October is GMO awareness month. Non-GMO Month was created by the Non-GMO Project in 2010 as a platform for raising awareness on the GMO issue. I personally am grateful for this endeavor as a means of educating consumer, myself included. While I am fully aware of the detriments of GMO foods to our health, I am sure there is still much on the subject I personally could learn. That’s why I’m initiating a GMO challenge this month. My personal goal is to make sure the foods I am buying are non-GMO, as well as any other product in my home.
But first, let’s talk a bit more about what GMO’s are, because I do think there is some confusion on the subject.
GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.
Meahwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights….. ~ The Non-GMO Project
Read more here on What Is GMO? from The Non-GMO project. GMOs are plant or meat products that have had their DNA altered in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, viruses or bacteria. Genetically modified seeds are injected with DNA from completely unrelated species, such as; animal cells, bacteria, and even viruses. Genetically modified crops are not the same as hybrid crops which I think is where some confusion comes in. Hybrid seeds are created by scientists paring together two kinds of plants from the same species hoping the new strain will have the best traits of the two separate strains. Modern wheat for example is hybridized for increased yield. The original strains of wheat, Einkorn and emmer have been replaced today by thousands of human-bred offspring of Triticum aestivum, durum and compactum. It is very hard to find Einkorn and Emmer wheats today. These strains were created to generate greater yield and characteristics such as disease, drought, and heat resistance. However, this has created problems as the wheat was adapted too much and too fast for us to also adapt to being able to assimilate it, and now we have an epidemic of gluten intolerance and celiac disease. Anyway, genetically modified foods are not exactly the same as hybrid foods -though both pose significant issues – GMO foods could be far worse than hybrid seeds.
Currently the crops with the highest risk for genetic modification are; alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, sugar beets, zucchini and yellow summer squash. As well as any animal products raised conventionally or supplemented with non-GMO feed. To avoid the issues with GMOs purchase these foods in their organic state only. In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food. One way to avoid them is to buy real, whole, organic foods, locally farmed and raised meats, dairy and produce. Get involved in a CSA or farm share, shop at your local farmer’s market and ask your farmers how they raise their food. Or grow your own foods as much as you can using heirloom seeds. Make sure the meat you buy is only supplemented with Non-GMO feed if they do supplement with feed.
Currently, there are NO peer-reviewed scientific papers establishing the safety of GMO crops. There have been no studies conducted to consider whether GMOs are safe for human consumption. We simply do not know all the risks of what these altered foreign proteins produced by genetically modified plants are doing to our bodies. Unfortunately, GMOs are not labeled, which is a big reason why I created this challenge. I want to be able to make informed choices and purchases and in order to do so, I need information on what foods I can safely buy. Thankfully, there are many products that are labeled as Non-GMO, as well and organizations who work hard to create shopping guides with foods that are safe. The more people who start to shop with GMOs in mind the more we can speak with our dollars. There are many other countries that have fought to keep GMOs out of their food supply, one way we can is to spend our money on the Non-GMO foods.
What or Who is Monsanto?
Monsanto….the poster child for being one of the largest producers for Roundup one of the chemicals sprayed onto the genetically modified seeds.
Wikipedia says about Monsanto:
Founded in 1901 by John Francis Queeny, by the 1940s Monsanto was a major producer of plastics, including polystyrene and synthetic fibers. Notable achievements by Monsanto and its scientists as a chemical company included breakthrough research on catalytic asymmetric hydrogenation and being the first company to mass-produce light emitting diodes (LEDs). The company also formerly manufactured controversial products such as the insecticide DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, and recombinant bovine somatotropin.
Monsanto was among the first to genetically modify a plant cell, along with three academic teams, which was announced in 1983, and was among the first to conduct field trials of genetically modified crops, which it did in 1987. It remained one of the top 10 U.S. chemical companies until it divested most of its chemical businesses between 1997 and 2002, through a process of mergers and spin-offs that focused the company on biotechnology.
Monsanto was a pioneer in applying the biotechnology industry business model to agriculture, using techniques developed by Genentech and other biotech drug companies in the late 1970s in California. In this business model, companies invest heavily in research and development, and recoup the expenses through the use and enforcement of biological patents. Monsanto’s application of this model to agriculture, along with a growing movement to create a global, uniform system of plant breeders’ rights in the 1980s, came into direct conflict with customary practices of farmers to save, reuse, share and develop plant varieties. Its seed patenting model has also been criticized as biopiracy and a threat to biodiversity. Monsanto’s role in these changes in agriculture (which include its litigation and its seed commercialization practices), its current and former biotechnology products, its lobbying of government agencies, and its history as a chemical company have made Monsanto controversial.
Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring it’s safety is the FDA’s job. ~ Phil Angell, Monsanto’s Director of Corporate Communications
The ironic thing, is that many Monsanto employees and government regulators are the same people.
The most telling evidence that Monsanto’s strategy has been an overwhelming succes is the number of former Monsanto employees who have been given jobs in the FDA and other regulatory agencies that monitor Monsanto’s products.
Margaret Miller is just one example. While working as a Monsanto researcher, she contributed to a scientific report for the FDA on Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. Shortly before the report was submitted, Miller left Monsanto to work at the FDA, where her first job was to review the same report! Assisting Miller was another former Monsanto researcher, Susan Sechen.
Needless to say, the FDA accepted Monsanto’s findings, which became the basis for its approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone and its decision not to require labels on milk produced through the use of the artificial hormone.
The FDA official who made the decision not to label Monsanto’s milk was Michael Taylor, who had worked as a lawyer for Monsanto. Today, Michael Taylor is in the Obama Administration, in charge of food safety. ~ source
In October, it is my personal goal to learn as much about the issues with GMO’s as well as how to keep them out of my own home as much as possible. If you care to join me – sign up for my facebook group: Divine Health Monthly Challenges. This is where we can all discuss strategies to avoid GMOs and help each other learn where to buy Non-GMO foods, supplements, seeds and so on. I will be posting later this month on the subject with a podcast from a local friend involved in GMO Free Pennsylvania. I also hope to cover more about the latest GMO labeling bill SB 653. Are you ready to live GMO free in a GMO infested world? I know it’s not easy, but with good information we can try our best!
Resources to Learn More About GMOs
- Non-GMO Project
- Millions Against Monsanto
- Non-GMO Shopping Guide
- March Against Monsanto (October 12, 2013)
Articles on Issues with GMOs
- Are GMOs Safe?
- Why Should I Avoid GMOs?
- Herbicide-Resistant Monsanto GMOs Planted Before USDA Approved
- Target Introduces GMO-Free Food Line
- A Mom’s Response to GMO
- First Genetically Engineered Flu Vaccine Now On The Market
- Philippine Farmers Trash Genetically Modified ‘Golden Rice’ Fields
- Top 7 Genetically Modified Crops
- Big Business Fights GMO labeling
- 13 Lies GMO Labeling Opponents are Recycling in Washington State
- 7 Ways to Remove Monsanto From Your Life
- Genetic Modification of Food
- Would You Feed Your Kids Pesticide Chips?
- Do You Know What Genetically Modified Foods Are On Your Plate?
- How To Avoid GMO Foods
- List of Seed Companies Owned By Monsanto
- Santo 7-13-15 GMO Movie
- How To Keep GMOs Out Of Your Food (podcast)
- GMO 101 -What’s In Your Food? (podcast)
- Genetic Roulette (trailer)
- Monsanto: A Documentary on GMO
- The Truth About Monsanto and GMO (full documentary)
- Seeds of Death (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND WATCHING THIS ONE 1 hour 19 minutes)
Genetically modified foods are one of the reasons many of us have problems with our health, not to mention we must protect our gut health at all costs from the ravages of GMOs. If you want to learn more about how to protect and heal your gut -check out my online course: Heal Your Gut
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