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GMO Foods May Contain Harmful Substances
The food industry, represented by the FDA, USDA, and many large corporations, maintains that genetically modified foods (GMOs) are safe. In addition, they cite several additional factors that support the need for genetic engineering in agricultural production. First among these is increased production from crops that resist drought, disease and pests. They also claim that GMO crops require less use of pesticides and this benefits the environment and consumers. Finally, they claim to produce better foods that are richer in certain nutrients or absent certain natural toxins, such as mold.
All these claims are further supported by the World Health Organization, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Medical Association who state that GMO foods are as safe as all other foods. Interestingly, many countries have banned the cultivation of GMO crops and others, at least, require the labeling of GMO foods. Clearly, entire regions of the world are concerned about the potential for food toxicity provided by GMO foods.
One of the genetic modifications to corn, soybeans and sugar beets was to make them “Roundup Ready”. This means that these crops have been engineered to resist the effects of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup herbicide. Glyphosate blocks the function of enzymes that help plants absorb nutrients. The plant then starves to death quickly. Farmers spray the chemical liberally on their fields to eradicate weeds. Unfortunately, these food crop plants absorb glyphosate along with the weeds. They do not die as a result due to the genetic modification designed to resist this process.
This glyphosate residue then enters the food supply, both for direct human consumption in packaged foods and through animals, which are raised on GMO corn and soybeans. High levels of glyphosate have been found in soy and corn products. The problem is that glyphosate performs the same function in the human body as it does in plants. That is, glyphosate disrupts the enzymes that help us absorb nutrients, which can lead to a number of diseases. If you have recently eaten packaged food, then you have probably consumed glyphosate.
Another genetic modification involves resistance to pests such as worms. In this case, the modified corn and pumpkin products produce the same toxin produced by a bacterium that occurs naturally in the soil. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is commonly used as a biological pesticide, sprayed on crops to destroy invading pests. When a pest attacks a GMO crop, the plant itself blocks the attack as the pest ingests the Bt toxin. Unfortunately, this toxin is also present in food that arrives on the shelf in neat packaging. From there it enters the human body and causes cell damage.
The list of genetic modifications continues to grow and the long-term effect of this will only be known after years of research. In the meantime, millions of people may be harmed by consuming these products, believing them to be safe. Evidence is already mounting that these agents are toxic to humans, and many countries other than the US are beginning to respond. Every day, it’s up to you to choose a food supply you know you can rely on, versus one that involves you in a potentially dangerous experiment to bolster your food supply.
Avoiding packaged foods altogether would be a good place to start. If you can’t resist, then carefully examine the label. Many producers are beginning to identify “non-GMO” ingredients on their labels. In addition to looking for “non-GMO” labels, some ingredients are clear indicators of the presence of GMO elements. These include high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), aspartame, MSG, trans fats, food dyes, sulfur dioxide, and potassium bromate. The list of foods known to be genetically modified includes corn, soybeans, alfalfa, canola, cotton, papaya, sugar beets, squash, yellow summer squash, wheat, rice and flax.
Choose products labeled 100% organic, certified by the USDA. Being certified organic means that the crop is grown without the use of harmful chemicals and GMOs are not on the USDA’s approved list. Support your local farmer’s market, but be sure to ask questions about their farming practices. Not all local farmers are non-GMO or follow organic practices. Finally, grow your own vegetables in your backyard. A small space can produce a healthy supply of nutrients that you know are safe.
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