Amazon icon Audible icon Autographed icon Book Bub icon Booksprout icon Buy Me a Coffee icon Email icon Facebook icon Goodreads icon Instagram icon Mastodon icon Patreon icon Periscope icon Pinterest icon RSS icon Search icon Snapchat icon TikTok icon Tumblr icon Twitter icon Vine icon Youtube icon LinkedIn icon

Tag: Monsanto

Hidden Places Where GMOs Lurk

Here are a few places where you might not think you’d find Genetically Modified ingredients, so be aware.

Breakfast cereals. Almost all of the corn and soy crops in the USA are now GMOs; unless your cereal sports the Non-GMO Project or Certified Organic seals, be certain that, by default, they contain GMO corn or soy.

Soda pop. If it contains high fructose corn syrup, you can bet it’s full of concentrated modified/mutated DNA. I’m pretty sure that there is not a GMO-free version of high fructose corn syrup, but let me know if I’m mistaken.

Chewing gum. If it contains Aspartame, it contains GMOs. Same goes for Diet sodas.

Chicken. Yep, those chicken nuggets, chicken fajitas, chicken sandwiches, chicken burritos… Even that plain grilled chicken breast on rice served at the luncheon and that roasted half-breast-and-leg portion offered at some fancy restaurants. All of that comes from chickens fed a feed made up of corn and soy. Yep, you guessed, it: unless it’s specifically labeled as Organic of GMO-free, it’s most assuredly chock-full of GMOs. So the chickens eat the feed and now they incorporate the GMOs into their flesh.

Eggs. See above. Always choose organic eggs.

Beef. Cows, too, are fed a feed made of GMO corn and GMO soy. The mutated DNA remains in the meat of the animal, which means that your hamburger is likely brimming with tinkered DNA.

Milk. See above. Studies have shown that GMOs pass into the flesh, milk, and eggs of animals fed GMO-contaminated feed. This goes for non-organic yogurts, too.

Genetically modified foods and your health

In a recent cooking class, a student raised his hand and asked: “What is so bad about genetically modified foods?”non-gmo project verified seal

Everywhere I go I hear variations on this question, and in some ways, it has become one of my missions to open our eyes about the dangers of GMOs.

Why are GMOs so bad?

Let’s just start by pointing out that we have been unwittingly made part of the largest experiment on the public health in the history of this planet. Twenty years ago, when the FDA approved the first genetically modified seeds for planting and introduction into the American food supply, all of the scientific research was presented by staff scientists for the chemical companies applying for the permission: Monsanto, Cargill, and others. Research had been limited to experiments of weeks and done on rodents, not humans. Despite these companies’ track records of assuring public safety with products like Agent Orange and DDT (Monsanto), the FDA took a “safe until proven otherwise” stance.

Did anyone ask you if you wanted to opt out of this experiment?

Current studies are linking GMOs to tumors and infertility, but the truth is that we really don’t know how bad they are for us. GMOs have infiltrated our food supply to the point that, unless you are very careful, every time you cook with canola oil or eat a corn chip or drink milk or have a soda with high fructose corn syrup, you are ingesting GMOs.

Genetically modified corn is designed to burst open the bellies of insects as a pest control method; our society is riddled with chronic ailments stemming from inflamed, leaky guts like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, chronic fatigue, migraines, and more. Could there be a link? Maybe.

The FDA says the jury is still out about the health effects of GMOs. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to wait for them to make up their minds when it comes to my health. My goal is to avoid GMO foods whenever possible by buying organic and looking for the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal on packaged goods.

What is a GMO?

Today I’m in California to speak about health and nutrition at a symposium on neuromyelitis optica (NMO) hosted by the Guthy-Jackson Foundation. NMO is a rare disease that is often mis-diagnosed as MS, and as always, my emphasis is on eating real, clean whole foods rather than processed, polluted, or otherwise modified foods. What has really surprised me here in California is how many are still clueless about what a GMO actually is and why we might want labeling so that we can have the freedom to choose to eat them or not.

Genetic modification of foods today is not the cross-polination of seeds as initiated by Gregor Mendel back in the 1300s. Of course, modern agriculture continues to breed and hybridize crops to bring out desired traits through natural cross-polination of strains of the same plant, like Gregor’s peas.

Gregor could never have predicted the kind of genetic tinkering going on on our food supply today.

The kind of genetic modifications going on today by chemical giants like Monsanto involve splicing DNA strands from insects and inserting this DNA into food crops like corn and soybeans to make them more resistant to pests in the fields. GMO corn, for example, is designed to explode the stomachs of bugs when they eat it.

Monsanto designs this corn to additionally be resistant to their “Round-Up” herbicide, so that spraying Round-Up will kill any weeds but not the corn plant.

It’s a profitable business model for Monsanto as they own the patents for the GMO seeds and the special weed-killer that goes with it. The GMO corn that grows from these seeds is itself non-propegating (sterile), so the farmer can’t save seeds to grow next season but will have to purchase new GMO seeds again and again.

Forget the profit motive for a moment and lets look at the effect on humans and other mammals who eat this modified corn.

In 1996, when the FDA approved GMOs for planting in the US, the only research on safety in humans presented was from Monsanto’s own scientists. Twenty years later independent research is showing that GMOs cause tumors and infertility in rodents. Animals raised industrially for food – cattle, pigs, chickens – and fed GMO grains are sicker and requiring more antibiotics than ever before.

It seems that while we know how to turn ON a gene on a DNA strand, we don’t know how to turn it OFF after the plant is done growing and harvested for food. When we eat that GMO plant, or eat the flesh, milk, or eggs from an animal that ate GMOs, we bring that activated insect DNA into our bodies. Designed to explode the stomachs of bugs, it can have the same effect on the cells in our stomachs.

The last 20 years have seen an alarming rise in autoimmune disorders, heart conditions, GERD/acid reflux, obesity, diabetes and other issues related to impaired digestion and “leaky guts”.

Even if you choose to ignore the science showing that GMO crops are harmful to humans, animals, and the environment, the key concept here is choice. Right now, we don’t have a choice in whether or not we want to eat genetically modified foods because they are not required to be labeled as such. With 88% of corn and 94% of soybeans in the US now GMO corn and GMO soy, you must assume every corn or soy food you come across is genetically modified and also every packaged food that contains a corn- or soy-based additive like high fructose corn syrup or soy lethicin contains concentrated GMO DNA.

You don’t need to wait for “more research” to opt out of this massive experiment on the public health. Look for the Non-GMO Project seal on packaged goods. Buy organic products and vote for the organic industry with your dollars.  If you are in California, vote YES on Prop 37, as a first step toward nationwide GMO labeling requirements. When the chemical company-funded television ads say that Prop 37 is “unbalanced” because it only calls for labeling “certain foods,” you can understand that those “certain foods” are GMOs; if the food is not GMO, it does not have to be labeled as such!

Besides, if GMOs are so great and great for us, why don’t they want to shout it out that these are “GMO products” and use that in their marketing strategies?

What Foods Have Been Genetically Modified (GMO)?

At the Seeds of Doubt conference outside of Boulder, CO, last weekend, I learned exactly which fruits and vegetables in our country could be grown from a genetically-modified seed and end up in your grocery cart and you would never know it.

Europe has banned GM foods for human and animal consumption for more than a decade while the American government has not acted to protect the public health from the corporate goals of the GMO industry. Even developing nations in dire need for food have recognized the risks of tinkering with our sustenance in this way. In 2002, Zambia rejected a donation of GM corn seeds even though they were on the brink of famine, saying science had not yet proven their safety. Still, GMOs have infiltrated the U.S.A. at many levels.

The GMO industry doesn’t even want us to know when we’re eating GM foods, because they fear we will reject them if we knew what we were eating, so they are fighting labeling initiatives at the state level. They have good reason to fear this as experiments have shown that even animals will reject GM feed when given the option. The more we learn about Genetically Modified foods and this experiment with the public health and its effects on our future generations and our lands, the more certain of that rejection we will become.

To start, we need to know which foods gracing our tables every day could be, if grown on non-organic farms, Genetically Modified produce. It’s a pretty short list, though most of these are ubiquitous in our cuisine:

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Canola (95% of the canola crop is “Roundup Ready”)
  • Cottonseed
  • Sugar Beets

Unless you see the word “organic” associated with these items, you can be pretty sure these days that these crops were grown from genetically modified seeds. These seeds have been genetically modified to be “Roundup Ready” (TM), or amenable to the glyphosate-based fertilizer that is used in Monsanto’s “RoundUp” (TM) fertilizer product.

Three other vegetables and fruits are Genetically Modified to be virus resistant:

  • Papaya from Hawaii (papaya from other places are not GMO)
  • Zucchini
  • Crookneck squash

In March of 2012 the FDA approved the unlabeled sale of genetically modified salmon in the U.S. The only way to ensure you are not purchasing these mutant salmon-like fish, you must choose salmon labeled “wild-caught”.

Another everyday Genetically Modified item that may surprise you: Aspartame, otherwise known as Equal, is a GM product. Yet one more reason not to drink diet sodas.

You can check if the items at your local grocery store are Genetically Modified with the ShopNoGMO chart and free mobile phone app. Also, you can support labeling initiatives, so that at the very least we can each choose to eat franken-foods or not. Knowledge is power.

Monsanto Voted Worst Corporation of 2010 – Again!

“Beating out a host of corporate criminals, including BP and Chevron, Monsanto garnered 38% of the vote to win the 2010 spot in the Corporate Hall of Shame. From the using aggressive legal tactics to intimidate and bankrupt local farmers to its reckless promotion of genetically modified organisms, the list of Monsanto’s abuses is long, and the negative impacts to human rights and the environment are staggering.”

“Add on a 40 year track-record of defiant production of dangerous and cancer causing chemicals – from Agent Orange and PCBs to RoundUp and rBGH – and we have ourselves a ‘winner’. Electing a winner isn’t enough. Thousands upon thousands agree – Monsanto must change its practices.”

Corporate Accountability International, January 20, 2011