We Want to Know When It’s GMO — So, Just Label It!
10 Jan, 2012
I demand organic. It’s that simple. I know, you’re thinking, “Of course you demand organic. You wrote the Organic Manifesto and grew up on an organic farm.” True, but, even if I didn’t, I would demand organic and so should you.
In lieu of giving you my big speech about how organics can feed the planet and make us safer, I will focus on one very good reason why I demand organic: GMOs. Genetically Modified Organisms, or, as the FDA says, foods that have undergone genetic modification, meaning they’ve been engineered and altered at the genetic level “using any technique, new or traditional.”
Choosing organic is the only way, right now, that I can make sure I am not feeding my family potentially dangerous biotech ingredients. And although the food manufacturers have done a tobacco-industry-worthy job of trying to convince us that GMOs are safe, the truth is that the science is starting to say otherwise.
There aren’t a whole lot of comprehensive studies out there on GMOs and the health impact they have on humans because scientists have to ask permission to do them, and because GMOs are patented by two major corporations, Monsanto and Syngenta. These patents make it extremely difficult to gain access to the information needed to study how GMOs affect human health. That said, here’s a sampling of what has been published about GMOs:
So far, there’s only been one published study on how GMO ingredients affect us when we eat them. It was in the journal Nature Biotechnology, and it found that after we eat GMO soy, some of the GMO genes are transferred to the microflora of our intestines and those GMO genes are still active.
Another study, published in Reproductive Toxicology, found Bt-toxin (used in genetically modified Bt corn) in the blood of 93 percent of the pregnant women studied and their babies. The study authors suggest that aside from eating products made from GMO crops, eating meat from animals fed GMO crops may lead to a “a high risk of exposure.”
Finally, an Italian study published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that in young and older mice fed Bt corn, there were changes to their immune systems that corresponded with allergic and inflammatory responses. In humans these same inflammatory changes are associated with arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, and autoimmune diseases.
So here are three studies: One reports that GMOs survive in our bodies — they aren’t killed in the stomach, as some have suggested, but travel to the intestine where they remain active in the body. Another study reports that we are exposed to these GMOs, not only from the GMO foods themselves, but also from eating animals that eat GMO foods. And finally, animal studies reveal that these GMOs may be linked to disease.
So I say, Just Label It!
Right now there is a grassroots effort underway to mandate the FDA to label GMO foods. In October, The Just Label It: We Have a Right to Know campaign filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require mandatory labeling of GMO foods. It is supported by more than 450 businesses and organizations dedicated to food safety and consumer rights and more than 400,000 [Editor: now over 500,000] people have already raised their voices to tell the FDA we have the right to know what is in our food.