Yikes, indeed, as it may surprise you how prevalent GMO’s are in our food supply. See the infographic from Whole Foods below for insight on this topic:
If you consume processed foods with corn or soy by-products, then you are exposing yourself and your family to GMO’s. And the kicker? Since labeling of GMO’s is not required, you weren’t even given the option to choose them, or not. This would not be a concern if there were a preponderance of data which indicated that there were no long-term health effects. However, that is simply not the case. The book The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother’s Shocking Investigation Into The Dangers of America’s Food Supply – And What Every Family Can Do To Protect Itself by Robyn O’Brien, Broadway Books, 2009, discusses these health effects in detail, specifically regarding the relationship between GMO’s and the increase in children’s food allergies. For example, Dean Metcalfe, who headed the National Institute Of Health’s Laboratory of Allergic Diseases, explained that although you could test genetically engineered crops for known proteins (which will cause an allergic reaction, including fatal anaphylaxis) it was the unintended creation of new proteins that made it difficult to test GM crops for allergenicity. Robyn then asks if creating new proteins was what genetic engineering was all about – and since these proteins never before existed, how did you find out whether people may be allergic to them? Good question Robyn!
Robyn also points out the gaping hole in our food safety oversight. Regarding GMO’s, the FDA position is that: “Ultimately it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety” (p. 103). However if you approach a company, say Monsanto, their position is that: “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job” (p. 104).
Huh. Basically the government agency supported by our tax dollars to protect the integrity of our food supply does not think protecting the integrity of our food supply is in their mandate. So that makes us guinea pigs in the largest food experiment in the history of humankind? Bear in mind that other countries want nothing to do with this experiment, including the EU and its member states, Australia, and New Zealand, to name a few. See the full list here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/gefood/countrieswithbans.cfm.
The bottom line is that awareness of this issue is critical. You can do the following to protect yourself and your family:
– Be aware of the fight to pass GMO labeling laws, and Monsanto’s fight against them. There is currently a battle raging in OR. There is absolutely no good reason (other than Monsanto’s profits) for not labeling which foods have been genetically modified so that consumers can make the choice.
– Check the label of everything you buy. If it contains corn or soy, then chances are they are the GM variety. Robyn goes into the prevalence of soy in baby formula, and the associated serious concerns about high levels of isoflavones as well (p. 76 – 80). Many products indicate they are GMO free, so choose those instead.
– Even better, choose organic, which by definition can not be genetically modified.
So there we have it! Happy Organic Eating health fans!