Guest Author - Rann Patterson
What Are GMOs?
GMOs are genetically modified organisms that have been added to our food supply for the last 15 years. Most of us unknowingly ingest GMOs every day in processed foods. There is a growing contentious debate as to whether GMOs are safe and healthy, or not.
Genetically altered foods are engineered to produced more; they are supposed to contain more nutrients, resist insects and plant diseases. If I was a farmer and only cared about my bottom-line, I would be very enticed to take this route, and it appears that many have. Listen to this – these foods can grow in droughts, floods, and even in extreme temperatures where normal crops would never survive.
The Bionic Fish - Fact or Fiction?
A recent report stated that in America 85% of corn, soybeans, sugar beets and canola are grown from GMO seed, in other words "crops" only - for now.
Soon however, the FDA may give the green light for the genetically altered "animal", believe it or not. Think about this: farm-raised salmon that has the ability to grow four times faster than traditionally farm-raised salmon. “The Bionic Fish” – sounds like a new movie title!
Safe vs. Side-Effects
A House Agriculture Committee member strongly supports GMOs, as does the U.S. Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and all three government agencies that regulate these products. They all say growing crops this way is safe. However, other research provides evidence that this food can increase allergic reactions, resistance to antibiotics, problems to the productive system, accelerates aging (who in their right mind wants that?!), and can cause damage to the immune system - some of which can cause pre-cancerous conditions.
What Farmers Say
Some successful organic farmers are rejecting GMOs, stating that it fundamentally violates the very pattern of the natural food chain. A senior analyst for the Center for Food and Safety cited being worried about the disruption of cross-pollination, and the adverse affect it is having on the honey bee colonies, which are vanishing at an alarming rate.
In other words, it takes bees to pollinate crops so they will grow. Bees don’t know how to differentiate between natural crops and those that are GMOs. They can contaminate a natural or organic plant after pollinating a crop that has been grown from GMO seed. That problem aside, the bees themselves are also obviously being devastated systemically by this process as well.
Take Time to Read Labels
Many large cities have grocery stores that carry organically grown foods and non-dairy milk. And many small towns have an edge because of the benefit of local farmers. I've been a label reader for a long time, and if I can't pronounce the words I know the food is probably filled with chemicals so I put the product back on the shelf. Non-dairy milk products are east to spot, but cereals are a problem in that so many are made from corn and wheat - both of which come from the GMO crops. Rice products are my personal favorite.
Keep a List of Foods You Cannot Tolerate
It is my understanding that the FDA does NOT require a companies to label food products if it contains food made from modified seed. The companies that do so are doing it because that is their purpose and goal - to deliver a product that is healthy for us. When it comes to boxed food, I would just say try it out, and the litmus test about how good the product is, is how you will feel after you eat the product. Allergic reactions are usually immediate and side effects you may notice during the night or the next day. Just be sure and keep a list of "What NOT to buy" when going grocery shopping, and if someone goes for you make sure they are aware of your list. This practice is good for everyone, especially those with chronic illness such as arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome. I do believe it is a great help in lowering the risk of getting cancer.
Editor's Note: I am not a healthcare professional. If you think you have become ill from eating a certain food, write down numbers from the package to alert the manufacturer. If you become very ill, do not hesitate to dial 911 in an Emergency.