A growing body of research shows that genetic engineering – for all its promises for farmers and the global food supply – isn’t quite the savior that the biotech industry paints it to be.
Food expert and anti-GMO crusader Jeffrey Smith, in his books Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette, documents at least 65 serious health risks from genetically modified products of all kinds.
GMO Dangers to Health – Revealed
These adverse health consequences include the following:
- Damaged young sperm cells among male mice fed GM soy
- Five-fold increase in mortality, lower birth weights, and the inability to reproduce among offspring of rats fed GM soy
- Altered DNA functioning of the embryo offspring of GM soy-fed mice
- Sterility or fertility problems among pigs and cows fed on GM corn varieties, as reported by several United States farmers
- Fertility problems, abortions, premature births, and other serious health issues (such as deaths among buffaloes fed GM cottonseed products), as documented by investigators in India
- Bleeding stomachs, potentially precancerous cell growth, damaged organs and immune systems, kidney inflammation, problems with blood and liver cells, and unexplained deaths among animals fed GM foods
- Skyrocketing soy allergies since the introduction of GM soy
- Transfer of genes from GM crops to human gut bacteria, which might turn your intestinal flora into a “living pesticide factory”
According to Smith’s research, what a majority do not know is that between 1994 and 2001 (the time that GMO foods flooded the market), food-related diseases doubled. As it is, no one knows the full consequence of when you splice in new genes and then eat the end product for several generations.
GMO foods can be toxic, allergenic, carcinogenic, and ant-nutritional. They may also spur brand-new diseases that have never been seen before, along with increased illness rates.
We Don’t Fully Comprehend GMO Technology!
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, who is part of the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS), says that GMOs are so dangerous because the genome is “remarkably dynamic and ‘fluid,’ and constantly in conversation with the environment.” This sets which genes are turned on, where, when, by how much, and for how long. Additionally, the genetic material could also be marked or changed depending on experience and the influence passed on to the succeeding generation.
When GM “rogue genes” are inserted into a genome, it cannot potentially mimic the complex processes that are needed for survival in nature. These rogue genes could anywhere, usually in a rearranged or defective form, and scrambling and mutating the host genome. Once inserted, they have the tendency to move or rearrange, since they do not know the “dance of life.”
Ultimately, this is what makes genetic engineering risky – and not working well at all.
How to Avoid GMO Dangers
According to Smith, there are ways to avoid GM foods. Buy organic, and buy only products that carry a Non-GMO label. Also, avoid products that contain at-risk ingredients like soy, corn, cotton, and canola. These products have offspring such as soy lecithin, maltodextrin, and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
When it comes to fresh produce, avoid some varieties of zucchini, crookneck squash, and papayas from Hawaii, because these are mainly genetically engineered. Other common GM-containing foods include milk with rBGH, rennet (with GM enzymes) used to make hard cheeses, and aspartame (hiding behind the name NutraSweet).
It is either you avoid all the foods and ingredients listed above, or choose their organic versions.
You are surely exposed to about 70 percent GM foods if your diet consists mainly of processed foods, because corn, soy, and the other ingredients mentioned above are found in a vast majority of all processed food finds.
Check out the Non-GMO Shopping Guide produced by the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), too.
Sherrie C. Fegan is a blogger whose main interests are health and food safety. Formerly a consumer marketing expert, she now volunteers and writes for a national organization calling for GMO labeling and higher food and consumer safety standards. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two young kids.