Health care reform: scrap GMOs
I Report, 7 June 2009
In his latest weekly address, President Obama says health care reform must no longer mean "reform that throws good money after bad habits".
An usually wide array of interest groups that have lined up against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) hope President Obama's commitment to eradicating health care reform bad habits extends to the nation's de facto investment in genetically modified crops which have been linked to 65 health risks and long-term health care costs.
With a growing body of new scientific evidence behind them, experts say that any acceptance of the safety of GMOs flies in the face of modern scientific methods. They point out the handful of original safety studies on file primarily come from GMO patent holders.
"Multiple animal studies have shown that GM Foods cause damage to various organ systems in the body," said Dr. Amy Dean, a Board Member of AAEM. "With this mounting evidence, it is imperative to have a moratorium on GM Foods for the safety of our patients' and the public's health."
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) is reaching out to the medical community, their members and independent scientists in an effort to collect case studies to assess health effects that can be ascribed to the consumption of Genetically Modified (GM) foods. The organization plans to begin epidemiological research as well to examine how GM foods impact human health.
AAEM's President, Dr. Jennifer Armstrong says, "Physicians are probably seeing the effects [of eating foods with GMOs] in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions."
The White House staff now grows organic vegetables in a much-publicized garden for the First Family. A lesser-known fact is the former president and Mrs. Bush insisted on an organic diet at the same time the administration pushed international trade in biotech foods.
Germany recently announced that it will become the sixth EU country to ban the cultivation of Monsanto's genetically engineered (GE) maize MON810 while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approvals of GM products and GM seeds continues unabated.
The German Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Ilse Aigner, said, "I have come to the conclusion that there are legitimate grounds to accept that genetically modified corn from the MON810 strain constitutes a danger to the environment."
GMOs are the result of laboratory processes, which artificially insert foreign genes into the DNA of food crops or animals. Those genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.
Physicians say GM Milk does not do the body good
The respected Nobel prize winning nonprofit, Physicians for Social Responsibility, is working hard to stop the use of the GMO dairy hormone rBGH. They have concluded, based on overwhelming scientific evidence, that there are health dangers linked to use of rBGH for humans and cows. Among them are:
*Milk from rBGH-treated cows has much higher levels of IGF-1, a hormone considered to be a high risk factor for breast, prostate, colon, lung, and other cancers. IGF-1 levels in milk from treated cows with rBGH can be up to 10 times higher. Studies suggest that pre-menopausal women below 50 years old with high levels of IGF-1 are seven times more likely to develop breast cancer. Men are four times more likely to develop prostate cancer. IGF-1 is implicated in lung and colon cancer.
*Milk from cows injected with rBGH also has lowered nutritional value, increased antibiotics and more pus from infected udders. Cows given rBGH experience higher rates of mastitis, a painful udder infection. When treated with antibiotics that are also used for people, these antibiotics that end up in the milk, air, soil and water, resulting in increased antibiotic resistance in humans, a major health problem.
GM animals for food
The expected approval of patented GM salmon that mature at double the rate of any of the 137 natural salmon species on earth, poses unwanted environmental challenges to multiple eco-systems fish and game experts say. They say if approved, GM salmon crossbreeding is inevitable.
Brian Fransen, a Weyerhaeuser fish biologist, found that young salmon feed on salmon eggs from salmon carcasses, especially in winter when other nutrients are scarce. This cycle means that any GM Salmon released, by intention or mistake, pose a threat to natural salmon species.
Many forest animals including bear, deer and elk feed directly on salmon or salmon carcasses, and thus can bring GM salmon DNA further into the natural landscape.
As the law stands now, consumers who purchase GM salmon will have not the benefit of labeling.
America's right to know
While polls show that 9 out of 10 Americans want GM Foods labeled, the FDA unlike food safety regulators in most industrialized countries around the world requires no labeling of GM Foods.
The Natural Food Industry is serious about halting contamination from genetically engineered crops and plans to have a new third party verified Non-GMO Seal on Non-GMO products before the end of the year.
The experiments [on GM Foods] simply haven't been done and we now have become the guinea pigs," said Canadian geneticist David Suzuki. "Anyone that says, 'Oh, we know that this is perfectly safe,' I say is either unbelievably stupid or deliberately lying."
Over 40 of the top 100 dairies have dropped some or all of their GM products due to consumer rejection, retailers like Dannon and Yoplait that have spurned rBGH in yogurt; and Whole Foods and Trader Joes house brands have eliminated the use of GMOs.
Failure to Yield
A widely acclaimed long-term study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Failure to Yield [http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/science/failure- to-yield.html], reveals that the biotech's promise of "feeding the world" by replacing naturally bred crops with patented GM Crops is false. An independent review of all the facts shows GM Crops have not produced higher yields.
"If we are going to make headway in combating hunger due to overpopulation and climate change, we will need to increase crop yields," said UCS expert Doug Gurian-Sherman. "Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down."
Consumer spending power can force change
The No GMO Challenge [http://www.realfoodmedia.com/] co-sponsored by the Institute for Responsible Technology and RealFoodMedia.com is a consumer-led movement to end consumer demand for genetically modified organisms.
Organizers of the No GMO Challenge hope U.S. shoppers will flex their considerable spending power to buy Non-GMO products. They offer a free non-GMO shopping guide for consumers to download.
Similar to the successful Eat Local Challenge, the No GMO Challenge is a way to organize, educate and build awareness around the issue of genetically modified food.
The Challenge is a rolling challenge so consumers may continue to organize, educate and build awareness about the dangers of GMOs in the food supply throughout the year.
Different RoundUp Formulations Lead to Embryonic, Umbilical cord and Placental Cell Death and Are Poorly Assessed (France)
Government Study Confirms Genetically Modified (GM) Crops Threaten Human Fertility and Health Safety (Austria)
Is Bt cotton: causing human allergies and reproductive problems and deaths of animals (India)
GM Corns Disturbs Immune System in Young and Old Mice (Italy)