Genetically modified organisms are in our refrigerators, on our shelves and likely in our digestive system right now.
NUTRITION It must be natural. It came from the ground, right? Eschewing the microwave variety, we heat our popcorn kernels in a pot of peanut oil over an open flame, then lightly sprinkle with sea salt. We take pride in the fact that our refrigerated cheese eventually grows mold, unlike the highly processed American Cheese with its, sugars, artificial colors, flavorings and preservatives. Kitchen shelves are free from canned foods. That pretty much does it. Now we're eating health right? Wrong.
Eating just two ounces of processed meat a day means you have a higher risk of heart diesease.
You have heard the term, "processed food." Food processing companies use more than 6000 additive chemicals to color, stabilize, emulsify, bleach, texturize, soften, sweeten, flavor, mask odors and preserve the food we're putting in our bodies. Yes, some of those bright colors, aromas and stabilizers are put there because we would find food repulsive to consume in its natural state. Though appearing to be the greatest offenders, processed food is not limited to boxed or canned goods. It comes in bags and shrink-wrapped packages too.  Just two ounces of processed, non-certified-organic meat a day means you are 42 percent more likely to get heart disease and 19 percent more likely to get diabetes. Also, without "grass-fed" labeling, most of the steer meat has eaten corn byproducts mixed with dead animal parts and steroids designed to prematurely end the steer's life at six months. And, without USDA Choice certification even an option for fish, it's more of a gamble than beef, pork or chicken. The FDA has approved of farms raising genetically engineered salmon. [2-4]
Genetically engineered (GE) foods have their DNA modified to grow faster, larger, repeal insects and weeds, interact with insecticides or suppress and enhance selective traits of organisms. Unlike health departments in most countries, the United States currently is not compelled to label GE foods for consumers. As you roll your shopping cart down the aisles, examining labels, 7 out of 10 products are likely genetically modified. It doesn't matter whether it's meat, packaged goods or produce. The primary offenders make up fundamental ingredients in the food chain.
|Some Genetically Engineered Food in the U.S. |
|*Cottenseed oil is used in many food products, as is corn in frozen foods, canned goods, snack foods, corn oil, corn meal, corn feed, corn starch and high-fructose corn syrup.|
Chemicals Lurking Within Our Fruits And Vegetables
Sadly, many people know the nation's food supply is unhealthy; they just prefer not to think about it. But ignorance is not bliss. Have you seen the documentary entitled Food, Inc. (2008)? Put it on your Netflix list or buy the DVD from Amazon. It's an eye-opener for the naive who assume that the FDA is vigilantly guarding the nation's food supply. Here's an excerpt from the plot summary at IMDb.com. "Health and safety (of the food itself, of the animals produced themselves, of the workers on the assembly lines, and of the consumers actually eating the food) are often overlooked by the companies, and are often overlooked by government in an effort to provide cheap food regardless of these negative consequences. Many of the changes are based on advancements in science and technology, but often have negative side effects." 
|The Hidden GMOs |
|Ingredient||What It Is||Likely In Your|
|Glucose||Simple sugar chemically made from corn||Soft drinks, baked goods|
|Lecithin||An emulsion made from soy||Chocolate, ice cream|
|Maltodextrin||Additive made from cornstartch||Instant soup, crackers, snacks|
Have a Bite of Monsanto
Introduced into the food supply in 1990, multi-national Monsanto's GM Bt corn is equipped with a gene from soil bacteria called Bt or Bacillus thuringiensis. This produces the Bt-toxin in the corn used by 90 percent of the farmers. The pesticide breaks open the stomach of certain insects and kills them. Monsanto and the EPA swore that the Bt-toxin produced inside the GE plant would be completely destroyed in the human digestive system. Unfortunately they have been proven wrong, because not only is Bt corn producing resistant "superpests," researchers have also found that the Bt-toxin can adversely affect human health. 
In 2011, doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found Bt-toxin in the blood of:
- 93 percent of pregnant women tested
- 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies
- 67 percent of non-pregnant women
Many homeowners use Roundup® in their garden to kill weeds and preserve grass. In agriculture, the counterpart are Roundup Ready® seeds, genetically modified organisms (GMO). Soybeans, corn, tomatoes and cotton are not the only GMO crops. "There’s nothing they are leaving untouched: the mustard, the okra, the bringe oil, the rice, the cauliflower. Once they have established the norm: that seed can be owned as their property, royalties can be collected," says Vandana Shiva, Ph.D. GMO foods regarded by the FDA as "principle of substantial equivalents," have been globally adopted. [6-8]
Dioxin is a member of the class of persistent organic pollutants that is produced through combustion, in the bleaching of paper/pulp or in the chemical manufacturing process. In regards to Agent Orange, dioxin was a by-product of the deliberately accelerated production of the herbicide 2,4,5-T. Specifically the dioxin contaminating Agent Orange was 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), which is the most toxic of all the dioxins and dioxin-like compounds. The average person in an industrialized nation has 3-7 pg/g (picograms/gram) of TCDD in their blood, primarily through environmental exposure to dioxin from combustion, and by eating dioxin contaminated meat, dairy and fish. 
As Roundup loses effectiveness, a herbicide called 2, 4-D made up the less toxic half of the Agent Orange formula is being developed. Beyond Pesticides points to both epidemiological and lab-based evidence linking it to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and other cancers. 
Another eye-opening video you should watch, available on the Web, is The World According to Monsanto. This documentary reveals that bovine somatotropin (abbreviated bST and BST) or recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), Posilac, alters the reproductive organs of dairy cows, causes mastitis, how chemical contamination spreads to humans and why governments endorse GMO. [9,10]
With so many chemicals present within the food chain, should we just give in and "suck it up," so to speak? We do have some options. As consumers exercise such options, those selling our food must take notice and stock what customers prefer.
The Great Organic Debate
In many markets, if there is an organic food section, it's often a very small aisle with comparatively overpriced and outdated produce. Paradoxically, the food is often outdated because of the higher price. So it's best to get produce directly from farmers who grow organic fruits and vegetables. How can we do that if we don't live in a rural area? Farmers' markets are often the best places to get healthy produce. To place the certified USDA Organic seal on products, farmers must pay expensive fees.  Some farmers grow organically but prefer not to pass along the high cost of certification to consumers. At farmers' markets you can meet such growers and decide if this is the best option for you. Whole Foods market stocks a larger variety of organic foods than traditional supermarkets. Grass-fed organic fresh meat is very expensive. Some choose to purchase organic frozen meat cuts directly from farms via the Internet. Ecomom.com even sells organic foods and hygiene products for babies.
This can't be washed out of the food.
Most shoppers prefer to save money and buy non-organic foods and wash off the pesticides really well before eating. This helps but as already discussed, GMOs have modified DNA. Though cleaning food is recommended, this can't be washed out of the food. A Standford University clinical study received significant press because it claimed that organic foods were no more advantageous than non-organic produce. However, after scrutiny, Consumer Reports concluded that the university’s scientific report failed to address food additives when conducting a comparison analysis of organic and non-organic foods. "Organic was meant as a healthier way of farming that is good for the environment — and that has been proven true," says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., director of consumer safety and sustainability for Consumer Reports. "Fewer pesticides and antibiotics, 100% organic animal feed (which cannot have poultry litter and other animal byproducts), hygiene management on the farm: These are all healthier practices for the environment and in some cases, humans too. In fact, we are learning more and more about the benefits that organic farming and sustainable agricultural practices can have on the health of people." [12,13]
Are these enough reasons to eat organic foods? Being knowledgeable of what is taking place with our food has led me to make healthier choices. This is partly why I became a vegetarian. Eating organic certainly requires diligence — when shopping and especially when eating out. Sometimes my wife returns from the market with different ingredients for planned recipes because the ones on the list were not organic.
We need to adjust our mindset. Consider dirt, rocks and weeds are less expensive than vitamins, fruits and vegetables. Why do we pay extra for the latter group? Because we don't consider the former to be edible and realize it will do us harm. That's the way we can look at organic foods. Is food that can potentially modify our reproductive organs and alter our immune system to become an adjuvant for life-threatening disease worth the cheaper price?
I trust this information will help you to remain A Bit More Healthy. Now that you have been empowered with the facts, what will you do? Some people become vegetarians or vegans. But if they don't eat organic foods, the GMOs can still have negative health consequences. Are you prepared to spend upwards of twenty dollars for a fresh grass-fed, USDA Organic steak? You can save money by having frozen organic meat shipped from out of state. Perhaps you have a plot of land and will begin growing your own fruits and vegetables. Or will you give in to the notion that everything is going to kill us eventually, so why bother? You don't need to decide at this moment. Watch the videos mentioned in this article. Then come back and add your comments below.
- 6 Dangers of Processed Foods for Your Kids. zisboombah.com, May 11, 2011
- Plot Summary for Food, Inc. imdb.com, 2008
- Real Food - It's Harder to Find Than You Think. ecomom.com, Nov 8, 2011
- Modified Salmon Is Safe, F.D.A. Says. nytimes.com, Sept 3, 2010
- Monsanto's Bt corn — breeding superbugs & harming human health. digitaljournal.com, June 7, 2012
- Roundup Ready Products. monsanto.com
- 'Superweeds' Revive an Old, Highly Toxic Herbicide. motherjones.com
- What Is Dioxin. agentorangerecord.com
- Bovine somatotropin. en.wikipedia.org
- The World According to Monsanto. youtube.com, 2008
- Steps to USDA Organic Certification - How to Get Certified Organic. organic.about.com, Sept 5, 2012
- Don't give up on organic food, our experts urge. consumerreports.org, Sept 5, 2012
- Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives? annals.org, Sept 4, 2012
- From Seeds of Suicide to Seeds of Hope: Why Are Indian Farmers Committing Suicide and How Can We Stop This Tragedy? huffingtonpost.com, April 28, 2009
- Indian Farmers Committing Suicide as a Result of Monsanto’s GM. seattleorganicrestaurants.com
- Holy Bananas: Your Favorite Fruit May Not Be Vegan Anymore. blisstree.com