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Health Hazards: GMOs Are Deemed Safe Despite Lack of Information

The FDA inspects food, but do they have all the info they need to make good decisions for you and your family? The FDA inspects food, but do they have all the info they need to make good decisions for you and your family?

 

GMOs are considered safe for human consumption, but their effects on your health are largely unknown. The FDA, which is responsible for food safety regulations in the U.S., has taken the position that GMOs are “substantially equivalent” to non-GMOs. Its 1992 “Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties” states, “FDA believes that the new techniques are extensions at the molecular level of traditional methods and will be used to achieve the same goals as pursued with traditional plant breeding. The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way, or that, as a class, foods developed by the new techniques present any different or greater safety concern than foods developed by traditional plant breeding.”


Dr. Amy Dean, president-elect of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), disagrees. She says the data from animal research indicates that GMOs may have a negative impact on human health.
 Dean also points out that some GMO crops were modified to be able to withstand high amounts of certain pesticides... She says that the resulting increase in pesticide consumption is also detrimental to human health.


“The way this has been introduced into the market, there hasn’t really been human research done,” says Dean. “We don’t know the human effect, so we have to extrapolate from animal data, which is pretty damning. What we’re seeing are things like infertility, a lot of changes in the immune system that are tied with allergy and asthma type inflammation, many of the things which are epidemic in the human population. The concern of AAEM is we’re seeing a lot more of these things and we’re seeing a lot more disease since the 1990s.”

While in recent years the American diet has been blamed for the prevalence of these diseases, such as diabetes, Dean says that their incidence has increased even more since the ‘90s. That points to GMOs, which were introduced commercially in 1996, whereas we’ve been consuming saturated fat and cholesterol for much longer.

Dean explains that the reason GMOs affect our bodies differently is that “the way these crops are developed, the DNA is randomly inserted from one organism into another. There’s no way to determine how it’s going to code. They’re making new proteins that are not in harmony in the body. It’s a non-natural process.”

Dean also points out that some GMO crops were modified to be able to withstand high amounts of certain pesticides, such as Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops (engineered to withstand Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide). She says that the resulting increase in pesticide consumption is also detrimental to human health.

“There really hasn’t been enough time and research to understand what the long term effects [of GMOs] will be,” she says. “There’s  not a lot of evidence that they’re bad for health, but on the other hand, people are saying, well we haven’t done the research. The biggest effect on consumers is that there’s a lot that’s not known.”

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What is GMO food really all about?
Last modified on Friday, 28 September 2012 16:40

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