This November will be one year since we passed the GMO moratorium. A year ago, our island was focused on the proposal to temporarily stop the cultivation of GMO crops in our county while scientists studied whether it’s as safe as the chemical companies claim. We voted YES loud and clear and were victorious at passing the moratorium! While it has still not been enforced and the outcome is unsure I feel compelled to write this article.
The food we eat today is not the same food we ate 30 years ago. Most of us eat a meal without thinking at all where or how our food came to be on the plate. My husband and I had 3 children in 2 years and so our family grew big in a short time. That’s when I really started to care about the food we ate. Before children I figured if it was on grocery store shelves it was safe to eat. I have never been a health nut and brushed off organic foods as something as a fad. I never heard of genetically modified foods and couldn’t give a hoot, also brushing it off as a lot of hub bub. I’m certainly no expert on the topic but I feel the need to share with you the knowledge I have gained about the food we are feeding our children.
GMO = Genetically Modified Organisms. Here I will focus on three types. The first GMOs use Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT toxin). It’s either in corn or soy or cotton seed. It is genetically engineered to constantly reproduce BT toxin, so when a bug eats the corn, the toxins attack its stomach’s cells, causing death. BT Corn was regulated by the EPA as a pesticide. Shocking information right? You may want to pause a moment and let that soak in.
The second GMOs are “Roundup Ready”. The plant has been genetically engineered to withstand Roundup herbicide. The farmer is able to spray the plant with Roundup herbicide and the plant does not die. The plant and food it produces withstands the extreme amounts of Roundup herbicide, but everything else around it dies. The bugs die, the worms in the soil die, the weeds die, the good bacteria die. It soaks into the plant and it does not wash off. The problem with that is that there is a chemical in Roundup called Glyphosate. Glyphosate destroys our gut bacteria. 70% of our immune system is there. Without that gut bacteria we cannot produce tryptophan, without tryptophan our bodies do not produce serotonin, without serotonin we cannot regulate blood sugar. Diabetes is now on the rise in this country costing our federal government a reported $279 billion dollars a year.
The third type of GMO has been modified for a “desired trait”. For example, if they want the lettuce to be more green or the tomato to be more red, they inject the desired traits in. The concern here is the desired trait has two promoters on either end and these promoters jobs are to wake genes up. We as moms are concerned that these promoters could be waking up genes in our children’s bodies. We all have latent cancer genes or rare diseases that may never wake up in our bodies. But, with these promoters waking genes up, who knows what’s happening in our bodies. Why suddenly is cancer the number one killer of our children? It makes me question the link between our contaminated food supply and our Nation’s declining health.
I believe the FDA has let us down. Their whole job is to ensure that our food supply is safe, but they have never required independent long-term safety studies. Instead they rely on tests that are done by the very industry that stands to profit from both the sale of the seed and the sale of the chemicals that those seeds are genetically engineered to resist. Many of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include: gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease (which are all on the rise) can be traced back to glyphosate.
The U.S. spends more on health care than any country on the globe, and according to the American Cancer Society the U.S. has the highest rates of cancer in the world. 1 out of 2 American men and 1 out of 3 American women are expected to get cancer in their lifetime. Next time you meet your mommy group, play group or parenting group, you can look around the circle of friends and know one of you will statistically get cancer. I’m not trying to scare you, but unfortunately these are the facts. (Robyn O’Brien TEDxAustin 2011-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rixyrCNVVGA&feature=youtu.be)
Another reaction on the rise are allergies. Between 1997 and 2002 there has been a doubling of the peanut allergy, while CDC reports a 265% increase in hospitalizations related to food allergic reactions. According to the Wallstreet Journal and CNN, Milk allergy is the most common allergy in the United States. It was in 1996 that new proteins were engineered into our food.
The FDA policy on GMOs is that biotechnology companies determine the safety of their own food products. Many parents are fine with this safety standard. Others interpret this that preventing toxic exposure is left up to the consumer, i.e. moms. We don’t need to wait for the GMO moratorium to be enforced. We don’t have to wait for GMO labeling on foods. We can begin to exercise precaution and do research. I learned that the most common GMO foods, that end up in many of our food products are: Canola, Corn and Soy. So read the labels and avoid foods with these ingredients. Livestock producers often use GMO corn and soy as a base for their animal feed. So we ingest GMOs through eating the meat from the animal. Buy grass fed beef. It’s that easy. Read the labels! Buy organic Non-GMO Project verified foods, and buy local. When it comes to GMOs we must think for ourselves!
Image Credit: Tammy Brehio