Thursday, October 24, 2013

The GMO Debate

Is GE Genetically Engineered, or Genetically Modified Organism GMO food safe for humans?  Has the US been guinea pigs the last few decades?  Could this be why obesity has risen across the country?   Or do we really believe that so many of us have “just lost all of our willpower”?  Could this be affecting the increase in chronic disease too? Could what we don’t know really be harming us?

I often hear the argument that there are no tests proving GMO’s are bad. Below are two excerpts from news reports that came across my desk this month:

GMO News found on Food Integrity Now:

“Pigs fed a GMO diet exhibited heavier uteri and a higher rate of severe stomach inflammation than pigs fed a comparable non-GMO diet. Given the widespread use of GMO feed for livestock as well as humans this is a cause for concern…   The results indicate that it would be prudent for GM crops that are destined for human food and animal feed, including stacked GM crops, to undergo long-term animal feeding studies preferably before commercial planting, particularly for toxicological and reproductive effects. Humans have a similar gastrointestinal tract to pigs, and these GM crops are widely consumed by people, particularly in the USA, so it would be be prudent to determine if the findings of this study are applicable to humans.” 

The second study was Published on ScienceNordic (

“Since genetically modified (GM) food started to appear in shops in the early nineties, large quantities have been sold for human consumption – without any harmful effects, as far as we know. But is there a risk of along-term impact? An international research project is exploring the effects of GM food, studying the impact on rats, mice, pig and salmon. The wide-ranging study includes researchers from Hungary, Austria, Ireland, Turkey, Australia and Norway.

Rats fattening up
As part of the project, a group of rats were fed corn which had been genetically modified for pest resistance. Over a period of 90 days they became slightly fatter than the control group of rats fed non-GM corn. The same effect occurred where rats were fed fish which, in turn, had eaten GM corn.

“But the ones who had fed on GM corn were slightly larger, they ate slightly more, their intestines had a different microstructure, they were less able to digest proteins, and there were some changes to their immune system. Blood samples also showed some change in the blood.” These subtle changes were observed in a wide range of organs, including the digestive organs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, adrenal glands and reproductive organs.”

GM genes transferring into tissue
However, one important pro-GM argument has been disproved by the research.
“A frequent claim has been that new genes introduced in GM food are harmless since all genes are broken up in the intestines. But our findings show that genes can be transferred through the intestinal wall into the blood; they have been found in blood, muscle tissue and liver in sufficiently large segments to be identified,” Krogdahl explains.  “The biological impact of this gene transfer is unknown.”

When I hear that there is no clinical data proving that GMO foods are bad, my first reaction is this.  Why has the United States taken the stance “innocent until proven guilty” with our food, health and wellbeing?

Please see the chart below of companies that are fighting for and against labeling of GMO that is up for vote in Washington State.  We can vote too, everyday with our pocketbooks.  Please support labeling initiatives. We have a right to know.