September 18, 2013 | Posted in Digestion / Liver, Nutrition

Genetically modified organisms, or genetically-engineered organisms, are a product of the biotechnology industry placing genes from one species into another species, in order to transfer a certain characteristic to the recipient species.  Many foods are currently being genetically modified.

Description

The most common characteristic transferred by genetic engineering is resistance to Roundup (glyphosate herbicide).   The plant which is genetically modified in this way will tolerate much heavier doses of Roundup being sprayed on it. As a result, a GMO food is ‘pesticide-rich.’  Examples of other characteristics which may be sought by the gene transfer technique are higher vitamin levels, or faster growth. Plants with these modifications are not yet successfully produced for widespread use.

Many tests are run to see if the transfer of genetic material into the plant is successful, and if the plant is indeed tolerant of high doses of Roundup. But tests are not routinely run to evaluate the safety of GMOs for humans, animals, plants, or soil.  The assumption by regulatory agencies has been that genetically modified foods are ‘substantially equivalent’ to foods obtained in nature and from conventional farming practices, and therefore GMO foods do not generally need to be tested. Currently the FDA accepts short animal studies done by the GMO manufacturer as sufficient, and does not make these studies public.

The American Medical Association has stated that safety studies should be done on GMOs before they are marketed. Please see the Physicians Statement of Concern on this website:  http://sophiamicha-elremedies.com/physicians-statement-of-concern/.

Health Concerns

It is known from independent testing done outside the US, that GMO substances are widely present in human beings, sometimes in higher amounts than what is allowed in public water supply.  This suggests that we may concentrate the GMOs and their associated pesticides in our bodies. They are present even in cord blood of newborn babies.

Recently, Moms Across America, a grassroots advocacy group of mothers in the US, tested breast milk, and found glyphosate (Roundup’s primary active ingredient) in the milk of 30% of mothers tested, even though it is not supposed to be possible that glyphosate can accumulate in human tissue.  Breast milk is without a doubt a very important substance for us to understand if an herbicide can accumulate in it or not. The human infant is still forming its organ and nervous system, and needs protection from chemicals.

Reports abound of animal illness, abortion, sterility, and human allergy, skin rashes, and some deaths purportedly related to moderate to high exposure to GMOs. A soil organism of new variety has been found in association with animal abortions observed in relation to GMO animal feed. It has been difficult to find a laboratory willing to identify the organism.  Please see www.gmwatch.org, www.responsibletechnology.org, and www.organicconsumers.org for resources on GMOs and health impact.

In studies by Monsanto which were made public to a European country, damage to animal livers, kidneys, and reproductive organs occurred in a short time. In the only longer animal study of GMOs recently done by an independent researcher, rats of both genders grew large tumors and also showed widespread organ damage.

Widespread use, no labels in the USA

Public consumption of GMOs is widespread because they constitute 90% of all corn, soy, canola crops grown, and almost that much of beet sugar and cotton in the USA.  Processed packaged foods commonly contain these food derivatives:  high fructose corn syrup, canola oil, soy lecithin or protein or oil, suga, cottonseed oil.  If these ingredients are not labeled otherwise, we can presume they are genetically modified because of the predominance (90% in the US) of these crops being genetically engineered.

GMO products are not labelled in the USA, although 64 other countries have labels for GMO foods.  While most producers eagerly seek ‘name recognition’ for their brands, GMO food producers do not.

It is possible to avoid GMO foods by looking for a label that says “Organic” or “non-GMO.” “Organic” means there should be no GMOs in that food product.  Organic foods therefore should have little or no pesticides in them.  A food labeled “non-GMO” does not mean that the is organic, but it will have less pesticides in it than a food which is GMO.

GMOs are used to make the Hepatitis B vaccine, and other pharmaceuticals.  Genetically engineered salmon have been tentatively approved by the FDA.   Tolerance to new and stronger pesticides than glyphosate are now being built into GMO foods, because the weeds have adapted to glyphosate (Roundup) and heavy glyphosate doses no longer kill these superweeds.  The amount of strong chemicals used on foods continues to increase. The approval of 2,4D tolerant GMO food has raised public concern because 2,4D herbicide is a component of Agent Orange.

States in the USA have brought bills to label GMO foods with success in Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont.  However, states have been threatened with lawsuits eg by Monsanto. Citizen labeling initiatives have so far have been defeated by massive campaign advertising from the biotech industry, but the citizen efforts have not stopped.

It is important to note that if GMOs cause disease, including cancers, the biotech companies who produce the GMOs also produce pharmaceuticals and chemotherapy to treat these diseases.

From the point of view of anthroposophy, which looks at the broad strokes of human history and the interaction with the spiritual world, the time we are in has brought an attack on the physical basis of life.  It builds on the destructive potential unleashed with nuclear bombs in the 1940s, and the growing environmental toxin load post World War II. The pattern that keeps stable each form of life on earth — the genetic material — is being perverted.

Vandana Shiva PhD, India’s researcher and organizer for organic healthy farming practices, has said that GMO means God Move Over.  She is indicating that the original ordered structure of life itself is being treated as property for profit making without understanding it, without regard to consequences, and without accountability to the public who consumes the engineered foods.

Individual freedom is built in to human evolution.  Each of us is challenged as we look at this situation, and the deception and destruction built into it. We ask ourselves: how do my family and I eat? how do I spend my time? whose responsibility is it to set things right?

Life, which we may have expected to unfold with interesting and fulfilling events, is massively re-directed toward a common overwhelming experience in our time.

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