Though the dangers of genetically modified foods are being proven by more studies showing that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment, the FDA has approved their use even if the full health and environmental effects of these foods is not yet fully understood. Neither the FDA, the Department of Agriculture (USDA), nor the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have done any long-term human health or environmental impact studies of genetically modified foods or crops, nor has there been any mandatory regulation specific to genetically modified food.
As more animal studies are proving, there may be serious drawbacks to this technology. On May 19th, 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) advised “physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning the dangers of genetically modified foods.”
They asked for a moratorium on GM foods, and encouraged long-term independent studies and labeling. The AAEM stated, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. Their statement concluded, “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.”
Genetically modified food has been shown to cause change in the immune system, leading to allergies and asthma.
Genetically modified soy and corn each contain two new proteins with allergenic properties. The soy contains up to seven times more trypsin inhibitor--a known soy allergen, and skin prick tests show that some people react to GM, but not to non-GM soy. Soon after genetically modified soy was introduced to the UK, soy allergies increased by 50%.
In India, when shepherds let sheep graze on Bt cotton plants, thousands died. Bt corn was also associated with the deaths of cows in Germany, and horses, water buffaloes, and chickens in the Philippines.
The only published human feeding study revealed that the gene inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function, meaning that long after we stop eating GMOs, we may still have potentially harmful GM proteins producing pesticides continuously in our intestinal flora, perhaps one reason why doctors have reported a huge increase in gastrointestinal problems over the last decade when genetically modified food has become widespread.
In 1989 about 100 people died, and between 5,000 and 10,000 people fell seriously ill, when they consumed the food supplement L-tryptophan. It was found that only those who had consumed the variety that was genetically modified became ill.
The dangers of genetically modified foods should not be underestimated, and a concerted effort needs to be made to limit or ban their use, as has already been done in Europe. However, the foxes are guarding the hen house, with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, having close ties to biotech giant Monsanto, and the senior adviser to the FDA, Michael Taylor, being a former Monsanto vice president.
Now that you are aware of the dangers of genetically modified foods, you can take steps to keep them off your dinner table. Read our article on how to avoid GMOs.
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