While shopping in the grocery store has the “butterfly” seal on food packages ever caught your eye? I actively search for the seal, which indicates the item is a “Non-Genetically Modified Organism” (GMO).
The first GMO product was created in 1973 which involves a process where the genetic material (DNA) has been changed in (plants, animals, or microorganisms) to the point where the product is not the same as its original natural form. This process is well known as modern biotechnology, genetic engineering, or gene technology generated to improve crop protein against diseases caused by viruses or insects, and to make food more affordable and durable. It was not until 1990 when the FlavrSavr company introduced the first GM tomato to the markets; shortly afterward, the company was brought by Monsanto the chemical giant.
Does it matter if a product is Genetically Modified (GM) or not? Yes, even if they are more affordable, durable, and perceived as providing more nutritious foods to the population.
Proponents of GMO products argue that they are beneficial in that it facilitates a way for farmers to produce insect resistant crops quicker and inexpensively to meet the growing demands of our population.
In search of evidence base research displaying the side effects of consuming GM foods has mainly been performed on laboratory animals. However, there is one interesting study on humans, which poses the question should GM foods be approved for safe consumption. According to a Canadian Research study, the presence of pesticides associated with GM foods known as (GMO crop protein) appeared in 93 percent of blood samples from pregnant women, 80 percent from umbilical cord blood, and 69 percent from nonpregnant women. The protein present was an insecticide produced by Bt bacteria-Bacillus thuringiensis a toxin manufactured by Monsanto, whose gene was inserted into the DNA of corn to create so-called Bt corn.
Another recent study from Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) indicates GM Foods can trigger or exacerbate gluten-related illnesses as well as significant cause inflammation in the digestive system and intestinal wall, especially for those who are gluten-intolerant. In addition, researchers also are claiming GM foods could also trigger or lead to the autoimmune disorder, celiac disease.
In support of the data indicated, a recent study performed on pigs fed a diet of GMO corn and soy for 26 weeks showed a nearly 300 percent increase in severe stomach inflammation compared to the non-GMO fed pigs. Researchers stated that this inflammation could be a result of proteins that certain GMO corn varieties are engineered to produce such as Bt toxins. These research findings suggest that GMOs could be blamed for most of the digestive problems confronting many of the population today. More studies are forthcoming.
Does it matter rather you consume a GM food or a Non- GM food, it is your choice. Advocates for GMO such as Monsanto have reported there is no harm or threat to our health of consuming GM foods; however, more and more research is showing different results-knowledge is power. Yes, it matters in that you are what you eat.
I recommend the following to limit your consumption of GMOs:
- check the labels on all the food you buy, look for the butterfly.
- remember everything that contains corn or soy, unless specifically labeled as organic, is likely GMO. Look for the seal when purchasing these items.
- As for meats, make sure the label specifically says that the animals were grass fed or given organic non-GMO feed.
The choice is always yours – Choose wisely.