Scientists have cross-bred plants and animals for centuries to create new and better foods but only within the same species. With current biotechnology, scientists can now genetically engineer (GE) different species to share genetic material by taking Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from one and injecting or splicing it into another. What are these resulting foods doing to humans and the earth?
Genetically engineered foods are altered with the goal of new characteristics like pest or viral resistance, improved nutritional value. Scientists may splice in from another species for beneficial traits or they may turn off specific genes to disable code for an unwanted trait. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) says “up to 85 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered as are 91 percent of soybeans and 88 percent of cotton (cottonseed oil is often used in food products). According to industry, up to 95% of sugar beets are now GE. It has been estimated that upwards of 70 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves–from soda to soup, crackers to condiments–contain genetically engineered ingredients.” Almost all food fed to livestock is GE.
- GMOs allow crops to be grown in environments where they could not be otherwise
- GMOs make easier farming with resulting cheaper food prices making it easier to feed populations worldwide
- Chemicals like Monsanto’s Roundup can be sprayed on fields and kill off all unwanted plants while leaving the GMO crop
- GMOS can result in foods with higher nutritional value, one example being much higher amounts of vitamin A contained in genetically modified rice which is expected to be legal in many countries within a few years
- Much tracking has been done on GMO effects on animals which indicates that GMOs are safe for consumption
- The FDA and the American Medical Association (AMA) support voluntary labels stating “there currently is no evidence that there are material differences or safety concerns in available bioengineered foods.”
- No long term studies of GMO effects on humans have been done
- Feared possible health risks are allergen exposure, antibiotic resistance, endocrine disruption, reproductive disorders, tumors and accelerated aging
- No GMO labeling or testing is currently required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which limits consumers’ knowledge of whether their food was bioengineered. 50 countries require GMO labeling. California has Proposition 37 aiming to get GMO labels required
- Some believe GMOs violate nature and infringe on natural intrinsic value.
- The CFS “seeks to halt the approval, commercialization or release of any new genetically engineered crops until they have been thoroughly tested and found safe for human health and the environment.”
While scientists have understood DNA fundamentals for decades, they continually uncover new inner workings of the most advanced form of programming. There is a general distrust of huge multinational corporations controlling the crops since their intent is profit. Monsanto makes buyers sign a contract that the seeds will not be used for testing and that an arrangement must be made prior to any testing ever.
In November 2012, a group of Australian scientists published a warning concerning a serious safety risk of new GMO wheat, a $6-billion annual industry in that country alone, of a “mad wheat disease” with potential disastrous effects. The wheat is just now being put into production by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia with a gene sequence turned off to make the wheat more commercially viable as in hardier, higher yielding, and slower decaying. A risk is the gene-silencing of the plants may wreak havoc on human bodies with siRNA molecules interacting with human RNA. There simply has not been enough testing to know what will happen, so consumers become testing laboratories, more of an issue than products being tested on dogs and chimps.
Please watch the attached video of a secret test that was published in the US journal Food and Chemical Toxicity in September 2012 of French researchers studying GMO corn results on rats and the enormous tumors in mammary glands and livers and serious disorders that started showing up in four months. Monsanto has claimed satisfactory test results based on three month tests. There is an increase in deaths due to both GMOs and Roundup residue. They wanted their study to be independent of Monsanto and it was the first two year study published. Then read the CBS News article on the findings where some scientists question the study because of the sampling size.
Bottom line is we do not know what the effects of GMO foods are on humans or the environment, but that obviously more testing by independent groups other than Monsanto should be done and that GMO foods should be identified.