The 8 Myths of GMOs
There are 8 big myths currently circulating on the subject of genetically modified crops. Biotech companies spend over $250 million dollars each year advertising the benefits of GM crops to the general public, when in fact, not only have those benefits turned out to be serious liabilities, but they also come at a cost not only our health, but environmental damage so catastrophic that not even the biotech companies themselves can control the repercussions.
Let's take a look at what the biotechs don't advertise, and determine for ourselves any benefit a genetically modified food can offer us:
GMOs & Antibiotic Resistance
An antibiotic-resistant gene is placed in the GM plant, along with an herbicide-resistant gene. This means that the cells in genetically modified crops are bred to be antibiotic-resistant. Unfortunately, these antibiotic-resistant genes can then be picked up by bacteria in the soil and find their way into our water supply and our bodies. We are colonizing our healthy gut bacteria with antibiotic resistant bacterial genes.
- The Chinese tested multiple samples of public water and found that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are now in their rivers, with the conclusion that it originated from local genetically engineered crops.
- In a study in Europe on beets, the antibiotic marker genes transferred to soil bacteria under lab conditions.
Centers For Disease Control (CDC)
The biotech industry originally claimed that the transfer of antibiotic-resistant genes could not happen, and that genes in food could not be transferred to either our intestines, or to the environment. This has been conclusively proved as untrue, yet no responsibility is accepted on the part of the biotech industry for this misjudgment.
There is a serious ramification to this problem. We are becoming more antibiotic resistant, which means that if we have an infection and are prescribed antibiotics, or are in a life-or-death situation requiring antibiotics to save our lives, they may no longer work. During severe illnesses, treatment options become much more limited. Antibiotic resistance is now a recognized problem in the medical field.
Each year in the US, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result.(8) Many more people die from other conditions that are complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection.
The Asthma Connection
Many children have food allergies now that did not exist a decade ago. Indisputably, food allergies are skyrocketing, leading parents to wonder what could be causing such a dramatic change. Our parents and grandparents had little to no memories of kids with debilitating intolerances and serious allergies to foods such as peanuts. Today, kids all over America are now developing allergies so serious that they are rushed to emergency rooms.
Allergies are a Reaction to Proteins Found Within a Food
The DNA of an organism contains instructions for making proteins, but when food is genetically engineered, the altered DNA can, in turn, create new proteins. GM foods are designed to produce their own insecticidal toxins and introduce foreign proteins into our food chain that never existed before. Because the DNA of GM foods have been altered, the new proteins created may create new allergies to that GM food that did not previously exist, or allergies to other food proteins. Children are especially susceptible as 70% of a child's immune system is found within their digestive tract.
- A 2005 allergy and asthma study found that human subjects exhibited an immune response to GM soy, but not to non-GMO soy. This is because GM soy contains a different protein.(9)
It is becoming more and more difficult to refute the possibility that the proteins engineered in GM foods could be a cause of food allergies, asthma, autism, and other conditions. The biotech industry does recognize the correlation between the emergence of GM foods, and allergies and other health conditions, but dismiss it as mere coincidence. Due to a lack of any long-term independent health studies, there is no ability to compare the effects of GM corn vs. non-GM corn.
In the absence of these studies, the only way to tell if GM foods contribute to health conditions is to completely remove them from the diet and see if the health condition improves or clears up. If you live in most countries around the world, including Europe, Australia, or Japan, this is not very difficult as GM foods are clearly labeled. But making this distinction is much more difficult if you live in the US, because the right to recognize GM foods is taken away from you. Labeling in the US is critical to give people the choice to opt out of these foods and their potentially hazardous health implications, rather than be part of one huge chemistry experiment.
Genetically modified foods are now filling the supermarket shelves, and experts claim they are now in over 75% of processed and refined foods. Learn about how you can avoid purchasing any food that contains GMOs.
- Understanding GMOs
- The 8 myths of GMOs
- How to avoid GMOs at the market
- Health dangers of foods sprayed with pesticides
- The Dirty Dozen: What they are & why you should avoid them
- The standard American diet: Fast-track to chronic disease
- Irradiated foods
- Microwaves - why you should ditch them
- Get off the diet merry-go-round
- Is your diet healthy? See how it stacks up
- Healthy food choices for children
- Healthy food choices for pets
View Sources & References
- The Food Revolution Network, John & Ocean Robbins
- Wormy corn image, sourced from ScienceBlogs
- (1) Seralini & Team - Studies on GMOs
- (2) Long-term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerantgenetically modified maize
- (3) Global scientists condemn retraction of Seralini GMO study
- (4) Influence of GM soya on the birth weight & survival of rat pups
- (5) Glyphosate, the main chemical in Roundup, causes malformation & birth defects
- (6) Agronomic & consumer considerations for BT & conventional sweet corn
- (7) Shane Morris Scandal / Institute of Science in Technology
- (8) CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
- (9) Genetically modified & wild soybeans: An immunologic comparison, Allergy Asthma Proc. 2005 May-Jun;26(3):210-6.
- Institute For Responsible Technology
- Food Democracy NOW!
- Organic Consumers Association