Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
17 Oct

Should You Worry About Genetically Modified Food?

labworkA new study came out last month out of France. In it, researchers found that rats on diets consisting of 11%, 22%, and 33% Roundup-resistant genetically modified corn developed far more mammary tumors than control rats on non-GMO corn diets. GMO diet rats died earlier and in greater numbers. Why is this study notable amidst all the other studies that seem to show the safety of GMOs? Well, it’s one of the few long term GMO feeding studies, lasting a full two years, which, to a rat, is the equivalent of 60 of our human years. The other safety studies which found no evidence of toxicity in GM foods tend to last just 90 days, or 15 rat years. In other words, the French study studied rats over the course of an entire lifespan, whereas other studies have looked at rats for a relatively brief snippet of their lives. Cancer generally develops over a lifetime, as you probably know, so this would appear to be more relevant to human health than the shorter trials.

Of course, there has been a huge outcry against the study and its author. Critics have said the sample sizes (ten rats per group of each sex) were too small, but judging from the official guidelines of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), which states that oral toxicity experiments using rats must use at least 20 animals per group (10 males and 10 females), the French study was just doing what other GMO studies have done. Even if the sample sizes are inadequate, couldn’t that be rectified by running a longer, larger, later study to attempt to replicate its findings?

Obviously, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a testy subject, and people from both sides of the argument make articulate, seemingly logical points about why the other side is completely and utterly wrong. I don’t claim to have the answer either way, but hopefully this post will help you make a decision that works for you.

To date, it’s true that there exists no conclusive hard evidence that GM foods are dangerous to people. There are no human feeding trials, and, because GM foods aren’t labeled (at least in the United States) and people don’t know what they’re eating enough to give an accurate account of their food intake, epidemiological studies on the effects are impossible to conduct. You can’t ask people how often they’ve eaten GM foods over the past ten years if the average person doesn’t even know what GMOs are. There are some animal studies, like the one mentioned above, but there have been mixed results, with some independent studies showing potentially problematic differences in health outcomes between GMOs and non-GMOs, and industry studies showing no significant differences.

Personally, I’m not so worried about a fish gene being put into a tomato, or insect genes in strawberries on their own merits. I’m worried about whether that particular gene codes for the production of a lectin that might harm the person that eats the crop. I’m worried about the amount of Roundup that farmers will therefore spray on the crops, having been given carte blanche to use gallons of the stuff. I’m worried about the Roundup-resistant weeds and Bt-resistant bugs that are popping up in response to all the Roundup being applied and Bt-crops being used. I’m worried about the more toxic herbicides and pesticides being used to take care of these new superweeds and superbugs. Didn’t a wise man once say that “Life finds a way“? Though he was a fictional character talking about the unintended consequences of using frog DNA to “plug” the holes in dinosaur DNA, I think he was right.

A lot of people are worried about the potential of unintended effects to arise. I think John Hagelin said it well in his statement to the EPA:

Numerous eminent molecular biologists recognize that DNA is a complex nonlinear system and that splicing foreign genes into the DNA of a food-yielding organism can cause unpredictable side effects that could harm the health of the human consumer. Yet, the genetic engineering of our food – and the widespread presence of genetically altered foods in American supermarkets – is based on the premise that the effects of gene-splicing are so predictable that all bioengineered foods can be presumed safe unless proven otherwise.

Take a recent example of transgenic modification applied to cassava, a staple starchy tuber for millions (if not billions) of people across the globe. This is the stuff that’s high in cyanide, requires extensive processing to remove said cyanide, and has an extremely paltry protein content (the lowest of all staples foods, in fact). Transgenic insertion of a gene into the plant increased the protein content four-fold and reduced the cyanide content by up to 55%, turning a decent staple into a fantastic, protein-rich one – at least on paper. The increased protein came from a novel chimeric storage protein called zeolin, which was cobbled together using zein (from corn) and phaseolin (from beans, used in “carb blocker” products). For someone who relies on cassava for, well, everything, the increased protein is welcome and perhaps even necessary. But zein (also known as corn gluten) is a prolamine, a type of plant protein that many people have trouble digesting, as well as an herbicide in its own right (PDF). Wheat gluten is another (in)famous prolamine. Phaseolin is a “carb blocker”; it literally reduces your absorption and digestion of glucose. The zeolin may not have the same properties as zein or phaseolin, and even if it did, those properties may be worth it if it’s the best source of protein in the area, but I think this example shows that genetic engineering has the potential to have unintended effects.

Plus there’s a lot of sneaky stuff that makes you go “Hmm…” It’s just circumstantial, sure. There are no smoking guns, but it’s worth considering:

  • Before being allowed to purchase GM seeds, customers (including farmers, scientists, and other researchers) must sign an agreement that limits what they’re allowed to do with them. For instance, customers can’t replicate the genetic alterations – a perfectly reasonable kind of patent protection. These legally-binding end-user agreements also forbid the seeds from being used in independent research, thereby severely limiting independent researchers from conducting any meaningful tests unless they get permission.
  • After a leading bee research firm published results implicating it in colony collapse disorder, Monsanto simply bought the entire company. That’s one way to do it, I suppose.
  • Following previous stints as VP at Monsanto, lawyer for Monsanto, and administrator at the USDA, Michael Taylor, is now the chief commissioner of foods at the FDA. As chief commissioner, Taylor will be protecting all of us from dangerous food.
  • A veritable who’s who of processed food manufacturers and GMO firms are contributing over $25 million to stop CA proposition 37, which will force companies to label foods that contain GMOs. Monsanto has ponied up over $7 million alone.

It certainly brings to mind Gertrude’s famous line from Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much,” doesn’t it?

At any rate, you can simply avoid GMOs, and sticking to a Primal way of eating gets you most of the way there. After all, the most prevalent GMOs in the United States are:

  • Soybeans – 93% are GM
  • Corn – 86% are GM
  • Sugar beets – 95% are GM
  • Canola – 87% are GM
  • Cotton – 93% are GM
  • Hawaiian papaya – 80% are GM
  • Processed food – In 2003, it was estimated that 70-75% of processed food contained GMOs. That number is probably higher now.
  • Potatoes and alfalfa – Unknown, but at least some are genetically modified.

Almost without exception, the fruits, the vegetables, the nuts and the seeds you come across and which form the foundation of many of your meals and snacks are not GMO. No need to worry about those. If you’re eating processed foods, however, even so called “healthy snacks,” you’ll likely be eating GMOs.

Unless you’re still cooking with canola, sneaking corn tortillas, eating out at places that cook with soybean oil, making papaya smoothies every morning, and losing bets that have you eating articles of clothing made with GMO cotton, you’re avoiding 99% of genetically modified food simply by going Primal. You’re definitely not eating diets consisting of 11% or 22% or 33% GM corn or soy, so I really wouldn’t worry too much about the occasional bite. Stick to organic potatoes when you eat them and you’re golden. Of course, conventionally-raised, grain-fed livestock are eating almost entirely GMO feed, but I’m unaware of any evidence that this affects the health of those who eat their meat and milk (and grass-fed and pastured animal products are healthier, anyway). Anyone know?

Is there a bottom line to all this? A definitive answer? No; not yet.

But I think at the bare minimum, GM foods should be labeled so that people can make decisions about the food they and their families are eating. With so much uncertainty, I think the only fair thing to do is give people a choice in the matter. Not everyone avoids grains and legumes in general, like us.

Well, I hope this was helpful. I’ll probably get criticized from both sides – for not completely and unequivocally condemning GMOs and for failing to pledge my undying support. Not everything has a clear conclusion, though. So it goes.

By all means, though, get it going in the comment section! I want to hear evidence and arguments from both sides. Just try to be respectful, and Grok on!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. GMO’s have always scared me. Ever since I started researching them a few years back, I’ve been on a constant mission to let all my friends and family also know of the dangers. Thanks for the post Mark, it’s a goodie that I’ll definitely share with others :)

    Joey Cardillo wrote on October 17th, 2012
  2. I believe there is actually an increasing emergence of GMO fruit. Lots of research (engineering) on grapes….to save the vineyards in Napa from the ravages of global warming. Lots of research (engineering) on Apples!

    Don’t blame the government…enough already! Blame the corporations and their greedy executives and shareholders. Blame the money that’s allowed into politics….Citizens United was a complete game changer and now corporations rule like never before.
    Demand a change in government….get the corporations and lobbyist out of DC and out of every state capital!

    steve wrote on October 17th, 2012
    • Why is it fair to criticize corporations for being greedy but not politicians and bureaucrats for being greedy and/or corrupt? The people who signed off on a Monsanto VIP being the FDA’s chief commissioner of food are just as bad as the people at Monsanto pushing and pulling to make that happen.

      Charles wrote on October 17th, 2012
  3. To be brief and blunt: Anyone who can vote in California and cares about the present and future of our food supply would be STUPID not to vote YES on Prop 37 next month.

    Joe wrote on October 17th, 2012
  4. what city is that trish?

    jessica wrote on October 17th, 2012
  5. I live up in the Great White North, in Richmond, British Columbia. This was passed less than 6 months ago, and while there was some outcry from the farmers that were growing GMO’s, it basically passed without too much public ranting. There’s now an attempt to ban shark fin soup, but that’s getting far more public outcry, as I live in the heart of the largest China town in North America.
    Trish

    Trich wrote on October 17th, 2012
  6. I’m a northern Californian who will vote for Prop 37. It’s our right to know what we are putting into our bodies. Also, as goes California, there goes the entire US. It would be cost prohibitive to just make special labeling for CA., as we are a huge percentage of sales for the food industry. If Prop 37 passes you should expect all states to benefit from the labeling law.

    Robert wrote on October 17th, 2012
  7. If you want to really learn about GMOs, watch the documentary “Genetic Roulette”. It’s free to watch on youtube – just google it.

    Penny wrote on October 17th, 2012
  8. Why isn’t wheat on this list? Isn’t virtually all of the wheat grown around the world now GM dwarf wheat?

    Soybeans – 93% are GM
    Corn – 86% are GM
    Sugar beets – 95% are GM
    Canola – 87% are GM
    Cotton – 93% are GM
    Hawaiian papaya – 80% are GM
    Potatoes and alfalfa – Unknown, but at least some are genetically modified.

    gofunkymama wrote on October 17th, 2012
    • I believe there is some kind of loophole with wheat: they claim that the dwarf wheat was created through a hybridization process, rather than GM.

      Lady Grok wrote on October 17th, 2012
  9. Monsanto wants everything their way, if people get out of line they sue them or buy them :/ They say their “foods” are similar to other foods so they don’t require testing, yet they also say they are different and therefore are eligible for patents. Which is is? I’m sorry but I’m uncomfortable with eating food that has NO testing whatsoever.
    Also there have been some studies done in Europe (where GMO IS labelled) and the studies are just pushed out my Monsanto’s lawyers. I watched a documentary about GMO where European pig farmers fed their pigs GMO corn/soy and the pigs couldn’t conceive. Once they switched the pigs diets to non-GMO within 6 months they were fine and reproducing again. However they cannot say it’s the GMO foods because Monsanto will sue their ass!
    How about in the LAND OF THE FREE we get to choose what we eat?

    Di wrote on October 17th, 2012
  10. We are GE free here in New Zealand. However, the supermarkets are full of imported foods that may or may not have GMOs but without labeling there is no way to tell. So the best way to avoid GMOs here is to eat Primally and avoid imported food.

    I fully support labeling. In my (not so humble) opinion to not label is underhanded, unethical and arrogant. People have the right to choose.

    Kitty =^..^= wrote on October 17th, 2012
    • Kitty. You’re dreamin’ buddy. GMO’s are rampant. Everywhere.

      Mad Am Flintstone wrote on October 17th, 2012
    • And the people who put out products, do they have a right to choose? That is the beauty if true choice – either it applies to everyone invoked in an issue or it doesn’t.

      If “people have the right to choose” then people have a right to choose to label or not label, just as we have the choice to eat a product or not eat it. Sadly, this seems lost on people these days. Choice only applies to the people who can muster enough populous support for taking the choice away from others. We lament how supposedly evil others are for making choices we don’t like but turn a blind eye to our doing of the same,

      The ends do not justify the means. A solid case can, and has, been made that much of our current diet is due to well meaning but ultimately bad choices to force or coerce a nation along a path of specific diet structure. We should be extra vigilant that we do not repeat this mistake.

      TheRealBill wrote on November 2nd, 2012
  11. Great article! I’m hoping Prop 37 passes here in Cali. That way, we can make even more informed choices about what we eat.

    Charlotte Chapman wrote on October 17th, 2012
  12. Horizontal gene transfer is the passing of a gene to another species. It was established that this was happening 7-8 years ago. In particular, a British study found that the gene from GM corn was passed to the intestinal bacteria of people who ate one meal of GM corn (this was back when it had recently come on the market). Since our intestinal flora have a huge impact on our health, this is serious. Alo note, this is not passing from corn to rye, this is from corn to bacteria. How close to us does the organism have to be to pass directly to Humans?
    The old mechanism of inserting the gene into the nucleus of an egg or gamete w/ micropipettes is too cumbersome to be used anymore. The genes are now “shot” into the organisms w/ little air guns. And how does the gene insert itself into the target genome? It’s attached to a portion of DNA matching the target organism, which is patched into a virus (usually a plant virus , but they will probably use animal viri for animal mods.)
    What this means is that not only is the modified organism a new form of life, but the gene/virus itself is a new, independent form of life capable of independently propagating into other species. This includes soil bacteria, so that a whole field may become GM permanently.

    Philip Camp wrote on October 17th, 2012
  13. I spit on Monsanto.

    Onge wrote on October 17th, 2012
    • And the horse they rode in on.

      Mad Am Flintstone wrote on October 17th, 2012
  14. Look into this. Scott, the makers of Miracle Grow have GMO grass coming to a lawn near you. It is Round Up resistant.
    That’s a potential big threat to grass fed meat.

    Robert wrote on October 17th, 2012
  15. Just a side note : the cafeteria at Monsanto’s research facility where the scientists eat boycotted to have it serve only
    GMO free foods. That has to say something…

    Kelly wrote on October 17th, 2012
  16. It seems there are some legitimate concerns about the method of the study, the validity of the findings and the impartiality of the researchers involved. New Scientist magazine had this brief analysis. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22287-study-linking-gm-crops-and-cancer-questioned.html

    None of this detracts in any way from the criticisms of the business practices of GM companies and certainly doesn’t negate the need for clear labelling so consumers can make their own choices.

    Richard wrote on October 17th, 2012
  17. I buy my beef 100% grass fed from a local place. Tastes better and its so much more tender than grain fed beef.

    Syndi wrote on October 17th, 2012
  18. so instead of pesticides, why not let the farmers go back to burning their fields. It was way cheaper and better for the environment–the by-product was smoke, which is far less harmful. Current laws make it nearly impossible to fieldburn and permits are so much more expensive than chemicals.

    ellen wrote on October 17th, 2012
  19. I saw on the news that here in New Zealand they’ve been able to genetically modify a cow to produce milk that those with milk-allergies can drink…just one thing, the scientists couldn’t explain why the cow didn’t grow a tail.

    Although I don’t have a tail, the risk of something else (more important) falling off, is reason enough to not go anywhere near it’s milk or meat hahaha

    Isaac Warbrick wrote on October 17th, 2012
  20. Ha! I’m glad I’m not the only one who heard a snarky mathematician’s voice preach Chaos theory. Crichton left big shoes behind :-( — I can just imagine the novel he would have delivered: a “well meaning” billionaire named Will Bates decides reducing the world’s population by 2 billion will prevent climate change. His millions pumped into alternative vaccine delivery methods and human sterilization solutions take a turn for the worse when the technology is seized by a greedy chemical company…

    Oly wrote on October 17th, 2012
  21. I really appreciated a well-tempered, balanced article that presented the evidence as it stands and raised concerns for future consideration. I happen to agree that just because it’s GMO doesn’t mean it’s bad. Humans have been tampering with food forever, and this is just the next step in the process.

    As for Monsanto, I get it. They’re evil. They are the devil incarnate. But who is REALLY doing something about it? I can sit there and watch another documentary, read another book, see another news report, and mildly adjust my ways accordingly, and that’s great. But for everyone who is talking like GMOs are the zombie food apocalypse, who is doing something about it?

    Deanna wrote on October 17th, 2012
    • Me and my family. Packing up and bailing the city to grow our own.

      Mad Am Flintstone wrote on October 17th, 2012
    • If you get that they’re evil you should report it to everybody…. but meanwhile, quit the system and grow your own food. If you do not allow it to get contaminated by GMO pollen you will have a solution. Google “The seed savers’ handbook” to know how to avoid contamination.

      voingiappone wrote on October 19th, 2012
  22. The control group size is within OECD guidelines, but only technically. Seralini was running 3 different experiments and using the same minimum control for one. He also used an animal model famous for getting tumors – in most countries his experiment would not have been allowed for animal cruelty reasons because the rats were going to get tumors after 2 years 70% of the time, regardless of feed.

    That said, thanks for caring about the science. It’s good that people are discussing this and thinking critically.

    Hank Campbell wrote on October 17th, 2012
    • To reiterate, the rats were the ones which are used as standard in toxicology studies – Monsanto used them too for their very brief studies – too short to show any increase in health problems. See earlier posts.

      Liz wrote on October 17th, 2012
      • The process of introducing a foreign gene into seeds for for gm crops is described in the Report “GMO Myths and Truths” co-written by an eminent genetic scientist, and available to read free on the internet. It describes how each gene is responsible for a number of effects – not just the effect that the gm companies are seeking to produce. It also describes how the methods used can lead to unstable results – it’s not an exact process, and can lead to toxicity and allergies.

        Animals are used for testing new drugs. And as unpleasant as it is to use animals for testing, if we don’t, then humans are the lab rats for gm food instead, as they are already. If food isn’t labelled, we can’t know what effects are caused by eating gm food.

        Liz wrote on October 17th, 2012
      • I understand other studies but using them for this study was a crippling error. That Monsanto used them for a shorter study is not the issue, the issue is that 70% of those rats were going to get tumors after two years regardless.

        The study is so flawed that because one group only had 50% cancer it could be argued GM food made male rats safer at 2 years. I assume that is not the argument the Seralini group wanted to make.

        Hank Campbell wrote on October 18th, 2012
    • Seralini used 20 rats per group, so twice the number required. Monsanto only used 10.

      Liz wrote on October 18th, 2012
  23. And, BTW, great post, Mark. I just posted a link to it at my own site.

    Vidad wrote on October 17th, 2012
  24. Why, on that list of GMO foods did you leave off the hybridized wheat which is everywhere? It needs to be repeated often and firmly that the current 18 inch wheat isn’t anything like it used to be and poses significant threats. And, it was and has never been evaluated.

    Gary Mullennix wrote on October 17th, 2012
  25. I think really doesn’t exist evidence to freak out about GMO foods. There’s a lot of more important things to care about in optimizing health.

    Anyway, there’s positive effects caused by GMO foods, at least in theory or in the future: less pesticides, bigger productivity, and we’re going to badly need all of these to sustain the world population AND to degrade less the environment.

    Ezer wrote on October 17th, 2012
    • I think the positive benefits are what are known as “blue skies thinking”. So far they haven’t materialised. meanwhile there are agro-ecological methos producing real increases in yield, and being more drought tolerant. Why not concentrate on these?

      Liz wrote on October 17th, 2012
      • the gains of a technology aren’t linear. why to abandon this new technology that is just in its start? I can imagine people thinking it was blue skies thinking the flying machines created by Santos Dumont and the Wright brothers would have practical uses.

        Ezer wrote on October 21st, 2012
        • The lonterm INDEPENDENT safety studies need to be done first before wasting money on researching more new gm foods.

          Liz wrote on October 24th, 2012
  26. My family thinks it’s overkill. But I say: kill the GMOs or be killed!!

    gilliebean wrote on October 17th, 2012
  27. We have to bear in mind that some people who post on ordinary sites like this, may actually be posting on behalf of the GM industry, with the ulterior motive at present, of persuading people to vote against the labelling of GM foods, as California votes whether to have them labelled or not. These hidden influencers were highlighted in 2002, after it emerged that two apparently ordinary citizens posting messages criticising research unfavourable to GM were actually posting from an organisation called the Bivings Group, which specialises in internet lobbying – “persuading without being seen to persuade”, which had been employed by Monsanto, the biggest GM company. (George Monbiot “The Fake Persuaders”). The GM companies have multi-millions to spend on influence and even more money at stake, so it seems very likely that similar tactics will be being used now.

    Liz wrote on October 18th, 2012
  28. Don’t have time to do the research?
    Watch “Food Incorporated”
    You will come away with an entirely different view
    of your supermarket, your government, and your food.

    B wrote on October 18th, 2012
  29. I would like to see follow up studies on the health of (rats?) or other animals fed grass fed meat vs GMO fed meat. I see that Mark said that there is no evidence of problems, but again, this is such a new technology and those studies have not been done. I have to believe that those engineered DNA segments or the BT toxin gets incorporated somehow into the meat that we ultimately eat. I have been neatly having depression since watching Genetic Roulette. Just try to feed a family of 5 non-GMO food, it is a CHALLENGE. I haven’t been able to do it 100% yet. I have managed to eliminate all grains by eating primal, and the grains my kids still eat I make sure are organic, But the meat… that is tougher. do get grass fed beef for the family, but I haven’t found organic lunch meats or bacon yet. Its tough. I feel so sad that our food is so corrupted and that it is so hard to find good things. Thanks for reading my venting. Thanks Mark, keep it up!!!

    Lora wrote on October 18th, 2012
  30. We live in a world that is growing in population and that population is increasingly urban so big agriculture is a necessary evil for our population to survive. Survival and optimum health are, however, two different areas of scale in terms of diet and food sources.

    Marketplace (APM/NPR) had a similair story this morning. My gut, hopefully non-leaking, tells me this is an issue of concern. Labelling appears to be a good decision to allow customers who choose to do so to refrain from GMO food products.

    svend wrote on October 18th, 2012
    • Do you realize that ‘Marketplace’ on NPR is underwritten by Monsanto?

      Not surprising that they’d call big ag a ‘necessary evil’ and put it ahead of ‘optimum health’……

      Joe wrote on October 18th, 2012
  31. I’m surprised by the # of you that are against labeling it. It is being done in 50 other countries without the repercussions you speak of. The average consumer can’t avoid them if they dont know that they are in the product. It WILL decrease GMO consumption.

    This crowd should understand how playing around with genes can have far worse consequences then increased pesticide use, super weeds and super bugs. It’s not a simple science where you change one gene… everything is connected and you don’t know what their doing. Feed lot animals have gotten sick, and infertile due to GMO foods. Which has caused some farmers to switch back. When they switch back and forth the changes are immediate. Then you have the farm workers in india getting allergies and other sickness working on GMO cotton. Not to mention all the n=1 from people switching off GMO and getting healthier.

    You can watch Genetic Roulette free all the time on you tube. Mark you missed a lot of the negatives and evidence. I’m surprised. I recommend watching:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnlTYFKBg18

    NIcole wrote on October 18th, 2012
    • A long video, but worth it. I am encouraged that as consumers, ‘we’ have been able to get rBGH out. The Tillamook Creamery Assn here in Oregon had an interesting go of it; some dairies not wanting to give it up, but economics finally tipped the scale. I totally agree that if GM is the panacea Monsanto says it is, go ahead and label it and be proud of it. I, for one, want to know if it’s there.

      Mary Anne wrote on October 18th, 2012
    • “This crowd” has seen and recognized the effects of a government pushing a particular “nutrition” or “health” agenda, and we don’t like it. I would, expect a bit of leeriness from anyone familiar with this information of letting yet another agenda from government get going,

      Keep in mind you are asking the same agencies that push what we believe to be an unhealthy, deadly, and poisonous diet on an unsuspecting populace to get even further into the room. A story of a scorpion and a fox comes to mind.

      So what if other countries do it and you don’t see the effects? That doesn’t make it right. Nor does it apply to the U.S. which has a different legal environment.

      Ultimately I see the forced labeling as having the opposite effect allegedly intended. As Mark points out, good luck avoiding GM foods once the labeling is mandatory. The story of chicken little comes to mind here. When the populace sees nearly everything labelled GM and is being told it is bad, they’ll by and large conclude it isn’t worth the fuss and continue buying that food anyway.

      Labeling GM foods won’t make it easier to avoid, it will point out the difficulty of it.

      TheRealBill wrote on November 2nd, 2012
  32. Mark-
    It is BECAUSE you always choose to NOT advise taking a definitive stand in either direction, on any subject, in the face of a lack of definitive research, that I choose to “follow” your recommendations for the subjects you DO suggest definitive stands against or for. Also, your frequent re-visiting of topics you already had a definitive stand for or against, to review new developments and research; as well as your willingness to CHANGE your previous stand if new information comes along that warrants such a change, egg-on-face be damned! I, for one, think egg-on-face is an awesome use of egg for us PBers:-). Ha!
    In all seriousness, we are all human and quality research into almost all health topics regarding nutrition, minerals, herbs, etc. are severely underrepresented and lacking. All anyone can do is look at a particular subject and review it’s value independently, then review any studies and data that does exist, and make an educated choice based on circumstantial evidence (for the most part). Any subject that contains a slew of shady supporters, lack of independent studies, and almost all data available being published by those that stand to benefit in some way from promoting the product, is subject to intense scrutiny as far as I’m concerned. I know that almost ANY American, regardless of choice of lifestyle or “diet”, applies that principal to any other subject matter; why should the matters concerning our health, vitality, and well-being be any different? It shouldn’t! Those matters should be scrutinized even MORE. None of us purchase or get behind the wheel of a vehicle without at least HAVING AVAILABLE to us a million different studies, tests, user reports, deficiency lists, safety rating, etc., whether we choose to read them or not. The nourishment we place into our mouth to fuel our bodies with immediately and long-term should be no less rigorously studied, with BETTER requirements for independent studies! Since this (sadly AND ironically) is NOT the case, the best method is the tried and true one of sticking with what HASN’T been killing human for thousands of years-naturally occurring fruits, herbs, and vegetables, unmodified in any way, and the animal products that consume the same for their nourishment.
    I can’t always afford grass-fed and finished beef and other natural and organic meats, but I certainly do get the “best of the lesser quality” when necessary. When I can’t get meat from a local farmer, I buy chicken that has a “vegetarian” diet and no hormones and steroids; I stock up most of this type when it’s about to reach its sell-by date and is heavily discounted and stock the freezer with it. It’s not the BEST, but it is superior to the $.99 per pound chicken legs in bulk. This works well to fill in the gaps, without compromising every health variable I am attempting to protect. The key there is that the chicken IS labeled. We should all have the right to know what our food consists of.
    Of course, I am not so naive to say GMO is a complete waste. If I lived in Ethiopia right now, I would eat the corn even if I knew it was GMO, because surviving immediate starvation is more pressing than surviving potential cancer 60 years down the road. However, I would STILL want the information and to make that choice knowingly And as an American, I actually consider it a violation of our rights as consumers to NOT have this information readily available to us; if not on packaging, then a comprehensive onions resource of all products currently for sale using GMOs. SOMETHING!
    Anyway, removing self from soapbox. Phew-I suppose I really needed to get all that out of my system or something! I had no idea I had such vehement feelings on the subject! my point to all this is DON’T STOP doing what you do! If you suddenly started forming definitive stances on everything (proof be damned), where in the HECK would I turn for my objective, handy, translated to layperson, comprehensive, Op-Ed with links so conveniently embedded to review the materials myself?!?!?! The one thing that will always be is SOMEONE that knows more than someone else and, therefore; criticizes. They just need a real good spanking with some of those GMO pesticide-laden, superbug-infested corn stalks and you are just the person to make it happen! Ha!

    megdallas wrote on October 18th, 2012
  33. I live in the land of where gmo corn and soybeans are exclusively grown. It was a bright spot, though, when I heard that the local National Wildlife Preserve was ONLY planting non-gmo corn for the wildlife–apparently it’s a mandate.

    Anne wrote on October 18th, 2012
  34. Danish pig farmers report birth defects when the sows are fed GM soy. Turns out it’s from Roundup residue, not the soy itself. This could be the real danger.

    Mark. wrote on October 18th, 2012
    • +1

      Joe wrote on October 18th, 2012
  35. I was blown away by this: The World According to Monsanto, a film made by a French independent journalist Marie-Monique Robin. Just as everyone should see “Food, Inc.” and “King Corn” and its follow-up documentary, “Big River” AND should read Lierre Keith’s “The Vegetarian Myth” :-) – EVERYONE should watch this documentary (are you listening, Mark :-):

    HER MONSANTO DOCUMENTARY (posted by Dr. Mercola on 6/18/12):

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/06/09/monsanto-roundup-found-to-be-carcinogenic.aspx?e_cid=20120609_DNL_art_1

    After watching this, I looked her up on Wiki. Wow. Have you heard of her?

    The documentary is…harrowing. I’m passing it on because I don’t want to be the only one of the people I know who has seen it.

    (FYI At 1:21:57 Marie-Monique Robin mentions and interviews the amazing physicist Vandana Shiva of India.)

    Paula wrote on October 18th, 2012
    • Exactly the same video I wanted to link. The video in your page has been removed. so this is the entire series on youtube:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3OedIuaZto&feature=channel&list=UL

      Watch it befor it gets removed from there too. I saw this something like one week ago and I’m still trying to stop shivering. Especially the “mexican” part…. feels like you cannot run and hide any more. (._.) Sad.

      voingiappone wrote on October 19th, 2012
  36. After reading so much about GMO’s, I have to wonder…when the GMO seeds and ground get watered, has anyone done a study on the nearby water supply and the fish? Also, what happens to the birds who used to help the farmer by eating the nearby insects? If there is so much GMO in cotton, are we at risk when we wear clothing made of it?

    It seems to me that GMO food used to be labeled when it first came out years ago. Why isn’t it labeled anymore? That way there wouldn’t be any question or problems with labeling something non GMO.

    Donna wrote on October 19th, 2012
  37. I suggest checking out the Institute for Responsible Technology at http://www.responsibletechnology.org/.
    Jeffrey Smith and his group have linked to several studies and other articles of information. Even talking about reporters and researchers getting fired for talking about the truth. Or research findings that didn’t support what the company (Monsanto) wanted to be shown, i.e. safe GMOs. The law of unintended consequences…there is no true way to predict what gene expressions will be turned on or off and what will truly happen. Man really has limited understanding although he would like to convince one otherwise.

    I’ll stick with organic, pastured and grass-fed as much as possible. The DH and I are in the process of buying a home and have the large freezer (2) lined up and garden space planned in my mind. We also moved south for a longer growing season. So excited!!

    Sandra wrote on October 19th, 2012
  38. Did anyone else post the link to the movie Genetic Roulette yet? If not, it’s free to watch until Nov 6th, and will provide more information.

    http://geneticroulettemovie.com/

    Jayne wrote on October 19th, 2012
  39. The food the animal eats does affect he consumer. I have an uncle that is allergic to corn, SEVERE anaphylactic reaction. If he eats beef that has been fed corn he still has a reaction.

    Bronwyn wrote on October 19th, 2012
  40. When you said that you didn’t think milk and meat from GMO fed animals affect the health of those who eat them, I would tend to be wary. I am so gluten sensitive that I can’t eat the meat of grain fed animals (even better quality ones from Whole Foods), or I have gluten problems and the arthritis in my hands gets really bad. So I’m thinking we react more to what animals are fed than it may be thought.

    Linda Myers wrote on October 19th, 2012

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