How to avoid genetically modified foods and why you should be concerned about GMO's in your diet
by N J Howell
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GMOS in Beef
So, what is a GMO, anyway? You've probably heard buzz about GM foods but may wonder if there really is any legitimate concern. After all, Monsanto says they're making our food better. Here's the truth: A genetically modified organism, or GMO, bears little true resemblance to a plant grown in nature though it may look like it and even taste like it's natural counterpart.
The way a GM food is created is by transferring genes across natural species barriers; do they refer to the barrier that keeps an orange from suddenly thinking it's a tomato?. Hmmm, and maybe they mean the barrier that helps an orange stay healthy, as an orange? What if you went for a blood transfusion and the doc says, today we're gonna give you pig blood instead of human blood? Would that be ok with you? You are what you eat.
Gene Insertion and Cloning:
When a plant becomes a GMO, it means the plant has been altered by gene insertion, either by use of what's called a "gene gun" or by using bacteria which invade the plant cell with foreign DNA. Then, that altered plant is cloned. That's right, GM foods are cloned plants.
Why should GMO foods concern you?
According to Responsible Technology, the alteration used to create genetically modified organisms causes widespread and unpredictable changes in the resulting plant. Hundreds of thousands of locations of genetic mutation occur while the natural genes can be deleted or turned on or off permanently. Even the genes inserted via gene gun or bacteria may, themselves, be damaged or rearranged in the process. This can result in unnatural proteins that trigger allergies or promote disease.
How to Avoid GMO's:
While there is no foolproof way to avoid all GM foods in your diet. Shopping organic and looking for Non-GMO project seals is a good habit to get into if you want to support non-GMO crops. It's particularly difficult to avoid GMO's when eating out and makes for some tedious backs and forths with wait staff. In general, to minimize your intake of GMO foods, follow these tips:
1. Don't eat out unless it's an organic restaurant and even then, avoid the GM foods listed.
2. Avoid the 5 major GM food crops: corn, soy, canola, cotton and sugar beets.
3. Ask about any Hawaiian papaya, zucchini and yellow crookneck squash too because, although genetically modified versions are not as prolific in these, they may have been modified to resist certain plant viruses.
4. Avoid, as best you can, products containing at risk ingredients. This is difficult as soybean oil is used in such a wide range of products as well as being fed to most cows and chickens. Other oils to watch out for include corn oil, canola oil, and cottonseed oil.
5. Avoid sugar, which is most often a combination of both sugar cane and sugar beets, and if sugar beets are used, almost always GM.
6. Avoid milk and dairy products where cows may have been injected with bovine growth hormone that has been genetically modified. Look for No rBGH, rBST or artificial hormones on label
7. Avoid processed foods. The more processed, the more likely to contain GM foods. In particular, any product containing ingredients know to hide monosodium glutamate should be avoided for GMO purposes, as well.
8. Stay abreast of constantly emerging GM crops that are being approved. Among them, potatos, rice, alfalfa, cantelope, flax and wheat.
Health Disclaimer: The FDA publically held the position that GM foods were basically the same as conventionally grown and that no safety studies were required. Therefore, I must say that as far as our regulatory organization is concerned, GM foods are safe to consume. However, it's is deeply suspect to me that the FDA official who facilitated this decision was Michael Taylor, former attorny for Monsanto. Monsanto is the largest biotech company in the world and later on, Michael Taylor became their vice-president. If that's not a conflict of interest, I don't know what would constitute same.
In any case, you have a right to know about growing evidence that genetically modified organisms may have serious and far-reaching health implications. Soy allergies in GM soy can be detected where none exists with the same skin prick allergy test for wild natural soy. Also, when you cook GM soy, you release about 7 times the amoung of a known soy allergen.
In addition to soy allergies increasing since introduction of GMO's corn and cotton have also been linked to increased allergies. Links between GM foods and liver problems, reproductive problems, sterility, disease, infant mortality and death have been found in studies with mice and reported by farmers who fed their animals GM foods. All evidence suggests that GMO foods are not just a nutritional question mark, they are harmful. Humans or animals should not be eating GMO foods. Learn more in this ebook on GMO Food Poisoning