Newsmax Magazine, Jan. 2010
Genetically modified foods have come to your local supermarket, even though most Americans don't want them and many believe they're dangerous. A CBS poll found that 53 percent of Americans wouldn't buy food they knew had been genetically modified. But here's the rub—there's no easy way to know which foods contain genetically modified ingredients.
Genetically modified foods are made by inserting genes from another species into a food's DNA. About 60 to 70 percent of products on grocery store shelves contain at least one genetically engineered element. These foods include corn, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, soybean, and canola.
The public is generally unaware when they purchase genetically modified foods (called GM or GMO, short for genetically modified organism) since manufacturers and producers aren't required to disclose the information on labels. The European Union, Japan, China, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand require GMO foods to be labeled. And despite a CBS News poll that showed a majority of Americans want labeling, no such laws exist.
Many experts as well as concerned customers want to know if GMO foods are safe. A few troubling reports have been released. A study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences revealed the parameters of 60 different biochemicals in rats. Rats fed genetically modified corn were compared to their parents who had been fed non-GM corn. The results clearly showed a difference between the two groups. Rats fed GM food had signs of liver and kidney problems. Effects were also found on the heart, adrenal glands, and spleen.
According to PhysOrg.com, a Russian study found that 55.6 percent of the newborns of female rats fed genetically engineered soy flour before, during, and after pregnancy, died within three weeks. Only 9 percent of the offspring of rats fed non-GM soy died. In addition, 36 percent of the rats in the GM-fed group were underweight, compared with only 6.7 percent of the control group. In another study, groups of rats were fed GM tomatoes for 28 days. Seven of 20 developed bleeding stomachs, and seven out of a group of 40 rats died within two weeks.
Opponents fear GM foods could:
• Trigger the emergence of new diseases due to the use of viruses and bacteria to modify some GM foods. These new diseases could be resistant to antibiotics.
• Raise the risk of developing cancer
• Trigger food allergies as a result of a food that causes allergies in some people being placed in another organism
• Harm the ecosystem by removing a pest that could be an important source of food for another animal
• Be toxic to an organism and lead to its extinction
Proponents of GM foods say benefits include:
• Higher crop yields to feed a hungry world
• Higher profits because GM foods need fewer herbicides and insecticides
• Longer shelf life
• The ability to withstand wider fluctuations in climate
• Overall higher levels of nutrients as well as the ability to be created with higher contents of specific nutrients
If you'd rather not eat genetically modified foods, you can take the following steps to avoid them:
• Look for foods labeled "100 percent organic."
• Read fruit and vegetable numbers on the produce sticker. Five-digit numbers beginning with an eight mean it is a GM food. Five-digit numbers beginning with a nine indicate organic foods. Conventionally produced foods have numbers containing four digits.
• Hunt for products that are labeled GM-free.
• Buy from small, local farmers. Most GM foods come from large commercial farms.
• Avoid processed foods.
From: GMO: Seeds of Deception at www.seedsofdeception.com
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Friday, January 15, 2010 7:49 AM
By Sylvia Booth Hubbard