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GMO Facts: What is it and What are the Dangers?

by Tatiana Alcazar

December 9, 2019

gmo facts
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Shopping for food has always been tricky. Just think of all the ways you've learned to thump, massage, and feel out produce over the years. Getting the best means doing a little extra work.

But today? Reading labels is more important now than ever. It's getting hard to pick anything up off the shelf, fresh or boxed, without risking picking up a GMO product. Especially with so few GMO facts known by the consumer.

It's been a bad year for consumers on this front. The FDA has lifted the ban on GMO salmon at the same time that it approved the Arctic apple and Golden rice

Read on to learn all about the dangers of these items that will soon be invading your store shelves (and the efforts to label them).

Important GMO Facts

The issues with GMOs aren’t just related to health now. They also deal with economic issues, government regulation, and environmental concerns. 

The advancement of GMOs, or as they try to rebrand it, genetically engineered (GE) technology, touches so many aspects of the world.

History

The first GMO crop was a strain of tobacco that started in 1983. Utilizing a then untested technology, a lab was able to create a chimeric gene that gave the plant’s herbicide resistance. This crop went on to field testing in France and use in China.

Since then, more corps have become even more precisely transformed. While t1 plasmids were used in the past, the new CRISPR tool has been used to make even more precise changes. 

CRISPR is even being used by bio-hacking enthusiasts in their own garage labs. The technology is that easy to use and has traveled that far. 

Testing Issues

One of the most important concerns about GMOs in the food supply is the time they have been tested before reaching the market.

Take the Arctic apple, for instance. They planted the first crop of non-browsing apple in 2003. Now that they have been approved for the supermarket shelf, we have to ask, is that enough time to truly know the effects and the associated risks?

Take a look at another apple bred through traditional, natural, cross-breeding methods, the Pink Lady. These got their start in 1974 and were trademarked and on the shelves by 1989.

Their creator, the horticulturalists John Cripps explained the process of developing these savory apples over a period of seven years. 

How can they expect to know everything we need to know about the GMO apple in such a small amount of time? 

Nutritional Value

One of the major claims about GMO facts on crops is that they have superior nutritional value to organic and natural crops. A meta-study done by Standford in 2012 went into great detail about this topic.

The study went over hundreds of other studies to look at overall patterns and came to the conclusion that “organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods.” 

Meanwhile, GMO advocates push for putting their Golden Rice into the impoverished and starving areas like Bangladesh and areas of India where vitamin A deficiency causes serious issues. 

The IRRI has advocated for feeding these people for years, but they are constantly stymied by regulatory efforts. With so many lives at risk, it’s a shame better crops aren’t being planted for these people.

Gut Health Concerns

What you put in your body effects more than just your daily nutritional intake. Some elements of food build up over timeIn the case of GMO foods, carefully modified to have one or two genes added or suppressed, it is impossible to tell how those changes will stack up.

The testing time, as demonstrated by the Pink Lady, for a cross-bred or hybridized crop can be upwards of 7 years. They should match a single change in a genome with a corresponding number of years in study before reaching the market.

In feed studies conduct on pigs in Denmark and Australia the results were shocking. They gave pigs either a GMO-soya or a non-GMO-soya feed.

Many of the pigs developed issues with foaling, the live birthing of young, and issues with heart defects and liver problems were enormous. The study also investigated claims of intestinal and stomach inflammation caused by the feed.

The more study is done, the clearer the picture becomes about the efficacy and safety of GMO crops, particularly the soy and corn crops which are used in many processed foods.

Damage to the gut and organs all along the GI system have shown to be damaged by different feeds and it often lists the causes as unknown.

Allergen Issues

One thing that genes do is create proteins. When genes are moved and inserted from one plant to another, they may carry codes to create allergen proteins.

People with deadly peanut or shellfish allergies may find themselves eating food that has been contaminated with GMO genes and have an attack without warning.

Without proper labeling, this type of fear has a chilling effect on allergy sufferers.

A change to a single gene could have such an effect and be unknown. Yet, genetic engineers think they can change whatever in our food without an effect?

Pesticide Use

GMO facts is a key concern about the safety and use of GMOs is the question of pesticide use. This is a topic that’s been covered because of its vital importance in our health.

The issue is that GMOs have led to the development of synthetic pesticides and crops that resist pesticides. They have made studies and arguments over these poisons and the results speak for themselves.

A key importance of pesticide use to health is in the way that Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Round-Up herbicide, attacks the shikimate pathway of plants. While humans don’t have a shikimate pathway for the chemical to bond with, some bacteria do.

These bacteria live in soil and in your gut. As the pesticide residue from crops washes into the soil, beneficial bacteria are harmed. Within your own body, it wipes the same beneficial bacteria out, damaging your precious gut-biome.

Knowledge is Health

As you can see, there are a lot of GMO facts to learn. More crops are being approved every year and they’re almost impossible to identify without advanced degrees and tools to comb through their genetics. 

That doesn’t give us much hope on the home front without labeling standards. 

To stay up on this, and other topics relating to natural health, contact us with questions and ideas.  

Sources:

  1. Bottemiller Evich, Helena. "FDA paves way for salmon to hit market." POLITICO, 8 Mar. 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/08/fda-salmon-1253697
  2. Baker, Allison. "Arctic apples: A fresh new takeon genetic engineering." Harvard University, 15 Jan. 2018, http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/arctic-apples-fresh-new-take-genetic-engineering/
  3. Lynas, Mark. "US FDA approves Golden Rice." Alliance For Science, 25 May. 2018, https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/2018/05/us-fda-approves-golden-rice/
  4. "1974 Pink Lady Apples." Australian food history timeline, https://australianfoodtimeline.com.au/pink-lady-apples/
  5. Smith-Spangler, Crystal. "Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?: A Systematic Review." Annals of Internal Medicine, 4 Sept. 2012, https://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/1355685/organic-foods-safer-healthier-than-conventional-alternatives-systematic-review
  6. "Golden Rice meets safety standards in three global leading regulatory agencies." International Rice Research Institute, 12 Dec. 2018, https://www.irri.org/news-and-events/news/golden-rice-meets-food-safety-standards-three-global-leading-regulatory-0
  7. Lynas, Mark. "GMO pigs study – more junk science." Mark Lynas, 12 Jun. 2018, http://www.marklynas.org/2013/06/gmo-pigs-study-more-junk-science/

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About the author 

Tatiana Alcazar  -  A software engineer, former IBMer, co-founder of Naravis Corporation and a mom, with a passion for finding the solution and root cause to everything that comes across, including health. It has been a long journey since founding Naravis and trying to find solutions to my leaky gut syndrome and pursue natural health. Throughout this journey I have learned an enormous amount of information (acquired knowledge) and I feel it's my duty to share my knowledge and my experience with you.

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