GMOs: Do You Really Know ?

by An Oasis of Healing on January 24, 2013

* We thought we would share this very informative and well written paper about GMOs, written by Dr Lodi’s daughter, Aika.

Ever since I can remember, my father has been showing me horrific videos of animal abuse, both in and out of the slaughterhouse. Apart from being a dedicated animal rights activist, my father is a holistic oncologist, and a man who follows a raw food diet. His lifestyle has given me extensive knowledge on the unethical treatment of animals and the harmfulness of genetically modified foods, but watching Food Inc. new questions arose in my mind.

Although I always knew GMOs were harmful for human consumption, I had never thought about the long-term effects of GMOs on the human body or what exactly makes GMOs harmful. Did scientists believe GMOs were as safe as the food coming from Mother Nature’s soil? Or were they ignoring the health risks of GMOs solely to serve the government? And last but not least, why hasn’t the production of GMO foods been outlawed yet?

Genetically modified organisms are plants and animals whose genetic make-up has been altered through an unnatural process (Chait). This technology is most commonly known as “modern biotechnology” or “gene technology” (20 Questions). What this does is incorporate individual genes from one organism into another to attain longer shelf life, resist diseases, or change the color or flavor of that certain organism, although the original notion behind creating GMOs was to improve crop protection.

In discussions of genetically modified organisms, a controversial issue is whether GMOs are actually harmful for human consumption. While some argue that GMOs have no negative effects on the human body, others contend that GMOs create toxins and allergens that are harmful to humans. I agree with the latter because studies showed that after the UK was introduced to genetically modified soy, soy allergies increased by 50% (Smith). Jeffrey Smith, from the Organic Consumers Association, said, “[GMOs] have been linked to thousands of toxic allergenic reactions, thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ and system studied in lab animals.”

What I believe makes GMOs so harmful is the Bacillus thuringiensis, also known as Bt, contained in them. Bt is a bacterium that is harmful to many species of insects (History of Bt). The insecticidal properties Bt contains led to its use as an insecticide. As the popularity of GMs increased, biotechnologists began incorporating Bt genes into them to intensify their ability to protect themselves from insects. Biotech industries argue that Bt-toxins are harmless to humans because organic farmers had used the natural form of the bacteria as an insecticide for years, but in actuality there were innumerable accounts of allergic-type symptoms in not only humans, but mice as well. The Bt fed to mice had damaged their intestines (Smith). Furthermore, Bt-toxins contained in GM crops are thousands of times more concentrated and are designed to be much more toxic than the natural spray, justifying the harmfulness of this bacteria.

In the Watershed Sentinel, a British Columbian magazine, Stephanie Orford wrote about the health impacts of GMO foods. Her article talked about allergic reactions caused by Bt in GM crops. She states that in 2004 and 2005, cotton pickers in India had suffered allergic reactions to Bt cotton. The cause of their allergic reactions was proved to be caused by the Bt contained in the cotton because when picking non-Bt cotton, their bodies exhibited no negative responses. More than a few cotton factories in India reported similar cases. In addition, there were reports of many deaths among sheep that had grazed in GM Bt cotton fields. More cases of allergic reactions were reported over 8,000 miles away in the Philippines. The pollen from GM Bt cotton fields caused swelling in people living in close proximity to the fields.

The evidence shows that GM Bt products may be just as harmful as any other pesticide. These findings challenge the work of earlier researchers, who tended to assume that GM Bt products were actually less harmful. Effects of genetically modified bacillus thuringiensis products on the consumer can range from serious inflammation, to toxic organ damage, all the way to cancer.

Many arguments can be made from the feeding trials of GM foods tested on different animals. GM soy tested on rats showed that their livers had to work extremely hard to detoxify the impact of the GMOs. After replacing the rats’ diets with natural soy, their health rose substantially. More experiments that revealed the detrimental effects of GM soy fed to rats include: the death of more than half the offspring of a mother rat that had been fed GM soy prior to and during her pregnancy, smaller bodies and organs in the offspring that survived, and reduced activity of testicular cells in the male rats.

There were also studies of more genetically modified foods, including corn, peas, potatoes, and Calgene’s FlavrSavr tomatoes, being tested on some other animals. The results were quite scary. Among them were cases of infertility, allergies, stunted growth, stomach bleeding, and excessive cell growth, which may very likely be a precursor to cancer. I strongly believe, therefore, that although these experiments were done on animals, long-term human consumption of GMOs can potentially have the same effects. Orford even believes genetically modified foods may someday lead to catastrophic human health issues.

One of the questions I asked earlier was, “Why hasn’t the production of GMOs been outlawed yet?” With this question in mind, I came across shocking information on the studies of genetically modified food on humans. The reality is, although GMO crops have been around since 1994, there is absolutely no scientific research published in any scientific journal because GMO companies forbid all testing on their products. F. William Engdahl, a leading analyst of The New World Order, published an article called “GMO Scandal: The Long Term Effects of Genetically Modified Food on Humans.” In the article, Engdahl explains that in Scientific American, a well-respected magazine, it was revealed that prior to purchasing seeds from any giant gene company, GMO crops must sign an End User Agreement with the company. Engdahl states, “For the past decade…Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta require anyone buying their GMO seeds to sign an agreement that explicitly forbids that the seeds be used for any independent research…Most alarming, they are prohibited from examining whether the genetically modified crops lead to unintended side-effects either in the environment or in animals or humans.” Only studies that have been pre-approved by the industries can be published.

Ronnie Cummins reveals the very frightening reality that bio-engineers have already started constructing new genetically engineered “Frankenfoods,” which is another term for genetic modification. What’s so atrocious is the fact that these bio-engineers do their research with almost no concern for the “human and environmental hazards and the negative socioeconomic impacts on the world’s several billion farmers and rural villagers,” (Cummins). Current gene-splicing methods are deemed “crude, inexact, and unpredictable—and therefore inherently dangerous.” Governments that support biotech agencies led by the United States do not require the labeling of GMOs or the testing of how safe the GMOs are.

Although I haven’t found concrete evidence on whether or not scientists were aware of the health risks of GMOs before they were released to the public, I strongly believe that they do now, in fact, ignore the health risks solely to serve the government. Those unfamiliar with this school of thought may be interested to know that what Engdahl’s extensive research on the New World Order has revealed is that to achieve world domination, the few global corporation leaders, along with their political followers, have taken control of the “free markets” and are using them as weapons against anyone who disagrees with their ideas. The government no longer requires weapons to obtain control of the people, but instead, all they need is control of food production.

According to Jeffrey M. Smith, consuming genetically modified foods expose humans to “unknown dangers.” The altered DNA material in the food can create toxins or allergens harmful to humans, as I have mentioned time and time again throughout my research. Though Americans were, in my opinion, exceptionally and wonderfully outspoken about human rights at one point, we have regressed into a voiceless nation, trapped under the command of our government. Our health is our right. Do you think it’s acceptable that the government denies research of the effects GMOs have on our bodies? It’s a joke to call America the “Land of the Free.” In an increasingly unhealthy world, efforts to eliminate production of genetically modified organisms have taken on an added importance.

By Aika Lodi

 

Works Cited
Chait, Jennifer. “Genetically Modified Organisms.” About.com Organic Business. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2013.

Cummins, Ronnie. “Genetically Engineered Foods Are Hazardous.” Genetically Engineered Foods. Ed. Debra A. Miller.

Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. At Issue. Rpt. from “Hazards of Genetically Engineered Foods and Crops: Why We Need A Global Moratorium.” Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 10 Jan. 2013.

Engdahl, F. William. “GMO Scandal: The Long Term Effects of Genetically Modified Food on Humans.” Global Research. Global Research, 29 July 2009. Web. 10 Jan. 2013.

“History of Bt.” History of Bt. Ed. Karen Chien. Aroian Lab University of California, n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2013.

Orford, Stephanie. “Health Impacts of GMO Food.” Editorial. Watershed Sentinel Mar. 2010: n. pag. Health Impacts of GMO Food. Mar. 2010. Web. 10 Jan. 2013.

Smith, Jeffrey. “Spilling the Beans: Unintended GMO Health Risks.” Spilling the Beans: Unintended GMO Health Risks. N.p., Mar. 2008. Web. 10 Jan. 2013.

Smith, Jeffrey M. “Genetically Modified Food Threatens Human Health.” Humanity’s Future. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from “Genetically Engineered Foods May Pose National Health Risk.” www.seedsofdeception.com. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 10 Jan. 2013.

“20 Questions on Genetically Modified Foods.” WHO. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2013.

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