My obsession for chips and salsa/guacamole has come to a halt. Why? Because of my new obsession with the horrors of genetically modified (GM) foods. The corn in tortilla chips is one of the major GM foods. The more I read, the more terrified I became. Especially when I thought about my child spending playdates in other kids homes – with parents or nannies who are not educated on GM dangers. We need to educate ourselves and our friends – FAST! GM foods cause everything from sterility and infertility to allergies and cancers. Wake-up in restaurants – talk about no regulation.
I have included two articles below. One explains the health problems brought on with GM foods and the other from www.foodbabe.com which gets more specific about food labeling and how companies that use GM foods try to trick customers by cunning labeling strategies.
The health information featured below is excerpted from Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risk of Genetically Engineered Foods, by Jeffrey M. Smith
In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated that, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid GM foods.
Starting in 1996, Americans have been eating genetically modified (GM) ingredients in most processed foods. Why isn’t the FDA protecting us?
In 1992, the Food and Drug Administration claimed they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different from conventionally grown foods. Therefore they are safe to eat, and absolutely no safety studies were required. But internal memos made public by a lawsuit reveal that their position was staged by political appointees who were under orders from the White House to promote GMOs. In addition, the FDA official in charge of creating this policy was Michael Taylor, the former attorney for Monsanto, the largest biotech company, and later their vice president.
In reality, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored.
Today, the same biotech companies who have been found guilty of hiding toxic effects of their chemical products are in charge of determining whether their GM foods are safe. Industry-funded GMO safety studies are too superficial to find most of the potential dangers, and their voluntary consultations with the FDA are widely criticized as a meaningless façade.
GM plants, such as soybean, corn, cottonseed, and canola, have had foreign genes forced into their DNA. The inserted genes come from species, such as bacteria and viruses, which have never been in the human food supply.
Genetic engineering transfers genes across natural species barriers. It uses imprecise laboratory techniques that bear no resemblance to natural breeding, and is based on outdated concepts of how genes and cells work. Gene insertion is done either by shooting genes from a “gene gun” into a plate of cells or by using bacteria to invade the cell with foreign DNA. The altered cell is then cloned into a plant.
Widespread, unpredictable changes
The genetic engineering process creates massive collateral damage, causing mutations in hundreds or thousands of locations throughout the plant’s DNA. Natural genes can be deleted or permanently turned on or off, and hundreds may change their behavior. Even the inserted gene can be damaged or rearranged, and may create proteins that can trigger allergies or promote disease.
GM foods on the market
There are eight GM food crops. The five major varieties—soy, corn, canola, cotton, and sugar beets—have bacterial genes inserted, which allow the plants to survive an otherwise deadly dose of weed killer. Farmers use considerably more herbicides on these GM crops and so the food has higher herbicide residues. About 68% of GM crops are herbicide tolerant.
The second GM trait is a built-in pesticide, found in GM corn and cotton. A gene from the soil bacterium called Bt (for Bacillus thuringiensis) is inserted into the plant’s DNA, where it secretes the insect-killing Bt-toxin in every cell. About 19% of GM crops produce their own pesticide. Another 13% produce a pesticide and are herbicide tolerant.
There is also Hawaiian papaya and a small amount of zucchini and yellow crookneck squash, which are engineered to resist a plant virus.
Growing evidence of harm from GMOs
GM soy and allergic reactions
- Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced.
- A skin prick allergy test shows that some people react to GM soy, but not to wild natural soy.
- Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen.
- GM soy also contains a new unexpected allergen, not found in wild natural soy.
Bt corn and cotton linked to allergies
The biotech industry claims that Bt-toxin is harmless to humans and mammals because the natural bacteria version has been used as a spray by farmers for years. In reality, hundreds of people exposed to Bt spray had allergic-type symptoms, and mice fed Bt had powerful immune responses and damaged intestines Moreover, the Bt in GM crops is designed to be more toxic than the natural spray and is thousands of times more concentrated.
Farm workers throughout India are getting the same allergic reactions from handling Bt cotton as those who reacted to Bt spray. Mice and rats fed Bt corn also showed immune responses.
GMOs fail allergy tests
No tests can guarantee that a GMO will not cause allergies. Although the World Health Organization recommends a screening protocol, the GM soy, corn, and papaya in our food supply fail those tests—because their GM proteins have properties of known allergens.
GMOs may make you allergic to non-GM foods
- GM soy drastically reduces digestive enzymes in mice. If it also impairs your digestion, you may become sensitive and allergic to a variety of foods.
- Mice fed Bt-toxin started having immune reactions to formerly harmless foods.
- Mice fed experimental GM peas also started reacting to a range of other foods. (The peas had already passed all the allergy tests normally done before a GMO gets on the market. Only this advanced test, which is never used on the GMOs we eat, revealed that the peas could actually be deadly.)
GMOs and liver problems
- Rats fed GM potatoes had smaller, partially atrophied livers.
- The livers of rats fed GM canola were 12-16% heavier.
- GM soy altered mouse liver cells in ways that suggest a toxic insult. The changes reversed after they switched to non-GM soy
GMOs, reproductive problems, and infant mortality
- More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks.
- Male rats and mice fed GM soy had changed testicles, including altered young sperm cells in the mice.
- The DNA of mouse embryos functioned differently when their parents ate GM soy
- The longer mice were fed GM corn, the less babies they had, and the smaller their babies were.
- Babies of female rats fed GM soy were considerably smaller, and more than half died within three weeks (compared to 10% of the non-GM soy controls).
- Female rats fed GM soy showed changes in their ovaries and uterus.
- By the third generation, most hamsters fed GM soy were unable to have babies.
Bt crops linked to sterility, disease, and death
- Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants after harvest. Others suffered poor health and reproductive problems.
- Farmers in Europe and Asia say that cows, water buffaloes, chickens, and horses died from eating Bt corn varieties.
- About two dozen US farmers report that Bt corn varieties caused widespread sterility in pigs or cows.
- Filipinos in at least five villages fell sick when a nearby Bt corn variety was pollinating.
- The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer. Rats also had damaged organs and immune systems.
Functioning GM genes remain inside you
Unlike safety evaluations for drugs, there are no human clinical trials of GM foods. The only published human feeding experiment revealed that the genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function. This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have their GM proteins produced continuously inside us.
- If the antibiotic gene inserted into most GM crops were to transfer, it could create super diseases, resistant to antibiotics.
- If the gene that creates Bt-toxin in GM corn were to transfer, it might turn our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories.
- Animal studies show that DNA in food can travel into organs throughout the body, even into the fetus.
GM food supplement caused deadly epidemic
In the 1980s, a contaminated brand of a food supplement called L-tryptophan killed about 100 Americans and caused sickness and disability in another 5,000-10,000 people. The source of contaminants was almost certainly the genetic engineering process used in its production. The disease took years to find and was almost overlooked. It was only identified because the symptoms were unique, acute, and fast-acting. If all three characteristics were not in place, the deadly GM supplement might never have been identified or removed.
If GM foods on the market are causing common diseases or if their effects appear only after long-term exposure, we may not be able to identify the source of the problem for decades, if at all. There is no monitoring of GMO-related illnesses and no long-term animal studies. Heavily invested biotech corporations are gambling with the health of our nation for their profit.
Help end the genetic engineering of our food supply
When the tipping point of consumer concern about GMOs was achieved in Europe in 1999, within a single week virtually all major food manufacturers committed to remove GM ingredients. The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to reach a similar tipping point in the US soon.
Our growing network of manufacturers, retailers, healthcare practitioners, organizations, and the media, is informing consumers of the health risks of GMOs and helping them select healthier non-GMO alternatives with our Non-GMO Shopping Guides.
Start buying non-GMO today. Help us stop the genetic engineering of our food supply.
From foodbabe.com – amazing site FYI!
Non-labeled food products most likely contain GMOs if the ingredients include a corn or soy byproduct.
Before I get into the shocking results of the report, I want to share with you why I personally try to avoid GMOs in my diet:
- There are no mandatory safety assessments required before GMOs are introduced into our food system.
- GMOs have contributed to more toxic pesticide usage since their inception. I want the pollution of our earth to stop. The types of environmental chemicals we are being exposed to are what the President’s cancer Panel says will destine 41% of us to get cancer in our lifetime.
- There are no long term human studies to prove GMOs are safe.
- GMOs are responsible for killing bee colonies. Without bees, we are in big trouble.
- I could go on with more reasons, but one in particular is very personal. I used to suffer from some of the worst allergies. I have been hospitalized multiple times because of them. I used to be on several prescription drugs to control them too. When I removed GMOs from my diet, eating a majority of organic whole, unprocessed foods, my allergies vanished and was able to stop taking all my prescription medications. I feel like I have ten times more energy now and feel incredible. For this reason alone, I take avoiding GMOs very seriously.
GMOs are running rampant in our food supply
Earlier this year, the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center sent out secret shoppers to purchase more than 80 processed food products in New York and Seattle, which included a wide range of products all containing corn or soy ingredients: breakfast cereals, bars, corn chips, corn tortillas, baking mixes and flours, baby formulas, meat substitutes, soy “dairy” products, and tofu/tempeh products. Then, they tested these products to see if they contained any GMO ingredients, and if so, how much. This is important because the overwhelming majority of processed food in America contains corn or soy ingredients, which are also the most prevalent genetically modified crops, yet most major food manufacturers are strongly against labeling GMO ingredients. We are being left in the dark in this country, and virtually the only way to know whether a product contains GMOs is to have it tested – and that’s exactly what Consumer Reports did.
What I love is that Consumer Reports essentially just slapped a big fat GMO label on a few dozen everyday food products here in America, including many that are considered “Natural” and healthy. The manufacturers of these foods do not want you to know that their products contain GMOs and have collectively spent millions of dollars to fight against labeling laws, depriving us of our right to know. This is outrageous considering that 92% of American consumers want GMO labeling on food and are becoming increasingly aware of how prevalent GMOs have become in our food supply.
The “Natural” Label: It’s a sham.
Consumer Reports tested several products that are labeled as “Natural” because they found that the majority of Americans still believe that the “Natural” label means that they are non-GMO. The word “Natural” on a product means absolutely nothing in regards to GMOs – the FDA has failed to define the use of this term which allows food manufacturers to deceptively label their products as “Natural” to trick us into thinking their product is better than the others on the shelf. Consumer Reports notes that, “Consumers who want to avoid GE ingredients should not rely on products labeled “natural” to avoid GMOs. This label is highly confusing and generally misleading for consumers and Consumer Reports is asking the government to ban its use on food”. They should – because GMOs are not natural. As put by the Institute for Responsible Technology:
“A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans… With genetic engineering, scientists can breach species barriers set up by nature. For example, they have spliced fish genes into tomatoes. The results are plants (or animals) with traits that would be virtually impossible to obtain with natural processes, such as crossbreeding or grafting.”
Yet, GMOs remain in “Natural” foods all over the country.
Consumer Reports found that some “Natural” products contained similar amounts of GMOs as their counterparts without a natural label. For instance, they found substantial quantities of GMO corn or GMO soy in popular “Natural” foods such as Kashi GoLean Honey & Cinnamon hot cereal (owned by Kellogg’s), Utz All Natural Multigrain Tortillas, and Nature Valley Crunchy Oats ‘N Honey Granola Bars (owned by General Mills).
From Consumer Reports – Products guilty of using GMOs (A-Z):
Betty Crocker Authentic Cornbread & Muffin Mix
Boca Original Vegan Veggie Burgers
Corn Tortillas/Tortilla Flour
Doritos Oven Baked Nacho Cheese
Enfamil ProSobee Soy Infant Formula
General Mills Cocoa Puffs
General Mills Corn Chex
General Mills Kix
General Mills Trix
Gerber Good Start Soy
Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
Kashi GoLean (in the process of of getting Non-GMO project verified)
Kashi GoLean Hearty Honey & Cinnamon (Hot Cereal)
Kellogg’s Froot Loops
Kellogg’s Special K Protein Chocolatey Peanut Butter Granola Snack Bar
Krusteaz Natural Honey Cornbread & Muffin Mix
La Banderita Corn Tortillas
Maseca Instant Corn Masa Flour
Mission White Corn Tortillas
Mission Yellow Corn Tortillas
MorningStar Farms Chik’n Nuggets
MorningStar Farms Grillers California Turk’y Burger
Nature Valley Crunchy Oats ‘N Honey Granola Bars
Nature Valley Protein Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chewy Bar
Nice! Oats & Honey Crunchy Granola Bar (Walgreens)
Old El Paso Crunchy Taco Shells
Ortega Yellow Corn Taco Shells
PowerBar Performance Energy Chocolate Peanut Butter
Quaker Life Original
Quaker Yellow Corn Meal
Similac Go & Grow Soy Infant Formula
Similac Soy Isomil
Snyder’s of Hanover Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips
Tostitos Multigrain Tortilla Chips
Utz All Natural Multigrain Tortillas (some lots tested were non-GMO)
Xochitl Totopos de Maíz (labeling claim “No GMO”)
Just because it seems healthy doesn’t make it non-GMO.
Several products that many people think of as healthy (even without a “Natural” label) tested positive for GMOs, like Quaker Life Original cereal, PowerBar Performance Energy Chocolate Peanut Butter bars, MorningStar Farms Grillers California Turk’y burgers, and Boca Original Vegan Veggie Burgers. Most disturbingly, all soy-based infant formulas they tested (that are not labeled organic) are made with GMO soy, which included Enfamil Prosobee, Gerber Good Start, Similac Go and Grow, and Similac Soy Isomil.
Unverified Non-GMO claims: Don’t fall for it.
One of the most shocking things that Consumer Reports uncovered is that Xochitl Totopos de Maiz original corn chips (the non-organic variety) contain on average more than 75% GMO corn, although they claim right on the front of the bag that they contain no GMOs. Consumer Reports tested 6 packages of non-organic Xochitl chips from different lots and found GMOs in every single one. These chips aren’t verified by the Non-GMO project, but they contain the misleading statements “All Natural” and “No GMO” on the package. This just goes to show that because there are no regulations in place to ensure that non-verified claims can be trusted, the only way to be certain that you’re avoiding GMOs is to look for the verified seal or 100% certified organic food. Most of the products that Consumer Reports tested without a Non-GMO Project Verified or Certified Organic label contained GMO ingredients – with few exceptions. Consumer Reports concluded that the “USDA Organic” and “Non-GMO Project” seal is reliable. This is why I do not purchase products that contain high-risk GMO ingredients without a 100% certified organic or Non-GMO Project Verified label.
Tips to use this information and avoid GMOs at the grocery store:
- Never buy products purely based on “Natural” or “100% All Natural” label claims.
- Look for 100% Certified USDA Organic labels on food.
- Don’t blindly trust a non-GMO ingredient label claim that is not verified with a Non-GMO project seal or verification of 3rd party testing or certified organic.
- Read ingredient labels and watch out for common, particularly anything derived from corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, papaya, zucchini and squash.
- Do not buy any products that Consumer Reports verified contains GMOs (see the complete list from their report above).
Consumer Reports supports mandatory GMO labeling
“Despite this consumer demand, there are no requirements for labeling genetically engineered ingredients in processed foods and there is extremely limited safety testing required. Without labeling, there is a lack of transparency in the marketplace and Consumers’ Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, is actively engaged in a campaign to have foods with GE ingredients (also known as Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs) labeled. In the meantime, consumers are unable to make informed purchasing decisions”.
Consumer Reports dispel many of the myths (and lies) circulating about GMOs, such as:
- GMOs are necessary to feed the world (FALSE)
“it is interesting to note that the world already produces more than enough food to feed all its inhabitants. Hunger, whether in the US and or other parts of the world, is not caused by an insufficient quantity of food being grown. Rather it is caused by disparities in wealth, waste, wars, and market inefficiencies… Looking at the long term outlook, GE foods may actually threaten food availability and increase food costs”.
- GMOs are required to undergo pre-market safety testing by the FDA (FALSE)
“FDA, which regulates food safety, does not require any safety assessment of the GE crops, but invites companies to provide data for a voluntary safety review. This is in contrast to other major economies such as European Union, Australia, Japan, and China, which all require that a premarket mandatory safety assessment of GE crops is conducted”
- GMOs are safe for the environment (FALSE)
“GE crops can have a significant negative imp, in fact the opposite is true… The vast increase in herbicide use, especially glyphosate (trade name ), has caused weeds to become resistant to them, and this chemical is losing its effectiveness… In addition, studies suggest that glyphosate-tolerant crops and the use of glyphosate are likely more responsible for the large decline in monarch butterfly populations than are declines in the overwintering habitat in Mexico, since this herbicide use is wiping out most of the milkweed, which the Monarch butterfly depends on for food.”
GMOs have been proven safe to eat (FALSE act on the environment. Although the industry often claims that GE crops reduce pesticide use
“There is global scientific agreement that genetic engineering has the potential to introduce allergens and toxins in food crops, to change the nutritional value, and to create other unintended changes that may affect human health.”
The tide is beginning to turn in this country – I can feel it!
The more knowledgeable we become about the use of GMOs in our food, the more quickly we will get transparency. When we voice our opinion to these companies, they have proven time and again that they are willing to change – and they have. Consumer Reports noted that, “between testing and publishing of this report, that there were manufacturers who were obtaining or obtained Non-GMO Project Verified certification. This demonstrates an actively changing market that seems to be responding to consumer demand.” There are few things you can do to help keep this moving in the right direction:
- If you live in Oregon or Colorado, cast your vote in favor of GMO labeling this November. More information can be found on the Oregan Right to Know and the Colorado Right to Know websites.
- If you know someone who lives in Oregon or Colorado, call them, facebook them, tweet them or go visit them and ask them to cast their vote in favor of GMO labeling.
- If you live elsewhere, contact your state legislators and tell them you support mandatory labeling of GMO food.
- Spread the word by sharing this post with everyone you know.
Thank you for your commitment to a more transparent food system.
FOLLOW me (button in right column) to receive an email when new anti-aging tips post. You too can be as luscious as a goddess and as ageless as a vampire! Check out my ebook on amazon: The Ultimate Guide to Anti-Aging. (Link in right bar) Remember, knowledge is power.