Genetically Modified Foods by Jean Handwerk

image001GM

Genetic modification may well be the greatest health and environmental
threat humanity has ever faced.

Since genetically modified or engineered foods (GM, GE, GMOs) are pervasive in our food supply, it is wise to ask, what are they? Are they essentially the same as non-GM foods? And since humanity faces a global economic and food-supply crisis, do genetically modified crops live up to claims of safety, productivity, and profitability?

Natural, or traditional, breeding processes allow modifications within a
species. A horse, for example, bred with a donkey, makes a mule. In genetic
modification, though, a gene with desired characteristics from a different
species (i.e., a transgene) is physically inserted into the genetic sequence
of plant or animal DNA. Perhaps the best-known example is that of specific
genetic material from a soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) inserted
into corn or cotton, resulting in Bt corn or Bt cotton, each of which
manufactures its own pesticide.

Unfortunately, after GM insertion, up to 5% of other genes in the same DNA
genetic sequence mutate in ways that can’t be predicted, prevented,
controlled, or reversed. In appearance and flavor, GM foods may resemble
non-GM equivalents, but scientists and watchdog organizations worldwide
report GM’s harmful effects on human and animal health and reproduction.
They fear side effects such as new toxins, new diseases, and
health-compromising digestive problems.

Christ never planted the seeds of death in the system. Satan planted these
seeds when he tempted Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge which meant
disobedience to God. Not one noxious plant was placed in the Lord’s great
garden, but after Adam and Eve sinned, poisonous herbs sprang up. In the
parable of the sower the question was asked the master, “Didst not thou sow
good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?” The master
answered, “An enemy hath done this” (Matthew 13:27,28). All tares are sown
by the evil one. Every noxious herb is of his sowing, and by his ingenious
methods of amalgamation he has corrupted the earth with tares (2 Selected
Messages 288).


The Evidence

Studies reveal higher death rates, organ damage, reproductive failures,
sterility, damaged immune systems, abnormal cell growth in digestive tracts, lower infant birth weight, and higher infant mortality in animals fed GM crops. Farmers report thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock.

Toxic and allergic properties of GM foods have been widely documented. In
one experiment, rats refused to eat a GM tomato; some of the force-fed rats
developed stomach lesions or died within 2 weeks. The tomato was approved for market.

Bt toxin survived digestion in mice and caused damage to the small
intestines. GM-impaired digestion may increase allergies or digestive
maladies. GM peas producing life-threatening inflammatory responses weren’t marketed only because a mice study happened to be used for the first time.
Soy allergies in the UK increased 50% soon after GM soy was introduced.
Rats, similar to humans in reactivity, developed problems similar to humans’ multiple chemical sensitivity.

In one UK study done in 1995 by highly respected gene researcher Dr. Arpad Pusztai, rats fed GM potatoes had marked changes in their development. The most alarming was offspring with smaller livers and heart sizes, weaker immune systems, and, worst of all, smaller brain sizes. Pusztai reported some of these findings in a TV interview (omitting the findings about smaller brains, for fear of panicking the public), and said, “I find it
very, very unfair to use our fellow citizens as guinea pigs.”

Despite initial commendation, he was shortly fired from his job at the
government-supported lab, his research confiscated and discredited, his team dispersed, and a gag order imposed on him. Protests from the international scientific community were unavailing.i

One scientist serving on an international Independent Science Panel on GM
plants in 2003, stated, “The [GM] process is not at all precise. It is
uncontrollable and unreliable, and typically ends up damaging and scrambling the host genome, with entirely unpredictable consequences.”ii At least two studies of rats fed GM potatoes revealed an unusual increase in cell growth in the small and large intestines. Several scientists have said the
situation may lead to cancer.iii

Additionally, in one small human study, researchers found GM soy transgenes released during digestion had transferred from the food into human gut bacteria and continued to function there, with unknown consequences. One of many concerns is that because many GM crops are engineered to be antibiotic resistant (as an identifying tag in the development process), it is feared the antibiotic resistance will be transferred to the human or animal. In fact, antibiotic-resistant infections are reportedly on the rise in children, the most vulnerable group.iv

Consider, too, the supplement L-tryptophan imported back in the 1980s. Of
six brands, one was GM. About 100 Americans died and thousands were sickened or disabled after ingesting it. If symptoms hadn’t been new, unique, and acute-arising so quickly that medical help was sought-the connection to GM L-tryptophan might never have been made. However, if symptoms develop more slowly or with less unique symptoms, how can the cause be reliably determined?

What if human symptoms are related to something the animal ate-like GM corn?
No pre-market release safety studies were done on the effects of consuming
GM-fed animals, yet independent studies indicate some GM DNA appears in
meat, eggs, and dairy.


Farming Issues

So far, GM food safety claims have proven false. Economic and
environmental issues have also emerged. Promises of increased crop yields to alleviate world hunger and poverty haven’t materialized. Wind spreads GM pollen onto non-GM fields, making them also GM. GM-free honey cannot be guaranteed, as bees gather nectar from GM and non-GM flowers.

After picking Bt cotton, Indian shepherds grazed their flocks on the plants.
Within a week, one-fourth of the sheep died. Filipino villagers near Bt
cornfields developed serious health problems during pollination. Some
animals died after eating the corn.

Weeds growing amid GM herbicide-resistant crops become herbicide-tolerant, so farmers must spray more often or use more toxic herbicides. This increases farmers’ expenses, because not only are GM farmers forbidden to save seeds to use the next year, but must purchase more seeds each year, these plants are designed to be herbicide-resistant to only one particular herbicide, which farmers must, of course, purchase. Not only that, GM soy has higher herbicide residues, which may trigger allergies. All these effects are compounded, permanent, and global.

Farmers have other concerns, too. Despite FDA claims of “substantial
equivalence,” nutritional equivalency studies are lacking. Back in 1992, one
FDA official warned, “[GM] field corn supplies 50 to 75% of the diet of most
domestic animals, so small changes in nutrient levels from genetic
engineering can have large effects on animal health.” The same applies to
humans, because the health consequences of eating GM-fed animals and fish
are not known.

Fears for the Future
Presently, clinical trials are underway for GM-based vaccines and drugs, and
for a food-based spermicide (corn with human transgenes) for possible use
against overpopulation. A Greenpeace spokesperson was concerned that the
spermicide gene would get into non-GM corn and “end up in someone’s corn
flakes.” The GM company claims almost no chance for accidental
cross-pollination. However, there’s simply no way to prevent genetic
material from being spread by wind, pollen, insects, seed matter, animal
feces, or birds. Contamination by GM crops has already occurred rather
extensively, which jeopardizes the integrity of our entire biosystem.

Independent observers report that years of GMO results indicate no overall
increased yields but, instead, increased pesticide use, harmful effects on
wildlife from honeybees to aquatic creatures to mammals, herbicide-resistant superweeds and pesticide-resistant bugs, a suicide epidemic in India as GM cotton farmers face financial ruin, and animals and humans falling ill or dying after GM exposure. Genetic modification may well be the greatest health and environmental threat humanity has ever faced.


What Can We Do?

The official FDA policy from the beginning is that GM foods have
“substantial equivalence” to non-GM foods. Therefore, no safety testing or
labeling for consumers is required. What follows, then, are some guidelines
to protect health.

First, read labels. Conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables have a
4-digit code on their stickers. Organically grown produce has five digits
starting with 9. GM produce also has five, beginning with 8.

Second, memorize the risky ingredients. Most U.S. corn (including oil,
syrup, flour), canola (canola oil), cotton (cottonseed oil), soy, and sugar
beets (as opposed to sugar cane) are GM (3 c’s, 2 s’s). Hawaiian papaya is
usually GM as well. Without labeling laws, there’s no way to know the source
of sugar in a bag of sugar off the grocery shelf. Fast or snack foods are
usually fried in canola or cottonseed oil-sometimes corn oil. High fructose
corn syrup is found in thousands of canned, boxed, frozen, and baked
products, as are corn and sugar. Soy appears as dried or fresh beans, tofu,
soy flour, soy protein concentrates, soy oil, and soy milk; it often is the
source of lecithin. The oil in gel capsules may be soy, canola, or corn.

Third, buy organic. If packaging labels read “100% organic,” “organic,” or
“made with organic,” then by law no GM products can be in the product.
However, if “organic” is only in the list of ingredients and nowhere else on
the packaging, then only that particular ingredient is organic and the rest
may be GMOs.

Some companies put “non-GMO” or “made without GMOs” on their products. Some limit the “non-GM” status to one common GM ingredient. Consumers should be relatively safe if the other four main GM crops aren’t listed.

Field corn is used for grain products like chips, tortillas, polenta, corn
meal, and oil. Unless otherwise labeled, it is likely to be genetically
modified, although blue and white corn varieties are usually non-GM. GM
sweet corn is gaining popularity; the most common varieties are the
Attribute varieties by Syngenta.

If organic is not financially feasible, conventional fruits and veggies must
do. However, remember that buying the organic variety of the 12
heaviest-sprayed fruits and vegetables will reduce the pesticide load by
almost 90%. Consider growing your own vegetables and small fruits; turn part of your yards into productive gardens. Build a greenhouse. Even in colder climes, you can grow seasonal produce most of the year.

Meat and Dairy Affected

Meats, dairy products, farmed fish, and eggs are usually from GM-fed
animals. One can buy organic, wild-caught, or 100% grass-fed and compensate the greater cost with smaller portions, or learn to do without, as
vegetarians and vegans do. Plant sources of calcium are actually assimilated
better than cow’s milk. Furthermore, casein, a protein found in cow’s milk,
has been indisputably linked to tumor growth.v

Many food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents are GM.
Again, buy organic or stick to unprocessed foods. The sweetener aspartame
(Nutrasweet, Equal), found in many thousands of products, is also GM.
Anything “sugar-free” should be suspect; read the labels.

Ideal Diet
You will likely find your favorite foods will not withstand GM scrutiny. The
biotech industry has necessitated some significant lifestyle changes for
health-conscious individuals, but prevention is obviously better when no
cure is possible, and much can be said for a simpler diet, anyway. The more
unprocessed or minimally-processed and fresh foods we eat, the more likely
we will see significant improvement in our health, concentration, sleep, and
energy. Better diets improve children’s behavior, sleep, and learning.
Additionally, by following a simpler, whole-foods diet, not only will we
reduce our excitotoxin exposure but our food expenses may actually decrease.
A diet based on fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts/seeds is truly
the healthiest for all ages.

Protect Your Family

Success of the GM food industry is tied to consumer ignorance. Just a small
percentage of people switching to non-GMO brands and/or writing to food
companies demanding they discontinue usage of GM ingredients will force food companies to replace GM ingredients with non-GM ingredients. In Europe in 1999, that tipping point was reached within ten weeks after Dr. Pusztai’s research was finally publicly revealed. Over 750 articles written on genetic modification pushed the issue front-and-center. Within a single week, almost all major food companies committed publicly to remove GMOs from their product lines.

An TomatoeA GM moratorium was then imposed in Europe, but the US, Canada, and Argentina blamed lack of scientific basis for the unfair trade barriers hurting their farmers. The World Trade Organization ruled the EU must open its markets to GM foods. Thankfully, labeling is still required there. EU countries still may ban GM crops, but the ruling EU Commission strongly supports biotechnology. Asia and Africa are biotech’s newest markets; expect expanding uses for GM technology worldwide, too. The FDA now plans to release unlabeled genetically engineered animals into America’s food supply.

If there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the
race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast
which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere (Spirit of
Prophecy, volume 1, 69).

What does God’s Word say? “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is
come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou
shouldest give reward unto thy servants.and shouldest destroy them which
destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18).

Our safest course is to read labels, eat simply, grow our own food, heed
inspired health counsel, and insist on GMO labeling!

By: Jean Handwerk

For more information visit the Union Of Concerned Scientists site:
http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/science/failure-to-yield.html

i F. William Engdahl, Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic
Manipulation (Global Research, 2007): 21-29. Pusztai’s findings were
eventually published in Stanley Ewen and Arad Pusztai, “Effects of Diets
Containing Genetically Modified Potatoes Expressing Galanthus Nivalis Lectin
on Rat Small Intestine,” The Lancet (October 16, 1999).
ii Ibid, 30.
iii Jeffrey Smith, Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies
about the Safety of the Genetically Modified Foods You’re Eating (Yes!
Books, 2003): 37. See seedsofdeception.com
<http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/Home/index.cfm> . Smith is founder
and director of the Institute for Responsible Technology
(responsibletechnology.org
<http://www.responsibletechnology.org/GMFree/Home/index.cfm> ).
iv Archives of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, January 2009.
v T. Colin Campbell, The China Study (Benbella Books, 2005).

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3 Responses to Genetically Modified Foods by Jean Handwerk

  1. Pingback: Genetically Modified Foods by Jean Handwerk « Web of Evidence …

  2. Edmond Koestler says:

    Tryptophan is great because it helps me to sleep at night and another great thing about it is that it is also a natural anti-depressant. ;”.`”

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  3. Willena Bridgforth says:

    It is commonly believed that depression is linked to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. An important chemical is serotonin as this influences mood. The amino acid tryptophan comprises one of the building blocks of DNA and is required by the body to produce serotonin. It is an essential amino acid, which means your body can not produce it and so it must be obtained through diet.^

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