry. Farmers are not free to save, share or sell GM seeds as they wish. They need to buy them each year from the GM seed owner. GM seeds and animals are significantly more expensive than GM-free alternatives. Widespread adoption of GM foods would mean monopoly control and pricing of GM products. The control of the world's food supply is literally at stake.

GMOs contaminate other crops and animals

GMOs (genetically modified organisms) contaminate other GM-free crops and animals. Across the world, thousands of farmers have had their land contaminated by the GM crops of neighbours. Rather than paying compensation, the GM companies have sometimes (successfully) sued the farmers for illegal use of their patented products. In 2010 in West Australia, farmer Steve Marsh of Kojonup lost the organic certification for his farm when a neighbour's GM crop contaminated his farm. Mr Marsh went all the way to the Supreme Court seeking compensation from his GM-growing neighbour. In September 2015 the Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Marsh's case in a 2 to 1 decision. The dissenting judge found "the interference with the appellants' use and enjoyment of their property was both substantial and unreasonable and constituted a private nuisance." Justice McLure said Mr Baxter (the GM-polluting neighbour) "had actual knowledge of the risk of decertification when he engaged in the conduct which caused the harm to the appellants". Mr Baxter had also "unilaterally enlarged his own rights and imposed limitations on his neighbours."

GM plants and animals may also contaminate wild plants and animals with unknown consequences.

GM and corruption

The enormous profits that are already generated by the non-organic (conventional) food industries and the agricultural chemical industries are sufficient to lobby (bribe, threaten, lied to and coerce):

What can you do?

References

1. Gilles-Eric Seralini, Emilie Clair, Robin Mesnage, Steeve Gress, Nicolas Defarge, Manuela Malatesta, Didier Hennequin, Joel Spiroux de Vendomois. Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize. Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 50, Issue 11, November 2012, Pages 4221-4231.

2. Seralini Gilles-Eric, Mesnage Robin, Clair Emilie, Gress Steeve, De Vendomois Joel, Cellier Dominique. Genetically modified crops safety assessments: Present limits and possible improvements. 2011, Environmental Sciences Europe 23: 10. doi:10.1186/2190-4715-23-10.

3. Prescott VE, Campbell PM, Moore A, Mattes J, Rothenberg ME, Foster PS, Higgins TJ, Hogan SP. Transgenic expression of bean alpha-amylase inhibitor in peas results in altered structure and immunogenicity. November 2005, J. Agric. Food Chem. 53 (23): 9023-30.

4. Ewen SW, Pusztai A. Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine. October 1999, Lancet 354 (9187): 1353-4. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(98)05860-7.

5. Lovei GL, Andow DA, Arpaia S. Transgenic insecticidal crops and natural enemies: a detailed review of laboratory studies. April 2009, Environ. Entomol. 38 (2): 293-306. doi:10.1603/022.038.0201.

6. Aris A, Leblanc S. Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. May 2011, Reprod. Toxicol. 31 (4): 528-33. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2011.02.004. PMID 21338670.

7. Poulter, Sean. GM food toxins found in the blood of 93% of unborn babies. 20 May 2011, Daily Mail.

8. Jeffrey M Smith. Genetic Roulette. The documented health risks of genetically engineered foods. 2007, Yes! Books. This book provides many references to research papers and articles. The movie with the same name provides a good summary of the problems with GM foods. (2012).

9. Kleter GA, Peijnenburg AACM. Screening of transgenic proteins expressed in transgenic food crops for the presence of short amino acid sequences identical to potential, IgE-binding linear epitopes of allergins. BMC Structual Biology 2 (2002):8-19.

10. Pusztai A, Bardocz S. GMO in animal nutrition: potential benefits and risks. Published in Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals, Mosenthin R, Zentek J, Zebrowska T (editors). Elsevier, October 2005.

11. Bernstein IL. et al. Immune responses in farm workers after exposure to Bacillus thuringiensis pesticides. Environmental Health Perspectives 107, no. 7(1999), 575-82.