On Monday I returned from Wildtree’s national conference in St Louis. In addition to launching our new fall product line (including an officially stamped “gluten free” collection), one of the days offered numerous ‘break out sessions’ for training in various topics of our choice. There were six slots in which we could take any of roughly 15 different sessions. It is impossible to take them all, but the one I always make sure to attend is the newest “food facts” seminar– the presentation of the most timely and important developments in the food industry– as the speaker is always freshly returned from the Institute of Food Technologists conference.
This year, the hot topic was GMO’s (Genetically modified foods). I knew what GMO stood for, and I knew that Wildtree products did NOT contain any GMO’s, but beyond that, I didn’t truly understand the magnitude of the debate until now. All I can say is…WOW! It will take several blog posts to share it all, but here’s a start…
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) reported that “several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM asked physicians to advise patients to avoid GM foods. Unlike safety evaluations for drugs, there are no human clinical trials of GM foods.
Before the FDA decided to allow GMOs into food without labeling, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored. For example, Russian and Austrian tests showed that:
- o Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies
- o More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller
- o By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies
- o Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity
Although the most famous studies were done in other countries, their effects are bourne out here in the US as well. For example, central Iowa Farmer Jerry Rosman also had trouble with pigs and cows becoming sterile. Some of his pigs even had false pregnancies or gave birth to bags of water. After months of investigations and testing, he finally traced the problem to GM corn feed.
While the biotech industry estimates that 60 percent of processed foods in this country already contain genetically modified ingredients, consumers in England and France refuse to eat the stuff. American exporters are finding markets for genetically altered corn and soy shrinking dramatically. The Boston Globe reported that sales of US corn to Spain and Portugal dropped from 1.8 million tons to 133,000 “based on concerns about the genetically modified adulteration of US grains.
Opposition that first caused food processors in Europe to remove genetically modified ingredients has rippled worldwide. Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia have enacted labeling laws. In July, Heinz and Gerber bowed to consumer pressure and pledged to remove these ingredients from their baby foods. In September, ADM told suppliers to segregate their genetically modified crops from conventional ones in deference to their overseas buyers.
After reading the results of these studies, one of the scientists was bold enough to voice that ” maybe the GM soy will solve the over population problem!” Ouch! But, there are more and more cases of food allergies, infertility, birth defects, and other problems being on the RISE not the decline. Hmmmm.
As I read, “we can only speculate about the relationship between the introduction of genetically modified foods in 1996, and the corresponding upsurge in low birth weight babies, infertility, and other problems among the US population. But many scientists, physicians, and concerned citizens don’t think that the public should remain the lab animals for the biotech industry’s massive uncontrolled experiment.”
At this point, I can’t help but agree with them!