A genetically modified organism (GMO) is a plant, animal, or microorganism that been genetically altered by artificial methods. Although modification through traditional animal breeding and plant hybridization techniques are technically genetic modifications, these techniques are typically not considered GM.
Why GMO foods?
- GM foods are developed to increase crop yields, reduce prices, and provide greater benefit, in terms of durability or nutritional value
- One of the main objectives of developing GMOs is to improve crop protection.
- GMOs have been created to be resistant to herbicides such as Round-Up, pesticides, and bacteria, fungal, and viral infections.
How common are GMOs?
- It has been estimated that more than 60 percent of food products in retail stores already contain genetically modified ingredients.
- Many agricultural products are commonly genetically modified.
- Genetically modified plants account for 88 percent of the corn acreage, 93 percent of the soybean acreage, and 94 percent of the cotton acreage grown today.
Are GMOs safe?
- Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe.
- In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions on the production and sale of GMOs.
- In the U.S., the federal government has approved GMOs
- Despite reasonable and widespread concern, multiple studies have shown little to no adverse effect of GMOs on human health.
How do I know if my food is GMO?
- Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, food labeling has not been mandated.
- However, various states are working to mandate labeling for GMO foods. In 2014 the state of Vermont enacted a law to require labeling of GMO foods and went into effect July 1, 2016.
- Find out more about which foods may be GMO. http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/what-is-gmo/
Additional concerns for human health?
Allergies and Immune Reactivity
· There is a concern that accidental gene transfer from commonly allergenic organisms to non-allergic organisms may occur, placing people with such allergies at risk.
· However, no allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market.
· GMO foods containing never before seen proteins, may potentially interact with the immune system and result in a negative effect such as inflammation or exacerbate “leaky gut”
· There is concern that gene transfer of GM foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract could potentially adversely affect human health.
· This is especially relevant if antibiotic resistance genes, used as markers when creating some GMOs, were to be transferred.
· Despite a sizable amount of published information and research studies, there is no international consensus regarding the long-term use and safety of GMOs.
· This debate will continue as researchers try to discover safer, high-yielding GMO products, companies figure out how to market, sell and distribute the products, and consumers become skeptical of where their food comes from.
IN THE NEWS….
The Controversy of Golden Rice:
· Vitamin A deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in developing countries.
· Vitamin A deficiency can negatively impact growth and development, suppress the immune system, cause death, and is a leading cause of childhood blindness.
· In 1999, researchers in Switzerland genetically modified a strain of rice to produce beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A.
· It is claimed that a single bowl of this rice can supply roughly 60% of a child’s daily requirement of vitamin A.
· Advocates believe Golden Rice is the key to improving vitamin A deficiency-related public health issues affecting developing countries and furthermore may aid in food security.
· Opponents cite potential negative impacts on environmental and public health and have concerns that this may bolster the acceptance of GMO foods in nations desperate for food solutions.
· After 17 years the debate over Golden Rice continues
· Read more about this ongoing debate online using your favorite search engine
The Flavr Savr™ Tomato:
· The first genetically modified crop approved for commercial sale was the Flavr-Savr™ tomato, created by Calgene. Calgene, who was eventually purchased by Monsanto, wanted to create a tomato with a vine-ripened taste that could withstand the rigors of shipping and retain its appearance and taste. It was approved by the FDA in 1993 and went on sale one year later, but in 1997, due to increasing public concerns and the need for specialized transportation equipment, production ceased.
Author Devin Wilson ND, CCT
As an integrative doctor, I utilize all appropriate treatment tools in managing my patients. Using the therapeutic order as a guide for naturopathic treatment stratification, we find that removing obstacles to cure and dietary modifications are pillars of a comprehensive plan. Contemporary society and modern science alike have witnessed the effects of the western diet such as obesity and type two diabetes epidemics, but can diet have an additional effect on health and diseases.
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