And you thought “organic” was all you had to worry about to ensure you were feeding your children pure and whole foods? WRONG. Most likely, you have been unknowingly eating Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) more often than you think or ever will know. Ugh. What is a GMO anyway and why are we, the consumers, so in the dark? I thought GMOs were something great; something we have been doing for hundreds of years to pick and choose the strongest genetic material and splice it with something else in order to produce a stronger hybrid. Right? What could be so bad about that? Sounds fairly innocuous to me, and I might even get a better tasting tomato out of it. And hey, if it increases the yield and solves world hunger too, it’s a win for everyone! Wrong again.

“Today, genetically modified foods have no labeling in the U.S., and many crops are literally changed, at the DNA level, to include their own pesticide. That means they contain neurotoxins in their very core (no use trying to wash that off).” 1 Approximately 70% of all corn and 90% of soy in the U.S. are genetically modified 2 and we have yet to learn what the long-term health effects of eating GMOs are, especially for kids who don’t have the mature systems that adults have to rid and detoxify themselves of these chemicals. It just hasn’t been long enough for results to be conclusive; meaning, why the heck should I wait for the legislature to work itself out, get past the Big Chem lobby (very powerful) and then only have them tell me 10 years later that GMOs definitively decrease fertility, cause pediatric cancer, increase exposure to allergens, and contribute to rising rates of autism and obsesity? I have read the results from numerous studies and they are “preliminary, but ominous.” 3 I would classify them as devastating. Naysayers may tell you, “I’ve been eating this stuff since I was a kid, and look at me, I’m fine!” Wrong. Monsanto, and other large big Ag businesses and giant conglomerates have changed the very definition of what we think of as “genetically engineered” food, and they have only done so in the last 10 years. This is a relatively new practice. In 1996, they decided to inject plants with pesticides, as a response to the mounting criticism, health risks and public concern over industrial spraying of insecticidal and pesticidal toxins. 4 They figured out a way to get the pesticide inside of the plant….voila, no more spraying! Appease people. Tell them what they want to hear. “Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.” 5

Wouldn’t you like to know if one of these neurotoxins were injected into the food you are eating, or what you are feeding your 2-year old for dinner? We don’t have a choice today.  GMOs are not labeled. No one is accountable. And, what I find fascinating is that France, Russia, Syria, and many other countries, have completely banned the use of GMOs to preserve human health and the environment. Even Australia, Japan,  and 62 other countries label foods that contain GMOs so that families can make their own decisions about what they feed their children. They must look at us and think we are nuts. U.S. non-organic milk is pumped chock full of antibiotics and hormones (they inject the cows to prevent widespread illness since the cows are in such close quarters and one sick cow would wipe out the herd, and then they inject engineered growth hormone (rBGH) to increase milk yield by one gallon per cow!) rBGH is the synthetic hormone created using molecules and DNA sequences that are a result of molecular cloning, and has been banned in 27 countries. 6

So, what can you do today? First and foremost, if you live in California, you can vote YES on Proposition 37 on November 6th, which will require labeling of GMOs (it’s just a label, people; it’s not telling Monsanto they can’t continue to produce GMOs). Only then can you make informed decisions for your family. You can vote with your dollars and buy grass-fed beef to avoid ingesting the GMOs found in corn-fed beef (remember, 70% of corn is genetically modified). Buy organic and look for a “Non-GMO Project verified” label on the foods you buy, especially if you eat soy and corn products (i.e. soy milk, tofu, infant formula, tortillas, cereal, and most processed foods). Wildwood makes a great super firm tofu that is GMO free. My daughter loves it. If you have an infant who drinks formula, I recommend switching to Earth’s Best Organic Formula (or another organic, non-GMO brand). Many formulas are soy-based; and since we know that 90% of soy is genetically modified, and infants should not be exposed to GMOs, this is one action you can take today. If you are breastfeeding, that is one more incentive to eat GMO-free food; these toxins are then passed along to your baby via breast milk. In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food. 7 More incentive to eat fresh, local, organic, and whole foods. You have the choice to opt out of one of the largest human trials in history.

In September 2012, Russia suspended all genetically modified corn imports from the US after a 2-year trial of rats. “According to the peer-reviewed study which was published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology and was presented at a news conference in London, the animals on the genetically modified (GM) diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage.” 8

This brings us back to the question: what is your personal compelling event to make a change in your lifestyle? Are you pregnant? Do you have babies or young children? Are you nursing? Are you chronically ill? These are all motivating factors to step back and assess your current diet and take back control.

 

Image Credit: Le Moal Olivier

Notes:

  1. Green Kids, Sage Families, Lynda Fassa, 2009, pages 62
  2. Green Kids, Sage Families, Lynda Fassa, Page 61
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/genetically-modified-soy_b_544575.html
  4. Green Kids, Sage Families, Lynda Fassa, 2009, page 63
  5. http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/
  6. http://naturalsociety.com/banned-in-27-countries-monsanto-rbgh-dairy-milk-products/
  7. http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/
  8. http://digitaljournal.com/article/333607