Just say no – to GMO
Yesterday morning the sun came up pink, ushering in the autumn equinox. I started the new season learning more about GMOs than I'd bargained. It was the last day to view the newly released documentary Genetic Roulette for free - I took notes so I could share this really important info. Update: here is a link where you can still watch it -
Genetically modified organisms - GMO - are created when the DNA of one species is forced into the DNA of another species. There are a couple of different varieties that have been patented.
Herbicide-tolerant crops (Roundup-ready). You can spray them with Roundup and it doesn't kill them but it kills the weeds.
Insecticide-producing crops (BT, for bacillus thuringiensis) kills insects when they eat the plant.
Mind you, GMO food is not about better flavor, nutrition, or saving money at the grocery store. Monsanto marketed this seed to farmers for better crop yields and increased profit. However, that hasn't panned out. In fact, GMOs are turning out to be bad for everybody but Monsanto. But, the citizens of California once again are coming forward with a unique proposition that could change things for the better and lead the way for the rest of the nation.
Consumer demand got GMOs stopped in Europe in 1999, but here in the U.S. the word is just now finally getting out on a scale that could bring this issue to the tipping point. There's a ballot initiative up for vote this November in California to outlaw GMOs - Proposition 37. Its been tried in 19 states, but the lobbyists have been successful working the legislatures; however, this is a more difficult task when the issue is up for a popular vote! Montana has the initiative process too and I would love to see this one on the ballot here.
Turns out, crop yields are actually not much different than before GMO. And as far as increased profit for the farmers..wow, just the opposite. Weeds are now becoming Roundup-resistant, and farmers are having to use even more herbicides and pesticides. Monsanto is actually trying to get 2,4-D engineered crops approved now (yeah, Agent Orange..). Not to mention, the animals that are being fed these GM crops are having health problems...with some pretty creepy parallels in human health problems.
The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, patented by Monsanto in 1974. It works by weakening the defenses of weeds by making them nutrient-deficient in some of the trace minerals crucial to good health, while simultaneously promoting diseases in the soil. The Round-up ready GM plants don't die, but they too become nutrient-deficient, according to the movie.
Glyphosate has been shown to cause birth defects. Roundup-ready soy fed to rats resulted in more than half of their babies dying within three weeks, and the babies were undersized and sterile, too. An interesting parallel is that since GMOs have become part of our diet, Americans have seen a lowered fertility rate as well. The livestock fertility rate is also really down, and they've actually found a brand new pathogen in aborted fetal tissues that is being found in high concentrations in soy and corn products that have been sprayed with Roundup.
BT is a soil bacterium that kills insects by breaking open their stomachs. It is engineered into the plant's genetics, and when the insect eats the plant, it dies. This I found very thought-provoking, given the rise in gastrointestinal problems that's happened since GM foods came into the market. There was a study in February 2012 that shows BT also breaks open pores in human cells. since 1996, when GM soy and corn entered the American diet, there have been a lot of increased health problems stemming from inflammations. Leaky gut seems to be contributing to huge allergy problems, particularly in children. They're finding that the problems clear up when GM food is removed from the diets of these kids, and is replaced by organic food.
Since 1992, the FDA policy on GMOs has declared that safety studies are not necessary. Instead its up to the industry to determine safety. Uh oh says I. Following this logic, why don't they tell herbal supplement producers to police themselves?? After all, herbs have been around for a heck of a lot longer than GMOs... Here is the smoking gun: the US Food Safety Czar (Deputy Commissioner for Foods, FDA) is none other than Michael Taylor, former attorney and Monsanto Vice President for Public Policy. That kind of cross-pollination of careers is pretty widespread actually, and its a blatant conflict of interest. FDA scientists tried to get more research, but it wasn't done. Politics.
There's also been an increase in autism since GMOs were introduced. Animal GMO studies show the same inflammatory allergy response in the stomach as we are seeing in autistic kids. And they are finding improvements in these kids when their parents remove GMOs from their diets and substitute with organic foods.
rBGH - recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone - aka 'crack for cows' is another example of GM. Cow genes are injected with e. coli to produce rBGH. Its injected into the cow to increase milk production. But it leads to more mastitis which leads to more pus and antibiotics, along with the BGH in milk. And it increases Insulin-like Growth Factor, or IGF-1, which stimulates cell growth, including that of cancer cells. rBGH is banned in Europe and many other countries, and due to the bad press in the US, the industry stopped using it here in large part too.
A few more facts from the Genetic Roulette movie:
1. 88% of US corn is genetically modified, and 94% of soy is. 70% of the food in our supermarkets contains derivatives of these GM foods, including: cottonseed, vegetable and canola oil, soy sauce, tamari, tofu, soy milk, sugar (except cane sugar) - for a full listing refer to the Non-GMO Shopping Guide.
2. Monsanto, Syngenta, and DuPont refuse to release their seeds for research.
3. The industry studies do not reveal a lot of the negative aspects of GM because they make them short-term enough so that reproductive and other issues do not manifest before the study time is up.
4. Kids are more sensitive to GMOs because they have higher metabolic rates so they eat more for their body weight than adults, resulting in a higher bioaccumulation of GMOs in their bodies than in adults' bodies. Further, their immune systems are not fully developed, and they are more sensitive to toxins.
5. Women wanting to conceive should get off GMOs for at least two weeks before trying to become pregnant, due to the evidence showing that genetic changes caused by GMOs can be passed on.
6. The proposition that there is not enough food to feed the world is industry-created and untrue.
7. The USGS has found that due to increased use of Roundup that its now found in 60% or more of all rain, air and water samples taken.
8. You can reverse the damage from eating GMOs by: buying organic, buying products that say non-GMO, using the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, and avoiding the at-risk ingredients.
9. Aspartame is derived from a genetically-engineered organism - avoid it!!!
10. Currently there are no requirements in the US to label products containing GMOs.
11. Consumer activism has successfully stopped GM tomatoes, potatoes, wheat, rice, and biopharmaceuticals - it works!
12. There is litigation to reverse the USDA approval of GMO alfalfa in 2011.
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