According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, genetically modified organisms are in 80 percent of the packaged foods sold in the United States and Canada, primarily in the form of soy lecithin and oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, cornstarch and high fructose corn syrup.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine reports that several animal studies indicate serious risks associated with genetically modified foods. Risks include infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.
A gene in the DNA of Monsanto's genetically modified corn produces the Bt toxin, a pesticide that kills insects. The EPA and Monsanto vowed that the toxin would be destroyed in humans during the digestive process. They were wrong. Doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found the GM corn's Bt-toxin in the blood of 93 percent of the 30 pregnant women tested, and 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies.
In 1992, the FDA Advisory Committee developed an expedited process for marketing bio-engineered foods in which companies seeking FDA approval conduct almost all required testing themselves. Companies like Monsanto and Syngenta have restricted outside studies by refusing to provide independent scientists with seeds. In fact, independent researchers are forbidden by law from publishing their findings in peer-reviewed journals without agri-tech company approval. This is appalling!
Before the FDA allowed GMOs into foods without labeling, FDA scientists warned of unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems. But under section 403(a)(1) of the 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, a food is misbranded if its labeling is false or misleading. Despite the FDA's warnings, we don't see "GMOs may be dangerous to your health" on food labels. This is misleading! Isn't the FDA supposed to protect citizens from foods and food additives that could be harmful?
Write the FDA, EPA, World Health Organization and legislators, calling for a moratorium on the sale and farming of GMO foods. Ask managers of markets and restaurants not to sell GMO products, and tell them that you will not purchase foods containing them. Help protect our food supply!
Karen Hudson is a retired teacher, parent, grandparent, nutrition advocate and cancer survivor living in Sonoma County.