Franken-Foods Alert! All About GMOs
Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) foods — even the name sounds creepy and complicated. So what exactly is GMO? Dictionary.com defines it as an “organism or microorganism whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering.” Over the last few decades, scientists around the world have discovered ways to combine various genes from bacteria, flora and fauna to ‘improve’ both growing and biological features of produce and livestock. For example, a number of commercial GMO crops now contain bacterial DNA that protects them from common pests.
First marketed in the 1990s, GMO foods are now widespread throughout the US food and supply chain. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 70% of supermarket foods contain ingredients that have been genetically altered. This number is somewhat staggering and of great concern to many who feel that the effects of GMO on our health and environment have not been time tested or transparent. The battle over widespread genetic engineering in our food is heated.
On one side, pro-GMO groups (mainly Big Ag supporters) maintain that these altered crops increase the food supply, reduce the need for pesticides and have been proven safe. On the other hand, those who are concerned about GMO feel that this practice may be causing irreparable environmental damage and affecting numerous critical areas of health. Internationally, GMOs are banned in a number of countries and many others have enforced the labeling of GMO foods.
On the California ballot this November, Proposition 37 would – for the first time in the U.S. – require GMO foods to be labeled. At the time of this writing, the fate of Prop 37 has not yet been voted on, but one thing is certain: Big Ag industry is spending millions of dollars in advertising to defeat this “truth in labeling” and “right to know” proposition. With so much local and national attention on this critical issue, it’s important to understand the potential long term health and environmental effects of GMOs.
Cause for Concern
Founded in 1965, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine is an international association of physicians and other professionals interested in the clinical aspects of humans and their environment. Of note, this important organization has spoken out against GMOs based on a growing number of independent studies that have shown that the feeding of GMO corn and soy to animals affects fertility, immunity, cellular health and other critical functions.
Other studies have shown that GMO crops may encourage drug-resistant bacteria and pesticide-resistant bugs. Resistant pests will require stronger and more toxic pesticides in the future. Also, GMO crops can spread outside farm boundaries, becoming invasive and edging out native heirloom plants.
While these studies are very concerning, one of the bigger issues is the lack of independent studies regarding the impact of GMOs on human health. To truly determine the safety of GMO foods, we need multi-generational pre-clinical and clinical research, genetic testing, epidemiological data and independent, peer-reviewed safety studies. Though no one currently knows the long-term effects of GMOs on human health, we can indirectly observe the declining public health landscape since their mass introduction into our food supply roughly ten years ago.
The Other Side of Prop 37
With all the understandable concern over GMO food, why on earth would the Natural Products Association (NPA) stand against it? Here’s why:
“While NPA supports the consumers’ right to know about the foods they purchase and appreciates the transparency Proposition 37 offers regarding genetically engineered foods, we cannot support the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. NPA is very concerned with the enforcement provision as well as the limited definition of natural included in the language. Proposition 37 places every supplier, manufacturer, and retailer of food products at risk of unreasonable and frivolous litigation. We are concerned the restrictions on natural foods in the proposition language could create a difficult business environment in California and further hinder the ability of our members to sell natural products.”
Let’s break this down to NPA’s two primary concerns:
Limited Definition of “Natural”
“The proposition language excludes even raw produce that has undergone minor processing steps. While most folks can get behind the idea that purely synthetic additives should preclude the use of the term “natural,” cooking the apples from an orchard down the road into applesauce should not do the same.”
It should be noted that the NPA’s stance, like the stances of many of the organizations who have come out against Prop 37, has nothing to do with concern over the safety of GMO. Rather, their concern is over the way this proposition, if passed, has the potential to negatively impact thousands of well-meaning, and even health-minded businesses, large and small alike.
Whether or not Prop 37 passes, it’s good to know what to look for in your food and how to protect yourself and your family from possible negative health effects.
Where You’ll Find GMO Foods
Labeling laws do not allow GMOs to be certified organic. However, cross-contamination from neighboring fields may taint the organic food supply. At present, GMO crops make up roughly 88 percent of the soy, cotton, canola, sugar beet and corn supply. In addition, meat and dairy animals often live on GMO feed. Even if Prop 37 passes, it will not apply to “Food consisting entirely of, or derived entirely from, an animal that has not itself been genetically engineered, regardless of whether such animal has been fed or injected with any genetically engineered food or any drug that has been produced through means of genetic engineering”, meaning that products from animals fed GMO feed or injected with drugs or hormones will not necessarily be labeled as such.
Protect Yourself and Your Family
Yes, GMO foods are prevalent. But we can all focus on making long-term health choices by making a few simple, smart changes. EcoNugenics is proud to say that none of our products have GMO ingredients.
As noted, organic foods are required by law to not have GMO ingredients.
A strong immune system is essential for protecting long term health. In addition to a wholesome diet, regular exercise and healthy stress relief, EcoNugenics recommends targeted formulas for acute and long term immune health. Our medicinal mushroom formulas are grown in an organic facility. These wonderful formulas help optimize immune cells so that they function more efficiently. Ten Mushroom Formula® is a comprehensive daily wellness formula that delivers a synergistic blend of targeted medicinal mushrooms to support immunity and overall health. MycoPhyto Complex® mushroom formula combines six mushrooms grown on a blend of immune-supporting herbs. This powerful formula offers natural protection for immediate and long term immunity and overall health.*
Promote Cellular Health
EcoNugenics PectaSol-C® Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) is enzymatically modified pectin (as opposed to genetically modified citrus). This formula has been shown in numerous scientific studies to support immunity and healthy cell growth, as well as block the effects of harmful galectin-3 molecules throughout the body. MCP also helps remove heavy metals from the body, a critical step in protecting and maintaining long term health.*
Twenty years from now, the scientific literature may show that GMO foods are perfectly safe. On the other hand, they may be banned for numerous reasons. At this point, not enough independent research has been conducted to know for sure. At EcoNugenics, we recommend taking a cautious approach. Stick to organic foods as much as possible and, to be safe, add in scientifically validated natural ingredients that can protect your long term health and vitality.*
Cool Infographic: http://oaklandnorth.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Prop37FINAL.png (courtesy of Oaklandnorth.ne