The debate of the safety of GMOs in the food supply is a world filled with generalizations and extremes on both sides. The USDA continues to allow the production and integration of GMOs into our food supply without undergoing the same testing that it requires for drugs and other substances. GMOs are not a drug, so they do not have to be tested using the safety and efficacy system established for substances intended to cure disease. There have been no clinical trials of genetically engineered foods on the human population in the United States, and not one documentable case of harm to humans exists……but this does not mean that documentable human damage does not exist elsewhere in the world.
Unrelated human studies have found that certain pesticide residues found in pregnant women caused damage. A study produced in the Journal of Applied Toxicology in 2012 found that pesticides could cause damage to human cells. These substances were banned. Some GMO crops do not contain regulated pesticides, but they are designed to produce them and generate their own internal pesticides. The pesticides are not technically an ingredient; they are a by-product.
Supporters of GMOs claim that these pesticides are broken down in the digestive process and pass from the body without causing harm. Studies in the UK have found that this is not true and that pesticides produced by GM crops survive the digestion process. A large 2012 Chinese study found that not only does plant microRNA survive, it causes human cell damage. The genetic code for MicroRNA has been linked to diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes for over a decade.
A Norwegian study in 2012 found that GMO genes do pass through the intestinal tract into the blood. Collaborating evidence exists in a study conducted by the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. The results were nearly identical. A study in Canada found that part of the gene found in Roundup ready soy was found in 95% of pregnant women. The toxin was found in 83% of unborn fetuses of these women. The source of the Bt toxin found in these women and fetuses was determined to be the consumption of animal products that had been fed GM corn. The subjects of these studies are real people. They are real people who were documented to have been damaged by GMOs. The USDA does not recognize studies conducted in other countries.
According to a fact sheet published by the Ohio State University, 60-70% of our food supply is already GMO. Some sources say this number is even higher. Supporters of GMOs claim that fears about GMOs are based on irrational fear and cannot be supported by scientifically valid evidence. This is true, because the system does not ever intend to conduct valid scientific studies.
In lieu of valid studies, the USDA has taken “precautions” to make sure that GMOs do not affect human health. When a new gene is to be incorporated into the food supply, the company must submit evidence that it is similar to that of other proteins found in our food. It if is not, then it is a food additive and must go through the appropriate approval process. This process is much less stringent than the clinical trial process for approving other substances for use in humans.
This process only addresses the intended target protein.
The problem is that researchers have now found that inserting the material into the DNA strand is not as targeted as GMO producers would like to think. There is collateral damage and mutations that occur at numerous sites in the DNA strand, not just the insertion site. This is true for both the donor and the host strand. This collateral damage is not even being addressed by “official” sources. Harvard University has discovered a link between GMOs and Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcerative colitis. Under the current climate, these effects will never be connected to damage in the human population.
Two outbreaks of illness linked to GMOs do exist in the United States. In 1989, the food supplement L-tryptophan was produced using GM bacteria. Over 1,500 people were permanently disabled and 37 people died from exposure. The official response of the FDA was that press articles connecting GMOs to the deaths were propagating hysteria. They called the attribution premature until further studies could be conducted.
In 2000, an increase in severe allergies was linked to StarLink corn, a product that was grown for animal feed and not intended for human consumption, even though humans would eventually consume those animals. The problem in this case was unintended contamination by a product that was suspected to be potentially harmful to humans, because the toxin has been shown to survive digestion and pass into blood, the meat would still be contaminated when consumed. Only 28 cases met the criteria being linked to the exposure to this GMO. However, the CDC later disputed its own evidence.
Evidence does exist that GMOs have caused harm in human beings. Humans studies are beginning to be conducted that support a link between diseases found in animals occurring in human populations….but not in the United States.
The bottom line is that you are the only line of defense between biased science and your body. You have the ability to make your own decisions and control what goes into your body. It all comes down to knowing your food source. Get to know your local farmer. Most of them are happy to explain their growing practices and where they obtain their seed sources. You can have a direct impact on your health and the health of your family. You can avoid the unknown collateral damage of GMOs by walking on by and not placing it in your grocery cart. Your dollar is your vote and you can send a strong message about your choices.
Do you have any personal experiences with disease that you feel were linked to GMOs?