Saturday, January 8, 2011

Genetically Modified Foods and the Link to Allergies - Part 1

There are not many subjects that get me as worked up as the subject of genetically modified food.  The fact that one company has decided that their bottom line is more important than the health of the world's people and the future of our country and that a handful of U.S. governmental agencies have decided that it's more important to protect that business than to prevent their constituents from becoming human guinea pigs absolutely infuriates me.  Not only are we all at risk of damaged immune systems and digestive systems, infertility and increased risks of cancer, to name a few, but GM foods might actually also be the cause of the food allergy epidemic.  And, our beloved children face the greatest risk of all.

It all started in the 1990's when Monsanto determined a way to boost the sale of their product, RoundUp.  By gene-splicing corn, soy, cotton and canola with foreign DNA, Monsanto scientist were able to create a plant that could survive massive doses of RoundUp allowing farmers to repeatedly spray their crops.  Now,
 75 million acres, or 85%, of U.S. corn production is GM, 72 million acres or 91% of U.S. soy is GM, 8.8 million acres or 88% of U.S. cotton is GM, 3.2 million acres or 85% of U.S. Canola is GM and 1.2 million acres or 95% of U.S. sugar beets is GM.  Eighty percent of these crops get converted to animal feed and end up in our beef, dairy and eggs.  The other 20% ends up on our grocery stores shelves in the form of non-organic processed foods.  Just reading these facts on the Organic Consumer Association's "Millions Against Monsanto" link makes me nauseous.  The reach of GM food and the resulting damage is far too extensive to cover in a couple of posts.

Why do we stand for it?  Only a fourth of all Americans even realize that we are eating this toxic food.  There's no labeling laws requiring GM foods to be identified.  If that was the case, over 80% of the foods found on our store shelves would have to have a warning label

Avoiding it takes knowledge and time, at least in the beginning.  I've heard from family and friends that have decided after reading my blog to take the challenge to make shopping changes in order to avoid foods made with GM ingredients.  I think the goal to completely avoid GM food is next to impossible to achieve.  For our family, I try to just minimize how much we eat.  I will say that now that I know the health risks, I find it extremely difficult to put an item I know to contain GM ingredients in my grocery cart.  I'd rather do without.

I'm hoping that I've given you enough food for thought, no pun intended, to also consider making a New Year's Resolution to learn about the risks of GM food, what brands are the biggest users of GM ingredients and what steps you and your family can take to minimize the intake of GM food.  If I haven't, maybe this list published by the Institute of Responsible Technology giving 65 Health Risks of GM Foods will.  My personal goal for 2011 is to now tackle our restaurant exposure.

I still want to touch on why our kids are at biggest risk as well as cover the link between GM foods and allergies.  Those topics are too big to cover in this post so there's a Part 2 and Part 3 still to come.

Thanks for giving me a minute to get up on my soapbox!

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