The House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would allow all genetically modified foods to be considered as “natural” foods, not requiring any labeling that they would require them to disclose the food contains GMOs (genetically modified organisms). That bill, if it passes through the Senate, would trump any State ballots to require labeling of GMOs. The result? Americans would not know the safety of our food choices.
Currently, there are 64 countries around the world that require labeling of any genetically modified foods. In those countries there has to be a label on all foods. They are either GMO or non-GMO. In the United States we have 9 crops, so far, that are genetically modified. The list includes soybean, corn, canola, alfalfa (hay for animals), sugar beets, papaya, zucchini, and yellow squash. The agricultural giants are now targeting salmon for genetic modification.
The lack of any outrage from the pubic over the passage of the House bill worries me. Do people know how much money Monsanto and the big agricultural giants have poured into the House through their lobbying? Do people know how much money Monsanto and the big agricultural giants have poured into State elections, working to defeat recent ballot measures in California and Oregon?
Do people know the GMO information, which was exposed in Wiki Leaks? Do they know the depth of Monsanto’s agenda for all continents? Do they know Monsanto was convicted or identified with the bribing of 140 Indonesian government officials? Do people know Monsanto was accused of bribing Canadian scientists working at Health Canada to tailor the results of the GMO – health risk research?
From my standpoint, American is facing a major health challenge and too many people are looking in the wrong direction So, I want to use this series of blogs to explain to the readers how GMOs work, why they are potentially dangerous to our health (and the intellectual and behavioral development of our children), and what we can do to stop this rising tide of well-funded agricultural giants from increasing their profits at the expense of our health.
Let me start by explaining how genetic engineering changes the corn you eat. First, the corn is genetically engineered to withstand higher and higher doses (sprays) of Round Up, an herbicide. If you do not know Round Up, it is a cousin of Agent Orange, which our military used in Vietnam to destroy the foliage in the jungle terrain. It is one of the most chronically toxic chemicals in the world; and you just may consume it on a daily basis.
Prior to the genetic engineering, the corn would have died under a series of sprays with Round Up. Now, the corn can absorb those sprays and the doses of Round Up and continue growing. However, the bugs cannot. Round Up is very effective of killing all sorts of insects, thereby producing extremely high yields of corn. To the agricultural company, that translates to higher and higher levels of financial profit. But you may ask: What happens to all of the Round Up that is absorbed in the corn and eaten by us? Is there any potential health risk to us?
The agricultural giants employ a second genetic engineering approach to increase their profits. Each kernel of the corn contains a new segment of DNA. This DNA, when activated, produces its own separate pesticide / herbicide. Let’s imagine that some bug, buried deep in the earth, escapes the sprays of Round Up and manages to emerge and climb the stalk of corn. When it bites into its first kernel, what happens? The kernel, when it reaches the stomach of the bug, releases its hidden pesticide / herbicide, immediately killing the bug.
With this second layer of protection, you can easily understand how the yield of the crop of corn shoots even higher and how the profit margin continues to expand. A fortune can be made by these agricultural giants with genetic modification to help them withstand Round Up and then release their own pesticide / herbicide. But what happens when an animal, not a bug, bites into that corn kernel? What happens when a human bites into that corn kernel? Doesn’t the kernel release the pesticide / herbicide into us – just like it does when it is bitten by an insect?
The agricultural giants want us to believe that the Round Up’s concentration is low in any kernel of corn and they want us to believe that the corn kernel releases its hidden pesticide / herbicide only in insects, not in animals and humans. However, if that is really the case (and it does not sound logical to many experts), why have these agricultural companies blocked research of the health impact? Research professors have lost tenure, even been fired and/or sued with their attempts to publish research that reveals possible negative health risks.
Around the world there have been many published articles on the health risks of GMOs. With the opposition and legal issues, the studies may not have been as complete and thorough as we would want. But some studies have shown a dramatic increase in illnesses in animals that have consumed genetically modified corn. Those illnesses include respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal problems, immune system problems, organ damage, accelerated aging, and reproductive problems. Specific negative results have shown abnormal sperm and birth defects.
With humans the studies have been even more problematic to complete. Many of these findings are challenged. However, there are well-respected researchers who believe the GMOs are linked to higher rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney problems, and dementia, plus equally significant increased rates of emotional illnesses and developmental problems, including autism, ADHD, and pervasive developmental disorders.
So, do you see my concern if our food is not labeled? If you need any further convincing (“oh, no, it cannot possibly impact me”), keep in mind that 90% of all corn in America is genetically modified and that blood tests show that the majority of Americans have GMOs in their blood stream. Now, brace yourself. The possible physical consequences may be much worse, but I will address those negative health aspects in the next blog. And please keep in mind. My goal is not to scare you. My goal is to educate you. At the end of these blogs, you can make you own decisions. Until then, may I suggest you eat only organic corn?