Julie’s Corner – The Skinny on GMOs

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Chances are you’ve heard rumblings about GMOs. The press has covered recent protests, and social media is buzzing with various posts on their dangers.  If you haven’t had the time to get the full scoop, here’s the skinny on GMOs in five bullet points.

** GMOs are Genetically Modified Organisms and refer to any food product that has been altered on a genetic level. Genes from an animal, plant, bacterium, or virus are inserted into a different organism (most often a plant). Think tomatoes crossed with fish genes and potatoes altered by jellyfish – really!

** GMOs are present in 70% of our food – chances are if you are eating a food containing corn, canola, or soy, you are ingesting GMOs.  Read your labels to find out how many products in your pantry or refrigerator contain foods made with those ingredients.

** GMOs have significant restrictions or are banned in over 60 developed nations, including the European Union, Australia and Japan, but not in the United States. The US government recently approved what opponents have called the “Monsanto Protection Act.” The law, hidden in the must-pass budget bill — requires USDA to ignore a court order and allow the planting of new genetically engineered crops while the agency conducts further review.  Translation – the FDA is saying to food makers, Monsanto being the most notable, it is okay to put those potentially dangerous food additives on the market while we keep studying them to see if they make people sick.

** GMO’s effect on humans is not known. However, a recent study published in the current issue of the Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases reveals the potential “leukemogenic,” think tumors and cancer, “properties of the biopesticides engineered into the vast majority of GMO food crops.” They concluded that it is premature to consider GMOs safe for mammals.  Simply put, the study shows a causal link between cancer and genetically modified food.  In addition, there is speculation that the increase in digestive disorders, food allergies, autism, and infertility are linked to GMOs.

** GMO impact on the environment is questionable.  GMO’s are linked to the decrease in monarch butterflies and bees, the pollinators of our foods.  In addition, the use of “Round-Up Ready Seeds,” or GMO seeds has led to the increased use of pesticides.  The ripple effect of bothis vast.

Take away – knowledge is power, use it to make the decisions that are best for your own health

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